A HABERSHAM COUNTY, GEORGIA, MAN was arrested Friday and charged for an incident that occurred on October 16 at a Clarksville gas station. Austin Dawkins, 37, was charged with reckless conduct for accidentally setting his wife Jessica, 30, alight while he was refueling his pickup truck.
Image courtesy of Georgia Dept. of Insurance
The gas station's security camera shows that Jessica was standing nearby when Austin set the pump handle to "on" and then took a cigarette lighter and for an unknown reason spun the flint and ignitied the lighter that he was holding very close to the fuel tank fill pipe.
The lighter ignited the vapor cloud that in turn set Jessica's clothes on fire. She took off runing a few steps before falling down and Austin apparently beat the flames out with his hands causing him to suffer some burns as a result. His wife had 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns on her arms, legs, back and head. She was flown to a burn unit but has since been released.
The Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commission issued the arrest warrant Friday charging Austin with "reckless conduct."
WRBL-TV shows the surveillance video in this report filed Saturday:
The blast shattered windows and left chunks of pickup truck scattered about the yards, but nobody was around to be seen. Police and Fire responded but there was no fire to put out and no evidence of what caused the explosion.
The firefighters found a propane tank in what was left of the cab of the pickup, so they backed out and called the bomb squad to make the scene safe.
The mystery was solved later Tuesday night when a man walked into a police substation sporting a severely burned scalp and face. He 'fessed up to the officers that he had been sitting inside his pickup "huffing" propane from a small tank when he plugged in his cellphone charger. That was all it took to ignite the pocket of propane that had been filling up the floorboard.
THE FIRE DEPARTMENT PROBABLY wasn't called until somebody noticed the diesel spill. But this truck driver escaped injury or worse by being sensible and vacating his cab pronto.
His flat-bed truck, you see, was hung up on the rise in a railroad grade crossing in Midland County, Texas, as a Union Pacific train was bearing down on it. The trailer was loaded with steel pipes that were sent flying like pick-up stix and the truck cab was dragged the entire 1/2-mile that it took for the train to come to a stop.
A WOODBURY, NEW JERSEY, MAN LEARNED earlier this month that using the wrong tools to do a job can have a disagreeable ending.
The man had a bedbug problem in his 2nd floor bedroom, so he went online to learn some methods to get rid of the stubborn pests. One remedy that looked to be the easiest and cheapest was to raise the temperature in the room to higher than 110 degrees which kills them. So he gathered together his tools, a space heater, a hair dryer, and a heat gun. When the fire department arrived he was standing outside directing his garden hose at the flames.
The firefighters knocked the blaze down, but the embers proved to be as resillient as the bugs are and a rekindle about an hour later gutted the house.
WPVI-TV Philadelphia sent a news video crew out to Woodbury to report back on what they found:
Four firefighters had minor injuries but the homeowner suffered burns and smoke inhalation and had to be hospitalized.
THIS PAST MONDAY SOME bright light in charge of a hotel swimming pool in Leon, Mexico, thought it would be great to give the guests a new pool experience and create a misty, exotic fog for the swimmers.
So the order went out….. splash some liquid nitrogen into the chlorinated water. This video shows the uniformed hotel staff dispensing the mystical product into the swimming pool:
The next video shows the pool a few minutes later as the excited swimmers start fainting and drowning. You can also see the firefighters, police officers and bystanders bravely wading into the pool to drag the half-dozen victims out:
Most of them are now ok (maybe…wait for the follow-up exams) except for one 21-yr.-old pool patron who is still in a coma.
A COUPLE OF THIEF-WANNABE's with dubious logical-thinking skills saw their efforts to steal the inventory of an ATM go flying by.
The nitwits decided to blow up a stand-alone cash dispenser located in a self-serve gas station in Hampshire, England, Sunday morning with the thought in mind of just reaching in and grabbing the stack of cash after the cabinet door was removed.
CCTV tape shows us just how smoothly their operation went (the ATM is the blue and red pylon on the far right):
A Bristol man was held on suspicion of theft and causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property. The 26-year-old is currently in custody.
Witnesses saw people running towards the A303 and Red Post Lane.
