A SURPRISE, ARIZONA, FAMILY WAS REALLY surprised when they received a bill for $20,000 from Rural Metro, the FD that took care of the mop-up operations following the total loss of their house when it burned down in August.
Nobody on the scene yet, but just wait until it's
time for overhaul and mop-up. (KSAZ-TV)
The Purcell family lives in an unincorporated area in what is technically called an "island," an area surrounded by territory that has fire protection coverage but none of its own. When their house caught fire, the Surprise FD responded and knocked the fire down and then left after the Rural Metro units arrived and began the mop-up actions.
Two weeks later R-M sent them a bill for $19,825 that included $1,500 per hour for two firetrucks and $150 hr. for each of the six firefighters they brought with them.
It was explained to the Purcells and their neighbors that since they are in a non-protected area they could have purchased a subscription for fire protection for $500 annually, but they had balked at that thinking that their property tax bill that had a "fire district assistance tax" covered that. It turns out that the tax is a county-wide fee collected from everybody to fund volunteer fire departments but their community does not have one, only the tax for it.
The Purcells had fire insurance on their home, but it
doesn't cover the response fees from the FD's
KSAZ-TV posted this video report from Surprise:
It's a mess that has been a chronic problem in Arizona where some areas are still living in the old West of the 19th century. Read the full story as told by KSAZ-TV HERE.
A 2-ALARM FIRE IN AN EVERETT, Washington, apartment building spread rapidly and cost one tenant his life.
The call was dispatched shortly after noon on Friday and the first-in units found fire already moving through the upper floor of the 2-story building. This home video shows the quick knockdown using the monitor nozzle that led to the fire being reported knocked down at 1:30 pm.
The victim was an elderly man who has not been officially identified yet. The firefighters located him quickly but he was already beyond rescue.
His unit, which is where the fire is believed to have started, was completely burned out. Several other units suffered lesser damages but the amount has not yet been determined.
RICHMOND, INDIANA, WAS NOTED for it's mighty big fireworks retail shop, Windy City Fireworks. Until Wednesday night. A fire started in the rear of the store after closing and spread to the warehouse area where thousands of rockets and spectacular displays were stored.
Wednesday night, just before ten o'clock, fireworks could be heard for miles around Rochester. A large fire quickly started at a longtime family run business called Windy City Fireworks.
The Rochester Fire Department and half a dozen other departments were called out to put out the fire. No word on where or how the first started. At times fireworks were going off while they were working, making it dangerous.
"Within the building you could hear some explosions," says Rochester Fire Department Chief Tom Butler. "They were still packed close together. Some of them did go off in the air. You could see firecrackers and bottle rockets going off."
The family that owns Windy City also owned a factory called Pyro Design and Development. In 2001 the factory was home to a deadly fire that killed four people. Pyro made devices that put out chimney fires.
Fire units were on the scene for 12 hours working the last of the hot spots. Investigation is continuing on the cause.
* * *
LEDYARD, CONNECTICUT, POLICE on routine patrol last Saturday when they found an unoccupied car parked in a hiking area late at night. Looking inside the car they found what was described as "explosive material."
No one was injured when a one-story house at 805 8 Ave. SW caught fire around 7 p.m., firefighters said. Foam was used to quickly extinguish the flames, which damaged an attached apartment behind the property, he said.
It was an accident, Mixson said, caused when neighbors from across the street lost track of where the fireworks they were shooting off landed.
A Durham Bulls (baseball) victory on Saturday scared away one of the team’s canine mascots.
Deuce, a one-year-old border collie, ran from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park after being frightened by the celebratory fireworks at the end of the game against the Gwinnett Braves. He hasn’t been seen since.
A man was in critical condition and may lose part of his leg after being injured by a sparkler bomb in Renton Thursday. Police say the explosion blew fragments as far as 125 feet. It happened around 4:25 a.m. at the Villa Townhomes in unincorporated Renton.
The King County Sheriff’s Office says the 26-year-old was left with open fractures to his left leg and the area below the left knee. He also had a deep penetrating injury to his left forearm. His left lower leg may be amputated below the knee.
