April 01, 2015
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Firefighter Close Calls
Maumelle police release video of crash with MEMS - Arkansas
MAUMELLE (KATV) - Maumelle Police Department released a video Thursday of an accident from December involving a Maumelle police officer and MEMS first responders. The accident landed a paramedic in intensive care at the hospital.Captain Jim Hansard with the Maumelle Police Department said the department has been working to regain the video since the crash.“We actually deinstalled the machine of the car and sent it in to the manufacturer and they were able to get the video out. That's why it took so long to get it,” Hansard said.MEMS Operations Director, Greg Thompson, said the paramedic who was in the back of the ambulance suffered serious injuries."He was in ICU for a few days. I mean he was...very significant injuries to his upper torso,” Thompson said. “He went forward and hit that refrigerator and if we could have slowed him down it would have made a difference. If he had have had a helmet it would have made a difference There's a lot of little things that if it would have been in place it would have made a difference."Hansard said the officers have continued to go through safety training when it comes to driving the vehicles.“We put them through simulator training for one thing over at the municipal league. They each go through a class that takes them through different scenarios on how to perform behind the wheel and that sort of thing. We try to keep on top of training,” Hansard said.For the first time since the accident, the injured paramedic is back to work as of this week."He recovered very well. He just got back on the truck this week. He's going through kind of a reorientation phase to be back fully functioning in a month,” Thompson said.According to Hansard, the officer driving the vehicle was reprimanded."He got less than 'days off' but it was substantial enough to show on his record that in case something else were to happen it would impact him pretty severely,” Hansard said. “Spotless record other than this, it was just an unfortunate accident. What can we say? It was clearly our fault. We will try to avoid this kind of thing in the future.”Thompson said MEMS is focusing on making its ambulances safer for first responders.“We've added this netting all of the trucks now are getting. We are sending the trucks down one at a time. We are putting these straps inside. These red straps aren't just there to secure the person. The red straps are there to secure equipment,” Thompson said.MEMS first responders and MPD officers do a lot of driving, which Hansard and Thompson said makes situations like December's accident harder to deal with."We run two shifts a day. 7a to 7p, and 7p to 7a...so 24 hours a day these guys are on the street and they average about a hundred miles per car per shift. That's 400 miles hours per shift, 800 miles per day, that's a lot of driving in a city this size,” Hansard said."We looked at that accident to figure out what we can do to make it safer. We drive a million miles more a year and so these accidents are very rare, so what can we do to make it safer for our crews,” Thompson said.Both agencies told Channel 7 they understood it was a true accident and are focusing on safety.&nb...

Police: 12 hurt in school bus crash; ambulance driver had suspended license - Indiana
John Scheibel john.scheibel@nwi.com, (219) 548-4358UNION TOWNSHIP | Twelve students were injured in a crash Tuesday morning involving a Valparaiso Community Schools bus and a Superior Ambulance Service ambulance.Police said the driver of the ambulance was driving with a suspended license.Two Superior Ambulance employees and a patient in the ambulance were taken to local hospitals.Porter County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Larry LaFlower said the collision was reported just before 8:45 a.m. on Ind. 130 at County Road 625 West.LaFlower said of the 12 students injured, one was taken to Porter Regional Hospital, five were taken to Porter's Portage Hospital Campus, and six were treated and released at the scene of the crash. LaFlower said all of the injuries to the students were minor.LaFlower said school officials had notified parents of the children involved.Officials at the scene reported 59 fifth-grade students from Memorial Elementary School and three adults were headed to the Challenger Learning Center at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond on a field trip.Police said the initial investigation shows the school bus was westbound on Ind. 130 and the ambulance was southbound on County Road 625 West.LaFlower said the driver of the ambulance, failed to yield the right of way to the bus. He said the license of the driver, a 23-year-old Griffith man, was suspended/infraction.LaFlower said anyone with a suspended license should not be operating a motor vehicle in Indiana. He said the driver faces multiple citations. Driving with a suspended/infraction status is not an arrestable offense, LaFlower said.Witnesses told police the ambulance had no emergency lights or sirens operating at the time of the crash.LaFlower did not know the nature of the ambulance run at the time of the crash.Calls on Tuesday to Superior Ambulance and Valparaiso Community Schools were not returned.&nb...

