Friday, Mar. 2, 2007
Division Chief Dale Lyman of the Union Colony Fire/Rescue Authority will receive PETA’s Compassionate Firefighter Award on behalf of his firefighters’ for their heroic rescue of a dog who fell through the ice on a pond at Two Rivers Park.
On Feb. 11, a dog named Taz was being walked in the park when he ran onto the frozen pond. The ice gave way, and Taz fell into the freezing water. He struggled to pull himself back onto the ice but to no avail. Within moments of arriving, a rescue firefighter hurried out onto the ice and was able to pull Taz out of the water. The rescue team wrapped Taz in blankets after he was reunited with his guardian.
Lyman will receive a framed certificate and a letter of appreciation on behalf of his rescue firefighters.
“The bravery and compassion shown by the Union Colony Fire/Rescue team will serve as an inspiration to others throughout the community and beyond,” PETA Director Daphna Nachminovitch said. “Greeley is very fortunate to have a public agency that is ready to protect and serve the city’s residents and their beloved four-legged companions.”
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2007
Firefighters in Greeley rescued a dog from the icy waters of a pond at the Two Rivers Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Union Colony Fire Rescue was called to the 1500 block of 65th Ave. when the dog, named Taz, ran into the open water during a walk with his owner.
Taz fell through the ice as he ran across the pond.
Firefighters saw Taz struggling to stay afloat and trying to pull himself out of the water when they arrived.
One minute after arriving, a rescue firefighter was on the ice and able to eventually help Taz out of the water.
Taz returned to his owner, Louis Maldanado, and firefighters wrapped him in a blanket and helped dry him.
Union Colony Fire Rescue said people whould remember the dangers posed by the combination of ice and open water in area lakes and ponds, especially as spring weather approaches and ice begins to weaken.
Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2007
A little girl’s smile was all the reward a group of modest FDNY heroes needed after saving 2-year-old twins from a burning Harlem building, they said yesterday.
After learning the kids were trapped inside the apartment building at 116th Street and Lenox Avenue on Sunday afternoon, the Bravest swung into action.
Lt. Mickey Conboy and firefighter Jimmy DiSciullo, of Squad 41, wearing masks and crawling on their hands and knees, felt their way through the heavy smoke.
They broke down a door, plucked the tots from a crib, and took them to a fire escape, where they handed them off to Dan Shaffer and George Baade of Ladder 14 in a cherry picker outside.
The toddlers noticed everyone on the street was watching, and “they started to wave,” Shaffer said. “And the girl smiled. That’s when you get to say, ‘That’s what you’re there for.’ ”
Shrugging off any suggestions that they’re heroes, Conboy said, “It’s always a team effort.”
Monday, Feb. 12, 2007
Edwardsville firefighters Matt Sinnokrak and Bill Reiter were awarded Medals of Valor on Tuesday.
The two men were honored for their efforts during a house fire that occurred on Dec. 2, 2006, that saved the life of 19-year-old Caleb Bruce.
The city conducted a ceremony prior to the council meeting where city officials, firefighters, family and friends joined to honor the heroes from that day.
Sinnokrak and Reiter were unaware why they were there, they were just told to show up and be dressed in full uniform.
Fire Chief Brian Wilson said, “We are here tonight to honor two firefighters who would call this duty routine. This was anything but routine,” Wilson said.
Bruce along with his family and Wilson awarded the Medals of Valor along with a certificate to Sinnokrak and Reiter.
This was the first time Bruce had met his rescuers.
Wilson said that on Dec. 2, the ice storm was lingering and it was cold. He said the fire department responded to a fire on Pin Oak Road.
Upon arrival, Wilson said the firefighters realized it was morning, cars were in the drive and no one was outside.
“The firefighters realized there was a chance someone was still inside,” Wilson said.
He said Sinnokrak and Reiter entered the house full of heavy smoke not knowing how the fire was spreading.
“They searched each room,” he said.
Wilson said the two searched the house using the “sense of feel alone.”
They found Bruce unconscious.
