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SURVEILLANCE VIDEO IN ST. LOUIS SHOWS WOMAN SETTING FIRE TO CAR WITH BODY INSIDE

September 23, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Valerie Schremp Hahn vhahn@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8246

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis police are looking for a woman shown in a surveillance video setting fire to a vehicle where a dead body was later discovered. The incident happened on Sept. 4 in an alley in the 1700 block of North 20th Street.

At about 6:30 p.m. that day, firefighters were called to the scene of a car with a fire in the passenger compartment, and discovered the body of a man in the driver's seat when they put out the fire. He had suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

He was later identified as Darnell Robinson, 24, of the 900 block of Maple Place in St. Louis.

Police said the woman appears to be black, 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, with a light to medium complexion and short hair. She is shown in the video being dropped off near the scene, walking to the car with a red gas can, setting fire to the car, and then running away.

Anyone who recognizes this woman is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477.

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CHRISTIAN HOSPITAL EMS TO RECEIVE NATIONAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

September 17, 2014 - EMS WORLD MAGAZINE

CLINTON, MISS. - The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and EMS World announced the recipients of the 2014 National EMS Awards of Excellence. We congratulate the following recipients and recognize their outstanding achievements and contributions in EMS:

Christian Hospital Emergency Medical Services (CHEMS), St. Louis, Missouri: 2014 Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year, sponsored by Ferno

Click here to view other recipients.

These awards will be presented at the NAEMT General Membership Meeting and Awards Presentation on Tuesday evening, November 10, in Nashville, TN., and the following morning at EMS World Expo's opening keynote and awards ceremony. The winners will also be profiled in the November issue of EMS World Magazine. Learn more about the 2014 recipients:

Christian Hospital Emergency Medical Services (CHEMS) provides 911 and inter-facility patient transport to the St. Louis area, serving more than 250,000 people and responding to approximately 25,000 calls annually. Its fleet consists of 16 ambulances and two command/triage vehicles staffed by 60 full-time first responders and 40 on-call responders, and seven full-time dispatchers. CHEMS takes a proactive approach to continuing education, offering an array of opportunities for providers to further their education and enhance experience. CHEMS has advanced hospital-based mobile integrated healthcare (MIH) in the community, decreasing emergency department admission of non-emergent patients by 11 percent, and assisting patients to find primary care physicians. In addition, CHEMS focuses public education efforts on teaching children about 911 and emergency situations through its "No Panic Please!" program.

Nominees for the Service of the Year Awards are scored on the following: advances in EMS education and training in the agency; innovations in prehospital care and protocol development implemented by the agency; medical community involvement with the agency; EMS system/program upgrades implemented by the agency; worker safety and well-being programs implemented by the agency; injury- and illness-prevention projects implemented by the agency; and public-education project sponsorships the agency is involved in.

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LADUE TO TURN OVER SOME EMERGENCY DISPATCHING

September 16, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

LADUE - The Ladue City Council voted Monday to approve setting up a contract with Central County Emergency 911 to take over fire and emergency medical dispatching.

Police dispatching will continue to be handled by the city's dispatchers.

Fire Chief John Bailot (photo) told the council the action is estimated to save the city almost $1 million over the next 10 years, in avoiding the need to buy more equipment and hire more dispatchers. The cost for the service is estimated at 3.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Bailot said the city is now negotiating when the contract will start.

"With St. Louis County's new radio communications system starting up in December (allowing all county and municipal emergency response agencies to be able to communicate on the same frequency), Police Chief Rich Wooten and I feel there's no way our current dispatchers will be able to handle the traffic," Bailot said.

Central County Emergency 911 provides fire and emergency medical dispatching services for western St. Louis County and portions of Franklin County.

Bailot said the city needs to be able to provide pre-EMS responder-arrival emergency care instructions through dispatchers, something the city isn't able to provide now.

William Francis Jr., chair of the city's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, said his board supported the plan, adding "the most compelling reasons are to enhance the safety of firefighters and provide enhanced medical response for citizens."

Councilman Charles Hiemenz questioned the potential cost, based on assessed valuation which he called high for Ladue.

"I would prefer to see our cost based on the number of calls we have," he said.

Bailot insisted he'd appealed to the Central County board unsuccessfully for that method of assessment.

"They recently took in the (former) South County and North County dispatching agencies' cities with a 3.5 cent contract, and they won't let Ladue come in at a lower rate than those cities," he said.

"However, I understand that, if St. Louis County fire and police dispatching gets up and running or if they purchase Central County, St. Louis County is looking at a per-call cost model," he said.

Wooten said that, even in contracting with Central County, the city will staff its dispatch center - now including a total of five communications officers - as it always has.

"Currently, their workload is about 75 percent police operations," he said.

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STL CAPTAIN PROMOTED TO BATTALION CHIEF


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

September 16, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis M. Jenkerson has promoted Kenny Mitchell from the rank of Captain to Battalion Chief. Battalion Chief Mitchell is assigned to 804-B. Congratulations!

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THE BACKSTOPPERS NOT BENEFITTING FROM DARREN WILSON SHIRT SALES

September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Christine Byers cbyers@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8087

ST. LOUIS - A nonprofit organization that supports the families of fallen police and other emergency responders issued a statement Monday to dispel rumors that it is connected to fundraising in the name of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.

The BackStoppers Inc. does not know who is selling T-shirts that read: "I support Officer Darren Wilson," and will not accept money from the sales if it is offered, said the charity's executive director, Ron Battelle.

Social media sites have been circulating rumors that profits from the T-shirts would benefit BackStoppers as well as a fundraising website for Wilson, whose shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson on Aug. 9 triggered protests and rioting.

Some complained that any such connection would be a conflict of interest for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch (photo) as an investigation of Wilson's use of force continues.

McCulloch is the president of the BackStoppers' board of directors.

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MISSOURI APPEALS COURT AFFIRMS ST. LOUIS OVERHAUL OF FIREFIGHTER PENSION PLAN

September 16, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - The Missouri Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court's order that upheld the city's overhaul of the firefighter's pension plan.

The higher court simply affirmed the overhaul without issuing a written opinion.

The Firemen's Retirement System sued the city in 2013 asking St. Louis Judge Robert Dierker to block fixes made to Mayor Francis Slay's firefighter pension reform plan passed by the Board of Aldermen. The bill restored some retirement benefits that had been cut for vested firefighters, but created a new, parallel system for new and younger firefighters, giving them reduced benefits.

