HOUSTON TX May 22 2013 – Eyewitness News has learned that Katy Fire Chief Marc Jordan was indicted on two felony counts today.
Greenwich Village NYC May 22 2013
A Greenwich Village co-op board that has sued the city for blocking its entrance with bike-share racks nearly saw its worst fears realized Sunday when emergency responders had trouble getting to a 92-year-old resident in distress. An EMS crew encountered difficulties getting the sick man from the entrance of The Cambridge at 175 W. 13th St., around 60 feet of bike racks and to the ambulance. “I would like these bike racks to get out of the way,” the victim’s wife, Lee Liss, told The Post. “The ambulance couldn’t even come up to the building. The ambulance couldn’t get to him. These bike racks are a detriment.” Edward Liss, a retired physician who lives on the 20th floor, suffered an undisclosed medical emergency, according to authorities, and his family called for help around 2:30 p.m. “It’s exactly what this building feared would happen,” said Steven Shore, the building’s attorney, who filed a lawsuit over the bike racks last week. “The good news is the guy’s not dead.”
Parking spots for 39 bicycles create a barricade that runs the length of the 20-story co-op. The ambulance was forced to park three doors down along West 13th Street for the emergency call, the co-op board’s vice president, Dave Marcus, told The Post. It took EMS workers more than an hour before Liss was taken to Beth Israel Hospital. “With great difficulty they managed to get the guy out,” said Marcus. He called the kiosk, which was installed in the dead of night last month, an “impregnable wall.” “The ambulance was forced to pull in at the eastern-most portion of the bike rack, where they had a clear shot to the sidewalk,” Marcus added. Liss was recovering at Beth Israel yesterday. The Cambridge residents sued the city last Monday claiming the Department of Transportation put the rack on the wrong side of the street and then changed its maps to make the mistake look like part of the plan. John Dewitt Gregory, 82, a longtime resident who uses a walker, said the obtrusive stations have made his daily life so difficult he’s considering moving out. “It’s very difficult to navigate when I come outside the building,” Gregory griped. “I can’t get the walker through these stands because they’re just too narrow. Going and coming back has become a real pain.” A Department of Transportation spokesman maintained that the EMTs had no trouble responding to the call. The FDNY did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Source- New York Post
West TX May 11 2013 Federal authorities have filed a criminal complaint charging a paramedic in West, the town rocked by a fertilizer explosion last month that killed 14 people, with unlawful possession of a “destructive device,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced this afternoon.
“At this time authorities will not speculate whether the possession of the unregistered destructive device has anyconnection to the West fertilizer plant explosion,” the statement said.
The paramedic, 31-year old Bryce Reed, was arrested in West yesterday and appeared in federal court this morning in Waco, where he remains in custody, officials said, pending a detention hearing May 15. If convicted, Reed faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
According to the federal complaint, McLennan County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a residence in the nearby town of Abbott yesterday, where they found “an assortment of bomb making components” that the resident had “unwittingly” been given by Reed on April 26, nine days after the explosion.
The affidavit filed with the complaint said the components included a galvanized metal pipe, hobby fuse, lighter and several pounds of chemical powders — ingredients for a pipe bomb.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and the McLennan County sheriff announced Friday that they would open a criminal investigation into the plant explosion.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has led an investigation into the explosion since shortly after the incident, on April 17.
Asked Friday morning if the investigation had turned up evidence that the fire was not accidental, Franceska Perot, a spokeswoman at the ATF, said no.
As of Tuesday, the investigation into the origin and cause of the West Fertilizer Plant fire and explosion is ongoing, according to officials with the ATF and the state fire marshal’s office. Investigators eliminated the following causes for the origin of the fire: lightning, anhydrous ammonium, a railcar containing ammonium nitrate, and a fire within the ammonium nitrate bin. Additionally, investigators concluded water used during fire fighting activities did not contribute to the cause of the explosion.
Investigators say the origin of the fire was in the fertilizer and seed building, but they continue to work on pinpointing an exact location of origin.
To date, investigators have developed at least 237 leads, from which 411 interviews have been conducted. Approximately 29 state and federal agencies have assisted on the scene.
At a hearing at the Capitol on May 1, Kelly Kistner, the assistant state fire marshal, said investigators had not shut out the possibility of terrorism or criminal activity.
“A criminal act has not been eliminated,” he said.
DECATUR, Ga. May 3 2013 — You may remember the line from the movie Casablanca: “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
This story is a reminder of just how beautiful friendships can be.
First, meet Tad Landau; he has been a firefighter for ten years for DeKalb County Fire Station #1.
“People call us in their worst hour,” says Landau. “We see people when they don’t want to be seen.”
But, he notes, “Once you do the job, that’s the end of it. You wonder about people; you wonder how people are doing.”
Two summers back, Landau’s station received a medical call. An elderly woman had fallen at her home. Landau did not yet know it, but he was about to enter, not a one-time job, but that beautiful friendship.
At the home off Clairmont Road, he found a irrepressible character named Mary Wood.
A former employee with the city of Atlanta, Wood lives alone in DeKalb County. She has a non-stop motor and, while she rarely moves, she loves to chat.
