Detroit Lakes Minnesota Firemen Turn Staged Demonstration Crash Scene Into A Real One – Sending 6 People To The Hospital

May 5, 2012

DETROIT LAKES, MINNESOTA – A bizarre incident in Detroit Lakes this morning where a mock crash almost turned into a real life tragedy.

The mock crash was staged right here along Madison Avenue near the High School, you can see benches are still in place where the nearly 400 students were standing. An unmanned fire truck that officials believe was in neutral with the park break on began sliding and rolled about 30-feet into the mock scene, sending six people to the hospital.

These are pictures from the scene moments after the accident. Detroit Lakes police say their were two cars staged with both student and community volunteers.

The fire truck hit the first car at a low rate of speed less than 5-miles-per-hour, but the 36-thousand-pound vehicle pushed both cars about 15-feet. Two students, an EMS worker, two community volunteers and a state trooper were all injured in the incident.

From what we gathered, everyone has been treated and released from the hospital, calling it just bumps and bruises. Tonight at six, hear first hand from students who saw the terrifying accident.

Appeared Here


Broke-Ass New York City To Close 20 Fire Companies To Save Money

April 6, 2011

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The secret is out.

CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer has learned exclusively some of the fire houses on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s chopping block. Some say shutting them down could put your safety at risk.

Twenty fire companies are on death row including, sources said, Engine 271 in Bushwick. And unless there’s a last-minute reprieve communities all across the city across could be in danger.

“It’s very serious. Mayor Bloomberg is asking the Fire Department to roll the dice on public safety. If you close one fire company, let alone 20, even one fire company will impact the safety of New Yorkers,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, D-Queens.

“When response time goes up you’re talking about loss of property and loss of life,” added Councilman James Vacca.

Vacca is all fired up about the expectation that Ladder 53 on City Island — in his district — is on the closure list.

“We know our budget is bad but no one can justify jeopardizing life and limb and public safety,” Vacca said.

Sources told Kramer that others expected to be on death row are Engine 161 on Staten Island and Engine 4 at the South Street Seaport.

When Engine 4 left the firehouse on a call Wednesday, firefighters wondered whether it would be among their last in the dense Wall Street area near ground zero.

Kramer asked fire union official Edward Boles to explain, for example, what closing Engine 4 would mean for fire safety.

“Engine 4 is the first engine to respond if there was any tragedy at Wall Street,” Boles said. “Wall Street is the economic capital of the world. They’re also a mass de-con unit, so if there was a major terrorist attack they would be the first ones to help out.”

People who live and work in the area are terrified.

“It’s such a compact neighborhood that you need someone here to respond quickly to any type of fire because it would spread like wildfire,” said Tom Rooney, who works in the area.

“Its scary, it’s absolutely scary. I don’t know what else to say,” Lower Manhattan resident Toni Sosinsky said.

“A lot of new apartments around here. All of these office buildings have become apartments, so I don’t think you should close it down. When you look at the density of the amount of people who are moving down to the Financial District, now they need it,” added Michael Springer, who also works in the area.

And Boles has a message for Mayor Bloomberg:

“Please, for the sake of the citizens of New York City and for their safety, don’t put dollars before lives,” Boles said.

The FDNY is already operating with nearly 600 fewer firefighters. City officials said it doesn’t expect to release the full list of the doomed 20 until sometime next month.

Appeared Here


Albuquerque New Mexico Police, Bernalillo County Deputies, Firefighters,State Police, And National Guard Freak Out Over "White Powder" At School

February 3, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO - Ten people are being medically tested after a letter was opened containing a mysterious white substance at Taft Middle School.

State police spokesman Peter Olson said a school employee in Taft’s administrative building opened a letter that was addressed to Taft Middle School just before dismissal Monday which contained a mysterious white powder. Police said four other people were in the room with that employee.

One of the people in the room called 911 and firefighters responded. Four initial firefighters called in backup from state police and the National Guard.
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The National Guard is analyzing the white powder to see whether it is dangerous. National Guard officials said the five employees, the four fighters firefighters and a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy stayed in quarantine and were later transported to University of New Mexico Hospital for further testing.

Officials said no students were exposed and the school was not locked down. Employees managed to do an orderly school dismissal.

The powder is now being taken to the state crime lab in Albuquerque for official tests.

The commander for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Unit with the National Guard said every threat is taken with care and caution.

“You know, if you look at the situation, if it got out of hand or had explosives connected to it, or was weaponized, it would be a threat to the state and to all these kids here at the scene,” said Lt. Col Bill Shuert. “We go in and do our operations like it’s the real thing.”

State police will take over the criminal investigation and work with the postal service to find the person responsible.

Appeared Here


Albuquerque New Mexico Police, Bernalillo County Deputies, Firefighters,State Police, And National Guard Freak Out Over "White Powder" At School

February 3, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO - Ten people are being medically tested after a letter was opened containing a mysterious white substance at Taft Middle School.

State police spokesman Peter Olson said a school employee in Taft’s administrative building opened a letter that was addressed to Taft Middle School just before dismissal Monday which contained a mysterious white powder. Police said four other people were in the room with that employee.

One of the people in the room called 911 and firefighters responded. Four initial firefighters called in backup from state police and the National Guard.
sponsor

The National Guard is analyzing the white powder to see whether it is dangerous. National Guard officials said the five employees, the four fighters firefighters and a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy stayed in quarantine and were later transported to University of New Mexico Hospital for further testing.

Officials said no students were exposed and the school was not locked down. Employees managed to do an orderly school dismissal.

The powder is now being taken to the state crime lab in Albuquerque for official tests.