Hari Raman, who manages the property, called the thieves "crazy" and said people living nearby were lucky the fuel at the station did not ignite. He said the explosion damaged the structure of the building, and the petrol pumps and canopy would have to be replaced.
TWO BROTHERS IN WICHITA, KANSAS, wanted to celebrate their $75,000 winning lottery ticket this past Friday. So they went out and bought a weekend's worth of marijuana and meth, took it all back home and proceeded to blow up their house.
The home was part of a duplex and the woman who lived in the other half told the press that on Friday evening around 7 pm she heard "a big boom!" and then someone screaming, "Get out!" Mary Jewitt, the neighbor said that it shook the whole house and then she saw smoke coming from the front door.
Sgt. Bruce Watts of the Wichita Police Department said that the brothers were in a house in the 100 block of North Nevada Court, near Douglas and West Street, about 7 p.m. Friday, Watts said. One of the brothers went to the kitchen to refuel the butane torches they planned to use to light their bongs. He emptied a couple of large cans of butane lighter fluid, leaking butane into the air.
"The butane vapor reached the pilot light in the furnace, and as you might expect, ka-boom," Watts said.
The victim’s girlfriend loaded him and some children into a car and took him to the Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis emergency room, where she dropped him off and left.
Officers went to the house with a warrant, where the other brother ran out, admitting he had marijuana and methamphetamine. He was arrested.
The 27-yr.-old burn victim had 2nd-degree burns on his hands, arms and chest. He arrived still wearing his Kansas Lottery souvineer T-shirt and was released yesterday (Monday). The other brother is still in jail as far as we know.
A 20-YR.-OLD MAN died Saturday night in Webster, New Hampshire, after he pitched gasoline from an open bucket onto a smoldering fire. A 17-yr.-old girl who was standing nearby was burned, but is expected to recover.
According to a statement from the state fire marshal office, Daniel Hewey, 20, of Warner, was killed due to "inhalation injuries and burns from the fire," according to the state medical examiner.
"Investigators have determined that Daniel Hewey used gasoline to attempt to ignite a brush pile in a fire pit thereby causing a small explosion and flash fire which also injured a 17-year-old female who is still being treated for her injuries at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston," the report stated. "She is expected to recover."
State Fire Marshal District Chief Max Schultz said Daniel Hewey and the girl were burning brush outdoors in a home-made fit pit, made from a cut open oil tank around 10:20 p.m. when the fire went out. Hewey tried to get the fire started back up by pouring gasoline into the pit from an open bucket, Schultz said. The gasoline vapors are highly volatile and should never be used on a fire, Schultz said. "It basically exploded," he said.
Both Hewey and the girl caught fire and first responders were called for the emergency.
Hewey was rushed to Concord Hospital where he later died of his injuries. The girl was taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston for treatment. Her injuries are mostly to her face, Schultz said adding that, "She's going to be OK."
THE RESIDENTS OF A LAURELDALE, PENNSYLVANIA, neighborhood became increasingly concerned following a string of vandalisms and one vehicle arson over the past three months. So several of them started mounting surveillance cameras around their homes in the hope of catching the criminal on tape. That effort apparently paid off this past Monday when three of them captured the jerk setting fire to a car parked in the street and accidentally setting himself on fire at the same time.
Surveillance video shows the flaming arsonist running away.
He probably has burn inuries severe enough to require
medical treatment. Police are trying to track him down.
(Laureldale Police) Cpl. Thomas R. Link said some neighbors in the 3200 block of Chestnut Street saw the man run away in flames after he splashed a liquid accelerant on the car and ignited it Monday about 3 a.m."When he lit the car on fire, he went up in flames, too," Link said. "Three different neighbors have him on videotape. He's going to need treatment."
Link said police checked area hospitals for anyone treated for burns to the upper body but were hindered by patient privacy protection rules.Firefighters with the Central Fire Company of Laureldale put out the flames. The car was destroyed.
WFMZ-TV Allentown reports on this latest event and shows us one of the incriminating surveillance tapes in this video report:
Here we are nearing the end of another year…and on a weekend, too. Add the two together and you get a lot of jocularity as people have fun running away from the year just finishing up. And that includes firefighters.
It seems like firehouse hijinks go on everywhere, no matter the area or culture. Our Gnome Handler, Steve Marshal found this home video of some firefighters having fun unlike any game I've ever seen in a firehouse. But I chalk it up to one of those cultural differences and wonder why nobody I worked with ever thought of this one. The person who posted it does not say where it took place, but looking at the uniforms, truck style and markings, I'd say it's either from Russia or one of the former Soviet bloc countries.
What a guy!! This puts a whole new twist to the Job Security category.
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The National Hockey League will be providing its now-annual bit of New Year's fun again this year. About five or so years ago they scheduled a regular season game to be played outdoors on New Year's Day in a football stadium using a portable ice rink. The game was a terrific success with the fans bringing the largest crowd ever to see a professional hockey game, plus very good tv ratings despite the snowfall cutting down on visibility.
So they did it again the next year and it was an even bigger success. So now it has become an institution and is played each year in a different city and with different teams competing. This year's event takes place in Philadelphia's baseball stadium and pits the Flyers against the New York Rangers.
The NHL has again taken a time-lapse video of the portable rink construction and made it available for viewing:
The game will be played on Monday beginning at 1:00 pm Eastern and will be televised everywhere. The players have more fun than anybody at these games.
We had better get started on the equipment check now. There will be lots of merrymakers out there this afternoon and some of them will undoubtedly get in trouble, so we need to be ready for them. I'm going to start some more coffee before we meet back in the day room.
AT LEAST 12 BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY students were severely burned when they used too much gasoline in their gasbombs while playing "mineshaft bombing" Saturday night. The stunt which is practiced by students in several Utah universities involves dropping a Molotov cocktail down an abandoned mine shaft and watching to see how high you can get a fireball to come back up. The shafts are covered with a rebar grate that has spaces wide enough to let your legs drop through.
Utah County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon told the Salt Lake Tribune:
They make gas bombs and drop them down the mine shaft. A bomb hits the wall of the mine shaft and sends a huge fire ball up 200 feet in the air. … It’s pretty spectacular, but it’s incredibly, incredibly dangerous."
On Saturday, as the students dropped small bombs and fireworks into the shaft, a third group arrived with "large quantities of gasoline," Cannon said. "Someone decides he wants to go a bit bigger, so they put two or three gallons of gasoline in a jug or cooler and put newspaper in it as a makeshift wick," Cannon said.
Several of the spectators were sitting on the grate with their legs dangling through the spaces when the jug of gasoline was knocked over. "There were huge burning flashes and fireballs," Cannon said. "Two or three series of them came up. Then the wall of the mine shaft caught on fire."
In their panic to get out of the way, some of them got their legs entangled in the grate. When they tried to call for medical help, they found out that there is no cell phone coverage there. So they loaded the burn victims up into cars and drove them to the nearest hospital. Seven of them were transferred to a burn unit.
Despite the sheriff's best efforts to catch and ticket the trespassers, the locals have been doing this for several years. Five years ago one of them posted this demostration video on YouTube:
The seriousness of this latest stunt will lead to felony charges this time, Cannon said.
A FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, MAN was arrested over the weekend after he tried to remove a cast from his son's hand with a 10-inch circular saw. Nobody knows the reason why Lawrence Roberts, 33, felt the need to remove the 13-yr.-old's cast that was on his right arm and hand, but he went to the boy's home with the intent on taking it off.
(not a real doctor)
While attempting to remove the cast, he cut off the end of the boy's thumb and nearly severed his index finger at 7,000 rpm. At that point, he stopped and somebody called the ambulance. The unlucky lad was rushed to the hospital where surgeons sewed up the slice in the middle of his hand and attempted to reattach the end of his thumb. It has not been publicly reported if that was successful.
Roberts, also known as "Squirrelly," was arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse, a first-degree felony that can bring a 30-year prison sentence.
A DALE CITY, VIRGINIA, MAN WAS CITED for illegal outside burning when he tried to cremate his dead dog on the outside patio last Wednesday. While he was unsuccessful in consuming the dog, he was successful in generating $70,000 in fire damage to his house.
News & Messenger / Pierce
When Charles Harris' 11-yr.-old Rottweiler named Thor died a few days earlier, Harris was unable to pick up the large animal and tried to get a shelter to come pick it up, but they were all closed on the weekend. So he tried some veterinarians and they all said that they could dispose of Thor, but only if Harris brought him in.
