AN IRRATIONAL MAN WHO HAD just arrived at the emergency room of a Houston, Texas, hospital quickly became irritated because the hospital staff seemed to be ignoring him and his "hurting head." So he dashed back outside, hopped into the cab of a Houston Fire Department ambulance that had just brought a patient in and was still running, and drove off at speed with the lights and siren on at full tilt.
Another ambulance crew that witnessed the getaway started following the miscreant along with some police cars for a short distance until the thief crashed heavily into a freeway overpass pillar, causing extensive damage to the ambulance. The unidentified thief was not injured however.
The incident took place at 6:30 pm Central Monday evening and is still being investigated. KHOU-TV had a video crew nearby and was able to file this timely report:
A HOUSTON (Texas) FIRE DEPARTMENT AMBULANCE was returning from an emergency call early Tuesday morning when the driver of an SUV slammed into the side of the ambulance, knocking it over.
Police are saying that the driver of the SUV ran through a red light and crashed into the ambulance. The only other passenger in the car was a 6-monty-old infant who was strapped in properly.
The two paramedics and the infant were all transported and treated for minor injuries. They have not released the condition of the car's driver who was arrested on the scene and charged with suspicion of drunk driving.
KTRK-TV has this video report from the scene:
KHOU-TV has posted some raw video of the crash scene:
A HOUSTON, TEXAS, FIRE ENGINE was working an auto wreck on a freeway early Monday morning. As they were tending to a patient at the crash scene the engine which had all of its emergency lights on, was rear-ended by a Range Rover SUV with enough force to injure one of the firefighters.
The driver of the car was later identified as a former NFL player, Brian Iwuh. He was not wearing a seat belt, but he was injured and transported with non-life threatening injuries.
Twenty-nine-year-old Iwhu was born in Houston. He went to the University of Colorado and played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos.
Police said Iwhu was trapped and had to be cut out of his vehicle. He was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Iwhu could face charges, according to J.R. Roberts with the Houston Police Department.
"The DWI task force officer that's at the hospital will make a determination and present the case to the assistant district attorney," said Roberts.
A 5-ALARM FIRE THAT STARTED in a restaurant and moved into a motel claimed the lives of four Houston firefighters and injured six others, two critically. They were reportedly searching the motel for any possible victims when there was a partial collapse that buried them.
The Houston Fire Department issued the following statement:
Killed in the Line of Duty today were:
Captain EMT Matthew Renaud (35) of Engine 68. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in October of 2001 and in addition to Fire Station 68, has served out of stations 51, 39, 83, 73, 37, 60 and 35.
Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee (41) of Station 51. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in August of 2001 and in addition to Fire Station 51, has served out of Stations 37, 40, 10 and 48.
Firefighter EMT Robert Garner (29) of Station 68. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in October of 2010 and has served out of Fire Station 68 since.
Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan (24) of Station 68. She graduated from Houston Fire Department Academy this past April and was assigned to Fire Station 68.
"The Houston Fire Department has never seen four firefighters pass away from the same incident in the history of the department," the statement says. "Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with not only those friends and family of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice today but also those who were injured and all members of our department."
KTRK-TV filed this video:
Fire Chief Terry Garrison confirmed the four were killed when the roof collapsed. Garrison said they risked going inside the burning motel because they thought there were civilians trapped inside.
"They were risking their lives to save the community," he said. "Unfortunately, the building had much more fire than we originally thought. The structure collapsed."
In a heartwrenching scene, several firefighters gathered around a flag-draped body in the middle of the burnt-out motel.
"Today is going to go down as the worst day in the history of the Houston Fire Department," Mayor Parker said. "We ask for every Houstonian to offer their prayers for the families of these fallen firefighters."
The fire began around 12:10 pm Central in the Bhojan Restaurant which was attached to the Southwest Inn motel. The flames rapidly spread into the motel and the entire structure was full ablaze very quickly.
