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National Fire News

Arbitrator rules against Indiana fire union in 2016 grievance against city

An independent arbitrator recently ruled against the Kokomo firefighters union in a grievance case filed by Local 396 that accused city officials of not staffing a tanker in an effort to avoid overtime costs. The grievance, first filed in November 2016 and largely unrelated to the ongoing contract negotiation controversy, alleged that city officials violated a contractual agreement in its attempt to not pay overtime.
- PUB DATE: 3/6/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Kokomo Tribune

Former Connecticut captain charged with setting fire outside firehouse

Two prominent members of the town’s firefighter community, allegedly liquored up from a fire department dinner, are charged with setting their own fire outside the firehouse. Gregory Bomba, 45, a former fire captain, and William Tortora, 57, the brother of Fire Marshal James “Chic” Tortora, were being held in lieu of $250,000 bonds after being charged with second-degree arson, second-degree reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.
- PUB DATE: 3/6/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Connecticut Post

Kennedy Space Center firefighters preparing to strike, union says

For the first time in recent memory, Kennedy Space Center firefighters are prepared to strike. Their contract expired seven months ago and now they say the NASA contractor over fire and rescue operations is trying to cut retirement benefits and get rid of sick leave. Firefighters told Channel 9’s Mel Holt they’re still hoping to make a deal that will allow them to protect the space center without sacrificing their livelihoods.
- PUB DATE: 3/6/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WFTV-TV ABC 9 Orlando

In next major emergency, California county's leaders say they’ll send mass cellphone warnings

Sonoma County’s top elected and administrative leaders all agree if another major disaster struck the region today, one key aspect of their response would be different than when the historic wildfires ignited five months ago: They’d use mass cellphone alerts to warn the public about the emergency. And if rainfall from this latest storm triggered dangerous debris flows in the county’s fire-scarred hillsides, a team of designated staff members would immediately jump into action.
- PUB DATE: 3/6/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Piece of Fiery Building Falls on FDNY Firefighters Battling Blaze, 2 Hurt

VIDEO - Dramatic video shows a section of a burning apartment building in Brooklyn tumbling onto firefighters, injuring one critically, as they poured water on the inferno. Four firefighters were injured in the conflagration, which began about 12:30 a.m. Monday at 667 Jefferson Ave., a three-story brownstone where flames shot out of the second and third floors, officials said.
- PUB DATE: 3/5/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New York Post

Commission throws out malfeasance complaint against Wisconsin fire chief

The Janesville Police and Fire Commission on Thursday threw out a malfeasance complaint against Janesville Fire Chief Randy Banker, saying the former employee who made the complaint didn’t provide enough evidence to prove wrongdoing. Former Janesville Fire Department fire inspector Donald “Jeff” Bowen last year filed charges of malfeasance in public office against Banker, Janesville Fire Marshal Sue North and Janesville Fire Department union President Lt.
- PUB DATE: 3/5/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: GazetteXtra

Massachusetts firefighter injured in hit and run during Nor’easter

Police are investigating after a 25-year-old male Onset firefighter was injured in a hit and run during the Nor’easter on Friday. At approximately 7 p.m., Wareham Police Department patrol officers and Wareham EMS paramedics responded to Cranberry Highway in the area of the Onset Avenue intersection to the report of an on-duty Onset Fire Department firefighter struck by a passing motor vehicle, according to a press release.
- PUB DATE: 3/5/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New Bedford Standard-Times (South Coast Times)

Los Angeles mayor, council members ignored 2016 report finding waste, flaws in police and fire retirement program

Mayor Eric Garcetti and leaders of the Los Angeles City Council ignored a report urging them to eliminate, or drastically amend, a controversial program that pays veteran cops and firefighters their salaries and pensions simultaneously for up to five years. The Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP, was approved by voters in 2001 with a promise that it would keep veteran officers on the job a few years longer with no additional cost to the city.
- PUB DATE: 3/5/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Los Angeles Times

2 Chicago firefighters injured after ‘mayday’ call at multi-alarm blaze

Two firefighters were injured after an extra-alarm fire on Chicago's West Side Saturday morning. There was a "mayday" call at 1921 S. St. Louis in North Lawndale Saturday morning around 9:30 a.m. One of the firefighters, Michael Manchester, was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital and then transported to Stroger Hospital where he is in serious condition.
- PUB DATE: 3/5/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WGN-TV Chicago

Federal investigators reviewing what went wrong in Delaware fire that killed 3 firefighters

A year and five months after a Wilmington rowhome blaze claimed the lives of three city firefighters, federal officials are still investigating what factors made the Canby Park fire so deadly – and how the city can prevent similar tragedies. City residents and firefighters hope an upcoming report can help explain why the Sept.
- PUB DATE: 3/2/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Delawareonline.com

