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National Fire News

Jury awards $11 million in Illinois firefighter sexual harassment, gender discrimination suit

A jury has awarded more than $11 million in damages to a Country Club Hills firefighter who sued the city over alleged gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation, according to a court order. Dena Lewis-Bystrzycki, who filed suit against the city in 2012, had alleged she was passed over for a promotion and retaliated against for reporting misbehavior.
- PUB DATE: 10/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Chicago Tribune

Property tax law putting lives in danger, Colorado fire chiefs say

More than 50 fire districts across Colorado are requesting the same thing from their voters this fall: Give us a legal workaround to a property tax law that’s set to slash our budgets again. Lives are at stake, they say. “We’re way past the crisis point,” West Metro Fire Chief Don Lombardi said. “The fire districts have called 911, and no one is answering.
- PUB DATE: 10/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Denver Post

VIDEO: House collapses while crews fight large fire in north St. Louis

Several firefighters responded to a large house fire in north St. Louis. It was the second vacant house that was fully engulfed in flames in the area Sunday. Just before 2 p.m., firefighters responded to the 4500 block of Cottage Avenue, which is on the line of the Greater Ville and The Ville neighborhoods.
- PUB DATE: 10/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KSDK-TV NBC 5 St. Louis

Wife of Louisiana chief arrested, accused of embezzling $225K from department

The wife of the French Settlement fire chief was arrested Monday and accused of embezzling $225,000 after her husband reported her confession to him, according to the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office. Melissa Guitreau, 46, who acted as the secretary and treasurer of Livingston Parish Fire Protection District No.
- PUB DATE: 10/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Baton Rouge Advocate

More California cops and firefighters are paying for their pensions. Is it too late?

From Arcata on the North Coast to Hemet in the Inland Empire, California cops and firefighters are chipping in more money to pay for their pensions while the cities that employ them struggle to manage fast-rising retirement costs. The new pension charges – a 12 percent paycheck deduction in Sacramento, an extra 8 percent deduction in Clovis, a pay cut and 12 percent pension contribution in Oroville, for example – reflect a calculus at local governments that workers are better off in the long run putting money into the California Public Employees’ Retirement System today rather than banking on the $350 billion pension fund earning its way out of its recession losses.
- PUB DATE: 10/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Sacramento Bee

'It really hits home': California firefighter reacts to daring rescue

VIDEO - A Sacramento firefighter is recovering at home after being pulled from the roof of a commercial building Wednesday. “Shock, disbelief a little bit,” is how Sacramento Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Keith Wade described the moment a fellow firefighter nearly fell through the roof of a children's store in the Arden area.
- PUB DATE: 10/29/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KCRA-TV NBC Sacramento

Ohio department removes paramedic certification for firefighter applicants

A few years back, there were hundreds of people applying to be a Springfield firefighter — but that’s dropped off dramatically. “Our last test — we only had 27 applicants,” said Capt. Brian Leciejewski of the Springfield Fire/Rescue Division. To get more people in the door, the division is eliminating a preliminary requirement for applicants.
- PUB DATE: 10/29/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Springfield News-Sun

Five Utah firefighters sue fire authority, former chief, other top boss for alleged nepotism

Five firefighters are suing the Unified Fire Authority and two of its former top administrators for allegedly hiring less-qualified family members of command staff instead of them in 2011. The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, says the men were experienced firefighters seeking full-time positions with the agency that spring.
- PUB DATE: 10/29/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Salt Lake Tribune

Houston firefighters asked to cover union and generic firefighter shirts at polls, union says

Around 20 to 25 Houston firefighters say they've been asked to cover their union and generic fire department shirts at some polling stations in Houston, despite the fact that their shirts didn't appear to violate election law, according to the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. This comes after the Harris County Clerk's Office earlier this week instructed poll workers to not allow people wearing shirts depicting the names of three progressive groups to cast ballots, earlier reports say.
- PUB DATE: 10/29/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

Florida county gets notice of first lawsuit over paramedics who failed to treat stroke victim

The daughter of a 30-year-old woman who died after paramedics failed to transport her to a hospital or even take her vital signs has filed notice of her intent to sue Hillsborough County. And other lawsuits may be coming. The notice was sent to Hillsborough County commissioners and the county’s fire department by the Kimsey Law Firm.
- PUB DATE: 10/29/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Tampa Tribune and TBO.com (Tampa Bay Online)

