Good News Blog

Firefighters

Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008

More Than 20 Rescued From Blaze

Indianapolis firefighters rescued no less than 20 people from an apartment building blaze yesterday.

When firefighters arrived amidst the flames and smoke, people were leaning out of their windows on the 6th and 7th floor of the building.

A ladder truck was used to rescue the people who had been trapped.

Meanwhile other firefighters entered the building and used the stairs to bring 20 more to safety.

Two people were treated for slight smoke inhalation.

No firefighters were injured.

Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008

98 Year Old Woman Saved by Firefighters

It’s the weekend in which senior citizens escape fire.

Mable Williams, 98, was working in her kitchen, cleaning dishes. Looking up out of the window she saw a house which is really close to hers on fire.

“”I began to get nervous. I just kept seeing the light. I went to the front and turned on my alarm and nothing. I began to look outside and I saw all of this.”
Mable Williams, 98

Her house was judged to be too close to the intense fire and firefighters pulled her to safety.

Williams wasn’t injured; her house is undamaged too.

Wednesday, Jul. 9, 2008

Man with Autism Meets Firefighters Who Came to Rescue

Keith Kennedy is getting a chance to meet the firefighters who rescued the 25-year-old man with autism from the Wisconsin woods.

Kennedy was missing for a week in the woods near Grantsburg, Wis. after running away from Trade Lake Camp for the developmentally-disabled on June 15. He was rescued June 22 and taken to Fairview Medical Center at the University of Minnesota for recovery.

Kennedy was discharged from the hospital Monday. He had a kidney transplant in 1995, and had been without his medication since June 15. Searchers feared that his kidneys would shut down.

On the last day of organized search, one of the St. Paul firefighters found Kennedy naked in some brush. He was dehydrated, full of ticks and bug bites and suffering from hypothermia.

Kennedy will meet the firefighters following a ceremony to honor the rescuers at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in St. Paul.

Firefighters rescue children

The Patriots in the Park annual carnival turned into a tense situation for several children stranded on a ride.

Sometime between 4 and 6 p.m. on Friday, six children between the ages of 3 and 8 were stranded for about 25 minutes on the Crazy Bus, a children’s ride that goes in circles for several minutes. An electronic problem caused the malfunction, according to Granite City firefighter/paramedic Craig Sykes.

Sykes was one of nine special responders from the fire department who rescued the children by carrying five of the six down a ladder.A child of about 8 was old enough to climb down the ladder by himself, Sykes said.

The children were stranded a little more than 20 feet off the ground in an upright position while they were rescued by firefighters. The rescue took about 15 minutes. No one was injured, Sykes said.

“The youngest one (about 3 or 4) seemed scared. The others seemed fine,” Sykes said.

“This was the first time we had any problems with any of the rides since I’ve been with the Park District,” said Dave Williams, executive director of the Granite City Park and Recreational District. “We’re thankful no one was hurt.”

Williams, who has been the executive director since 2000, said the ride was shut down for the remaining two days of the carnival.

The rides at the Patriots in the Park carnival are owned and operated by Swyear Amusements Company, of New Athens.

Swyear has been providing rides at the carnival for several years, Williams said.

Friday, May. 16, 2008

Family thanks firefighters for rescue

A mother and three children saved from a burning house in Oxford yesterday thanked their rescuers.

Charmaine Partlett, 25, and three of her children Travis, seven, Mimi, three, and Skye, two, were rescued by firefighters from the blaze at their three-storey house, in Lyndworth Mews, Headington, on Sunday morning.

Miss Partlett was screaming from her top-floor window that she could not find three of her children but the fire crew got them out within a few minutes. All four were unhurt, apart from suffering smoke inhalation.

But the family lost all their possessions in the fire and have been put into emergency accommodation.

Yesterday, they met Slade Park fire station manager David Heycock, who was in charge of the rescue.

He chatted with the children and gave Travis his helmet to wear.

All the children shook his hand, while Miss Partlett thanked him for the firefighters’ speedy arrival.

She said: “We were just a couple of minutes from it being a lot worse.

“I have lost lots of possessions, the kids’ clothes and toys, but I can replace them. The kids got out somehow without a scratch on their heads and I could never replace them.

“I’m just thankful they’re all alive. The firemen kept coming back in and taking my kids out. It was unbelievably brave.”

Miss Partlett was woken by her smoke alarm at about 4am. The house was on fire and the bedrooms were filled with smoke.

She tried to rescue her children but could not find her way through the smoke.

Miss Partlett added: “I woke up to find my bedroom was filled with jet-black smoke and I could barely breathe.

“I couldn’t get to the girls’ bedroom but luckily I had my mobile phone. I found it on the floor through the smoke and dialled 999.

“I still couldn’t breathe and my eyes were stinging. All I could think about was I couldn’t get to the kids and didn’t know if they were awake. I have never been so scared.”

Firefighters broke down the front door and first rescued Travis from his downstairs bedroom, then found Skye and Mimi on the second floor.

Travis said: “I didn’t know there was a fire until the fireman came through the front window and grabbed me and took me through the window so I didn’t cut myself.”

Miss Partlett’s eldest daughter Rhiannon, nine, was staying at a friend’s house.

Mr Heycock said: “This was probably a once-in-a-lifetime job.

“To rescue four people from a burning house with eight rooms, things could have been so different.

“It’s so rewarding to see these children all fine and healthy.”

The fire is believed to have started accidentally, caused by an iron.