Landau saw this immediately, but he also saw a woman with no air conditioning, no living family, and little help.
“She was afraid to let people help her,” Landau said. “I never thought our relationship would get to where it is today.
And where is that?
“Well, she’s part of my family now.”
Every third day, if they are not answering a call, Landau and his team drop in to see Ms. Wood.
“Even her neighbors now know, if they see a fire truck in the street, there’s nothing wrong,” Landau says. “We’re just here to check in on Mary.”
In the past two years, Landau has fixed Wood’s air conditioning and bought her a television. As Wood said, he has also become her best friend.
Late last month, with Wood’s 90th birthday approaching, Landau prepared a special present: a party at her church of more than 50 years.
To watch Ms. Wood at this party was to see a personification of happiness, gratitude, and friendship. She greeted old friends from the church and new friends who now provide her with additional help.
Of course, she saved a special place for Landau.
“She will talk about today probably for the next six months,” the firefighter said. “This is special. I know she’s really happy.”
Reno County KS May 1 2013 Nineteen year-old Cody Knox was arrested on Friday. He is charged with 14 counts of arson and accused of setting fires in October and November of last year.
Chief Kent Branscom, with the Reno County District 4 Volunteer Fire Department, says the departments saw a high number of calls last fall for fires that seemed unusual.
“We knew something wasn’t right,” Chief Branscom said.
Chief Branscom says they were all small grass fires that couldn’t have started on their own, but he says he never expected that one of his own would be arrested for starting those fires.
“It’s pretty surprising I mean for what he did for us and stuff ,it’s just one of those things you can’t believe it happened,” Chief Branscom said.
19 year old Cody Knox is charged with 14 counts of arson. He’s accused of setting fires in fields and ditches near Arlington. Reno County Sheriff’s Office Captain Steve Lutz says even though there were no homes or people nearby, each fire that was set put every single fire fighter that responded in danger.
“I for one look at arson at an attempted murder just like most firemen do because firemen, what do they do? They respond to the fire and they put the fire out no matter what,” Captain Lutz said.
Captain Lutz says they don’t know what Knox’s motive was yet but he says one possibility is that Knox set the fires just so he could fight them.
“It’s not unusual for a volunteer firefighter to be setting some of the fires. Especially when you’re young and rambunctious and there’s not many fires happening,” Captain Lutz said.
“You hear about it happening to other fire departments but you hope it doesn’t happen to yours,” Chief Branscom said.
Detectives say they first focused their investigation on Cody Knox after he crashed his car near the scene of one of the fires. They believe he was rushing back to the fire station so he could respond to that fire.
Knox was released from the Reno county jail on bond and is set to make his first court appearance Friday.
ADA COUNTY ID April 14 2013 — Seven agencies currently provide emergency medical services in Ada County. However, some of those agencies said this can delays at a scene, but there are plans to change that.
The Meridian Fire Chief, Boise Fire Chief and Director of Ada County Paramedics are getting together to join all the emergency medical services providers in Ada County. This would allow them to share resources, and create common practices. It is something they said is a long time coming.
Ada County groups are coming on board for a new way to run emergency medical services across the county. This would create a joint powers board, with an elected official representing each of the seven EMS providers.
“This whole agreement is about government working together rather than being in silos, delivering EMS for Meridian or Ada County Paramedics or Boise fire. We’re going to create a joint deployment model, and it’s about creating efficiency’s. And really this is about how we can deliver EMS better, faster, and cheaper,” said Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan.
The fire departments (or fire districts) from Eagle, Star, Kuna, Boise, and Meridian, along with the Ada County Paramedics and North Ada County Fire and Rescue will all be members. They will also have a medical directorate with two board appointed physicians.
“This is a way that we can really get rid of the boundaries and we can push in all of our equipment, both our fixed and mobile assets, and we can create a plan to respond to all EMS emergencies together,” said Doan.
All member agencies will have equal power because the joint powers board will require a unanimous vote on any decisions.
“When we’ve developed a model that everyone can sign off on, then we’ve achieved what we’ve set out to do. So will it be slower? It will. But at the end of the day, we’ll get exactly the right answer and it’s worth waiting for,” said Director of the Ada County Paramedics Darby Weston .
They hope this will streamline EMS response when seconds matter.
“Under this new joint powers agreement by being under the same standing written order, the same medical direction, the same standard operating procedures, we’re going to take away any of that clunkiness and really run an efficient scene to maximize patient care,” said Meridian Fire Chief Mark Niemeyer.
Doan, Niemeyer and Weston said even once everyone is signed on, there won’t be any big changes for the public right away. Changes will take place over time. They said they still have several stakeholder groups to talk with about the plan, including the City of Boise.
CHICAGO IL April 12 2013 – A Chicago Fire Department paramedic is no longer having any contact with patients, after officials discovered he had been working 14 months without a license.
It was a discovery made just a couple of weeks ago, and the Fire Department has been scrambling to correct the situation.
Fire Department Spokesman Larry Langford said the paramedic is still working, but is not having contact with patients until he can get licensed again.
The Fire Department said the error was a simple case of the paramedic not receiving his license renewal reminder in the mail.
Langford said the paramedic has to re-take the licensing exam, and cannot simply renew because so much time has gone by. He said the Fire Department feels it must be proactive to ensure paramedics are all licensed.
The department has been asking paramedics for proof of their licenses, and Langford said the city is setting up a software system that will remind paramedics when their licenses need to be renewed.
Langford said supervisors will also conduct regular license checks.
Asked if the Fire Department was concerned about lawsuits that might be filed against the city from patients treated by the paramedic during his 14 unlicensed months, Langford said, “people litigate against you under the best of circumstances. Our primary job is patient care.”
Gwinnett County GA April 11 2013 The gunman was killed and the four firefighters who were held hostage had minor injuries after a SWAT standoff in Gwinnett County on Wednesday. SWAT officers used “flash-bang” or concussion grenades to catch the suspect off guard as they entered the Suwanee home around 7:30 p.m. They exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was shot and killed. An officer was wounded, possibly in the hand or arm. The firefighters suffered some cuts and scrapes and were transported to Gwinnett Medical Center. The firefighters were all expected to be released Wednesday night.
Gwinnett Police Cpl. Ed Ritter said the suspect faked a heart attack and demanded from police that his utilities and cable be turned back on. The utilities and cable had been shut off because he was having some financial problems.
“It’s a very bold act,” Gwinnett fire Capt. Thomas Rutledge said. “People can often be desperate. We don’t know what the situation could be.” Rutledge said the department is thankful that police got the firefighters out unharmed. “It’s an incident people in public safety train for but hope never comes,” Rutledge said. “Tonight it did.”
The unidentified man originally had five hostages, but released one firefighter to move the fire truck, authorities said. SWAT went to the scene in the 2400 block of Walnut Grove Way on Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters had responded to a medical call at the home and shortly after arrival, around 3:10 p.m., they were taken hostage, authorities said. One fire engine and one ambulance arrived in response to the call.
In Gwinnett, firefighters are cross-trained as emergency medical responders and a medical emergency is a routine call for them, Rutledge said. He said the firefighters were given no reason to suspect they were walking into a dangerous situation, or else their protocol would have been to stage themselves outside and wait for police to enter the home first. Residents were being prevented from entering the Walnut Grove at Ridgeland subdivision. Across the street, a baseball game at Collins Hill High School scheduled for 6:30 pm was delayed and students lingered around the entrance to the school to watch police activity.
Neighbor Jaime Gossan said that she and her husband live three doors down from the home where the firefighters are being held. She said her husband saw the firefighters enter the home, and later saw SWAT officers — some 30 or more — surround the house. She said that her husband, who is still in the house, also saw a robot go up to the house. Gwinnett County police have a robot equipped with microphone and speaker through which they can talk to barricaded suspects. A Comcast cable truck was allowed into the subdivision at about 6:15 p.m. The Walnut Grove at Richland is a newer subdivision full of two-story traditional houses, across the street from Collins Hill High School. Neighbors said it was a quiet and safe neighborhood. “I’m blown away,” said Steven Hayes, who moved in with his fiance and two children about eight months ago, drawn from Marietta by the good schools and parks in the area.
“You’d never expect this here.” His fiancé, 8-month-old daughter and 4-year-old son were forced to remain in their house a few doors down from the barricaded suspect’s home as Hayes waited anxiously at the subdivision entrance Wednesday night. His fiance told Hayes that officers were coming in and out of their house to use the bathroom, and one officer had borrowed a phone charger. “My four-year-old probably thinks amusing,” Hayes said.”it’s like TV to him.”
Owner of Brotherly Love Ambulance Charged in $2 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme www.privateofficer.com
The information alleges that, in July 2010, the defendant began operating Brotherly Love Ambulance Inc. with a co-schemer. Kuran, or others acting at her direction, allegedly transported patients by ambulance when those patients could have been transported safely by other means and were, therefore, not eligible for ambulance service under Medicare and Medicaid requirements. It is further alleged that the defendant and others billed ambulance services for patients who were transported by Brotherly Love employees in personal vehicles or who drove themselves or took public transportation to their destinations. In addition, it is alleged that the defendant and other employees paid kickbacks to some patients to induce them to allow Brotherly Love Ambulance Inc. to transport them and paid other patients so that the ambulance company could use those patients’ information to bill for transportation that Brotherly Love Ambulance never actually provided. Finally, it is alleged that the defendant received kickbacks from other ambulance companies to refer patients to the other ambulance companies.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 15 years in prison, six years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, a $200 special assessment, and an order of restitution and forfeiture. The amount of forfeiture is currently estimated at over $2 million.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew J.D. Hogan and Paul W. Kaufman.
When the cop refused, Haley allegedly shoved him and the two got into an argument, with the cop shouting, “Get your hands off me!” and each calling for a supervisor, the sources said. Cops cuffed Haley and he was taken to Transit District Precinct 32 nearby, while other EMS workers brought the woman to the hospital. “The EMT was arrested for obstructing governmental administration. That arrest was voided,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said later yesterday. “Some dispute arose inside the ambulance, the EMT wanted the police officer to leave. The police officer didn’t want to leave. So that is the nature of the dispute.” Haley — who has been commended by the department for his lifesaving heroics at least twice — was led out of the station house at about 1 p.m. by an FDNY captain. He could not be reached for comment.
Idaho firefighting organization and Occupational Safety and Health Administration reaches settlement www.privateofficer.com
NASHVILLE, TN March 13 2013 From football to firefighting: it’s a transition few people make, unless you’re former Tennessee Titans tight end Erron Kinney.
Though he won’t be rushing to the scene anymore, Kinney expects to now be putting out fires of a different kind. It’s something he said the NFL has uniquely prepared him to do. “Believe it or not, a lot of the positive things I learned from that helped me to be an effective leader,” he said.
Oklahoma City OK Feb 22 2013
EagleMed officials confirmed that the victims are pilot Mark Montgomery, flight nurse Chris Denning and paramedic Billy Wynn.
“Our first priority is to tend to the families,” EagleMed spokesman Robbie Copeland said. Company officials were with the families Friday afternoon, he said.
A team of EagleMed officials were at the crash scene Friday afternoon working with investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board, Copeland said.
“We don’t know what happened and it may take months to a year before we know what happened,” he said.
12:45 p.m. Pilot Mark Montgomery and flight nurse Chris Denning died in the helicopter crash Friday morning and paramedic Billy Wynn was critically injured, according to email sent to employees from Bruce Lawrence, Integris Health president and CEO.
“We ask for continued prayers for his (Billy Wynn) survival and recovery,” Lawrence wrote. “Our hearts are heavy as Chris is a former Integris employee.”
Denning worked at Baptist Medical Center for nearly 10 years, starting in radiology and then moving to the intensive care unit.
“We mourn his loss as a member of our extended family,” Lawrence wrote. “We also extend our sympathies to the Montgomery family and all those who knew Mark.”
12:35 p.m. The helicopter crashed in the parking lot between Saint Ann Retirement Center and Saint Ann Nursing Home, said Tina Dzurisin, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
Seven staff members rushed to the crash scene to help. Three helped pull one of the crew members from the wreckage just before a second explosion, Dzurisin said.
One of the staff members received burns to her arm. “Some of them were being check for smoke inhalation, but there were no serious injuries,” she said.
Staff members remained at the nursing home Friday morning waiting to be questioned by authorities, Dzurisin said. Some staff members could get to their vehicles because they were parking in the secure area surrounding the crash site.
Staff members from the Catholic Pastoral Center and the Catholic Charities Saint Joseph Counseling Center have been on-site at the nursing home to assist the staff and the 180 residents.
None of the residents was injured.
“This is a painful tragedy for all affected, and our love and concern immediately go out to the victims of the crash and their families,” Archbishop Paul S. Coakley said in prepared statement. “We pray for peace and comfort for those who grieve the loss of the two crew members who died. We hope and pray, too, that the critically injured crew member makes a full recovery.”
11:30 a.m. The surviving crew member was taken to OU Medical Center. A spokesman said Billy Winn was in critical condition. He could not confirm the spelling of the man’s name.
10:50 a.m. An EagleMed Eurocopter AS 350 B2 made a hard landing Feb. 29, 2012, near Hugo during a night vision goggle check flight, according to NTSB records. Two people had minor injuries.
10:05 a.m. “No one was seriously harmed at Saint Ann,” said Tina Dzurisin, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. “We are still trying to access that. They are still operating. Obviously, trying to adjust.”
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. Feb 22 2013– Fire broke out Wednesday morning at a Montgomery County EMS Station, injuring a paramedic. The fire started just before 10:00 a.m. at station No. 23 along Highway 149 in Clarksville.
Montgomery County Fire Chief Ray Williams said it appeared the fire started in an ambulance.
One of two workers inside was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville because of smoke inhalation. Jeremy Menear was in critical condition as of Wednesday night.
Fire crews were able to get the blaze under control in about 20 minutes, but the ambulance was destroyed and the garage bay was also damaged.
Officials say it’s a blessing no one was killed in this fire. “When the smoke detector went off the bay area was already fully engulfed, so if an employee — if a firefighter or an EMT is a heavy sleeper — by the time they were awakened by the smoke detector, by the alarm, it might have been tragically too late,” said Ted Denny with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department.
The fire is suspected to have started in the cab of the ambulance, but the full investigation will not uncover that until state investigators are able to remove the ambulance from the garage. That’s expected to happen on Thursday.
It could cost as much as $180,000 to replace the ambulance. Law enforcement will be out at the station throughout Wednesday night to keep the building safe.
SEQUOYAH COUNTY, OK Feb 22 2013 – Oklahoma authorities investigating a mysterious death have come up with a rare theory. They are looking into whether or not a 65-year-old man died from spontaneously bursting into flames.
“This is a case that I’ve never seen before,” Sheriff Ron Lockhart said.
Family members found Danny Vanzandt dead Monday inside his home outside of Muldrow, OK.
“The body was burned and it was incinerated,” Lockhart said.
Lockhart believes the death could be a rare case of spontaneous human combustion.
“I think there’s only about 200 cases worldwide and I’m not saying that this has happened, I’m just saying that we haven’t ruled it out,” he said.
Lockhart said the fire didn’t damage the house and there were no signs of struggle.
“There was no damage to the furniture or anything around the fire, so it was a low heat fire,” he said.
Family said they noticed the back window of the man’s pickup truck was busted out.
Investigators sent the body to the medical examiner’s office in Tulsa, OK.
“If you read about spontaneous human combustion that’s what we have here,” Lockhart said.
He said Vanzandt was an alcoholic and avid smoker.
The autopsy report is pending.
Round Rock TX Feb 19 2013
A former Georgetown firefighter has sued the city of Georgetown in federal court, claiming he was discriminated against because he developed post traumatic stress disorder while on the job.
In the suit, Danny Tucker claims he developed the disorder after responding to a call involving the rescue of a teenager from a burning vehicle. City officials did not try hard enough to find him a less stressful job despite advice from his doctors, according to the lawsuit.
The city of Georgetown declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Under federal law the city was required to make a reasonable attempt to find Tucker another city job, said John Judge, Tucker’s attorney. Tucker, 41, declined to comment.
“My client is a good man who is trying to do the right thing, and his former employer didn’t play ball and made some half-hearted attempts,” Judge said.
Tucker was “treated differently than other firefighters who have suffered injuries to the visible anatomical structures of their bodies,” the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit Tucker, who had been a Georgetown firefighter since Dec. 25, 2000, developed intense anxiety, had nightmares and could not concentrate after seeing a teenager rescued on May 20, 2011.
Jacob Broadway, 17, was screaming while he was pinned inside a burning truck on Interstate 35 when firefighters arrived, rescuers said at the time. Jacob survived the wreck but was burned on more than 30 percent of his body, his father said in a previous interview. Jacob suffered 17 broken bones.
Tucker did not participate in the rescue but watched from the firetruck, Judge said. Tucker reported his symptoms to a battalion chief and requested help on May 26, 2011, the lawsuit said. He reported to work on May 29 but notified his superiors that he wouldn’t be able to finish the shift because of the symptoms, the lawsuit said.
The Georgetown Fire Chief at the time, Robert Fite, came to the fire station and said to Tucker: “Bad things happen, get over it,” according to the lawsuit.
Fite, who is now the fire chief in Grand Prairie, said Monday he had no comment about the lawsuit.
The city of Georgetown’s human resources director on June 2, 2011, referred Tucker to a doctor who diagnosed Tucker with PTSD, according to the lawsuit.
Tucker has had various doctor recommendations, including one who recommended that he return to modified duty at the fire department on Aug. 15, 2011, the lawsuit said.
Tucker was notified that his worker compensation benefits would be suspended since he had been released to return to work but he knew he was not ready to return and got a second opinion from a psychiatrist who also diagnosed him with PTSD, the lawsuit said.
Th city notified Tucker’s psychiatrist that there was an open position for Tucker in the municipal library, but when Tucker reported to the library on Jan. 16, 2012, the city’s human resources department told him that the job was no longer available, according to the lawsuit.
Tucker’s psychiatrist found out about another job within the city’s Parks and Recreation Department where Tucker reported for duty in February 2012, the lawsuit said. He worked there for five weeks until a city official told him to go home, saying the city had violated state and federal law by allowing him to come back to work in a modified position outside the fire department, the lawsuit said.
Judge would not say why the city thought it was against the law to allow Tucker to come back to work in a modified position outside the fire department.
Tucker is currently searching for a job in the private sector and with the city, said Judge.
Source: American Statesman
ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. Feb 10 2013 - Nearly four dozen arsons have been reported on the Eastern Shore in a matter of three months and officials are aggressively searching for a suspect.
Since November 2012, 44 arsons have been set in Accomack County, with the majority of them destroying abandoned buildings.
State Police say based on evidence that’s been collected, there may be several individuals working in connection for the majority of the arsons on the Eastern Shore.
The agency is “aggressively pursuing leads”, said Sgt. Michelle Anaya.
“From solid, old-fashioned police work to utilizing the latest in police technology, we have developed several strong leads as to who may very possibly be behind these fires,” Capt. T.A. Reibel, Commander of the BCI Chesapeake Field Office said.
WAVY.com’s Anita Blanton traveled to Accomack County and found that after three months of fires, conversations around a community in fear of the next arson make it clear that rumors are running rampant.
Martha McNair, who’s lived in the area for years said, “I feel like it’s an inside job. I feel like somebody obviously knows what’s going on.”
People in the town say their patience is wearing thin. “It’s outrageous really somebody should have caught this guy by now,” said Jeff Bender.
His wife Erin agreed, “I thought we were done with it and whoever it was had moved on, but I guess that’s not the case.”
To date there have been 44 arsons on the Eastern Shore since mid-November. “We hear about it the next morning and everybody’s like ‘Oh did you hear about the fire happening and this and that’,” said Tony Ramirez who lives next door to one of the burned structures.
WAVY.com also spoke with two residents who lived on property where firefighters battled flames just feet away from their homes. Donald Carroll was in disbelief, “He (a friend) called me and he said have you looked outside? And I said no and I look and see fire trucks and the lights are going on. Considering what could have happened and what did happen this is some kind of a miracle almost because it should have burned the whole thing down. Sooner or later this man or men or woman or whoever keeps doing this is going to burn something and one of our local firemen is going to get killed.”
For those wondering who could be behind it all and why police haven’t made an arrest, 10 on Your Side went to two experts for answers, Bernadette Holmes, a criminal justice professor at Norfolk State University and Doctor Velma Bacak, a psychiatrist at Riverside Behavioral Health Center. Dr. Bacak explained, “These are quietly angry people but they don’t show it. You see more personality disorders and alcohol abuse. Who knows if this is somebody who does it for thrills or maybe this is about revenge.”
Professor Holmes added that these crimes can be extremely hard to investigate. “You’re putting together those pieces of the puzzle and there’s so much property damage associated with this type of crime that it can take longer to solve,” said Holmes.
Investigators have released very little information about any potential leads. “We do believe it’s someone inside the community that’s very familiar with Accomack County. Right now any leads that we have are under investigation,” said Sgt. Michelle Anaya, with Virginia State Police.
Professor Holmes says it’s understandable given the nature of the crimes. “Law enforcement has to be very tight-lipped because one misstep, one misstatement could escalate the behavior of the perpetrator or it could give clues,” explained Holmes.
State Police say this investigation is extremely challenging, with the large area it covers and the fact that the crime scene is typically compromised by the time they arrive, simply from the fire fight.
“We have stepped up troopers, we have stepped up surveillance, we’re bringing in different types of agencies, state, local, and federal agencies. Our utmost priority right now is the security of this community,” said Sgt. Anaya.
Right now the main targets for arson in Accomack County have been abandoned or unoccupied buildings, but State Police want people to know how serious this is. According to state law, even burning an unoccupied structure is a Class 4 Felony that carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.
Investigators are urging anyone with information to call police. They also want residents to be vigilant especially if you see someone coming in and out at late times at night.
There is currently a reward of $5,000 for information leading to an arrests and conviction.
Nashville TN Feb 3 2013 Clad in a blue Hawaiian shirt, District Chief Bobby Connelly wore a smile on his face but had tears in his blue eyes as the hours ticked away Thursday during his final shift with the Nashville Fire Department.
“This is a special-day shirt,” Connelly said, standing between two fire trucks at Station 9, at Second Avenue South and Lea Street.
Connelly, 75, spent the last 53 years as a firefighter, an occupation he has never considered to be work.
“I try to tell everybody that my worst day is probably better than most people’s best day at work because I’ve never considered that I’ve worked a day in my life,” he added, his voice cracking.
But what many don’t realize is his worst days could be deemed hellish compared with most.
On Dec. 11, 1991, Connelly, a captain at the time, and three other firefighters were injured when a burning wall of a warehouse at Fourth Avenue South and Chestnut Street collapsed, leaving them trapped under the flaming debris.
Connelly sustained the worst injuries that day: two broken legs, internal injuries and burns to his face.
“The doors opened to Vanderbilt and we saw men covered in soot, and they’re all crying,” said Connie Connelly, the youngest of Bobby’s three children.
Those tears were a testament to the respect other firefighters had for Bobby — a respect that continued to grow throughout his tenure.
Perhaps his most haunting experience came on the night of Sept. 26, 2003, when a fire broke out at NHC Healthcare Center, a nursing home where his 96-year-old mother lived.
Connelly’s mother had perished by the time he reached her room, and 16 others were killed in the blaze.
“Bobby became an advocate to get sprinklers put in nursing homes after that,” said Fire Department spokeswoman Kim Lawson. “Tennessee then became the first state to make sprinklers in nursing homes mandatory.”
‘Everybody loves Bobby’
Connelly’s purposeful stride belies his age, and his positive spirit has filled the station.
“Everybody loves Bobby, and Bobby loves everybody,” said Johnny Dendy, a retired fire captain who worked with Connelly for eight years.
Connelly donned a blackened helmet, singed from fiery battles. A Tennessee Titans logo on the side is faded and covered in soot.
“Believe me, that helmet he has on is a true reflection of what he has been through,” Dendy said.
According to Lawson, the Titans made Connelly, who has rarely, if ever, missed a home game, an honorary 12th man last season.
Throngs of peers, past and present, posed for pictures and swapped stories of their time with their fearless leader.
In between those visits, Connelly spent his last day battling a house fire in North Nashville.
“This is something I love.”
Connelly plans to spend his retirement traveling with his wife, Freda.
“I suspect he’ll be back,” his daughter Connie added. “Bugging them, I’m sure.”
Connelly rode home after his final shift with his fellow firefighters on Engine 5. At several intersections along Nolensville Road, fire trucks were parked with their lights on as men and women stood alongside saluting their chief.
“It’s time,” Connelly said, wiping away tears. “I’d rather be here with them, but it’s time. I’ll miss the people, the men and women of the fire department, most.”
Around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, police said another customer at the gas station yelled at the paramedics and tried to pull one out of the medic unit.
The man was eventually arrested, but he did injure the paramedics. One suffered cuts to his eye and the man apparently bit the other medic in the arm.
Police said the injuries might have been more serious if it weren’t for Vicki Disney. The social worker from Vancouver, Washington, was also getting gas. When she saw the man go after the paramedics, she thought someone might get killed.
When the men tackled their attacker, Disney jumped on top of the man to help restrain him until police arrived.
“I think in this world we all need to help each other,” said Disney.
The paramedics are back on the job.
A Centralia Police spokesperson said Disney may get a special commendation from the chief for helping out the paramedics.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Jan 24 2013 AP — An Arkansas 911 operator did not enter a call into a computer system that would have notified police and fire dispatchers of a mother and son trapped inside a vehicle in a pond, authorities said Wednesday. The woman died hours later, and her 5-year-old son was in critical condition Wednesday, police said.
The Little Rock operator who handled the call from 39-year-old Jinglei Yi has been placed on paid administrative leave while authorities try to figure out what happened. The operator has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Yi called 911 about 8 a.m. Monday after her vehicle hit a patch of ice, went over a curb and ended up in the pond, Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Cassandra Davis said. A county dispatcher transferred the call to the 911 operator, who spoke with Yi briefly before hanging up and contacting an ambulance service.
An ambulance was dispatched a few minutes later to the west Little Rock pond, but police officers and firefighters weren’t dispatched until about a half-hour later — after the ambulance service called to verify that they were en route.
It’s still not clear whether the delay played any role in Yi’s death. A doctor pronounced her dead at a local hospital at 11:45 a.m. Monday. A medical examiner is expected to determine the exact cause.
Laura Martin, who directs the city police and fire departments’ communications branch, said the operator did not enter Yi’s call into a computerized dispatching system that would have alerted police and fire dispatchers. The operator also ended Yi’s call instead of using a transfer option that would have allowed her to keep Yi on the line while contacting the ambulance service, she said.
“Proper protocol would be … we have a one-button transfer switch where you get (the ambulance service) on the line and you remain on the line with them until you’re sure that they have handled the call,” Martin said.
On the 911 call, which The Associated Press obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, a county dispatcher describes Yi’s situation to the operator in Little Rock while Yi remains on the line.
Then, Yi describes her location and says there is water in her vehicle.
“The water is in my car right now,” she said.
The Little Rock operator asked Yi for her name and asked her to hang on.
“OK, ma’am, we’re going to get some help on the way for you, OK?” the operator said.
“OK. Thank you,” Yi said. Then the call appears to end.
Neither Davis nor Martin would identify the operator, who was hired in March and completed a six-month probation period in September.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.Jan 13 2013– One person has died and four people are hurt after a crash involving a Meade County EMS vehicle near Flaherty, Kentucky.
Meade County Sheriff Butch Kerrick said it happened on Ky. 313 at Ky. 333, south of U.S. 60 at about 7 p.m. Thursday.
Kerrick said the crash occurred when the driver of one vehicle apparently ran a stop sign and struck a Meade County EMS ambulance. The collision forced the ambulance to roll on its side and also involved a third vehicle.
The driver of the first vehicle died at the scene, Kerrick said. Medics took a baby from that vehicle to Kosair Children’s Hospital for treatment; they also drove a paramedic and an EMT to University of Louisville Hospital for treatment of their injuries. The driver of the third vehicle was taken to Hardin Memorial Hospital at Elizabethtown for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, Kerrick said.
Kentucky State Police troopers are investigating the crash. Ky. 313 was expected to be closed for several hours Thursday night.
Kerrick said he was not aware if the ambulance was on an emergency run at the time of the crash.
ELI WHITNEY NC Jan 9 2013– A firefighter with the Eli Whitney Fire Department is expected to make a full recovery after suffering a heart attack while on a call last week.
As it turns out, Capt. Tim Skinner was in the right place at the right time. He suffered his heart attack while surrounded by fellow firefighters. All were trained in CPR and the equipment needed to shock Skinner’s heart back to life was at the ready.
“I feel sure if it weren’t for these guys, I wouldn’t be talking to you today,” Skinner said Monday afternoon.
The incident took place about 5:30 p.m. last Tuesday as Skinner and other rescue personnel were responding to a call about a traffic accident near the intersection of East Greensboro/Chapel Hill and Raymond roads. Skinner, 50, said he’d been deer hunting earlier in the day.
He may not have been feeling his best, he said, but he didn’t feel bad. Skinner figured that tightness in his chest was indigestion.
When Skinner was standing in the road, he began feeling a little light-headed. Floyd McBane, a safety officer with the fire department, heard Skinner call his name, but figured he was just being warned about oncoming traffic.
The next thing anyone knew, Skinner had collapsed on the road, his head thumping off the pavement as he fell.
“Man, I don’t remember nothing,” he said. “It was, ‘bam!’ I was out.”
Skinner was experiencing full cardiac arrest.
“I flat-lined,” he said, choking up as he told the tale. “I was dead.”
Skinner’s heart was shocked back to life once at the scene and three more times after he was transported to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. Skinner said he owes his life to several people involved in his rescue — but especially to brothers Chris and William Mauney who he was told were administering CPR within 30 seconds of his collapse.
Skinner couldn’t have chosen a better pair to have a heart attack near. Both the Mauneys are volunteers with the Eli Whitney Fire Department. In addition, they’re both EMT’s — William employed by the Alamance County EMS and Chris on the staff of Life Flight out of Chapel Hill.
“If it weren’t for them, I’d be dead,” Skinner said.
In a few minutes, the Mauneys had Skinner stabilized to the point he was ready to be transferred to the hospital. Doctors later determined the source of his problem was blocked arteries. A pair of stents were inserted. Skinner was released from the hospital on Friday though he had to return Monday to have his medication regulated.
Members of the Eli Whitney Fire Department hold training on Tuesday nights and Skinner plans to attend this week, though he said, “I’ve got to take it easy for awhile.”
Skinner and his wife, Sherri, have a son, Steven, 29, who is also an EMT. Skinner’s full-time job is owner of Skinner Masonry.
“Everything happened for the best,” said Kenny Saul, chief of the Eli Whitney Fire Department. “In a lot of ways, he’s very lucky.”
He said had Skinner suffered his heart attack at home or almost anywhere else, “He’d almost surely be dead.
Saul managed a chuckle as he recalled the story. He wasn’t at the scene where Skinner collapsed, but noted he received numerous calls from Eli Whitney firefighters, all excited about what happened.
“I told them, ‘You know what to do, you’re trained, he’s alive,’ ” Saul said.
Skinner said doctors have put him on a diet. In the past week he’s dropped from 255 pounds to 235 pounds. He said he’s on seven medications — for his heart, for high cholesterol and for high blood pressure.
“They all jumped,” Skinner said of his fellow firefighters responding when the emergency arose. “Thank God they were there.”
DUPONT PA Dec 22 2012– Dupont volunteer firefighter David C. Donnora was the first to respond to a fire last week that engulfed a Main Street home, fire officials and police say.
That’s because he’s the one who set the blaze, state police charged Thursday.
Police say the 23-year-old set a fire on a rear porch of 251 Main St. about 6:50 a.m. Dec. 10, returned home and then rushed to the fire station to put on his firefighting gear when someone called 911 to report a fast-moving fire with a person possibly trapped. He then helped fight the fire he lit, police say.
Arrest papers say a state police fire marshal became suspicious of Donnora while investigating the fire because Donnora “was following him, taking interest in what he was doing.”
Fire Marshal Ron Jarocha, who eventually ruled the fire arson, asked firefighters what they thought occurred and Donnora offered “evasive” answers, arrest papers say.
Jarocha interviewed other firefighters, who live closer to the fire station than Donnora, and they said Donnora was the first fireman to arrive for the fire call and was almost done suiting up before they arrived.
Arrest papers say initial responders were told a person might still be inside the home when the fire broke out and firefighters conducted an interior search before learning the resident had already left for work. While Jarocha was investigating, he noted Donnora said, “I didn’t know anyone lived there,” which added to the suspicions, arrest papers say.
Fire crews limited damaged to a rear porch and two rooms, fire officials said.
In an initial interview, Donnora told police he responded so quickly because he was on his way to the gym when the fire call came out. During a follow-up interview, Donnora admitted to setting the fire when investigators told him they suspected him, state police say.
Donnora told police he used a lighter to ignite a couch, returned home and then responded to the fire when 911 dispatched his department.
Donnora, of 433 Highway 315, Pittston, is charged with arson, reckless burning and criminal mischief. He was arraigned Wednesday by on-duty Magisterial District Judge David Barilla, who released Donnora on $25,000 unsecured bail. Donnora will appear for a preliminary hearing at 1 p.m. Dec. 26 in front of Senior Magisterial District Judge Andrew Barilla in Pittston.
Donnora joined the Dupont Volunteer Fire Department just three months ago after completing a background check, Dupont Fire Chief Donald Hudzinski said.
Hudzinski said Donnora was immediately terminated when state police determined he was the suspect in the arson blaze.
“The Dupont Fire Department takes a firm stand against this type of behavior and will continue to cooperate with the Pennsylvania State Police to ensure justice is served,” Hudzinski said.
GAYLORD MI Dec 17 2012 — An ambulance driver was arrested this weekend for drunk driving while on the job.
Police say 28-year-old Daniel Albrecht was transporting a car accident victim and a young child to Otsego Memorial Hospital when a caller tipped them off that Albrecht was driving while drunk.
When Gaylord Police arrived at the hospital, they determined Albrecht had been drinking and arrested him on the spot.
“In my 18 years in law enforcement I haven’t personally seen anything like this or even heard of anything like this,” said Brett McVannel, Gaylord Chief of Police.
Albrecht is a long time employee for Tri-Township Ambulance in Atlanta. The company tells 7&4 News that Albrecht has a clean record.
In a statement issued today, the company says: “Tri-Township Ambulance Service will remain providing excellent ambulance service to the community hospitals and patients and we will continue to remain commited to the health, safety and well-being of their patients and personnel.”
“It just goes to show that alcohol does truly encourage making poor decisions and as any public safety, we rely on these people to take care of our family and friends,” McVannel said. “When you make poor decisions like this case, it puts people’s lives in danger.”
Albrecht was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated and Child Endangerment. He was taken to the Otsego County Jail where he posted bail and is awaiting arraignment in January.
He has been suspended without pay.