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National Fire News

‘God was with us that day’: Crews recount rescue of Texas firefighters surrounded by brush fire

For about 10 minutes, Emergency Services District 1 firefighters Jessilyn Davis and Lt. Brannon Stengel found themselves surrounded by a brush fire April 11 in western Travis County. The winds, which had shifted toward them, and 20 percent humidity that day only made matters worse. They tried to stay positive, but Stengel said in the backs of their minds, they thought they had come face-to-face with the blaze that would take their lives.
- PUB DATE: 4/18/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Austin American-Statesman

Former Rhode Island fire chief escapes prison but must repay taxpayers for illegal pension

A judge has sentenced the former fire chief of the Coventry Fire District to three years of probation and ordered him to repay nearly $200,000 for fraudulently receiving retirement benefits. Paul Labbadia, 52, of North Providence, pleaded no contest in January to three counts that he filed false documents to obtain a public pension.
- PUB DATE: 4/18/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WPRI-TV Providence 12

Judge rules Illinois city violated contract with firefighters union

Firefighters are breathing a sigh of relief after a nearly year-long struggle. The Mattoon Fire Department will have to hire a handful of new firefighters. It's after a judge ruled that the city violated their contract last year. The fire department is supposed to have more than 30 firefighters, but right now they're at 24.
- PUB DATE: 4/18/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WCIA & WCFN-TV CBS 3 Champaign

Woman turns to Indiana firefighters for help with stoned raccoon

People turn to firefighters for help during all kinds of emergencies, but this one might actually be a first. Wayne Township firefighters woke up in the middle of the night to a woman frantically pushing their doorbell. "As many times as the doorbell on the firehouse was pushed, the firefighters were quite certain that something bad was going on outside," said Wayne Township Fire Capt.
- PUB DATE: 4/18/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WTHR-TV NBC 13 Indianapolis

Texas Firefighter Rushed to Save Woman in Plane Blast

A firefighter from Texas is being lauded for his heroic efforts after he helped pull a fellow passenger back inside a plane when she was sucked outside during an emergency landing Tuesday in Philadelphia. According to the Daily Mirror, Celina firefighter Andrew Needum was nearby when debris from the engine explosion on Southwest Airlines flight 1380 ripped a hole in the window where 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan was sitting.
- PUB DATE: 4/18/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Firehouse

Five years after blast, West, Texas is rebuilt but emotional tripwires remain

The memories of the blast five years ago that robbed Kirk Wines of his friends and first responder colleagues remain vivid as ever, but he keeps them filed neatly away. The amiable owner of West’s Old Corner Drug Store stays busy filling prescriptions, chatting with customers and minding his emergency pager as a captain of the West Volunteer Fire Department.
- PUB DATE: 4/17/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Waco Tribune-Herald

New questions emerge about retired FDNY firefighter who was refused 9/11 aid while suffering from severe PTSD

New questions emerged Monday about the FDNY’s denial of 9/11-related disability benefits to a retired firefighter who labored at Ground Zero and then suffered severe psychiatric illness before dying in a mental hospital. Joe Battista spent months at the World Trade Center site after the 9/11 attacks and developed serious health issues, and severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder that led to repeated hospitalizations.
- PUB DATE: 4/17/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New York Daily News

California firefighter mourning unexpected death of wife after giving birth to twins

Nick Reeder's life was just coming into focus last week--four years ago, he found Amanda Sawyer. "We met on an online profile, yeah and we had a blind date and were inseparable after that date. It was love at first sight definitely," said Nick Reeder. Nick says she did it all--mother, worker, wife and she loved that he was a firefighter, even decorating their home with fire memorabilia.
- PUB DATE: 4/17/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KABC-TV ABC 7 Los Angeles

A new generation is shaking up the fire service

Just as fire departments are getting used to working with millennials, another generation is coming along. This generation is significantly different from their predecessors and will require some adaptations in leadership and management for them to contribute to their fullest. The newest generation, born after 1995, is just now entering the workforce.
- PUB DATE: 4/17/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: FireRescue1

Massachusetts fire chief scolds neighboring town manager over limit on retirement party publicity

The Auburn fire chief has chastised the Oxford town manager for allegedly prohibiting the use of any town emails or social media to distribute a retirement party flyer for the Oxford fire chief. A retirement party for Oxford Fire Chief Sheri R. Bemis is scheduled for 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Auburn Elks Lodge, 754 Southbridge St.
- PUB DATE: 4/17/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Legendary, long-serving Pennsylvania fire chief Ed Hutchinson dies