To save his life, they knew they had to get him out of the house to get medical attention, he said.
Sinnokrak and Reiter did, and because of that Bruce is alive today.
After the rescue, Bruce was transported to Anderson Hospital and then to St. John’s Hospital in St. Louis.
Bruce said he was there for about 20 days for recovery.
“I want to thank the fire department for saving me,” Bruce said.
Mayor Gary Niebur said the city was proud of the firefighters.
“We are certainly grateful and it is a pleasure and honor what took place here tonight and recall what you two did to save a life. We would like to thank you and applaud you on behalf of the city of Edwardsville. Thank you and all the firefighters and police for what they do for the city,” Niebur said.
Sinnokrak and Reiter have been recommended for recognition at the state level as well.
Norwalk firefighters rescued a big black family dog that fell through ice at the reservoir on Old State Road.
The dog, named Bo, was at the reservoir with his owner, Tom Bond, firefighters said.
Near shore, the ice was strong enough to hold the weight of firefighters Jamie Starcher and John Soisson and an inflatable rescue boat.
Bo was in the water at the edge of an ice flow about 125 feet from shore, unable to climb back onto the ice, firefighters said.
Soisson and Starcher walked on the ice most of the way to Bo, said Capt. Tom Frey, who held a life line.
Then Starcher and Soisson crawled into the boat and used the oars to break the ice so they could reach Bo, they said.
Soisson reached down from the front of the boat and grabbed the dog. Both men hoisted the dog into the boat.
The dog probably was in the water for 30-40 minutes, Frey said.
Exhausted, Bo lay in the boat until they arrived on shore, the firefighters said. The men picked up the dog and placed him into Bond’s truck.
The dog was fine by Monday, firefighters said.
Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007
New Navasota firefighter Eddie Parrott was honored Jan. 22 for his lifesaving effort, but he said teamwork made the rescue possible
Parrott likely saved the life of Navasota’s Eugene Allen Jan. 12. Navasota Fire Department units were dispatched to 4488 E. Hwy 105, near Navasota, that morning. When they got there, they found a trailer house nearly fully engulfed in flames. A family member said her grandmother, the 59-year-old Allen, was still inside the trailer, in a back bedroom.
Parrott went inside, and after some tense moments of searching, found Allen lying on the floor by her bed. He got her secured and ran her outside.
At the Jan. 22 Navasota City Council meeting, Deputy Chief/Department Head Jason Katkoski gave Parrott an award of valor for his effort.
Parrott, recently hired by the city after 14 years with the Houston Fire Department, described how the situation played out.
“I was kind of past thinking,” he said. “(But) they try to keep you from getting … tunnel vision (in fire academy).”
But he stressed that it wasn’t his work alone.
“If it wasn’t for all the guys in the Navasota Fire Department, this wouldn’t be possible. And the good Lord put me there,” he said.
Parrott also talked a bit about the adrenaline involved in a rescue.
A firefighter’s full bunker suit can be heavy, and with the adrenaline of a rescue effort flowing heavy, a rescue can seem fast and furious.
“After you’re done, you’re pretty drained,” he said.
Two off-duty San Francisco firefighters getting ready for a surf session at Ocean Beach this afternoon helped save the life of a fellow surfer caught in a rip tide, according to San Francisco Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Ahumada.
The firefighters, Mars Rivera and Eric Tanimura, were suiting up in the parking lot and scoping out the waves just after 3 p.m. when they saw a surfer about 100 yards off shore, Ahumada said.
“They were watching the surf and spotted him, they know the beach and saw him in a rip current. They decided, ‘you know what? We’ll go out there,'” Ahumada said.
The firefighters, also members of the surf rescue team, checked in with Ahumada before entering the water and making their way to the surfer.
The man, who “looked the part” of an experience surfer, had tired after struggling against the currents pushing him out to sea.
“What happens, when they get caught in a rip current, they swim in as far as they can, and the water takes them straight out to where they were. Unless they know that they need to go lateral, down the current and then come in another area, they get tired and by that time, they can’t figure it out,” Ahumada said.