The ruling means firefighters with less than 20 years of service will see reduced benefits.

The pension overhaul has saved the city millions in recent years and has enabled it to avoid significant cutbacks or downgrades to its credit rating, unlike some other major cities in the Midwest.

The budget this year for police, fire and other pensions is $86 million, about a $14 million drop from last year, when the obligation topped out at nearly $100 million.

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WENTZVILLE FIRE INSPECTOR NAMED PRESIDENT OF 'MABOI'


Photo by Wentzville Fire Protection District

September 16, 2014

WENTZVILLE - Congratulations to Wentzville Fire Protection District's Inspector Steve Mosher on his recent election to President of the Mo Association of Building Officials and Inspectors (MABOI). Steve has served on the MABOI Board for several years and will be sworn in this fall.

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PROCEEDS FROM FUNDRAISER CONCERT TO HELP FAMILIES OF FIRST RESPONDERS WHO DIED IN THE LINE OF DUTY

September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - The 2nd Annual Backstoppalooza fundraiser concert will be on Saturday, October 4 from 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm at the Chesterfield Amphitheater. The concert benefits the Backstoppers Inc., an organization that provides immediate financial aid and other support to the families of Police Officers and Firefighters who lose their lives in the line of duty.

Three popular music groups are among the entertainments planned for the event, which will raise money for Backstoppers, Inc. The concert will provide an evening of live music where area residents and families can meet firefighters, paramedics, police officers and other first responders who serve the community, all while supporting a worthy cause.

Backstoppalooza will be at the Chesterfield Amphitheater at 631 Veteran's Place Drive in Central Park featuring a large stage with fixed and lawn seating for up to 4,000 people, plus modern concession and rest room areas.

With a suggested entry donation of $10, Backstoppalooza will offer live music by Big Love: Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band; Silver Bullet STL: Bob Seger Tribute Band and local band, The Dog's Breakfast. Tickets are available at entry and, also, in advance at http//www.chesterfield.mo.us/backstoppalooza.html.

The event's title sponsors include the City of Chesterfield, Grey Eagle Distributing and St. Luke's Hospital. The Monarch Fire Department, Chesterfield Parks & Recreation, Chesterfield Police Department and the Rotary Club of West St. Louis County are the event organizers.

Within hours of the death of a police officer, firefighter, or publicly funded paramedic or EMT, the nonprofit Backstoppers organization steps in to help the family with support and financial assistance that helps pay the family's mortgage, taxes and insurance; helps cover the family's health and dental coverage; supports educational assistance for the children and provides extra cash for the surviving parent during the holiday season. For more information about the Backstoppers, see the website http://www.backstoppers.org.

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MONARCH FIRE DISTRICT TO IMPLEMENT INCENTIVE-BASED SAFETY PROGRAM

September 15, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network

CHESTERFIELD - The Monarch Fire Protection District has announced two efforts to emphasize safety and lower costs associated with workers' compensation claims from on-duty accidents.

Plans revealed at a recent Monarch Board of Directors meeting call for implementing an incentive-based program to reduce work-related injuries and completing a manual with safety-oriented practices and procedures covering substantially all work-related activities of on-duty personnel.

Now nearing completion, the manual already has drawn accolades from Missouri Employers Mutual, the district's workers' compensation insurance carrier. According to Monarch Directors Robin Harris and Jane Cunningham, the insurer has described the safety book as one of the best it has reviewed.

Deputy Chief Nick Harper, who is heading the safety manual's preparation, said the document is designed to be an easy-to-use source of practices and procedures covering everything from firefighting situations and the operation of emergency vehicles to training and other activities conducted in the district's engine houses.

"This isn't a manual that's meant to sit on a shelf and collect dust," Harper asserted.

He added that the district was unable to find any similar manuals in the state when work on the document began earlier this year.

According to Harper, three safety training classes will be held in October to roll out the manual and that subsequent morning roll call discussions will cover all seven chapters at the engine house level. Completion and use of the manual will tie in with the incentive-based program to reward employees for safe practices. In a review of the new effort, Monarch's interim Chief Chuck Marsonette (photo left) said it will foster a "safety culture" among all district employees.

Monarch personnel will be informed of the program so that the first steps can begin Oct. 1.

When the goal of 60 days of no injuries requiring outside treatment is reached for any or all of the district's three shifts, an incentive raffle will be held among all registered employees.

Employees in the raffle will be asked to take a short safety quiz on the back of the raffle ticket submitted for a drawing that will award gift cards to those whose names are picked. Although no specific plans were endorsed, Marsonette suggested the prizes amounts be low enough to allow for multiple winners at each drawing. He cited three $50 gift cards as a likely award.

Marsonette noted the incentive program's cost will be minimal compared with the potential savings in workers' compensation claims, and the resulting insurance premiums and overtime pay required when employees must be called in for extra work when other personnel are injured.

The program also will encourage reporting of "near-miss" incidents to increase employee awareness of potential hazards. In addition, Marsonette emphasized that under-reporting of safety-related incidents will not be tolerated and will be handled with progressive disciplinary action up to and including termination.

As part of the program, all fire stations will maintain posters reminding employees on each shift of the number of days without a reportable injury.

Safety accountability will be reviewed with all employees as part of their annual performance evaluations, and all reportable injury incidents will include drug testing even if an employee refuses medical treatment.

Summarizing the program, Marsonette said, "We want all our employees to come to work healthy and to go home healthy."

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HAPPY 157th BIRTHDAY STLFD


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

September 14, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - Happy 157th Birthday to The St. Louis Fire Department! The second oldest Department in the nation. Justifiably Proud since 1857!

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DEATH ANNOUNCEMENT -
FIRE CHIEF JOSEPH P. SCHMIDT

September 13, 2014 - West Overland Fire Protection District

It is with deep regret that the West Overland Fire Protection District announces the death of Chief Joseph P. Schmidt. Chief Joseph P. Schmidt, 56, proudly served in United States Marine Corps, served 30 years with the Mehlville Fire Protection District where he was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2005, was presently the Chief of the West Overland Fire Protection District, a member of Missouri Task Force 1 and assisted during 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, St. Louis Area Strike Team 3, Missouri Region C Incident Management Team and a member of the Missouri Mules. His service and passion to the community will be deeply missed.