LAST ALARM: The final shift of Cincinnati Firefighter/FAO Daryl Gordon
Before the sun rose March 26, flashing lights illuminated the misty streets as fire truck sirens bellowed, echoing from Firehouse 14 racing to 6020 Dahlgren St.It was just another fire run, a call to duty for 54-year-old Cincinnati firefighter Daryl Gordon, who was just an hour and a half from signing off of his shift.Just months from retirement after proudly serving 30 years, first as a firefighter, and then as a Fire Apparatus Operator and Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician, Gordon could not have known this would be his last fire. 'It's On Fire'On duty since 7 a.m., Gordon’s shift was just about to end; 24 on, 48 off. It's a shift he'd worked for decades.It had been a busy night. There had been structure fires on Harrison Avenue, Queen City Avenue and President Drive.Then a half dozen 911 calls flood dispatch.“Cincinnati 911 what is the address of your emergency?”It’s 5:31 a.m. The 911 calls escalate quickly into a 4-alarm structure fire at a Madisonville apartment building. Gordon, along with the rest of his crew, swiftly whips on his turnout gear, easily packing on 50 pounds of equipment to his sturdy 6-foot tall frame.After piling into Heavy Rescue 14, he peels out of Station 14, at 5th and Central streets. Sirens erupt as he drives the 11 miles to complex.Bold, gold letters on the side of his truck: CINCINNATI HEAVY RESCUE, flash in unison with the red emergency lights as it barrels through the dark downtown streets.Gordon brings the truck to halt in front of the Kings Tower Apartments, a 5-story complex around 5:45 a.m.Residents, including children, are in the building. Gordon is a father of two daughters himself. Rain pelting him, Gordon bolts from the truck to the building as he’s done hundreds of times before.Smoke has filled the second floor, from a fire that started in apartment 27 on the back of the building. Rescuers can see residents who are looking out their windows -- looking for help.Intense heat exposes the ceiling’s reinforcing bar and slowly begins to melt, bending the structure’s support. And then among a firefighter's worst nightmares: Flashover.Then another on the second floor. A flashover happens during a fire when everything in an area is heated to an ignition temperature and flame breaks out. “Be advised, I see heavy fire on the second floor rear. It is not knocked down,” one firefighter warns over dispatch. "I've got a good visual on the fire. They've just about knocked it down. But, there's still a lot of smoke in the building.”As firefighters rush to rescue residents -- carrying children and aiding the ailing -- a surplus of medical units is requested for victims with smoke inhalation.After getting the fire under control, one firefighter moves slowly up Ladder 31. Ready to rescue residents from the fourth floor, Gordon makes his way through the dense, smoldering cloud of black smoke. The darkness hinders his ability to see what’s ahead.Gordon tugs open a heavy door, toward him, looking for residents. Commonly mistaken as an apartment door, this door leads to an elevator apparently stopped on the floor it was at when the fire started.Before he can see what’s on the other side of the door, he falls down the elevator shaft to the second floor.His body is wedged between the elevator car and the wall.Gordon is unresponsive and bleeding profusely.His fellow firefighters begin rescue efforts by first accessing the situation.“We have located the firefighter. He’s right along side the car. He is not responsive."His firefighting brothers work to save the man they have come to know as teddy bear.The requests are barked over the radio:“Command, go ahead and get me a RAT pack up here. I'm going to need an extension ladder, portable ladder, and we need that STAT!”“Rescue 9, I need you to breach the side of the elevator. I need you to bring tools u and breech the side of the elevator. Rescue 9. Rescue 14. Now! Third floor!”“I need Rescue 9 in the elevator to breach that elevator to get to the firefighter!”'He's going to fall another story'Rescuers flee in several directions gathering tools they need to bring Gordon out of the shaft.“I need them in the elevator shaft on the first floor. Ladders leaned against the wall. If he comes loose, he's going to fall another story,” another chimes in.“We're still evacuating people in the building. We have an active Mayday in progress. We're attempting to extricate the firefighter at this time.”In a momentary breath of relief, firefighters pull Gordon out of the elevator shaft.Voices bellow over the radio.“Firefighter has been extricated. We'll be removing him out. I need a rescue unit in the lobby ASAP!”“Firefighter's been extricated. Being treated… triaged and packaged right now. We're waiting to evacuate him out of the building.”Maneuvering over and around thick, heavy hoses scattered across the slick pavement four emergency medical technicians move in sync, racing out of the building with Gordon on a stretcher. His nose and mouth are enveloped with a breathing mask, replacing his fire gear.His fellow firefighters surround him. Several men hoist him into Cincinnati Medic 19, secure him into place and slam the double doors shut.As the ambulance races away, a crew of somber firefighters are left standing in the pouring rain, watching as the flashing lights blur and the interior-lit ambulance fades into the darkness.He is pronounced dead University of Cincinnati Medical Center's a short time later. A Hero’s EndingTwelve residents were rescued that day during the chaos, which also left two other firefighters hurt.“We lost a hero today, and we are all mourning,” an emotional Cincinnati Fire Chief Richard Braun said during a press conference. “Daryl lost his life in the line of duty to save others.”He leaves behind his wife, Angela, and two daughters, Angelique and Chelsea.Gordon’s visitation will be Tuesday at the Duke Energy Convention Center from 3-8 p.m. His fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, will hold a private memorial service at 7:30 p.m. at the convention center.More than 3,500 firefighters from Cincinnati, the state and the nation are expected to attend his funeral at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati.Firefighters have never left Gordon's side and they won't until the last bells ring during the burial service at Oak Hill Cemetery in Springdale. The bells signify his last alarm.- See more at: http://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/hamilton-county/cincinnati/madisonville/last-call-how-one-man-lost-his-life-saving-others#sthash.EfK9rWdC.dpuf...