Deputies say the sparkler bomb was made with at least 50 sparklers wrapped in duct tape. The man lit the bomb with a lighter in the middle of the street. Deputies say it appears to have exploded quickly. Some of the wire ended up embedded in the trees near the apartment complex. The explosion was heard several blocks away.
A BLUFFTON, INDIANA, LANDMARK was largely destroyed Wednesday in a fire that took out most of a 3-story, block-deep apartment building.
The age of the building led to a rapid deterioration of the masonry as the fire raced through the upper story and brought a collapse of the roof after fire operations had been ongoing. The FD command had by then withdrawn the interior operations and established a collapse zone.
IndianaNewsCenter filed this video report:
The point of origin is known, but investigators are still unsure of the cause. They have been unable to enter the building because of the lack of structural soundness fearing an imminent collapse of the front wall. That side of the street remains closed for safety reasons.
As small towns across the country get older, downtown Bluffton poses a perfect example of the problems at hand.
"These are older brick structures where the mortar has been weathered. [They have] gone through season after season after season of changes. So that’s what makes the downtown fires unique,” (Bluffton Fire Inspector Chris) Broderick said. Once the fire goes vertical and gets in the attic space, it’ll go [horizontal] on us because there’s a lot of attic space and the fuel load is there. That’s an issue."
All of the residents escaped without injury. Only units on the first floor were occupied as the upper two stories are now used for storage.
ROGER DEAN, A SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, registered nurse was arrested just hours after a major nursing home fire in Sydney 18 months ago, in November 2011.
Two fires had been set inside the single-story Quaker Hills Nursing Home, one of them to bedsheets in an unoccupied room and the other in an occupied room.
Dean had just been questioned by New South Wales police the day before at his home in connection with a complaint of stolen drugs from the nursing home. He had been at Quaker Hills for just two months.
Channel Ten ran this informative video report on the day of the fire:
While investigating on the day of the fire, police questioned Dean again and then arrested him on murder charges.
On the day of the fire Dean (above) had been giving interviews
to the press on how he had helped evacuate the helpless patients.
For more background on the fire and Dean's arrest, read the Firegeezer reports from November 2011 HERE and HERE.
At yesterday's court appearance, spectators and relatives of the victims were expecting the opening of a lengthy trial but instead saw and heard Dean plead guilty to 11 counts of murder and 8 counts of causing grievous bodily harm.
The judge scheduled a sentencing hearing to be held this Thursday.
A MOBILE LIFE AMBULANCE IN ULSTER COUNTY, New York, collided head-on with a pickup truck Saturday morning.
The crash left the ambulance driver in critical condition. He had to be extricated by the FD before being flown to Albany. The other medic with him was treated at Kingston Hospital then transferred to Albany also. The two passengers in the pickup were able to get out of the truck on their own and were also transported.
The accident occurred around 7 am on Rte. 32 near Bloomington. The two vehicles were travelling in opposite directions and the ambulance was not on an emergency call when it happened.
From early reports, the police do not yet know what caused them to end up in the same lane.
The Daily Freeman provided some raw video from the scene:
A LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, VAGRANT is in jail facing attempted murder charges for setting a man on fire Friday afternoon who refused to give him a handout. KABC-TV reported:
The victim was entering a 7-Eleven store on the 5100 block of Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach at about 5:15 p.m. when he was approached by a transient asking for money. The victim said no.
As the 63-year-old victim came out of the store and entered his vehicle, the 37-year-old transient reportedly doused the victim and the inside of his vehicle with a flammable substance and lit it on fire.
Police said the victim was in his Toyota 4-Runner with the windows open when a man walked up and threw flammable liquid inside the vehicle.
Witness Robert Linkroum was in the store when he saw the entire situation unfold. "A man had something in his hand, quickly throws whatever he has in his hand into the open window and the SUV’s interior immediately burst into flames," he said.
A Good Samaritan helped the driver to safety. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition with burns over most of his body.