Visitation September 16, 2014 03:00 pm - 9:00 pm A Firefighter Walk Through will occur at 7:30pm John L. Ziegenhein & Sons South County Funeral Home 4830 Lemay Ferry Rd. St. Louis, MO 63129 Get Directions Service September 17, 2014 10:00 am - with Internment to follow at Jefferson Barracks Cemetery Queen of All Saints Catholic Church 6603 Christopher Dr. St. Louis, MO 63129.

Apparatus and personnel wishing to participate in the procession please contact Captain Dave Waser 314-446-9911. Honor Guard wanting to participate please contact Tom Bacon at 314-713-9177. Casket Vigil also requested please contact Captain Mike Yemm at 314-420-1495.

Additional information can be obtained from Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Team website at www.mofirefuneral.org

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CARS IN ROLLING GUN BATTLE CRASH INTO ST. LOUIS FIRE DEPARTMENT FENCE


A downed fence at the St. Louis Fire Department headquarters and training center is evidence of a crash after a gun fight between two motorists on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

September 12, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - Two cars involved in a rolling gun battle crashed into a fence near the St. Louis Fire Department headquarters this morning.

One man, in his 20s, was hit by gunfire but is expected to survive, authorities say. Police were searching for at least one suspect. It happened after 2 a.m. Friday in the 1400 block of North Jefferson Avenue.

Capt. Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department said one of the cars hit a trailer that was parked on the fire department's fenced lot. The trailer belongs to an instructor from the University of Missouri who was in town to teach a course in Mehlville on trench collapse rescue.

Mosby said it appears from tire marks that the vehicles had come through a field on Thomas Street before hitting a fence that runs along Thomas. That fence encircles the parking lot behind the department headquarters. City crews were on the scene this morning, hoping to replace the fence today.

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ST. CHARLES CAPTAIN RETIRES


Photo by IAFF Local 757

September 11, 2014 - IAFF Local 757

ST. CHARLES - Congratulations to Captain Larry Hagedorn on his retirement! Captain Hagedorn served St. Charles Fire Department for 31 years.

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BLACK JACK FIRE DISTRICT LICENSED AS ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT AGENCY


Photo by Black Jack Fire Protection District

September 11, 2014 - Black Jack Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The Black Jack Fire Protection District has received its Advanced Life Support license from the State of Missouri's Bureau of EMS.

Effective September 1, 2014, Black Jack will be responding as an Advanced Life Support agency, when a paramedic is on duty. On September 9, 2014, Black Jack held a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the occasion. On hand at the ceremony were Black Jack's Board of Directors, members of the Greater North County Chamber of Commerce, several members of the Black Jack City Council, and Florissant Valley Fire Protection District Chief Scott Seppelt.

"This is a great day for the citizens of the fire district," said Battalion Chief Roger Ellison (Photo: front row - third from right), one of Black Jack's paramedics. "They passed an EMS tax in April, and as a result, we will be improving the medical service we provide them with more paramedics and advanced medical equipment."

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UNIVERSITY CITY OFFICIAL DENIES 'CALLING OUT' NEWS 4 REPORTER OVER EMS PRIVATIZATION

September 10, 2014 - KMOV

UNIVERSITY CITY - University City Manager Lehman Walker denied he accused News 4 of making up how much money the city would save if its EMS services were outsourced.

Walker's denial was caught on video. At a city council meeting Monday, Councilman Terry Crow asks Walker about the potential savings from outsourcing EMS.

"I heard the other night that city manager said we would save $1 million by outsourcing, and I'm trying to come up with where those numbers come from," Crow said at the meeting.

"I didn't make those statements," Walker said at the meeting. "Jasmine Huda is the one who made the comment about savings. I never made those statements."

Walker and Crow are referring to a News 4 report on the possibility of University City outsourcing its EMS services to a private company. For that report, Walker made the following statement, which News 4 paraphrased on air:

"There would be a potential cost savings in excess of $1 million if we were to proceed."

Crow seemed surprise by Walker's denial.

"I believe the report is pretty clear on the statement. As far as a $1 million savings, I can't imagine a reporter came up with that number off the top of her head. That would surprise me," Crow said at the meeting.

Walker spoke to News 4 and denied the denial.

"I'm not taking issue with anything you said," Walker said to News 4's Jasmine Huda.

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CRIME COMMISSIONER RESPONDS TO HIS E-MAIL ABOUT POSSIBLY BURNING FERGUSON CITY HALL

September 9, 2014 - KTVI

- An e-mail conversation, shared with FOX 2, reveals inflammatory comments between respected African American leaders. One leader responded by e-mail, saying 'right on' to apparent words of violence.

The conversation is contained in a 38 page email sent to all St. Louis Media. It's titled 'Civil Disobedience Shutdown of Interstate 70,' then this comment 'Anything short of arresting that White cop for murder is an insult to Black people and Ferguson city Hall and Police department needs to burn to the ground!!!'

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LOBBYIST FOR FIREFIGHTERS JOINS CONSULTING FIRM


Photo by The Missouri Times

September 9, 2014 - The Missouri Times

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. - HABBAS TO JOIN TILLEY'S STRATEGIC CAPITAL CONSULTING FIRM - After several sessions of lobbying for the state's firefighters council, Mark Habbas (left in photo) will be joining Steve Tilley's Strategic Capital Consulting Firm. Habbas has represented the Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters since 2008. In his new capacity, he will continue to represent the firefighters in the St. Louis metro area along with additional clients.

"I wanted to work with someone who I felt has the same drive and energy as I do," Habbas told The Missouri Times. "Steve's work ethic is second to none! Steve gives every client he has 100 percent and that is important."

Former Speaker of the Missouri House, Steven Tilley, started the Strategic Capital Consulting Firm after leaving the General Assembly and has gone on to acquire some of the biggest marquee clients in the state, including Anheuser-Busch, AFL-CIO, ExpressScripts, Fred Webber, and Fair Energy Rate Action Fund.

"Mark is a tremendous addition to my firm and will be a benefit to my clients," Tilley said. "He is highly respected, effective, and admired in the Capitol".

Legislators agree that Habbas' addition to Strategic Capitol Consulting will be a great move for some of Missouri's largest interests.

"I first got to know Mark during the special election where I was elected to the senate, and during a very difficult time for Republicans, Mark and the firefighters were all-in to help me in my election," Senate Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (R-St. Peters) said. "Some people say they are all-in its in name only, but Mark is a person who truly is. I wish him well in his new endeavor I know he will be successful."

