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National Fire News

Trailblazing Houston firefighter who fought city for benefits, succumbs to cancer

Kevin Leago, the trailblazing Houston firefighter with cancer who fought City Hall to provide workers compensation benefits for his illness — and won — died Thursday. He was 40. Leago’s victory in court over city lawyers who argued his illness was unrelated to on-the-job carcinogen exposure set a precedent for dozens of current and retired Houston firefighters stricken with cancer, Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Marty Lancton said.
- PUB DATE: 12/13/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

In series of ominous ads, Honolulu firefighters push message of working fire alarms

VIDEO: A new public service announcement from the Honolulu Fire Department that began airing recently features a wake up call on the dangers of house fires. The PSA shows a boy, his father and pet dog asleep while actually succumbing to the impacts of smoke ? without even knowing it. “This boy is dying.
- PUB DATE: 12/13/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Hawaii News Now

Pennsylvania clergymen will cut short their sermons to fight fires in their community

Every firefighter knows a call can come at any time. But the Rev. Dave Driesch and the Rev. Tim McGill serve a God as well as their community — meaning their pagers go off while they’re praying or leading a service. Driesch, a veteran firefighter and Catholic priest who is prior of Daylesford Abbey, is helping newbie firefighter and Southern Baptist minister McGill, pastor of Paoli Community Church, balance both worlds.
- PUB DATE: 12/13/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Philadelphia Inquirer - Metered Site

Chicago Firefighters Union asks judge to halt promotions after members score low on exam

The union representing Chicago firefighters wants a Cook County judge to halt the promotion of more than a dozen department members to battalion chief. The Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 filed a motion for an injunction in Cook County Circuit Court on Tuesday that seeks to stop the promotions — set to take effect Dec.
- PUB DATE: 12/13/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Chicago Sun Times

Unable to find willing fire chief, Minnesota city who fired former chief contracts with nearby community for the role

Unable to find a candidate willing to take on the role as their new fire chief, the city of Falcon Heights voted Wednesday to have Rose­ville’s fire department assume the chief’s responsibilities for one year. The unanimous vote by Falcon Heights’ City Council comes several weeks after Roseville’s council agreed to the $40,000 contract, in which they would take responsibility for all administrative and command services, as well as a department-wide audit.
- PUB DATE: 12/13/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Atlanta mayor announces raises for firefighters

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday announced that the city would provide firefighters an average raise of nearly 20 percent. The raises will go into effect this January.Fire Chief Randall B. Slaughter called the raises historic. “This pay raise represents the single largest pay enhancement to firefighters in this city in my 29 year career,” Slaughter said.
- PUB DATE: 12/12/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Atlanta Journal Constitution

Phoenix fire chief announces she has breast cancer

Phoenix Fire Department Chief Kara Kalkbrenner announced in a message to the department Wednesday that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Kalkbrenner, who was sworn in as the first woman to lead the department in December 2014, said in the message she will undergo a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery this Friday.
- PUB DATE: 12/12/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: AZ Central

Mango the "Houseless Firefighter" in Los Angeles Helping Nation's Busiest Fire Station

Never far from the busy engines of Los Angeles’s Fire Station 9 on Skid Row is a man known by everyone in the area as 'Mango.' Even though he can often be found wearing an LAFD cap and jacket designating him as the “Fire Traffic Officer,” he is not an official member of L.A. City Fire. But when the calls fire off at Station 9, Mango springs into action, just like the crews.
- PUB DATE: 12/12/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Spectrum News

Chattanooga Fire Department: New outreach to frequent 911 callers making a difference

Chattanooga Fire Department Capt. Skyler Phillips fought back tears Tuesday as he told City Council members the story of a nearly blind woman with broken glasses who used to regularly call 911 seeking help after tripping and falling. This fall, the department launched a new program, CFD Connect, that seeks to connect frequent non-emergency 911 callers with social services that proactively address their problems before they turn to calling for emergency help.
- PUB DATE: 12/12/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Chattanooga Times Free Press

Pennsylvania Fire Chief: GPS sometimes gives wrong directions

Local first responders are talking about ongoing issues they face when responding to 911 calls. Fire and EMS providers now rely on GPS systems that sometimes take them far from where they need to go. Fire Chief Jerry Hanson says it’s an issue for East Prospect Fire Company about once a month. “There was a fire last month on Otter Street, which is literally two miles from here, but the way it came up on mapping, it wanted me to go to Columbia,” Hanson said.
- PUB DATE: 12/12/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WHTM-TV ABC 27 News