Monday, Mar. 24, 2008

Firefighters rescue disabled girl from blaze

A disabled girl around 11 years old is in hospital after firefighters rescued her from the window of a burning building in Montreal (Canada) early Monday morning.

Firefighters said the girl received non-life-threatening injuries when fire broke out around 2 a.m. at a three-storey apartment building on Fullum Street.

About 25 people fled the building, making way for about 100 firefighters who fought the flames and smoke.

The girl was left behind in a first-floor apartment, where firefighters reached her and carried her to safety.

A few firefighters remained on the scene of the charred building with smashed windows around 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007

Off-duty firefighter rescues woman from submerged SUV in Bronx River

Joseph Iamonico’s morning began with his usual routine: he lit up a stogie and took his English bulldog, Tito, for a long walk along the Bronx River Parkway, biding time before his 24-hour shift at the Eastchester Fire Department.

The 52-year-old firefighter-EMT isn’t sure what happened to his cigar, but figures he must have dropped it while jumping into the river after a sinking sport utility vehicle yesterday.

“I heard the car hit the guardrail, and I was hoping it would stop in time, but it just kept going and going,” he said.

The accident was reported about 7 a.m. on the northbound parkway, behind the Crestwood train station. The red Kia Sportage sank off Vermont Terrace.

Iamonico used his cell phone to call the Westchester County dispatch center – the number is on his speed dial. After giving out the accident location, he put down the phone and his wallet and jumped into the water.

By the time he reached the submerged vehicle, Debbie S. Johns, 33, of Mount Vernon had managed to get out of the driver’s seat.

“She was sitting on top of her car, and she seemed pretty shook up, but not hurt,” Iamonico said. “The water was about up to my chest. She gave me a bear hug and we basically waded back to shore.”

Johns was taken to Lawrence Hospital Center in Bronxville for back pain.

A heavy-duty wrecker pulled the SUV out of the water shortly before 8:30 a.m. after placing a tether through two windows.

The speed limit on that part of the parkway is 40 mph. Police are investigating whether speed was a factor in the crash.

“Speed is probably the likely cause,” said Lt. Maria Meliti of the Westchester County police. No charges have been filed, said Lt. Henry Cetina.

Attempts to reach Johns were unsuccessful. A phone number listed for her address was disconnected.

Two fatal accidents have taken place on the Bronx River Parkway this month. On Monday, an Orange County man was killed and a Peekskill woman seriously injured in a two-vehicle collision near Virginia Road in Greenburgh.

On Nov. 7, a Yonkers couple were killed in a two-vehicle collision near Oak Street in Yonkers.

Police cited the driver in the Nov. 7 accident for speeding. Yesterday’s accident is still under investigation, police said.

Iamonico got to work about an hour late, after going home to shower and change clothes. He still had to work his 24-hour shift, he said, with a casual shrug.

“Any one of the guys in this firehouse would have done the same thing,” he said. “I don’t think I did anything too crazy. It was a normal reaction.”

His supervisor, Capt. Tom Ferrara, who has worked with Iamonico for 25 years, agreed, but said the firefighters had their own way of honoring his actions.

“We will ruthlessly (tease him) for the rest of the day, and he has to buy dinner, or at least lunch,” Ferrara said. “If you do something stupid or heroic, you have to buy dinner. I’m sure there will be steak on the menu tonight.”

Firefighters honoured for brave rescues

THREE South Wales firefighters have been honoured for acts of bravery while on duty.

Mark Dodds and Rob Adams, who work on Blue Watch at Barry Fire Station, were called to Aberthaw Quarry, where a woman had threatened suicide before losing consciousness on the edge of a 100ft drop.

Rigged with ropes and harnesses, Rob caught the woman before she slipped and held onto her as she hung over the edge of the quarry for 10 minutes.

Mr Dodds rushed to his colleague’s aid and the pair then lowered the unconscious woman, and themselves, down the quarry face and into the quarry.

Both then performed CPR on the woman, who had stopped breathing, until paramedics arrived.

Another firefighter who was honoured was James Haskell, who works at Ely Fire Station.

He was called to a house fire in Canton where an unconscious man was trapped in a loft conversion.

Mr Haskell managed to break into the room and, along with a colleague, rescued him.

Thursday, Jul. 5, 2007

Miracle recovery has firefighter set to go home

A Hamilton firefighter who has been hospitalized since being trapped under water for more than 20 minutes during a training exercise in April will be going home Friday, according to a hospital spokesman.

Guy Karrick, a spokesman for the Drake Center in Cincinnati, said Chris Gabbard will be released at noon Friday. He said there would be some “tremendous visuals” at the discharge, which is expected to include Gabbard receiving a ride home in a fire truck.

After more than six weeks of recovery from the accident on the Great Miami River, it is good that Gabbard is going home, said Hamilton Fire Chief Joe Schutte.

“It’s truly a miracle,” he said.

Gabbard, 32, has been recovering since the April 17 accident that occurred during recertification training on the Great Miami River. About 12 members of the department’s River Rescue Team were present when two boats drifted toward the turbulent water near the dam and overturned.

Gabbard, a four-year firefighter, and three others fell into the water near the low-level dam. Three of the firefighters were pulled out of the water within minutes. Gabbard was under the water more than 20 minutes.

Gabbard was taken to The Fort Hamilton Hospital and then to University Hospital in Cincinnati before being transferred to the Drake Center.