The commander for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Unit with the National Guard said every threat is taken with care and caution.

“You know, if you look at the situation, if it got out of hand or had explosives connected to it, or was weaponized, it would be a threat to the state and to all these kids here at the scene,” said Lt. Col Bill Shuert. “We go in and do our operations like it’s the real thing.”

State police will take over the criminal investigation and work with the postal service to find the person responsible.

Appeared Here


Donations To Police And Fire Charity Telemarketing Campaigns Mostly Support The Telemarketers

February 2, 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA — The calls were always the same: telemarketers claiming he’d promised $20 to a Florida charity.

Coral Springs resident Jerry Mayer didn’t remember pledging money. He told the callers they were wrong. He had an illness in his family. He just wanted to be left alone.

But the phone kept ringing at least once a week until he mailed a check, he said.

“I am sending you the $20 under what I feel is harassment and undue pressure that my wife and I cannot handle at this time,” Mayer wrote the group.

The persistent, and ultimately successful, solicitation calls were on behalf of the Florida Association of State Troopers, one of dozens of state-registered charitable organizations that say they benefit police or firefighters.

Such charities customarily solicit donations with pledges that your money will assist the law enforcement officers or firefighters who keep us safe. But a Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel investigation has found that if you donate as a result of a phone call or a letter asking for money, at least half of your gift is likely to end up in a telemarketing firm’s pocket.

According to state records and federal tax returns obtained by the Sun Sentinel, of the police and firefighter charities operating in Florida, 25 take in more than $500,000 annually each and spend less than 25 percent of that money directly on their stated missions whether it’s to help disabled police officers or police and firefighter unions.

Most law enforcement agencies – such as the Florida Highway Patrol, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office – have no direct relationship with these organizations and don’t receive a single dollar from them.

Instead, the Sun Sentinel found that the bulk of money the charities take in goes to private telemarketers or fundraising efforts, with the cash sometimes going to such things as salaries for the charity officials, or for lawyers to represent law enforcement officers in actions involving their agencies.

This is legal. Neither state nor federal authorities dictate how charities use their money as long as they can show that a portion – no matter how slim – is going to charitable purposes, said Terry McElroy, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, which oversees charities operating in Florida. Such groups also are exempt from Do Not Call lists.

Private watchdog organizations say such organizations are exploiting Americans’ deep-seated respect and support for men and women who put their lives on the line for them.

“It’s ironic that the very people who are supposed to be protecting us are participating in a scheme to rip us off,” said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity monitoring group based in Chicago. “If people understood what is going on, people would not support these groups.”

Among the Sun Sentinel’s findings in its review of state and federal records:

* The Florida Highway Patrol Command Officers Association — a group of 188 ranking and retired FHP command officers — took in nearly $4.6 million in 2007, the last year for which state records were available, but spent only $162,425 on program services. Ninety-three cents of every dollar contributed in 2007 ended up going for fundraising.
* The Florida Association of State Troopers, which represents at least 850 members of the Highway Patrol, paid nearly 70 percent of the $2.5 million it raised in 2007 to a private telemarketing company. A 2006 tax return shows the association paid its executive director a salary of more than $92,000.
* A Panhandle couple — Terry and Lorna Morrison — earned a combined $206,000 over two years for running two charities dedicated to disabled police officers: the Disabled Police Officers of America and Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center of Florida, tax returns show. During the same time frame, the two groups spent about $291,000 on services for disabled police. The 2007 tax returns show that 83 percent of the $1.47 million raised by the groups went to pay for fundraising.

Of all charities operating in Florida, two comprised Highway Patrol employees the Florida Association of State Troopers and Florida Highway Patrol Command Officers Association ranked among the four most complained-about charities with the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services last year.

FHP spokesman Capt. Mark Welch said the two groups work to improve the lives of members, but FHP gets no money from them. He said he has never heard criticism of the groups’ fundraising efforts.

One of the complaints last year against FAST came from Mayer, who says he mailed the group a check so it would stop calling.

“It was all for just $20,” Mayer said in an interview. “They kept asking, ‘Where is your $20?”‘

FAST officials could not be reached for comment despite several attempts by the Sun Sentinel to contact them. In the state’s file on Mayer’s complaint, which included a copy of the letter he sent with his check, FAST replied that Mayer pledged money last Feb. 19, and that he was placed on the group’s own do-not-call list June 16.

The state file says Mayer’s complaint was “closed satisfactory.” Mayer said he received a form letter from the state that it had received his complaint.

In an interview, Steven Williams, president of the Highway Patrol Command Officers Association, said his nonprofit organization has worked with private telemarketing firms since being formed in 1996, and couldn’t raise money otherwise.

Association members — all of whom have the rank of lieutenant or above — pay $50 in annual dues, said Williams, himself a Highway Patrol major. In exchange, the group offers scholarships for their children, has a professional lobbyist to represent members’ interests in Tallahassee and pays for a lawyer if the Highway Patrol takes action against them.

However, according to state records, the No. 1 beneficiary of donations to the association appears not to be state troopers, but an out-of-state fundraiser, Civic Development Group. The company’s recent contract with FHPCOA allows it to keep as much as 90 cents of every dollar it raises.The Edison, N.J.-based firm is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission, on accusations that it misled the would-be donors it calls by making them believe they are dealing directly with charities, not a professional fundraising business.

Errol Copilevitz, an attorney for Civic Development, said the company denies the FTC’s allegations.

