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National Fire News

Former Maine fire chief sues city amid effort to recall selectmen

The former Ogunquit fire chief has filed a complaint in York County Superior Court seeking to appeal his firing earlier this fall. Mark O’Brien had served with the Ogunquit Fire Department for 37 years before he was placed on leave, investigated and ultimately fired by the town manager, who had concerns about his ability to lead the department.
- PUB DATE: 12/3/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Central Maine

Stepped-up watches guzzled gallons from Pennsylvania fire department's budget

The afternoon of Aug. 15, Wilkes-Barre Fire Department’s Engine 1 filled up with 24.74 gallons of diesel fuel at the city pumps, a routine repeated 38 more times over the following eight weeks of daily patrols under the ramped-up community fire watches ordered by the mayor. Engine 1, based at the department’s headquarters at the East Ross Street station, took on 750 gallons total during the watches, almost double the fuel intake for the eight weeks in June and July, according to fuel logs obtained by the Times Leader through a Right-to-Know request.
- PUB DATE: 12/3/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Wilkes Barre Times Leader

California's Ghost Ship fire two years later: Will massive lawsuit finally lead to accountability?

The thick black smoke from a savage warehouse inferno came quickly two years ago, but not quickly enough to spare 36 mostly young partygoers from the terror of knowing they were at life’s end: “I am going to die, mom,” one texted; a young couple fell into an embrace, dying of asphyxiation in each other’s arms.
- PUB DATE: 12/3/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: East Bay Times

New Hampshire official lobbies for support of NIOSH study on firefighter exposure to PFAS chemicals

Assistant Mayor Cliff Lazenby will ask the rest of the City Council to support his efforts to lobby the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to conduct a health study on firefighters who have been exposed to PFAS chemicals. Lazenby said he intends to ask the City Council at Monday’s meeting to send a letter signed by Mayor Jack Blalock and the council asking NIOSH to conduct such a study.
- PUB DATE: 12/3/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Seacoast Online

Dallas RIT Team Recounts Rescue of Colleagues After Roof Collapse

VIDEO - A group of Dallas firefighters who rescued other firefighters during the devastating condo fire earlier this week are now sharing their incredible story of what happened. Everyone survived the 4-alarm fire in northeast Dallas Tuesday morning. That includes the three firefighters who got trapped when a ceiling collapsed on them.
- PUB DATE: 12/3/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KDFW Fox 4 News

Texas city drops ‘evergreen’ lawsuit, eyes turn to fire union

The city of San Antonio notified the San Antonio Professional Fire Fighters Association on Thursday that it has officially dropped the lawsuit that the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear over the summer. The dismissal of the suit sets the stage for contract negotiations to begin more than four years after the fire union’s contract initially expired.
- PUB DATE: 11/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: San Antonio Express-News

Massachusetts ladder truck reportedly missed 10 calls while hanging city's holiday decorations

Some Medford firefighters are upset after their ladder truck was pulled out of service for hours to put up the city's holiday decorations. Medford Firefighter Eddie Buckley says he's shocked because the town is already down ladder trucks. One of them is out of service for repair so Boston Fire is loaning them one, leaving Medford with just one working ladder truck of its own.
- PUB DATE: 11/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Boston 25 News

Video: Dramatic bodycam footage shows California wildfire rescue of nurses

Butte County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Parmley was on Pentz Road attempting to rescue four nurses when his patrol car broke down. With embers swirling around him, he set out on foot surrounded by flames. Parmley switched on his body camera “in hopes of capturing what he thought were going to be the last moments of his life,” the sheriff’s office said Thursday.
- PUB DATE: 11/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Mendocino Beacon

Former Oregon PIO says deputy chief sexually harassed her

A woman who has performed hundreds of on-camera interviews and appeared on billboards representing Jackson County Fire District 3 has filed a civil-rights complaint with the state claiming that local officials took away her spokesperson duties as retaliation for complaining of sexual harassment and taking a medical leave earlier this year.
- PUB DATE: 11/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Medford Mail Tribune

Maryland county's fire chief association ousts breakaway fire company

A volunteer fire company that broke away from the city of Salisbury nearly two years ago is no longer recognized by the Wicomico County Fire Chiefs Association after the group passed changes to its bylaws. Members voted 9-4 on Wednesday night to adopt a new bylaw that requires participating fire companies to have recognized territories, something that the Salisbury Independent Volunteer Fire Company is lacking.
- PUB DATE: 11/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Delmarva Now