For his part, the surfer was grateful, if sheepish. “He was really embarrassed, I said ‘just take it easy, it’s not going to cost you anything,'” Ahumada said.
Ahumada expressed pride in the efforts of Rivera and Tanimura. “They did everything right. I’ve got to commend them.”
Monday, Feb. 5, 2007
The good news from a home fire Thursday in Perry is one of the family dogs was revived.
No one was home at the time of the fire, Thursday about 3 p.m., except two dogs, Bo and Buster, said homeowner William Allford. Thanks to the efforts of EMT Ed Dixon and Paramedic Todd Surber from Houston Emergency Medical Services, Bo survived.
Firefighters found the dog inside the home after putting out the fire and brought him out for Surber and Dixon to work on. They gave the dog oxygen, putting a mask over his snout and massaged the dog for several minutes to resuscitate him. Allford’s wife Mary Bevin took the dog, once revived, to nearby Perry Animal Hospital on Courtney Hodges Boulevard.
Allford, who has shared the house on Oak Ridge Drive with his wife for about 10 years, said they had Bo for about a year. They had Buster, the smaller of the two, for four-five years, he said.
Perry Fire Department got the call on the fire at 2:57 p.m. and responded with two engines and called Warner Robins Fire Department to assist with a third engine. Flames were showing as the first units arrived.
Allford said he got off work about noon and came home and turned on a heater. He said the heater has a breaker to shut it off. “I don’t think that was it. I hadn’t been gone that long,” he said.
Perry Fire Department Deputy Chief Joel Gray said “we believe the fire was an accident from statements from the homeowner. There was a space heater in one of the back rooms.”
Gray said, “we won’t know for sure, because the rooms were badly destroyed from the fire. There was smoke damage in the rest of the home.”
A couple and their newborn baby were plucked to safety from a window by firefighters today. The pair, who had no smoke alarm in their flat in Netherton, Dudley, were led to safety down a ladder, carrying their baby, as choking smoke billowed.
Along with other residents, they were given checks for the effects of smoke inhalation.
Several other tenants left on their own while others were told to remain indoors as the fire was tackled and the block in Leabank Road cleared of smoke.
Fifteen firefighters spent more than an hour dealing with the incident and afterwards used a high-powered fan to ventilate the flats.
The alarm was raised at 4.20am after an electrical fault sparked a blaze in the ground-floor power supply cupboard to the flats Firefighters arrived to find the corridors of the low-rise block filling with smoke and the couple – in their 20s- at the front window of their second floor flat with their baby.
A spokesman for Cradley Heath fire station said it was believed the couple had woken up soon after the fire started and after other tenants raised the alarm.
“They had no smoke alarm in their own flat,” he said.
“They were waiting at the window and we were able to pitch a nine- metre ladder up there to bring them safely down with the child.
“Five or six other residents made their own way out while we advised others to stay indoors.”
The spokesman added that advice on fire safety was afterwards given to the couple and that firefighters were to return to the block today to carry out checks and offer guidance.
Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007
Golden Retriever was rescued from a submerged, overturned vehicle Monday night during a dramatic rescue in Puyallup, Wash.
The dog was one of two dogs that were in the vehicle when the driver lost control and the vehicle flipped into marshy water.
The driver and a small lap dog escaped the vehicle but the Golden Retriever was stuck inside, unable to get out.
Firefighters, a swift water rescue team, and a sheriff’s department dive team showed up to the accident but at first couldn’t get to the trapped dog.
A dive team using scuba gear worked to get to the dog and after a reported 30 to 40 minutes was able to pull it out of the vehicle and out of the water.
The driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Both the small lap dog and the Golden Retriever are said to be doing just fine, although the Golden Retriever was not ready to get into a police car.
Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
This week I had the opportunity of covering an event outside Hamden. Hesitant at first, I quickly jumped at the chance once I learned more about my assignment.
Working with a big company like Hometown Publications, which publishes 12 weekly papers, we editors sometimes have to lend each other a helping hand.
