Video by: Fire Cam. Video: Filmed with the Fire Cam 1080 this was a one story vacant house fire involved upon arrival. The roof was 90% gone when we arrived except for a gable still hanging just inside of the front door. We decided not to make entry. The gable finally fell within 3 ft of us. After we went interior and extinguished the rest of the fire. 2 engines and 6 firefighters. Back in service in 1 hour.
Some of the families of 19 firefighters who died in the line of duty in Prescott, AZ are being denied benefits they thought they would be getting. Is the City of Prescott to blame, or did the Fire Service fail them? Read on…
Only one member of the 20-person Hotshot crew survived the blaze, and the families of the 19 victims were promised a half-million dollars or more in government benefits and private donations. The city promised all families a one-time payment of $328,618 and lifetime survivor benefits.
But now the city of Prescott is retracting its promise, claiming that 13 of the deceased firefighters were seasonal employees, thus making their families ineligible for survivor benefits – including health insurance, a life insurance payment, and monthly lifetime survivor benefits that could amount to several million dollars in the long run.
This entire situation is bad news. The loss of 19 firefighters…Husbands, Fathers, Brothers, Uncles, Sons, Friends lost while fighting a wildland fire in Prescott, Arizona.
Now, some of their families are fighting for benefits they thought they would get after losing a loved one.
If you have been a firefighter for any length of time, you should know by now that our benefits (local/State/Federal) aren’t simply handed out. They are fought for. We fight for them. We lobby legislators, have Political Action, and labor unions who fight for our rights and benefits. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.
Is it our fault, the fire service in general, for allowing this to happen?
I know what you are saying “Why should we have to fight for proper benefits in a dangerous job?” I agree. We shouldn’t have to. We should be given proper benefits, and some of us are blessed with localities who do offer proper benefits, but not all of us.
Specifically in this case, is it our fault that “seasonal” firefighters aren’t entitled to the same benefits of the “Full-Time/Non-Seasonal” counterparts? After all, the 19 member crew were all performing at the same level on this fire. Ultimately, they all gave their lives doing a dangerous job. That same job that most simply don’t understand.
Firefighters understand DTRT (Do the Right Thing). I am sure we can all collectively agree that the officials in Prescott, AZ should indeed Do The Right Thing and pay the benefits. I am certain that fiscally it may not be quite that easy. However, the run-around that the families seem to be getting doesn’t seem fair at all either.
Deborah Pfingston, the mother of deceased firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, told AP that city officials initially promised to retroactively reclassify the seasonal, temporary employees as permanent ones, in order to be able to provide the survivor benefits. But now, the same city officials claim they cannot posthumously reclassify the deceased men. (source RT.com)
At the very least, we need to make sure that this cannot happen to our families. Check out the benefits your family would get if you died in the line of duty. If they aren’t what you think they should be, or worse…what you thought they were, you need to fight for the benefits your family deserves. No one else is going to fight for us, except for us.
A note to the Officials in Prescott, AZ…
You may know these men, you may not. Prior to their death, they may have simply been just another employee to you.
I assure you they were more than that. I did not know them, but they were my Brothers. I know my Brothers, and we are a breed all our own. Much like our Police and EMS Counterparts, we are public servants who provide public safety. Those words are easy to read, our job is much more difficult and dangerous.
I don’t need to explain what firefighters do. You all have just witnessed what we are willing to do. 19 of my Brothers died protecting your citizens. They died. They don’t get to tuck their kids into bed anymore, and their wives won’t get to hug them when they get home. They didn’t get to go home.
It is not your fault they died. It is no ones fault. But they are gone.
Do The Right Thing. Make things right as you said you would when this happened.
They deserve it. Their Families deserve it. It is a small price to pay for the Ultimate Sacrifice they made.
Audio: Dispatch Audio Released in Beardstown Fatal Fire Where Family and Mayor are Critical of Response…For Good Reason!10 comments
This fire occurred on April 15, 2012. The tapes were released a year later. This entire situation is unfortunate. I don’t believe that the issue is whether or not the victims could have been saved, I think the issue is taking our jobs seriously. What the hell is going on here?
This is Beardstown in Cass County, Illinois.
The 13 minute mark really paints a perfect picture of what we are dealing with here. What the Hell? The 18 minute mark is pretty bad as well.
khqatv7 has posted the Beardstown 911 dispatch audio from a fatal fire.
Video/Audio info: Recently released 9-1-1 audio tapes revealed a delay in response time to the Beardstown fire that killed Bud and Jenny Krohe. Shortly after a review of those tapes, Fire Chief Darin Paul changed department protocol.
CASS COUNTY, ILL. – A Beardstown man is stunned after reading transcripts of 911 workers’ and emergency officials’ response to a fire that killed his brother and niece.
Marvin Krohe says he had no idea why it took firefighters at least 25 minutes to get to his brother’s mobile home fire last year.
“It was really shocking when I got the news originally you know for the fire,” he said. “Then I read this. It’s awful.”
Bud and his daughter Janette Krohe died in the April 15, 2012 blaze. The state fire marshal said that the fire was not caused by arson. An autopsy later revealed that the father and daughter died of smoke inhalation.
On June 30th, 19 Prescott, AZ Professional Firefighters died while operating as a part of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. They died while fighting a fire in Yarnell Hill, AZ. On July 9th, a very fitting memorial service was held to honor the lives of our fallen brothers.
A friend of mine was there. Paul Dykema was at the memorial and updated his Facebook profile all day long with pictures and video from the events in and around the memorial. His pictures got me thinking about utilizing his content in a fitting tribute to our Brothers.
On the very opposite side of the United States, Bill Carey was covering the events in his role with PennWell & Firefighter Nation (the coverage is here).
I did my part in offering the live streaming video of the events while they occurred. Actually, I was way early, completely neglecting the fact that Arizona is not in the same time zone as mine.
Paul Dykema writes:
I traveled to Prescott with John Willgohs from Bernalillo County FD (NM) as he played the bagpipes, and my son Emerson as I wanted him to experience this.
Fire departments from all over were represented, from California, New York, Florida, and Canada (that i saw).
Over 4000 seats in the arena were packed full with people standing where they could, and 2 megatron TVs in the fields outside provided more.
A USMC fly-over was performed by Yuma Marine Corps Air Station.
900 miles were traveled, and I felt privilaged to be able to attend.
The compiled coverage is below. The times and comments are that of Paul Dykema unless otherwise noted. Thanks Paul!
Live Coverage will begin at 10am (Mountain Time). The Service will begin at 11am.
CBS 5 News Special: Memorial Service for Fallen Firefighters
On Tuesday, all 19 firefighters will be honored at a memorial. The Granite Mountain Hotshots survivor, Brendan McDonough is slated to read the Hotshot’s prayer during the service at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to attend, as well as former Arizona governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
The public will be able to watch the service outside the center on two jumbotrons. CBS 5 News will have live coverage on-air and online beginning at 10 a.m.
If the video doesn’t load, the direct link is here. Live video should start around 10am.
Best of the Rest – Firehouse Expo 2013, FDNY Probie Manual, Flame Fest, People Worth Dying For…and MUCH MORE!No comments
Firehouse Expo is right around the corner. I have been busy and haven’t scheduled anything yet.
Captain Wines and I are planning a meet-up “Party” on Friday night. We haven’t nailed down the venue, but it will be a place where everyone can hang out and mingle. We are talking to Uno Chicago Grill and Hard Rock Cafe. After that, we will probably head to the PBR bar.
Any and all companies who wish to sponsor the event or offer stuff to give-away please contact me at email@example.com. Our meet-up in Indianapolis was very well attended. We plan on having a great time in Baltimore as well.
Captain Wines will be there assisting with MN8 FoxFire and I will be in and out of the booth. We WILL be at the FOOLS Bash on Thursday night!
Luckily, by the time Firehouse Expo gets here, I will be done with my competition. That event is on July 20th. If you are in the Roanoke area or would like to come and see my wife and I compete, check out the Facebook Event page here. The event is the 2013 Blue Ridge Fitness Festival & ANBF VA Natural Pro/Am. We are looking forward to being able to eat normal food again!
After the competition we will be at Buffalo Wild Wings near Tanglewood Mall.
Nineteen firefighters killed in a wildfire a week ago went home for the last time, their bodies traveling in individual white hearses in a somber caravan for 125 miles through Arizona cities and towns.
The nearly five-hour-long procession Sunday began near the state Capitol in Phoenix, went through the town where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed and ended in the mountain community of Prescott, where they lived and will be laid to rest this week.
The first official funeral service to remember the 19 firefighters who lost their lives in the Yarnell Hill Fire will take place on Tuesday in Prescott Valley.
The ceremony is expected to begin at 11 a.m. at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
She writes: In honor of the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots, here is my tribute to them titled “In Loving Memory.”
