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National Fire News

Fired Florida fire captain finally gets her settlement

An emotional Hillary Sanford received pay and benefits last week that were more than two years overdue when the Brooksville City Council voted to settle her wrongful termination case. Brooksville Fire Chief David Freda fired Sanford — a captain in the department — in 2016, and an arbitrator later ruled the move unjustified.
- PUB DATE: 9/6/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Tampa Tribune and TBO.com (Tampa Bay Online)

New York town gets funding to hire firefighters after layoffs

The City of Newburgh’s fire department will receive a third grant from a federal program after the depletion of funds from the second grant forced the city to lay off five firefighters at the end of July. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney announced Wednesday the Federal Emergency Management Agency approval of Newburgh’s application for $1.
- PUB DATE: 9/6/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Middletown Times Herald-Record

Virginia department welcomes first African-American fire chief

A new fire chief is on the job in Fairfax County. Chief John Butler, a retired Marine and former fire chief in Howard County, was sworn in Tuesday. He was chosen to help fix the past problems of bullying and harassment. Before a large crowd, John Butler, Fairfax County's first African America fire chief, spoke about his childhood in Liberia.
- PUB DATE: 9/5/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WUSA-TV 9 DC

Houston chief warns pay parity approval could cause at least 800 layoffs

Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña on Tuesday warned of dire consequences — including possible layoffs of more than 800 firefighters and deferred maintenance or upgrades on aging equipment, if voters approve the firefighters’ pay parity initiative on the November ballot. Peña’s warning came during a City Council Committee on Budget & Fiscal Affairs meeting to provide city leaders with their first look at how the Houston Fire Department might handle the costs of the ballot measure, which proposes to raise firefighter pay to that of their police peers.
- PUB DATE: 9/5/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

Pennsylvania firefighters union officials slam mayor's fire watch program

Mayor Tony George has resurrected a Community Fire Watch program in an attempt to increase public safety, but firefighter union officials say it’s a waste of money and is making conditions more dangerous. George confirmed he is enforcing a fire watch program started during former mayor Tom McGroarty’s administration in which firefighters hit the streets in fire engines during their down time to check on abandoned and vacant structures.
- PUB DATE: 9/5/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice

Idaho Department of Correction halts inmate firefighting after rape accusation

Inmates sent to help fight wildfires are back behind bars in Idaho after one inmate was charged with raping a woman working at a base camp in Utah, authorities said Tuesday. The Idaho Department of Correction is reviewing the way they select, train and deploy those inmates, spokesman Jeff Ray said. Most Western states have similar programs that allow low-level offenders to be temporarily released to help fight wildfires.
- PUB DATE: 9/5/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Twin Falls Times-News

New York village board approves $1 million settlement for firefighters

Garden City officials voted Tuesday night to approve a settlement of more than $1.1 million for a dozen paid firefighters, clearing the way for the village's plan to rely on an all-volunteer force. The village board had voted July 25 to abolish the 90-year-old paid fire department after village officials said having volunteer firefighters would save the village about $2 million annually.
- PUB DATE: 9/5/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Newsday

Maryland assistant chief dies after suffering medical emergency at accident scene

A volunteer firefighter died in the line of duty after suffering a medical emergency at the scene of a head-on crash early Saturday afternoon on state Route 404. Assistant Fire Chief Danny Lister was working at the scene of the crash between Route 309 (Starr Road) and Old Queen Anne Road in Talbot County when he suffered a medical emergency, the Queen Anne-Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Company Inc.
- PUB DATE: 9/4/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: My Eastern Shore

Georgia firefighters suffer severe burns after flashover at house fire

Local authorities have taken to social media to offer their prayers to several firefighters who were severely injured in an overnight fire. According to LaGrange Fire Department Deputy Chief John Brant, four of their firefighters had to be taken to the Grady Memorial Hospital burn unit after receiving second and third-degree burns.
- PUB DATE: 9/4/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WMAZ-TV CBS 13 Macon

Study shows health, reaction-time declines in wildland firefighters

Randy Brooks' son had a request three years ago: What could his dad do to make wildland firefighting safer? To Brooks, a professor at the University of Idaho's College of Natural Resources who deals with wildland firefighting, it was more of a command. His son, Bo Brooks, is a wildland firefighter who a few days earlier during that 2015 fire season fled a wall of flames that killed three of his fellow firefighters in eastern Washington.
- PUB DATE: 9/4/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: ABC News