So when I was asked to cover an event in Stratford on Thursday, I didn’t hesitate to oblige.
When I found out I’d be chatting it up with some of Connecticut’s sexiest firemen, I surely didn’t refuse. I am, after all, a professional.
There is more to these first responders than meets the eye. They come from communities throughout Connecticut, including Hamden, and are featured in an annual firefighter’s calendar.
What sets these men apart from other “sexy” calendars is that they do it for charity.
After previously contributing to the Children’s Cancer Center at Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation, this year the gentlemen decided to donate to the Easter Seals Goodwill Foundation.
The New Haven-based foundation provides services for people with disabilities.
Allingtown firefighter Tony Connor and West Haven Firefighter Terri Roundtree have organized the annual calendar, which sells for $10. They also enlisted the assistance of others to put it all together.
The idea came from Judy Orrange, a former employee at the University of New Haven. Connor said Orrange pitched the idea, and four years later the rest is history.
The popular calendar has helped raised more than $10,000 for both Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Burn Camp.
Although it’s still too early to tell, Easter Seals President Rich Borer said the men might raise even more money this year.
F rom the looks of the female enthusiasm at the event, it wouldn’t surprise me if they surpass their financial goal.
Although they didn’t perform any impossible feats, it isn’t easy putting yourself out there for public scrutiny.
The four firefighters who attended the calendar signing conducted themselves with respect despite facing some cackling and “woo-hoos.”
I think at one point, I even let one out. Being in the presence of such perfectly sculpted individuals, I couldn’t contain myself. The fact that they are doing this for a good cause makes it even harder to resist.
For a moment, I took back all the times I complained about my job. However, when it came down to writing the actual story, I was back to “I really don’t want to do this.”
Not because I didn’t want to write about the firefighters, but because I wanted to convey the right message.
I didn’t want the article to simply be about sexy men selling calendars. I wanted there to be more depth. To find that depth I only had to review my notes and rethink the reason behind the calendar – charity.
Like when I lend a helping hand to a fellow colleague in a time of need, these men decided to stop thinking about doing something for someone else and actually do it.
In doing so, they have subjected themselves to the public eye, which for the most part, can be very judgmental. Talking to these men, you’ll understand that they only want to do the right thing.
In addition to having something wonderful to look at every month, those who purchase calendars play a major role in assisting a great cause.
A 2008 calendar already is one in the works, and interested volunteers are encouraged to submit photos.
To purchase a calendar or learn more about becoming involved visit ctfirefighterscalendar.org.
Not only have these men decided to donate to charity, but they also put their lives out on the line everyday for residents in the communities they serve.
It’s time to play our part and give back to those who provide us with safety and security.
And if that doesn’t entice you ladies, just think, one of these fine gentlemen might be responding to you in your time of need. That’s reason enough for me.
Friday, Jan. 26, 2007
Members of the Peabody Fire Department rescue a family of five from a burning building on Tuesday night.
Authorities says the lower levels of the nine-unit apartment complex did not hear the fire alarms when the blaze ignited around 10:30 p.m. at 5 Park St.
“They were sound asleep,” said Lt. John Manning, of the Peabody Police Department. “The smoke detectors were going off. People [were] yelling.”
It wasn’t until a neighbor broke Wander Vonheld’s apartment window that he woke up and realized his family was in danger.
As a result, firefighters came to the rescue of the parents, their twin seven-year-old girls and five-year-old son in a first floor apartment.
“We knocked the door in,” said Lt. Manning.
“The house was getting fired in the top, and after, everybody was running,” Debra Vonheld (pictured), 7, said.
Firefighters, along with crews from Salem and Lynn, responded to the blaze that engulfed the wooden structure from the 1880s. They believe the fire may have started in the ceiling at the top of the complex.
No injuries were reported, but the blaze displaced between 25 to 50 residents. The Red Cross was notified of their condition.
Paramedic and firefighter Rob Illingworth put years of experience and training to good use yesterday during a daring high-altitude ladder rescue on Bealey Avenue.