Copilevitz, who represents many of the country’s major telemarketing firms for nonprofits, said it typically takes 12 phone calls to get one contributor and then, less than half of them follow through on the promised donation. By using telemarketing firms, the charities usually assume no financial risk, but get a guaranteed amount of money as well as heightened name recognition and a list of donors, he said.

Williams said he’s “not really concerned” about the FTC lawsuit against Civic Development, noting that all calls are recorded. People who complain to the state either exaggerate or don’t understand what was said in the calls, Williams said.

In rare instances, a complaint to the state has resulted in some disciplinary action, state records show. In June, Kenneth Zwick, 68, of Ocala, objected to being “badgered” by telemarketers for the Florida Association of State Troopers. He was even mailed a form saying he had pledged $20 when he hadn’t, he said.

In reply, FAST said the telemarketer fired the employee who sent the form, and Zwick was given an apology.

“They were very persistent, almost making it sound as if you were unpatriotic (if you didn’t contribute),” Zwick said.

The incident, though, was not his last contact involving the charity. He is still getting calls asking for contributions, he said.

Appeared Here


Atlanta Georgia Firefighters Go To Wrong House, Second Time In One Week, As Another Burns

February 2, 2009

ATLANTA, GEORGIA — For the second time in a week, Atlanta 911 dispatchers sent firefighters to the wrong address.

Fire damaged a house on Howell Drive around 4:15 p.m. Sunday, but CBS Atlanta News learned that firefighters were sent to a location on Harwell Road.

CBS Atlanta obtained the recording of the call.

“Respond to number 66 Harwell Road northwest at Delmar Lane,” a dispatcher said.
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Several minutes later, one of the firefighters corrected the dispatcher, letting her know the fire was on Howell, not Harwell.

“That’s going to be on Howell, Howell Road at Martin Luther King Drive. Working fire, we’ll let you know when we get on the scene,” the firefighter said.

“All units responding to 66 Harwell road, engine nine advised that it’s 66 howell road,” the dispatcher responds.

But five minutes after the first call went out, crews were still trying to clear up the confusion.

“Is that going to be Howell or Harwell?” another firefighter asked.

Fortunately, the two addresses are not far apart. Firefighters saw the smoke and figured out the correct location.

Fire officials said the mix-up did not effect response time.

That was not the case last weekend, when firefighters were sent to the wrong address. A Grant Park home was destroyed by fire.

“I’ve asked for the tapes, so that I can review it,” said Atlanta City Councilman C.T. Martin.

Martin said Sunday that he was still trying to get to the bottom of last weekend’s incident when he learned about this evening’s snafu.

“Do you think the 911 center is a time bomb?” CBS Atlanta’s Joanna Massee asked Martin.

“It’s ticking. Yes, I do,” Martin answered.

Martin blamed the situation on Mayor Shirley Franklin’s furloughs.

CBS Atlanta asked if 911 supervisors are looking into what happened and what’s being done to correct the problem. Officials had no comment.

Appeared Here


Donations To Police And Fire Charity Telemarketing Campaigns Mostly Support The Telemarketers

February 2, 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA — The calls were always the same: telemarketers claiming he’d promised $20 to a Florida charity.

Coral Springs resident Jerry Mayer didn’t remember pledging money. He told the callers they were wrong. He had an illness in his family. He just wanted to be left alone.

But the phone kept ringing at least once a week until he mailed a check, he said.

“I am sending you the $20 under what I feel is harassment and undue pressure that my wife and I cannot handle at this time,” Mayer wrote the group.

The persistent, and ultimately successful, solicitation calls were on behalf of the Florida Association of State Troopers, one of dozens of state-registered charitable organizations that say they benefit police or firefighters.

Such charities customarily solicit donations with pledges that your money will assist the law enforcement officers or firefighters who keep us safe. But a Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel investigation has found that if you donate as a result of a phone call or a letter asking for money, at least half of your gift is likely to end up in a telemarketing firm’s pocket.

According to state records and federal tax returns obtained by the Sun Sentinel, of the police and firefighter charities operating in Florida, 25 take in more than $500,000 annually each and spend less than 25 percent of that money directly on their stated missions whether it’s to help disabled police officers or police and firefighter unions.

Most law enforcement agencies – such as the Florida Highway Patrol, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office – have no direct relationship with these organizations and don’t receive a single dollar from them.

Instead, the Sun Sentinel found that the bulk of money the charities take in goes to private telemarketers or fundraising efforts, with the cash sometimes going to such things as salaries for the charity officials, or for lawyers to represent law enforcement officers in actions involving their agencies.

This is legal. Neither state nor federal authorities dictate how charities use their money as long as they can show that a portion – no matter how slim – is going to charitable purposes, said Terry McElroy, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, which oversees charities operating in Florida. Such groups also are exempt from Do Not Call lists.

Private watchdog organizations say such organizations are exploiting Americans’ deep-seated respect and support for men and women who put their lives on the line for them.

“It’s ironic that the very people who are supposed to be protecting us are participating in a scheme to rip us off,” said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity monitoring group based in Chicago. “If people understood what is going on, people would not support these groups.”

Among the Sun Sentinel’s findings in its review of state and federal records:

* The Florida Highway Patrol Command Officers Association — a group of 188 ranking and retired FHP command officers — took in nearly $4.6 million in 2007, the last year for which state records were available, but spent only $162,425 on program services. Ninety-three cents of every dollar contributed in 2007 ended up going for fundraising.
* The Florida Association of State Troopers, which represents at least 850 members of the Highway Patrol, paid nearly 70 percent of the $2.5 million it raised in 2007 to a private telemarketing company. A 2006 tax return shows the association paid its executive director a salary of more than $92,000.
* A Panhandle couple — Terry and Lorna Morrison — earned a combined $206,000 over two years for running two charities dedicated to disabled police officers: the Disabled Police Officers of America and Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center of Florida, tax returns show. During the same time frame, the two groups spent about $291,000 on services for disabled police. The 2007 tax returns show that 83 percent of the $1.47 million raised by the groups went to pay for fundraising.