KPRC-TV Ch. 2 posted some raw video taken from their helicopter:
The buildings with the red roofs are the Southwest Inn
A HOUSTON, TEXAS, FIRE DEPT. AMBULANCE WAS TOTALLED Monday morning when an SUV slammed into it at speed around 4:30 am Central. An HFD rescue squad was assisting the ambulance crew with a heart attack victim who had just been put into the back of the ambulance when the crash occurred.
KHOU-TV tells us:
Five firefighters and EMS workers have been taken to hospitals, all with injuries. They are said to be in stable condition.
The patient and the family member of that patient were also transferred to a hospital. They are listed in stable condition as well.
"They had been on scene 20 minutes. They had the patient in the back of the ambulance. They had one next of kin in the front seat that was going to the hospital with them," said Jay Evans with the Houston Fire Department. " There was an SUV going westbound on Holman that struck head-on with the ambulance."
The driver of the SUV was killed instantly, but fortunately none of the other victims have been reported as seriously injured.
A RETIRED HOUSTON FIRE CAPTAIN / PARAMEDIC has apparently killed his wife and then himself Saturday morning. Eugene Scott, 53, called 9-1-1 shortly before midnight and told the call-taker, "I killed my wife," and then hung up.
Capt. Eugene Scott
When the police who responded to the call were unable to get anybody to answer the door, they called in the SWAT team for a possible stand-off. After two hours of trying to contact Scott by phone and via megaphone, they sent in a robot video camera. When it got to the upstairs bedroom the camera showed a dead male and a dead female in the room, then they made entry. Their search discovered a loaded gun in the house but they are unable to say if that was the weapon used in their death.
The Scotts' residence (KHOU)
Unofficially the police are saying that they believe it was Eugene who did the killing and it was probably by the gun that was found nearby. They are waiting on the autopsies before making an announcement.
The neighbors and the Scott's friends are upset and surprised because there was never a reason to suspect that there was anything wrong with the Scott's marital relationship nor their financial situation. KHOU-TV reported:
"I never heard them arguing, never," said Paul Batiste, who lived across the street from the couple for 15 years. "If they had something going on it was between the two of them, that’s it."
"They seemed like the perfect couple," said Gail Kirkendoll, who said Sheila Scott was a second cousin. "They went to Prairie View [A&M University] together. She was one of the [Houston Oilers] Derrick Dolls. He was captain of the football team. They both been together for years."
KTRK-TV filed this video report from the scene:
Captain Scott had been retired about two years after serving more than 20 yrs. on the Houston Fire Department.
HOUSTON (TEXAS) POLICE HAVE ARRESTED A MAN AND HIS MOTHER in connection with a targeted shooting of a Houston Fire Department ambulance Monday evening.
The incident began before 9 pm when the man, Jeremaih Silva, 24, got into an argument with his mother's boyfriend and shot him in the leg. Silva then left the scene as the 9-1-1 call was being made and an ambulance was dispatched to the incident. The mother and another woman were duking it out in the front yard and the victim had broken up the fight when Silva got all uncivilized and shot the victim.
When the ambulance approached the scene, Silva positioned his car blocking the ambulance. After refusing to move out of the way, the ambulance driver started driving around Silva whereupon he started making a lot of gestures toward the ambulance crew, then took his pistol and pumped four rounds into the rear of the box. Silva then drove off a ways and abandoned the car to flee on foot. Another ambulance was dispatched to transport the victim.
Tuesday at midday, the police caught up with and arrested Silva, charging him with aggravated assault with a firearm. His mother was also arrested on a domestic violence charge relating to the front yard fight. Silva also had several outstanding warrants waiting for him and he also faces additional charges for the ambulance attack. None of the firefighters were injured in the incident.
A 21-YR.-OLD TEXAS MAN DIED EARLY THURSDAY MORNING when the car he was driving slammed into the rear end of a Houston FD ambulance that was parked at an emergency scene.