"For the past several years, I have gotten to know Mark in his role with the state firefighters and he has always been professional, straight forward, and honest," said Senator Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City) "Steve Tilley has proven himself to be a very effective lobbyist on behalf of his clients. I anticipate Mark being an asset across both sides of aisle."

"Mark Habbas will be a great asset to Steve Tilley's firm," Rep. Lincoln Hough (R-Springfield) said. "I've worked with Mark over the past four years and he is a smart and hardworking guy. Steve is lucky to have him on board and their clients will undoubtedly be the beneficiaries of another strong advocate."

"It's great to see two people who already have great businesses in their own right join forces for what I am sure will allow them to represent their clients in greater capacity," said Rep. Caleb Jones (R-California).

"Mark and Steve will make a great team," said Rep. Jeremy LaFaver (D-Kansas City). They are both straight shoots with years of unique experiences. I trust them both and look forward to working with them."

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MONARCH FIREFIGHTERS AND PARAMEDICS PARTICIPATE IN 9/11 MEMORIAL STAIR CLIMB IN CLAYTON


Photo by Monarch Firefighter's Community Outreach

September 9, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

CLAYTON - The Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach Team completed the Clayton 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on September 7, 2014, for the third year in a row, helping to raise nearly $55,000. The stair climb draws participants from all over the nation and raises money for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation whose mission supports the families of men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

"After meeting some of the families of fallen firefighters from 9/11, you quickly begin to see the immense wake that is left behind when a loved one is lost in the line of duty," says Monarch Firefighter/Paramedic Nick Smith.

The climb of 110 floors, the same number of floors in the World Trade Center Buildings that were attacked and collapsed in New York City, is dedicated to the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11/01. The event is hosted and organized by the Clayton Fire Department. Climbing is done in the 23-story Pierre-Laclede building next to the Clayton fire station at Forsythe and Bemiston avenues.

"We Climb Because They Climbed" is the tag line for the event now in its third year, which firefighter/paramedics completed in full turnout gear, SCBA air tank and axe or other tool. The climb is no easy feat.

"110 stories is a long way up no matter how you look at it. It's hot, the gear is heavy and the steps never seem to end," says Smith. Each firefighter making the climb is assigned a personal tag with a picture of a firefighter from 9/11 and their truck assignment on that morning when the World Trade Center collapsed.

"Wearing their picture around your neck gives you all the motivation you need to get to the top; it's unbelievable to try to imagine just what they must have been going through as they climbed higher and higher not knowing what they were walking toward," Smith adds.

More than 300 climbers participated this year, all tasked with the duty to try to raise money for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. This year's event blew away the totals from last year by grossing close to $55,000.

The parents of FDNY Firefighter Christopher Santora were on hand to speak to the crowd of hundreds at the dedication of the newly unveiled Fallen Firefighter Memorial located just outside the Clayton fire house. The top individual fundraiser was honored at the dedication with a custom made axe from Liberty Artwork Designs. That honor this year went to Monarch Firefighter and Monarch Firefighter Community Outreach team member Nick Smith, who raised more than $2,600.

"I felt blessed to be able to represent not only the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11 but every individual who donated to the cause in my name. It was a truly humbling experience and I owe it all to God."

The Monarch Community Firefighters Outreach team consisted of Captain Brent Coleman, Engineer Ben Hotop and Firefighter/Paramedics Adam Stack and Nick Smith. If you would like to donate to the fund, please use this link: https://fundraising.active.com/fundraiser/NickSmith2.

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THIS IS FIREFIGHTERS' WEEKEND IN ST. LOUIS

September 5, 2014 - KPLR

ST. LOUIS - The weather canceled a vigil Friday night to honor fallen fire fighters. It was part of the annual firefighters' weekend in St. Louis. Organizers aren't letting the weather rain on their parade.

This event is held every year to remember the 195 Missouri firefighters who lost their life in the line of duty and help those left behind honor them.

At 10am Saturday the "31st Annual ,Great Fire Engine Rally" will parade down Market street. Then at 5pm Saturday the 7th Annual Black-Tie St. Louis And Metro Firefighters' Appreciation Ball will take place at the River City Casino.

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2014 ST. LOUIS FIRE DEPARTMENT LIFESAVING AWARDS

September 3, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis firefighters Steve Lodes, Tommy Gardner, Justin Alemond, Mike Love and Mike Schneider will be commended at a ceremony in December for saving a man trapped on the second floor of a vacant commercial building in July 2013.

Also, Donna Cox, a training officer, will be recognized for a key role in getting the department designated as an American Heart Association Award Cardiac Life Support Training Site.

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2013 GREATER ST. LOUIS AREA FIRE CHIEFS ASSOCIATION AWARDS

September 3, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch


Aug. 4, 2012, for the rescue of several victims from an apartment fire at 840 Spring Avenue, St. Charles:

- Class VI Citation Award for quick and professional actions: St. Charles Fire Department Units 9406, 9410, 9417, 9420, 9432, 9440, and 9450. Battalion Chief Gary Bird, Capts. Shalom Shoaf, Kerry Hammann, Chris Blackwell and Craig Butenhoff; Acting Capt. Jeff Twyman; Engineers Cale Summers, Jeff Mesle, Jeff Marvin, Scott Forrest; and Firefighter-Medics Aaron Burlingame, Matt Hofer, Doug Kane, Justin Williams, Brandon Schurtz, Kelly Hunsel, Roger Wood and Matt Purcell.

- Class III Bronze Medal for outstanding efforts: St. Charles Fire Department. Capts. Shoaf and Hammann; Acting Capt. Twyman, Firefighter-Medics Burlingame, Kane, Hofer and Purcell.

- Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: St. Charles County Ambulance District Medic Units 1, 2, and 4. Medics Chris Picker, Amy Koeninger, Tammy Brinker, Greg Maddock, Dusty Sanders and Jeremy Hunsel.


Oct. 24, 2012, for the rescue of two victims trapped in a downed aircraft submerged in Creve Coeur Lake:

- Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: Maryland Heights Fire Protection District Units 4400, 4404, 4414, 4425 and 4427. Chief Steve Olshwanger; Assistant Chief Steve Rinehart; Capts. Mark Stillpass and Chuck Nitsch; Firefighter-Medics Kevin Heberlie, Chris Moore, Rob Handley, Mark Russell and Sue Lockhart; Firefighters Larry Winkler, Dale Schroeder, Wayne Luebbert and Kent Juhlin.