The 39-year-old suspect was arrested a block away and is in the process of being booked on attempted murder charges. Neighbors said he’s a known transient who frequently hangs out in front of the 7-Eleven.
KCAL-TV filed this video report from the scene:
The Beachcomber online newspaper is reporting:
The 63-year-old victim … suffered third degree burns to his chest and face with his orange T-shirt burned off his body; he was taken to a local hospital by paramedics.
KCBS-TV late Saturday identified the victim as Jerry Arnold Payne, whose fiance happened upon the crime scene afterward and recognized his car. Payne is believed to live a few blocks away on Anaheim Place, often frequented the store and was known to help out the homeless when asked.
Payne is currently being treated at Torrance Memorial Hospital, which specializes in treating burn patients. His condition is described as critical.
Witness Robert Linkroum of Long Beach said that he went into the store to purchase a newspaper and saw the suspect toss something into the car window and it immediately burst into flames, trapping Linkroum and other patrons inside the 7-Eleven as flames engulfed the store’s front entrance. The clerk eventually found a key that allowed them to escape out a back door.
Local attorney Ed Beaulac also witnessed the incident and took a video of the victim lying on the ground after being pulled from the vehicle by good samaritans. Beaulac quickly took his child home, circled back and found the suspect in nearby Park Estates. He monitored the suspect until police took him into custody.
OUR FRIENDS IN MANISTEE, MICHIGAN, have a challenge out to see if anyone works in a fire station that is older than theirs and has been in continuous service since it was built. They are certain that theirs is the oldest in the state of Michigan, but want to know how they rank nationally.
The Manistee fire station was built in 1888 and has been operated by the FD for the entire 125 years since then. The department was organized in 1869.
Firegeezer believes that there are older firehouses in some of the large cities in the East, but they have not been continuously in operation all that time.
So, what do you think? Got any nominations for #1? If so, post them in the Comments or send us an email with the particulars.
THIS DASH CAM was installed on a car traveling behind a minivan that apparently has some really super brakes (at least on the front wheels). Farther ahead in the line of traffic a couple of other cars are involved in a rear-ender and the minivan driver doesn't catch it until almost too late. Key word: Almost.
If only the Battalion Chief's buggy was this well equipped …..
A GROUP OF STUDENTS AT BRITAIN'S National Film & Television School just finished up their first-year pyrotechnics course as part of the SFX (Special Effects) course curriculum. Their class project was to subject an auto to an almighty ka-boom and videotape it.
In their write-up accompanying their YouTube posting, they say in part:
We used a total of 15 litres of petrol, vaporised and ignited by a few lengths of detonation cord to engulf the unfortunate Saab in glorious, beautiful flames. The slow-motion footage reveals the complexity of the fireball and the sheer force of the explosion smashing, burning and ripping parts of the car clean off the chassis.
Flanking the car are two additional explosions, as if to simulate a cluster bomb enveloping the immediate vicinity. The footage was filmed on a Phantom FLEX camera at 2570 frames per second, although the majority of the explosion is sped up in this video, as the entire explosion lasts over six minutes when played at original speed!
This video is copyrighted by the NFTS and posted on YouTube HERE.
An early morning fire engulfed three police vehicles Thursday in Norwich, decimating the town’s fleet. The cause was undetermined but not suspicious, according to fire investigators.
Officer Francis Schippert said the fire was believed to have spread from one vehicle to the others parked nearby.
Someone called 911 around 2:40 a.m. to report a car on fire in the Norwich Police Department parking lot, according to police. The fire caused the total loss of a 2008 Dodge Charger, 2009 Dodge Charger and 2010 Ford Explorer, police said.
The cruisers were fully insured, but Norwich will be borrowing replacements from other departments until they are able to get new patrol cars in about two months.
The Vermont State Police fire investigator's initial findings are that one of the cars began burning and caught the other two that were parked next to it on fire. He does not think it is a suspcious origin, but the investigation is continuing.
TWO FIREFIGHTERS IN DIGNES-Le-BAINS (Provence) France perished Saturday night at a house fire.
