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FIRE BOARD CANDIDATES FOR APRIL 7th ELECTION (story below)

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WEST COUNTY FPD, CARDINAL GLENNON ANNOUNCE JOINT EFFORT

March 24, 2015 - West Newsmagazine

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center and the West County EMS and Fire Protection District's Safety House and Safety House Foundation have announced they will work together to provide classroom and hands-on education for children and their parents.

Expansion of Safety House's current focus on injury prevention and protecting families in residential fires will include car seat safety, poison control and pediatric first aid. Pedestrian safety, bike safety, seasonal injury education and home and environmental safety tips also will be emphasized.

"We want to make safety and injury prevention education fun," said Paula Szwargulski, director of emergency and trauma services at Cardinal Glennon. "Safety House is the perfect venue for that."

Located behind West County's Station 2 at 13790 Manchester Road, Safety House is part of the Safety House Foundation, LLC, a non-profit Missouri corporation formed after the facility was built in 2008.

"Our programming and facilities are what the residents of our district and people throughout the St. Louis area have said they need and value most," said Harry Hamm, West County's development specialist. "With the presence of SSM Cardinal Glennon on our physical site, we will have such a greater impact on benefiting our residents."

Cardinal Glennon and Safety House will celebrate their collaboration at a yet-to-be-scheduled grand reopening this spring.v Under terms of the three-year agreement, Safety House Foundation will receive $30,000 yearly from Cardinal Glennon for use of the facilities, office space and utilities at Station 2.

More on West Newsmagazine story

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EXPLORER POST MEMBERS COMPLETE FIREFIGHTER PROGRAM


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

March 24, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - Last night, members of the St. Louis Fire Department's Explorer Post completed Missouri's "Basic" Firefighter program and were awarded their Explorer's badge.

Please join us in congratulating these young men and women on their hard work and commitment to public service. Justifiably Proud!

More Headlines for St. Louis Fire




FIREFIGHTERS MADE 10 YEAR OLD "FIREFIGHTER FOR A DAY"


Brendan Myers "Firefighter for a day" - Photo by Cottleville Fire Protection District

March 23, 2015 - Cottleville Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS - On Sunday, March 22nd, firefighters from Cottleville and O'Fallon Fire Districts teamed up to give a very special birthday to a well deserving young man. Brendan Myers, of O'Fallon, was surprised on his 10th birthday when an O'fallon Fire truck showed up in front of his house. He was even more surprised to learn that he was taking a ride on the truck with the firefighters.

Brendan was a victim of shaken baby syndrome eight years ago and, as a result, he faces difficult challenges that most kids do not. Therefore, Brendan was selected as an honorary "Firefighter for a Day". The two fire districts collaborated in setting up events at both O'Fallon and Cottleville fire stations for Brendan's birthday.

First, Brendan arrived at Cottleville Fire Station 1 and was greeted by firefighters, district board members, and Nealy Nicolay, Cottleville's first "Firefighter for a Day". Brendan was presented with an authentic fire helmet with his name on the shield and a gift card to Toys-R-Us. Brendan found great pleasure in activating the sirens on Pumper 8744 and was exhilarated by being raised up 100' in the bucket of Ladder Truck 8712.

Next, Brendan left Cottleville and travelled in the fire truck to O'Fallon Fire Station 3. There he was able to operate a hose line and enjoyed spraying the firefighters and getting them wet. At the end of the day Brendan was tired, but all smiles.

Brendan's parents, Will and Patty Meyers, would like to bring awareness to Shaken Baby Syndrome. About 1300 children per year in the US suffer from severe for fatal head trauma from child abuse.

For more information, please visit www.dontshake.org.

"Firefighter for a Day" is an on-going CFO program. For more information and/or an application, please call Dan Faulkner at 636-447-6655 ext. 8727.

