NEW SHREWSBURY FIRE CHIEF TAKES HELM FEBRUARY 29th (story below)

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FIREFIGHTERS RECALL RESCUING TRAPPED BOYS FROM FIRE ON CLARA AVENUE

February 13, 2016 - KTVI BY SHAWNDREA THOMAS

ST. LOUIS, MO. - A recent fire left two children in the hospital and their mother facing two counts of child abuse. On Thursday St. Louis City fire crews were called to this house fire on Clara Avenue. That`s were three crews found two boys ages five and two left alone in the home. Their mother Jannetta Maclin allegedly left them alone and went to work. That`s when one of the kids used a lighter to set a couch on fire. FOX 2 spoke to firefighters who say they were lucky to have a team on hand to help them pull the kids out of a closet inside the smoky home. They also worked together to revive the kids and transported them to the hospital.

At this point the boys are still listed in critical condition.

Officials say there were no working smoke detectors in the home.

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NORTH COUNTY BLAZE CAUSED HEAVY DAMAGE TO HOUSE


Photo by Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

February 12, 2015 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

FLORISSANT - Florissant Valley crews with the assistance of Hazelwood Fire Department responded to a house fire in the 400 block of Myrtle Dr on Thursday night at ~ 5:00 p.m.

There was heavy damage to the garage, however crews were able to save the contents of the house.

There were no injuries and the firefighters did an excellent job.

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MOTHER CHARGED WITH LEAVING SONS, 2 AND 5, ALONE IN ST. LOUIS APARTMENT THAT BURNED


Jeannetta Maclin was charged with child endangerment on Feb. 12, 2016. Authorities say she left her two sons, 2 and 5, alone in her apartment, which caught fire while she was gone and seriously injured the boys.

February 12, 2016 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Joel Currier

ST. LOUIS, MO. - The mother of two young children critically injured in an apartment fire had left them alone while she went to work, according to felony charges filed against her Friday.

Officials said they believe the Thursday afternoon blaze that injured the boys, 2 and 5, was the result of either a discarded cigarette or a child playing with a lighter. The youngsters remained in critical condition Friday at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Their names were not made public.

Prosecutors accused Jeannetta Maclin, 23, of child abuse and neglect and child endangerment. She was arrested Friday. Bail was set at $15,000 cash only.

Firefighters found the boys in cardiac arrest and not breathing about 5 p.m. Thursday in a first-floor apartment of a three-story brick building at 807 Clara Avenue. Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said paramedics had revived the boys by the time they reached the hospital.

Jenkerson said rescuers found the children on a mattress in a closet-sized room off the living room where a couch was in flames. He said that apartment had no working smoke detectors.

Initially, firefighters thought space heaters in the apartment could have sparked the blaze. But fire Capt. Gregg Favre said Friday that investigators think it was a cigarette or children playing with a lighter.

The fire started on a sofa, with an ashtray and the remains of a lighter found nearby, according to the charges. They also allege that Maclin kept an ashtray and lighter in the drawer of a side table and apparently was aware that the children had played with the lighter previously while in the care of a relative.

The charges, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court, say Maclin left the children unattended in the apartment about 3 p.m. when she went to work an eight-hour shift at an unidentified business in Creve Coeur. The fire was discovered about two hours later by someone in the building who initially found the door to the apartment locked, but ultimately tried to enter with a key, a resident said.

Firefighters arrived within two minutes of the call, Jenkerson said, and quickly removed the boys from the smoke-filled apartment. He said they were not burned.

There are about 30 units in the building. The fire was confined to the one.

Besides two counts of child abuse/neglect, prosecutors filed alternative lesser counts of child endangerment against Maclin, which jurors could consider if they don't believe her actions meet the criteria for child abuse.

Lurenda Meeks, 61, who lives across the hall with her granddaughter and 15-month-old great-granddaughter, said she was home when the fire started, and escaped when alarms sounded and neighbors began yelling for everyone to evacuate.

"When the firefighters brought the kids out, my heart just dropped," Meeks said. "I said, 'Lord, please let those kids be alive.'"

Several tenants said Maclin is a single mother. Some sympathized with her situation while others were critical of a decision to leave the boys by themselves.

"She should have been there with those kids," said Monroe Williamson, 57. "Or, she should have told someone that the kids were in there by themselves."

Another neighbor, Karren Warren, said that while no one should leave young children at home alone, she wasn't ready to pass judgment based on what she knew.

"Maybe she was proud and scared to ask anybody to watch her children," Warren said. "My heart goes out to her because I know she was doing her best."

Jennifer Mann of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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FIRE DISTRICT PROMOTIONS


(top to bottom) Rick Miller, Darren Daly, Brian Moore and Jeff Smith.

February 12, 2016 - O'Fallon Fire Protection District

O'FALLON, MO. - A very busy Board meeting tonight. Chairman Bill Laughlin swore in 2 newly promoted officers Rick Miller as Battalion Chief and Darren Daly as Captain. Bill also swore new hired Brian Moore in as Assistant Chief of Administrative Operations/Community Relations, and Jeff Smith as Fire Fighter. More Headlines for O'Fallon Fire




UNIVERSITY CITY, FIREFIGHTERS REACH AGREEMENT IN CAMPAIGN DISPUTE


People holding signs that read "We Support Our Firefighters" gathered outside of University City City Hall before a University City City Council Meeting, Monday, May 12, 2014. At least 5 University City firefighters were recently suspended for violating a statue that prohibits first responders from being involved in a political campaign. Photo by Roberto Rodriguez

February 11, 2016 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Steve Giegerich

UNIVERSITY CITY, MO. - The city and the union representing its firefighters agreed to a federal court settlement Thursday that will result in the distribution of $345,000 to five emergency services workers suspended two years ago for their participation in a contentious municipal election.

City Manager Lehman Walker said the bulk of the settlement reached by the city's insurance company will cover legal fees incurred by the firefighters.

"The matter was resolved by the insurance company to the satisfaction of everyone involved," Walker said Thursday, a few hours after the city and the union representing the firefighters inked the agreement in U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Kurt Becker, district vice president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2665, said the suspended employees will receive approximately $29,000 each for back pay and damages after the legal fees are paid.

The agreement also stipulates that the city expunge the suspensions from the employment records of the firefighters.

"We feel the outcome is a clear vindication of our contention from the outset that our member's participation in the election process was lawful, and that the city's persecution of them was outside the bounds of the law," Becker said.

The case was brought against the city after the firefighters were suspended for campaigning on behalf of an unsuccessful challenger to an incumbent City Council member in the 2014 election.

Two years later, the fallout from that campaign continues to reverberate through City Hall.

The council in a hurried vote last summer shifted the city's emergency services from the fire department to privately-owned Gateway Ambulance - a move the firefighters viewed as further retribution from Mayor Shelley Welsch, an ally of Stephen Kraft, the council member they opposed in 2014.

The firefighters saga took yet another twist in December when Welsch asked the council to approve an obscure legal maneuver to remove Council member Terry Crow from office.

Welsch charged that Crow breached the city charter and public confidence by forwarding an email to Becker that contained a legal opinion from the city attorney on the laws guiding participation in municipal elections by public employees.

The council in December declined to act on the mayor's recommendation. A month later the Welsch nonetheless convinced the lawmakers to censure Crow.

Nor is there any sign that the tension generated by the 2014 campaign will ease at any point in the near future.