Please continue to keep the families and friends of our fallen heroes in your thoughts and prayers!
Blessings to each of you,
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has ordered all flags at state-owned facilities in Kanawha County lowered to half-staff this Friday to honor a Malden Volunteer Fire Department member and chaplain who died after collapsing during a fire in Sissonville on Monday.
Visitation for John Appleton was set for Thursday evening at Kanawha Saline’s Presbyterian Church in Malden, where he served as pastor. A semi-private service for the family, church members and Malden VFD is set for Friday morning, followed by a procession of fire equipment from Malden to Riverside High School for a public service.
Meanwhile, a fund has been set up to assist the family, a grandmother and two children, ages 8 and 16, who lived in that Sissonville home destroyed by the fire. Donations can be made at any Poca Valley Bank in the name of the Happy Hollow Road Fire Fund.
A Cal Fire firefighter, who died Friday after being struck by a pickup truck along the eastbound I-10 on-ramp, has been identified as 41-year old Christopher Douglas.
Douglas, an eight year veteran of Cal Fire, was stationed in Thousand Palms but lived in Temecula, says Cal Fire. He is survived by his wife, who is pregnant, and a 2 year old son.
The chief of the Greenfield (Miss.) Volunteer Fire Department was killed when the pickup truck he was driving enroute to a wreck in Newton County struck a sheriff’s deputy’s vehicle and overturned.
According to the television station WTOK 11, Chief Mickey Yates was ejected from his 2001 Chevrolet pickup truck when he collided with the deputy’s vehicle at about 8:45 p.m. Saturday night.
“Sequestration cuts of $132 million in the Forest Service’s wildland fire management budget put that budget $42 million below the average cost of just battling wildfires, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack wrote to the Senate Committee on Appropriations Feb. 5. The budget is also used to hire seasonal firefighters and conduct forest treatments to reduce wildfire danger.” – The Daily Courier
Stop the nonsense, we need to support these men and women that are risking their lives to protect us!
It’s been almost 12 years now since 2,750 people, including 343 of our Brothers; were murdered at the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
That in itself is hard for me to believe because it’s still so fresh in my mind.
It’s also hard for me to believe that they are still identifying remains but this past Friday, they did just that.
Model City Firefighter - It’s Contagious
It’s good to get to travel to other stations and catch up with brothers that I typically don’t work with closely on a daily basis. This series I’ve been working out of headquarters at our Station 1 in the downtown area. Out of this station, we run one engine, one ladder, a fire/rescue engine, and our deputy chief. The first two shifts were busy with med calls and fire alarms, but we were able to get more than just that accomplished.
If you’re on the job, have you ever thought about it that way? It’s a powerful statement.
What exactly IS worth dying for? A building? If so, at what value does it become “worth it”? How about the people in your 1st due? Are THEY worth dying for? Do you even know them? Do you know their morals… their ethics? Do they share the same views and beliefs as you or your family? How about the folks over in the “lower income” section of town … are they worth dying for?
Groton - Poquonnock Bridge Fire Chief Todd Paige said Tuesday that he cannot run the department on a $3.5 million budget, that the budget would “decimate public safety,” and that closing the Fort Hill Station would increase response times by 3 to 4 minutes.
Paige, who has been chief for 12 years, said the fire district board has not met with him since May 9 and he’s still waiting for guidance. He said he looked at potential cuts and found that even if he laid off firefighters, the department would not save money because he’d have to pay others overtime to meet minimum staffing requirements.
At a time when municipalities are struggling with shrinking budgets and cutbacks, new research shows the need for an increase if firefighter staffing especially when it comes to fighting hi-rise fires. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.
Here is a unique find shared on Facebook with me…
Congratulations on your appointment to the Fire Department of New York City On behalf of the Fire Commissioner and the Chief of Department, welcome to the New York City fire Academy. Each of you have passed the written and physical examinations and further being qualified both mentally and medically, have demonstrated a fine potential for service to the city of New York and to the people who live and work here.
The FDNY is a semi-military organization. Rules and regulations govern the conduct and actions of all members of the department.
FirefighterWife.com is hosting the first ever national gathering for wives of firefighters in Atlanta, Georgia, July 25-26, 2013. This event is designed for fellowship and encouragement for fire wives who face significant stresses and challenges supporting their husbands through the challenges of a firefighting career.
The divorce rate is exceptionally high in the fire service. Some indicate as high as 75%. And judging by the marital challenges and second marriages in the online private wives community, known as the Fire Wife Sisterhood, 75% seems rather accurate.
Many traditional support channels for women do not fit the schedules and lifestyle of a fire family. Feeling these challenges as a fire wife herself, Lori Mercer began blogging at FirefighterWife.com and quickly discovered she was not alone.
She started the Fire Wife Sisterhood began last summer by first launching a private Facebook group for FirefighterWife.com. 40 women joined in 1 hour. 100 joined in the first day. And the community now stands at 1200 members. Immediately these women connected and bonded and the next natural step was to plan an event for everyone to meet in person.
Every department should do this! In Roanoke, we have a Retirees Breakfast…we just don’t have the video by Mike as you see below!
Video by: legeros. Video info: Introductions and remarks from Raleigh Fire Department retirees at a retiree luncheon at the training center on May 1, 2013. See still photos at http://legeros.com/ralwake/photos/201…. Mike Legeros video.
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Investigators were looking into whether one of two young girls who died in Saturday’s plane crash at San Francisco International Airport was run over by an emergency response vehicle.
Authorities said Sunday that the girl, found near the west wing of the aircraft, suffered injuries consistent with being run over by a vehicle. She also did not suffer extensive burns.
Many people have asked me about where to give money to support our fallen brothers in Arizona. The answer to your question is below. Please think about donating even the smallest amount. Thank you.
In light of the tragic event in Yarnell, Arizona and in cooperation with local support efforts, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has established a national fund to accept monetary donations to assist the survivors and coworkers of the firefighters who died in the line of duty while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.
All of the funds donated to the Yarnell Hill NFFF Fire Hero Fund will be used by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to provide long term programs and assistance to the families and the coworkers of the firefighters who died in Yarnell, Arizona. None of the funds will be used to run the day to day operations of the Foundation.
The city of Prescott has released the names of the 19 firefighters who were killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire Sunday night.
19 Firefighters Died in the Line of Duty on June 30, 2013. 18 of them were members of the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew as well as the Prescott Fire Department in Arizona. One other firefighter’s affiliation is unknown at this time. The fire has burned 8300 acres and hundreds of homes. There are reports of 400 firefighters to be on scene to battle the fire today. Currently, the fire is 0% contained.
One member of the crew survived and was away from the group when they died. A lot of the information below is from this report.
A lot of the information is compiled from here as well. Associated Press reporters Raquel Maria Dillon in Seal Beach, Calif., Sue Manning in Los Angeles; and Felicia Fonseca and Hannah Dreier in Prescott contributed to this story.
Christopher Mackenzie, 30
MacKenzie graduated from Hemet High School along with William “Billy” Warneke in 2001. He joined the U.S. Forest Service in 2004. He began work with Prescott in 2011. MacKenzie was a second generation firefighter. His father, Captain Mike MacKenzie retired from the Moreno Valley FD in California.
Andrew Ashcraft, 29
Married. Father of four.
Prescott High School physical education teacher and coach Lou Beneitone taught many of the Hotshots, and remembered 29-year-old Andrew Ashcraft as a fitness-oriented student.
“He had some athletic ability in him and he was a go-getter, too. You could pretty much see, from young freshman all the way, he was going to be physically active.”
Beneitone said athletic prowess was a must for the Hotshots. “That’s what it takes. You gotta be very physically fit, and you gotta like it, gotta like the hard work.” (Source)
Kevin Woyjeck, 21
Woyjeck is originally from Southern California and is a second generation firefighter. His father, Captain Joe Woyjeck, works for the Los Angeles County FD where Kevin got his start as a Fire Explorer. Kevin was also a Paramedic.
Anthony Rose, 23
Anthony Rose, 23, was one of the youngest victims. He grew up in Wisconsin and previously worked as a firefighter in nearby Crown King before moving on to become a Hotshot.
Retired Crown King firefighter Greg Flores said Rose “just blossomed in the fire department. He did so well and helped so much in Crown King. We were all so very proud of him.”
Flores said the town was planning a fundraiser for Rose and hoped to also have a memorial to honor him.
“He was the kind of guy that his smile lit up the whole room and everyone would just rally around him,” he said. “He loved what he was doing, and that brings me some peace of heart.” (Source)
Eric Marsh, 43
Eric Marsh, 43, was an avid mountain biker who grew up in Ashe County, N.C., but became hooked on firefighting while studying biology at Arizona State University, said Leanna Racquer, the ex-wife of his cousin. Marsh lived with Racquer and her then-husband during the winters from 1992 through 1996 in North Carolina, but kept returning to Arizona during fire season.