More Headlines for Cottleville Fire




FIREFIGHTER HURT AS BLAZE GUTS ST. LOUIS HOUSE


Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

March 23, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis firefighter Sidney Jordan (left) is helped from a fire scene by Capt. Russ Brauer of Rescue Squad 2 on Sunday, March 22, 2015, on Aldine Avenue in St. Louis. Jordan was slightly injured when the floor collapsed inside the burned house and he fell into the basement. Jordan was checked out by paramedics. The one-alarm fire was in a vacant house, but neighbors said a man had been living there. No one else was injured.

More on St. Louis Post Dispatch story and more photos

More Headlines for St. Louis Fire




FIREFIGHTER RETIRES AFTER 35 YEARS OF SERVICE


Firefighter Tom Mindak (right) with Fire Chief Dennis M. Jenkerson - Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

March 20, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - Congratulations to Firefighter Tom Mindak, formerly of Rescue Squad-1C.

After 35 years of service, Firefighter Mindak enjoyed his final roll call this morning with family and friends.

Enjoy retirement!

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ST. LOUIS FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE A BLAZE AT WOODWORKING STUDIO


Firefighters such as Aaron Buchanan, in the white shirt, are never really off duty.
Photos by Danny Wicentowski

March 20, 2015 - Daily RFT By Danny Wicentowski Fri., Mar. 20 2015 at 9:15 AM

ST. LOUIS - Gray smoke filled the sky above a St. Louis woodworking shop yesterday as flames spread through a lacquering shed holding antique furniture, church furnishings and commissioned pieces awaiting a craftsman's finishing touch.

The blaze started around 11:45 a.m. Thursday when workers preparing to pave the store's parking lot noticed flames and smoke billowing from front of the structure. Daily RFT happened to be at the scene before the firefighters arrived and captured this photo diary of the department at work -- including the removal of many beautiful, but ruined, pieces of antique furniture from the building.

As firefighters raced toward Round Oak Woodworking in Cheltenham, there was one man who stood out from his suited-up comrades. Aaron Buchanan, who was off duty at the time and happened to be in the area, met the firetruck just as it arrived and ran toward the burning structure dressed in a spiffy white shirt and tie.

After making sure his fellow firefighters had the situation under control, Buchanan walked away.

According to St. Louis Fire Department spokesman Garon Mosby, a worker inside the shed had been grinding the bolts off an exhaust hood when one of the bolts, which had become super-heated from the grinding, fell into some kind of flammable liquid. No one was injured by the fire.

Daily RFT was on the scene as some of St. Louis' bravest extinguished the one-alarm fire. Though they saved the structure, virtually all the work inside appeared to be destroyed.

Mosby explained the firefighters wore masks as a precaution due to the possibility that toxic paint and lacquer were giving off fumes.

After the fire was put out, firefighters assisted the store's owners with carrying out damaged antiques and soot-stained pieces of furniture.

More on Daily RFT story and more photos

More Headlines for Saint Louis Fire




CAPTAIN PROMOTION


Matthew Hogan (left) with Chief Rhodes. Photo by West County EMS & Fire Protection District

March 16, 2015 - West County EMS & Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - Congratulations to Matthew M. Hogan, West County's newest Captain. Matt was officially promoted at today's regularly scheduled District Board meeting by Chief Ernie Rhodes.

More Headlines for West County Fire




MAN WHO SET FIRE IN SHREWSBURY PARK WAS SEMINARY STUDENT


Playground equipment after a fire inside Brinkop Park in Shrewsbury. (Courtesy of KMOV)

March 16, 2015 - KMOX By Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)


William C. Holmes, Cardinal Glennon senior accused of setting fire to playground equipment (Courtesy of the Shrewsbury Police Department)

ST. LOUIS -The man charged with setting fire to playground equipment in Shrewsbury was preparing to become a Catholic priest in the undergraduate program at Kenrick Seminary in Shrewsbury.

William C. Holmes, 23, of the 300 block of Hoener Street in Waterloo, is accused of setting fires that ruined playground equipment and a picnic table at Brinkop Park in Shrewsbury on March 8. He is charged with two counts of knowingly burning, a Class-D felony, and was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

Shrewsbury police say Holmes had been drinking beer at the park and reading a book on philosophy at the time of the fire.