The fire started at a wood stove and spread into the house. The fire brigade was dispatched at 8:10 pm and the first arriving units found fire showing. The first line into the fire was manned by Yann Simeone, 16, and a senior career firefighter Michael Baghioni, 35, who were both equipped with SCBA's. They were performing a search and rescue mission looking for the two residents believed to be inside when a "violent thermal event" occurred that disabled them and required a RIT recovery.
They were brought out with CPR in progress and taken to the hospital where life-saving surgeries were performed without success.
Yann Simeone (La Provence)
Young Simeone had been a junior firefighter for three years, training to achieve regular firefighter status which he reached this past June. When he reached his 16th birthday last month he became eligible for full duty as a paid-on-call FF. Last night's incident was his first working fire. The two residents had self-evacuated safely.
The chief fire officer says that it is too soon to determine if the event was a flashover or some other event. A full investigation was begun this morning.
About 40 firefighters were eventually on the scene and had the fire out in about 2 hours.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA, FIREFIGHTERS found an extensive fire racing through a storage unit complex in Manassas Sunday night when they arrived at 11 pm. Manassas Patch reports:
"First-arriving units encountered heavy fire and smoke conditions and the incident quickly escalated to three alarms in which the Department received mutual aid from surrounding jurisdictions of Loudoun, Fauquier and Fairfax County (sic)," said a news release from the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue.
"A preliminary report from the Fire Marshal’s Office indicates that approximately 80 storage units were heavily damaged or destroyed," said the news release. "Fire loss estimate is currently unavailable. The damaged units were posted as unsafe structures by a representative from the Building Official’s office."
The entire complex has been declared an unsafe structure by the county building inspector.
Firefighters are spending most of Monday cutting into the
scores of storage units to extinguish smoldering fires and hotspots.
About 140 firefighters were called to battle the blaze. Investigators believe the fire started inside the building and spread to scores of storage units once the roof caught fire. About 85 units and their contents are believed to have been completely destroyed.
Officials said the flames have been extinguished but the contents of some of the units are still believed to be smoking.
Robert Ouellette, who has lived in the building for two years, said today that someone alerted him around 11 p.m. Monday that the building was on fire. "Get out!’’ the person shouted, Ouellette recalled today. He said he grabbed his cat, ran outside, got into his car and drove across the street and discovered that the front of the building was engulfed by smoke and flames.
As he and other residents gathered, they quickly realized the woman and daughter, who live in the first floor apartment next to Ouellette, were missing. They alerted arriving emergency personnel about the possibility they had not made it out, he said.
Ouellette said the pair were homebodies, and that the mother most likely would have been home when the fire broke out because Monday was a school night.
WGGB-TV Springfield posted some raw video of the blaze:
There is a detailed search ongoing this morning for the pair. According to the FD, the woman's relatives have been contacted to see if they knew their whereabouts, but they are not known. "We have initiated a very detailed search of the unit where we believe she resides. This is literally hand-by-hand removing heavy timbers that caved in as a result of the heavy fire conditions in the building," said State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan. The family's auto is parked at the scene.
NECN has the full report that includes the Fire Chief's and Fire Marshal's press conference:
WHDH-TV has also posted this video report from the scene:
Heavy construction equipment has been brought in to assist in disassembling the debris:
Update: It was announced Tuesday afternoon that one body has been discovered and retrieved from the debris. They have not disclosed whether it was an adult or child. Currently seven of the eight residents have now been accounted for.
WJAR-TV has filed this updated video report from the scene:
We have also learned that the building, originally a farmhouse, was built more than 220 years ago.
Thanks to Mark D.
Update #2, Wednesday:
The Worcester County District Attorney announced Tuesday evening that a second body has been found and removed from the burnt building. Neither of the victims have been positively identified yet, but they have been transferred to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsies and hopefully identities.
Oh, boy….. I barely got to work on time this morning. It was one of those nights where I woke up in the middle of the night for no known reason, then couldn't go back to sleep for awhile. Then when I finally did, I overslept a bit. Don't you hate it when that happens?