Crow and his own council ally, Paulette Carr, are up for re-election in April.

And active petition efforts are underway to place the measures calling for the recall of Kraft and Welsch before the voters.

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INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY AFTER EARLY MORNING FIRE IN AFFTON


Investigators were called after a home in the 8700 block of Gravois caught fire Thursday. (KMOV)

February 11, 2016 - KMOV By Sierra Hancock

AFFTON MO. - Bomb and arson investigators were called after an Affton home caught fire early Thursday morning.

Flames and smoke were seen coming from the rear of a home in the 8700 block of Gravois shortly before 2 a.m.

Officials said the house may have been under renovation at the time of the fire.

There are no further details at this time.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC

February 10, 2016 - City of Hazelwood

HAZELWOOD, MO. - The Hazelwood Fire Department is now accepting applications for a firefighter/paramedic. Applicants must be a high school graduate and graduate of the St. Louis County Fire Academy, possess a paramedic license and driver's license valid in the state of Missouri.

Applications with copies of certificates and licenses should be delivered to the Office of the Fire Chief, at 6800 Howdershell Road, Hazelwood, MO 63042, or e-mail to lmschwan@hazelwoodmo.org. The deadline date for applications is Friday, February 19, 2016, at 4:30 p.m.

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WENTZVILLE FIREFIGHTERS WARNING OF PHONE SCAM

February 9, 2016 - KTVI

WENTZVILLE, MO. - The Wentzville Fire Protection District is warning residents about a phone scam that has been targeting the area since late last week. They want you to know that telemarketing calls requesting donations to the fire department are neither endorsed nor condoned by the fire district.

Several calls have been made to elderly residents. Police have been notified. If you got one of these calls or know someone who has, call Wentzville police at 636-327-5105.

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NEW SHREWSBURY FIRE CHIEF TAKES HELM FEBRUARY 29th


FIRE CHIEF CHRIS AMENN

February 8, 2016 - Webster-Kirkwood Times by Dennis Hannon

SHREWSBURY, MO. - Shrewsbury has a new fire chief. The position has been vacant since the unexpected death of Bill Fox eight months ago. The late Fox was 64 and had been chief since 1989.

Chris Amenn, deputy chief of operations and deputy chief of planning for the Meridian, Idaho, Fire Department, will take over as the new fire chief on Feb. 29, said Shrewsbury Director of Administration Jonathan Greever. He said Amenn's experience, both in directing fire fights and planning departmental operations, equips him well for the multiple duties Shrewsbury requires of its fire chief.

Amenn knows the Shrewsbury area well, having worked in the Webster Groves Fire Department for 15 years, rising to the rank of battalion chief before moving to Meridian in 2010.

Amenn will return to the area with his wife and their school-aged daughter.

"He grew up here, spent a lot of time here. This is home," said Greever. "I think we packaged together enough incentives for him to want to come back."

Part of that incentive was Amenn's ambition to become a fire chief, which was viewed as a plus in the recruitment process.

The city received about 20 applications for the position, and interviewed seven semifinalists and two finalists before the Shrewsbury Board of Aldermen selected Amenn at a closed meeting Jan. 26.

The city briefly considered moving Amenn's start date to March 1, to avoid the leap year date, Greever said.

"I made a joke saying, if we start you on the 29th, your second year pay accrual won't begin for four years."

But, jokes aside, the city decided it wanted a Monday start date, Greever said.

The mayor and board of aldermen are pleased to have Amenn join its team of department heads, and look forward to working with him to improve its service provision to its residents and business community.

More on Webster-Kirkwood Times story




STING OPERATION CATCHES ALLEGED SERIAL ARSONIST IN SOUTH ST. LOUIS


KMOV

February 7, 2016 - KMOV By Adam McDonald, Online News Producer, KMOV

ST. LOUIS MO. - Federal agents were able to catch a south St. Louis serial arsonist after setting up security cameras.

According to police, Michael Naro, 47, started each fire with road flares, setting several garage and dumpster fires in his neighborhood.

"I thought that it had to be somebody that lives in the neighborhood because of the time that it was happening between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.," said Princeton Heights resident Lois Terry. "I was a little bit upset, a lot upset, I guess."

The damage was extensive at some locations, including a garage that burned to the ground on Hampton Avenue. One victim found road flares in their garage, another clue leading investigators to Naro.

Security cameras were set in the area which allegedly captured Naro leaving his house and walking toward the location of a garage. When police searched his home, they found road flares and other evidence they say linked him to the arsons.

Naro is now facing four felony counts of second degree arson.

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FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE ONE-ALARM FIRE ON GOODFELLOW


St. Louis firefighters show their exhaustion after battling a fire in the 1200 block of Goodfellow Boulevard on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. The one-alarm fire started on the second floor. Relatives said they had been having problems with the electrical outlets and a space heater. One woman was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, but she did not require hospitalization. The two-story home sustained extensive damage. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

More on St. Louis Post Dispatch story and 14 more photos

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AUTHORITIES SAY THEY'RE CLOSING IN ON SOUTH CITY ARSONIST

February 4, 2016 - KTVI BY ANDY BANKER AND STAFF WRITER

ST. LOUIS, MO. - An arsonist terrorizing a south St. Louis neighborhood.

Residents count at least eight fires in the last month, all of them happening just off of Hampton Avenue. Most have been relatively small. But on Thursday morning, the flames of the latest fire came far too close to a sleeping baby.

Authorities said they've got a possible suspect in mind for the fires and are expecting to announce charges shortly.

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FIREFIGHTER OVERHEATED WHILE BATTLING BLAZE IN OLIVETTE FRIDAY


A firefighter was overheated while battling a blaze in the 1100 block of Collingwood Drive around 1 a.m. Friday (Credit: KMOV)

February 5, 2016 - KMOV By Stephanie Baumer, Online News Producer

OLIVETTE, MO. - A firefighter suffered a minor injury while battling a blaze in Olivette Friday morning.

The firefighter got overheated while fighting a fire in the basement in the 1100 block of Collingwood Drive around 1 a.m.

The home's basement sustained extensive damage.

No other injuries were reported.

Officials believe the cause of the fire may be electrical.

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FIREFIGHTERS RECEIVING 80 HOURS HAZMAT TRAINING


Photo by Cottleville Fire Protection District

February 3, 2016 - Cottleville Fire Protection District

COTTLEVILLE, MO. - The Cottleville Fire District is participating in the new certified IAFF 80 hour National Pro-Board Hazardous Materials Technician class. Members from all over the St. Charles and St. Louis county fire districts are currently attending this class in an effort to stay current with the new regulated Hazardous training requirements.

The participants will receive training on the newer technology and equipment that is available, and learn about the trends in the field of hazard material mitigation. This training will continue until next week Friday.The previous standards for a Hazmat Technician was 40 hours of training.

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WEBSTER GROVES FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR


Photo by Webster Groves Fire Department

February 3, 2016 - Webster Groves Fire Department

WEBSTER GROVES, MO. - Mayor Gerry Welch and Fire Chief Micheal Capriglione recognize Bradly Williamson as Firefighter of the Year.

Well Deserved Brad, keep up the good work!