The ambulance and a fire engine were both on the scene of a medical emergency at 12:30 am when the medics had just gotten our of their unit to work the call. Immediately they heard the sound of tires squealing and looked up in time to see the sedan barreling directly toward the ambulance. Two of the firefighters that were standing behind the unit were able to dash out of the way as the medic jumped back into the cab.
The car hit with enough force to demolish the car and inflicted fatal injuries to the driver who was trapped in the wreckage. The firefighters extricated him but he died shortly after he was taken to the hospital.
HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT SENIOR CAPTAIN Thomas "Bill" Dillion, 49, collapsed while working a kitchen fire Wednesday morning and was pronounced dead a short while later at the hospital.
Captain Dillion had 22 years service on the FD and is
the 64th Houston firefighter to die in the line of duty.
Reports say that the fire on a cooking stove was almost out when the FD arrived. Capt. Dillion was just entering the premises when he collapsed. The fire itself is not a factor in his death, but the department and the union are both saying that it appears to have been a heart attack. An autopsy is being performed today to determine the cause.
KUHF-FM has the details HERE.
KHOU-TV has a photo gallery HERE.
Houston Firefighters Local 341 WEBSITE.
Firefighters and paramedics lined the roads and freeways of Houston Wednesday
to honor a HFD Captain Thomas Dillion, of Fire Station 69, who collapsed and died
at the scene of a kitchen fire after complaining of chest pains.
An ambulance, accompanied by a police and fire escort, carried Dillion’s body
from the hospital to the medical examiner after he passed away. (KHOU-TV)
A HOUSTON, TEXAS, FIRE CAPTAIN HAS RESIGNED following his arrest and incarceration for possessing child pornography and "inappropriate online contact" with an underage girl.
Saul A. Fiszer
Saul Fiszer, 49, was arrested earlier this week and placed on leave. He has been with the HFD for 18 years but volunteered to resign on Friday. He has been in jail since Tuesday on $20,000 bond that apparently nobody is willing to post for him.
On Jan. 10, Fiszer's wife found a frequently called number on his cellphone, according to court records. Posing as him, she began texting the number.
Fiszer's wife "found that the person texting her from the cellphone was a 14-year-old female who resided in Casper, Wyo., and referred to Fiszer as 'Daddy,' " the records state.
Confronted by his wife, Fiszer "admitted to her that he had been chatting online and trading pictures" with the teen, according to records.
Fiszer told police that he tried to kill himself by running a hose into his vehicle from its exhaust, but the suicide attempt failed when he ran out of gas.
Houston police confiscated Fiszer's laptop and media storage devices that held pornographic images and a video of children, investigators said. Officials said they found at least 450 images of child pornography.
Fiszer's wife told investigators that she contacted the girl's parents as well as police in Wyoming to report the incident. Police there confiscated the girl's cell phone.
According to court documents, Fiszer's wife confronted him about the girl and she said he admitted to her that he had been chatting online and exchanging lewd pictures with the girl. The wife also told authorities that she had previously destroyed Fiszer's old laptop after she discovered he had been chatting with other women on the internet.
Richard Connelly got my attention with this opening in the November 14 Houston Press:
John P. Zepeda of the Metro PD's canine squad had performed a routine bomb search at the Ensemble light-rail station October 28. Finding nothing, he tried to head back.
But train after train was filled with morning commuters headed downtown, so he and his dog waited things out. Which turned out to be a lucky thing, for as they were waiting for yet another train they heard someone yell for help.
That someone was dragging Houston Press music editor Chris Gray off the tracks, where he had fallen after suffering a heart attack.
HOUSTON, TEXAS, FIREFIGHTERS FACED a pair of apartment building fires just minutes apart in the same area Thursday morning.
KPRC-TV image taken at the second fire.