Later this morning we'll be getting our first report from FG Gnome as he arrives in London for the second week of the Summer Olympics. If you missed yesterday's Lineup, then check back HERE and you'll learn why he's late getting over there. But knowing the mischief-maker the way I do, I'm sure he'll make up for his lost time and plunge right into the spirit of the games. We're hoping to get daily reports from him through the week.
While we're on the silliness front, I want to pass along some grooming advice for the young men out there. Apparently there is a new fad amongst the 20-somethings called "Manscaping" that involves careful clipping of chest hair.
This one is called The Chandlebar
It turns out that the practice is a turn-off for the gals, not to mention the ridicule factor from the male species. But for the slow-to-grasp crowd, there is a helpful web posting by a website that was sent to us by an understandably anonymous reader. It has a dozen or so photos of "Chest Hairstyles That Won't Get You Laid." Sorry about the coarseness of the story title, but this is a serious effort to steer our younger readers onto the right path of life. CLICK HERE before it's too late. We are always looking out for you.
This morning's style is to get this apparatus checked out now. I'm going to see how the Sunday breakfast is coming along while I fire up the Bunn-O-Matic. See you in a little while when we eat.
A FIRE ON THE EXTERIOR OF THE HERSHEYPARK ARENA ROOF in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Thursday afternoon brought a 5-alarm response to the 75-yr.-old sports arena located within the confines of the historic HersheyPark. The fire started around 1 pm in the roof which has several layers of roofing that have built up over the years. There was a construction crew putting a new roof on the building when the fire started. About 30 other workers were inside installing a new surface for the ice rink and they were all evacuated safely.
The fire was especially challenging for the FD because of the steeply-inclined half-tube shape. The extremely high heat outside required extra alarms for relief crews to work the incident. By 3 pm the fire was out and the roofers were cleaning out the damaged area.
The only damage to the interior is some slight smoke and soot residue. The arena is expected to be back in operation in about two days.
The only amusement park ride directly affected was the monorail that runs close to the arena which shut down during the fire operations. About 8 or 10 other rides had to suspend operations temporarily when the smoke started drifting into their area.
Hersheypark Coaster Frames Firefighters at Work.
(Lebanon Daily News)
The Lebanon Daily News provided this brief video report from the scene:
Hersheypark Arena was the scene of Wilt Chamberlain's record-holding 100-point performance in an NBA game between the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knicks on March 2, 1962.
The building hasn't been consistently used in a professional capacity since 2002 when GIANT Center opened its doors across the parking lot. The Hershey Bears hockey club moved to the new building and have played there since, but the roots of the American Hockey League's oldest franchise still remain at their old home. The club, born in 1932, moved to Hersheypark Arena following its opening in 1936 and played over 2,200 games there before moving in '02. The Bears are currently the top affiliate of the NHL's Washington Capitals.
Since the Bears' departure, the arena has been used as a practice facility for the club and is the home of the Lebanon Valley College ice hockey team. High school sporting events, including various Pa. state championships are held at the arena as well.
ANDY GRIFFITH, SINGER, ACTOR AND COMEDIAN PASSED AWAY TUESDAY morning at 7 am in his Manteo, North Carolina, home on the Outer Banks.
Griffith is most widely known for his television roles as Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Giffith Show and the title character Ben Matlock in the legal drama series Matlock. But his skills as an entertainer went beyond his television programs, popular as they were.
Andy Griffith was born on June 1, 1926, in Mount Airy, North Carolina. His home town served as the model for his fictional town of Mayberry where he and Don Knotts kept the peace on the Andy Griffith Show. He grew up in Mount Airy and while he was in high school he joined the drama club and started learning his craft. His Baptist preacher discovered and nurtured Andy's musical talent, teaching him how to read music and play the trombone.
Following his graduation, Andy attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and graduated with a bachelor's degree in music. While at university he honed his musical stage talents performing in several operettas. Following his college years, he needed a real job before he could take the risk of finding work in the entertainment field, so he taught high school English for a few years at Goldsboro High School in North Carolina. On nights and weekends he developed his craft as a stand-up comedian reciting humorous monologues. One of those routines, What It Was, Was Football, was recorded on a single disc and issued where it became a big hit on the radio in 1953.