FIGHTING FIRE WITH FOOD


Firefighters from Engine House No. 5 sit together for a Taco Pizza dinner made with fire/medic Jake Lickteig's (foreground left) recipe on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, at the Mehlville Fire Protection District Engine House No. 5 in St. Louis, Mo. The two pizzas fed seven firefighters with about half of a pizza left over. Photo by Chris Lee, clee@post-dispatch.com

February 3, 2016 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Daniel Neman

MEHLVILLE, MO. - It's one of those stereotypes you hope is true.

Firefighters spend days together at a time - living, sleeping and battling blazes. It's almost like a family, but with more danger.

They cook for one another, too, and over the years they hone their cooking skills to an art. There is nothing like coming back to the fire station after fighting a blisteringly hot, smoky fire and sitting down to a satisfying meal.

This is where the stereotype comes in: Firefighters are reputed to be great cooks. Every fire station is said to have at least one guy or gal who whips up terrific food.

"I've known a lot of firefighters who have been very good cooks, and I've known a few who have not been very good cooks," said Rick Welle, chief of the Edwardsville Fire Department, who has the firehouse reputation of being a good cook himself.

Everyone takes turns cooking at some firehouses; at others the duty tends to fall to just a couple of the firefighters. Dinner is served every night, and some houses also make breakfast on weekends.

"Hopefully, if you do it right you get leftovers for lunch. It's whoever gets to it first. You have to be hungry at 10:30 (a.m.) sometimes or you don't get any leftovers for lunch," said Jake Lickteig, a firefighter in the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

Firefighters often are called to substitute for one another at different houses or float their schedules from one station to another. Each firehouse has its own way of dividing its cooking duties, but at the firehouse Lickteig is regularly assigned to, they use a method called dinner club.

A schedule is prepared in advance, so everybody knows when his turn is coming. The day's cook buys food for the whole house with his own money and does not chip in when it's another person's turn to cook.

"At the firehouse, the choices are (1). take it, or (2). leave it," said Nick Smith of the Monarch Fire Protection District, which covers Chesterfield and nearby areas.

"At the firehouse, if you're going to be a part of the crew you have to eat with everybody and everybody has to eat what everybody eats," he said.

But that came to be a problem for Smith, who became seriously overweight. Through hard work, diet and exercise - "cutting back a little bit and moving a little more every day," he said - he managed to lose 90 pounds.

"Portion control was tough for me. In order to try to do better, I had to cook alone for a while. The others started to see what I was cooking, and they would say, 'I want to be in your crew,'" he said.

His healthier food caught on at the firehouse, but he is always sure to first try something new at home with his wife and two children. If they like it, he will make it for his colleagues.

"The firehouse critics are always worst," he said.

One of Smith's favorite healthy meals to cook is a Chicken Fajita Bowl, which puts strips of baked chicken breast on top of quinoa. Colorful sauted bell peppers and onions are draped over the chicken, topped with black beans, a chopped avocado and nonfat Greek yogurt.

In Edwardsville, Chief Welles' Baked Potato Soup is considerably less healthful.

"There is absolutely nothing in it that is good for you, but it is a very good soup," he said with a laugh.

He developed the recipe himself, through several years' worth of trial and error. He now serves it every year to the workers who help out at his department's annual open house, and he makes it a handful of times for either his family at home or his co-workers at the firehouse.

"It's not the usual fare we make for them. Everyone here is heart healthy. It's for their rare treat to bring the calories up for a cold-weather day," he said.

How could it not be? It begins with chopped-up baked potatoes and then adds everything you could want on one: bacon, sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese, green onion and more.

"It's definitely feel-good food," he said.

In Mehlville, Lickteig has a reputation for several of his dishes, including a chicken spiedini. He is also known for his Taco Pizza, which he calls "My tribute to Happy Joe's," a pizza and ice-cream restaurant in Marlborough.

He begins with a ready-made pizza crust and bakes it with refried beans, sliced olives and shredded cheese. While the crust is baking, he sauts ground beef in taco seasoning and mixes it with Rotel tomatoes with lime and cilantro.

Sour cream goes on top of the crust, along with the meat, more shredded cheese, shredded lettuce and Doritos taco-flavored chips ("pour half in a bowl to keep the guys satisfied, then let someone who has had a bad day crush the other half in the bag," he said).

"It's not the healthiest of meals. You don't have it all the time. It's definitely a guilty pleasure," he said.

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BATTALION CHIEF PROMOTION


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

February 1, 2016 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS, MO. - Fire Chief Dennis M. Jenkerson has promoted Michael Newbury from the rank of Fire Captain to Battalion Fire Chief. Chief Newbury is assigned to Battalion #1-C. Congratulations!

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FIREFIGHTER RETIREMENT ANNOUNCED


FIREFIGHTER BOB GAULDIN

January 30, 2016 - Cottleville Fire Protection District

COTTLEVILLE, MO. - The Cottleville Fire District would like to announce that firefighter Bob Gauldin has officially hung up his helmet and placed his fire boots in the corner for the final time. Bob has answered his last call with the Cottleville Fire District after (23) years of service.

We would like to thank Bob for his outstanding service that he has provided throughout those years. Bob's commitment to help those in our community was exceptional. Bob was instrumental in the development of many of our community projects that we continue to participate in today. We would like to wish him and his family the very best in their future endeavors. We will always have a warm cup of coffee waiting for Bob anytime he wishes to stop in and visit.

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LAKE SAINT LOUIS FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT NAMES INTERIM CHIEF


Interim Chief Clint Gussner

January 19, 2016 - 70 West Sentinel By Lake Saint Louis Fire Protection District

LAKE ST. LOUIS, MO. - Clint Gussner, a long-time resident of Lake Saint Louis, has been selected to serve as Interim Chief by the Board of the Lake Saint Louis Fire Protection District.

Mr. Gussner has served the District as a reserve and career staff member for 22 years, holding the positions of Firefighter, Engineer and Captain. He has extensive experience and training in multiple areas of the fire service, including completion of the Fire Officers Certificate Program at the University Of Missouri, Columbia, EMS and Hazardous Materials training, and Instructor and Fire Officer course work.

Mr. Gussner and his wife have been married for 18 years and have two children.

"We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Clint's experience, dedication and love for the fire service agree to serve as Interim Chief of the District while he continues to fulfill his duties as a shift Captain" said Board Chairman Mike Pendergast.

"Clint will be an invaluable resource as we move forward with our citizens to develop a strategic plan that will allow us to continue meeting the fire and rescue needs of our district members with the kind of high quality service they have come to expect."

The Board also expressed its appreciation to the Wentzville Fire Protection District for providing the District with supervisory assistance over the past several months.

"We applaud the Wentzville Fire District and its Board for being a good neighbor and, in the best traditions of the fire service, reaching out to provide help and assistance to another District during a time of need."

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FIRE ACADEMY CLASS HONOREE NAMED


Photo by Robertson Fire Protection District

January 29, 2016 - Robertson Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - Congratulations to Jim Kincy for being nominated as the Honoree of the 97th recruit class of the St. Louis County Fire Academy.

Jim has been with the Robertson Fire District for the past 25 years. The past 13 years he has also dedicated his time as an instructor at the St. Louis Fire Academy with the last 3 years becoming a Chief Officer.

Thank You for your dedication to the education and training of our future firefighters.