Six-month-old kitten Texie, brought down from his arboreal escapade by no fewer than four firefighters, ran off with no word of thanks.
Illingworth, a St Albans firefighter, scaled a 10m ladder to put the four-legged furball in the classic over-the-shoulder fireman’s lift.
“Well, I had him over my shoulder and relied on its claws to hold on. He was pretty keen to get to the ground,” he said.
Illingworth said cats get themselves into that kind of strife about twice a year.
“We try to convince people the cat will come down by itself – I mean, you don’t see a lot of dead cats in trees – but by the time most people call us, they’ve already exhausted all other avenues and the owners is as distressed as the cats,” he said.
“It doesn’t do anyone any harm to get out and save a cat.”
Officer-in-charge Peter McArdle said the 8.30am rescue was prompted by simultaneous calls from the cat’s owner and her neighbour.
“This cat was in quite a lot of distress. By the time we got there it was clinging on for dear life and it was pretty gusty at the top of that tree,” he said.
“But Rob’s a trained paramedic, so he would have been there if the cat had needed any resus (resuscitation).”
Texie’s owner, Dr Wendy Rose Isbell, said she had no idea how long Texie had been up the tree but she was delighted he had been pulled to safety. Her other cat, Timmy, could not bear to watch.
Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007
A young deer has Langford firefighters to thank for rescuing him from a frozen pond and a hungry bald eagle at the Bear Mountain golf course yesterday.
Bear Mountain staff noticed about 11 a.m. that the year-old buck had fallen through the ice on the pond near the 12th hole.
There were no tracks evident on the fresh snow near the pond, so the buck must may have gone through the ice 12 hours before, said Langford fire chief Bob Beckett.
A blue heron was standing on the ice by the deer.
Firefighter Steve Adams was the first to reach the deer, and the animal gave out a plaintive cry, said Beckett.
“Steve started to talk to it and very gently stroked its head and scratched its ear. The deer seemed to settle down and then collapsed.”
Another firefighter cradled the deer in his arms and others dragged the two to shore.
“Then we took off our coats and put the deer in the coats and covered him up,” said Beckett.
Rescue seemed to happen in the nick of time, he said. “There was an eagle that had apparently tried to peck at its tail,” said Beckett.
“There was a blue heron that flew in when we arrived and stayed with the deer while our guys went out and secured it. … I’d like to think that the heron was there to give the deer some comfort and assurance that help was on its way.”
Veterinarian Chris Collis of Glenview Animal Hospital assessed the deer and determined no bones had been broken. The animal was taken to the clinic for treatment for hypothermia.
It will likely then be transferred to Wild ARC animal rehabilitation centre in Metchosin in preparation for release, Beckett said.
Friday, Jan. 19, 2007
A rock-climbing firefighter rescued a dog from a quarry ledge after it fell off a cliff while hunting raccoons with its owner.
The coonhound named Slick had been tracking a raccoon near the edge of the quarry Saturday when he fell over the side, said the dog’s owner, Albert Ashcraft of Mooresville.
Cloverdale Township Firefighter Doug Ehman, an amateur rock climber, brought his equipment to the site north of Cloverdale, about 40 miles west of Indianapolis. He descended the sheer face of the quarry wall when, about 12 feet down, he stumbled onto a small ledge with a narrow crevice extending into the wall. Inside the crevice was Slick, a bit bewildered but uninjured.
The ledge had stopped Slick from falling about 50 feet to the bottom of the quarry.
“He was pretty happy to see me,” Ehman said.
Ehman used rope to fashion a makeshift harness for the dog and tie it to his own body before other firefighters hoisted the pair back up to the cliff.
Ashcraft and Slick are headed to Alabama next month to compete in a hunt.
“When you have one of these dogs since they’ve been a pup, they become part of the family, he said. “If he had fallen all the way down, I don’t know if he would have made it.”
Monday, Dec. 11, 2006
Axel Valeri was all about anything but himself while shopping on Saturday morning.