"There was some alcohol and some boredom involved," says Shrewsbury Police Spokesman Lt. Brian Catlett. "He was going through a rough stretch and trying to figure out his future." The Archdiocese released a statement saying Holmes was a senior at Cardinal Glennon College, the undergraduate school of Kenrick Seminary.

"Recently, both his home diocese of Belleville and the administration of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary had determined that he was not going to be advanced next fall to the graduate school of Theology where men are prepared for the priesthood," the statement says.

Fr. John Horn, President-Rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, states, "The charges against William, if true, would of course violate the code of conduct required of all students at Kenrick-Glennon. We have reached out to Shrewsbury officials to assure our assistance in restoring the playground. We will keep all those involved in our prayers."

Shrewsbury police say at the time of his arrest Holmes was "remorseful and upset about the situation."

Police could not recall what book on philosophy Holmes was reading at the time of the fires.

More on KMOX story




CAPTAIN PROMOTED TO BATTALION CHIEF


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

March 16, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - Fire Chief Dennis M. Jenkerson has promoted Michael Fitzgerald from the rank of Fire Captain to Battalion Chief. Chief Fitzgerald is assigned to Battalion #2-B.

Congratulations!

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NEIGHBORS RUN FROM BURNING WELLSTON HOME - FIREFIGHTERS STRUCK BY ARIAL STREAM

March 16, 2015 - KTVI BY JOE MILLITZER

WELLSTON, MO. - A two story home caught on fire Monday morning near the intersection of Plymouth and Stephen Jones in Wellston. The home is vacant. Children could be seen running from occupied neighboring homes.

Firefighters were able to take control of the situation. The fire appears to be out. But, it looks like the home may be a total loss. Surrounding homes have been spared through the firefighter's efforts.

A firefighter was hit by an aerial spray while working on the fire. The pressure from the spray was enough to knock him down. He appears to be in good condition.

More on KTVI story

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FIREFIGHTER PROMOTED TO CAPTAIN


Photo by Monarch Fire Protection District

March 13, 2015 - Monarch Fire Protection District

CHESTERFIELD - The Monarch Fire Protection District is proud to announce the promotion of Craig Sullivan to the rank of Captain! Captain Sullivan's promotion was made official at the Board meeting on March 12, 2015.

Captain Sullivan was hired by then Chesterfield Fire Protection District on June 1, 1989 as a maintenance worker. Through his dedication and hard work he moved up to Firefighter/Paramedic, and now Captain.

Congratulations Captain Sullivan!

More Headlines for Monarch Fire




FIRE DISTRICT PROMOTES 4 AND HIRES 3 NEW FIREFIGHTERS


Photo by Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

March 13, 2015 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

FLORISSANT, MO. - On Wednesday, February 25th, the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District held a swearing in Ceremony. Jason Hoevelmann was sworn in as a Battalion Chief. Steve Votaw, Frank Lipski and Jason Dauster were sworn in as Captains, and Ben McMahon, Felipi Rivera and Blake Chambers as new Firefighter/Medics.

Deputy Chief Rick Ruhmann was also honored for his 37 years of service and presented with a retirement axe.

Welcome to our newest firefighters and congratulations to those promoted and to Deputy Chief Ruhmann on his retirement - thanks for your service. It was a great night!

More Headlines for Florissant Valley Fire




FIREFIGHTERS WITH A COMBINED 140 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE HONORED AT RETIREMENT CEREMONY


Photo by Central County Fire Protection District

March 13, 2015 - Central County Fire Protection District

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - On Saturday, March 7 more than 100 firefighters, family and community members gathered together to honor five dedicated Central County Fire & Rescue firefighters as they celebrated their retirement.

The retirees were:

- Captain Bob Black, 35-years of service
- Engineer Terry Black, 33-years of service
- Engineer Ron Meier, 23-years of service
- Assistant Chief Dan Rigdon, 19-years of service
- Battalion Chief Mark Runge, 30-years of service

During their service, this group of dedicated fire service professionals witnessed countless changes in the fire service and helped to guide the District as it grew to serve more than 90,000 residents.