After college, he kept working as a firefighter, eventually landing a full-time job and settling in northern Arizona. He even moved his parents to the state, she said. Marsh was superintendent of the Hotshot crew and the oldest of the 19 who died.
“He’s was great — he was the best at what he did,” Racquer said. “He is awesome and well-loved and they are hurting,” she said of his family. (Source)
Robert Caldwell, 23
Robert moved to Prescott as a young child from Pennsylvania, used to make pilgrimages to Phoenix with his crew any time the Philadelphia Phillies were in town to play the Diamondbacks. Mr. Caldwell’s sister, Taylor Caldwell, went to the high school prom with Clayton Whitted, another crew member who died. “This town is so small everyone knew each other,” Ms. Caldwell said.
“If Robert was going to die,” Ms. Caldwell added, “at least he was with his brothers, 18 of his brothers.” (source)
Clayton Whitted, 28
Full of heart and determination, Clayton Whitted, 28, might not have been the biggest guy around, but he was among the hardest-working. His former Prescott High School coach, Lou Beneitone, said Whitted was a “wonderful kid” who always had a big smile on his face. Whitted played for the football team as an offensive and defensive lineman.
“He was a smart young man with a great personality, just a wonderful personality,” said Beneitone. “When he walked into a room, he could really light it up.”
Beneitone said Whitted loved being a firefighter and was well-respected among his crew. He says he ran into Whitted about two months ago and they shook hands and hugged, and talked about the upcoming fire season.
“I told him to be careful,” Beneitone said. (Source)
Scott Norris, 28
Scott Norris, 28, was known around Prescott through his part-time job at Bucky O’Neill Guns.
“Here in Arizona the gun shops are a lot like barbershops. Sometimes you don’t go in there to buy anything at all, you just go to talk,” said resident William O’Hara. “I never heard a dirty word out of the guy. He was the kind of guy who if he dated your daughter, you’d be OK with it.
“He was just a model of a young, ideal American gentleman.”
O’Hara’s son Ryan, 19, said Norris’ life and tragic death had inspired him to live a more meaningful life.
“He was a loving guy. He loved life. And I’ve been guilty of not looking as happy as I should, and letting things get to me, and Scott wasn’t like that at all.” (Source)
Dustin Deford, 24
Dustin DeFord, 24, had been a firefighter since he turned 18 and started as a volunteer in tiny Ekalaka, Mont. His father, the Rev. Steve DeFord, said the outpouring of support there has been unbelievable.
“We’ve got enough food in the house to last a year,” he said.
DeFord graduated from Cornerstone Bible Institute in Hot Springs, S.D., three years ago, his father said, and always believed God was his guiding force.
On his Facebook page last year, he talked about wanting to find work in western Montana, but God instead moved him to Arizona. Immediately he worked to improve his skills on the climbing wall at a gym near the firehouse.
“He listened very well. He was very respectful,” said Tony Burris, a trainer at Captain Crossfit. “He kind of had a dry sense of humor.”
Another trainer, Janine Pereira, echoed that sentiment.
“You would say something to him, and he would respond with a crack, which was funny because he was so shy,” she said.
DeFord is survived by nine brothers and sisters, including a Marine Corps staff sergeant who is traveling home from Afghanistan, an older brother who is fighting fire with a helicopter team in New Mexico and a younger brother on a Hotshot crew in Alaska. (source)
Sean Misner, 26
Sean Misner, 26, leaves behind a wife who is seven months pregnant, said Mark Swanitz, principal of Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in Santa Barbara County, where Misner graduated in 2005.
Misner played varsity football and also participated in the school’s sports medicine program where he wrapped sprained ankles and took care of sidelined athletes.
“He was a team player, a real helper,” Swanitz told The Associated Press on Monday.
In high school, Misner played several positions including wide receiver and defensive back. He was slim for a high school football player, but that didn’t stop him from tackling his opponents, recalled retired football coach Ken Gruendyke.
“He played with tremendous heart and desire,” Gruendyke said. “He wasn’t the biggest or fastest guy on the team but he played with great emotion and intensity.” (Source)
Garret Zuppiger, 27
Garret Zuppiger, 27, loved to be funny, said Tony Burris, a trainer at a gym where many of the Hotshots worked out.
Burris said the two bonded over their manly ginger facial hair.
“We both had a red beard and so we would always admire each other’s beards,” he said. “We also had a few conversations about beer.”
Zuppiger’s humor was evident on his blog, where he wrote about his grandmother’s one-eyed Chihuahua, his “best hair day ever” and a hike with his mother on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. There also are photos of a tongue-in-cheek project to build a “ski-chair,” in which a living room recliner was placed atop two skis.
“Garret Zuppiger turns 25!” he wrote in a post several years ago. “Everyday is like a gift!!” (source)
Travis Carter, 31
At Captain Crossfit, a gym near the firehouse where the Hotshots were stationed, Travis Carter was known as the strongest one on the crew _ but also the most humble.
“No one could beat him,” trainer Janine Pereira said. “But the thing about him was he would never brag about it. He would just kill everyone and then go and start helping someone else finish.”
Carter, 31, was famous for once holding a plank for 45 minutes, and he was notorious for making up brutal workouts.
The crew recently did a 5-mile run during wilderness training. He then made them go to Captain Crossfit in the afternoon for another hard workout.
“The other guys who came in here always said that even though he was in charge, he was always the first one at the fire, the first one in action,” Pereira said. (source)
Grant McKee, 21
Grant McKee, 21, loved to give things away.
“Even as a child, I’d ask him where things were, and he’d say, `Oh, such and such liked it.’ And sometimes it really cost a lot! But he’d say, `Oh, he liked it so much,’” said his grandmother, Mary Hoffmann.
“So on his birthday, I started to say, `I hope you’re going to keep this!’” she said.
McKee’s cousin, Robert Caldwell, also was a Hotshot and also was killed Sunday.
“I had four grandchildren, but Grant was the sweetest most giving nature of any of my grandkids,” Hoffman said. “We used to think he was a little angel.”
McKee’s mother said Grant was training to be an emergency medical technician and only intended to work with the Hotshots for the summer.
During EMT training, he would ask for extra shifts at the emergency room. And because his superiors liked him, they would give them to him, Laurie McKee said.
“Grant was one of the most likable people you could ever meet,” she said. “Grant was friendly, he was outgoing. Everybody loved Grant.” (source)
Travis Turbyfill, 27
Known as “Turby” among crew members, Travis Turbyfill got a fulltime position with the Hotshots when another member’s girlfriend asked him to quit.
Turbyfill, 27, often worked with other Hotshots at Captain Crossfit, a warehouse filled with mats, obstacle courses, climbing walls and acrobatic rings near the firehouse. He would train in the morning and then return in the afternoon with his wife and kids.
Trainer Janine Pereira said she recently kidded Turbyfill for skipping workouts. His excuse was that he wanted to spend some quality time at Dairy Queen.
“He was telling me that it’s because it was Blizzard week, and he was just going to eat a Blizzard every night,” she said.
Tony Burris, another trainer, said he enjoyed watching Turby with his two daughters.
“Because he’s this big, huge Marine, Hotshot guy, and he has two little girls, reddish, blonde curly hair, and they just loved their dad,” he said. (source)
Jesse Steed, 36
Jesse Steed, 36, is survived by his wife Desiree and two children, Caden (4) and Cambria (3), his sister Taunya Steed, brother Levi Federwisch and brother Cassidy Steed. (Credit: Cassidy Steed)
According to his brother: He was the captain of the Granite Mountain Hot Shot Fire Fighters Team for the last two years and was tragically lost during the Yarnell Hill wildfires in Arizona.
36 year-old Jesse Steed served in the Marine Corps from 1996-2000, and then became a firefighter for Prescott, Arizona that year. He joined the local Hot Shot crew around 2002 and then came on with the Granite Mountain Hot Shots around 03-04 when they were established. He was the most senior member of their team in both age and skill.
Wade Parker, 22
At 22, Wade Parker had just joined the Hotshots team. His father works for the nearby Chino Valley Fire Department, said retired Prescott Fire Department Capt. Jeff Knotek, who had known Wade since he was “just a little guy.”
The younger Parker had been very excited about being part of the Hotshot crew, Knotek said.
“He was another guy who wanted to be a second generation firefighter,” Knotek said. “Big, athletic kid who loved it, aggressive, assertive and in great shape.”
“It’s just a shame to see this happen,” Knotek said. (source)
Joe Thurston, 32
Back home in Cedar City, Utah, Joe Thurston, 32, used to go to an area reservoir with friends and promptly show how fearless he could be.