A second firefighter, John Hansbauer, who sustained spinal and leg injuries during the accident, was released from Drake in early May.

After the accident, Schutte asked the community to pray for the recovery of Gabbard and Hansbauer.

“The prayers were certainly answered,” Schutte said. “There is no other way to explain it.”

R. Dennis Riddick, pastor of the Twinbrook Hills Baptist Church where Gabbard is a member, echoed Schutte’s claim that Gabbard’s recovery was miraculous.

“Both Fort Hamilton and University Hospitals gave him up and didn’t think he was going to live,” Riddick said. “Now, he’s up talking, eating regular food and getting visitors. He’s doing really well.”

Riddick said Gabbard was undergoing physical therapy to regain the use of his legs and had been walking some distances on his own.

Wednesday, Jul. 4, 2007

California firefighter hailed as hero for brave rescue

Los Angeles County firefighter/paramedic Fred Sandoval estimates he took three minutes to save Bryce Lyons’ life.

Sandoval, of Upland, insists any one of his fire crew members could have rescued the Glendora man – who was nearly certain to die from smoke inhalation inside of a smoke- and fire-filled apartment building.

But last Monday, Sandoval was the one who went inside the apartment about 6:40 p.m. in the 500 block of Parker Drive.

“Anyone of them would have done it – it was just Fred’s turn to go in,” said John Schmidt, emergency services manager for Glendora.

Sandoval, 39, has lived in Upland with his wife and three children since December 1998 but grew up in Glendora and graduated from Glendora High School in 1985.

Los Angeles County fire Capt. Gary Bronner said Lyons, 29, is alive because of Sandoval’s help.

“Even to the bigger point, he probably would have died if we hadn’t gotten to him before the next minute – that’s how close it was,” Bronner said.

Sandoval went inside the apartment after Glendora police Officer Mike Skibar went in but could not see more than three feet because of “intense” smoke and then exited the building, Schmidt said.

Bronner said Sandoval put on a breathing apparatus, and fire engineer Ed Vasquez gave him a 300-foot hose line for safety.

“I was crawling on my knees feeling – like this,” Sandoval said last week as he re-enacted the scene inside his station next to a fire engine.

“I was feeling around and I felt his left foot,” Sandoval said.

“Is this him?” Sandoval remembered thinking. “Yeah, it’s him. I grabbed both feet and dragged him out.”

Fireman Dominic Viramontes and firefighter/paramedic Pat Dunham from Engine 32 in Azusa helped pull him away from the building, Sandoval said.

Then firefighter/paramedics Sean Cusack and George Gonzalez from Sandoval’s Engine 151 helped to resuscitate Lyons, Sandoval said.

Lyons was released May 7 from Foothill Presbyterian Hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Since 1990, Sandoval has worked for Los Angeles County as a fire suppression aide, flying in a helicopter and fighting brush fires in 1990 and 1991. He was hired as a firefighter in 1992.

He had been an ambulance driver in 1988 and 1989 as well as during a brief period in 1991.

He went to Citrus College and Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut and in 1991, he graduated with a fire-science degree from Mt. SAC.

He has been at the Glendora station for 11 years and passed an exam to be a fire engineer in November.

Bronner said it was a team effort in saving Lyons.

“I have an excellent crew,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me my crew made the right decision to make a difference.”

Schmidt, who was a paramedic with Sandoval’s brother in Glendale in the late 1970s, said he believes Sandoval made the difference.

“That gentleman is alive because Fred went in there and did a thorough search. He could have done a quick precursory search.

“If Fred was on the hero list, I’d vote for him.”

Thursday, Jun. 28, 2007

Firefighters Rescue Family From Blazing Home

Firefighters rescued a young family from their burning house when a mystery blaze trapped them in a bedroom.

A man, woman and child were rescued from the bedroom window as flames engulfed their home in Enfield, north London.

The family were trapped in the bedroom when the fire began just before mdnight on Saturday.

The blaze took hold in the ground floor of the house in Wishaw Walk and fire crews helped two adults and a young boy to safety from a first floor window.

The three were treated for smoke inhalation, but were otherwise unharmed.

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: “We were called at midnight to a fire at Wishaw Walk, Enfield, in a house of two floors.

“One adult male, one adult female, and one male child were rescued from a first floor bedroom suffering from smoke inhalation.

“Ten per cent of the ground floor was damaged by fire. The firefighters used one hose reel, a fire extinguisher, breathing apparatus, and a thermal image camera.”

The cause of the blaze was being investigated.

Tuesday, Jun. 5, 2007

Hero firemen to be honoured

FIVE UK firefighters who saved a man’s life after he was stabbed are to receive an award.

The men, from Maesteg fire station, will be honoured in a ceremony tomorrow.

Their quick thinking saved the life of 48-year-old John Baker, of Carmen Street, Caerau, Maesteg.

Sub Officer Martyn Harris, Leading Firefighter Dave Lake, Firefighter Andrew Daye, Firefighter Dave Smith and Firefighter John Boulton will be presented with a letter of commendation.

The men were called to a pub where they found Mr Baker in grave danger. They wrapped him in their uniforms to stop the heavy bleeding and drove him to hospital in the back of a fire engine.

Wednesday, May. 30, 2007

Fireman braves burning petrol station: “I’m no hero”

A fireman braved a burning petrol station forecourt and prevented disaster after a man flooded the area and covered an attendant in fuel.

Police yesterday praised the actions of deputy chief fire officer Dave Burford who stopped the blaze just as it was licking petrol bowsers.