SUSPICIOUS SOUTH ST. LOUIS GARAGE FIRE

January 28, 2016 - KTVI BY STAFF WRITER

ST. LOIUS, MO. - A garage fire in south St. Louis is being called suspicious. The fire broke out around 2:30am behind a home on Hampton avenue at Loughborough. The garage and the car inside were destroyed.

The people who live there were not home at the time. Embers from the fire were flying in the area, but nothing else caught fire.

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MEHLVILLE FIRE RALLIES TO HELP FIREMAN'S WIDOW AFTER FLOOD


Photo: KSDK)

January 28, 2016 - KSDK

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - For more than 30 years, firefighter Alex Scheuer quietly and humbly served his community with honor and pride.

"Alex was the epitome of what our job is supposed to be. He was all about customer service and community service," said Capt. Nick Fahs with the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

But seven years ago, the brave husband and father lost his long battle with a rare form of cancer.

"His one wish was to die in his home. He said we would have to take him out of here feet first," said Diana Scheuer, his widow.

Alex's other passion in life was painting and woodwork.

He went to great lengths to design rooms and furniture with his family and loved ones in mind.

Diana said, "Everything in this house has meaning. Everything defines who we are."

So you can imagine her devastation last month when historic flooding in South County sent water gushing into her basement.

"We lost so much" Diana said.

Backed-up sewage caused thousands of dollars in damage and washed away pieces of Alex that she'll never get back.

She said, "When they set his firehouse boots out here, that's when I first cried. It was like losing him all over again."

But just as Mehlville firefighters promised Alex's family during his final days, they are now coming to his widow's rescue.

Fahs said, "She's struggling. We're just making sure we don't go back on our word that we're going to help any way we can."

The department is trying to get the word out about Diana's story so people will donate to a GoFundMe page that's been set up in her name.

The hope is the community will support the wife of a man who spent his life doing the same for them.

"He'd be the first person to stand up and help somebody's widow," Fahs said.

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RETIREE PENSION FUNDS UNDERFUNDED BY MILLIONS, UNIVERSITY CITY COUNCILMAN SAYS

January 27, 2016 - St. Louis Post Dispatch Special to the Post-Dispatch

UNIVERSITY CITY, MO. - Two municipal retired employee pension funds are underfunded by millions of dollars and the situation will soon require action by the city, according to Councilman Stephen Kraft.

"The council needs to start looking at this because the deficits are real," Kraft said during a council meeting Monday night.

Kraft told the council that it will soon need to consider propping up the city's two retired employee pension funds, which he said are collectively underfunded by about $11.4 million. That number is down from that given in a city financial report which reported that the city's net combined pension liability was nearly $12.2 million on June 30. The report gave the city's total pension liability at about $60.4 million with about $48.2 million in assets.

The city maintains two defined-benefit pension plans - one for retired police officers and firefighters, and one for non-uniformed retirees. Kraft, who is the council's representative on the city's pension board, said the city might need to consider increasing its pension contributions or moving to defined-contribution plans.

The level of city contributions, Kraft said, is low when compared to some other public employee plans, especially that for Missouri's public school teachers.

"I think it is underfunded," Kraft said of the city's two plans.

Councilman Terry Crow suggested that the city's plans should be compared to other municipal plans, and not to the Missouri Public School and Education Employee Retirement System. He added that investment returns for the city's plans are normal. Return on plan investment was 12.6 percent for the fiscal year ending last June, the city reported.

"But it does need attention," Crow said of the city's pension program.

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UNATTENDED COOKING CAUSE OF BLAZE AT NORTH ST. LOUIS CHURCH, OFFICIALS SAY


Firefighters were called to the St. Louis Metropolitan Church of Christ, located in the 6070 block of West Florissant, shortly after 2 a.m.

January 27, 2016 - KMOV By Stephanie Baumer, Online News Producer

ST. LOUIS, MO. - A preliminary investigation indicated that unattended cooking is to blame for a two-alarm fire at a north St. Louis church early Wednesday morning, according fire officials.

Firefighters were called to the St. Louis Metropolitan Church of Christ, located in the 6070 block of West Florissant, shortly after 2 a.m.

Heavy smoke inside the building forced firefighters to fight the blaze from the outside.

Homes on both sides of the church had to be evacuated for safety reasons while firefighters worked to put out the flames.

Nobody was inside the church at the time of the blaze.

No injuries were reported.

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FIRE CHIEF ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT


FIRE CHIEF ROB WYLIE

January 26, 2016 - Cottleville Fire Protection District

COTTLEVILLE, MO. - Cottleville Fire Chief announces his retirement after 30 years of service.

The Cottleville Fire District board of directors has announced after their meeting on Monday, January 25th, that Chief Rob Wylie has notified them earlier this month of his intent to retire at the end of 2016.

The board also announced that in accordance with the District's succession plan, they have appointed Assistant Chief Dean Everett to the position of Fire Chief effective February 1st. Wylie will remain with the District in the capacity of Chief Operating Officer. He will manage the transition process and oversee the administrative functions of the District during the transition. "It has been one of the greatest honors of my career to work with the men and women of this District" Wylie said. "It is the mark of a strong, stable organization when we have capable, qualified leaders that have been developed from within our ranks that are ready to step up and lead the District forward"

Wylie has served as Chief since 2005 after serving 14 years with Central County Fire & Rescue and five years with the St. Charles Fire District. He added "30 years is a good career in this business. I am ready to take on some new challenges and spend more time with my family. I know the District is in great hands with Chief Everett at the helm".

Wylie's official last day will be December 30, 2016.

Let us all reach out to Chief Wylie and thank him for his outstanding service to the communities that he has served, and to the Fire Services that were lucky enough to have him be apart of over his 30 years of service!

Congratulations to Chief Everett on his promotion as our new Fire Chief. We look forward to working with our new Chief as we move forward with him at the helm.

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FIREFIGHTERS TRAINING FOR ICE RESCUES WITH SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT


Photo by Spanish Lake Fire Protection District

January 26, 2016 - Spanish Lake Fire Protection District

SPANISH LAKE, MO. - Firefighters training today on ice rescue techniques at Spanish Lake County Park. STAY OFF THE ICE!!!!

Several ice rescues have occurred throughout the St. Louis area recently.

We want you to be safe so we'll say it again...STAY OFF THE ICE!!!

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FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE HORSE FROM ICY POND


Horse rescued January 23, 2016 from icy pond in St. Louis County, Mo. (Facebook/Metro West FPD)

January 24, 2016 - KMOX

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - Fire crews used hammers and chain saws to rescue a horse that fell through the ice into a St. Louis County pond, Saturday night.

Metro West Fire Department crews got the call around seven PM that a horse was trapped in freezing-cold water off Manchester Road near north Rock Hill Road.

They cut a channel through the ice to get to the horse, then carried it back to its barn to recover.

On the department's Facebook page, firefighters say they had help from two local veterinarians and the Missouri Emergency Response Services team.

The horse's owner posted this message on the page, "Thank you for saving my young colt from that frozen pond. You guys got there and got the job done incredibly fast. Without you he never would have made it."

story updated at 2:05pm 1/24/2016

We're pleased to report that "Kid" the 19-month-old quarter-horse that was rescued from an icy-cold pond in Saint Louis County, Saturday night, is doing well.

Matt Coppin , a Metro West firefighter who took part in the rescue, visited the colt on Sunday, "They're still treating him with fluids and that, but he's up standing, eating, and doing everything he should. He's expected to make a full recovery."