“He was definitely one of the daredevil types,” longtime friend Scott Goodrich told the Salt Lake Tribune. “We went to Quail (Creek) Reservoir, and we’d be finding 40- to 50-foot cliffs that people would be scared to jump off. He would just show up and be front-flipping off of them.”
He brought this bold streak to the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
“He had all the qualities that a firefighter would need to possess,” E.J. Overson, another friend, told the Salt Lake City newspaper. “He was service-oriented, very caring and willing to do some things that many others would say, `I don’t want to get involved.’”
Thurston was also determined, generous and hardworking, his friends said.
He went to Cedar High School and Southern Utah University, played in a band and rode skateboards.
“He was one of the best guys I ever met,” Goodrich said. (source)
William “Billy” Warneke, 25
Billy Warneke, 25, had just bought property in Prescott, near where his sister lives, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise. He joined the hotshot crew in April, and was a four-year veteran with the U.S. Marine Corps.
When his grandparents, Jack and Nancy Warneke, saw the news about the fire, they called Warneke’s sister. She told them their grandson and his unit were gone.
“Even though it’s a tragedy for the whole family, he was doing what he loved to do. He loved nature and was helping preserve nature,” Nancy Warneke said.
Warneke’s wife is due with their first child in December, Nancy Warneke told the Press-Enterprise. (source)
Billy Warneke, 25, and his wife, Roxanne, were expecting their first child in December, his grandmother, Nancy Warneke, told The Press-Enterprise newspaper in Riverside, Calif. Warneke grew up in Hemet, Calif., along with his fellow Granite Mountain hotshot, Chris MacKenzie. He was a four-year Marine Corps veteran who served a tour in Iraq and had joined the hotshot crew in April, buying a property in Prescott, near where his sister lived, the newspaper reported.
Nancy Warneke said she called her sister after seeing the fire on the news.
“She said, `He’s gone. They’re all gone,”‘ Nancy Warneke told The Press-Enterprise. “Even though it’s a tragedy for the whole family, he was doing what he loved to do. He loved nature and was helping preserve nature.” (Source)
John Percin, 24
He loved baseball and had an unforgettable laugh. In his aunt’s eyes, John Percin Jr. was, simply, “an amazing young man.”
“He was probably the strongest and bravest young man I have ever met in my life,” Donna Percin Pederson said in an interview with The Associated Press from her home in Portland, Ore.
John Percin Sr., declined to comment Monday. “It’s not a good time right now.”
Percin, 24, was a multisport high school athlete who graduated in 2007 from West Linn High School, southeast of Portland.
Geoff McEvers grew up playing baseball with Percin and remembered Percin as a fun-loving guy with an unforgettable laugh, The Oregonian newspaper reported
McEvers said he learned about the Percin’s death through friends.
“It’s already tragic when you hear about those who died,” McEvers told the newspaper, “but when you find out it’s someone you know personally, it’s tough.” (Source)
Below is time lapse video of the deadly fire in Yarnell Hill, Arizona that killed 19 Firefighters.
The identities of the firefighters have not been released at this time.
A time-lapse shot on 6/30/13 at 4:00 PM of the Yarnell Hill Wildfire. Viewed from the south off of highway 89, the flames reach the peak of the mountain. Created by Matt Oss Twitter – mattoss21. mattossphotography.com
There will be a 10am press conference in the morning at the Prescott Council Chambers to give some more detail on the incident at the Yarnell Hill Fire. The crew that was deployed had 20 hotshot members. 19 of them have died after being overrun by fire. The one surviving member was not with the crew when the crew perished.
Families of the firefighters are still being notified. The crew was an all male crew, but ages are not known at this time.
This is the largest Line of Duty Death Incident for firefighters since September 11th.
YARNELL, AZ (CBS5) – Nineteen Arizona firefighters were killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire in the Town of Yarnell late Sunday afternoon, said the Incident Command Post.
Eighteen of the victims were from the Prescott Granite Mountain Hot Shots, fire officials said. It’s not known where the other victim was based.
One surviving firefighter from the team was rushed to Maricopa County Medical Center. That person’s condition was not known.
Wickenburg Community Hospital was preparing to receive at least eight firefighters suffering injuries, said hospital spokeswoman Roxie Glovers. The extent of their injuries was not known.
UPDATE – 8:40 p.m.: State Forestry Division Spokesman Mike Reichling said a 19th person was found dead where the 18 Prescott firefighters died.
Reichling said the man was not part of the hotshot crew.
Initial report – 7:20 p.m.:PRESCOTT – The Prescott Fire Department lost nearly its entire crew today – the Granite Mountain Hotshots – with 18 firefighters dying and one surviving.
Links(more are below):
- Live coverage from KPHO
- KPHO twitter stream
- Photos of the fire
- Firefighter Nation
- STATter911.com coverage
I will update as more information is available. Currently, there are 19 confirmed deaths of Prescott Fire Department Firefighters in Arizona.
YARNELL, Ariz. – Prescott Fire Department confirmed 19 firefighters have died while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire on Sunday night. They’re part of the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots.
The wildfire was likely caused by a lightning strike Saturday night.
The Yarnell Hill Fire, about 35 miles southwest of Prescott, has burned about 1,300 acres and forced the evacuation of 50 homes.
The fire started Friday and has burned 250 structures so far. Firefighters pushed the blaze back away from communities on Sunday, hoping to keep the blaze from overtaking any homes.
YARNELL, Ariz. – Prescott Fire Department confirmed at least 18 firefighters have died while battling the Yarnell Hill fire on Sunday night. They’re part of the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots.
The wildfire was likely caused by a lightning strike Saturday night.
The Yarnell Hill fire, about 35 miles southwest of Prescott, has burned about 1,300 acres and forced the evacuation of 50 homes.
The fire started Friday and has not yet burned down any structures, but Sunday night firefighters pushed the blaze back away from communities, hoping to keep the blaze from overtaking any homes.
Arizona State forestry officials confirmed Sunday night that 19 firefighters have died in the Yarnell Hill Fire that has ripped through half of the town, sent residents to Prescott for safety and given the state it’s biggest ever wildfire firefighter tragedy.
“It’s a dark day,” said Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman.
Reichling said the 19 firefighters were found in area that also had 19 fire shelters deployed. Some of those found were inside a shelter. Some where not.
Reichling expects about half of the town’s 500 homes to be decimated by the fire that is currently burning with zero containment and has grown well past 2,000 acres.
- STATter911.com coverage
- Granite Mountain Hot Shots website
- Southwest Yavapai County and Northwest Maricopa County Law Enforcement and Fire Live Audio Feed
Video by: bobbybushae. Video info: Filmed with 2 Fire Cam 1080s, we responded to a 2 story occupied house fire with a report of a woman and 2 children trapped from dispatch. When we arrived the neighbor confirmed there was a woman and 2 children missing. 1st due engine attacked the fire and when the 2nd due engine arrived we made entry and search while extinguishing the fire. We had 1 crew on the 1st floor and 1 crew on the 2nd floor. After the fire was knocked down it was later confirmed that the occupants were outside but never told anyone. No one was injured. Video was filmed with 2 Fire Cam 1080′s from FireVideo.net
My working title was “European Firefighters Will Do Anything Not to Fight Fire with Water”. Obviously, I am kidding, yet I am sure that there will be many who won’t get the humor. The play is about how many European Firefighters believe that American Firefighters are too aggressive, take too many risks, and die when we shouldn’t.
The video was shared on SEPAF Facebook and came with the following text (translated):
Fire extinguishing demonstration car with firefighters from Saint Omer.
Coverage can be used by any public, car dealers, garages, parking, underground car park etc. …
coverage for a general public.?
The video and company who produces this product are from France.
To be completely honest, there might be a useful application for this technique…somewhere. Do they make one that fits over a house?
Has anyone used one of these? What did you think?
Some more information (translated from SEPAF Facebook page):
54M SQUARE COVER FOR FIRE CAR IS AVAILABLE AT 62 PREV SAFETY
8 March 2012, a massive fire left one vehicle ravaged the underground parking of the Place Vendome in Paris. Result: more than 100 firefighters mobilized for more than 6 hours, 25 vehicles involved, 30 vehicles destroyed, and other structures damaged by smoke and intense heat cars.
Youtube video below
Dallas LODD: Firefighter Stanley Wilson. More info here
Phoenix LODD: Info on his death from STATter911.com
Funeral information for Phoenix FD Firefighter Bradley Harper: (link to info)
Funeral Ceremony on Friday, May 24th at 2:30 p.m. at:
Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV)
7007 W. Happy Valley Road
Peoria, AZ 85383
Procession and Internment to follow at:
Greenwood Memorial Cemetery
719 N. 27th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85009
Virginia Firefighter LODD Memorial is on June 1st this year. If you are planning on attending, have a question, or need more information, check out the Facebook event here.