NJ FF LODD – Medical, US Forestry Helicopter Crash at Controlled Burn (The Secret List)
 All- We regret to inform you of the Line of Duty Death of Firefighter Barry Van Horn, 63, of the Somerville, NJ FD. Firefighter Van Horn responded to a fire alarm call at 07:25 hours on March 25, 2015.  After the call, he returned to his office to fill out the fire report of the incident (Firefighter Van Horn was also the municipal Fire Official). He felt ill, however, and went home.  Shortly thereafter, around noon, Firefighter Van Horn suffered a heart attack.  He was transported by ambulance to Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center where he remained until his death on March 27, 2015. Our condolences to his family and all affected by his death. US Forestry Helicopter Crash at Controlled Burn While not declared a LODD as of yet. 2 US Forestry Department Contractors died, and another was very critically injured while operating at helicopter that crashed yesterday at a controlled burn in Harrison Co. MS. Eddie Baggett, prescribed fire specialist for the Forest Service, said the three on the helicopter were contract workers.  "We lost radio contact and somebody called me on the radio and said we may have an incident," Baggett said. "Usually, I'm talking to them all the time. We've got an ambulance on the way. Baggett lost contact with the crew shortly before 3 p.m.  A LifeFlight medevac helicopter arrived near the scene about 4 p.m. EMT units with American Medical Response were seen transporting one of the victims into the helicopter.  Members of the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will arrive on scene today to begin an investigation, Hargrove said. The controlled burn involved 800 acres along the Harrison and Stone county lines.  Sullivan said fire crews were called in from several areas, including Keesler Air Force Base, to extinguish some remaining hot spots in the area.  As of Monday evening, officials had not yet confirmed the identities of the victims or the cause of the crash....

A three-alarm fire that broke out Monday night on Milwaukee’s south side reignited into a four-alarm fire Tuesday morning. Some had to jump to an adjacent building in order to get out alive. A tavern and several apartments were destroyed.The fire weakened the backside of the building, and it collapsed Tuesday. As the building is set to be demolished, residents say it’s a miracle everyone is okay.Fire officials were initially called out to the scene near Cesar Chavez Drive near Walker Street around 10:30 p.m. Monday.Firefighters were called back to the building around 8 a.m. Tuesday after smoke was reported coming from the building. The fire was upgraded to a four-alarm.The three-story structure, which contains a bar on the first floor and apartments on the second the third floors, sustained significant fire and water damage. ...