Of all charities operating in Florida, two comprised Highway Patrol employees the Florida Association of State Troopers and Florida Highway Patrol Command Officers Association ranked among the four most complained-about charities with the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services last year.

FHP spokesman Capt. Mark Welch said the two groups work to improve the lives of members, but FHP gets no money from them. He said he has never heard criticism of the groups’ fundraising efforts.

One of the complaints last year against FAST came from Mayer, who says he mailed the group a check so it would stop calling.

“It was all for just $20,” Mayer said in an interview. “They kept asking, ‘Where is your $20?”‘

FAST officials could not be reached for comment despite several attempts by the Sun Sentinel to contact them. In the state’s file on Mayer’s complaint, which included a copy of the letter he sent with his check, FAST replied that Mayer pledged money last Feb. 19, and that he was placed on the group’s own do-not-call list June 16.

The state file says Mayer’s complaint was “closed satisfactory.” Mayer said he received a form letter from the state that it had received his complaint.

In an interview, Steven Williams, president of the Highway Patrol Command Officers Association, said his nonprofit organization has worked with private telemarketing firms since being formed in 1996, and couldn’t raise money otherwise.

Association members — all of whom have the rank of lieutenant or above — pay $50 in annual dues, said Williams, himself a Highway Patrol major. In exchange, the group offers scholarships for their children, has a professional lobbyist to represent members’ interests in Tallahassee and pays for a lawyer if the Highway Patrol takes action against them.

However, according to state records, the No. 1 beneficiary of donations to the association appears not to be state troopers, but an out-of-state fundraiser, Civic Development Group. The company’s recent contract with FHPCOA allows it to keep as much as 90 cents of every dollar it raises.The Edison, N.J.-based firm is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission, on accusations that it misled the would-be donors it calls by making them believe they are dealing directly with charities, not a professional fundraising business.

Errol Copilevitz, an attorney for Civic Development, said the company denies the FTC’s allegations.

Copilevitz, who represents many of the country’s major telemarketing firms for nonprofits, said it typically takes 12 phone calls to get one contributor and then, less than half of them follow through on the promised donation. By using telemarketing firms, the charities usually assume no financial risk, but get a guaranteed amount of money as well as heightened name recognition and a list of donors, he said.

Williams said he’s “not really concerned” about the FTC lawsuit against Civic Development, noting that all calls are recorded. People who complain to the state either exaggerate or don’t understand what was said in the calls, Williams said.

In rare instances, a complaint to the state has resulted in some disciplinary action, state records show. In June, Kenneth Zwick, 68, of Ocala, objected to being “badgered” by telemarketers for the Florida Association of State Troopers. He was even mailed a form saying he had pledged $20 when he hadn’t, he said.

In reply, FAST said the telemarketer fired the employee who sent the form, and Zwick was given an apology.

“They were very persistent, almost making it sound as if you were unpatriotic (if you didn’t contribute),” Zwick said.

The incident, though, was not his last contact involving the charity. He is still getting calls asking for contributions, he said.

Appeared Here


Atlanta Georgia Firefighters Go To Wrong House, Second Time In One Week, As Another Burns

February 2, 2009

ATLANTA, GEORGIA — For the second time in a week, Atlanta 911 dispatchers sent firefighters to the wrong address.

Fire damaged a house on Howell Drive around 4:15 p.m. Sunday, but CBS Atlanta News learned that firefighters were sent to a location on Harwell Road.

CBS Atlanta obtained the recording of the call.

“Respond to number 66 Harwell Road northwest at Delmar Lane,” a dispatcher said.
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Several minutes later, one of the firefighters corrected the dispatcher, letting her know the fire was on Howell, not Harwell.

“That’s going to be on Howell, Howell Road at Martin Luther King Drive. Working fire, we’ll let you know when we get on the scene,” the firefighter said.

“All units responding to 66 Harwell road, engine nine advised that it’s 66 howell road,” the dispatcher responds.

But five minutes after the first call went out, crews were still trying to clear up the confusion.

“Is that going to be Howell or Harwell?” another firefighter asked.

Fortunately, the two addresses are not far apart. Firefighters saw the smoke and figured out the correct location.

Fire officials said the mix-up did not effect response time.

That was not the case last weekend, when firefighters were sent to the wrong address. A Grant Park home was destroyed by fire.

“I’ve asked for the tapes, so that I can review it,” said Atlanta City Councilman C.T. Martin.

Martin said Sunday that he was still trying to get to the bottom of last weekend’s incident when he learned about this evening’s snafu.

“Do you think the 911 center is a time bomb?” CBS Atlanta’s Joanna Massee asked Martin.

“It’s ticking. Yes, I do,” Martin answered.

Martin blamed the situation on Mayor Shirley Franklin’s furloughs.

CBS Atlanta asked if 911 supervisors are looking into what happened and what’s being done to correct the problem. Officials had no comment.

Appeared Here


Atlanta Firefighters Call In Sick On Superbowl Sunday, Closing 5 Fire Stations

February 2, 2009

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - So many Atlanta firefighters called in sick Sunday that five understaffed fire stations closed for the day, according to the city’s fire chief.

Chief Kelvin Cochran told CNN affiliate WGCL that 27 firefighters called in sick, more than double the usual number.

