Aug 072014

A woman suffered smoke inhalation when flames broke out in her home early Monday. And, Philadelphia firefighters say that hoarding hindered their efforts as they fought back flames in the woman’s Olney section home.

The flames broke out shortly around 2 a.m. in a corner row house at W Ashdale and 3rd Streets.

A 60-year-old resident suffered some burns and suffered smoke inhalation includoing soot in her mouth. Crews rushed her to Temple University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Firefighters remained at the home putting out hotspots for hours. They said that even though they made quick work putting out the flames that their efforts were hindered by a potential hoarding situation in the home.


#hoarding#clutter …


Apr 152014

When you think about your “work environment” as a firefighter, do your thoughts jump immediately to the station? In fact, your work environment is much, much larger.

“One of the things I like to ask firefighters is, ‘How can I improve your work environment?’” says Sean DeCrane, battalion chief for the Cleveland (Ohio) Fire Department. “Some people say they need exhaust systems on the apparatus floor, others answer that they want to separate the turnout gear from the living quarters to protect firefighters from exposure to carcinogens—and then of course you get the guy who wants a big flat screen TV for the training room. Those are all good improvements, but they’re not improving the working environment; they’re improving your staging area.”

In military terms, DeCrane says, the staging area is where you gather supplies and troops, where you prepare for deployment and where you regroup and rest. “Where you deploy is your area of operation—and in the fire service, those are the buildings we respond to and operate in. And many times when we do that, the buildings are under duress,” he says.

This is the basis for DeCrane’s quest to get firefighters more involved in the building code—as well as the message behind his FDIC seminar held today, “Firefighter Safety and the Codes: a Necessary Partnership.”

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Apr 102014

One of the cops trapped in a Brooklyn apartment building fire allegedly set by a bored teen died Wednesday morning sources said.

Officer Dennis Guerra had been declared brain dead and was on life support at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, where he was transferred after doctors struggled to stabilize him at Coney Island Hospital and Jacobi Hospital. But he was pronounced dead at 6:50 a.m., the sources said.

Family members keeping a vigil Tuesday had wept outside an intensive care unit in a hallway crawling with concerned cops and a police department chaplain.

Guerra, 38, a married father of four, and his partner Rosa Rodriguez, 36, were the first two on the scene of a fire in a Coney Island apartment building, where they were immediately overcome by dense smoke as they stepped off a 13th-floor elevator and into a hallway where a mattress was set on fire. Rodriguez was in critical condition at Cornell Medical Center’s burn unit in Manhattan where she was placed in a hyperbaric chamber.

After the accused arsonist, Marcell Dockery, 16, told investigators he was “bored,” according to sources, he was caught on camera with a wide grin as he was walked from a Brooklyn precinct, a gesture that outraged cops and Guerra’s heartbroken family.

“We saw him smiling on TV, is this a joke? We are going through so much right now,”Guerra’s mother Miriam said Tuesday outside her home before rushing off to the hospital as Guerra’s condition worsened. “This is a very tough time for us. Because he was bored, two officers are now fighting for their lives, and one of them is my son,” she said before Guerra passed.

Dockery — who set up an entire Facebook page devoted to his “obsession” with fire — was charged with felony arson and assault and reckless endangerment.

Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton visited Guerra’s family at the hospital. “The tragedy here is that a 16-year old young man would not have common sense enough to understand the implications of lighting a mattress, as has been alleged, on fire in his own building,” Bratton said before the hospital visit. “How can any of us make any sense out of that?”

De Blasio saluted Guerra and Rodriguez for their bravery.

“We have such respect for what they have done for this city,” de Blasio said. “We feel for their families as they go through this terrible time, but we know that these two officers did what they did because people were in danger and they answered the call.”

Republished with permission of The New York Post

Mar 272014

Fire season is coming early this year thanks to the dry winter.

U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service officials raised the fire danger to “high” Tuesday morning across northern Arizona’s pinyon-juniper and lower elevation ponderosa pine forests. The increased fire danger includes parts of Grand Canyon National Park, as well as the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests.

Areas below the Mogollon Rim surrounding Sedona had already jumped to high last week. According to officials, high fire danger means that wildfires can “start easily from most causes” and that grasses and pine needles will ignite readily. Campfires left unattended and brush fires are also likely to escape and spread easily, officials say. The two higher danger levels are very high and extreme.

Fire managers say that the current fire season is tracking one month ahead of schedule due to dry forest fuels and warm weather.

Officials believe that the Flagstaff area could also reach high fire danger in the coming week or so if there is no precipitation. No fire restrictions are currently in place.

Mar 242014

MANCHESTER — Ann Marie and Bobby James had just received their dinners while celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary at the Longhorn Steakhouse on South Willow Street. Before either could lift a fork, though, city police and fire officials abruptly closed the restaurant about 4 p.m. Friday, saying its sprinkler and alarm systems were not working.

“We couldn’t even dig in,” Ann Marie James said. “As soon as the waitress put our plates on the table, we were told we had to leave.”
Hunter Robinson, a spokesman for the restaurant chain, said in a statement that the restaurant “experienced a problem with our fire alarm system today and had some issues trying to resolve it, even with the assistance of the local fire department.”

He said the system was repaired later Friday night and that the restaurant would be open today.
“This was a very frustrating day for our Manchester team, who didn’t want to disappoint our guests or employees, and we feel badly about the chain of events that occurred. We want to thank the local fire and police departments for their help and patience today,” the statement said.

City District Fire Chief Jim Michael said the Fire Prevention Bureau had offered to allow patrons already in the establishment to finish their dinners while a fire truck was parked outside in case of a fire, but a manager refused, saying she wanted to keep the restaurant open for its normal business hours.

“That didn’t work out. She didn’t want to be shut down,” Michael said of the manager. “I guess it was fairly contentious.”
Police Sgt. Richard Brennan said no arrests were made.
“They called us because they said the manager was getting out of control,” Brennan said. “Officers went there to keep the peace and calm down the manager.”

When the manager refused the initial offer, the Fire Prevention Bureau ordered the restaurant closed and asked all patrons to leave, Michael said.
“They can’t operate the establishment without a working suppression system,” he said.
Reached by phone, Robinson said he wasn’t at the restaurant and couldn’t comment on the reports of the manager’s interaction with officials.

Several cars that pulled up to the restaurant Friday evening drove over to the neighboring T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant. Manager Richard Davey said the Friday night dinner rush was up significantly because Longhorn Steakhouse was closed.

“We got a good push when the alarms went off,” he said. “It helped us out considerably.”