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National Fire News

18-year-old held in Detroit firefighter's slaying

Detroit police announced an arrest Thursday in the shooting death of Detroit firefighter Jack Wiley Jr. Detroit police said they arrested an 18-year-old man near the Southfield Freeway and Ford Road in Dearborn, said Capt. Michael McGinnis. "What his motives (were) ... I have no idea," said McGinnis.
- PUB DATE: 8/24/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Detroit News

California lawmakers will hold hearing on firefighters’ complaints on Verizon service

Lawmakers will hold a hearing Friday on data throttling during the Mendocino Complex Fire after Santa Clara County’s fire chief said his department’s firefighters were put in danger when Verizon slowed the speed of their wireless transmissions while they were battling the blaze. The Select Committee on Natural Disaster, Response, Recovery, and Rebuilding, led by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, and Assemblywoman Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, will hold the hearing to probe wireless provider policies for restricting cell phone plans during emergencies like wildfires.
- PUB DATE: 8/24/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle

New South Carolina fire station near deadly Sofa Super Store fire site to break ground

On Savannah Highway, out beyond the car dealerships and across the street from a barber college, lies one of the most significant projects for the city of Charleston and its firefighters. The site is an empty L-shaped lot for now. It’s bordered by a doughnut shop, a park and a quiet residential neighborhood where neatly subdivided homes line gentle, swooping streets along a curve in the Stono River.
- PUB DATE: 8/24/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Charleston Post and Courier

Verizon: No internet speed restrictions for first responders

A nationwide telecommunications company that slowed internet service to firefighters as they battled the largest wildfire in California history says it has removed all speed cap restrictions for first responders on the West Coast. Verizon Senior Vice President Mike Maiorana says the service restrictions were removed as of Thursday and include Hawaii, where emergency crews have rescued people from areas flooded by Hurricane Lane.
- PUB DATE: 8/24/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: ABC News

Chicago mayor looks to replace fire commissioner, who's nearing mandatory retirement age

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is looking for a new Chicago Fire Department commissioner, as Jose Santiago hits mandatory retirement age and steps down. Emanuel tried to find a way to let Santiago stay past his 63rd birthday that’s coming up in a few days, but the city statute bars firefighters of any rank from serving beyond that, according to spokesman Adam Collins.
- PUB DATE: 8/23/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Chicago Tribune

California fire dept. rejects Verizon’s “customer support mistake” excuse for throttling

A fire department whose data was throttled by Verizon Wireless while it was fighting California's largest-ever wildfire has rejected Verizon's claim that the throttling was just a customer service error and "has nothing to do with net neutrality." The throttling "has everything to do with net neutrality," a Santa Clara County official said.
- PUB DATE: 8/23/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: ars Technica

Former Ohio firefighter awarded $3.35 million for harassment, discrimination

A jury awarded $3.35 million Wednesday to a former Circleville firefighter who sued the city, alleging years of harassment and discrimination, including unwanted sexual advances, denied promotions and bodily fluids on her belongings. Amie Morningstar, 38, of Circleville, the first full-time female firefighter on that community’s force, filed suit in late 2015 and was fired in early 2016, said her attorney, Brian K.
- PUB DATE: 8/23/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Columbus Dispatch

Florida firefighters fired after drug sweep at stations

Two Key West firefighters were fired Monday in connection with a police narcotics investigation centered on the city’s fire department. The firings, announced Tuesday, followed an Aug. 10 sweep of all three Key West fire stations by Key West police and Homeland Security, who were tipped off by the KWPD special investigations units that fire personnel were engaging in “narcotic activity,” according to an arrest report.
- PUB DATE: 8/23/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: FL Keys News

Soaring overtime fattens paychecks of California cops and firefighters but at a cost

California cities and counties have too few cops and too many wildfires to get a handle on their soaring overtime budgets. That’s how they explain the $3.7 billion they spent collectively on overtime last year, a 60 percent increase from the $2.3 billion they shelled out for overtime in 2012. The dynamic means police and firefighters have no shortage of opportunities to pad their paychecks with overtime hours, but for some, the extra work is taking a toll on their bodies and families.
- PUB DATE: 8/23/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Modesto Bee

California Fire Chief: Verizon throttled fire department’s “unlimited” data during wildfire

Verizon Wireless' throttling of a fire department that uses its data services has been submitted as evidence in a lawsuit that seeks to reinstate federal net neutrality rules. "County Fire has experienced throttling by its ISP, Verizon," Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote in a declaration.
- PUB DATE: 8/22/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: ars Technica