"When they started, emergency response looked very different with several of them beginning their careers as volunteers. Through the years their role grew to full-time emergency response leaders, who were ready to handle the demands of an expanding urban environment," explains CCFR Chief Russ Mason.

"They are also responsible for helping grow CCFR into a leading fire district by developing innovative training opportunities, creating community involvement programs like the Citizen Fire Academy and building Central County's Community Outreach program. They will be greatly missed" says Mason.

The District is currently working to fill the positions left open by these retirements.

More Headlines for Central County Fire




SALES TAX WOULD MAKE MORE STAFF POSSIBLE

March 13, 2015 - Webster-Kirkwood Times By Dennis Hannon

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Fire Chief Openlander wants to hire 7 firefighter/paramedics for ambulance with quarter-cent tax for fire/ambulance.

The Kirkwood City Council seems to have settled on how funds will be used from the quarter-cent sales tax for fire and ambulance services which will be on the April 7 ballot: A full-time staff for what is now an un-manned ambulance.

Kirkwood keeps two fully staffed EMS vehicles at two fire houses. A third "certainly would make the city whole in terms of having staffed fire houses and the ability to answer any kind of call," said Mayor Art McDonnell after the council's March 5 meeting.

"So many more of the runs the fire department makes these days are EMS calls," McDonnell said. "I think it would be a wise expenditure of funds. It would make me feel a little more comfortable about the community and its (public safety) coverage."

The city has a third EMS vehicle, which it keeps at Fire House No. 3. However, there is no full-time staff to keep it in continuous service.

When firefighters must leave their engine to serve as paramedics, fire protection is compromised, especially in the area of Fire House No. 3, Openlander said. This has happened up to 100 times a year, Openlander said in a letter to Chief Administrative Officer Russell Hawes.

The seven new firefighter/paramedics would cost about $525,000 a year, Openlander said. The new quarter-cent sales tax would provide about $1.1 million, according to the estimates used by the city.

Hawes has said that the balance of the proceeds from the new tax would be available for use in the general fund. State law does not require that the sales tax be specially earmarked, but it does mandate proceeds be used for fire and ambulance services. Kirkwood would meet that requirement because its general fund budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year allots more than $5.2 million to the fire department - far exceeding the proceeds of the new sales tax.

State statute authorizes the special tax to be levied in fire districts and municipalities with fire departments. Of the 17 St. Louis County municipalities eligible to collect the tax, only Kirkwood and Glendale do not.

McDonnell, along with former mayor Herb Jones and former council member Barb Byerly, signed a letter promising that "passage of this measure ensures continued first-class service in Kirkwood."

More on Webster-Kirkwood Times story

More Headlines for Kirkwood Fire




FIRST RESPONDERS TO CLIMB TALLEST BUILDING FOR LUNG ASSOCIATION

March 11, 2015 - Emissourian.com

ST. LOUIS - Dozens of St. Louis area firefighters and law enforcement officers will climb the tallest building in the city in 70 pounds of full fire turnout gear Saturday morning, March 28, as part of the American Lung Association in Missouri's 2015 Fight for Air Climb at Metropolitan Square (211 North Broadway, St. Louis).

Firehouses will tackle the stairs as teams to compete for bragging rights in the First Responders Challenge. Almost a dozen firehouses are expected to participate. Those currently registered include:

Collinsville Fire Department; Cottleville Fire Department; Ferguson Fire Department; First Responders of St. Charles County; Frontenac Firefighters;

Metro West Firefighters; Richmond Heights Fire Department; Scott AFB Fire Department; and The Twenty-Eights.

In addition, law enforcement officers from three departments joined forces to climb as Team Foot Pursuit. They will climb in their full uniforms. Departments include:

Perryville Police Department; Overland Police Department; and Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff's Office.

They will join more than 1,000 St. Louisans, others from across the Midwest and around the world who will take on the city's biggest stair climb.