FirefighterWife.com: Here is an article about the recent LODD’s and a view from a Firefighters Wife. Read it here
Vote for Hack: Brian Hackenburg is in the running for “Kona Inspired 2013″. Vote for him here (bottom left of video)
IronFiremen.com: Captain Wines headed to Harrisburg, PA for the Fire Expo 2013 without me. He did leave me a souvenir though…he burned up my van on the way! Read about his trip here.
Moore, OK Update:
The death toll has been adjusted from 51 to 24 at this time. There are hundreds of injured, and over 100 have been rescued from the devastation.
The tornado was over 2 miles wide and covered around 22 miles becoming an EF4/EF5 tornado with wind speeds between 166-200 miles per hour.
- Moore, OK Fire Department
- STATter911.com Coverage
- Oklahoma City Fire live
- CNN.com Coverage
- KFOR-TV Coverage
The City of Moore and City of Oklahoma City will hold a joint press conference at Noon, Tuesday May 21st, at Moore City Hall, 301 N Broadway. Information about recovery efforts and other details will be shared at this time.
Moore, Oklahoma was the scene of a horrific natural disaster today. Moore is south of Oklahoma City. A mile wide EF4 tornado decimated the area. The death toll is currently 51 (11pm) including 7 children at the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore. There are 233 reported injured.
The preliminary rating of damage created by the tornado is at least EF4 (winds 166 to 200 mph) — the second-most severe classification on a scale of zero to five
I have read a lot about it being a “recovery” effort instead of a “search” effort. I am not sure that the firefighters have the same thoughts on the ground. Word is that Tennessee Task Force 1 is being deployed to the area to assist (news link).
Just to give you a snapshot of the Moore FD, they operate with 72 firefighters out of 4 firehouses covering 22 square miles.
The area is no stranger to tornadoes. In May of 1999, there was another huge tornado that killed dozens and recorded wind speeds of 302 miles per hour (the fastest recorded on earth).
Links and Coverage:
- Moore, OK Fire Department
- STATter911.com Coverage
- Oklahoma City Fire live
- CNN.com Coverage
- KFOR-TV Coverage
Thousands to Honor Fallen Firefighters from West, Texas. Important information for those attending service is below
West, Texas Memorial Service Video Coverage
The lives of the firefighters and EMTs who died battling the West, Texas fire and explosion will be remembered during a memorial service on Thursday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m., Central Time. Thousands of firefighters from around the country will join President Obama and the First Lady to pay respects to the families, friends and co-workers of the fallen. If you would like to include live video of the memorial service on your website the NFFF has compiled a list embed codes from the local media sources. There may be additional resources that you may wish to use, these were just a few that we were able to locate.
View more videos at: http://nbcdfw.com.
Live streaming will also be available on the Foundation’s website at: www.firehero.org/westtexas
Live coverage is also available here:
NBC Dallas/Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com/
KDFW Fox 4 Dallas/Fort Worth http://www.myfoxdfw.com/
CBS Dallas/Fort Worth http://dfw.cbslocal.com
Emmitsburg, MD – Thousands of firefighters from around the country will join President Obama and the First Lady to pay respects to the families, friends and co-workers of the 12 firefighters who died battling the West, Texas fire and explosion. The memorial service will begin on Thursday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m., Central Time, at Baylor University’s Ferrell Center at 1900 South University Parks Drive, Waco, Texas 76706.
All apparatus to participate in the procession should report to the staging area located at 2501 S. University Parks Drive, Waco, TX 76706 (the Old HEB Terminal) between 6 – 9 a.m. The procession of apparatus to the Ferrell Center will begin at 10 a.m.
Free shuttles will take members of the fire service from Lots C and D at Baylor University to the procession staging area between 6 – 9 a.m. The procession of uniformed personnel will begin at 11 a.m.
Department specific Class A or equivalent uniform can be worn with white gloves and black badge covers if available. If no uniform is available, business dress attire is appropriate. Fire service appliances such as axes, pike poles, ceremonial swords or knives are prohibited at Ferrell Center. There will be an area provided for Honor Guards to store their colors at Ferrell Center.
For others attending the memorial service, doors at the Ferrell Center will open at 11 a.m. All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, firearms, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Cameras and cell phones are permitted.
Live streaming will also be available on the Foundation’s website, www.firehero.org/westtexas.
Since last Thursday, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and our partners, the Texas LODD Task Force, have been on the ground in Texas offering assistance and support to the departments, families and friends through the Local Assistance State Team (LAST). Because of the large loss of life, the Foundation expects to be here for a lengthy period of time, providing peer counseling, and support in many other ways. To help those efforts, the NFFF has established a national fund to accept monetary donations to assist the survivors and coworkers of the fire and EMS personnel who died in the line of duty. All donated funds will be used to assist the survivors and coworkers to rebuild their lives and support the programs and services they will need.
Checks can be mailed to:
NFFF c/o West, Texas Fire and EMS Fallen Hero Fund
P.O. Drawer 498
Emmitsburg, MD 21727.
Donations also can be made by credit card at www.regonline.com/westtx.
For more information about the Texas LODD Task Force: www.texasloddtaskforce.com.
For more information about Baylor University and the West Disaster: www.baylor.edu/relief.
FDIC FOOLS Bash, Baltimore FF Critical, Highland Park Rescue Video, NC Rescue, Chief Tom Carr Passes and MoreNo comments
This is going to be a long post, actually several posts in one…so bear with me.
Captain Wines and I are in Indianapolis for FDIC. We got in last night and headed over to the FOOLS bash. We didn’t make it to the FSW meetup, but I heard that it was enjoyable. Our full itinerary can be seen here. More on FDIC in a minute as you scroll through this post.
FDIC FOOLS Bash
Check out the photo album and more on the Fire Critic Facebook Page!
Chief Tom Carr Passes
Charleston, SC Fire Department’s Chief Tom Carr (Retired) passed away Wednesday. Dave Statter has the news here.
A former leader of the Charleston Fire Department has passed away.
ABC News 4 has learned that former fire chief Thomas Carr died following a battle with MSA, a rapid form of Parkinson’s disease. He was 59 years old.
Chief Carr was hired as Charleston’s fire chief in 2008. He helped reshape and redefine the department following the 2007 Sofa Super Store fire that killed nine Charleston firefighters.
Baltimore County Firefighter Critical
Reisterstown VFC Firefighter Gene Kirchner in critical condition. Firefighter Kirchner was found unconscious on the 2nd floor during a house fire. A 58-year-old man was found dead in the house. STATter911.com has coverage here and here.
As other firefighters tackled the flames, Winter negotiated his way into the adjacent room in his search for 2-year-old Dylan Burkett.
“I couldn’t see him. It was pitch black with smoke,” he said. “After going in the second bedroom I kept hearing a small cry, and every time I heard a cry, I went in that direction and found him.
“He was in a corner on a bed just sitting there. Once I could tell he was still crying, it was a good feeling, and once I got him outside, it felt pretty good.”
Highland Park Rescue Video
Video by: HPZ1442. Video info: We responded to a report of flames showing from the side and front windows of a liquor store on the 1st floor of a 4 story apt building. We arrived to find smoke and flames showing, and that the Police Dept had already evacuated the occupants of the building. The liquor store was sealed up pretty tight and it took us a few extra minutes to get into it. While we worked on that, PD informed us that they may have heard screams on the 2nd floor while they cleared the building but that it was to smokey to go check. # of us responded to the main entrance and to the second floor where we found smokey conditions and limited visibility. PD and one of our off duty FF’s informed of the apt number the woman was believed to live in. The manager had said she was unaccounted for. We masked up and advanced in to find her. She was found in her unit, and carried out by Firefighter Eason. We were then informed of another possible victim. We went back in to search for him but while searching his apt we were informed that he had already made it out. My camera died at this point because I cannot seem to remember to charge it!
At this time fire had extended into the 2nd and 3rd floors. We advanced hose lines through the windows from units adjacent to those that were on fire. The fire was brought under control in a little more than an hour. We operated on scene for several more cleaning up hot spots. We contained the fire to damaging only the liquor store where it had originated, and 4 apt units.
Used a firecam 1080 from firevideo.net any sound you hear cut out is not from the camera, I actually edit some of the content out of it.
West, Texas, Memorial Service (SFFMA.org)
The Texas LODD Task Force is announcing the details on the combined memorial service for the families of first responders that were killed in the tragic events that occurred in the city of West, Texas.
Memorial service starts at 2pm on Thursday April 25, 2013 at the Ferrell Center on Baylor University Campus. The address for the Ferrell Center is 1900 S. University Parks Drive, Waco TX 76706.