- Class I Gold Medal for outstanding efforts: Maryland Heights Fire Protection District. Assistant Chief Rinehart

- Class III Bronze Medal for outstanding efforts: Maryland Heights Fire Protection District: Firefighter-Medics Russell, Moore and Heberlie.

- Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: Pattonville Fire Protection District Units 4803, 4815, 4817, 4824, 4835 and 4837. Battalion Chief Dolph Jeck; Capts. Steve Rogger and Stan Souden; Acting Capt. Bryan Vancil; Firefighters Kerry Dick, Mark Habbas, Kevin Stuhlmann, Steve Wolf, Scott Jones, Al Ramsey, Jeff Proctor, Darren Ketcherside, Steve Holmes, Mark Barnhart and Mike Loehrer.

- Class VII Certificate of Merit Award for quick and professional actions: Rock Hill Fire Department. Chief Kevin Halloran.


Nov. 4, 2012, for the rescue of several trapped occupants from an apartment fire at 14450 Rialto Drive, Chesterfield:

- Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: Central County Emergency 911. Dispatchers Cindy Sportsman, Lisa Cooley and Lisa Orf.

Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: Monarch Fire Protection District Units 2202, 2212, 2216, 2230, 2237, 2242, 2247 and 2253. Battalion Chief Bill Long; Acting Battalion Chief Dave Schmitt; Capts. Andy Stecko, Jim Wilcox, Chris Overy, Larry Beauchamp, Steve Kell, Jon Shoop, Bob Temm and Ed Fassler; Engineers Matt Stack, Tom Beauchamp, Glen Hornbuckle, Dana Buckley and Bryan Ball; Firefighter-Medics Rob Warden, Kevin McCullough, Adam Coughlin, Craig Sullivan, Steve Hahn, Mike Underwood and Mark Kraatz; Firefighter-EMT Al Wilson.

- Class II Silver Medal for outstanding efforts: Monarch Fire Protection District. Capt. Fassler.

- Class III Bronze Medal for outstanding efforts: Monarch Fire Protection District. Capts. Stecko and Shoop, Firefighter-Medics Warden and Kraatz.

- Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: Metro West Fire Protection District: Units 3302 and 3344. Battalion Chief Rod Cook, Capt. Brad Shelton, Engineer Travis Bauer and Firefighter-Medic Tom Vatterott.

- Class III Bronze Medal for outstanding efforts: Metro West Fire Protection District. Capt. Shelton and Firefighter/Medic Vatterott.

- Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: West County EMS & Fire Protection District Unit 3534. Capt. Jim Schaumberg and Firefighter-Medics Kurt Elliot and Kelly Grassmuck.


March 27, 2013, for the rescue of a trapped victim beneath 7,500 tons of rock at the Fred Weber North Quarry in Maryland Heights:

- Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: Pattonville Fire Protection District Units 4803, 4804, 4815, 4824, 4835 and 4837. Battalion Chief Ken Adeylott; Training Officer K.J. Spurlock; Capts. Bob Murray and Jerry Herrmann; Acting Capt. Mark Simmons; Firefighters Courtney Horn, Jason Kirk, Jeff Pillman, Mike Loehrer, Bob Helbig, Pat Begley, Jason Lindsey, Dan Marcus and Brad Bishop.

- Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: Maryland Heights Fire Protection District Units 4404, 4414 and 4488. Assistant Chief Steve Rinehart, Capt. Mark Stratman, Engineer Gene Weiss, Firefighter-Medics Mark Russel, Matt Weis III, Paul Swyers and Chris Williams.


July 4, 2013, for the rescue of a victim from a lake at 3432 Civic Green, St. Charles:

- Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: St. Charles County Ambulance District Medic Unit 1. Medics Donna Lorson and Kevin Griffith.

- Class VI Unit Citation Award for quick and professional actions: St. Charles Fire Department Units 9406, 9432, and 9440. Battalion Chief Craig Dodson; Capt. Steve Harker; Acting Captain Mark Hanick; Engineers Luke Hollingshead and Keith Semrow; Firefighter-Medics Drew Bass and Eric Hall.

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BRIDGETON LANDFILL SPARKING NEW WORRIES


Smoke and steam rise from the dig site at the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill, May 23, 2013. (Photo: KMOX/Kevin Killeen)

September 4, 2014 - KMOX

ST. LOUIS - New worries today about the burning Bridgeton landfill, including where the fire is, and how much time it might take to build a firebreak trench to isolate the nuclear waste.

In a letter sent to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, nationally recognized landfill consultant Todd Thalhamer warns the fire may have spread beyond a line of containment wells closer to the nuclear waste at the West Lake Landfill.

This latest bad news comes after the Army Corps of Engineers announced it will be at least 18 months before they can begin digging a firebreak trench.

That's not sitting well with Pattonville Fire District Assistant Chief Matt LaVanchy.

"We knew that this was going to take some time. The big question is is we don't know how much time we have," LaVanchy says.

Both LaVanchy and Thalmayer are calling for more tests to determine where the fire is now and how far it is from nuclear material.

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FIREFIGHTERS BATTLING BLAZE AT FENTON COMPANY

September 4, 2014 - KMOV

FENTON - Firefighters said they are battling a four alarm fire at Maritz in Fenton.

Authorities said the fire broke out at the 1365 building Thursday night. Maritz said the building primarily houses research and IT facilities. The building was evacuated even though the company said it does not believe employees were on the fourth floor at the time.

Maritz said all employees inside the building were not hurt.

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UNIVERSITY CITY CONSIDERING PRIVATIZATION OF EMERGENCY SERVICES

Photo by KMOV

September 3, 2014 - KMOV

UNIVERSITY CITY - University City is looking into the possibility of privatizing emergency ambulance services. While the city manager assures no services will be reduced, firefighters say vital time and services will be compromised.

"We want to reduce our costs, but we want to ensure that we maintain the same level of service," said Lehman Walker, City Manager of University City.

Lehman insists the services would be the same and the city would save around $1 million dollars. However, he also said it may affect jobs and staffing levels.

"But [more] important than the jobs, candidly, is the service delivery that's going to be given to the citizens," said Kurt Becker of the firefighters' union.

Firefighters argue that outsourcing affects the qualifications and number of responders at a given moment.

University City has received proposals from Abbott EMS and Gateway Ambulance. While no decision has been made, the proposals are under review.

The debate over privatization comes months after six University City firefighters were suspended for posing in a city council campaign advertisement while in University City uniforms.