Atlanta fire union President Jim Daws said a hiring freeze and city-imposed work furloughs as the city tries to cut costs have left firefighters “beaten down and run-down.” But Davis said he did not think the situation Sunday was an organized effort.

The Fire Department has been on a four-day work week since December, according to the department’s Web site. The site lists 40 stations in the department.

The fire chief said he did not think firefighters were trying to make a political statement, and he pointed to a possible Super Bowl effect on employees calling in sick.

“Historically, payday weekends and Super Bowl Sunday also contribute to absenteeism,” Cochran told WGCL.

Some residents in areas where fire stations were closed Sunday said they were nervous.

“It’s nothing less than governmental malpractice on the part of Atlanta’s elected officials,” said 26-year-old resident Dan Dean.

A dispatcher with the department said calls had been routine Sunday.

Appeared Here


Atlanta Firefighters Call In Sick On Superbowl Sunday, Closing 5 Fire Stations

February 2, 2009

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - So many Atlanta firefighters called in sick Sunday that five understaffed fire stations closed for the day, according to the city’s fire chief.

Chief Kelvin Cochran told CNN affiliate WGCL that 27 firefighters called in sick, more than double the usual number.

Atlanta fire union President Jim Daws said a hiring freeze and city-imposed work furloughs as the city tries to cut costs have left firefighters “beaten down and run-down.” But Davis said he did not think the situation Sunday was an organized effort.

The Fire Department has been on a four-day work week since December, according to the department’s Web site. The site lists 40 stations in the department.

The fire chief said he did not think firefighters were trying to make a political statement, and he pointed to a possible Super Bowl effect on employees calling in sick.

“Historically, payday weekends and Super Bowl Sunday also contribute to absenteeism,” Cochran told WGCL.

Some residents in areas where fire stations were closed Sunday said they were nervous.

“It’s nothing less than governmental malpractice on the part of Atlanta’s elected officials,” said 26-year-old resident Dan Dean.

A dispatcher with the department said calls had been routine Sunday.

Appeared Here


Summerville South Carolina Emergency Workers Evacuate Post Office Over Bomb Smelling Odor, Which Turned Out To Be A Skunk

January 29, 2009

SUMMERVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA – The scene is all clear now, but earlier today the Oakbrook Post Office was blocked off and evacuated by emergency crews after they received a call about a suspicious package.

The call came into the Old Fort Fire Department about 7:30 Wednesday morning from a postal employee. Officials say the package was wrapped in plastic and was giving off a bomb-smelling odor.

They immediately evacuated the post office and several surrounding businesses, but after a few hours of searching there was no bomb to be found. “There was stink. It just stunk. At first you didn’t realize it was a skunk until they guy said ‘I’m expecting a skunk’ and then you’re like, ‘That’s what it was,'” said one fire fighter.

“That’s exactly what it was.”

Apparently, the skunk was being delivered to a taxidermist who later told officials he has animals delivered to his home all the time.

Three weeks ago the same post office had to close because one of the heating units was smoking.

Appeared Here


Summerville South Carolina Emergency Workers Evacuate Post Office Over Bomb Smelling Odor, Which Turned Out To Be A Skunk

January 29, 2009

SUMMERVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA – The scene is all clear now, but earlier today the Oakbrook Post Office was blocked off and evacuated by emergency crews after they received a call about a suspicious package.

The call came into the Old Fort Fire Department about 7:30 Wednesday morning from a postal employee. Officials say the package was wrapped in plastic and was giving off a bomb-smelling odor.

They immediately evacuated the post office and several surrounding businesses, but after a few hours of searching there was no bomb to be found. “There was stink. It just stunk. At first you didn’t realize it was a skunk until they guy said ‘I’m expecting a skunk’ and then you’re like, ‘That’s what it was,'” said one fire fighter.

“That’s exactly what it was.”

Apparently, the skunk was being delivered to a taxidermist who later told officials he has animals delivered to his home all the time.

Three weeks ago the same post office had to close because one of the heating units was smoking.

Appeared Here


Atlanta Georgia Firemen Go To Wrong Address While House Burns Elsewhere

January 28, 2009

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - When firefighters responded to a burning home in southeast Atlanta — they went to the wrong address, causing a delay in fighting the flames.

While officials said the first fire vehicle arrived on the scene within six minutes it was a chief’s car and therefore had no firefighting equipment.

A Grant Park community wants answers after neighbors said a home burned while it took several minutes for firefighters to arrive.

No one was hurt in the Saturday night blaze.

Witnesses said that Wilford Reed’s wife called 911 twice but was put on hold.

Appeared Here


Atlanta Georgia Firemen Go To Wrong Address While House Burns Elsewhere

January 28, 2009

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - When firefighters responded to a burning home in southeast Atlanta — they went to the wrong address, causing a delay in fighting the flames.

While officials said the first fire vehicle arrived on the scene within six minutes it was a chief’s car and therefore had no firefighting equipment.

A Grant Park community wants answers after neighbors said a home burned while it took several minutes for firefighters to arrive.

No one was hurt in the Saturday night blaze.

Witnesses said that Wilford Reed’s wife called 911 twice but was put on hold.

Appeared Here


Boston Massachusetts Firetruck Crashes Into Apartment Building Killing One

January 10, 2009

BOSTON

One firefighter was killed and four others were hurt when a fire truck crashed into an apartment building in Boston Friday afternoon, Boston police officials said.

The Ladder 26 truck slammed into Roxbury Tenants of Harvard building at 835 Huntington Ave. near Parker Hill Ave. around 2:30 p.m.