A 34-year-old man was granted interim name suppression when he appeared in the Christchurch District Court today charged with arson, two counts of assault, and resisting arrest.

The incident closed the station for about two hours while police examined the scene.

Duty solicitor Shaun O’Neill told Judge Stephen Erber he would not apply for bail on instructions from the man’s family, but asked for interim name suppression so relatives could be informed.

The man, who is now subject to an in-patient order from the court, was remanded in the custody of Hillmorton Hospital without plea to reappear on May 31.

Burford said he was passing the petrol station on his way back to work when he heard an emergency call.

“There was a man standing in the forecourt with lots of petrol around him and he had a fire-starter. I immediately realised the implications,” he said.

“The police weren’t there yet, so I had to be quick.”

Burford said the ground was covered in petrol as bowsers had been used to flood the forecourt.

“He (the accused man) took a swing at me and missed. But then the fire started. It just went right across the forecourt. I grabbed an extinguisher and told them (station staff and customers) to get out of there.”

He then managed to put out the fire using four extinguishers.

“I was surprised how well it worked,” Burford said.

Police then arrived and arrested the man on the forecourt, he said.

Burford said it was fortunate it was an open forecourt, with plenty of fresh air.

“I was lucky it didn’t blow,” Burford said.

“There was just enough air around for it to just ignite.

“With the amount of petrol there, I realised it would be a big explosion,” he said.

“They don’t realise how dangerous it can be if a petrol station goes.”

However, Burford said he did not feel a hero, despite his actions. “I’m not. It’s just my job. I have been in the job for 37 years, and that is what I get paid for.”

Sergeant Steve Jones, of the Sydenham police, said the accused man was by himself and went into the store and spoke to attendants briefly.

“I don’t know what he was saying. It doesn’t sound like he’s had an altercation with them.”

The man left the store then started pumping petrol over the forecourt and over an attendant who was outside, Jones said.

“The attendant and other Caltex staff took off out the back door. They had shut the petrol off inside – I’m not sure at what stage.”

Police arrived on the scene minutes after the fire broke out, and Jones managed to capture the alleged offender.

“It was just so dangerous to everyone around.

“It had the potential to be a major fire – full credit for the fire chief.”

Caltex staff at the scene declined to comment.

In a statement, Chevron New Zealand marketing manager Nick Hannan praised the actions of a staff member at the petrol station.

“This is a very rare occurrence and the staff member was quick to follow Chevron safety and security procedures, which meant the situation was well contained,” he said.

The incident closed the station for about two hours as police conducted a scene examination.

Witness Julie Paul said she saw the man pouring petrol around the forecourt.

“Then I just saw flames, and smoke, and then it was out.

“It happened so fast.

“There were quite a few people there at the time.”

Paul ran across the road to the station and saw a policeman holding the man on the ground.

“He was fighting back and said `leave me alone’.

“I told him he was a bloody idiot because I was so angry. It was such a stupid thing to do.”

Another witness, Ken Schick, was with a friend about to drive into the petrol station when he saw the flames.

Schick said the thought of the station exploding did cross his mind: “It was almost touching the petrol bowsers.

“It could have exploded. It did go through my mind.” Schick said he saw police officers arrest the man.

The man had looked very agitated.

Friday, May. 25, 2007

Volunteer Firefighter Rescues Woman Trapped In Burning Car

A volunteer firefighter is being heralded as a hero after he jumped into a burning car to save a woman’s life.

Robin Drought was the passenger in a car when in wrecked in Pleasanton back in March. Her door was smashed in and her feet were pinned under the dashboard. Then, the fuel tank ruptured and the car caught on fire. The water trucks weren’t there yet, but Pleasanton volunteer firefighter, Scott Garris was. Garris got inside the burning car with a fire extinguisher and kept the flames back.

“He sat there and held my hands the entire time. I thought if he stays with me and doesn’t leave me, everything must be okay,” said Drought.

The fire was put out when the water trucks arrived, and Drought was extracted from the car. She suffered second degree burns on her back and numerous broken bones, but is expected to make a full recovery thanks to Garris.

Captain Garris was named ‘District Firefighter of The Year’ last month.

Tuesday, May. 22, 2007

City fire crews rescue mom, kids, puppies

Rochester firefighters rescued a mother, two children, two dogs and seven puppies in two fires early Friday.

The first fire, at 21 Reed Park, was called in shortly after 3 a.m. When firefighters arrived, the front porch was engulfed in flames.

The occupant of the home was already outside, but firefighters found and rescued two adult pit bulls and seven puppies, said Battalion Chief Richard Yackel.

One of the 1-week-old puppies was not breathing when firefighters brought it out of the house, but paramedic Sarah Andzic gave it CPR and worked with it until it was breathing again, said John Halldow, public information officer for Rural/Metro Medical Services.

The second fire, on nearby Weld Street, was called in about a half-hour later, and also started on the front porch.

The fire reportedly blocked the second-floor stairway, trapping the family inside.

The mother and two school-aged children were rescued by ladder from the back of the house, said Deputy Chief Bill Curran.

The three were taken to Strong Memorial Hospital; the children with possible smoke inhalation, the mother reportedly with a deep cut in her wrist from broken glass.

Wednesday, May. 16, 2007

Off-duty Firefighters, Officer Rescue Teen

San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarmen thanked two off-duty San Diego firefighters who pulled a 19-year-old from a burning car on Monday.