Longtime Florida chief to step down

Mike Beadle, Palm Coast’s longtime fire chief, will be retiring in September and his second-in-command, Gerard “Jerry” Forte, will take the reins of the department, city officials announced Tuesday. City Manager Jim Landon formally appointed Forte, currently the deputy fire chief, to take over in Beadle’s stead during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
- PUB DATE: 8/22/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Daytona Beach News-Journal

Los Angeles Fire Commission moves to give in-house watchdog 'unfettered access' to disciplinary files

The panel that oversees the Los Angeles Fire Department voted Tuesday to give the agency’s internal watchdog “unfettered access” to the disciplinary files of its firefighters, nine years after voters created the post to assess the agency’s handling of misconduct complaints. The Board of Fire Commissioners unanimously changed its policy to give the watchdog, known as the Office of the Independent Assessor, the power to obtain unredacted interview transcripts, evidence and other records generated over the course of a discipline case.
- PUB DATE: 8/22/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Los Angeles Times

Tennessee boy rides to 1st day of kindergarten on fire truck, just as his late firefighter dad wanted

PHOTO - A kindergartner rode to his first day of school in style fulfilling the wishes of his late father. Last week, Cooper Brooks, 5, arrived in a fire truck alongside dad Christopher Brooks' colleagues from the Sullivan County Volunteer Fire Department. Christopher Brooks, a father of three and volunteer firefighter, died May 7 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
- PUB DATE: 8/22/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: ABC News

Washington fire department begins construction on state-of-the-art station

As the Puyallup Police Department embarks on its move to South Hill, Central Pierce Fire & Rescue is putting shovels in the ground for their state-of-the-art station on the same lot. CPFR is building a new Station 72 on two acres of what’s known as the Lumbermen’s property at 703 39th SE. It will stand alongside the new Puyallup Justice Center.
- PUB DATE: 8/22/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The News Tribune

Firefighter’s death may be linked to safety breach in airplane retardant drop at California wildfire

Fire retardant dropped from an airplane into an area that should have been cleared of firefighters may have had something to do with last week’s death of a battalion chief at Northern California’s Mendocino Complex fire. Matthew Burchett, 42, was struck and killed by falling tree debris Aug. 13 near Lake Pillsbury (Lake County) in a spot where, simultaneously, thousands of gallons of the chemical slurry used to quash flames was released, state fire officials said in a preliminary report Monday.
- PUB DATE: 8/21/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle

Ohio fire department logs high overtime costs

The Toledo Fire and Rescue Department used nearly 96 percent of its overtime budget — $2.27 million in overtime costs — six months into the year, but city finance officials said they’re not too worried about the department’s overall financial health for 2018. The department budgeted $2.37 million for overtime costs in 2018 and as of June 30 had spent $2.
- PUB DATE: 8/21/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Toledo Blade

FirstNet Board Leaders Announce Plans to Retire

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce) Monday issued the following press release: Today, FirstNet Board Chair Sue Swenson and Vice Chair Jeffrey Johnson notified Assistant Secretary of Commerce David Redl of their resignation from the FirstNet board.
- PUB DATE: 8/21/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: International Association of Fire Chiefs

Report details recommendations following death of Indiana Assistant Chief

Four years after New Carlisle Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Middlebrook was killed while fighting a fire, a federal agency has released a report on the incident and announced several recommendations as a result of its investigation. The report was created by the Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
- PUB DATE: 8/21/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: ABC 57 WBND-TV South Bend News

Houston firefighters pitch tent, wait for tow after fire truck breaks down

Channel 2 Investigates has learned a rotating group of Houston firefighters equipped with a tent, waited with a broken HFD fire truck for about 11 hours. The rotating crews were on-duty but unavailable to respond to emergency calls during the overnight event in Kingwood. "Nobody gave them direction as to checking on them, where do they go, there was no water, no restrooms out there, and no one gave them direction," Patrick Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, said.
- PUB DATE: 8/21/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KPRC-TV NBC 2 Houston

Illinois governor vetoes expanded benefits for paramedics, EMTs

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Sunday vetoed legislation to expand benefit rights for paramedics and emergency medical technicians by defining them as firefighters in municipal collective bargaining agreements. Rauner’s veto of the two measures, which were passed with overwhelming, veto-proof bipartisan majorities, was in line with his previous pronouncements that Springfield shouldn’t dictate “unfunded state mandates on local governments.
- PUB DATE: 8/20/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Chicago Tribune