WBZ has learned the firefighter killed in the wreck is 52-year-old Lt. Kevin Kelley. The 30-year Boston fire veteran was sitting in the front seat and was trapped inside the truck for a time. He died at the scene.

His body was pulled from the wreckage and put into an ambulance just before 4:30 p.m., as his fellow firefighters stood in a solemn line, holding their helmets to their hearts.

Kelley was one of the firefighers in the 2005 Discovery Channel’s program “Firehouse USA-Boston.” The show featured Ladder 26.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino met with Lt. Kelley’s family after the crash and offered them his condolences and to Kelley’s fellow firefighters.

“This is a sad day for the firefighters,” he said. “They answered the call, they were going back to the house. An accident like this, we can’t answer why or how come.”

Kelley leaves behind three adult daughters and a wife.

Boston fire officials say the fire truck was returning from an emergency call on Parker Hill Ave placed at 2:03 p.m. It left the scene at 2:30 p.m., and minutes later it slammed into two parked vehicles before going through the brick wall in front of the apartment building. Officials said there were no occupants inside the cars involved.

A Boston fire spokesman said the three other firefighters aboard the truck were hurt along with a fourth who broke his ankle helping at the scene. One of the firefighters on the truck broke his leg. Three were released from Beth Israel Hospital Friday night. A fourth is in serious condition with unknown injuries at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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Boston Massachusetts Firetruck Crashes Into Apartment Building Killing One

January 10, 2009

BOSTON

One firefighter was killed and four others were hurt when a fire truck crashed into an apartment building in Boston Friday afternoon, Boston police officials said.

The Ladder 26 truck slammed into Roxbury Tenants of Harvard building at 835 Huntington Ave. near Parker Hill Ave. around 2:30 p.m.

WBZ has learned the firefighter killed in the wreck is 52-year-old Lt. Kevin Kelley. The 30-year Boston fire veteran was sitting in the front seat and was trapped inside the truck for a time. He died at the scene.

His body was pulled from the wreckage and put into an ambulance just before 4:30 p.m., as his fellow firefighters stood in a solemn line, holding their helmets to their hearts.

Kelley was one of the firefighers in the 2005 Discovery Channel’s program “Firehouse USA-Boston.” The show featured Ladder 26.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino met with Lt. Kelley’s family after the crash and offered them his condolences and to Kelley’s fellow firefighters.

“This is a sad day for the firefighters,” he said. “They answered the call, they were going back to the house. An accident like this, we can’t answer why or how come.”

Kelley leaves behind three adult daughters and a wife.

Boston fire officials say the fire truck was returning from an emergency call on Parker Hill Ave placed at 2:03 p.m. It left the scene at 2:30 p.m., and minutes later it slammed into two parked vehicles before going through the brick wall in front of the apartment building. Officials said there were no occupants inside the cars involved.

A Boston fire spokesman said the three other firefighters aboard the truck were hurt along with a fourth who broke his ankle helping at the scene. One of the firefighters on the truck broke his leg. Three were released from Beth Israel Hospital Friday night. A fourth is in serious condition with unknown injuries at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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Homeless Man Targeted With Murder Charge After Fireman Runs Over Another Fireman With Fire Truck – Driver Was Looking At Fire Instead Of Where He Was Going

January 3, 2009

ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY – An arrest was made Friday afternoon, hours after a house fire led to the death of a firefighter who was struck by a fire truck.

A firefighter responding to a fast moving fire was killed after getting struck by a firetruck in Elizabeth, N.J.

Emilio Vasquez, 19, is charged with arson and murder for allegedly starting the fire. Vasquez, a homeless man from Guatemala, allegedly broke into the home and started the fire to stay warm, police said.

Gary Stephens was among the firefighters responding to the house fire in Elizabeth, N.J. on Friday morning. A 28-year veteran of the force, he was helping direct the fire truck while it was backing up when he was struck, fire officials said. The driver of the truck took his eyes off Stephens to look at the fire.

Witnesses said Stephens was pinned beneath the truck, and it took several other firefighters to free him. He was taken to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The truck was moving at less than 5 mph when the truck hit the 57-year-old Stephens. The truck is equipped with a sensor that alerts the driver about objects while backing up, but it’s unclear if noise from the nearby New Jersey Turnpike played a role, fire officials said.

The fire broke out shortly after 2 a.m. in the abandoned side of a two-family house. A family of four was able to escape the fire unharmed from the adjacent home.

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Homeless Man Targeted With Murder Charge After Fireman Runs Over Another Fireman With Fire Truck – Driver Was Looking At Fire Instead Of Where He Was Going

January 3, 2009

ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY – An arrest was made Friday afternoon, hours after a house fire led to the death of a firefighter who was struck by a fire truck.

A firefighter responding to a fast moving fire was killed after getting struck by a firetruck in Elizabeth, N.J.

Emilio Vasquez, 19, is charged with arson and murder for allegedly starting the fire. Vasquez, a homeless man from Guatemala, allegedly broke into the home and started the fire to stay warm, police said.

Gary Stephens was among the firefighters responding to the house fire in Elizabeth, N.J. on Friday morning. A 28-year veteran of the force, he was helping direct the fire truck while it was backing up when he was struck, fire officials said. The driver of the truck took his eyes off Stephens to look at the fire.

Witnesses said Stephens was pinned beneath the truck, and it took several other firefighters to free him. He was taken to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The truck was moving at less than 5 mph when the truck hit the 57-year-old Stephens. The truck is equipped with a sensor that alerts the driver about objects while backing up, but it’s unclear if noise from the nearby New Jersey Turnpike played a role, fire officials said.