Firemen T.J. Lockwood and Mark Tomesello were on a date with their girlfriends, driving in the Mission Bay Park area, when the saw a terrible car accident around 7:25 p.m.

According to police, Zachary Raymond Smith, 18, and his 19-year-old passenger were headed north on Ingraham Street at about 7:15 p.m. Investigators said Smith lost control of the vehicle when he attempted to take the Seaworld Drive exit.

Authorities said the car slammed into a pine tree and burst into flames soon after. Smith was able to get out quickly, reported NBC 7/39, but his passenger was trapped

Officials said Lockwood, Tomesello, as well as another off-duty firefighter , Kyle O’Neill, and an off-duty police officer , Benjerwin Manansala, pulled the passenger from the car minutes before he would have been burned.

They were both taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

Police said Smith suffered multiple fractures to his arms and legs in the crash. His passenger had an open fracture to his femur, officials said.

Monday, May. 14, 2007

Firefighter hailed as hero for brave rescue

Los Angeles County firefighter/paramedic Fred Sandoval estimates he took three minutes to save Bryce Lyons’ life.

Sandoval, of Upland, insists any one of his fire crew members could have rescued the Glendora man – who was nearly certain to die from smoke inhalation inside of a smoke- and fire-filled apartment building.

But last Monday, Sandoval was the one who went inside the apartment about 6:40 p.m. in the 500 block of Parker Drive.

“Anyone of them would have done it – it was just Fred’s turn to go in,” said John Schmidt, emergency services manager for Glendora.

Sandoval, 39, has lived in Upland with his wife and three children since December 1998 but grew up in Glendora and graduated from Glendora High School in 1985.

Los Angeles County fire Capt. Gary Bronner said Lyons, 29, is alive because of Sandoval’s help.

“Even to the bigger point, he probably would have died if we hadn’t gotten to him before the next minute – that’s how close it was,” Bronner said.

Sandoval went inside the apartment after Glendora police Officer Mike Skibar went in but could not see more than three feet because of “intense” smoke and then exited the building, Schmidt said.

Bronner said Sandoval put on a breathing apparatus, and fire engineer Ed Vasquez gave him a 300-foot hose line for safety.

“I was crawling on my knees feeling – like this,” Sandoval said last week as he re-enacted the scene inside his station next to a fire engine.

“I was feeling around and I felt his left foot,” Sandoval said.

“Is this him?” Sandoval remembered thinking. “Yeah, it’s him. I grabbed both feet and dragged him out.”

Fireman Dominic Viramontes and firefighter/paramedic Pat Dunham from Engine 32 in Azusa helped pull him away from the building, Sandoval said.

Then firefighter/paramedics Sean Cusack and George Gonzalez from Sandoval’s Engine 151 helped to resuscitate Lyons, Sandoval said.

Lyons was released May 7 from Foothill Presbyterian Hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Since 1990, Sandoval has worked for Los Angeles County as a fire suppression aide, flying in a helicopter and fighting brush fires in 1990 and 1991. He was hired as a firefighter in 1992.

He had been an ambulance driver in 1988 and 1989 as well as during a brief period in 1991.

He went to Citrus College and Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut and in 1991, he graduated with a fire-science degree from Mt. SAC.

He has been at the Glendora station for 11 years and passed an exam to be a fire engineer in November.

Bronner said it was a team effort in saving Lyons.

“I have an excellent crew,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me my crew made the right decision to make a difference.”

Schmidt, who was a paramedic with Sandoval’s brother in Glendale in the late 1970s, said he believes Sandoval made the difference.

“That gentleman is alive because Fred went in there and did a thorough search. He could have done a quick precursory search.

“If Fred was on the hero list, I’d vote for him.”

Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007

Rookie Firefighter Learns from Hero

It’s a fire that still smolders in the hearts and minds of many of you.

The McClung Warehouse fire is a memory firefighters will never forget.

As one man begins his fire training to save lives, he comes face to face with a veteran still coming to grips with his brush with death.

You remember the images, a fire so massive, the largest in decades. Close to 80 firefighters battling the flames at the McClung Warehouses.

Four men were hurt.

“The arson investigators estimated the temperatures were in excess of a thousand degrees,” the most serious was Jeff Kendrick, falling forty feet to a sidewalk below.

Now home, Jeff’s daily reminders of his injuries, include wearing a back brace from a broken vertebrae, and the scars on his hands.

Now, this crusty veteran has an admirer, ready to take on his own challenge.

‘Hey, you must be Jeff, nice to meet you,” a young buck named Steve Hall, heading off to the academy to learn the ropes.

“I wanted something more meaningful and ah, I understand there are risks, involved, but the rewards are helping people,” says Steve.

From veteran to rookie, man to man, Jeff offers this. “The same advice people gave me when I first started, which is pay attention to your training. Listen to what the people who are giving you you’re instruction in this profession and this calling”.

Now with a wife and two little girls, the risks are even greater.

“I’m just going to pray for him everyday and you know that’s all you can do, and I’m confident with the training he’s going in any situation prepared,” says Sara Hall, Steve’s wife.

“Absolutely, I would go into this profession, the rewards outweigh the risks,” Hall says.

“Everyday, I’ll pray that each one will have an angel, that’s all you can do,” says Sara.

A lifetime of advice from a veteran firefighter to a willing rookie wanting to make a difference.

Steve Hall begins his academy training this Monday. As for Jeff Kendrick, he’ll wear his back brace for 6 more weeks, and then undergo three months of therapy.