All apparatus wishing to participate in the apparatus procession need to report to the staging area between 6am-9am. The apparatus staging area is located at 2501 S. University Parks Dr., Waco TX 76706 at the Old HEB Terminal.
All Uniformed personnel wishing to walk in the procession to the Ferrell Center need to report to the same staging area between 6am-10am. There will be parking and security for vehicles.
Visiting Honor Guards are encouraged to bring their colors for the walking procession. An area at the Ferrell Center will be set aside for Honor Guards to store their equipment during the services.
Apparatus procession will begin moving from the staging area to the Ferrell Center at 11:00 am. And the walking procession will step off at 12:00pm from the staging area to the Ferrell Center
All uniformed personnel will be at the Ferrell Center and begin seating by 1pm. Doors will open for the public after the walking Uniformed Personnel have entered the Ferrell Center.
TX LODD Task Force logistics is working on providing food, water, tents, etc. to the staging area, those participating are encourage to bring their own snacks and water as this will be a long day.
The victims identities in the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion are still being processed. I have still not seen any “official” word on exactly who died and what their role was at the scene. Below you will find that there are currently believed to be 9 firefighters dead after the tragedy. The 9 firefighters represent several departments.
Their “role” will be important in the future…right now, it really doesn’t matter to me. These souls were lost in an enormous tragedy that will have a small community rebuilding for years to come. The toll it had on the West Volunteer Fire Department is amazing in itself. From reports, it seems as though they had 5 firefighters die in the explosion; 11 firefighters injured and hospitalized; and 3 fire apparatus destroyed.
There will be “official” word soon. Until then, I will repost the names I posted in this article with the addition of 1 name, Cody Dragoo. I did not read anything about his death until today.
The people listed below are believed to be 12 of the 14 confirmed deaths in the blast.
West Volunteer Fire Department Members
- Morris Bridges, 41. Firefighter for West VFD. Fire Sprinkler Technician for Action Fire Pros.
- Cody Dragoo, 50. Firefighter for West VFD. Foreman at West Fertilizer Co.
- Robert Snokhous, 48. Firefighter for West VFD. Employee at Central Texas Iron Works.
- Doug Snokhous, 50. Firefighter for West VFD. Employee at Central Texas Iron Works.
- Joey Pustejovsky. Firefighter for West VFD. City of West Secretary.
In addition to those above, the people below also are believed to have died in the blast. Their role, response, and department they were responding for are not exactly known at this time. Some of the people below may NOT have been responding as Fire and/or EMS personnel. It is believed that some (possibly 4) of the people below were responding as EMS personnel even though they are volunteer firefighters.
- Perry Calvin, 37. Firefighter for Mertens and Navarro Mills VFDs. Student at Hill College Fire Academy.
- Jerry Chapman, 26. Firefighter for Abbott VFD.
- Jimmy Matus, 52. Owner of Westex Welding in West, Texas.
- Cyrus Reed. Firefighter for Abbott VFD. Worked at Waxahachie plant.
- Buck Uptmor, 40′s. Owner of a fencing company and lived near West. *listed some places as a Firefighter for West VFD.
- Kenny Harris, 52. Dallas FD Fire Captain.
The Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force Facebook Page posted this:
The final count for LODDs in West, Texas is 10 Emergency Service Workers and 2 honorary Emergency Service Workers.
12 Bodies Recovered in West, Texas Explosion. 11 Fire & EMS Personnel Believed Among the Missing & Dead. Search and Rescue Still Underway4 comments
Update: 14 bodies have now been found in the wake of the explosion in West, Texas
Below you will find the names and photos of the reported dead or missing fire & EMS responders in West, Texas. The sources for the information are marked if you would like more information. Some have been confirmed as dead, others are reported as missing after responding to the explosion.
I will update as more information is available. Some of this information is not “official”, but pulled from local reports and online postings from friends and family. It should also be noted that the members may have been members of a certain department but actually responding with a different department or organization. Not all of this information has been verified fully, we have simply shared information from multiple sources.
Scroll Down for information on those missing or deceased
West, Texas Stats: 12 confirmed deaths, 200 injuries reported, 150 buildings destroyed, 50 buildings cleared by search and rescue teams, 25 buildings yet to be cleared, 3 fire trucks destroyed, 1 EMS vehicle destroyed.
The members below who are reported missing and or dead include:
West Volunteer Firefighters: Morris Bridges, Robert Snokhous, Doug Snokhous, Joey Pustejovsky, Cyrus A. Reed, and Buck Uptmor. (This info is from the reports below. According to other reports, only 5 current West VFD members died in the explosion).
Kevin Sanders and Jim Matus (unknown agency)
West Ambulance Service Member: Perry Calvin, Jerry Chapman (also Abbot VFD Firefighter)
Dallas FD (off-duty): Captain Kenny Harris
In addition to these Fire & EMS Personnel, 11 West, Texas Firefighters remain in the hospital.
UPDATE: The bodies have been moved back to Dallas. The bodies were transferred under Law Enforcement and Fire Department escorts. The bodies are being guarded as we speak. We are more than thankful for the overwhelming support. Please be patient as we are trying to respond to all of the emails, text, and phone calls. We are recieving over a 100 email/text/ and phone calls a day. We are working very hard to contact everyone! Thank you for the Continued support and feel free to keep contacting us just leave us a message.
Guard schedule is being produced as we speak, please know this will require help from across the state. We will be doing a 24 hour guard till further notice. If you have not submitted your information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 940.368.8311 with your availability. We could be standing guard for a few weeks and we will make it happen. If you are not from the area and would like to help just send the email. We have numerous Fire Departments in the metroplex who have offered to house Firefighters that would like to come in town and help. Thank You all for the continued support!
WEST (April 19, 2013)–A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety at a Friday morning news conference in West confirmed 12 bodies have been recovered from the area around the West Fertilizer plant that exploded Wednesday night in West. DPS Sgt. Jason Reyes said all of the remains have been taken to the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences, in Dallas, for positive identification. Reyes said he could not confirm how many of the dead are first responders. He also said three fire trucks and one ambulance were destroyed in the blast. … Muska told CNN that seven West firefighters died in the blast Wednesday night along with two others, but provided no further details.
Dallas FD Captain Kenny Harris
Age: 52; Married father of two. Off-duty Dallas FD Captain Kenny Harris was killed in the explosion. Captain Harris, who is a resident of West, went to help the volunteers of West with the fire according to reports.
Harris, a 52-year-old father of three, was among the multiple fatalities. Reportedly off-duty when the tragedy struck, Harris did what he was trained to do — help. The Dallas Fire-Rescue captain lived in the community, but has worked for the city of Dallas for nearly 31 years.
Calvin, 37; married with two children and one due on Thanksgiving. Calvin responded to the scene with West Ambulance Service and responded to the initial call.
Calvin was a firefighter with the Navarro Mills Volunteer Fire Department since 1996 and Mertens Volunteer Fire Department since 2012.
Calvin worked as a rancher, carpenter, welder and mechanic, but was in training to become an Emergency Medical Technician, which is why he was training with the West Ambulance service. It was also why he and his partner were called upon when the fire began. “He was at EMT class at West last night,” explained Perry’s father, Phil Calvin. “He and another boy responded to the fire alarm for West fire department and they got at the fire scene before the explosion. They were both right there at the explosion site.”
Phil Calvin said the family couldn’t get “definite confirmation” of his son’s death but admitted the possibility of his survival was bleak. “It’s been over 24 hours. He would have gotten hold of somebody,” he said late Thursday. “They do know that the guy he was with — they found his body (Wednesday) night. I was told they found (Perry Calvin’s) body this afternoon, but the ATF won’t confirm that.”
Chapman, 26; Student Firefighter with Abbot Volunteer Fire Department (Abbott, Texas)
A 26 year old volunteer firefighter is among those killed in the fertilizer explosion in West Texas, according to friends. Jerry Chapman was in class at the time the call went out for the initial fire at West Fertilizer Company. His friends and co-workers say he would not have missed a chance to go help people. “He worked for the Abbot Volunteer Department. He was happy. He loved working for them,” said Sharon Matthews, who worked with Chapman for 8 years.
Co-workers told NBC 5 that Jerry Chapman, 20, a volunteer EMS, was also killed in the blast. Chapman worked at the Black Eyed Pea in Hillsboro, and the restaurant is holding a fundraiser to help his family pay for funeral expenses. The rest will be donated to charity.
Firefighter for West, Texas; Three children ages 2, 17 and 18.
Brent Bridges, 18, told the Star-Telegram that his father, Morris Bridges, was told that he probably didn’t survive.
A Facebook page dedicated to the memory of firefighters who lost their lives in the explosion included Morris Bridges and Buck Uptmor, both West Volunteer Fire Department firefighters. Brothers and West volunteer firefighters Robert and Doug Snokhous also were missing.