Ed Hutchinson became Greensburg's fire chief when Harry Truman was president and retired 53 years later, and through those decades he was a community leader whose impact stretched far beyond the city's fire halls. “He was not only a fire chief, but a great community servant. I am stunned today,” Greensburg Mayor Robert Bell said Sunday of Hutchinson's death Sunday morning at age 96 at Excela Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg.
- PUB DATE: 4/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Los Angeles police and firefighters rush to join controversial retirement program

The controversial program that pays veteran Los Angeles police officers and firefighters nearly double for the last five years of their careers received a flood of new enrollees in February, records show. The rush to join the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP program, coincided with a Times investigation in February that found the program, which was created in 2002 to keep veteran officers and firefighters on the job, allows participants to file workers' compensation claims and then take extended injury leaves at nearly twice their usual pay.
- PUB DATE: 4/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Los Angeles Times

FDNY no longer has ‘zero tolerance’ policy for drugs

The FDNY’s “zero tolerance” for drug abuse has gone up in smoke. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro has quietly abandoned the department’s once-trumpeted policy calling for the firing of anyone caught using illegal or prohibited substances, The Post has learned. In the last month, 26 firefighters who had tested positive on urine tests since 2016 were returned to full duty, insiders revealed.
- PUB DATE: 4/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New York Post

Two Texas firefighters, water utility worker injured, hospitalized in natural gas leak

Two Arlington firefighters and a Arlington Water Utilities crew member were injured while responding to a gas leak that occurred Sunday afternoon in central Arlington. All three were transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. The extent of their injuries is not known. According to Arlington Fire Department spokesman Mike Joiner, Arlington Water Utilities crews were repairing a water line leak at the intersection of Ditto Avenue and Dugan Street.
- PUB DATE: 4/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Fort Worth Star-Teleram

Ohio fire department continues to serve untaxed residents

Whenever a fire breaks out in a home within the northern portion of this village, the affected residents can be assured a rescue crew is on the way. Being that the north end of Meyers Lake falls within Plain Township has led to concern among township officials because nearly 200 village property owners are not paying a fire-protection property tax.
- PUB DATE: 4/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Canton Repository

Florida school rescuers scrambled to save lives while fearing shooter would strike again

As first responders rushed to the Parkland high school where Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people and wounded 15 more, one thing quickly became clear: People were dying. "This is going to be a big event," a Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department commander said in newly released audio recordings from the Feb.
- PUB DATE: 4/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Miami Herald

Radioactive material washed off 3 firefighters after sludge barrel ruptures at Idaho nuclear site

A barrel containing radioactive sludge ruptured at an Idaho nuclear facility, federal officials said Thursday, resulting in no injuries and no risk to the public but possibly slowing progress in shipping waste out of the state. The U.S. Department of Energy said the 55-gallon (208-liter) barrel ruptured late Wednesday at the 890-square-mile (2,305-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory, one of the nation's top federal nuclear research labs.
- PUB DATE: 4/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KBCI-TV 2 Boise

Texas firefighter launches national effort to help cancer-stricken first responders

Chris Conner knows the struggles of cancer-stricken firefighters who are often overwhelmed with high medical bills. “I know for a fact that a primary need is for financial help,” Conner said. “There is a misconception that [firefighters] have great insurance these days, and we don’t. We all have high deductibles.
- PUB DATE: 4/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Fort Worth Star-Teleram

Veteran Pennsylvania firefighters say chief chasing away volunteers

Whitehall Township commissioners were alarmed Monday to learn that several veteran firefighters have left the Whitehall Township Fire Department over disputes with how the new chief is running things. Don Dreisbach, a volunteer who left after serving for 37 years, told commissioners that Chief David Nelson’s treatment of members and training requirements were driving away longtime volunteers like himself.
- PUB DATE: 4/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Allentown Morning Call

A firefighter's quest to becoming the first Colorado above-the-knee amputee firefighter

On March 25, 2016, Berthoud Fire Protection District Fire Investigator Josh Macdonald was performing inspections when a call came in about a house fire with an occupant trapped. Once on scene, Macdonald hopped out of the engine and started taking pictures to find a potential origin and to get a clear picture of how the fire was behaving.
- PUB DATE: 4/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: FireRescue1