Monday, Apr. 2, 2007

Firemen Train for Horse Rescue in UK

Sparsholt College and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are enrolling firemen throughout the UK in equine handling and awareness courses, according to a Horse & Hound article.

“Most firemen have little experience of horses, so it’s very beneficial,” Nigel Fox, deputy manager of agriculture at Sparsholt College, told the magazine.

Jim Green, an animal rescue officer in Hampshire, said that his rural safety team has rescued 11 horses in the past three months, including a pony trapped in a ditch and a horse impaled on railings. “It is encouraging to see these tangible results,” Green told Horse & Hound.

The magazine also reports that the program’s success has been recognized by the insurance company PetPlan, which invested over $15,000 of charitable funds to purchase more advanced equipment for the unit.

Firefighters rescue trapped puppy

A puppy who broke away from her owners and jumped into New York’s Hudson River over the weekend was rescued by veteran firefighters.

The New York Post reported on Bubba, the 15-month-old bull terrier who pulled away from her owners as they walked along the pier.

The firefighters were finishing a drill on a neighboring pier when the emergency occurred, the report said. One of them donned a rescue suit and swam from the team’s rapid response boat to the dog, who had gotten trapped under the pier.

The owners, who did not want to be identified, were grateful for the rescue.

Thursday, Mar. 29, 2007

Firefighters marvel at accident victim’s miracle recovery

Fire Capt. Thor Hansen has seen plenty of tragedies in his 24 years on the job – and at least two true miracles.

The first involved three children, pulled dead from a fire, who are very much alive today.

The other is Robert Lynch.

On Sept. 8, Lynch’s head was crushed under a hydraulic lift while working at a loading dock in the Denver Tech Center. Firefighters from two nearby stations, including Hansen, arrived within a minute. No more than 30 seconds later, the Jaws of Life lifted the platform.

Lynch’s head, smashed by the steel, had turned so intensely purple that it almost looked black, firefighter Travis Gumm said. He wasn’t breathing, and he had no pulse.

“He was gone,” Hansen said.

On Wednesday, the firefighters who responded that day and Denver Fire Chief Larry Trujillo sat down to lunch at Station No. 22 with Lynch’s parents, wife, four kids – and the man himself.

“You look a lot better than the last time we saw you,” Hansen told Lynch as they shook hands.

“I pretty much assumed this was going to be a fatality,” firefighter A.J. Johansen said. “Just looking at him and the situation, you could tell this wasn’t going to be a good outcome.”

At the scene, Lynch was revived after a minute or two of CPR, Gumm recalled.

“It was almost unbelievable,” he said. “The trauma he survived was shocking.”

Lynch spent two months in the hospital. “I don’t remember any of it,” he said.

The steps forward have been slow but steady during the past six months.

He’s had to learn to walk and eat solid food again, and he still receives physical, occupational and speech therapy five days a week.

But no one has really told Lynch’s family what his future holds.

“They don’t like to say with a brain injury what’s going to happen. Nobody wants to tell us it’s permanent damage,” said his mother, Mary Lynch.

“I guess they always say they’re hopeful.

“He’s come a long way.”

Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2007

Fire Hero Saves 13 People

A hero rescued a baby from a blazing building before saving another 12 people trapped in the inferno. Vasco Cordeiro leapt 12 feet from his apartment on O’Connell Street in Waterford and plucked three-month-old tot Hayden from his terrified mum Clarissa McCormick’s arms.

The brave barman then woke up the other residents of the eight apartments engulfed in flames before alerting the fire brigade.

The 25-year-old from the Algarve in Portugal, who has been living in Waterford for 18 months, raised the alarm at 5.30am.

He said: “I did what anyone else would do in the same situation. I feared for my life and others so I had to do something.

“I arrived home from work at 3.30am when suddenly I heard an alarm and opened the door to check what was going on.

“The smoke came straight at me. I could see nothing because there was too much smoke but I could hear the roar of the flames.

“I threw my cat out the window and then leapt out myself.

“Two girls were screaming inside the apartment downstairs. I went to the window and they passed out the baby.

“I woke everyone before taking the baby to a safe spot.

“It was quite scary but thankfully everyone got out.”

Hayden’s mum Clarissa told how she thought her and her baby son were going to die in the fire. The 22-year-old from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, said: “I was in the flat and I heard banging on the window. I woke up and saw Vasco outside – he was saying that the place was on fire and to get out.

“I passed the baby to him – he saved us. I was scared. I thought I was going to die.

“It was Vasco who saved us all. He was amazing.

“Hayden is fine, thank God. We are just glad to be alive.

“I really did think that we weren’t going to get out.”

All of the tenants, many of whom are foreign nationals, were taken to Waterford Regional Hospital.

They were treated for shock and smoke inhalation. Two units of firefighters fought the flames. Investigations are now focusing on witness reports that a cigarette thrown through the letter box may have been to blame.

Gardai sealed off the scene and launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze.

Waterford chief fire officer Niall Curtin said: “The cause of the fire is not yet known but it seems to have started in the hallway.

“What is very important here is that somebody made a 999 call – for that reason, 13 people were rescued from the building.

“A Garda investigation is under way and we will carry out our own examination of the scene.”

Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2007

Firefighters save sleeping woman from burning home

A Rio Rancho woman is alive today because of the work of two Rio Rancho firefighters.

