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National Fire News

New Hampshire councilor draws ire for remarks at meeting during exchange with firefighter union head

City Councilor Bob Hamel is facing criticism for his remarks at a Monday night meeting during a prickly exchange with the head of the union that represents city firefighters. It is the height of budget season in Laconia, which has a tax cap in place, and the council and fire department have clashed in recent weeks over the cost of overtime for firefighters.
- PUB DATE: 7/12/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Manchester Union Leader

Virginia department hires new fire chief amid turmoil

Fairfax County’s next fire chief will be a veteran firefighter who has led Howard County’s fire department for the past four years and served two combat tours as a Marine, the Board of Supervisors has announced. John S. Butler is set to take over the 1,400-strong department in September, replacing Richard Bowers, who retired in April.
- PUB DATE: 7/12/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Washington Post

Massive fire destroys Arizona Safeway supermarket

Fire destroyed a Safeway grocery store in Phoenix Wednesday evening, engulfing the building in flames for more than an hour and producing a tower of smoke that could be seen for miles. Phoenix fire officials said a roof on the building apparently had collapsed during a storm that brought a heavy downpour in the area prior to the fire.
- PUB DATE: 7/12/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Arizona Republic, AZCentral.com & KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix

Houston proposes sharp hike in ambulance fees

Houston Fire Department leaders on Tuesday proposed a sharp hike in ambulance fees, floating several new charges they hope will prevent repeat callers from using the city’s emergency medical services as a convenience. Ambulance transport fees would rise 70 percent, to $1,876; the accompanying $14.36-per-mile fee would not change.
- PUB DATE: 7/12/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

Coding team develops app to turn smartphones into smoke detectors

A team of coding students from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have developed an app that can turn your smartphone into a smoke detector. 'Smoke Detective' is programmed to allow a smartphone camera to detect smoke from a fire, then sound an audible and visible alarm upon detection.
- PUB DATE: 7/12/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WTAE-TV ABC 4 Pittsburgh

Wisconsin firefighter killed, several injured in explosion

One firefighter was killed and several other people, including police officers, firefighters and civilians were injured in an explosion in Sun Prairie Tuesday night. The explosion happened at 7:05 p.m. at the intersection of Main and Bristol streets after police said they were called to the area around 6:20 p.
- PUB DATE: 7/11/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WISC-TV Channel 3000.com Madison

The Last 9/11 Fire Chief Bows Out

Joe Pfeifer had a date in mind for retiring from the job he has done for 37 years. It would be the second Wednesday after Labor Day. After schools were back. Sept. 12. He could hardly wait. Then he decided, no, he wouldn’t delay. “Do some sailing,” he said. “Decompress.” So this will be his last week with the Fire Department, retiring as an assistant chief from the agency where he started as a 25-year-old from Queens in 1981.
- PUB DATE: 7/11/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New York Times

President Trump signs firefighter cancer registry bill

President Donald Trump on Monday signed legislation to set up a national registry for firefighters to help track links between exposure to fumes and cancer. The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to set up a database in order to study possible links between cancer and the fumes and toxins firefighters are exposed to.
- PUB DATE: 7/11/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: NJ.com

Florida firefighter hospitalized after falling out of fire truck responding to a call

A Hillsborough County firefighter was flown to the hospital as a trauma alert after falling out of his fire truck, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Hillsborough Fire Rescue says that around 5:28 p.m. Tuesday, they received a radio alert that one of their own was injured. Eric Seidel with Hillsborough Fire Rescue says the firefighter left HCFR Station 28 at 4551 Sun City Center Boulevard and was in the process of responding to the scene of a fire when he received the injuries.
- PUB DATE: 7/11/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WFTS-TV ABC 28 Tampa Bay

Maryland firefighters lose rank by failing to meet deadline for certifications

About 20 ranking officers at Harford County volunteer fire stations lost those ranks after failing to submit new required certifications July 1. Roughly 200 officers completed their certifications on time, said Rich Gardiner, a spokesman for the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association. He declined to release the names of those who did not qualify.
- PUB DATE: 7/11/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Baltimore Sun

State launches probe into Houston Fire Department safety procedures

A state commission has opened an investigation into the Houston Fire Department’s safety standards after the firefighters’ union accused the department of failing to protect its members from carcinogens to which they are routinely exposed. Texas Commission on Fire Protection investigators will examine whether HFD complies with state laws requiring departments to clean protective clothing, called bunker gear, and maintain a standard operating procedure to do so.
- PUB DATE: 7/10/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