The nine-year-old Hibbingite was one of 10 area kids who picked out gifts for family members during the fifth annual Shop with a Cop/Shop with a Firefighter event held at Wal-Mart.
Each youth — chosen by the Hibbing Police Department and the Hibbing Fire Department — was given $100 in funds from Wal-Mart to spend at the store. How the monies were spent was up to each participant.
Most opted to buy for their parental units and siblings. But Valeri took the opportunity one step further.
Not only did he buy solely for his mom and sisters, at the conclusion of the shopping spree he handed over a bag of goodies with a tag from The Salvation Army’s Angel tree for another area youth in need.
“I didn’t buy anything for myself,” said Valeri with a sense of pride. “Why would I buy something for myself? I’d already know what it is. Plus, it’d be weird to see ‘to Axel from Axel’ on it.”
Valeri said he brought along gifts ideas, wanting to mix in something fun and with something practical for each.
“I thought about my sister and how she likes to crawl,” said Valeri, referring to Opal, his eight-month-old sister. “So I got her a musical pop-up thing.”
Opal will also be the lucky recipient of a toy train and a dancing monkey. His other sibling, Lola, 3, will have fun unwrapping a puppy with carrying case and a pony barn with twin equines.
“I got my mom a necklace and bracelet with blues stones,” he added. “And socks.”
He wasn’t at a loss of ideas, but the money only went so far.
“I tried to think of things they would like, so that made it easy,” he said. “Then I thought about things they could use.”
Valeri was paired with Hibbing Police Capt. Rich Sellman. With a colored calculator in hand, Sellman raced around the store assisting, advising and adding up Valeri’s purchases.
“It was awesome,” said Sellman of the shopping experience. “We had a fun time together picking out stuff for his mom and sisters.”
Sellman said he was impressed by the youngster’s selflessness.
“He spent every dime on his family,” said Sellman. “He didn’t buy one thing for himself.”
Bonding over buying gifts led to a humorous banter between the two. When chomping on a doughnut after shopping, Valeri asked all about Sellman’s duty belt — namely the spring loaded Long John doughnut dispenser (clip holder), his tiny cup of instant coffee (mace holder) and his ability to radio into the doughnut man when he needs more.
“This is lots of fun,” he added. “It’s fun to see things through kid’s eyes again.”
Sellman also noted the event is a good way to introduce emergency workers to the young population.
“This allows the kids to see us as regular people,” he said. “It’s something we can do with the kids on their level, and shows them that we do more than deal with bad people.”
The firefighters/paramedics enjoyed the experience as well.
“It’s always fun to take kids shopping, isn’t it?” said Fire Marshal Jim Iammateo. “Plus we got a chance to sit down and talk with them.”
Firefighter/paramedic Matt Ashmore had to do some fancy juggling. He assisted brothers Bruno and Maxwell Cheney — keeping them separate to allow each to buy a gift for the other as well as working together to finds gifts for mom and dad.
“That took strategy,” admitted Ashmore. “We had to do some sneaking, swapping and separating. It was challenging, but we got it.”
The Cheneys each said they had a blast — dashing down the aisles, spending money and driving crazy with the cooler they bought for camping.
“It was cool,” said Bruno. “Dad was easy, but we debated about mom.”
Wal-Mart Personnel Manager Barb Miller said they enjoy hosting the annual event. She said they are lucky to have support for such a program, adding that many of the kids are grateful for the opportunity.
“It’s a good thing because some may not have a chance like this,” she said. “Many kids have thanked us in the past. We even have kids that remember us when they come back, so that’s neat.”
Miller said that if she could have her way, all of their grant money would be spent on a program like this. That way, she said, more kids would benefit.
Ashmore helped the Cheney brothers wheel out their cart of gifts — all wrapped, bagged and bowed. Their mom, Jennifer, lit up with a large smile and a smirk of surprise.
She commented on how great the program is, as Bruno and Maxwell bid farewell to Ashmore.
“This will make it a Merry Christmas,” said Bruno.