California Assistant Chief Dies after Suffering Medical Emergency at Meeting

An assistant fire chief with the California Office of Emergency Services has died after falling ill at a multi-agency coordination meeting. According to a line-of-duty death notification from the U.S. Fire Administration, Assistant Chief Ken Hood, who was 50 years old and a 34-year fire service veteran, suffered an acute medical emergency during the meeting in Quincy on Wednesday.
- PUB DATE: 10/26/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Firehouse

Mail Bombing Suspect Arrested in Florida

Federal authorities made an arrest on Friday in connection with the nationwide bombing campaign against outspoken critics of President Trump. It was not immediately clear who had been taken into custody, but a man was arrested in Florida, two law enforcement officials said. The arrest came only hours after the mysterious spate of pipe bombs spread further on Friday morning as federal authorities said that they had found two more of the explosive devices: one addressed to Senator Cory Booker and the other to James R.
- PUB DATE: 10/26/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New York Times

Illinois firefighters change active shooter response methods to save more victims

In the basement of Trinity Lutheran Church Thursday, Springfield police officers, armed with guns, ushered in three Springfield firefighters wearing bulletproof vests and neon orange medical kits. Lying in the different rooms were firefighters playing victims. Red stickers mimicked gunshot wounds. With no active shooter in sight, the police officers gave the firefighters free rein to tend to the victims.
- PUB DATE: 10/26/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Springfield State Journal-Register

Legislation proposed in Idaho to cover PTSD for firefighters, police

In the last year, Eagle Fire Battalion Chief Rob Shoplock has taken calls from three fellow firefighters who had suicidal thoughts because of what they experienced on the job. All three sought counseling, but they paid for it out of their own pocket because it wasn’t covered by workers’ compensation.
- PUB DATE: 10/26/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Idaho Statesman

Indiana fire department treasurer sentenced to 15 months; restitution tab now $754,000

Firefighters in a rural Hamilton County township couldn’t figure out why they had no funds to buy medical supplies for their ambulance. Their property tax levy, bringing in about $220,000 annually for firefighting, should have been enough to cover the needs of the Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department east of Noblesville.
- PUB DATE: 10/26/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Jeffersonville Evening News & New Albany Tribune

Washington city wants state law that requires three personnel on scene to be altered

Camas city officials will continue their appeals process against the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ decision to uphold violations against the city and Camas-Washougal Fire Department because they say they fear the decision could have harmful impacts on fire departments around the state.
- PUB DATE: 10/25/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Vancouver Columbian

Mailed pipe bombs spread fear in several states, and officials say there may be more packages

With every intercepted pipe bomb, fear spread from New York to Washington, Florida, Delaware and California. The devices stashed in manila envelopes and mailed nationwide targeted top Democrats two weeks before the midterm elections. The bombs found this week were intended for at least seven officials, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Democratic Rep.
- PUB DATE: 10/25/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: CNN

Anti pay parity sign posted at site where 5 Houston firefighters lost lives

For Houston firefighters it is hallowed ground, the scene of the catastrophic Southwest Inn inferno -- a blaze which killed five of their comrades and injured a dozen others. Five years later, amid a contentious political fight for higher wages, a sign opposing pay parity for firefighters was placed on the chain link fence, roughly 25 yards beyond the barren concrete slab bearing crosses for the fallen.
- PUB DATE: 10/25/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KRIV-TV Houston MyFox 26

Decades Later, San Francisco Firefighter Reunites With Baby He Delivered on Bay Bridge

On a Saturday morning in September, a controlled explosion sent the very last remnants of the old eastern span on the Bay Bridge under the water and forever out of sight. For those who drive over its replacement, memories of the old, massive steel structure fade with each passing trip. Although, for San Francisco Fire Department Firefighter and Paramedic Chris Posey, there is one memory that will never disappear.
- PUB DATE: 10/25/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KNTV-TV NBC 11 Bay Area

Extinguishing a shortage: Struggling to find new fire recruits in Wisconsin

When you drive past the Kansasville Fire and Rescue station on Highway 11, the electronic sign often reads “Firefighters and EMTs needed. Apply Now!” Similar advertisements are seen nationwide, as full-time and volunteer fire departments alike struggle to fill their rosters. The National Volunteer Firefighter Council found that, from 1984-2015, the number of volunteer firefighters in the U.
- PUB DATE: 10/25/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Racine Journal Times