Coppin says it was a true team effort to get the horse out of the ice-covered water to shore, then react when the animal collapsed due to exhaustion, "We rolled him onto a nice big canvas tarp. It took about 15 firefighters to carry this one-thousand-pound horse up a snowy hill through the woods in the dark, and get him inside the warm barn where veterinarians were able to provide medical attention for him."

Coppin tells KMOX Metro West firefighters had just practiced ice rescue techniques Saturday morning at a park pond in Ballwin, "It was all fresh in our minds. All that equipment we had just touched, just used hours before. That kind of instant recall was invaluable."

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SOME ST. LOUIS FIREFIGHTERS ARE NOW WEARING BULLET PROOF VESTS

January 23, 2016 - KTVI BY KATHERINE HESSEL

ST. LOUIS, MO. - Firefighters are adding an extra layer of protection to their gear. Bullet proof vests are becoming the norm are fire stations.

As first responders, firefighters never really know what they are walking in to. They respond to calls that involve more than just flames.

An Arkansas firefighter was shot and killed Friday morning while responding to a seizure call. He was shot by the homeowner who told investigators someone who wasn't wearing a uniform entered his home and didn't identify himself.

In 2008 Maplewood firefighter Ryan Hummert was shot and killed getting off of the fire truck while responding to a car fire call.

Richmond Heights Battalion Chief Brian Wideman says they first started wearing bullet proof vests that were hand me downs from the police department.

"We are becoming accustomed to an age where you have to be concerned about safety and your men's safety." said Chief Brian Wideman.

Now they have their own set of up to date vests. Firefighters wear the vests underneath all of their other gear.

Wideman says they are pretty light and flexible and they can do anything they need to do with them on. They don`t wear them out on every call.

"Any time there is a call that comes in that we are concerned about whether it is a patient who has a mental issue, or a large scale disturbance. If we get on scene and anything raises our suspicion we are going to have the guys put them on just to be safe." said Chief Brian Wideman.

Wideman says the trend for fire departments around the county is to have these vests available. He calls them an added piece of mind.

Most fire departments in St. Louis have these vests. Brentwood was the latest department to approve money in their city`s budget for the gear.

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LOCAL FIREFIGHTER DEVELOPS A CALENDAR THAT LINKS LINE OF DUTY DEATH REPORTS TO THE DATE


Brian Gettemeier pictured here with his father Stephen Gettemeier: Photo Credit Matt Becker

January 21, 2016 -

Brian Gettemeier a 2nd generation firefighter has written several articles published in trade journals. His most recent article: A Year To Remember is a work of passion. Brian reviewed NIOSH Line of Duty Death (LODD) reports and linked a report to the calendar date in which it occurred.

The goal was to have firefighters dedicate that duty day to the individual(s) who lost their life in a line of duty incident. The NIOSH LODD Investigation Report gives the firefighters the details on the incident. There are take away lessons for every report. This resource is an opportunity for us to truly Never Forget.

The calendar features 12 firefighter fatalities from the State of Missouri, including 3 from the St. Louis area. Unfortunately there were dates that had multiple incidents attached to them. It was difficult to feature one because every line of duty death is important for us. That report represents someone's life.

Brian S. Gettemeier has been in the fire service for 23 years with the last 20 years as a career firefighter with the Cottleville Fire Prot. Dist. of St. Charles County Missouri.

Read the FirefighterNation story "A Year To Remember"

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FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE 3-ALARM BLAZE AT BERKELEY GAS STATION


The Mobile Gas Station in the 6800 block of North Hanley caught fire around 4 a.m.

January 20, 2016 - KMOV By Ashlee Carlstrom

BERKELEY, MO. - Fire investigators are looking into what caused a north Saint Louis County Mobile Mart to go up in flames.

The gas station is near I-70, just south of I-270 in the city of Berkeley. Officials say no one was hurt, but the damage is significant.

Just after 4:00 a.m. this morning, a fire broke out in the 6800 block of North Hanley Road.

The gas station was not open for business at the time, but the damage left behind is more than meets the eye.

"They almost called it club mobile. Everybody comes to this particular mobile, you came for the chicken. It is what it is," says Anthony Lee, customer.

Lee says his wife works at the Mobile Mart and says this has not been an easy business for the owner to run.

"The man had a hard time trying to stay open, plagued with problems. He had someone drive into the window about a week ago," said Lee.

Officials say the gas station is no stranger to violence. In late 2014, it was the scene of an officer involved shooting and protests.

"I just wish all the violence and stuff would stop in Saint Louis and we can get everything together and do everything right. No reason to burn down the gas station," said Thomas Harlen, Berkeley resident.

Many residents say the events like crime and the fire, define their community in a light they do not see as fair.

"I've been here all my life, my kids are in this area and it's not what people think. The police are great, the mayor is great. Really nice community and we want it to get better in the future," said Brian Durris, Berkeley resident.

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FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE 4-ALARM BLAZE WEST OF DOWNTOWN ST. LOUIS


St. Louis firefighters work a four-alarm blaze at the intersection of 19th Street and Washington Avenue on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

January 18, 2016 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Tim O'Neil

ST. LOUIS, MO. - Fire extensively damaged a vacant two-story building west of downtown Monday that was to have been renovated into apartments.

The fire, at 1900-1916 Washington Avenue, broke out shortly before 1:30 p.m. About 80 St. Louis firefighters battled the four-alarm blaze with high ladders and a ring of pumpers to pour water onto flames bursting through the roof and windows.

Brisk wind from the west blew smoke into downtown.

No one was injured.

Fire Capt. Garon Mosby said the first units to arrive entered the building but were ordered out as the "fast-moving" fire spread quickly inside.

Mosby said it was too early to learn a cause for the blaze. He said the building utilities had been shut off, and said it was possible that vagrants had set fires inside to keep warm.

But he and police commanders said no one had seen anyone flee the building.

Rothschild Development Co. owns it and planned to renovate it into 34 apartments with an open interior courtyard.

It was built in 1919 as the Gordon Buell Building and had storefront shops on the first floor and warehouse space on the second.

Pete Rothschild said his company had obtained financing for its plan only a week ago after having worked on the project for several years.

The company has owned the building since 2005. It previously developed the Tudor Building on the opposite side of the block.

Michael Schwartz, its development director, said there was a "50-50" chance the brick building could be spared, despite the extensive damage.

It was 17 degrees Monday afternoon. Firefighters used shovels to throw rock salt onto Washington as the street became covered with ice.

Sara Geiger, a witness, said she was working across the street when the fire began.

"I was filling out paperwork and saw the smoke and heard the sirens," she said. "We went out, and the firefighters started to force open the front door. The smoke and flames came rushing out, and they stepped back."

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MEET TIM CONROY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL COUNTY EMERGENCY 911


Tim Conroy [right], the new executive director at Central County Emergency 911, checks activities in the dispatch center's operations area.

January 18, 2016 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

Tim Conroy, the new executive director of the Central County Emergency 911 dispatch center [CCE] in Ellisville, has no illusions about the average person's awareness of the operation he heads and the role it plays daily in saving lives and property.

The fact that few know about the activities taking place in the lower-level area of the Weis Avenue building in Ellisville bothers him not at all and is quite understandable, he said in a recent interview.

"How many times during a typical person's lifetime does he or she call 911?" Conroy asked. "And what's on that person's mind when making a 911 call? Getting the help needed to deal with an emergency situation."

Given the infrequent experience the vast majority of people have in calling 911 and their singular focus when they do, an understanding of what goes on behind the scenes isn't high on the priority list, Conroy acknowledged. However, since mid-November, the specific and detailed protocols that emergency dispatchers are expected to follow when they answer those calls has been Conroy's top priority

"We have a staff of well-trained, highly qualified dispatchers here," Conroy said. "It's my job to take them to the next level."

Conroy, 57, has more than 30 years of experience in St. Louis area dispatching operations, most of it at the former North Central County Fire Alarm. North Central is one of two dispatch centers that have combined with CCE in recent years, and Conroy spent almost two years at the Ellisville operation assisting with that service area expansion.

He then served two years as the fire and EMS deputy director at St. Louis County's Bureau of Communications before returning to CCE to replace longtime executive director Mike Turner, who announced his retirement late last year.

Conroy's local experience means he knows personally almost all the chiefs of the agencies CCE now serves.

He conceded that he is uncomfortable talking about himself, but said he and his wife are the proud parents of five and that they have 10 grandchildren. Their sports and other activities "are the highlight of my life," he said.

"I'm not a flashy guy," Conroy said. "I'm not here for me. I'm here for our customers and the taxpayers we serve. They [CCE's member agencies] just want them to know they [the taxpayers] can sleep well tonight because we've got their back."

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SCCAD PARAMEDIC OF THE YEAR (2015) NAMED

January 14, 2016 - St. Charles County Ambulance District

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO. - Paramedic Kelly Maull was named Paramedic of the Year for 2015. Kelly displays diligence in everything she does, from small tasks to large. Last year, she tallied three cardiac arrest saves thanks to her thorough knowledge of the District's protocols!

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ST. PETERS MEALS ON WHEELS RECEIVES BOOST FROM CENTRAL COUNTY TRIVIA FANS

January 12, 2016 - Mid Rivers Newsmagazine By: Brian Flinchpaugh

Hot meals at lunchtime for homebound seniors in St. Peters received a boost from the Central County Fire and Rescue Fire Protection District, which presented a $20,556. 55 check on Dec. 17 to support the city's Meals on Wheels program.

The funds were raised at an annual trivia night in October hosted by St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano, the city's Board of Aldermen and the fire district. The funds, along with money raised from through the city's "dollar up" program, will help to assure that hot meals are delivered to about 150 seniors each weekday.

The check was presented by Steve Brown, assistant fire chief, at the St. Peters Senior Center. Brown said the amount was a record, surpassing the $17,000 raised at a previous trivia night.Earlier this year, when the organizing committee met to plan the trivia night, Brown suggested a $20,000 goal. "Everybody just kind of looked at me," he said.

The city works with the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging to administer its Meals on Wheels program, which remains one of the few senior meals programs in the St. Louis area that still serves home-delivered hot meals Monday through Friday. Because of the expense, and state and federal budget cuts, some communities have moved to the delivery of frozen meals once a week - meals that some seniors have a hard time warming up.

"We hold this as model of community support that we would love to have in the rest of our four counties," said Lisa M. Knoll, chief operating officer for MEAAA. "It's so outstanding."

MEAAA works with seniors programs in St. Charles, St. Louis, Franklin and Jefferson counties. Knoll said an important element of the program is the personal contact that volunteers have with homebound seniors. Some of the seniors get few visitors and the meals program allows volunteers to check up on them.

In addition to the recent trivia night funds donation, the city supports its Meals on Wheels program with "dollar-up," a program that encourages contributions from utility customers.

Alderman Jerry Hollingsworth [Ward 2] and other aldermen came up with the idea of giving utility customers the option to donate to the program by simply rounding up their utility payments to the next dollar amount or making a higher donation. Since 2012, customers have marked a box on their bi-monthly bills for water, sewer and trash, and have contributed more than $44,000.

At the check presentation, Hollingsworth continued to ask for residents to make donations. The city sends out 15,000 utility bills and if everyone rounded off their bills by adding 25 cents, the city could totally fund the entire program in St. Peters, Hollingsworth said.

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FENTON FIRE DISTRICT AWARDED A PUBLIC PROTECTION CLASS 1 BY ISO, HIGHEST IN STATE OF MISSOURI

January 13, 2016 - St. Louis Post Dispatch Fenton Fire Protection District - Press Release

Only fire agency in Missouri with the best possible ISO classification -

The Fenton Fire Protection District is proud to announce the Insurance Services Office (ISO) has awarded the district a Class 1 Public Protection Classification rating. The Class 1 rating is the highest score awarded to fire protection agencies in the United States and represents the best possible fire protection services. The Fenton Fire Protection District is currently the only agency in the State of Missouri to have achieved this extraordinary rating.

ISO ratings are used by insurance companies in the establishment of commercial and residential insurance rates. The rating is based on a detailed evaluation of the district's operations, water supplies, emergency communications, and community risk reduction.

The district's improvement to an ISO Class 1 was facilitated by the processes addressed through the accreditation by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) and through the dedicated efforts of the firefighters, paramedics, chief officers, and staff of the Fenton Fire Protection District.

The Fenton Fire Protection District provides fire, rescue, and emergency medical services to the City of Fenton, portions of Sunset Hills, Valley Park, and unincorporated southwest St. Louis County, Missouri. The district is internationally accredited through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) and is rated an ISO Class 1.

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FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE DOG FROM LAKE


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

January 13, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - This morning the St. Louis Fire Department responded to Willmore Park (Hampton & Jamieson) for the report of a dog trapped in the middle of the lake. Upon arrival, members of Rescue Squad #1 quickly entered the icy lake & rescued the shivering dog. Shortly after, the dog (expected to fully recover) was reunited with a very grateful owner!

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TOWN & COUNTRY, WEST COUNTY EMS/FPD NEAR NEW CONTRACT AGREEMENT

January 12, 2016 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

The West County EMS/FPD and Town & Country are taking steps toward a new contract setting terms and conditions for the district's providing its services to the city.

The city's Board of Aldermen approved a first reading of the new agreement in December and was expected to take final action at its Jan. 11 meeting (after presstime). West County's Board of Directors had unanimously endorsed the contract at its Dec. 21 meeting.

The effective date of the new five-year pact is Jan. 1, 2017. The current agreement doesn't end until Dec. 31, 2016; however, should either party want to change any of the contract's provisions, it is required to notify the other party at least one year in advance of the contract's expiration.

Negotiations on a new agreement began several months ago after West County voters last April approved a 30-cent increase in the district's general fund real estate and personal property tax levy. The tax hike goes into effect this year. The higher levy does not apply to Town & Country property owners because West County's fire and emergency medical services to the community are governed by the contract between the two entitites.

Under the new contract, Town & Country will pay West County $3.44 million annually for its services in 2017, compared with the 2015 payment of approximately $3.3 million. The annual charge beyond 2017 is subject to the Consumer Price Index, but any increase is capped at no more than 3 percent.

A new provision calls for an additional payment of nearly $157,000 annually for capital resources such as emergency vehicles and related equipment.

In turn, West County will pay Town & Country $152,000 annually for use of the firehouse near the Mason-Clayton Road intersection. That amount also will be subject to CPI adjustments and compares with the $149,000 budgeted for firehouse rental in 2016.

The location is manned 24/7 by West County firefighter/paramedics.

Another change in the new agreement is the elimination of the fire marshal services that West County has provided and the splitting of inspection fees between the city and district. According to Town & Country City Administrator Gary Hoelzer, the city will handle those inspection duties beginning in 2017 and will retain all related fee income.

Hoelzer described the new agreement as a win-win arrangement and expects aldermen to approve it.

"I've heard no concerns voiced about the agreement," he said, adding that the board was actively represented in the contract negotiating process.

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HOUSE FIRE IN VELDA CITY LEAVES ONE DEAD


A firefighter delivers to the owner a dog that was rescued from the basement of a burning home in the 7100 block of Woodrow Avenue in Velda City on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2015. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

January 12, 2016 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Valerie Schremp Hahn

VELDA CITY - One person was killed in a house fire Tuesday afternoon in the 7100 block of Woodrow Avenue in Velda City, relatives of the victim said.

George Warren, 59, was identified as the man who died. Relatives at the scene said he lived in the house along with several other people.

Edward McClay, 59, a relative of Warren's, said he was in the house at the time the fire started along with an adult nephew who is paralyzed.

McClay said he helped the nephew escape and went back to help Warren but couldn't get to him.

The nephew was taken to a hospital to be checked out. A family poodle, named Paul, also died in the fire.

McClay said the fire started in the enclosed back porch of the small house, where Warren had been.

Kivia Morgan, 35, said Warren had been engaged to her mother.

"He was a good step-daddy," she said. "He was kind, loving, helped you out when you needed it."

At the request of the Northeast Fire Protection District, St. Louis County bomb and arson detectives were called in along with the St. Louis County Medical Examiner, said Velda City Police Chief Daniel Paulino. Paulino said a space heater in the enclosed porch may have caused the fire.

This is a breaking story. Check back for details.

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TRAGEDY AVERTED WHEN LOCAL MAN IS RESCUED FROM SWOLLEN CREEK


Monarch Firefighter/Paramedic Rob Short [left] and Capt. Tom Beauchamp stand near a tree - in the background between Short and Beauchamp - that was grasped by the driver of a vehicle swept by floodwaters from Wild Horse Creek Road until the Monarch first responders could rescue him.(West Newsmagazine/Jim Erickson photo)

January 11, 2016 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

The wisdom of the saying "Turn around, don't drown" was almost proven tragically in West County in the aftermath of heavy holiday week rains that lifted many rivers above flood stage and turned meandering creeks into raging torrents.

The culprit in this instance was Wild Horse Creek, which most of the time is scarcely visible even when its twists and turns bring it close to the road that bears the same name. That was not the case, though, on the Saturday night after Christmas.

Swollen by the day's steady downpour, the creek rose rapidly and had covered Wild Horse Creek Road in the area east of Puellman Road when the westbound car of a high school student became disabled as the driver attempted to make it through the water. Darkness and the curving road no doubt contributed to the problem.

The driver used his cellphone to call his father for help. Hurrying to his son's aid on the same road but from the opposite direction, the father encountered even deeper water at the other end of the flooded area and his much larger vehicle was swept off the road.

Although the father didn't know it, his son had managed to get out of his car and make his way to a nearby residence. Water, however, had succeeded in pushing the son's car off the road and dumping it among trees on a steep incline.

Meanwhile, the father found himself inside his own vehicle as it was carried along the pitch dark creek channel, ramming into trees and tree stumps and taking on water in the process.The father decided his best option was to get out of his car. As he did so, he fortunately was able to grab and climb into a tree as his car floated past. He then used his cellphone to call for help.Because the mishap occurred near the dividing line between the Monarch and Metro West fire protection districts, both responded to different 911 calls, only to find they were dealing with the same incident from opposite sides of the flooded area.

When it was determined that access to the victim likely was better from the east side, Monarch crews implemented swift-water rescue procedures.

Nearby residents familiar with the lay of the land, the normal creek channel and possible access points assisted the first responders in efforts to find a place where a rescue boat could be launched.

In a later interview, Monarch Capt. Tom Beauchamp said that at one location where he and two other members of his crew tried to launch their inflatable boat, the current coming at them was so swift the craft's 25-horsepower motor was unable to make any headway.

The victim also helped first responders by periodically turning on the light of his cellphone to give rescuers a bearing in the darkness.

Spurred on by concerns that the trapped man could suffer from extreme hypothermia and fatigue after clinging to the tree for an extended period in the steady rain and falling temperatures, rescuers finally reached the victim and secured him with a rope and flotation device before getting him into the boat and back to solid ground. Checked by ambulance crews, he was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation and was later released. His car was found about a quarter-mile farther downstream.

"This definitely was one of the most difficult rescues I've seen in a long time," said Monarch Deputy Chief Les Crews.

Praising all those involved in the effort, Monarch Board President Robin Harris, at the fire district's first meeting of the new year, said it was the kind of incident that easily could have resulted in lost lives - both the victim as well as those attempting to rescue him.Crews from the Boles, West County and St. Charles City fire protection districts also responded and assisted at the scene.

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CHIEF PENDER, WEST ALTON RESIDENTS AGAIN SHOW STRENGTH IN FLOOD ORDEAL


Rivers Pointe Fire & Rescue Chief Rick Pender.

January 11, 2016 - Riverbender by Dan Brannan, Content Director

WEST ALTON, MO. - Rivers Pointe Fire & Rescue Chief Rick Pender has not had an easy job in recent days in West Alton.

West Alton has been battling problems with flooding since late last month and has been one of the last for the waters to recede with both the Mississippi and Missouri rivers which intersect there causing problems.

Pender said a few people have built their houses up enough to where they weren't flooding and those people made it back and forth in and out of West Alton via boat to their vehicles parked in space out of the water situation.

"About 75 percent of the people heeded the evacuation warning when the flood started," Pender said. "This flood is definitely not too far from the problems we had in 1993. Unfortunately, I think people here have gotten used to floods. It seems this flood is different because it is in December. I think it is West Alton flooding photo courtesy of Kristen Turpin.West Alton flooding photo courtesy of Kristen Turpin.comparable to the 1973 flood."

Pender said the Mississippi River filled the area on the western side of U.S. Route 67 going away from the Clark Bridge and that has also caused problems for motorists.

Pender joined the fire and rescue team in West Alton right after the 1993 flood. He said this flood is "stressful and taxing" on residents and because this came so quickly, there was really no time to prepare.

The chief said now the water simply has to "drain" in order for things to get back together in West Alton.

The majority of businesses in the area have faced difficulties, but some are forging through the problems. The good thing so far is no one has been hurt and Pender said West Alton residents will persevere through like they did in 1993 with this flood.

"We got everyone safely out of town that needed to get out," he said. "I am proud of our efforts."

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIREFIGHTER

January 10, 2016 - Fenton Fire Protection District

FENTON, MO. - Those interested in employment with the Fenton Fire Protection District may apply in person by filling out a letter of intent at Fenton Fire District House One, 845 Gregory Lane, Fenton, MO 63026. Testing is scheduled for late January.

The minimum requirements for employment at Fenton Fire District include a high school diploma or GED, a valid Missouri Paramedic (EMT-P) License, and St. Louis County Fire Academy Firefighter 1 & 2 certification.

A current Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) card must be presented at the time of the written testing process. A CPAT Card may be obtained by contacting the St. Louis County Fire Academy at 314-889-8670.

More information is available by visiting www.fentonfire.org/




ALDERMAN SEEKS $25 MILLION TO UPDATE FIRST RESPONDER EQUIPMENT IN ST. LOUIS

January 9, 2016 - KMOV

ST. LOUIS, MO. - There is a new push Friday to find millions of dollars that could help save residents' lives.

The money, $25 million, would go to support first responders in St. Louis and help pay for new equipment and upgrades for firefighters and other emergency workers.

St. Louis firefighters say some fire trucks and other emergency vehicles are nearly 25 years old and sometimes break down on the way to calls.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is considering the $25 million plan in order to change that. Last year, there was a push to raise $180 million for the cause, but the bond failed. This time around 24th Ward Alderman Scott Olgilve says passage is critical. He introduced the plan Friday and says it won't require a tax increase.

"We have other debt that we are paying off, so we can borrow up to that limit without raising taxes," Olgilve said. "So we are anticipating paying off debt this year and next."

Olgilve says his plan will now move to committee, and he hopes it will appear on the ballot for voters in April.

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FIRE DISTRICT PROMOTION CEREMONY

January 8, 2016 - Wentzville Fire Protection District

WENTZVILLE, MO. - At last evening's Board of Directors Meeting, the Board held a pinning ceremony for newly promoted Deputy Chief John LeDoux, Captain Bryan Notheis, and Fire District Chaplain Phil Reagan.

Congratulations, we are very proud of all three of you.

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FIRE DISTRICT PROMOTION CEREMONY

January 8, 2016 - Wentzville Fire Protection District

WENTZVILLE, MO. - At last evening's Board of Directors Meeting, the Board held a pinning ceremony for newly promoted Deputy Chief John LeDoux, Captain Bryan Notheis, and Fire District Chaplain Phil Reagan.

Congratulations, we are very proud of all three of you. More Headlines for Mehlville Fire




EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIRE CHIEF

January 7, 2016 -

KIRKWOOD, MO. - The City is seeking an experienced Fire Chief to lead its full time Fire Department. The Department covers 9.8 square miles of area including the entire City of Kirkwood as well as 1,400 City of Oakland residents, for a total service-population of nearly 29,000 residents. The Fire Chief reports to the Chief Administrative Officer (City Manager). The Chief Administrative Officer is responsible to the Mayor and six City Council members, operating under the Council-Manager form of government. The current Fire Chief is retiring after more than 18 years of service to the City.

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FIRE DISTRICT WELCOMES 10 NEW FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDICS


Photo by Wentzville Fire Protection District

January 7, 2016 - Wentzville Fire Protection District

WENTZVILLE MO. - Our new Firefighter/Paramedics began their orientation this week. These Firefighter/Paramedics will be sworn in next week and assigned to their permanent shift.

Congratulations to Bobby Nash, Josh Linneman, Chad Heflin, Justin Hawkins, Randy Mott, Pat Szarwinski, Tim Bobbitt, Bryan Wacker, Gary Mandrell, and Nick Moushey. Welcome!!!

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LOCAL FIRE DISTRICT ASSISTED WITH SEARCH FOR MISSING COUNTRY SINGER

January 5, 2016 - Cottleville Fire Protection District

On Thursday, December 31st the Cottleville Fire District's Search & Rescue K9 unit was deployed to Kaw Lake in Oklahoma to assist in the search for two missing hunters, Craig Strickland and Chase Moorland.

As part of a four state task force assisting the Oklahoma State Highway Patrol Water Division, our K9 unit helped to narrow down the search area which ultimately led to the discovery of their bodies.

The Cottleville Fire District would like to extend its deepest condolences to the families of both victims in this terrible tragedy.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - DISPATCHER

January 5, 2016 -

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - DISPATCHER I (THREE OPENINGS) DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS (Dispatching services located at Wentzville Dispatch Facility, 1605 Wentzville Parkway, Wentzville, MO)

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FIRE DEATHS IN ST. LOUIS CITY INCREASED IN 2015


Three children died in a north St. Louis house fire on November 22, 2015 (KMOV photo)

January 4, 2015 - KMOX

ST. LOUIS, MO. - The number of fire deaths was up last year in St. Louis city and the fire chief is searching for new ways to make sure everyone has a working smoke detector.

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson is frustrated that the city had nine fire deaths in 2015, which was two more than the year before. Out of the nine deaths, six were children.

'We've done everything possible to try and get the smoke detectors out," Jenkerson says. "Unfortunately, the last couple fires we had where we did have fire deaths, were lack of smoke detectors."

He adds that it is aggravating to know that a $20 machine could have saved three children's lives.

Jenkerson says the fire department recently received a $225,000 federal grant for smoke detectors. He is also working on a new program that would require people to have working smoke detectors.

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RESCUERS FIND WOMEN ON TOP OF VAN IN BRIDGETON

January 1, 2016 - KTVI

BRIDGETON, MO. - Emergency responders had to rescue two women just before 4am on New Year's Day in Bridgeton.

Two women were rescued when their van went into high water covering St. Charles Rock Road, near Missouri Bottom Road. They were sitting on top of the van when rescuers arrived.

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KIRKWOOD FIREFIGHTERS PAY SPECIAL VISIT TO FLOOD VICTIMS


Kirkwood firefighters pay a special visit to flood victims temporarily staying in the city. (Photo: Kim Rankin)

January 1, 2016 - KSDK By Jacob Long

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Nathaniel Rankin of Jefferson County lives life like most toddlers his age.

"That was one of the things when we adopted Nathaniel, we really wanted to make sure we treated him like a normal child," said his father, Richard.

The biggest thing that sets the 3-year-old apart is that in order to survive, he always has to wear a tracheostomy.

Kim, his mother, said, "He needs constant supervision 24 hours a day."

Nathaniel's condition is so delicate his parents enrolled him in the STARS program through Cardinal Glennon in St. Louis.

STARS, which is short for Special Needs Tracking and Response System, provides critical health information about children with special needs to first responders across Missouri.

"Right off the bat when they get that call, they get notified by their dispatch center. They then reference a pre-plan sheet that will give them all the info they might need. It'll have common emergencies, procedures that should be avoided for that particular child, medications, etc.," said STARS co-founder Tricia Casey.

But when historic flooding this week forced the Rankins from their home, that meant Nathaniel would be far away from medics who are familiar with his special needs. The family has temporarily relocated to Kirkwood until rising waters allow them to return home.

"With Nathaniel being here and knowing just how unique his situation is, it scares us a little bit," Casey said.

That's why she took the time to let Kirkwood firefighters know he would be living in their jurisdiction for the time being should anything happen.

"The last thing a first responder wants to do is error on a child who has a condition you're not familiar with," Casey said.

But instead of just keeping a record of Nathaniel's medical information, the department took it a step farther.

On Friday morning, four firefighters came to visit the family and meet them all in person. Nathaniel even got his own fire hat.

"We were really taken back that they cared enough about Nathaniel and special needs kids in general that they would invest the time to be proactive and meet him," Kim said.

Richard said, "Today was definitely a sign that they wanted to prepared to meet the needs of those in their district."

Kirkwood Fire does plan on joining the STARS program.

Currently, it works with about 25 other departments across Missouri and is looking to expand into Illinois.

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