The Fight for Air Climb is a unique fundraising event for the American Lung Association in Missouri. Climbers help improve the lives of patients across the country and locally in Missouri. Almost 90 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to education, research and advocacy.

Registration is open online at FightForAirClimb.org or by calling 314-645-5505.

More on Emissourian story

Comments on this article




FIRE CHIEF ISSUES PRESS RELEASE REGARDING ACCUSATIONS ABOUT BOY SCOUT EXPLORER PROGRAM

March 11, 2015 - PRESS RELEASE
By Fire Chief Chuck Marsonette - Monarch Fire Protection District

CHESTERFIELD - Chief Marsonette has issued the following press release concerning accusations by the employee union that the Fire District's Boy Scouts of America Explorer Program had been discontinued on January 1, 2015:



Dear Taxpayers and Visitors, March 11, 2015

As a past Explorer Post President, and Vice President of the Explorer Presidents association of Missouri in my teens; I can assure you that Post 2202 of the Monarch Fire Protection District, will be maintained and re-invigorated under the current Command Staff as career education for young women and men. The Board of Directors supports my staff and I, in continuing the Explorer program as we have been doing. In fact, Assistant Chief Spiegel has contacted the Boy Scouts of America in recent months, requested; and was granted a variance to continue post operations to reverse lackluster membership under the previous Assistant Chief - John Borgmann.

I have begun an investigation of the recent false press release by the public employee union and here are some of my findings: The Boy Scouts of America have been paid by check number 1107 in the amount of $256.00, for the annual renewal of our Explorer post charter from an invoice received from the Boy Scouts. The check was issued on 3-2-2015. Assistant Chief Spiegel forwarded this information for payment during his effort to revitalize the program. Previous to this, Monarch Fire Assistant Chief Borgmann did not pay the 2014 invoice for the same, nor did he direct that action be taken to address it. My investigation is continuing.

Unfortunately, the Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T) program has also been left unattended while former Chief Vineyard and, now retired, Assistant Chief Borgmann were in charge. Assistant Chief Spiegel is re-initiating the Fire District's involvement in that program as well.

Community service is second only to emergency service delivery for our residents, businesses and visitors. We are rapidly restoring the programs the previous staff left in such a dilapidated state. Fortunately, we have strong support from our Board of Directors and many excellent employees at the Monarch Fire District, and assure you we are extremely well equipped to provide these services.

The many recent inaccurate press releases and social media posts from the public employee union are very unfortunate. The Board of Directors, Administrative Staff, and Employees are poised to serve you in an exemplary fashion for many years to come.

Sincerely,
Chuck Marsonette, Fire Chief
Monarch Fire Protection District

More Headlines for Monarch Fire




COUNCIL APPROVES RYAN HUMMERT MEMORIAL COST


Ryan Hummert Memorial, in Ryan Hummert Memorial Park, via DeLong Landscape Architecture

March 11, 2015 - 40 South News By: DOUG MINER

MAPLEWOOD, MO. - Maplewood City Council Tuesday approved a resolution to accept a bid for construction of the Ryan Hummert Memorial in Ryan Hummert Memorial Park. The memorial will be situated near the picnic shelter, above the softball field.

Delong Landscape Architecture did the design work; Brookside Contracting will build the memorial. The cost is not to exceed $334,471. All of the money raised to date and in the future for the Ryan Hummert Memorial are going to pay for the memorial. City funds are also being used, according to City Manager Marty Corcoran.

The council also had the first and second readings for a beer and wine liquor license and a Sunday beer and wine liquor license for Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken, at 7434 Manchester Road. They also had the first and second readings for a conditional use permit for the restaurant. The final reading for both should take place at the March 24 council meeting.

More on 40 South News story




MIXED MESSAGES IN MONARCH FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

March 10, 2015 - KMOX By Maria Keena (@kmoxmaria)

- More controversy in the Monarch Fire Protection District, this time involving the Explorer Program that has been in existence for 20 years.

According to union representatives, the program ended effective Jan. 1.

But Monarch Fire Chief Chuck Morsonette tells KMOX News, that is not true.