Running low on options, Harris piled a bunch of wood around Thor's carcass, poured some gasoline over it all for good measure, and lit it off. When the Prince William County Fire & Rescue units arrived on the scene, they found flames covering the back of the house from the ground to the roof. When it was all over, the animal shelter came out anyway and carted the charred dog's remains away.
Read the complete story in the News & MessengerHERE.
Update July 20:
The Associated Press filed this video report:
A CUSTOM-RAISED PICKUP TRUCK crammed with six passengers in Collier County, Florida, rolled over, ejecting the driver and another passenger who were killed when the driver tried a driving stunt.
Randall and Savannah Landry (MySpace photo)
Randall Landry, his wife Savannah, and two other couples were out having fun in Landry's high-suspension Ford F250 Saturday night when Landry decided to "make some donuts." Turning off the roadway into an unpaved parking lot, Landry turned the steering hard left and gunned the motor in an attempt to put the truck into a spin with the rear wheels burning rubber as the truck rotates.
Instead, the truck toppled over, partially ejecting Landry and another man, Jose Castillo, 28, who were both crushed to death when the overturned truck came to rest on them. Savannah Landry and another woman were seriously injured and hospitalized while the other two people suffered minor injuries requiring treatment but no hospitalization.
Savannah poses with their truck in this MySpace photo.
The Florida Highway Patrol reported that none of the six were wearing seatbelts.
We got a kick the other day from a posting by Gnome Handler about a varmint-killer called The Rodenator (Firegeezer report HERE). You will recall that it's the device used in the country to eliminate prairie dogs and gophers by inserting a nozzle into a burrow that fills the rodent's tunnels with a mixture of propane and air, then ignites the gas and blows the critters to Kingdom Come while collapsing the tunnel network.
If you missed that, be sure to click on the link and watch the videos that Steve posted. One of the memorable quotes is the president of the Rodenator company gleefully telling us, “The Rodenator produces a result that has a sense of justification and revenge — I mean, you’re blowing them up. It’s pretty exciting. It really gives you that sense of, ‘I got this guy.’”
The Rodenator has been around for a few years and is popular with ranchers who are plagued with burrowing rodents that cost them with expensive livestock losses. But if the device gets into the hands of someone who isn't quite with the program, then they can cause more problem than they solve. One of our readers in Alberta Province sent along THIS LINK to a newspaper article from three years ago, March 2008, about a huge grass fire that was started by a Rodenator driver who ignored the Fire Danger warning and open fire ban that had been issued the week before. The article from the Calgary Herald says in part:
In his 25 years of firefighting, assistant deputy fire Chief Jim Pendergast of the Municipal District of Rocky View said he’s never encountered a fire sparked during a gopher hunt.
The Saturday blaze spread rapidly through tinder-dry prairie grasses. Several residents fled their homes as fire crews managed to stop the flames from devouring houses, although some out buildings were lost.
Pendergast estimates $215,000 worth of damage was done to barns, sheds and vehicles, while another $40,000 was spent to fight the fire, which began after 4 p.m.
While I didn't take the time to research it and learn the outcome, the man who triggered the wildfire was facing legal action for the costs that his hunt created as well as criminal action for his using an open-flame device during the fire ban. “We’re not saying there’s something wrong with the device,” Pendergast said. “But this is not an appropriate time to use it.”
Very much like there is never an appropriate time to take the battery out of your smoke detector. There will never be a lack of people who do the "inappropriate" things, thus confirming what we have always said, there will always be a need for a fire department. File this one under the Job Security category.
And then get ready to file the daily check sheets after we get this equipment checked out. We've got a lot to do today, so let's get started. I'm going to make some more coffee before we meet back in the day room.
This story is about firefighters who morphed into arsonists, an insurance company that wasn’t a “good neighbor,” and a Peoria couple whose dream house was reduced to rubble.
It is an ongoing saga in which just about everyone involved, even arson victims Betty and Mike Johnson, have something to answer for.
It has been more than seven years since a gasoline-accelerated fire destroyed the Johnsons’ nearly finished 8,000-square-foot home on North 87th Avenue in north Peoria.
But the injustices stemming from the outrageous events of December 20, 2003, hardly have faded from memory.