Man arrested after FDNY ambulances vandalized with swastikas

A 42-year-old man was arrested in connection to a string of attacks involving FDNY vehicles that were vandalized with swastikas in Manhattan. The FDNY said Jem R. Ibrahimov, of Manhattan, was apprehended around 8:30 a.m. Saturday while allegedly vandalizing Engine 93/Ladder 45/Battalion 13, a firehouse that was targeted on two separate occasions.
- PUB DATE: 9/4/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WABC-TV 7online.com

8 D.C. firefighters hurt when 2 fire trucks collide while responding to blaze

It was a wild scene last Friday night: two fire trucks that crashed into each other on their way to a fire in the District. Eight firefighters onboard the trucks received non-life-threatening injuries. The accident at the corner of 15th and K streets took place as crews rushed to the scene of an apartment fire on nearby L Street.
- PUB DATE: 9/4/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WJLA-TV ABC 7 Washington

Houston firefighters blast mayor over survivor payments to families of Southwest Inn victims

Weeks after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city was not pursuing liens against the survivors of firefighters killed in the 2013 Southwest Inn fire, the families’ attorney says the city has refused to waive claims to $1.4 million it paid in benefits to the families. Mayoral spokesman Alan Bernstein disputed that, reiterating Turner’s assertion that the city was not pursuing claims on the money, and said it had offered to waive its right to the money — provided all the money goes to the families of the fallen firefighters, not their lawyer.
- PUB DATE: 8/31/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

Los Angeles Firefighter Receives Top Valor Award

Firefighter Bryce Gutierrez of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is the winner of the 2017 Firehouse Michael O. McNamee Award of Valor. Firehouse Editor-in-Chief Tim Sendelbach and Worcester, MA, District Chief (ret.) Mike McNamee will present the award to Gutierrez during the Oct. 18 opening ceremonies of Firehouse Expo in Nashville, TN.
- PUB DATE: 8/31/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Firehouse

Esteemed FDNY quartet could face heat in Medal Day brawl

Four respected FDNY officers may get caught in the fallout from the brutal bare-knuckled Bronx brawl earlier this summer that got eight firefighters suspended. All four officers attended a Medal Day celebration at Billy's Bar near Yankee Stadium on June 6. They were captured on surveillance videotape outside the establishment, where a racial slur sparked a boozy beat down among the Bravest.
- PUB DATE: 8/31/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New York Daily News

Report reveals shocking details of why former Georgia public safety official was fired

Former Guyton Interim Public Safety Director Stacy Strickland is now facing a criminal investigation. This comes after a separate investigation revealed he helped create a highly inappropriate fake Facebook profile about one of his firefighters. We got our hands on the report Wednesday, in which there are scanned copies of the profile before it was deleted.
- PUB DATE: 8/31/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WTOC-TV CBS 11 Savannah

After 35 year career, Virginia deputy fire chief retires to join NASCAR crew

After a successful 35 years in a career he has loved, Deputy Fire Chief David Salot has decided to hang up his helmet and follow a new dream. He will be retiring from the department on Oct. 1 and pursuing a new career track — with NASCAR. Over the past few weeks, Salot has been juggling working for the fire department with a part-time job with NASCAR as a competition technology technician.
- PUB DATE: 8/31/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Progress-Index

Florida fire chief fronting cash-strapped department

The Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department is essentially broke, according to a statement made by Fire Chief Don Bock at a recent meeting, during which he described the nonprofit service provider as having “no assets.” The meeting began with the department’s board approving a balance of $29,954 ending in June — an amount that would barely cover the out-of-pocket cash that Bock says he has fronted the fire department.
- PUB DATE: 8/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Key West Citizen

Lawsuit over Kansas fire investigators' overtime pay settled

The City of Wichita has agreed to pay nearly $155,000 to six fire department investigators who complained they weren’t getting paid overtime wages soon enough, ending a lawsuit alleging violations of federal labor law. The settlement represents “100 cents on the dollar” for nearly $140,000 in claims brought by Branden Arnold, Chris Dugan, Donny Eckerman, Joseph Evans, Mark Reibenspies and David Thissen plus $15,000 for their attorney’s fees and other prosecution costs, according to a motion for settlement approved by a federal judge earlier this month.
- PUB DATE: 8/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Wichita Eagle & Kansas.com

Texas firefighter suspended after video of unauthorized firetruck ride lands on social media

A San Antonio firefighter was handed a 10-day suspension this summer after video of him giving an unauthorized ride in a department fire engine ended up on social media, according to discipline records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders. Firefighter Jason Persyn was handed the suspension in July after violating San Antonio Fire Department rules related to conduct and behavior, negative public image, improper or negligent handling, safe operation of vehicles, permission for use of city property and proper use of department vehicles, according to the paperwork.
- PUB DATE: 8/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KSAT-TV ABC 12 San Antonio