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WEST COUNTY EMS/FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT LAUNCHES PLANNING EFFORT


Dr. Barton Wechsler from the University of Missouri leads discussion during a strategic planning session held Aug. 25 at the West County EMS and Fire Protection District training facility on Manchester Road.

September 2, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The West County EMS and Fire Protection District has kicked off a strategic planning effort by asking its citizens and its own employees what their expectations are for the district's future.

"Our focus is on continued improvement and the only way for that improvement to happen is if we know the expectations of those we serve," said David Cobb, West County's board chairman.

Leading the planning discussion was Dr. Barton Wechsler, dean of graduate programs at the University of Missouri's Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs. Emphasizing the need for planning, Wechsler quoted an adage attributed to New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra: "If you don't know where you're going, when you get there you'll be lost."

West County officials have entitled the planning program "Blueprint 2025: A Safer Community."

Wechsler asked the audience - divided about evenly between West County personnel and district residents - what their expectations for the district are and then had the group to come forward and check items from the list that they viewed as most important.

"We were honored by the large turnout and participation of so many community leaders from West County," said West EMS/FPD Chief Ernie Rhodes. "Blueprint 2025 is all about working together. Families all over the area will benefit."

Wechsler also was pleased with the initial meeting's results.

"I was very impressed with the thoughtful ideas and questions of the attendees," he said. "The vision and action plan that will come out of all this should be remarkable."

The planning effort is expected to take about six months.

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LIGHTNING STRIKE STARTS BLAZE AT HOME IN WEBSTER GROVES

September 2, 2014 - KTVI

WEBSTER GROVES - A Webster Groves home sustained heavy damage after it was likely struck by lightning that sparked a serious fire.

The homeowner David Addison, says the boom, probably the lightning strike, happened about 11 p.m. Monday night. Addison says power went out for a time on the second floor. Everything seemed normal for about an hour and a half. Shortly before 1 a.m., smoke detectors went off in the house. He noticed smoke in the attic and got his wife and two kids out of the home.

By the time fire crews responded a short time later, flames were shooting from the attic. The fire went to a second alarm. The Webster Groves Fire Chief said the blaze was tough to fight because it was in the attic. Eventually, crews from several different departments helped put the fire out.

No one was hurt.

The core of the home is more than 100 years old.

Now the process begins of trying to see if the home can be saved.

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JENNINGS FIRE DEPARTMENT MERGES TO SAVE CITY MONEY

September 1, 2014 - KTVI

JENNINGS - As of September 1st, the city of Jennings no longer has its own fire department.

Last month, residents voted to give up their fire department and join the Riverview Fire Protection District. Jennings' fire house, 11 firefighters and two fire trucks are now part of Riverview.

With a total of 33 firefighters, employees in both districts are pleased with the move, and say it'll provide them with more manpower to better serve the residents. "We have a larger workforce to help spread out our capabilities for doing the job for the citizens," explains Riverview Fire Captain Bill Alexander, who had previously served as a Jennings firefighter for 41 years.

The issue was that the Jennings Fire Department was funded by a sales tax, which barely covered the fire department's expenses. Riverview, on the other hand, is funded through a fire district tax, which Jennings residents will now pay, instead of the sales tax.

Throughout the next few days, firefighters will be easing into their new roles. Riverview Fire Chief Joe Bommarito explains, "We've made some crew transfers to integrate some of their firefighters into our existing fire houses, and some of our firefighters will be going to their firehouse, to start learning the transition, if you will. They have to start learning our streets and businesses, and we'll start learning theirs, as well."

The annexation also frees up roughly $750,000 in the city of Jennings' budget. In a county with 90 municipalities, it's a move that Bommarito feels makes sense. "We hope that this is just the beginning. It's a trend that I think [St. Louis] County needs."

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WILDWOOD HOME DESTROYED IN FIRE MONDAY NIGHT

September 1, 2014 - KMOV

WILDWOOD - A family has lost their home after a fire broke out and destroyed their house on Cherry Hills Meadow Drive in Wildwood, Missouri.

"The house is a complete loss," said John Bradley of the Metro West Fire District. "It will be boarded up because the fire spread essentially from the back of the house all the way up through the first and second floors, through the attic, and basically lost the entire roof."

Four people, including two children, were inside the home during the fire, but we able to get out unharmed. However, one firefighter was taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion and is expected to fully recover.

The Red Cross also issued a statement saying they offered assistance to the family. The family declined assistance, but did accept comfort kits of toiletries.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

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HAZELWOOD CONSIDERS REDUCING FIREFIGHTER'S OVERTIME

August 30, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

BUDGET DEFICIT MEANS HAZELWOOD OFFICIALS FACE 'TOUGH DECISIONS" - City Council members are considering $1 million in proposed budget cuts, which could mean the end of municipal yard waste collections and mosquito spraying, less salting of roads in winter, restricted recreational opportunities for residents, fewer fire fighters on fire trucks, several employee layoffs, and more.

"We are going to have to make some tough decisions," Mayor Matthew G. Robinson said at Thursday night's special council meeting.

During a hands-on working session with city department managers, City Manager Matt Zimmerman said the city needs to reduce a deficit of more than $1.4 million for the fiscal year that began July 1. The projected deficit comes on the heels of voter rejection earlier this month of two revenue initiatives and represents more than 5 percent of the city's nearly $25 million operating budget.

Zimmerman presented the council, which he asked to pass an amended budget by Oct. 1, with a lengthy list of proposed service and program reductions. He also gave council members the option to spare the fire department the proposed de-authorization of payroll overtime that has allowed the city to staff each fire truck with four fire fighters, even during periods of manpower shortages.

Because voters in August approved a sales tax that the city said would be dedicated to fire department operations, council members said they could not slash fire department operations now.

"We would be breaking a trust with residents," said Councilman Mike J. Conley.

"Why would we go down that road?" asked Councilwoman Rosalie M. Hendon.

But Zimmerman and Robinson said that they preferred to make cuts in each city department, including fire.

"I don't think the citizens were promised they would have four men on a truck," Robinson said.

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ANNUAL EVENT HELD TO HONOR MEMORY OF MAPLEWOOD FIREFIGHTER


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

August 29, 2014 - KTVI

MAPLEWOOD - Ryan Hummert Night at Rockwood Summit High School was held Friday night.

This is an annual event to honor the memory of Hummert who graduated from the school.

Jackie and Andy Hummert said that enough time has passed where they feel comfortable reminiscing about their son and telling this community thank you for all their support.