“He was the first respond for the West fire department, and we haven’t heard from him since, and everybody is gone from the fire station and his car is still sitting there. We went to all the hospitals; he’s not at any of the hospitals,” said Mills. “I’m thinking he’s died a hero; I really do.”
On Thursday afternoon Mills confirmed to NBC 5 that Bridges died in the explosion.
He had three children ages 2, 17 and 18.
Robert Snokhous & Doug Snokhous (Brothers)
Robert and Doug are brothers who are both firefighters in West, Texas.
Marqee Snokhous, who lives in Florida, told reporters she spent the early morning calling every hospital in hopes of finding that her father, Robert Snokhous, and uncle were among the injured. Her calls haven’t panned out, and as of 12:30 p.m. Thursday, she said the family still had not received confirmation about the fate of her father or uncle. “There’s not been anything official but the mayor did call my stepmom,” she said. “He told her that he’s pretty sure that they’re both inside the business in the plant, trapped in there. And that there’s a pretty high probability that there’s no survivors there.”
Married; Firefighter in West, Texas
Pustejovsky was the City of West, Texas City Secretary. The Facebook page “In Memory of West, TX Firefighters Last Alarm 4/17/2013” updated information that Pustejovsky reported among those missing.
Joey Pustejovsky, West’s city secretary, volunteers as a town firefighter and “was there doing his job and he put his life in harm’s way to protect the people that he needed to protect,” said his brother-in-law, David Sebesta. He said Pustejovsky, 63[?], and his sister were married on March 10, 2012 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church of the Assumption in West.
Joey Pustejovsky, West’s city secretary, volunteers as a town firefighter and “was there doing his job and he put his life in harm’s way to protect the people that he needed to protect,” said his brother-in-law, David Sebesta.
He said his sister, Kelly, and Pustejovsky, 29, were married on March 10, 2012, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church of the Assumption in West.
Pustejovsky brought a son into marriage and blended the family with his wife’s son and two daughters.
Kevin Sanders is listed by a friend as one of the firefighters missing on the Facebook page ”In Memory of West, TX Firefighters Last Alarm 4/17/2013”
Firefighter for West, Texas
A Facebook page dedicated to the memory of firefighters who lost their lives in the explosion included Morris Bridges and Buck Uptmor, both West Volunteer Fire Department firefighters. Brothers and West volunteer firefighters Robert and Doug Snokhous also were missing. Uptmor was confirmed deceased by his family, according to the page.
Firefighter Buck Uptmor’s brother, Brian, confirmed that he died in the explosion. Uptmor, 44, is survived by his wife and three children.
Cyrus A. Reed
Firefighter for West, Texas
Another West firefighter, Cyrus A. Reed, was also killed in the explosion, according to social media postings by friends and family.
According to family posting online, Jim perished in the explosion in West, Texas. He was a first responder to the explosion.
West, Texas Coverage: Fertilizer Plant Explosion. Off-Duty Dallas Captain Kenny Harris Among the Dead. 200+ Injured3 comments
Last updated at 8pm (Scroll Down to Full Coverage)
Off-duty Dallas FD Captain Kenny Harris was killed in the explosion. Captain Harris, who is a resident of West, went to help the volunteers of West with the fire according to reports.
Harris, a 52-year-old father of three, was among the multiple fatalities. Reportedly off-duty when the tragedy struck, Harris did what he was trained to do — help.
The Dallas Fire-Rescue captain lived in the community, but has worked for the city of Dallas for nearly 31 years.
Chief Billy Goldfeder (FirefighterCloseCalls.com) has offered “unofficial” news of 11 deaths related to Fire & EMS:
- 5 West FD Firefighters
- 4 West EMS Medics
- 1 Off Duty Fire Captain (Kenny Harris) *Confirmed
- 1 unconfirmed Firefighter (unknown agency at this time)
Official word has not been released on the numbers, but Goldfeder sites reliable sources from the scene in West, Texas.
Those numbers above don’t quite add up to the remarks of Mayor Muska below (or further remarks below that)…
West Mayor Tommy Muska said state responders, who have helped organize the search and rescue operation, told him that 80 percent of the devastated areas, including a nursing home and 50-unit apartment complex, have been searched so far. Teams have found eight to 10 bodies and expect to find at least a half dozen more at the West Fertilizer Co. facility when they can search those grounds.
WEST, Texas — Around 35 people, including 10 first responders, were killed in the Texas fertilizer company explosion Wednesday night, West Mayor Tommy Muska said in an interview with USA TODAY.
The dead include five members of the West Volunteer Fire Department who were trying to put out the initial blaze, four EMS workers and an off-duty Dallas firefighter who pitched in to help, Muska said. Not all the bodies have been recovered but all are assumed dead.
Two volunteers who showed up to help fight the blaze are also missing and presumed dead, he said.
The rest of the fatalities include residents from nearby homes in the devastated four-block area of this small north-central Texas town 20 miles north of Waco, the mayor added.
The number of injured rose to more than 200 Thursday.
About 100 patients were treated at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center.
Twenty-eight were admitted and five were in ICU Thursday afternoon.
Here is another view of the blast
Video of the blast is below
Video by: zidyboby
1pm 4/18/13 update
There still hasn’t been any update on the confirmed deaths. There are mixed reports on firefighter, EMT, and Police Officer deaths at this point. The latest estimate on the death toll is 15 total, but that is a rough estimate without any concrete information. 3-4 firefighters are being reported as missing. The injuries reported around 160 currently.
It is easy to understand that there are some first responder deaths. After all, firefighters were on scene battling the fire when the explosion occurred. All we can do right now is wait until the area can be thoroughly searched for survivors and those who have perished. Firefighters from all over the area are on scene helping out in the rescue/search efforts.
I will continue to update as new and “official” information is available.
Noon 4/18/13 update
Search and rescue teams were combing the crumbled sites in hopes of finding survivors. More than 160 injured people have been taken to hospitals, and emergency responders believe more victims might be trapped alive.
That “is good news to me,” Sgt W. Patrick Swanton, the Waco police spokesman handling media briefings in West, said early Thursday morning. Authorities have “not gotten to the point of no return.”
At a later media briefing about 10 a.m., Swanton added: “It’s a very slow, methodical search.”
Swanton repeated an earlier figure of five to 15 people killed but said that’s based on “very limited” information from “folks at the scene,” including local, state and federal officials. Three to four West volunteer firefighters who were at the plant when it exploded shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday remain missing.
However, one emergency worker who had been reported as missing, a constable serving as a volunteer firefighter, was found hospitalized with “serious” injuries.
10:30 am 4/18/13 update
A major explosion occurred Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant in the city of West, near Hillsboro in north-central Texas – killing between five and 15 people and injuring at least 160 more. Three to four firefighters who were battling the fire that occurred before the explosion are unaccounted for.
Waco Police Spokesperson Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said a fire began Wednesday evening at the West Fertilizer plant. Fifty minutes later, an explosion was reported in a frantic radio call from the scene of the fire at the plant at 1471 Jerry Mashek Dr. just off Interstate 35. Authorities said there is no indication that the blast was anything but an accident.
A Facebook page has been set up for the Fallen Firefighters. Currently there are over 15k fans, but no information has been shared yet.
Teams of first responders descended on the devastated town of West, Texas, early Thursday where a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant left scores of casualties and turned homes to rubble.
The number of dead remained unclear, with police saying it could be between five and 15. More than 160 people were injured and “three to four” firefighters were missing or unaccounted for, officials said.
Firefighters were battling the blaze that precipitated the explosion Wednesday night. And a storm system heading into the area brought helpful rain — but also heavy winds that might make it much tougher to contain the fire.
8am 4/18/13 update
Rescuers were conducting another door-to-door search early Thursday for the living and the dead in areas damaged by a massive fertilizer plant explosion in West that left more than 100 injured and may have killed dozens.
As of 4:45, officials say five to fifteen people are believed to be dead.
Six firefighters and two paramedics are confirmed dead and seven nursing home residents were missing after the blast according to West EMS Director Dr. George Smith, who said earlier Wednesday night as many as 60 or 70 people may have died in the blast.
“I can’t confirm the number of casualties, but I can tell you that we do have casualties,” said Waco police spokesman Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton at a 4:35 a.m. news conference. “I can tell you that it is estimated anywhere from five to 15 at this point.”
At 4:15 a.m., West, Texas EMS director Dr. George Smith confirmed that two paramedics lost their lives in Tuesday night’s explosion at West Fertilizer Company. He said six firefighters remained unaccounted for.
1am EST 4/18/13 update via news conference
“We do have confirmed fatalities, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman D.L. Wilson said at a midnight news conference, “We have a tremendous amout of injuries… over 100 injuries at this time.”