We regret to inform you of the Line of Duty Death of Firefighter Barry Van Horn, 63, of the Somerville, NJ FD. Firefighter Van Horn responded to a fire alarm call at 07:25 hours on March 25, 2015.  After the call, he returned to his office to fill out the fire report of the incident (Firefighter Van Horn was also the municipal Fire Official). He felt ill, however, and went home.  Shortly thereafter, around noon, Firefighter Van Horn suffered a heart attack.  He was transported by ambulance to Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center where he remained until his death on March 27, 2015. Our condolences to his family and all affected by his death....

ER patient arrested after high speed chase in stolen ambulance - Texas
KAUFMAN, Texas — An ambulance was stolen Tuesday from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Kaufman and the suspect led police on a chase.Police said the suspect was a patient, identified as Jennifer Lee Luke, 34, who left the hospital's emergency room and sped away with the ambulance.The 10-minute pursuit — first by Kaufman city police and then by county units — ended near Kemp, southeast of Kaufman, after deputies were able to get ahead of the fleeing vehicle to put down "spike strips" that deflated the tires and brought the ambulance to a halt on County Road 148. Luke hit two cars and nearly ran over several pedestrians, Kaufman police said."The lady that took the ambulance... we'll never know why she did it," said Kaufman police Chief Dana Whitaker. "She was a patient over at the hospital, as far as we know, went out and got in it and took off... struck a car over there. As far as we know, nobody was hurt."Whitaker added that in his 37 years of law enforcement, he's never seen anything quite like this case.Luke was taken into custody and booked at the Kaufman County Jail under a $180,000 bond. She has been charged with Theft of Property over $100K, Evading Arrest or Detention With A Vehicle, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and Duty on Striking Unattended Vehicle....

DUMONT (WABC) -- An ambulance overturned during a multi-vehicle accident in New Jersey late Monday morning.There were at least three vehicles involved in the crash along Knickerbocker Road, at the intersection of Grant Avenue, in Dumont.Several people were injured, with at least one taken away by ambulance, and Knickerbocker Road was shut down between Lexington Avenue and Grant Avenue.There is no word on what led to the crash or the extent of the injuries.The ambulance that overturned belonged to Guardian EMS, based out of Paterson. The company has not commented.&nb...