The whole Fenton community was rocked when Ryan Hummert was shot to death getting off a Maplewood fire truck on July 21st 2008. He was a standout football player on and off the field at Rockwood Summit. Since his death, the school raises scholarship money to give to a football player.

His parents say they can't thank the community enough for all their support. His mother even shares her proudest moment saying, it's the young kids who talk so highly about her son and his legacy and what it's done for this community.

Now the scholarship is not given out until May, but it's given to a football player who holds the same type of leadership standards like Ryan did on and off the field.

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MONARCH SELECTS BATTALION CHIEF

August 29, 2014 - Monarch Fire Protection District

CHESTERFIELD - Dave Schmitt was promoted to Battalion Chief at the open Board Meeting August 28, 2014. Dave has been with Monarch for just under 35 years. He was selected for the office through a rigorous selection process. Dave was sworn in by Board President Robin Harris.

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WHY EMS GOT BALLISTIC VESTS FOR FERGUSON RIOTS

August 29, 2014 - EMS1.com

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - During the Ferguson riots, EMS Chief Chris Cebollero discusses stress management for his crews, communication problems and issuing bullet proof vests.

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ST. LOUIS BATTALION CHIEF RETIRES

Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

August 28, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - Congratulations to Battalion Chief Douglas Cribbs! After more than 34 years of dedicated service to the City of St. Louis, Chief Cribbs is retiring! Thank you for your service, enjoy the next chapter.

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FIRE DISTRICT RECEIVED DELIVERY OF NEW PUMPER TRUCK

August 27, 2014 -

SPANISH LAKE - The Spanish Lake Fire Protection District recently received delivery of a new Rosenbauer RBM Commander Pumper. The pumper is powered by a 450 HP Cummins diesel engine, is equipped with a 1500 GPM rear mounted Hale pump, 60 gal. foam tank, and a 760 gallon water tank. The truck will also carry rescue equipment.

The truck was purchased from Sentinel Emergency Solutions, Arnold, MO.

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JENNINGS WILL JOIN THE RIVERVIEW FIRE DISTRICT NEXT WEEK

August 26, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

JENNINGS - Jennings will give up its city fire department after 67 years and join the Riverview Fire Protection District on Sept. 1, officials announced at the City Council session Monday night.

Voters approved the change by a 68 percent majority in the Aug. 5 election.

Jennings was no longer to afford its own fire service, the council concluded. The city will save more than $750,000 annually, even allowing for the removal of the quarter-cent fire sales tax, and the fee that neighboring Flordell Hills paid for protection.

Jennings' 11 firefighters will become employees of the district on Monday. Their pay rates will not be changing immediately, but that will be subject to negotiation beginning in 2015. District pay rates are higher than what the city had, although the gap between city and district departments is less than in other parts of St. Louis County.

Jennings property owners will begin paying the current $2.56 per $100 assessed valuation fire district property tax, on bills payable by Dec. 31. On average, tax bills will rise more than $200. The city will continue to collect at its own $1 rate.

Flordell Hills will begin using the district on a contract basis, as it did with Jennings. A vote for Flordell Hills residents to enter the district may be in the future, district chief Joe Bommarito said.

It was also announced that the long-awaited White Castle restaurant - Jennings' first - which was approved last October but has already been delayed because of road issues, now is delayed due to the civil unrest in neighboring Ferguson. The location is 5231 Jennings Road, just north of Interstate 70. The decision was made by the White Castle corporate office, city officials said.

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LOCAL FIREFIGHTER TO PRESENT KEYNOTE SESSION AT 2014 FIRE INSTRUCTORS CONFERENCE

August 25, 2014

FLORISSANT - Firefighter Frank Lipski will be delivering a Keynote session, Teaching with Technology in Today's Fire Service, at the 2014 International Society of Fire Service Instructors Fall Instructor Conference on November 15, 2014, at the Ohio Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

Firefighter Lipski is the Assistant Training Officer for the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District.

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ST. LOUIS FIREFIGHTER SUFFERS BURNS TO FACE AND NECK IN PROPANE BARBECUE GRILL FIRE

August 22, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - A St. Louis City firefighter suffered burns to the face and neck after responding to a propane barbecue grill fire Friday evening.

The incident happened at about 5:45 p.m. in the 2900 block of Missouri Avenue. According to Captain Gregg Favre, firefighters responded to a report of a fire at a house and when they arrived, they learned a man had been grilling on his porch and noticed the flames were too big on his grill. Before firefighters arrived, the man pulled the grill into his yard.

When the firefighter reached down below the grill near the propane tank, something malfunctioned in the connector hose and the tank began spitting fire. "Basically this blowtorch hit him in the face and chest," said Favre. "He was only in the fire for a matter of a second and a half, but he did have some pretty significant burns to the face and neck area."

The firefighter, a probationary firefighter in his first year of work with the department, was conscious and talking to firefighters as they treated him at the scene. He was taken to a local burn unit where he was being treated. The burns were considered non-life-threatening and Favre hoped the firefighter would be back to work soon.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire away to the house and let it burn until the tank ran out of fuel. There was no damage to the house, Favre said.

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HEAT BECOMES ISSUE FOR FIREFIGHTERS BATTLING 2-ALARM BLAZE IN NORTH CITY

August 22, 2014 - KMOV

ST. LOUIS - Firefighters are working to extinguish a 2-alarm fire at an abandoned north St. Louis concrete plant.

Firefighters say the fire broke out at Riverview Drive and Chain of Rocks Drive Friday morning.

Due to the dangerous heat, several additional fire crews were called to the scene, as well as a cooling bus. Officials said at least one firefighter became overheated, but he is expected to be fine.

One part of the structure reportedly collapsed. Tankers were called into help transport water closer to the scene of the fire.

The land was owned by the late owner of the City Museum, Bob Casilly, who died in 2011.

Officials said the fire is suspicious because there were no ongoing operations there.

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FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC PROMOTED TO CAPTAIN

August 20, 2014 - Metro West Fire Protection District

BALLWIN - Scott Hulsey was promoted to the position of Captain, Paramedic by Chief Loyal and the Board of Directors at the Tuesday night board meeting.

Captain Hulsey has over 17 years of experience with Metro West and 20+ years in the Fire Service. Scott is a member of Missouri Task Force 1, Urban Search and Rescue Strike Team 3, he is highly skilled in technical rescue, training, and fire suppression. He will begin his new assignment as the Captain in charge of Station 5 on C Shift.