The first fire call came in shortly after 7 am Central and had smoke showing from several units. Interior operations appeared to be effective so far and has probably been contained. Units are still on the scene and not information has been released yet.
Update: It has been reported that a 2nd alarm was struck for this fire.
A half-hour later at 7:34 am, a larger fire was reported in another complex and has extended through the roof and involves three buildings. This incident has been raised to 2 alarms so far and is still working. KRIV-TV has some good aerial footage from this second fire:
And of Course It Requires Public Safety Employees to Suffer For It
THE MAYOR OF HOUSTON, TEXAS, Annise Parker has already told the fire department to whack $22 million from its budget for next year, a proposal that can only be met with a high number of layoffs. This past Tuesday her administration offered a deal by saying that if the city cut back on its mandated contribution to the police and firefighters' pension plans, then those savings could be used to offset other budget cuts that the mayor asked for.
The Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday:
City Attorney David Feldman and Finance Director Kelly Dowe already have asked firefighter pension executives to accept $14 million less than the city's obligation to the pension system for the fiscal year that begins July 1. They plan to ask police for cuts as well, they said.
"We asked them to work with us to determine whether we could reduce the amount paid in, and I pledged that concessions made would offset cuts made to the fire department," Parker said Tuesday.
Firefighter pension leaders who met with Feldman and Dowe at City Hall late last week said they were told that the city would be laying off between 200 and 300 firefighters, as well as closing some stations. They talked of the administration's desire to reduce the pension payment by $14 million during the same discussion.
"We feel like it's an ultimatum. The result is, from their perspective, to make the pension plan look bad so they can pass their budget," said Christopher Gonzales, executive director and chief investment officer of the Houston Firefighters' Relief and Retirement Fund. "They're balancing the budget on the backs of the firefighters, and that's unfair."
In Houston it's the pension board and not the city council that determines the amount that needs to be provided each year based on actuarial results that show how much is required to maintain the funds' future obligations.
One public finance expert, John Diamond told the Chronicle, "If you don't pay it now, you're just going to have to pay more later. Basically, they are kicking the can down the road so politically they look good."
Firegeezer notes that this same type of procrastination is what has already put so many states' finances in the tank. And rather than eliminate non-essential functions, they blackmail the citizens by eliminating public health and safety obligations.
A FIRE IN A HOUSTON, TEXAS, ASSISTED-LIVING facility brought a 3-alarm response for the difficult evacuation of the residents as the fire raced through the attic.
The fire began on the third floor of one of the buildings in the Tremont Retirement Community. The building involved did not have any bed-ridden residents, but most of them needed some sort of assistance to get around. As soon as the alarm bells sounded in the building, all employees including the cafeteria workers sprung into action following evacuation procedures that called for them to respond to assigned areas and assist evacuating residents.
The first-arriving officers immediately upgraded the dispatch brining more than 100 firefighters to the scene where all 249 residents, all with motion handicaps, were successfully evacuated.
The displaced residents were moved to an auditorium and a dining room at the center, where HFD paramedics could tend to them, officials said.
The sprinkler and alarm systems were operational at the time of the fire. Community staffers also regularly conduct evacuation drills, HFD spokesman Patrick Trahan told the Houston Chronicle.
"They know how to handle these type of situations," Trahan said. "All that training came into play here."
The fire burned through the upper floor and attic for about an hour before the resources could knock it down. The fire was extinguished at 6 pm.
KRIV-TV has the full story plus additional video reports HERE.
JESSICA TATA, THE OPERATOR of the day care facility that burned on Thursday, killing four children under the age of three, has fled the country, according to the Houston Fire Department.
Tata (Houston Chronicle)
The Harris County District Attorney’s office asked for a felony warrant against her on Sunday afternoon and it was issued by a magistrate judge. But by then she had disappeared. The Houston FD Arson office says that she went to Dallas on Saturday and caught a flight from there to Amsterdam where she took another plane to Nigeria.