At about 9 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters arrived at a home on the 200 block of Santa Elena Road in Corrales Heights to find the garage fully engulfed in flames, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman John Francis.

While two firefighters fought the fire, and more firefighters joined them later, two more searched the house for anyone still inside.

In the back bedroom, Capt. Sean Bergen and firefighter Ray Denison found a hearing-impaired woman in her late 60s still asleep in the bed, Francis said. Hoisting her upon his shoulder, Bergen carried her out of the building.

“Had they not gotten to her in time, most likely she would have succumbed from smoke,” Francis said.

Instead of meeting an untimely end, the woman was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for minor smoke inhalation and released, Francis said. A second resident in that home was out of town during the fire.

The victim of the house fire, Francis said, is being housed by the Red Cross. While her home is currently unlivable, Francis said it was salvageable.

The firefighters targeting the blaze had it under control within 20 minutes and were able to return to the station after several hours, Francis said.

The fire marshal is still investigating the cause of the blaze. The only detail Francis released was that it started in the garage.

Francis did not know if there were smoke detectors in the house, but as the woman was hearing impaired, he also was unsure if she would have heard them.

Although fire deaths are on the rise nationwide, Francis said, Rio Rancho has not experienced the same trend.

“Luckily, we have not had a fire death in Rio Rancho in years,” he said.

Friday, Mar. 16, 2007

Fire hero saves baby

A rookie firefighter saved a baby’s life as he cycled to work.

Ian Nicholson, 29, used techniques he had learned on a course just two weeks ago to bring little Ruby Fallingham back from the brink after she stopped breathing.

Now he is being invited to be guest of honour at Ruby’s first birthday party next week.

Ian, who is based at Bolton Central Station and only started the job in November, was cycling along Newbrook Road at Over Hulton yesterday when he saw Ruby’s distressed family.

He said: “I saw a lady shaking what at first I thought was a doll, and she was clearly upset. She was the child’s grandmother, and the baby’s mother was nearby panicking.

“I told the grandmother to call an ambulance and took the child from her. I laid her down in a garden. She had stopped breathing and was turning blue.

“I began CPR – pressing her chest with one finger about 15 times and then I got one breath into her mouth. The baby came round instantly. It was amazing. Within a few minutes she was fine. I then got on my bike and carried on to work.

“I went a trauma course about two weeks ago and fortunately it focused on paediatric recovery techniques.

“I was a bit late setting off for work and I nearly got the bus instead, but decided to go on my bike – obviously I was meant to come across Ruby and her family.

“I was a terrific feeling, being able to help. I felt like I had won the Lottery.”

Ruby’s mother, Lorna Smith, of Mealhouse Lane, Atherton, who is expecting her second child in September, said: “We were on our way home from hospital, as Ruby had not been well, when she began to turn blue and was foaming at the mouth.

“We stopped the car and Ian came past on his bike and asked if he could help.

“It was very frightening. But Ian was brilliant. He was cool, calm and just took over.”

Ruby made a full recovery but was being kept in Royal Bolton Hospital last night for observation.

Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2007

Father Is Fire Hero

A father was last night hailed as a hero after pulling his baby twin daughters to safety from their burning home.

Stuart Young, 40, rescued the girls after his family’s cottage caught fire in the early hours of yesterday morning.

As the blaze took hold, he hauled six-week-old twins Sally and Penny from their cots and carried them outside.

Mr Young, factor of the Dunecht Estate in Aberdeenshire, then called the fire brigade.

A friend said: ‘The house went up in a matter of seconds. If it wasn’t for Stuart, everything could have been quite different.

‘Everyone around here is calling him a hero.’ Mr Young, his wife Susie and the twins were taken to hospital for checks and discharged.

Five fire engines were sent to tackle the blaze, which started shortly before 3am yesterday.

Grampian Fire and Rescue said it took about three hours to get it under control and the house was badly damaged.

Monday, Mar. 12, 2007

Firefighters rescue lizard from car

When Luca the lucky lizard went walkabout in her owner’s car, she could not have imagined the trouble she would cause.

Luca’s owner, Andrea Smith, and daughter, Chelsea, were driving the water dragon back from a pet shop after stocking up on some of her favourite food, including mice, when she decided to go for a wander.

In one quick move the pesky pet, which is a foot-and-half long, managed to jump off Chelsea, 17, and into the footwell of the car where she tucked herself out of reach by climbing behind the console and wrapped herself around the gear stick.

Mrs Smith pulled the car over to the side of the road, fearful she would crush her beloved Luca – who was named after Chelsea FC legend Gianluca Vialli.

Although she could see the end of Luca’s tail, not even a couple of wax worms could tempt her from the new nest and Mrs Smith decided to call for help.

Breakdown company The AA told her they could not deal with “livestock” so she reluctantly decided to call 999 and a firecrew from Chelmsford were despatched to Roman Road, Chelmsford on Saturday afternoon.

But just before they arrived a traffic warden wandered past and was preparing to swoop when Mrs Smith told him: “I know you are about to give me a ticket, but I have a dragon stuck in my gear box”.

He relented and the fire crew arrived and soon got to work and after five minutes of pushing, pulling and unscrewing they uncovered Luca.

Luca, who is about two-and-a-half years old, made a final dash for freedom but was finally grabbed by a firefighter sat in the driver’s seat.

Yesterday in Writtle, near Chelmsford, she was back in her viquaruium , which combines land and water, along with pal Lulu, another water dragon.