Congratulations to Scott Hulsey.

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FIREFIGHTERS HOSE OFF THE AREA WHERE OFFICERS SHOT MAN WIELDING A KNIFE

August 19, 2014 - Getty Images

ST. LOUIS - Firefighters hose off the area where St. Louis police say officers shot and killed a 23-year-old man who was wielding a knife and refused to drop it on August 19, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Violent outbreaks have taken place in Ferguson since the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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FLAMES RIP THROUGH VACANT ST. LOUIS BUILDING IN WEST END NEIGHBORHOOD

August 13, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - A three-story, vacant building was engulfed in flames early Wednesday in the 5900 block of Bartmer Avenue, in the city's West End neighborhood.

Capt. Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department said no firefighters were hurt in the one-alarm fire, reported just before 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. The building partly collapsed, but firefighters fought the blaze from outside.

It took them about 45 minutes to bring the fire under control. They kept the fire from spreading to a home next door.

The building had been vacant awhile and had no utilities. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Mosby said a neighbor told him that an automobile was set on fire behind the residence a week or so ago.

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FIRE DISTRICT FINDS DELAY "WORRISOME" ON FIRE BREAK AT LANDFILL

August 9, 2014 - KMOX

ST. LOUIS - It was supposed to start this summer, but now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will be six months or more before it begins digging a firebreak trench to separate the burning Bridgeton landfill from nearby nuclear waste.

The EPA delay is worrisome to Matt LaVanchy, assistant fire chief of the Pattonville Fire Protection District, because he's not exactly sure where the fire ends and the radioactive material begins.

"Our big concern and our biggest fear is that it does go to the point where it's impacting and is coming in contact with the radiological material, and in that case, it's not going to be a good day in North St. Louis County," LaVanchy says.

The EPA has been collecting radioactive soil samples this summer to determine where to dig the firebreak trench.

LaVanchy says it appears they're having trouble finding a clean path.

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FIRE TRUCK STUCK AFTER PARTIAL STREET COLLAPSE IN ST. LOUIS

August 7, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - One end of a fire truck is stuck in pavement up to its axle this morning after a street partly collapsed in south St. Louis. It happened before 6 a.m. near 9th and Wyoming, south of the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

The pumper truck and a medic unit had been rushing to the 900 block of Withnell Avenue, for a report of a "person down." The pumper truck responds routinely with a medic truck on calls like that.

The pumper didn't make it to scene because it was stuck, but the medic unit got there in a hurry and the person was already dead, said Capt. Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department. Authorities say it appears the person died of natural causes, and homicide detectives have not been requested.

An inspector with the St. Louis streets department is examining the collapse and the pavement surrounding it to decide what the plan should be for getting the truck out. The obvious concern is that the sinkhole will get bigger as crews work to remove the truck.

"Sinkholes, they go small to big," Mosby said. "We basically have this truck sitting in a hole that's already started."

No one on the fire truck was injured in the incident. The front left tire is trapped in the sunken pavement. Police had no additional details on the person found dead on Withnell.

Most of the time it's a sewer that fails or a water main, and those utility companies will have to do the repairs. Normally a sewer collapse is the culprit when the hole is deep, said Todd Waelterman, the city's street director. The gas company will shut the gas off in case a gas line has broken, then the truck will be removed. Some time these holes take two or three weeks to repair.

Since only the truck's front tire is stuck, that is the sign of a small hole. Last September, about the same time of morning, "we had a whole trash truck fall in" when a sinkhole opened up in an alley, Waelterman said. "The guy went to go pick up a Dumpster up and the truck fell in six feet. All you could see was the driver's head."

The trash truck driver wasn't hurt. The city ended up excavating the alley and built a road, then drove the truck out of the hole that afternoon.

The trash truck was brand new, $230,000, and had only been on the road about a month or two. In that case, it was an entire sewer main that collapsed at about 6:45 a.m. Sept. 24, in an alley near Blair and Newhouse avenues.

"The hole was as big as your kitchen," he said. "This hole (on 9th & Wyoming) here is probably the size of a bathroom."

Waelterman said these things happen in a city with aging infrastructure.

"It's a failing infrastructure," Waelterman explained. "We have sewers that are over 100 years old and there are no resources out there to replace them. And the water pipes are just as old. Those two things are reaching the end of their life in many areas."

With only the front tire (of the fire truck in a hole), it could be just a six-inch pipe known as a sewer lateral, which connects to a sewer main.

The streets department gets "a couple thousand calls a year" in which somebody spots the ground sinking a little bit and suspects a sewer lateral has gone bad

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REPORT: ST. LOUIS MOST FIRE SAFE CITY IN MIDWEST

August 6, 2014 - KMOX

ST. LOUIS - In a recent report, St. Louis was named the most fire safe city in the Midwest.

The report from HomeInsurance.com ranks the 10 largest Midwest metros, outlining the area's residential fire risk, preparedness and response time to fires.

"No city is fire proof, but St. Louis comes pretty close," the report says. "This Midwest metro got high marks for having a high percentage of homes that have updated electrical and HVAC. Older HVAC units and electrical wiring often pose more of a fire risk than newer units, which is one reason why home insurance providers consider updated units to be safer."

The rest of the report can be found here.

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LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS PARTICIPATED IN BOAT TRAINING ON MISSOURI RIVER

August 4, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department Community Outreach

Over the last 2 weeks Firefighters from the St. Louis Fire Department and West County, Monarch, Pattonville, St. Charles, St. Clair, Saline Valley & MetroWest Fire Protection Districts participated in Boat Operations training on the Missouri River.

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FIREFIGHTER INJURED DURING HOUSE FIRE IN ST. LOUIS

August 1, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - A firefighter was injured Friday afternoon while battling a house fire in St. Louis.

The firefighter fell part of the way through a floor while inside a burning brick home in the 4200 block of Evans Avenue, said St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby.

The fire was reported about 2 p.m.

A family escaped the burning home safely, Mosby said. Neighbors told firefighters the family of about 10 people had been evicted earlier this week but appeared to have been squatting in the home. Mosby said utilities to the home had been shut off.

Mosby said the fire started on the first floor and caused extensive damage. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.

The firefighter was hurt when he fell part of the way through a floor, Mosby said. Fellow firefighters caught him and prevented him from falling to the basement. The injured firefighter was hospitalized for treatment and is expected to be OK.

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