The HFD did not say how they knew her whereabouts, but it is known that her parents were born there. Reportedly the HFD has asked the U. S. Marshal office to intervene and have her extradited back to Texas.
KTRK-TV has this late-breaking video report that attempts to define the tortuous process that the arson squad went through to get the warrant while she was “going on the lamb”:
KHOU-TV has another video and more details on this latest twist HERE.
The arson office also said that Tata left the house to go shopping and left a burner on that had a pot of cooking oil on it. It is believed to be the cause of the fire. The woman’s family is protesting and saying that she never left the house, but the investigators have a surveillance tape from a grocery store showing her buying groceries at that time. The also found groceries in her car and on the ground by the door where she was suprised by the smoke.
* * * * * * *
Terri Langford provides more details inInvestigation into day care deaths criticized in the March 1st Houston Chronicle (HERE)
(2 witnesses and videotape of Tata at the store before the fire)
But the DA’s office told HFD that only proved that Tata was not at home. Investigators were told on Friday to contact the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to make sure Tata was the sole proprietor and did not have any other staff who could have been in the house at the time.
When they did and returned Friday afternoon, they were told again by the DA’s office that they didn’t have enough evidence.
Then HFD informed prosecutors they had a tip Tata was preparing to leave the United States.
Arson investigators went back and conducted more interviews and returned on Saturday. Again they were told there was not enough proof that another adult was not in the house at the time.
THE OWNER OF A LICENSED DAY CARE facility in Houston, Texas, that was the scene of a fatal fire on Thursday will be charged with a felony, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Jessica Rene Tata, 22, is charged with reckless injury to a child involving serious bodily injury. The charge could be upgraded and more charges could be filed, D. A. officials said.
Jessica Tata is evaluated by a
Houston paramedic on the scene
of Thursday’s fire. (Houston Chronicle)
“We have requested that she be held at no bond,” said Donna Hawkins, spokeswoman for the Harris County district attorney’s office.
A law enforcement source said Tata had left the children and had gone to a store when the blaze began. When she returned with a bag of groceries and opened the door, smoke poured out of the house and she began screaming for help, a witness said.
Tata was caring for seven toddlers ages 16 months to 3 years on Thursday when the fire occurred. Four of the infants died in the blaze and two more are in serious condition at a Shriner’s burn hospital.
Read the Firegeezer reports on the fire HERE and HERE.
It is not clear whether or not she has been taken into custody yet. As of this morning she still had not been arrested.
KTRK-TV Ch. 13 has the first video report on this latest development:
ONE MORE INFANT DIED THIS MORNING (Saturday) from burns and other injuries suffered in the tragic fire Thursday in a Houston, Texas, day care center. (See the Firegeezer report on the fire HERE.)
As the arson investigators continue their work, more facts are coming to light, although they haven’t been officially declared by the fire marshal office. The facility which has been in operation for just 11 months apparently had no employees other than the woman who runs it. She is required to be in the facility at all times while the children are there. But there have been two separate statements from neighbors who said that they saw the owner, Jessica Tata arrive in her car carrying groceries and when she got out she began screaming about a fire.
The investigators have not been able to interview her yet because she has been hospitalized for shock.
The press was given a brief tour inside the house yesterday and KTRK-TV posted this video report last night before the latest victim passed away:
Update, 3:50 pm Eastern: One confirmed fatality so far. Scroll down.
Update Two, 7 pm Eastern: Three confirmed deaths. Scroll down.
A FIRE BROKE OUT IN A HOUSTON, TEXAS, DAY CARE FACILITY around 1:30 pm Central today (Thursday). The home had an estimated nine children and infants in it and there are reported multiple casualties. Several CPR patients have been observed.
KTRK-TV Ch. 13 has filed this early video report:
KPRC-TV is reporting that a Houston fire official said at least two victims were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital with second-degree burns. Their ages and conditions were not released. Two others were treated for smoke inhalation.