The fire broke out shortly after 2 a.m. in the abandoned side of a two-family house. A family of four was able to escape the fire unharmed from the adjacent home.

Appeared Here


Charlotte-Mecklenburg North Carolina Police, Fire Department, And Bomb Squad Respond To Sporting Goods Store After Customer Drops Bullets

December 24, 2008

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – Firefighters were called to Dick’s Sporting Goods at NorthLake Mall Tuesday afternoon after some bullets were dropped into an escalator.

The fire department received the call around 1:30 p.m.

According to the general manager of the mall, a customer entered Dick’s Sport Goods carrying some ammunition.

The shopper accidentally dropped the ammunition while riding on the escalator. Some of the ammo lodged in the escalator and detonated. No one was hurt.

Frefighters evacuated the store while firefighters searched for more ammunition that was dropped. The store reopened about an hour after it was evacuated.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s bomb squad was also called to the scene to provide assistance.

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg North Carolina Police, Fire Department, And Bomb Squad Respond To Sporting Goods Store After Customer Drops Bullets

December 23, 2008

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – Firefighters were called to Dick’s Sporting Goods at NorthLake Mall Tuesday afternoon after some bullets were dropped into an escalator.

The fire department received the call around 1:30 p.m.

According to the general manager of the mall, a customer entered Dick’s Sport Goods carrying some ammunition.

The shopper accidentally dropped the ammunition while riding on the escalator. Some of the ammo lodged in the escalator and detonated. No one was hurt.

Frefighters evacuated the store while firefighters searched for more ammunition that was dropped. The store reopened about an hour after it was evacuated.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s bomb squad was also called to the scene to provide assistance.

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Animal Cruelty: Lawyer Blames Puppy After Brutal Beating By Savage Negro Los Angeles County California Assistant Fire Chief Glynn Johnson

December 23, 2008

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA - Los Angeles County Assistant Fire Chief Glynn Johnson and his attorney, John Sweeney, held a news conference in Beverly Hills on Monday to discuss the charges he beat a puppy so badly it had to be euthanized.

Johnson sat beside enlarged photos of his stitched-up thumb Monday as attorney John E. Sweeney insisted his client was acting in self-defense. Sweeney said the incident was being unfairly characterized by the media and protesters as an unprovoked attack on a timid puppy.

Sweeney says the animal was a mature dog big enough to do serious damage. Previously, Johnson had told a reporter from the Riverside Press-Enterprise that his finger was nearly severed. However, photos today show a much different injury, with just the tip being injured.

Johnson has been charged with animal cruelty for the alleged beating, which occurred Nov. 3 in the unincorporated area of Woodcrest, just south of Riverside. He is expected to be arraigned on Jan. 13 in Riverside County Superior Court.

Johnson is said to have hit the puppy, named Karley, with his fist and a 12-pound rock. Karley was later euthanized because of the severity of his injuries.

Johnson says the dog nearly bit off his thumb and that he acted in self-defense. But a witness says the attack was the result of a violent outburst from Johnson.

The dog’s owner Travis Staggs said in an interview that Johnson beat the puppy without provocation, tried to break the dog’s jaws by prying them apart and hit the dog in the head with a rock.

In recent weeks, animal rights activists and the puppy’s owners have launched a campaign seeking criminal charges against Johnson.

Last week, dozens of protesters rallied outside the Riverside County DA’s office to demand charges be filed against Johnson.

Media attention has also helped publicize the case.

Some Southern California radio shows have broadcast the phone number to the district attorney’s office and urged listeners to call and pressure officials to file charges.

The 54-year-old fire official, was charged last week with felony animal cruelty and other counts and freed on $10,000 bail.

Appeared Here


Animal Cruelty: Lawyer Blames Puppy After Brutal Beating By Savage Negro Los Angeles County California Assistant Fire Chief Glynn Johnson

December 23, 2008

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA - Los Angeles County Assistant Fire Chief Glynn Johnson and his attorney, John Sweeney, held a news conference in Beverly Hills on Monday to discuss the charges he beat a puppy so badly it had to be euthanized.

Johnson sat beside enlarged photos of his stitched-up thumb Monday as attorney John E. Sweeney insisted his client was acting in self-defense. Sweeney said the incident was being unfairly characterized by the media and protesters as an unprovoked attack on a timid puppy.

Sweeney says the animal was a mature dog big enough to do serious damage. Previously, Johnson had told a reporter from the Riverside Press-Enterprise that his finger was nearly severed. However, photos today show a much different injury, with just the tip being injured.

Johnson has been charged with animal cruelty for the alleged beating, which occurred Nov. 3 in the unincorporated area of Woodcrest, just south of Riverside. He is expected to be arraigned on Jan. 13 in Riverside County Superior Court.

Johnson is said to have hit the puppy, named Karley, with his fist and a 12-pound rock. Karley was later euthanized because of the severity of his injuries.

Johnson says the dog nearly bit off his thumb and that he acted in self-defense. But a witness says the attack was the result of a violent outburst from Johnson.

The dog’s owner Travis Staggs said in an interview that Johnson beat the puppy without provocation, tried to break the dog’s jaws by prying them apart and hit the dog in the head with a rock.

In recent weeks, animal rights activists and the puppy’s owners have launched a campaign seeking criminal charges against Johnson.

Last week, dozens of protesters rallied outside the Riverside County DA’s office to demand charges be filed against Johnson.

Media attention has also helped publicize the case.

Some Southern California radio shows have broadcast the phone number to the district attorney’s office and urged listeners to call and pressure officials to file charges.