He says Asst. Fire Chief Cary Spiegel contacted Boy Scouts of America and was informed the Explorer Program had become lackluster and didn't have enough membership under the previous administration.

KMOX contacted Explorer Post 2202's Mary April, and she says that statement is not accurate.

April says the post "wouldn't be able to continue the program with that particular posts if there wasn't enough kids and if there wasn't enough leaders."

Morsonette says his administration is moving forward to reinvigorate the Explorer Program.

More on KMOX story

More Headlines for Monarch Fire




MARYLAND HEIGHTS FIREFIGHTERS EARN FAVORABLE MEC JUDGEMENT

March 10, 2015 - The Missouri Times

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. - The Missouri Ethics Commission ruled that a mailer distributed just ahead of a vote on a $19 million bond for Maryland Heights Fire Protection District violated Missouri election laws.

Last August, Maryland Heights voters were asked to consider a $19 million bond issue for their fire protection district. The money was set to fund new equipment like air tanks, fire trucks, ambulances and, most predominantly, a new engine house on Dorsett Ave.

Just ahead of the election, a mailer was circulated claiming the measure would cost taxpayers "hundreds" over the next five years, and the mailer suggested that many of the proposed improvements were unnecessary. When the measure narrowly lost on the primary ballot, the board of the Maryland Heights Fire Protection District filed a complaint with the MEC, because the mailer had no "paid for by" disclosure, which Missouri law requires.

"House 2 was built in the early 1970's, newer than most of the houses in Maryland Heights," the flyer said on the issue of a new engine house. "Would you have a new house if someone else paid for it?"

Local firefighters believe that the malicious mailer swayed the close election and caused voters to question the necessity of the bond. There is also speculation that the mailer, which was printed by Printing Center LLC on behalf of Ronda Weiss, was designed as revenge aimed at the fire district and the local fire fighters for not supporting Weiss' husband in his recently failed campaign for a seat on the Fire District's Board of Directors.

The Maryland Heights Fire District was confident that they could show voters that the bond issue was necessary and appropriate after moving against Weiss' mailer, and moved to once again place it on the ballot.

In November, Prop B passed, and the fire district got their bond. The MEC did not level any fines or penalties against either party, but sent an official letter to Printing Center and cataloged the violation for the public record.

More on The Missouri Times story

More Headlines for Maryland Heights Fire

MEC RULING




TODAY WE HONOR AND REMEMBER
FIRE CHIEF JERRY BUEHNE

Gerald 'Jerry' J. Buehne, Fire Chief, Affton Fire Protection District, died March 10, 2005, while en route to a Chief's meeting when his staff vehicle was struck head on by a fleeing robbery suspect. Jerry was with the Affton Fire District for 43 years. He was the Fire Chief for 5 years.

More Headlines for Affton Fire




FIREFIGHTER PROMOTION TO CAPTAIN


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

March 9, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - Today, March 9th 2015, Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson promoted Firefighter Paul Birchfield to the rank of Captain.

Congratulations to you and your family Captain Birchfield! #JustifiablyProud

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BATTALION CHIEF PROMOTION

March 9, 2015 - Monarch Fire Protection District

CHESTERFIELD, MO. - The Board of Directors of the Monarch Fire Protection District have promoted Jim Wilcox to the rank of Battalion Chief on "A" Shift.

Battalion Chief Wilcox was sworn in by Board Chairman Robin Harris at a recent meeting of the Board of Directors.

More Headlines for Monarch Fire




TEEN THAT FELL THROUGH ICE THANKS FIRST RESPONDERS FOR SAVING HIS LIFE

March 8, 2015 - KTVI BY WADE SMITH

ST. PETERS, MO. - 14-year-old John Smith and his family Sunday thanked over 100 first responders for saving his life after falling through the ice on Lake St. Louis January 4th. First responders from Lake St. Louis, St. Charles Ambulance District, Wentzville, Emergency Care Team at SSM St. Joseph Hospital West, and Intensive Care Team at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center attended the ceremony.