The wrongs include how a powerful insurance company’s working in concert with Maricopa County sheriff’s detectives to try to force the Johnsons — initially suspected as the arsonists — into financial submission.
On a parallel front, this story also considers the frustrating inability of law enforcement to bring to justice the alleged ringleader of the high-profile arson case.
That was Robert Brewster, a strapping Peoria firefighter whose hatred of Betty Johnson over a long-standing construction-contract dispute (Brewster ran a concrete firm on the side) was no secret.
The December 2003 fire destroyed the new home of Peoria residents Betty and Mike Johnson.
A complex and painful story where all parties have issues.
There is a primitive horror in watching the hand-held camera move in on flashing police lights in the night, then get right up to smashed cars, then fasten on shattered faces covered in glass and blood and bodies twisted in unnatural positions. Sometimes you can hear the real moans and shrieks of the injured and dying. Once the camera catches a man at the instant of death.
Whatever the filmmakers’ intentions, this was pornography then, and its liberal use in the documentary—which features stomach-turning shots of a dead baby under a car—makes it feel like pornography now. Hell’s Highway isn’t nearly as revelatory or as penetrating as it would need to be to overcome the exploitation factor.
NOW FOR SOMETHING DOWN UNDER
While I will tend to agree with Too Old To Work, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is a Victorian Government-owned organization set up in 1986 that has had a different experience with their safety videos.
TAC’s role is to pay for treatment and benefits for people injured in transport accidents. It is also involved in promoting road safety in Victoria and in improving Victoria’s trauma system.
This 5:22 minute video: TAC Campaign – 20 year Anniversary retrospective montage
12.1 million views.
from the video:
On December 10th 1989 the first TAC commercial went to air. In that year the road toll was 776; by last year 2008 it had fallen to 303. (287 deaths for 2010)
A five minute retrospective of the road safety campaigns produced by the TAC over the last 20 years has been compiled. The montage features iconic scenes and images from commercials that have helped change they way we drive, all edited to the moving song Everybody Hurts by REM.
An occasional series of reports that confirm the belief that we will always need fire, rescue and EMS departments.
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A ST. JOSEPH, MISSOURI, MAN WAS SERIOUSLY BURNED Monday while he was working on his gasoline-powered lawnmower ….. in his bedroom. Unaware that it’s the vapors and not the liquid that burn, the man poured out all the gasoline before taking the mower inside where it’s warmer to work on it. That was bad decision #1.
Bad decision #2 came when he paused to light up a cigarette. The ka-boom left him with burns on his face and hands, and started a fire that burned down the entire house.
IN GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, A 57-YR.-OLD MAN is in the hospital this morning with 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns over 1/3 of his body after blowing up his garage Tuesday night. He was spray-painting some wood in the unattached structure and keeping the interior of the small garage warm with a wood stove. The fire department says that the fumes from the spray paint were ignited by the open fire and caused the blast.
When the FD arrived on the scene, the man had already gotten himself out of the building and extinguished himself with the stop-drop-and-roll technique. The garage was fully involved and collapsed shortly after the first unit arrived.
WOOD-TV Ch. 8 Grand Rapids has this video report:
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LATE LAST MONTH PORTLAND, OREGON, FIREFIGHTERS responded to a kitchen fire that was mostly extinguished by the homeowner with a fire extinguisher. They found that the occupant had put some aerosol paint cans in the oven to “warm them up” before using them. KPTV tells us what happened:
One of the paint cans ruptured, shot out of the partially opened oven and through the ceiling. It finally stopped in an attic crawl space. Firefighters found the projectile paint can and put out the smoldering debris it left behind. Investigators say another paint can explosion caused the kitchen fire.
BACK IN AUGUST WE POSTED A STORY on Airbag Safety HERE. If you missed it, click on the link and you will see a graphic display of why we are certain that there will always be a need for fire, rescue and EMS agencies.
Well, there is just so much of that foolishness going on all the time that we decided to create a separate posting category and let the chips (or nitwits) fall where they may. This will be an occasional series as the stories and videos come to our attention. Here is today’s entry for the Nitwittery Hall of Fame:
If you come across any examples of Why We Will Always Need a Fire/Rescue Department, send them along to us so we can share.