Pilot killed in medical helicopter crash encountered "lowering clouds" - Oklahoma
By Glenn Puit |David DishmanMcAlester News-CapitalEUFAULA, Okla. — The pilot of a medical transport helicopter that crashed near Eufaula Thursday night encountered a lowering cloud ceiling and was attempting to turn the aircraft around at the time of the tragedy, according to comments by a federal official.National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Tom Latson and a team of experts are investigating the deadly crash of the EagleMed air ambulance chopper Thursday night in rugged, remote terrain west of Eufaula. The helicopter pilot, Matt Mathews, was killed. Two crew members, Kim Ramsey and Paramedic Ryan Setzkorn, survived.Latson said the crew had just transported a McAlester teen critically injured in a vehicle accident to St. Francis Health System in Tulsa and was on a return flight back to the McAlester Regional Airport at the time of the 11: 25 p.m. crash. Latson confirmed during a phone interview Monday with the News-Capital that the pilot encountered a lowering cloud cover just prior to the crash."While en route (back to McAlester,) the helicopter encountered lowering clouds, and the pilot had made the decision to return to Tulsa because of the lowering clouds," Latson said. "The lowering ceiling, (the clouds were) going from high to low."The helicopter crashed during what Latson described as a left turn."During their left turn to return to Tulsa, they impacted trees and rocky terrain due eastbound," Latson said. "The wreckage distribution was from west to east."The helicopter was technically destroyed by the impact," Latson said. "The rotor blades impacted trees, the fuselage impacted trees. The tail boom was separated from the aircraft and found less than 100 feet from the main wreckage. The front-end of the helicopter was separated from the main fuselage.”Latson said the main fuselage came to rest on its side."One of the crew members on board used a cell phone to notify his home base of his location and extracted the other person from the wreckage,” Latson said. “They waited for rescuers."Latson said a thorough investigation will seek to identify a cause of the crash. When asked if the lowering cloud cover encountered by the pilot played a role in the crash, Latson said it was not his job to offer an opinion on what caused the crash but instead to discern as many facts as possible about the tragedy. Those facts will then be forwarded to the National Transportation Safety Board for a full review."The main reason we do an exceptionally thorough and sometimes painfully long investigation is to determine the facts of the accident and make recommendations," Latson said.On the night in question, a storm front that brought an exceptional amount of rain to southeast Oklahoma on Friday was slowly moving into the area. However, an informal check of Oklahoma Mesonet weather observations performed by the News-Capital shows in the Eufaula area there was zero rain and maximum wind gusts readings of only 11 miles per hour around the time of the crash. The temperature was in the 50s."Our NTSB meteorology specialist is also doing a complete meteorology study of weather conditions as they existed before and during the time of the accident," Latson told the newspaper. "And we have an NTSB air traffic control specialist (to analyze) FAA air traffic control data and radar data."A spokesman for EagleMed declined to comment on this story, citing the ongoing investigation.Latson said Mathews did do a diligent review of weather conditions that evening.“There is evidence that the pilot did a thorough weather check before departure from McAlester and before departure from St. Francis,” Latson said. “They also have on board...access to graphical radar such as graphical radar reports. They don't have access to radar but they do have through an onboard computer the ability to look at it.”Latson said an inspection of the aircraft will include an examination of the aircraft’s engine along with a search for any equipment that would record flight data.The crash is the fourth for EagleMed in Oklahoma in recent years and the second fatal flight of an EagleMed helicopter based out of McAlester. On June 11, 2013, an EagleMed chopper based at MRHC crashed shortly after takeoff from the Choctaw National Indian Health Care Center in Talihina. A patient picked up at the facility died in the crash.“This is one of the moderately-large air ambulance companies,” Latson said. “The employees in the McAlester area are very proud of ...the job they do for the public. The coworkers of the people injured and killed are emotionally devastated, and the assistance and understanding of your readers is needed.”Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@mcalesterenws.com. ...

Horry County ambulance driver cited for accident on Hwy 905 - South Carolina
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – An Horry County Fire Rescue worker has been cited after an ambulance stationed in the Red Bluff community was involved in an accident on Highway 905 Sunday night while transporting a patient, according to an HCFR media alert.HCFR crews responded to the accident at about 10:45 p.m. Sunday on Highway 905 at Freemont Road and found the medic unit on its side and a second vehicle in a ditch, the alert states. Crews quickly accessed both vehicles and extricated all patients from both vehicles. Three patients from the ambulance and two from the other vehicle were transported to a nearby hospital, and are currently in stable condition.“Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in this accident and we hope that they all recover quickly from any injuries sustained,” the alert states.Sheri DeBari, 43, was ticketed by the South Carolina Highway Patrol for disregarding a stop sign, according to Corporal Sonny Collins. The ambulance disregarded the stop sign on Freemont Road and hit the vehicle traveling down Highway 905, Collins said.Cpl. Collins added that it is not common to have accidents involving emergency personnel. He added that SCHP prefers that the public pulls as far to the right as possible when emergency personnel come up behind them in traffic. If they are stopped in traffic and unable to move, he recommends they hold position, and the emergency personnel will work around them.When an emergency vehicle comes to a traffic light or stop sign, they have to be able to slow down, so they can stop if traffic is coming, Collins said. They are only able to disregard a red light or stop down if it's safe to do so.Battalion Chief Brian VanAernem with HCFR said that a safety panel is reviewing the incident and will make recommendations to the individual and/or department. He said the committee is usually harsh in its recommendations because safety is the top priority.The Myrtle Beach Fire Department is holding written and practical driver testing this week for its recruits, who go through 40 hours of basic driver training. Emergency drivers still need to complete more rigorous, specified training before getting behind the wheel during an emergency."Knowing how to operate the vehicle under extreme circumstances, weather-related emergencies, traffic," said Bruce Arnel, battalion chief for MBFD.Chief Arnel said safety is always the department's top priority."It's called driving with due regard," he said. "Just because you have lights and sirens doesn't give you the license to drive at reckless speeds or to ignore traffic signals and traffic lights." ...

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