In dispute between Missouri city and fire district, both sides warn of potential dire consequences

City officials here and those of a fire district that serves part of the city both say a dispute over their longtime agreement could have dire budget consequences. In December, the city canceled its 23-year-old pact with the Robertson Fire Protection District, saying the contract’s rising cost was jeopardizing other city services.
- PUB DATE: 7/10/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

New Hampshire to fund presumptive cancer law for firefighters

Portsmouth Fire Lt. Russ Osgood was next to firefighter Sarah Fox the day she died from cancer at Concord Hospital when he learned another fire brother, Jeff Bokum, had the disease as well. The toll Osgood faced in that moment at the hospital was emotional, but a financial one came shortly after. Osgood and firefighters worked to raise thousands of dollars for Bokum’s out-of-pocket costs during his six-month battle as they had for Fox in the months before her death, cancer benefits not yet covered for fighters.
- PUB DATE: 7/10/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Foster's Daily Democrat

The dangers of mixing alcohol consumption and firefighting

Just like in citizens, drinking and driving is not a new problem in public safety. For some volunteer fire companies, having volunteer firefighters show up at the scene of a fire while under the influence of alcohol is also not a new problem. Even organizations with career staff may have to deal with crewmembers showing up to a shift planning to firefight while under the influence (FFUI) or while intoxicated (FFWI).
- PUB DATE: 7/10/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: FireRescue1

Video shows Arizona firefighters rescuing woman from car submerged in canal

Mesa firefighters rescued a woman whose car had plunged into a canal during a storm that blew through the area Monday afternoon. The woman's car veered into a canal near Alma School Road south of the Loop 202 freeway in north Mesa, according to the Mesa Fire Department. When responding units arrived they found the car submerged upright.
- PUB DATE: 7/10/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Arizona Republic, AZCentral.com & KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix

Arizona fire captain found dead on National Guard base

A Phoenix firefighter was found dead in his quarters Friday while on duty at the Arizona Army National Guard Base, the Phoenix Fire Department announced Sunday. Juston Doherty was 45, according to public records. Phoenix Fire Capt. Rob McDade described the technical-rescue technician, a 15-year veteran of the department, as "heroic" and committed.
- PUB DATE: 7/9/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Arizona Republic, AZCentral.com & KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix

Wyoming Supreme Court Rules Firefighter Unions Must Include Volunteer Firefighters

The Supreme Court of Wyoming has ruled that in a combination fire department, part-time and volunteer firefighters are entitled to vote on whether or not firefighters can form a union. The decision was handed down Friday, July 6, 2018. The case involved two IAFF locals, Campbell County Firefighters IAFF Local 5058 and Jackson Hole Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 5067, who sought to collectively bargain with their respective municipalities.
- PUB DATE: 7/9/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: FireLawBlog.com

New York fire chief, city spar as retirement nears

It has been about 14 months since Russell Brooks last served as Utica’s fire chief. With Brooks on administrative leave, the Utica Fire Department has had three interim chiefs in that span. Retired Utica fire Capt. James Barefoot, the latest appointed to the role, officially started July 2. Through it all, Brooks continues to challenge the city’s decision to place him on paid, nondisciplinary, administrative leave due to concerns with Brooks’ health.
- PUB DATE: 7/9/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Utica Observer-Dispatch

Video footage surfaces raising new questions about San Francisco Fire Department’s response to the Asiana plane crash

Video footage that surfaced Thursday raised new questions about the San Francisco Fire Department’s response to the Asiana plane crash on July 6, 2013, particularly its handling of a subsequent incident in which a fire rig ran over a 16-year-old girl. “I mean, s— happens, you know?” San Francisco Battalion Chief Mark Johnson appears to say in footage from the camera attached to his helmet, according to a report published late Thursday by ABC7 investigative reporter Dan Noyes.
- PUB DATE: 7/9/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: SFGate.com

Is Station 31 making Seattle firefighters sick? Study hopes to find answers about ‘Cancer House’

For years, firefighters at Seattle’s Station 31 have worried that the place where they barbecue steak and try to sleep between calls might be making them sick. Red flags were first raised in the early 2000s, after a string of firefighters were diagnosed with cancer. But a subsequent study found no link between the station and the illness.
- PUB DATE: 7/9/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Seattle Times