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
PASSAIC, N.J. (WABC) – Two firefighters were hurt while battling a large apartment fire in Passaic, New Jersey. The fire started at around 8 p.m. at 77 Lafayette Avenue and quickly spread to a third alarm. Mutual aid was called in from several surrounding towns. “I look outside and see ashes forming on my window,” said Michael Fortuna, a witness. Residents say the fire started in apartment 4B and then spread from there. It didn’t take long for the building to become almost completely engulfed in flames.
Video by: demonracer2
Video by: eng641
Video by: bmxking1504
Video by: Jimmy Hopp. Video info: Plattekill Fire Rescue responded to a house fire on Prospect Hill Road in Wallkill, NY on May 14, 2013.
RecordOnline.com: Plattekill Fire Department, with assistance from area agencies were called to battle a fully involved house fire in a home at 50 Prospect Hill Road in Wallkill on Tuesday afternoon, May 14, 2013. According to Plattekill Fire Chief Chris Mancuso, the fire was discovered when City of Newburgh Fire Chief Mike Vatter, who lives nearby, noticed smoke on his property and went to investigate. Departments quickly responded, and the blaze, which started in half of the house, was put out quickly. Damage is extensive, and fire inspectors were called in to investigate as to the cause of the fire.
STATter911.com also has info on the fire here.
Video by: marsh31091. Video info: none.
These self-proclaimed “amateur firefighters” actually do a pretty decent job of keeping the fire in check. So what if there is some mild chaos and cussing. And so what if it resembled “Lord of the Flies” for a minute or two…Firefighters do finally arrive and take care of business.
Video by: TheMTZFD. Video info: Assisted LCFD with a vacant house fire. Had water issues throughout. No injuries to anyone involved.
More info via Mt. Zion Fire Protection District web site: Mt. Zion was called to assist Long Creek for a report of flames coming from the roof of a house. Upon arrival found the house to be heavily involved in fire. Mt. Zion assisted in fire suppression, and overhaul. The house was a complete loss. One firefighter sustained minor injuries from a large diameter hose coupling striking him in the knee. However, was checked out at the ER and was able to return to the scene. Footage is from BC Paul Hartwig’s helmet camera.
Best of the Rest – ESS Review, VES Helmet Cam, Terrible FF & Leader?, Promotions, and My New Thinking CapNo comments
Right now is the busiest time of the year for me. It starts when Lacrosse season begins (I am the coach of a team of 23 U11 players). I do it because they don’t have enough coaches and because my son plays. I don’t even have an assistant coach. I am not the best coach in the World, but I think I get the job done.
On top of that, FDIC was just held in Indianapolis. Last year, FDIC was a blast and when I got back I felt as though I was stuck under a heap of work…that heap never let up. I have the same issue this year, and again I never dug myself out of the work last year.
I am managing though. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Currently, we are behind on about 8 reviews over at FireProductReview.com. The ESS Eye Pro review is complete and can be seen here. The 1st in Leather review will be up later today.
Keep me informed of what is going on. I try to keep up, but it isn’t happening. If you want information shared on “Best of the Rest”, email me or contact me another way.
The video below is VES Helmet Cam video out of Colorado Springs, CO. More info on it here: IronsandLadders.com offers a view and commentary on a Vent-Enter-Search (VES) Video in the latest post. Read it here.
TenSeventyFive.com offers his latest post “I’m A Terrible Firefighter And An Even Worse Leader“. Read it and offer your opinion in the comments.
Box Alarm Leather has a new line of custom products out in collaboration with MN8 Foxfire. “Illuminated by Foxfire” gear can be ordered on their Facebook page. You might also check out their web site for more products.
FireGeezer.com is chock full of great content this past week or so. We send our condolensces to Bill on the loss of his wife. Mike Ward and the rest of the crew have been keeping the blog hopping with a ton of great stories.
IronFiremen.com’s Captain Wines wrote a great piece titled “Promotions… “SILLY SEASON” is here, Recruitment, Retention and More!“
Dave Statter continues to keep it real…in true “retired guy” spirit, he shows the rest of us that he doesn’t sleep and continues to post around the clock. Check out all of the great stuff over at STATter911.com.
The video below was shared by a reader.
Have you ever thought about using the local park for training?
I’m not sure why they evacuated the house in the end…but I enjoyed this video for the audio more than the video.
Video by: firewolfranger. Info: helmet cam footage from a mutual aid structure fire on Saturday …. I have more footage, and will probably put up a longer video later, but this is from my actual time inside … no response footage from this one, we were already at the station returning from a rescue call when we got called to this one …
Video by: . Video info: This is a 2 part video. The 1st part is of an occupied 1 story house fire with smoke showing / fire venting from rear bedroom. We had 2 probationary firefighters with us that day and WOW was that fun. Pass devices going off and getting blasted in the face with an open nozzle was fun. But we ALL have to learn at the beginning! The probies made a quick stop and all was good. Until 1 year later the same house came in and it was going a little better this time, especially thru the attic. We were going to make the same push thru the front but the heat conditions were deteriorating by the second and being it was a vacant house now with fire thru the roof in some spots, we knocked it down from the outside and then went in. No one was injured but this was our 4th structure fire within our 24 hr shift….we were beat. The cameras used were the Fire Cam MINI HD and the Fire Cam 1080 Fire Helmet Cameras from www.firevideo.net
“Get Off The F$@%ing Radio!”…I think we have all said this at one point in time, just maybe not on camera1 comment
I think we have all said this at one time or another. This short clip below captures just that moment in time where we have something to say…but someone else apparently won’t shut up on the radio. I guess you could say that we just hope that it doesn’t get caught on video. It doesn’t matter who this is or where it happened…it is pretty funny.
Video by: HPZ1442. Video info: This video is from Firefighter Tikkanen’s helmet camera. He was responding on Engine 2, the 2nd due engine for this fire. Crews responded to a report of an occupied dwelling fire on Connecticut street. They arrived to find heavy smoke showing. Upon 1st due crews entry they found heavy fire conditions on 1 and 2nd floor. The crew was able to extinguish the fire before it made its way into the attic.
Not much fire footage on this video since the camera man was going in on the second line. You can see the heavy smoke in the beginning of it. I edited out most of his footage since it was just darkness. The guys described this one as an ass kicker, 3 bottle each fire. I was not personally on this fire.
Photos at the end are compliments of Steve Redick and can be viewed or purchased on his web site http://ksc711.smugmug.com/.
The camera used is a Firecam 1080. You can check them out at firevideo.net
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.
Video by: Da Engine. Pretty decent helmet camera video. Unknown the location of the fire or department involved. Feel free to inform me if you know where this fire occurred. One comment on the Fire Critic Facebook page says they see “Chattanooga” on the side of the engine. I tried to slow it down but couldn’t make it out.
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+ Injured2 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.
Video by: KPaul77. Video info: Truck 3-1 officer Sgt. Kyle Paul. 2nd due truck and 3rd arriving unit. Truck crew was originally assigned to open up and search for stairs leading to division 2. Due to lack of water supply crews were evacuated out until a water source was established. Truck crew entered a second time and vented division 2. Dave Statter has more on the fire here