2 California Firefighters Hurt, 1 Man Dead in Wrong-Way Crash on Interstate

Two firefighters were injured when a wrong-way driver slammed head-on into their engine on Interstate 5 near downtown San Diego Thursday morning, according to California Highway Patrol. A San Diego Fire-Rescue truck was responding to a pedestrian hit-and-run crash at about 2 a.m. when a Toyota Carolla, traveling the wrong way on I-5 at State Route 94, slammed into it, CHP said.
- PUB DATE: 11/30/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KNSD-TV NBC San Diego

Report warns of crisis in Pennsylvania fire, rescue services

A report released Wednesday warns that Pennsylvania’s fire and rescue services face a crisis, saying the number of volunteers continues to fall amid funding needs and training challenges. The 95-page legislative study said there were about 300,000 volunteer firefighters in the state in the 1970s, a number that’s fallen to about 38,000 currently.
- PUB DATE: 11/29/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Bucks County Courier Times

Texas firefighter filmed by ex-supervisor sues city, fire department

Firefighter Kelly Gall is suing the city of Austin for failing to prevent sexual harassment from former Austin fire Lt. James Baker, who pleaded guilty in October to filming Gall in a fire station restroom. In a civil lawsuit filed in Travis County this week, Gall says the city failed to take action against Baker, her former supervisor, for previous reports of inappropriate behavior.
- PUB DATE: 11/29/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Austin American-Statesman

Michigan Twp. could withdraw from three-township fire department arrangement

Garfield Township Trustee Steve Duell used a metaphor of three farmers to describe why he believes the township should leave the Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department unless changes happen. These three farmers own farms of differing sizes — one small, one big and one medium, but each has equal say in what their neighbors do.
- PUB DATE: 11/29/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Traverse City Record-Eagle

Former New York fire chief sentenced to prison for stealing from department

Gerald Munson, the former chief of the Croton-on-Hudson Fire Department, and member of a family involved in the village fire services for nearly a century, on Wednesday was sentenced to as much as four and a half years in state prison for stealing $313,000 from the department. Westchester County Court Judge Larry Schwartz handed down the sentence two months after Munson pleaded guilty to grand larceny as a crime of public corruption.
- PUB DATE: 11/29/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: NY Journal News (Lohud.com)

Detroit firefighters concerned for safety after delayed police response to murder scene

The Detroit Firefighters Union is blasting Detroit police, questioning why it took police more than 20 minutes to respond to the scene of a murder. It happened Saturday at a home on Epworth Street on the city's west side. The first calls for help came in at 1:40 a.m. but police didn't get there until repeated calls for help were sent out.
- PUB DATE: 11/29/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WDIV-TV NBC 4 Detroit

3 Trapped Dallas Firefighters Rescued From Massive Condominium Fire

Three Dallas Fire-Rescue firefighters trapped in a burning condo while battling a massive fire Tuesday morning were treated for minor injuries after being rescued by an intervention team, fire officials say. The firefighters were among more than 100 called to battle a large four-alarm fire at about 9:30 a.
- PUB DATE: 11/28/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KXAS-TV NBC 5 Dallas - Fort Worth

California's privileged are hiring private fire crews to save their homes; Publicly funded firefighters aren't happy about it

When the Woolsey fire swept into the exclusive neighborhood of Bell Canyon, resident Yen Hsieh grabbed her late music teacher’s 200-year-old cello, some belongings and her son’s betta fish Sparky and fled, not sure whether her home would be destroyed. Hsieh said it’s not clear which of the firefighters — private or publicly funded — were responsible for saving her home, but she’s grateful.
- PUB DATE: 11/28/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: San Diego Union-Tribune

Virginia firefighter says city forced him out after learning he was gay

For decades, Scott Phillips-Gartner served as a member of Norfolk Fire-Rescue, first as a 911 operator and later as an assistant fire marshal and bomb squad technician. But then in October 2014 he married his longtime boyfriend, leading his bosses to find out he was gay. Phillips-Gartner, 55, says the department ultimately stripped him of his rank and directed him to start working out of a temporary facility miles away from his usual office “with little to no job duties.
- PUB DATE: 11/28/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Norfolk Virginian-Pilot/HamptonRoads.com

Houston mayor seeks law firm to advise on possible litigation related to firefighter parity pay measure

Mayor Sylvester Turner will ask Houston city council Wednesday to hire a law firm to advise the city on possible litigation related to the firefighter pay parity measure, setting in motion a potential court challenge to the item approved by voters earlier this month. While the firefighters union has urged the city to return to the negotiating table, Turner has questioned whether the city could preempt the ballot measure approved by voters, suggesting a judge should settle the question first.
- PUB DATE: 11/28/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle