DALLAS TX May 20 2013 One firefighter was killed and two others were injured in a six-alarm blaze that has devoured at least 24 units at the Hearthwood North Condominiums at 12363 Abrams Road, near LBJ Freeway overnight.
Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans says the firefighter, who has been identified as 28-year department veteran Stanley Wilson, radioed in shortly before 5:30 a.m. that he was trapped and lost, at which point his radio went dead. It’s believed he became trapped when one of the floors collapsed. Almost three hours later his body was recovered from the wreckage.
The body was draped in an American flag as it was removed from the wreckage. Firefighters lined the path from the wreckage and saluted as Wilson was carried into an ambulance to be taken to the medical examiner’s office.
Wilson, 51, is survived by his wife and two sons. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said Wilson was a 1980 graduate from Lake Highlands High School, a few miles away from the condo complex where he died.
“He’s a hero, and as I told his boys, they should be very proud,” said Rawlings.
Two other firefighters suffered minor injuries from the blaze and are expected to be OK.
Evans says the call first came in at 2:52 a.m. Firefighters arrived to find an elderly woman trapped in a third-story unit. She was rescued and treated at the scene by paramedics. Evans added that firefighters rescued “at least five residents from the building.”
Due to gusty winds, it didn’t take long for the fire to spread: “It went to six [alarms] at 5:22,” said Evans.
“It got defensive pretty fast,” says Evans, who adds that “at least 24 units in the complex are completely destroyed.”
American Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster confirmed that number of destroyed units. Officials are still trying to determine if every resident is accounted for.
Foster said because these are independently owned condos, so there is not a list from management of the number of people who live in each unit. Red Cross volunteers are talking to each person watching the firefighters work, asking if they know who else lives in these 24 units.
Evans said because of the onlookers and people from neighboring buildings, it will take a while to discern whether anyone is missing and possibly trapped.
Mark Allen has been a resident of the Hearthwood Condos for two years. He was able to escape the early morning fire, but his apartment is destroyed. Firefighters were throwing shelves and end tables out of Allen’s unit. It seems crews were using Allen’s living room as another entrance to the unit next door, where firefighters continue searching for their missing colleague.
Allen said he already lost his job and has now lost nearly everything else.
“I’m just distraught,” he said. “The man’s got a plan, but we just have to wait and see what it is.”
Officials expect power and water to be cut off for more hours to come.
PHOENIX AZ May 20 2013
A Phoenix police officer and a city firefighter have been killed in two separate incidents, city officials said a news briefing Sunday morning.
Bradley Harper, 23, a two-year veteran of the Phoenix Fire Department, died after being crushed between two fire vehicles at a mulch fire Saturday near Lower Buckeye and 35th Avenue, said Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan.
Darryl Raetz, 29, a six-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department, died from injuries suffered in a hit-and-run crash early Sunday morning, said Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia.
Silent Witness is offering a reward for information leading to identity and arrest of the hit-and-run suspect.
“I ask every citizen on this tragic day to pray for the families and the safety of our officers and safety of our firefighters,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said Sunday morning. “The family of the fallen will never be forgotten.”
Khan said his department will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss funeral arrangements for Harper.
“I received a call at 1:30 a.m. (Sunday) that Bradley Harper passed away,” Khan said. “My thoughts are with his family.”
Phoenix police said crews were repositioning several trucks when the firefighter became pinned. It’s still unclear exactly how that happened.
Saturday night firefighters were huddled outside the entrance of the emergency room at the hospital while the young man’s wife and parents waited inside.
Khan described the firefighter as resilient. Khan said the 23-year-old volunteered to be assigned to Phoenix’s busiest fire unit.
Raetz was struck by a vehicle at 51st Avenue and Cambridge.
Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said Raetz was assisting officers processing a DUI scene. Crews were loading a vehicle onto a tow truck when Raetz was hit by another vehicle, Thompson said.
“The Phoenix Police Department will do everything we can to investigate this incident to the fullest extent,” Garcia said.
Anyone with information about any of these fugitives or crimes is asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS OR 480-TESTIGO.
No other information was immediately available.
TACOMA, Wash. May 16 2013- The Tacoma Fire Department is mourning the loss of firefighter Albert Nejmeh, who died in the line of duty on Tuesday.
Twelve-year veteran firefighter Albert Nejmeh, 59, was on scene of an aid call when he suffered an apparent heart attack.
After Nejmeh collapsed, he received immediate basic and advanced life support from his fellow firefighters, who then transported him to the hospital.
Fire Chief Jim Duggan said this is the department’s first line of duty death since 1988, and many of Nejmeh’s friends are struggling with this loss.
“Al was a wonderful man, he was unique, he lived a deliberate, genuine, and authentic life and we are going to miss him,” said Duggan.
Nejmeh was also a songwriter and singer. He was one of several Tacoma city employees who in 2010 wrote music and performed on “The CD of Tacoma Music Project Volume II.”
Tom Haneline was a Battalion Chief when Nejmeh started with Tacoma Fire in 2001.
“He’s a brother,” said Haneline. “You don’t meet people like that, maybe once in your life. It’ll never be the same now that he is gone.”
Details regarding the memorial service will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Albert Nejmeh Benevolent Fund c/o Tacoma Firefighters, 1109 South 50th Street, Tacoma, WA 98408. Other expressions of sympathy or condolences can be sent to Tacoma Firefighters at 1109 South 50th Street, Tacoma, WA 98408.
WESTLAND, Mich. May 10 2013 (AP) — A 29-year-old firefighter was killed Wednesday while fire crews battled a blaze at a Detroit-area strip mall.
A search and rescue team located Brian Woehlke’s body Wednesday afternoon in a gutted building in Westland, about 15 miles west of Detroit.
A mayday call went over the fire department’s communications system about 9:30 a.m., about the time the roof above one of the businesses in the strip mall collapsed.
It soon was determined that officials had accounted for all firefighters except Woehlke.
Rescuers pushed through the burned-out rubble until his body was found.
“He dedicated his life to protecting the residents of Wayne and Westland and this is a terrible loss for the firefighter’s family and our entire community,” Westland Mayor William Wild wrote on the city’s website. “This tragedy is a reminder to us all of the sacrifice that firefighters make along with their family and friends every single day.”
An official cause of death for Woehlke has not yet been determined.
Woehlke had only been with the Wayne-Westland Fire Department about 10 months. He lived in Dearborn, was married and had one child, according to Wild.
The fire was reported about 8:30 a.m. at the Electric Stick billiard hall and charity poker parlor. It was under control by noon.
The billiard hall and a nearby restaurant were destroyed. The blaze also spread to adjacent businesses.
Statement from Westland Mayor William Wild courtesy WDIV.com:
“I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our Westland firefighters who died in the line of duty this morning. He dedicated his life to protecting the residents of Wayne and Westland and this is a terrible loss for the firefighter’s family and our entire community. This tragedy is a reminder to us all of the sacrifice that firefighters make along with their family and friends every single day. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends, as well as the first responders of the Wayne-Westland Fire Department, who are mourning the loss of fellow firefighter, Brian Woehlke. Woehlke, 29, a Dearborn resident who was married and the father of one, had been a member of the Wayne-Westland Fire Department for ten (10) months. We are forever appreciative for the brave men and women of the Wayne-Westland Fire Department who put their lives on the line every day.”
Springfield AL May 8 2013 An Alabama fire officer fell ill at a structure fire Monday morning, and went into cardiac arrest prior to the arrival of the ambulance.
Springfield Vol. Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Stanley Martin Jr., 71, was pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to the Alabama Firefighters Association.
Following suppression activities, Martin, the apparatus operator, complained of shortness of breath. Chief George Henderson requested an ambulance. However, Martin went into arrest, and was assisted by personnel.
He was transported to Greene County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Officials from the Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs/Alabama Fire College are working to support the family and the local firefighters.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Mayhill NM May 8 2013 A wildland firefighter collapsed and died Sunday afternoon while working near Mayhill, New Mexico.
Fellow crew members administered CPR on Daniel Davidson, 26, but they were unable to revive him, authorities said.
A Life Flight helicopter crew also responded, but Davidson was pronounced dead at the scene.
A U.S. Army veteran who had served two tours in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Infantry Division, Davidson was assigned a crew member of Engine 621 on the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.
Details of the work project he was involved in when he collapsed have not been released yet.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Decatur AL May 2 2013 A 37-year-old member of the Oak Ridge (Ala.) Volunteer Fire Department became ill while searching for explosives in the woods on Monday, was hospitalized and died a few hours later.
According to a report published by the Alabama Media Group, Dale Scott Queen of Hartselle was on a call, assisting the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office assisting with an explosion. Queen was taken to Decatur Morgan Hospital after he began feeling ill during a search for possible explosives in the woods.
The cause of his death is unknown, but it wasn’t related to any explosives as none were found Oak Ridge Fire Chief Stephen Maples told the media group. The results of an autopsy on Queen were not made public as of Wednesday afternoon.
According to the news report, Queen, who made his living as a truck driver, was also a member of the Morgan County Rescue Squad and was a husband and a father of three sons.
According to his obituary, published by the Peck Funeral Home, Hartselle, Ala., Queen’s funeral will be held with firefighter honors on at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the funeral home followed by burial in Johnson Chapel Cemetery.
Visitation will be held at the funeral home on Friday, May 3, from 6 to 9 p.m.
WEST TX April 21 2013
An off-duty Dallas Fire-Rescue officer who went to assist a small town fire service in the explosion at a fertilizer plant is confirmed dead.
Captain Kenneth Harris, 52, lived in West and went to the fire at The West Fertilizer Company to lend a hand.
A 31-year veteran with Dallas Fire-Rescue, Harris was described as a “helper” at the scene. According to his father, Ken Harris, Sr., Harris was man who loved his work as a firefighter and never ran from danger. He is also survived by his wife, Holly and three sons.
West TX April 21 2013 When Morris Bridges got the alert about the West Fertilizer Co. fire on Wednesday, he knew dinner would have to wait. Friends say the 41-year-old fire sprinkler technician and West Volunteer Fire Department rookie kissed his toddler goodbye and told his wife, Carman, that he would be right back.
From miles around West, volunteers suited up and sped toward a fire on Jerry Mashek Road that turned out to be a death trap for Bridges and more than a dozen others.
Of the 14 confirmed by late Friday as victims of the massive explosion, at least nine were firefighters.
The West VFD alone lost five of its 33 members. Other members of the force who died included the town’s city secretary, two brothers who worked at a Waco iron plant, and the fertilizer plant foreman.
Three other volunteers from surrounding towns died, along with a Dallas professional firefighter who lived in West.
“It’s tough, man,” said Steve Vanek, West’s mayor pro tem and volunteer fireman who survived the blast. “All these guys we’ve known all our lives. One of the firemen that died was a lifelong friend of my son. I’ve known him since he was born.”
Vanek also said Friday that the West Volunteer Fire Department lost three of its five fire engines in the blast, including a new $200,000 pumper. He said the department will rebuild, but in the meantime it will need help from its neighbors.
As the deaths have been confirmed, grief has hit hard in this town of 2,800. West is a town where everybody seems like family, and often are. Same goes for the fire departments in West and surrounding towns, where pulling a hose is a hallowed family tradition.
“You talk about family — I mean, it really is,” Vanek said.
Case in point were longtime West volunteer firefighters Robert and Doug Snokhaus. Robert, 48, and Doug, 50, also worked at Central Texas Iron Works in Waco, where they were on the emergency response team.
“They were both amazing professionals at their respective responsibilities and not only long time employees but friends to everyone here at CTIW,” said company president David Harwell in an email to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
West was also grieving the loss of Joey Pustejovsky, who as city secretary was one-half of the regular staff of City Hall. City offices were closed Friday.
‘Always there helping’
“Joey was a very good person,” said Bernice Pustejovsky, 82, a relative who was injured at her home near the plant. “He had a lot of friends. Anytime the fire bell went off, he was there. What else can you say that is any better than that? He was always there helping.”
Cody Dragoo, 50, played a dual role in the response as both the plant foreman and a volunteer firefighter. Before his death Wednesday, he was known for his charity work in town.
“He was the most caring, giving person,” said Karen McCullough, who served on the Cottonwood Water Supply Board with Dragoo. “There would not have been a finer person in that community. I don’t know what I am going to do without him, to be honest.”
Morris Bridges had been in West only three years but quickly made himself at home, signing up last year for the volunteer fire department. His boss at Action Fire Pros in Hewitt said he was a family man with three children, and a hard worker.
“He was a first responder even before he was a first responder,” said Daryl Barber, vice president at Action Fire Pros. “He was always the first guy on the job, always up early, always there to help.”
As in West, firefighting families in neighboring towns were also grieving their losses.
Phil Calvin, chief at Navarro Mills Volunteer Fire Department, lost his son, Perry Calvin, in the explosion. Perry Calvin was 37 and was a volunteer at the Navarro Mills and Mertens departments.
Perry Calvin was a married father of two young children, with a third on the way, said his sister, Penny Sprouse. He was preparing to graduate from Hill College Fire Academy.
The fire department in nearby Abbott lost two young men, including Jerry Chapman, 26, the adopted son of former fire chief Darrell Strickland.
Chapman reportedly worked as a server in Hillsboro and was in emergency training classes when the fire broke out.
Abbott firefighter Cyrus Reed was also among the dead, said Abbott Mayor Harry Nors. He was a single man and commuted to a job in Waxahachie.
“Everybody’s devastated,” Nors said of the deaths. “We’re not doing a whole lot of talking about it. All of us in Abbott really are like a big family. It’s like we lost one of our own family members. I haven’t slept any amount since this happened.”
Response to the fire wasn’t limited to the volunteer fire departments, and neither was death.
Kenny “Luckey” Harris was a Dallas fire captain with two decades of experience but lived in West, and he ended up giving his life for his hometown.
“Our hearts are heavy and hurting with the loss of such a great firefighter, great husband and great family man,” said Dallas Fire Chief Louie Bright III said. Harris is survived by his wife, Holly, and three adult sons, including one who became a firefighter.
Those who knew Harris weren’t surprised that he rushed to the scene of the fire to offer his firefighting expertise.
Luckey’s nickname was something of a family joke. Family members talked about how he once nailed his thumb into a stud while working for the family construction business, and how he and his wife and sons were thrown out of a boat on Lake Waco when their motor exploded. The two-story house he built near West was demolished by a tornado, then rebuilt, then heavily damaged by fire caused by Christmas lights.
“He was legend in our family,” said his first cousin, Harriet Smith of Bryan. “Luckey stories were often told with great relish. They usually involved narrow escapes and near misses.”
But she said he was never short on courage or smarts, and he knew exactly what risks he was taking in attacking the fertilizer plant fire.
Buck Uptmor, 45, well-known as the owner of an Abbott-based fencing company and as a former professional bullrider, was another who rushed to the scene to help.
It could not be confirmed Friday whether Uptmor, a West resident, was a volunteer firefighter. But witnesses say he was toiling at the scene to move livestock out of the way when the blast occurred.
“It’s just a tragedy to lose people like Buck,” said Bill McKown, a retired Abbott schools superintendent.
Uptmor Welding and Fencing had recently fenced the city cemetery in Abbott and was about to do some work for McKown. He said Uptmor was always known for his toughness and courage.
“He was a real good rodeo rider,” McKown said. “I used to kid him that he had broken every bone in his body two or three times.”
Uptmore reportedly was married and had four children.
Also among the dead was Jimmy Matus, 52, the owner of Centex Welding in West. Matus had expanded the agricultural welding service to a company that manufactured and sold fire equipment across the U.S.
That expertise is probably why Matus showed up at the West Fertilizer fire Wednesday night, said his stepdaughter, Jennifer Kalina.
“He knew everybody in the fire department, and he was probably there showing them how to work it all,” she said. “He called my brother and said, ‘The fertilizer plant’s on fire, and I’m going to go check on it.’”
Matus was known as a dad to his brood of children and stepchildren, and Santa Claus to hundreds of kids at town events each December. Kalina said he loved to support local causes, such as a recent auction for an accident victim, at which he bought “a bunch of stupid stuff,” including two donkeys.
“He was a very caring man,” Kalina said.
Residents and officials in West this week expressed their gratitude for those who battled the blaze and helped neighbors to safety.
Among them is Bernice Pustejovsky. She had just gotten out of the shower when her son came over and said the fertilizer plant was on fire. As she went to the front door to look outside, the blast sent glass from her home on Jerry Mashek Drive into her face.
Paramedics arrived to assist her and were in such a hurry to get her to the hospital that she went without her shoes or leg brace, she said.
“I’m here, so we are thankful,” she said. “But I know what it is to be homeless. My house is gone, but at 82, I am going to rebuild. That is what we do in West. We don’t give up and we all help one another.”
Firefighters missing- “significant concern” concern after deadly Texas fertilizer plant explosion www.privateofficer.com
WACO TX April 19 2013 Volunteer firefighters are missing and reported looting is of “significant concern” today after a deadly fire and chemical explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant leveled buildings and prompted widespread evacuations.
The fire and explosion Wednesday night in a small town north of Waco sent at least 180 people to hospitals and authorities fear that five to 15 people could be dead.
“Homes have been destroyed. Part of that community is gone,” Waco Police Department Sgt. William Swanton said at a news conference today.
The blast at the West Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas, occurred just before 8 p.m., but officials still were struggling to tally the dead and injured early this morning and searching door-to-door amid the rubble for survivors, police said.
Swanton said the five to 15 deaths is a “rough number” and they are unverified. “There are still firefighters missing,” Swanton said.
He said an estimated three or four who are missing are volunteer firefighters, “meaning that they probably have a very large contingent of people that are willing to risk their lives for the neighbors and community.”
They are the first responders who were battling the fire when the explosion occurred, he said.
A firefighter and law enforcement officer who was previously mentioned as missing has been found, Swanton said. He is in a hospital with “pretty serious injuries,” he added.
Swanton said authorities are still in search-and-rescue mode and are not yet in recovery mode.
“I don’t have a number of how many they have rescued or how many potential bodies they have found,” he said.
Swanton also said that there is a “small amount of looting” that has happened and “that is a significant concern to us.”
“The town is secure. There are plenty of law enforcement officials that are stationed around the town,” Swanton said. “There is no fire out of control. There is no chemical escape from the fertilizer plant that is out of control.”
The Red Cross, mental health agencies and grief counselors are on hand to help the community, in addition to the neighbors who are already assisting each other.
“That is a very tight-knit, very family packed, family-oriented community,” Swanton said of the town of about 2,800 people. “They are leaning on each others’ shoulders.”
West EMS Director Dr. George Smith, himself injured and bloody, said he had not personally seen bodies to confirm deaths, but believed the blast killed at least two emergency responders to a fire at the plant before the initial explosion and a person at a nearby apartment complex that suffered serious damage.
In addition, some responders to the fire were believed unaccounted for after the blast, according to Smith, Swanton and West Mayor Tommy Muska.
As they gained access to the explosion site, officials said they were treating it as a crime scene.
“We are not indicating that it is a crime, but we don’t know,” Swanton said. “What that means to us is that until we know that it is an industrial accident, we will work it as a crime scene. ATF [the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] is conducting the main investigation.”
President Obama, in a statement, extended his condolences to the people of West and thanked first responders.
“A tight-knit community has been shaken, and good, hard-working people have lost their lives,” he wrote.
“My administration, through FEMA and other agencies, is in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure there are no unmet needs as search and rescue and response operations continue.”
The disaster even drew condolences from Pope Francis, who tweeted, “Please join me in praying for the victims of the explosion in Texas and their families.”
Earlier concerns about the possibility of dangerous ammonia fumes and shifting winds subsided by morning as fires died down, Swanton said before 6 a.m. ET.
“Air quality, at this point, is not an issue,” Swanton said. “It is not a concern.”
Nevertheless, numerous other concerns remained.
Witnesses reported heavy fire or concussive damage to a middle school, homes and an apartment complex near the plant, as well as to a nursing home, where more than 130 residents were evacuated, Mayor Muska said.
Buildings in a radius of about five blocks around the plant — including at least 60 more homes — were heavily damaged by the blast, officials said.
“It was almost tornadic in effect,” Swanton said. “It looked like to me one home would be fine and next to it there would be extreme devastation.”
State Trooper D.L. Wilson of the Texas Department of Public Safety described the initial fertilizer plant blast as “massive — just like Iraq, just like the Murray Building in Oklahoma City. The same kind of hydrous [ammonia] exploded, so you can imagine what kind of damage we’re looking at.”
The blast even registered as a 2.1-magnitude seismic event, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
It was felt 20 to 30 miles away, witnesses said, and near the plant it burned buildings, knocked down people, blew out windows and, according to Wilson, left the damaged apartment complex looking like “just a skeleton standing up.”
“It’s total chaos,” West City Councilwoman Cheryl Marak said soon after the blast, according to ABC News Radio. “There’s ambulances and fire trucks and police cars from everywhere.”
Marak told ABC News that the explosion killed her pet dog and destroyed her house about 2 1/2 blocks from the plant, as well as houses around it.
“With the explosions, the whole street lifted up,” she told ABC News. “It was like a massive bomb went off. It demolished both my houses, my mother’s and mine.”
“I think everything around us is pretty much just gone,” she added, according to ABC News Radio.
Keith Williams, a local resident, said his house also was destroyed.
“All the ceilings are out,” Williams said, according to ABC News Radio. “The windows are out. The brick’s knocked off the house. My big garage out back is half blowed in.”
He also saw “people with all their houses tore up across the street from me, on each side of me.”
By 5:45 a.m. ET, hospitals near the blast site reported treating 180 people. At least 16 patients at the hospitals were in critical condition and three in serious condition.
Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, Texas, saw more than 100 of the wounded, officials there said. Patients from the blast also were confirmed early Thursday at Providence Healthcare Network in Waco, Parkland Hospital in Dallas, and Scott & White Memorial in Temple, Texas.
The fertilizer plant exploded around 7:50 p.m. local time Wednesday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Emergency response audio told the story of the chaos among firefighters and others at the scene.
“We need every ambulance we can get this way,” one snippet said. “A bomb just went off. It’s pretty bad.”
“Firefighters down,” another said. “There has been an explosion.”
“The rest home has been seriously damaged. We have many people down. Please respond.”
There were subsequent explosions around 10 p.m., ABC News affiliate WFAA reported. The cause of the explosions was unconfirmed, but a dispatcher was heard warning crews to move away from chemicals in unexploded tanks.
Most fires were contained early this morning, officials said, but they continued to burn.
“It was smoldering still and it still is active,” Wilson said around 1 a.m. ET. “You know other ingredients [are] at the facility, so we don’t want that to explode again. So right now we can’t get firefighters in there. We’re worried about people right now, not property.
“We’re going to go back in and do another house-to-house search and see if anybody else, victims, are in the houses,” Wilson said. “That’s going to be going on all night.”
The town of West has a population of about 2,800.
Harold Hollingsworth was driving to a fire scene during a severe thunderstorm about 10 p.m. when his fire department SUV slid off the north side of the road near East Blue Mills Road and North Buckner Tarsney Road, where it struck a fence and then hit a tree, said Todd Farley, an assistant fire chief with the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District. Hollingsworth, a 16-year veteran with Fort Osage, was taken to Center Point Medical Center, where he died. The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating. This is the first time a Fort Osage firefighter has died in the line of duty, Farley said.
Binghamton NY April 9 2013 The Binghamton Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its own.
Firefighter/Paramedic John Janos, 57, was found dead in his bunk Saturday morning, according to The Press Connects.
Just hours before he was found, Janos, a 25-year veteran, had been on a call, and had walked up about five flights of stairs.
Chief Daniel Thomas told local reporters Janos was a “dedicated firefighter and loving family man.”
“John was a valued member of the department and a trusted friend,” Thomas said. “He had a true feeling of what it meant to help others.”
Binghamton Fire Capt. Edward Bergman also remembered his friend with a reporter recalling: “He was an all-around great guy to serve with. You could always count on him; he was always there for you.”
A local news photographer captured a smiling Janos tossing bright green beads during a parade last month.
Visitation will be held Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. at JA McCormick’s Funeral Home.
Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m., Wednesday, at St Thomas Aquinas Church.
PHILADELPHIA PA April 8 2013 (AP) — Philadelphia firefighters mourned the loss of one of their own in the line of duty for the third time in less than a year, saluting the body of a veteran captain as it was carried from the ruins of a three-story building that collapsed underneath him during a blaze.
“He’s the kind of guy who looked out for his folks — a big guy,” Ayers said. Goodwin had been with the department for 29 years.
“We have a department that is wounded,” Ayers said. “We have scars that are fresh, and indeed they have now been reopened.”
“We must never forget the grave risks that these heroic public servants take every day at a moment’s notice on behalf of us all,” he said. Saturday’s fire appeared to have started in a fabric store downstairs before spreading to upstairs apartments and a neighboring boutique, the store’s owner said. The proprietors of both stores told The Philadelphia Inquirer that everyone in both buildings at the time of the fire managed to escape.
Blumenthal said he smelled smoke coming from the basement at around 5 p.m. and found a box of collars and cuffs on fire. He tried to put the flames out with an extinguisher, to no avail. At the scene Sunday afternoon, a fire hose planted in the middle of the street sprayed a jet of water onto the remains of the building, which had collapsed into a pile that stretched over the sidewalk in between two other three-story row homes. A Red Cross official said several residents forced to leave had found other places to stay, but meals and counseling services were being provided for grieving firefighters. At Goodwin’s fire station deep in south Philadelphia, the flag was at half-staff and bouquets were clustered on and around a wooden bench along with a large toy fire truck and ladder. Goodwin was on the roof of the building when it collapsed, trapping him inside. Godlinski tried to rescue him before a second-floor roof and two walls also collapsed, officials said. Goodwin is survived by a wife and two grown children, Ayers said. The fire cut power to more than 300 customers.
A volunteer firefighter responding to a forest fire was killed when his truck went off the road near Ridgeville Sunday.
MARIETTA, Ga. March 11 2013 - Family members and colleagues are preparing to say goodbye to a Marietta firefighter who died while responding to a car crash.
HUDSON IL March 9 2013 – A 39-year-old volunteer firefighter for the Hudson Community Fire Protection District and career firefighter for the City of Bloomington was killed following a multi-vehicle accident near Hudson Tuesday night.
WWMT-TV and WOOD-TV report Wednesday that 22-year-old Nate Fruin was riding in a support vehicle Tuesday night west of Kalamazoo in Van Buren County when he complained of chest pains. The driver pulled to the roadside and summoned help.
Fruin later went into full cardiac arrest and died at a Kalamazoo hospital.
MLive.com reports that Fruin and another firefighter were taking water and refreshments to other firefighters battling a blaze at a home about four miles from their station when he fell ill.
WOOD-TV reports that Fruin had no cardiac history.
He joined the Mattawan department in 2009.
Hawkins County TN Feb 26 2013 A veteran Tennessee firefighter died Sunday following a response to a brush fire.
David Schnepp, 43, a volunteer with the Carter’s Valley Vol. Fire Department, had assisted with a brush fire about 5:02 p.m. Sunday, according to the Times-News.
Chief Mike Yates told the paper additional details would be released Monday evening by the Tennessee Federation of Fire Chaplains.
Yates said Schnepp, a 20-year fire service veteran, had been with the department for three years, and previously was involved with Lakeview, Bulls Gap and Striggersville fire departments.
Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency director Gary Murrell told reporters that Schnepp is the first firefighter to die in the line of duty in the county.
In December, Schnepp assisted with the rescue of an elderly woman from a house fire.
Yates told reporters who wrote about the December house fire: “I want to express how well all the departments worked together. Everyone was there, it was by the book and everything fell just like it was supposed to. We’ve been blessed with a very good group of firefighters.”
INDIANAPOLIS IN Feb 18 2013 (AP) — A second medic died early Sunday from injuries sustained when a car collided with an ambulance that was not on an emergency run and had the right of way in downtown Indianapolis, authorities said.
Paramedic Cody Medley, 22, of Indianapolis, died about 3 a.m. Sunday at Wishard Hospital, said Dr. Charles Miramonti, Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services chief. The driver of the ambulance, 24-year-old Tim McCormick from the Indianapolis suburb of Greenwood, died Saturday.
“These first responders were devoted to helping others and risked their own lives to do so every day on the job,” Mayor Greg Ballard said. “We stand by our IEMS family to give them strength in this time of grief.”
The accident happened near the Statehouse shortly after 3:30 a.m. Saturday, when traffic lights downtown were flashing. The ambulance had the right of way, police said, because it had a flashing yellow traffic signal. The traffic signal for the car was flashing red.
Both medics were wearing seatbelts, police said.
The car’s 21-year-old driver was released following a routine blood-alcohol test, police said.
A police officer who was the first to arrive at the scene said the woman was crying and said: “Oh my God. I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe I was in this accident.”
Medley, who was originally from Scranton, Pa., had been with the Indianapolis EMS since June 2010 and had previously been a member of the Sunman Fire Department in Sunman, Ind.
Miramonti said Medley was a skilled paramedic.
“His friends and colleagues described him as a fun and outgoing man who enjoyed his job greatly,” Miramonti said at a news conference Sunday.
McCormick, 24, was originally from New York and attended St. Lawrence University and IUPUI.
Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said Saturday that the deaths were the first known line-of-duty death of an emergency services worker in Indianapolis’ history.
Ballard called the deaths uncharted territory for the city.
“These folks, people like Cody, take care of all of us in our most difficult situations. We never really expect anything like this to occur to them,” he said. “They’re just on duty and a tragic accident, an unexplainable accident, takes their lives.”
Ballard asked that flags at all City-County facilities be lower to half-staff to honor the paramedics.
BRYAN, Texas Feb 17 2013 — Two firefighters have died and three others were injured after responding to a blaze at the Knights of Columbus Hall in downtown Bryan.
City spokeswoman Mary Stratta said Saturday that 36-year-old Lt. Eric Wallace died while fighting the fire overnight.
Three others were transported the burn unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston: 54-year-old Lt. Gregory Pickard, dies upon arrival at the hospital. Two other firefighters are hospitalized, 30-year-old Ricky Mantey Jr. and 21-year-old Mitchel Moran.
A doctor at the burn unit said Saturday afternoon that the firefighters may be hospitalized for more than a month due to their injuries.
Firefighters from Bryan and nearby College Station were called to the KC Hall in the 1500 block of Groesbeck Drive at about 11:20 p.m. Friday. Stratta said Wallace’s team went into the structure, but was ordered to evacuate.
Wallace didn’t come out and called for help, saying he was low on air. She said rapid response units found Wallace, a 13-year veteran, inside. An early report indicated Wallace became trapped when a portion of the roof reportedly collapsed.
The Texas State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating. The hall was vacant at the time of the fire.
According to KBTX-TV, Wallace, 36, was married with five children, according to the city of Bryan. He was a nearly 13-year veteran of the department. In June 2012, a fundraiser was held to help the Wallace family after the couple’s newest child was born premature.
In 2010, Wallace was honored by the 100 Club for bravery in a 2009 fire. He was off-duty, driving home from a shift when he saw a house on fire. When he found out the homeowner was still inside, he ran into the burning building. The homeowner was too weak to get out on his own, but Wallace pulled him to safety.
The Diocese of Austin, which includes the Bryan/College Station area, issued a statement Saturday afternoon offering their condolences to the families of the firefighters:
“We offer prayers for Lt. Eric Wallace and his family and for the firefighters who were injured. We offer our most sincere condolences to Lt. Wallace’s widow and his five children. We also seek the intercession of St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, for the recovery of the injured firefighters.”
Pickard has been with BFD for 32 years, according to the city. Mantey has served BFD for five years, and Moran for 10 months.
KBTX-TV also reported that a relief account has been set up at Wells Fargo for the fallen and injured firefighters’ families. Donations can be made to the Benefit Donation account for the Bryan Fire Department:
Wells Fargo Bank, Main Branch
Bryan, TX 77802
Attn: Bryan Firefighter Fund
SEMINOLE OK Feb 16 2013– The last words written on Dale Patterson’s Facebook page speak of unforeseen hardships testing a man’s faith.
“When the Lord sees our attention is drifting away from him, He might use hardships to draw us back so that we’ll give Him His proper place,” he wrote last week.
Patterson, a 56-year-old volunteer firefighter for the Strother Fire Department in Seminole County, died Thursday after getting into a fight with a fellow volunteer firefighter.
Now, fire Chief Nicholas Nadeau said he and his crew are feeling that test of faith.
“We are a very tight knit family,” Nadeau said. “Dale was a God-fearing Christian. I think he would tell us to pick our heads up and move on.”
According to the Seminole Producer, Nadeau said Patterson and another firefighter were fighting in the fire station when Patterson’s head struck a hard surface.
He was taken to Seminole County Medical Center and then by helicopter to OU Medical Center, where he died.
The Seminole County sheriff’s office is investigating the incident. No arrests have been made. The name of the other firefighter was not released.
Nadeau said Patterson joined the fire department six years ago after he finished a career as a narcotics agent in New Mexico. He described him as a good leader with a strong spirit. Through his six years at the department, he made his way up to captain and firehouse chaplain.
“He would give the shirt off his back in a blizzard,” Nadeau said.
He said the station is grouping together and working to support the other firefighter.
“We are here to support the family and the other firefighter,” Nadeau said. “Whatever the outcome may be, we’ll be there for him.”
Bennett, 55, died after battling throat cancer. A firefighter for 30 years, Bennett worked with both Chelsea and Pleasant Grove fire departments.
“It is with a heavy heart that I ask for your prayers for the family of Phillip Bennett,” Chelsea Fire Chief Wayne Shirley wrote in an email. “Phillip was forced to retire from our department a short while back due to his battle with throat cancer. Saturday morning, he finished the battle and now can rest without pain.”
Bennett’s fire apparatus, Engine 32, will join a processional from the Ridout’s Valley Chapel funeral home in Homewood to Union Springs Cemetery in Randolph for the burial.
“He served our community in an excellent manner and left a lot of our staff as better people from working with him. Please keep his wife, Debrah, and the rest of his family (as well as our fire service family) in your prayers. I am personally proud to have called him my coworker and my friend,” Shirley wrote.
Bennett’s viewing will be Feb. 13 from 4:30-7 p.m. at Ridout’s Valley Chapel, which is located at 1800 Oxmoor Road in Homewood. The funeral will be Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. at the chapel.
Any fire service agencies interested in participating in the processional should contact Shirley at 678-6060.
Source-Shelby County Reporter
LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC Feb 12 2013
A captain with the Columbia Fire Department is dead after a single-vehicle crash Sunday night.
According to Coroner Harry O. Harman, Anthony Charles Moye, 41, of Lexington was driving a 2002 Cadillac Escalade in the 1800 block of Jessamine Road in Lexington when he lost control of his vehicle and struck several parked vehicles.
The crash happened just before 10 p.m.
Moye was pronounced dead at the scene from severe head and body trauma, Harman said.
According to officials, Moye was with the department for 22 years and started as a volunteer.
Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins released the following statement:
“I and all members of the Columbia Fire Department were saddened to learn of the sudden and tragic death of Columbia Fire Department Captain Anthony Moye who was involved in an off-duty motor vehicle accident Sunday night. Captain Moye was a 22 year veteran of the department by starting as Volunteer Firefighter in 1991. In March of 1997 he became full time member of the Columbia Fire Department. There are no words to fully define this tragic situation and loss, but we honor his life and service to the citizens, community and country he served.”
The Highway Patrol has asked the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department to investigate the crash because the Moye’s wife is a Department of Public Safety employee.
WEST SENECA NY Jan 22 2013 A volunteer firefighter was sent to the hospital after being hit by a car while responding to a fire alarm Saturday night.
The incident happened on Harlem Road in West Seneca, when a member of the Winchester Volunteer Fire Department was helping guide a fire truck back out of a driveway after responding to a fire alarm, when an oncoming car struck the man.
Fire officials say the firefighter, whose name was not released, was knocked out of his fire boots, crashing onto the car’s windshield and flipping into the air.
The good news, that firefighter is expected to be alright.
“He was ambulatory after the accident at the scene, which is good, and he was originally saying “I’m alright I’m alright,” but we wanted him to get checked out. So Rural Metro transported him to South Buffalo Mercy and we’re gonna find out more information, but he seems to be doing well at this point,” Winchester Assistant Chief John Rusinski said.
West Seneca Police say the driver, who was not injured, will not be charged in this case. The firefighter was released from the hospital late Saturday.
Following the incident, fellow firefighters said this was a great example of the importance of the New York State “move Over” Law, and reminded drivers that when you see flashing lights or emergency vehicles to slow down and move to the other lane if possible.
Lewis County WV Jan 16 2013 Jan-Care Ambulance Services confirmed Tuesday morning that a Jan-Care EMT died following an accident on Interstate 79 in Lewis County.
A Jan-Care ambulance was returning to the station from an EMS transport when it collided with a flat bed semi truck Tuesday morning, according to Paul Seamann, Director of Operations at Jan-Care Ambulance Services.
Jan-Care EMT, Mark Kinder, 26, was injured in the accident and later died as a result of those injuries at Stonewall Jackson Hospital, Seamann said.
Seamann said the paramedic on board was also injured in the accident but has since been treated and released from the hospital.
No patient was on-board the ambulance at the time of the accident, according to Seamann.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department said the driver and passenger of the semi truck involved in the fatal crash were not injured.
There is no word on the cause of the accident.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department and State Police are investigating the accident.
Stillwater NJ Jan 9 2013 A New Jersey responder, who died behind the wheel of an ambulance early Tuesday morning, felt something wasn’t right.
William Martin, of Stillwater, was driving a patient to a landing zone from a deadly house fire when he was stricken, according to nj.com.
Stillwater Emergency Rescue Squad Capt. Michele Hess told reporters Martin felt something was wrong and tried to stop the ambulance.
“Even in his last minutes, he was trying to save everybody else,” Hess said. “He died doing what he loved.”
The patient, John Baer, and ambulance crew members survived, and were taken to a hospital in another ambulance.
Ironcally, it wasn’t Baer’s first brush with fire.
In 2003, the former propane-truck driver who triggered an enormous propane fire at the Able Energy Inc. facility in Newton which caused an evacuation of 1,000 people. No serious injuries were reported.
The rescue squad was mourning the loss of their longtime volunteer. “He was an awesome guy – and he loved what he did,” Hess said.
A prepared statement from the squad said: “His long standing dedication and commitment will forever remain an inspiration for all who follow in his footsteps…”
ST. GEORGE, SC Jan 8 2013
St. George police are investigating after a man was killed when his pickup was struck by a train on Sunday.
South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers and St. George Police Department officers were called out to NW Railroad Avenue, near Ann Street, around 5 p.m.
There are no lights or mechanical arms at the crossing, but there are several signs.
According to Police Chief Anthony Britt, the man driving the truck was a firefighter with the Grover Rural Volunteer Fire Department.
Britt said the firefighter was trying to cross the tracks before the train arrived. He also said the truck was dragged about 100 yards.
Britt said the train consisted of just a locomotive and a caboose.
The Dorchester County Coroner’s Office has not released the identity of the victim.
IOWA Jan 4 2013 A medevac chopper based in Iowa crashed Wednesday night, claiming all three crew members aboard.
Killed were Russell Piehl, a paramedic; Shelly Lair-Langenbau, a nurse; and Gene Grell, the pilot, according to KIMT.
The chopper, based at Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa, was on the way to pick up a patient when it went down in Ventura.
The President/CEO of Mercy – North Iowa, Dan Varnum, told reporters the loss is devastating for the organization.
“I know their colleagues in healthcare are grieving the loss with their loved ones,” said Varnum. “The entire organization and I send prayers to all who knew them. They were committed and dedicated to serving the people of Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota.
“They were each selfless healthcare professionals devoted to the delivery of emergency medical care. While they fulfilled significant duties, they played a greater role as our neighbors and friends,” he said.
The crash remains under investigation.