Wilson would not confirm or deny an earlier report that the number of deaths could be in the range of 60 to 70.
Fire officials fear that the number of casualties could rise much higher — as many as 60 to 70 dead, said Dr. George Smith, the emergency management system director of the city.
Many of the major news agencies are reporting only 2 confirmed dead at this time. Below you will read about a local official claiming 60-70 reported dead. I will update with more information later.
More coverage available at STATter911.com as well as the links below.
A powerful explosion rocked the town of West, Texas, 19 miles north of Waco, on Wednesday evening.
“We’ve heard that figure of 60 to 70 dead that’s coming from the county’s emergency management office down here,” said WFAA reporter Todd Unger a short distance from the blast epicenter. “I can tell you that a couple of law enforcement soucres expect that number to go up.”
Several firefighters and others were injured in a fertilizer plant explosion in West shortly before 8 p.m.
Multiple buildings caught on fire, including West Intermediate School, 1212 N. Reagan St., after the explosion at West Fertilizer Co., 1471 Jerry Mashek Drive, and a dispatcher calling for ambulances said “we do have a lot of injured here.”
The explosion was reported at around 7:50 p.m. in a frantic radio call from the scene of the fire at West Fertilizer at 1471 Jerry Mashek Dr. just off Interstate 35.
The fire started in an anhydrous ammonia tank and spread to the building, authorities said.
Audio below from firefighterdispatch.
Backdraft in Harrison, NJ Caught on Video. Viral Fireground Video Catches Rare Occurrence that Injured 5 Firefighters (3 Videos)No comments
I know I am a little late on this one, but non-the-less it is a great video(s). This video will probably be utilized in training for years to come. The fire occurred at 600 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. in Harrison. More coverage by STATter911.com here.
Video by T00LS.
Five firefighters were hurt in a terrifying explosion and extra-alarm blaze in Harrison, N.J., Sunday afternoon.
.. when the fire was at its height, a dangerous backdraft was caught on video, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported. Backdrafts are an explosive phenomenon, and they are one of the worst things that can go wrong in a firefight.
One of those badly hurt when the backdraft erupted was a battalion chief.
“When that glass blew out, he got it all in his face and his body,” said Harrison fire Capt. Robert Gillen. “He was bleeding profusely.”
Video by Andy T.
Video by David W
Video by quake4ever2007
I am getting geared up for FDIC. If you are going, the only thing you HAVE to do is participate in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. I wrote about it just yesterday here.
I will be posting our itinerary when it gets a little closer. You will be able to find Captain Wines and I split between the MN8 Foxfire booth #5571 and Black Diamond Group booth #2401.
In case you missed it, I was busy this weekend with a series of videos on FireCritic.com. Check them out here:
- South St. Louis house fire
- Hancock, MD 2 alarm building fire (helmet cam)
- Shenandoah, PA 4 alarm building(s) fire
- Utica, NY apartment fire with rescue
- North Whitehall, PA 2 alarm house fire (2 videos)
- Cisco, TX house fire (helmet cam)
- Dennis, MA house fire
- Shenandoah, PA 3 alarm fire (helmet cam)
- Morris, IL million dollar house burns after explosion
- Highland Park, MI 3 houses burn (helmet cam)
- Northern Baltimore County, MD attached garage fire (helmet cam)
- Gettysburg, PA vacant house fire
- Forks Township, PA house fire
- North Smithfield, RI house fire
More Content from the other great blogs and web sites:
Fire Law Blog offers us Cyberbullying – The Ugly Side of Social Media
True North is giving away a scholarship (paid trip to FDIC). This year, they renamed the program “Lt. Richard A. Nappi Training Scholarship”. Read more about it here
Since 2010, True North has provided training scholarships for firefighters to attend the 2013 Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) so they continue to get the training they need to stay safe and protect the safety of others. This year True North had renamed its FDIC Training Scholarship in honor of Lt. Richard A. Nappi.
Firefighter Nation – Monte Egherman writes about Building a Functional Fitness Program
STATter911.com found a great video: Arrival video: House fire in Calverton, MD. PGFD in action from 1991. Plus an apartment fire in Oxon Hill.
MN8 Foxfire has rolled out the brand new illuminating helmet bars (to the right). Read more about them here.
Challenge Coins – I collect challenge coins and trade them. If you would like to purchase one of our coins, check out NM Coin. That is the only place you can get them unless you catch us with one to spare. If you would like to trade, let me know at email@example.com. Below is the National Firefighters Endowment Officer’s Club Chief level coin. Mine is number 005. Learn more about the Officer’s Club here.
Double LODD in Bryan, Texas – Lt. Eric Wallace Killed in Collapse. Lt. Gregory Pickard Died in the Burn Unit.1 comment
Lt. Gregory Pickard has succumb to his injuries he sustained while attempting to rescue Lt. Eric Wallace in last nights fire in Bryan, Tx. Lt. Wallace died in the fire. Lt. Pickard died in the burn unit. Two other firefighters remain in the hospital.
54-year-old Lieutenant Gregory Pickard (32 years on the job) and 36-year-old Lieutenant Eric Wallace (13 years) have both lost their lives in what we have been told was an attempt to save other Firefighters. 30-year-old FF Ricky Mantey Jr. and 21-year-old FF Mitchel Moran remain in the hospital in stable condition. At some point Lt. Wallace’s team went into the structure, but was ordered to evacuate. Wallace didn’t come out and he called for help, saying he was low on air. Firefighters found Wallace, a 13-year veteran, inside and early reports indicated Wallace became trapped when a portion of the roof reportedly collapsed.
FUNERAL DETAILS FOR LT. WALLACE:
Funeral arrangements for Lt. Eric Wallace have just been set as follows. The funeral will be Thursday, Feb. 21, at 10:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Bryan. The funeral procession will immediately follow the funeral service with burial at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Marlin, Texas. Visitation will be Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Adams Funeral Home in Marlin. Much more to follow.
Lt. Eric Wallace died late last night at a fire in the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bryan, Texas. The hall is located at the 1500 block of Groesbeck Dr. Firefighters were called out around 11:20 p.m. Friday.
Three firefighters were also injured in the fire including Lt. Greg Pickard, 54; Firefighter Ricky Mantey Jr., 30; and Probationary Firefighter Mitch Moran, 21. They were transported to the hospital for injuries.
Wallace had been a member of the department for 13 years. He is survived by his wife, Brandi, and five children.
Links for more information and coverage:
- Firefighter Nation
- morning press conference
- interview with chief
- Bryan Fire Department website
- Bryan Fire Department Facebook page
Press Release from the Bryan FD
Bryan firefighters responded to a major commercial structural fire at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 1500 Groesbeck Street in Bryan at approximately 11:20 p.m., February 15.
Fire Lieutenant Eric Wallace, age 36, died in the line of duty. Three other firefighters were injured in the blaze and have been transported to burn units in other locations. Those three are Lieutenant Gregory W. Pickard, age 54, Firefighter Ricky D. Mantey, Jr., age 30, and Probationary Firefighter Mitchel S. Moran, age 21.
Fire officials report that a passerby saw the fire and called 9-1-1. Several Bryan units responded. College Station Fire Department helped secure the site after the Bryan firefighters were injured.
Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor said in a press conference at 6:00 a.m. that the State Fire Marshal’s Office will investigate the incident to determine the cause of the fire. It is reported that no activities were occurring in the KC Hall when the fire was reported to 9-1-1. Since the cause of the fire is under investigation, details cannot be released at this time.
Chief McGregor said, “There are no words to express our grief at the loss of Eric and our concern for Greg, Ricky and Mitch, and their families. These four courageous individuals represent the best of the profession and are true heroes in every sense of the word. “
Lt. Wallace protected the citizens of Bryan for almost 13 years with the Bryan Fire Department. He is survived by his wife, Brandi, and five children. Pickard, Mantey and Moran have served 32 years, 5 years, and 10 months, respectively, with the Bryan Fire Department.
The City of Bryan family appreciates the support of our neighbors in College Station and surrounding Volunteer Fire Departments. We would ask that the privacy of these brave men and their families be respected at this difficult time.
Funeral arrangements for Lt. Wallace are pending.
Close Call Video: Russian Firefighter Nearly Knocked off Ladder By Falling Snow Drift During 5th Floor Rescue. Watch How it Happens!No comments
I caught this video at the gym (did you work out today?). FoxNews.com had it on their news. STATter911.com has it as well.
Video by: MinWashingtonNews
MAGADAN, RUSSIA (JANUARY 17, 2013)
A Siberian firefighter, in the city of Magadan, trying to reach people trapped in a building is sent tumbling down the ladder after being hit by a chunk of snow falling from the roof while smoke is coming out of the windows. Thankfully, the firefighters were able to save a child, carrying the kid down the ladder. Emergency officials say no one was hurt.