The 54-year-old fire official, was charged last week with felony animal cruelty and other counts and freed on $10,000 bail.

Appeared Here


Veteran New York City Firefighter Arrested, Charged With Calling In Series Of Bogus False Alarms

December 12, 2008

NEW YORK, NEW YORK ― His job is to save people and buildings from fire.

But a New York City firefighter was arrested Thursday, accused of making false alarms to try to save his firehouse from department budget cuts.

CBS 2 HD later found out fellow firefighters are standing by their brother.

Outside Bronx Criminal Court on Thursday night, firefighter Nicholas Vrettos, surrounded by his attorney, mother and girlfriend, dodged CBS 2 HD cameras and questions.

Vrettos, who turned himself into police Wednesday night, is charged with making false alarms to his firehouse, Ladder Co. 53 on City Island.

Prosecutors said the fake calls were made shortly after Ladder 53 was named among four firehouses to close during overnight hours due to FDNY budget cuts. Officials said they are the least busy houses in the city, and nearby companies could cover more easily at night when there is less traffic.

“These changes amount to reduced staffing, less than 1 percent,” FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said last week.

The city’s Department of Investigations is still trying to determine what kinds of calls were made. It did accuse the firefighter of reporting a fake fire in a school cafeteria to protest the budget cuts that prompted the closings.

The school was open when the call was made.

Investigators said the call was made from an auto body shop run by the firefighter. There was no phone number listed under his name.

The department sais it’s investigating other fake 911 calls.

On Thursday night at Ladder Co. 53 fellow firefighters were instructed not to comment.

“We have nothing to say on anything,” one firefighter said.

“I work with him, but I have nothing else to say. …He’s a great guy. He’s a nice guy,” added another.

Vrettos, a six-year veteran of the FDNY, has no history of legal trouble, according to the judge who released the 30-year-old firefighter on his own recognizance.

Vrettos has been suspended from his duties and will be back in court in February. If found guilty, he could face up to seven years in prison.

Appeared Here


Veteran New York City Firefighter Arrested, Charged With Calling In Series Of Bogus False Alarms

December 12, 2008

NEW YORK, NEW YORK ― His job is to save people and buildings from fire.

But a New York City firefighter was arrested Thursday, accused of making false alarms to try to save his firehouse from department budget cuts.

CBS 2 HD later found out fellow firefighters are standing by their brother.

Outside Bronx Criminal Court on Thursday night, firefighter Nicholas Vrettos, surrounded by his attorney, mother and girlfriend, dodged CBS 2 HD cameras and questions.

Vrettos, who turned himself into police Wednesday night, is charged with making false alarms to his firehouse, Ladder Co. 53 on City Island.

Prosecutors said the fake calls were made shortly after Ladder 53 was named among four firehouses to close during overnight hours due to FDNY budget cuts. Officials said they are the least busy houses in the city, and nearby companies could cover more easily at night when there is less traffic.

“These changes amount to reduced staffing, less than 1 percent,” FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said last week.

The city’s Department of Investigations is still trying to determine what kinds of calls were made. It did accuse the firefighter of reporting a fake fire in a school cafeteria to protest the budget cuts that prompted the closings.

The school was open when the call was made.

Investigators said the call was made from an auto body shop run by the firefighter. There was no phone number listed under his name.

The department sais it’s investigating other fake 911 calls.

On Thursday night at Ladder Co. 53 fellow firefighters were instructed not to comment.

“We have nothing to say on anything,” one firefighter said.

“I work with him, but I have nothing else to say. …He’s a great guy. He’s a nice guy,” added another.

Vrettos, a six-year veteran of the FDNY, has no history of legal trouble, according to the judge who released the 30-year-old firefighter on his own recognizance.

Vrettos has been suspended from his duties and will be back in court in February. If found guilty, he could face up to seven years in prison.

Appeared Here


Essex UK Firemen And RSPCA Officers Target Plastic Owl Atop A 30 Foot Pole After Passer-By Claimed It Hadn’t Moved For Days

December 11, 2008

ESSEX, UK – Firemen and RSPCA officers were left feeling like right Twit-twoo’s after spending hours trying to rescue a toy owl from a telegraph pole.

A passer-by – concerned the owl had not moved in days – contacted the animal charity who, armed with a net to catch the bird, tried to coax it down.

After a couple of hours of shouting to the fake plastic owl the doppy rescue worker called in a team from Essex Fire Service.

Officers climbed the 30 ft pole in a bid to get the animal to move but as they got near local residents told them it was made of plastic.

Luckily the RSPCA and the fire service could see the funny side and had aright ‘hoot’.
The owl hade been placed on the pole by British Telecom to stop real birds from perching there.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “It was a case of mistaken identity.”

Appeared Here


Essex UK Firemen And RSPCA Officers Target Plastic Owl Atop A 30 Foot Pole After Passer-By Claimed It Hadn’t Moved For Days

December 11, 2008

ESSEX, UK – Firemen and RSPCA officers were left feeling like right Twit-twoo’s after spending hours trying to rescue a toy owl from a telegraph pole.

A passer-by – concerned the owl had not moved in days – contacted the animal charity who, armed with a net to catch the bird, tried to coax it down.

After a couple of hours of shouting to the fake plastic owl the doppy rescue worker called in a team from Essex Fire Service.

Officers climbed the 30 ft pole in a bid to get the animal to move but as they got near local residents told them it was made of plastic.

Luckily the RSPCA and the fire service could see the funny side and had aright ‘hoot’.
The owl hade been placed on the pole by British Telecom to stop real birds from perching there.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “It was a case of mistaken identity.”

Appeared Here


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