Mrs Smith, who is a service engineer, said she was grateful to the firefighters who stopped Luca’s luck from running out.

She said: “I could have killed Chelsea – bits of dragon in your gearbox cannot be good for anything.

“I took the guys chocolates and a thank you card as if it had not been for them, she would have been killed – they totally and utterly rescued her and me, as I would have been at the mercy of my bosses as it is a company car.”

Sub officer Andy Harding from Chelmsford fire station said: “Luckily the lizard was tame and so when we loosened off the plastic console cover where it was hiding we were able to reach in and grab hold of it.”

Luca was unharmed by her ordeal just after 12.30pm on Saturday and was reunited with her rescuers yesterday.

Friday, Mar. 9, 2007

Firefighters rescue man from icy lake

A Worcester city man was in serious condition at a local hospital early today after falling off the Route 9 bridge into the icy waters of Lake Quinsigamond yesterday afternoon.

Shrewsbury firefighters retrieved him from the lake within 15-20 minutes of being notified, officials said.

The man was identified last night as Freddy Orantes, 37, by Detective Sgt. Thomas R. Radula. Mr. Orantes was admitted to the intensive care unit of the UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus, in critical condition, but his condition was upgraded late last night.

Witnesses told Worcester police that Mr. Orantes appeared to slip rather than jump from the westbound side of the bridge. Before going over the railing, he stood on the inside of the rail, rather than on a ledge on the outside, they said.

Shrewsbury Fire Capt. Robert L. Gaucher said firefighters Michael Bowles and Mark Mann of the Harrington Avenue station responded in the Fire Department hovercraft. They located Mr. Orantes under the bridge.

One firefighter put on an immersion suit and went into the water. Both rescuers hauled Mr. Orantes into the boat and took him to a dock at Vinny T’s of Boston, a restaurant in Shrewsbury, where EMTs provided first aid.

Officials were notified about a man in the water at 4:27 p.m. The rescue was a joint effort by the Shrewsbury and Worcester fire departments. Rescue personnel including the Worcester Dive Team stood by to help, officials said.

Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2007

Firefighters rescue baby suffocating after car crash

Firefighters rescued a 5-month-old infant who was suffocating in her safety seat that was crushed when the car she was in struck a utility pole.

Selena Guerra was in good condition Thursday at the University of Chicago Hospitals, a spokeswoman said.

The accident Wednesday afternoon stuffed the baby between the door and the dashboard, with the baby’s mouth blocked by a piece of the car’s interior. South Haven Fire Department Assistant Chief Ron Reed Jr. reached into the car to clear the baby’s mouth, firefighters said. The baby, who had turned blue, gasped air.

Almost immediately the pink hue returned to her face.

“It was extremely nerve-racking at that moment,” Reed said.

Capt. Ron Brehmer Jr. took out the windshield, and firefighters removed the baby from the shattered car seat.

“We happened to be lucky we got on the scene as fast as we did,” Reed said.

Firefighters arrived within two minutes of the call.

Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2007

Firefighters rescue family in Brooklyn blaze

A Brooklyn mother and her two young children, trapped in their bedrooms behind a wall of flames and heavy smoke, were hospitalized with serious injuries after being rescued by firefighters early Sunday, authorities said.

The fire broke out just before midnight in the top-floor kitchen at 870 Coney Island Ave., a four-story brick apartment building in the Ditmas Park neighborhood, authorities said.

Firefighters assigned to Ladder Company 147, who first arrived at the building, entered the fourth-floor apartment to search for victims, said Lt. Gerard Curran, the supervising officer at the scene.

“We had to go in without the line, because we knew there were people in there,” Curran said.

The firefighters dodged flames along a 25-foot hallway to carry out the victims, all of whom were unconscious when they were rushed to the burn unit at New York Weill-Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, officials said.

The mother, Asa Flores, 38, was listed in critical condition at the hospital with severe smoke inhalation and some burns, while the children, Abdul, 2, and Abraham, 4, were in stable condition with severe smoke inhalation, officials said.

“It looks like they are all going to live, which is tremendous,” Curran said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, but did not appear to be suspicious, officials said.

The three men who carried the family members out were firefighter Sean O’Grady, a veteran of two tours in Iraq, who only began duty with the Fire Department last week; firefighter Christopher Deszcz, a 15-year veteran; and firefighter Donald Wonderlich.

“We drill and constantly train,” Curran said, “and when we have something like this and we do it effectively it makes it all worthwhile.”

Friday, Mar. 2, 2007

Firefighters win rescue of the year award

Ten members of Fire Department of Bellevue-Dayton received the Department Rescue of the Year award at the Northern Kentucky Firefighter Award Banquet, Saturday, Jan. 20.

They won the award in recognition of rescuing two people from a house fire on Vine Street in Dayton on May 27.

The members who received the award are Eric Murphy, Jennifer Duke, Dave Hauger, Robert Duke, Mike Gullitt, Jeremy Lynn, Casey Krentz, Cody Krentz, Mark Tumler, and Keith Krentz.

Cody Krentz, the youngest out of the award winners at 21, said he was surprised to receive such an honor.

“I feel proud, it is a very prestigious award,” Krentz said. “It’s an encouraging thing as a young person, it makes you want to do more.”

Krentz said the call on May 27 started out like any other fire call. He didn’t know there were people trapped inside the house, though.

“When I realized there were people in there, well, it was kind of a speechless moment,” Krentz said.

“It is a good feeling to know that those people survived,” he said.

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