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.
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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


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


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