”We have 10 EMS units on the scene as well as several fire crews,” said Bill Barry with the Houston Fire Department.
Update, 3:50 pm Eastern: KRIV-TV is now reporting:
One person has been confirmed dead from a child care center fire in west Houston.Seven children were transported to a nearby area hospital from that fire in the 2800 block of Crest Park Drive at Waypark Drive Thursday afternoon, according to an official from the Houston Fire Department. Two of those victims have suffered burn injuries and were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital.
It is currently unknown if the deceased victim is an adult or child.
HFD Executive Assistant Fire Chief Rick Flanagan told Eyewitness News that seven children, ages 18 months to three years, were transported to the hospital. Three of those children have died, fire investigators say.
Neighbors told us that at least two witnesses and the owner of the daycare were trying to get the children out of the house. The woman who runs Jackie’s Child Care managed to pull at least two of the kids out. They had to wait for firefighters to arrive to rescue the other five children.
With the congestion created by the firetrucks on the narrow streets, some of the ten ambulances that responded couldn’t make it all the way to the address and the firefighters had to dash down the street to the ambulances carrying the victims. KRIV-TV has provided this updated video report:
THE CINCINNATI, OHIO, FIRE CHIEF’S POSITION WILL BECOME open early next year when the current chief Robert Wright will be retiring. What is making this upcoming selection process interesting is the fact that it’s the first time ever that the CFD has been permitted to hire a fire chief from the outside. Previously the city was always required to promote from within the department.
The application deadline was August 13, but the city manager decided to change the rules at the last minute and has now decided to leave the application period open until the job is filled.
Initially there were 29 applications for the job filed, but the huge interest in the job has apparently excited the city manager, leading him to keep it open. Five upper-level chiefs in the CFD have filed, but they are joined by many others who are mostly battalion chief or higher ranked in other departments.
The Cincinnati Enquirer was able to get copies of all the resumes that have been submitted and they learned that two of the applicants have been fire from their previous job and another is awaiting trial on a drunk driving charge. Jane Prendergast of the Enquirer has a short column about the gaggle of chief applicants that you can read HERE.
And what does Chief Wright plan on doing after he leaves the department? Well, he is one of 26 applicants who have filed for the fire chief’s job in Houston, Texas. That position has been open since January when the chief at the time had to step down following a well-reported scandal of sexual and racial discrimination complaints. You can read about Houston’s mixed bag of applicants in the Houston ChronicleHERE.
HOUSTON, TEXAS, ENGINE 13 SPUN OUT OF CONTROL while responding to an accident shortly after 10 am Monday morning and crashed into a concrete horizontal bridge support.
The engine was responding to an accident involving a school bus and traveling on a service road underneath a freeway when it suddenly went into a spin on wet pavement and slid up onto a grass median. The driver got it straightened out but before he regained complete control the engine traveled under the concrete cross-arm that supports the freeway bridge girders. The bridge support crashed the cab of the pumper injuring the officer and shaking up the two firefighters in the rear seats.
After coming to a stop, the FF’s used an axe to break their way out of the enclosed cab and tended to the officer who was unsteady and not able to stand up initially. However, he regained his senses and appears to be not seriously injured. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.
HOUSTON, TEXAS, FIREFIGHTERS RESPONDED to a shopping center at 2 am this morning (Thursday) where they found a fire spreading across the roof of a strip shopping center and extending into the false facade surrounding the roof.
Fortunately, the fire was discovered before it got into the building and the HFD handled it easily. Beyond the badly damaged roof, the only other loss was water damages inside some of the stores.
Investigation disclosed that the fire started when an inflatable gorilla set up on the roof deflated during the night and the plastic monster settled across some lamps which in turn ignited the plastic.
KRIV-TV filed this brief video report:
After the fire was extinguished, gorilla remnants were found scattered across the area.
Collated from information provided by Houston Fire Dept.