I was just a young teenager when that record came out and it got lots of play on the country music station that I listened to. To this day, I have always recalled that classic bit of comedy that propelled Andy Griffith into the "big time." Take a few minutes and relive that bit of nostalgia with me:
It always was a wish of mine that one day I would get to meet Andy in person and be able to tell him, "I do believe I'll have another big orange!" But alas, that day will never get here now.
During those years of comedy routines, he also made several phonograph recordings of his singing, mostly Gospel music but some standard songs as well. But after his Football record became a national hit, he began showing up on television. One of his first appearances was on the U. S. Steel Hour where he played the lead in No Time For Sergeants in March 1955. The popular reception to that show quickly led to an expanded version appearing on Broadway and from there he was launched into permanent stardom. Two years later he played the lead in another Broadway production, Destry Rides Again.
Following this latest success on the stage, he was cast in his first major motion picture in 1957 playing a dramatic role in A Face In The Crowd that co-starred Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau, and Lee Remick who was making her film debut as well. The next year, he once again repriesed his role in No Time For Sergeants, but this time in a feature-length motion picture. Again, he was a national hit. It was in the making of this film that comic actor Don Knotts was cast a role beginning a life-long association for the duo.
After playing a few one-offs on various tv shows, he was awarded his own series in 1960 starring as Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show. And from there he became a genuine super-star. The show, that featured budding child star Ron Howard, ran for eight seasons and Griffith was one of the writers on every episode. After that run, he bounced around in several other series that never caught on before he had to take a year's hiatus to recuperate from a rare illness.
In 1986 he sailed back into the limelight with a big tv hit series, Matlock. This show ran nine seasons, longer than the Mayberry show.
Andy Griffith never stopped working, appearing in tv shows and plays right on up until this year. He had lived in Manteo for more than 30 years. He will be missed, but his tv hit series' will be with us for a long time. God bless Andy Griffith, a man who provided genuine entertainment and a smile for everybody.
THE DRIVER OF A CHARLES CITY COUNTY fire department tanker is hospitalized in serious condition following a single-vehicle accident Sunday morning.
photo by James Bates
According to Virginia State Police, Michael Buchanan, 51, of Quinton was responding with the 3,000-gal. tanker around 5 am Sunday morning when he drifted to the right drainage ditch, then crossed over the narrow 2-lane road to the left side where he rolled over and struck a tree.
The crash destroyed the truck, breaking it into several pieces. Buchanan was trapped inside the cab and had to be extricated. He apparently has some serious damage to his legs and was airlifted to Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Hospital in Richmond.
Ninety-seven years ago this month Europe’s leading nations clashed in what came to be known as "The Great War." Germany, Russia, England and France tumbled into a brawling maelstrom that would decimate an entire generation and re-define the tactics of warfare.
Though World War II would be deadlier, the Great War shattered the concept of innocence as slaughter was introduced onto the battlefield with a scope and regularity previously unknown. As comparison, the US fought the Vietnam War during which 58,212 Americans were killed. At the Battle of the Somme, which began on 1 July 1916, 19,240 British soldiers were killed–on the first day. A number equaling 1/3 of all the deaths in the 17-year Vietnam War was tallied in a single day on the fields of France, most of them before lunch. The scale of the carnage was astonishing.
While the politics of royalty may have started the war, the killing was fueled by technology and tactics which were famously mismatched. 20th century technology collided with stodgy 19th century battlefield tactics and the results were horrific. High explosive artillery shells, artillery with hydraulic recoil capability, Vickers and Maxim machine guns, flamethrowers and chemical weapons in tandem with stalemated, immobile troops engaged in trench warfare created a recipe for battlefield hell.
Much of this was made possible because leaders who led the Allies were steeped in the philosophy of offensive war making and tactics. Used to the moving battle complete with cavalry charges and quick marching advances they were utterly unprepared for the puzzles posed by static warfare where you could sing to, or along with, your enemies in the trenches across the way. Tens of thousands would die before commanders adjusted to the tactical reality of defensive war against a new generation of lethal weaponry.
Firefighting leadership, though on a much lesser scale, suffers a similar tactical conundrum but with a twist. The tools of "modern" firefighting allow for the placement of troops in extremely exposed positions. The combination of protective clothing, self-contained breathing apparatus, forced-air ventilation and even aerial apparatus allow firefighters to be placed rapidly into fire areas that are not under control and which represent marginal environments where any change in the equation can result in disastrous and irreversible consequences.
The professional "excuse" for placing firefighters into these exposed positions (and often the cause of their deaths) is for largely futile and mechanistic search and rescue activities. It is the Great War equivalent of the whistle blow ordering troops over the top of the trench and directly onto the barbed wire. It makes no sense but it was how the battle was (is) conducted. You can, with almost complete certainty, write the news story following the death of one or more firefighters and it will inevitably contain two sentences related to a catastrophic search effort:
"He had one thing in mind—find anyone left inside."
"Everyone made it out unharmed…"
(Those two sentences are quoted from the Asheville, NC, Citizen-Times story on the recent death of Jeff Bowen.)
At least two factors militate in favor of the ever increasing unpredictability of interior fire environments in non-sprinkled occupancies. The first is the use of composite and light weight building materials which decrease the ability for the structure to withstand fire damage making early, catastrophic or partial collapses possible. The second is the improvement in window fixtures that are vastly more robust and much less likely to fail early and which can be very difficult to open for controlled ventilation, escape or rescue. These are just two of the "poison gas" and "high explosive shells" we now face.
The tools of modern firefighting will continue to improve thus allowing troops to continue to enter unprotected forward environments for purposes often best classed as specious and absurd. It will ultimately be up to experienced firefighters and officers to change our tactics or risk being categorized in the manner of the man who led British Forces during World War 1. Field Marshal Douglas Haig was ever referred to as "the butcher."
………. Eric Lamar
THE LARGE AND PROLONGED WILDFIRES that swept across Texas over the past six weeks have caused a genuine hardship to the hundreds of volunteer fire departments, most of them in remote, rural areas. As the ceaseless and massive grass fires set records for damage and destruction, many of the VFD's ran out of money because of the demands for fuel and repairs, plus equipment replacement. While many of them were even working fires outside their own counties, it was not unusual to find the firefighters using their own personal credit cards to fill the fuel tanks in their firetrucks.
An emergency fund that relies on donations has been set up to help pay for the needed supplies that these departments need badly and yesterday (Tuesday May 24) a press conference was held to introduce the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund. The San Angelo Standard Times reported:
At a news conference Tuesday morning at the Capitol, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples — flanked by several West Texas state lawmakers whose districts have been affected by the fires — emphasized the financial drain of what he said has been "one of the worst wildfire seasons on record" and implored Texans to donate to the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund set up by the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas.
Staples applauded the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas for its $100,000 donation to the fund — the first significant contribution — but said it pales in comparison to the existing financial need.
Texas State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Assoc.
"Although it is a significant contribution, it is pennies compared to the need out there, the need that is so great to help these volunteer firefighters to carry out their mission," Staples said. "But all Texans have the opportunity to give to this relief fund."
The state has set up its own account to receive donations to help fund firefighting costs, which have grown to almost $102 million statewide, according to the most recent estimates from the Texas Forest Service.
To put it simply, the VFD's are out of money, but the fires are continuing to plague the state. In addition, the funds will be used to purchase the lightweight wildfire PPE that many of the firefighters desperately need. Structural running gear is too heavy for grass fire use and most of them are only clad in cotton T-shirts and pants while they are in the brush.
KXAN-TV Ch. 36 Austin covered the fund's introduction in this video report:
You do not need to live in Texas in order to donate. You or your own department can donate to this very worthy fund directly online by CLICKING HERE and fill in the blanks.