New York Union Leader: City's Layoff Structure is Unfair

A City of Newburgh Fire Department union leader is denouncing what he described as a new structure for the impending layoffs of first responders on Dec. 31, but City Manager Joe Donat contends this method is the fair and right way to do business. The 2020 city budget calls for 14 firefighters to lose their jobs at the end of the year.
- PUB DATE: 12/11/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Times Herald Record - Metered Site

Pennsylvania fire department to adopt gender-neutral terminology

Easton's Fire Department is going gender-neutral, at least in the ordinance that governs operations. Easton City Council's Public Safety Committee reviewed ordinance changes Tuesday that include converting "men" in the ordinance to "firefighters," and "he" will become "the Fire Chief." For example, the current language, "When answering an alarm of fire, he shall be in complete charge of all officers, men and apparatus'' will be "When answering an alarm of fire, the Fire Chief will have complete charge of all officers, firefighters ….
- PUB DATE: 12/11/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WFMZ-TV 69 News

‘You’ll never fight fire again’: A Texas amputee firefighter tells his comeback story

In 2016, Denton (Texas) Fire/Rescue (DFR) Department Firefighter Gary Weiland had knee surgery, and for two years, everything seemed fine. Then, in 2018, while playing football in the yard with his family and friends on Thanksgiving Day, his entire life changed without warning. “I was literally running around the field, throwing a ball, and my knee started to swell up,” Weiland said.
- PUB DATE: 12/11/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: FireRescue1

California Fire Chief: Why an All-Electric Fire Truck Makes Sense

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman asks “why does an All-Electric Fire Engine make sense for a municipal Fire Agency like ours?” Some answers: Typically, Fire Engines only travel short distances before returning to their home base, or Fire Station, so electric motors make perfect sense. Most emergencies only last 30 minutes or less and this Engine can be shut down once it arrives at the incident, so an electric motor is very practical, efficient and environmentally responsible.
- PUB DATE: 12/11/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: In Menlo

Family of Illinois firefighter who died of colon cancer, Village at odds over pension benefits

The financial future of the family of a 51-year-old Buffalo Grove firefighter who died of colon cancer will soon be decided by a trio of appellate court judges who on Tuesday began considering a decision to award his widow and their four children her late husband’s full pension benefits. The case involves the village of Buffalo Grove’s appeal to the Second District Appellate Court to overturn a 100% line of duty death pension benefit award to the family of late firefighter Kevin Hauber.
- PUB DATE: 12/11/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Chicago Tribune - Metered Site

Indiana council bucks mayor, votes to return to former schedule for firefighters

The City Council supported city firefighters Monday night and voted to roll back unpopular work shift changes the mayor imposed last weekend. Council members passed — by an 8-1 vote on first reading — an ordinance that would return firefighters to a work schedule of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off.
- PUB DATE: 12/10/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Northwest Times

Sculpture for Fallen Massachusetts Firefighter Unveiled on One Year Anniversary

The city’s third memorial sculpture for a firefighter who died in the line of duty was unveiled Monday evening at the Webster Square Fire Station. Dignitaries, fellow firefighters and family members stood for an hour in the cold rain to honor Firefighter Christopher J. Roy of Shrewsbury, 36, who died a year ago, after he was pulled from a burning apartment at 7 Lowell St.
- PUB DATE: 12/10/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Worcester Telegram

Three Ohio Firefighters Terminated for Hazing

Three firefighters were terminated Monday after an investigation found they verbally and physically abused a part-time firefighter. The allegations came to light in September; today the Orange Township trustees voted to accept the recommendations of investigators who said a firefighter, a lieutenant, and a captain should lose their jobs.
- PUB DATE: 12/10/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WSYX-TV ABC 6

Grandmother, grandson, dog rescued after Maryland firefighters sent to wrong address, wrong city

On Monday Montgomery County Police released new information on what led a 911 dispatcher to send firefighters to the wrong house in the wrong city during a fire. The trouble happened on Friday night when a fire began at 2005 Prichard Road in Wheaton. Police say the 911 dispatcher misunderstood the person who called and sent firefighters to 2005 Piccard Drive in Rockville – 10 miles away from the actual fire.
- PUB DATE: 12/10/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WJLA-TV ABC 7

Cal Fire engineer used own experiences to get fellow first responders counseling

Richard Wilson was sitting in a hotel hot tub with his two young sons when he heard the scream. It was the kind of scream that any parent knows, he said, and he leapt into action. Leaving his kids with his wife, he ran to the edge of the Huntington Beach pool where a mother had just spotted her 4-year-old son, Hudson, motionless on the bottom.
- PUB DATE: 12/10/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Union