California legislators told firefighting efforts require costly improvements

State legislators Thursday heard testimony that preparation for California’s new era of catastrophic and deadly wildland fires will require costly changes to land management, building safety and firefighting services, amounting to a wholesale upgrade of the state’s firefighting force. “We have to increase our pace and scale of everything we’re doing,” Mark Ghilarducci, director of the state Office of Emergency Services, told the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.
- PUB DATE: 3/2/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Press Democrat

Amputee Firefighters Cross Borders to Form Bond

Brandon Anderson and Mike Laughlin took similar journeys into their firefighting careers. Both wanted to serve their communities and help others, and both enjoyed the everyday challenges of the fire service. These similarities between driven personalities form lasting bonds among firefighters across the country and around the world, but the connection between Anderson and Laughlin runs far deeper.
- PUB DATE: 3/2/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Firehouse.com

New Jersey firefighter pleads guilty to $7 million role in health benefits scheme

Margate, N.J., Firefighter Michael Sher pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to a $7 million role in an unraveling state health benefits scheme that has snared 16 people and, according to prosecutors, involved many more Shore-area firefighters, teachers, and public employees. Sher, 40, of Northfield, submitted his retirement papers to the Margate Fire Department last week, according to his attorney, William J.
- PUB DATE: 3/2/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Philly.com

Minnesota Fire Department drone initiative prepares to take flight

Aerial drones soon could become the latest tool in the Duluth Fire Department's arsenal of resources. On Monday, firefighter Nick Fleming briefed Duluth City Council members on an initiative he called the SUAS project — short for Small Unmanned Aircraft System. "For about the past 1½ years, we've been working on developing a small unmanned aircraft system for the Duluth Fire Department, primarily for our hazmat program.
- PUB DATE: 3/2/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Duluth News Tribune

Feds sue Houston over sex discrimination, retaliation claims at fire department

The Justice Department has sued the city of Houston over sex discrimination claims launched by two female firefighters who say their male coworkers tormented them by urinating on the women's bathroom walls and sinks and scrawling vulgar slurs on their belongings. Male firefighters allegedly turned off the cold water in showers to scald their female coworkers and disconnected speakers to prevent women from responding to calls in a string of bad behavior that eventually escalated to death threats, according to the lawsuit.
- PUB DATE: 3/1/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

Oregon firefighters ask for better mental health care

The Portland Firefighters’ Association Local 43 has launched an effort to seek more help from the city in coping with their most traumatic emergency calls. “We're trained to raise ladders and pull lines but we're not trained to deal with the stress,” said Isaac McLennan, Vice President of Local 43. McLennan said he's pushing to end a stigma some firefighters believe.
- PUB DATE: 3/1/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KGW-TV 8 Portland

Next Generation of National Mutual Aid System Launches in Four States

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Esri and the Intermedix Preparedness Division, soon to be Juvare, announced today that beta testing of the new National Mutual Aid System (NMAS) will begin in four states. In October 2017, the IAFC, leader in emergency response worldwide, entered into an agreement with Esri and the Intermedix Preparedness Division to build the next generation of NMAS software, which was originally developed by the IAFC in 2008.
- PUB DATE: 3/1/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: International Association of Fire Chiefs

Criminal charges likely to be dropped against FDNY firefighter in alleged death threat against comrades

Criminal charges against a firefighter who allegedly threatened to "kill" colleagues he claimed had mistreated him over his religious faith will be dropped in six months if he stays out of trouble and continues mental-health treatment. Raheem Hassan's case was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal during his appearance Wednesday in Criminal Court.
- PUB DATE: 3/1/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Staten Island Advance

Retiring Minnesota captain surprised at reception by Alaska firefighter he inspired

VIDEO - There’s an unexpected update to a story from last week about a Burnsville firefighter. Bill D’Agostino retired Wednesday afternoon after 36 years on the job. As we told you last week, he got a very special retirement gift from a longtime friend — Noah Hamm. It was a heartfelt thank you book, filled with photos of Noah visiting the Burnsville fire station since he was 6 years old in 2004.
- PUB DATE: 3/1/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WCCO-TV CBS 4

California Fire Chiefs Want To Begin Firefight Before Wildfires Start

California may be in the thick of winter, but state fire crews are on the front lines of a new battle. Fire officials met at the state Capitol Tuesday, planning for another destructive year and to prevent one like 2017. From Napa to Ventura County, 2017 may have been a record year for destructive fires in the state.
- PUB DATE: 2/28/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KOVR-TV CBS Sacramento