Smith credited the emergency workers for helping him walk out of the hospital alive on February 4th, after not breathing or having a heart beat for 43 minutes in January.

More on KTVI story




BALLOT BLUNDER LEADS TO DELAY OF FIRE DISTRICT ELECTION

March 6, 2015 - KTVI BY ELLIOTT DAVIS

MAPLEWOOD. MO. - A ballot blunder has the Riverview Fire Protection District planning to delay its election after some candidates for the district's board of directors were left off of ballots in Jennings.

The fire district discussed the mistake on Friday, at one point blaming someone inside the court clerk's office. However, the St. Louis County Elections Board is not seeing things the same way.

The board puts the blame squarely on the fire district's shoulders.

Eric Fey, director of the elections board, said the Riverview Fire Protection District did not make sure the appropriate paperwork outlining new boundaries, which included the newly annexed Jennings, made it from the courts to the elections board. Meaning Jennings voters would not be able to participate in the April primary election.

The elections board will hold a special election August 4. The fire district will have to foot the bill - up to $20,000.

The big winner in all this? The incumbent who was up for re-election. With the election extended, he's guaranteed of getting his $800 a month check for at least another four months.

More on KTVI story

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MEDICAL HELICOPTER PILOT KILLED IN CRASH NEAR SLU HOSPITAL

March 7, 2015 - KTVI BY GEORGE SELLS

ST. LOUIS - The pilot of a medical helicopter died late Friday in a crash near Saint Louis University Hospital. The St. Louis Fire Department reports that the pilot was the only person aboard.

The copter was heading from the ARCH Air Medical Services base along I-64 to the hospital to pick up a crew when it went down around 11:00pm near Spring Avenue and Rutger Street.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are on the scene Saturday morning. The cause of the crash had not been determined.

There are several road closures around the scene of the crash, but patients can get to the hospital by following posted detours.

More on KTVI story

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FIRE BOARD CANDIDATES FOR APRIL 7th ELECTION - ST. CHARLES COUNTY

ST. CHARLES COUNTY 04/07/2015 - GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION CANDIDATES AND ISSUES

DIRECTOR - COTTLEVILLE COMMUNITY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
SEAT 1 -
KEN BROOKS
CATHERINE DREHER


DIRECTOR - LAKE SAINT LOUIS FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
DANIEL F. RYAN
RICHARD E. THURWACHTER


DIRECTOR - O'FALLON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
MICHAEL (MIKE) BALLMANN
WILLIAM (BILL) LAUGHLIN
ARNIE AC DIENOFF Removed


DIRECTOR - CENTRAL COUNTY FIRE & RESCUE

Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
DAVID J. TILLEY (appointed)

PROPOSITION S - For the purpose of implementing the community created SAFE-T plan to acquire up-to-date firefighting and emergency vehicles, apparatus and auxiliary equipment, to acquire, construct, renovate, replace, improve, furnish and equip outdated fire stations and training facilities, including the purchase of land where necessary and to refinance prior obligations and agreements used to finance required improvements to facilities, shall the Central County Fire & Rescue, a Fire Protection District of St. Charles County, Missouri (CCFR), borrow money in the amount of Sixteen Million Dollars ($16,000,000.00), and issue general obligation bonds for the payment thereof?

The authorization of the general obligation bonds will authorize the levy and collection of an annual tax in addition to the other taxes provided for by law on all taxable tangible property in the District sufficient to pay the interest and principal of the Bonds as they fall due and to retire the same within twenty years from the date thereof, but the debt service levy of the District is expected to remain unchanged at the current levy of $0.0860 per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of real and personal property.




FIRE BOARD CANDIDATES FOR APRIL 7th ELECTION - ST. LOUIS COUNTY

ST. LOUIS COUNTY 04/07/2015 - GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION

DIRECTOR - MARYLAND HEIGHTS FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
DAVID R. PENNING


DIRECTOR - METRO WEST FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
MARK MACINSKI
STEPHEN H. WARD


DIRECTOR - MONARCH FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
ROBIN HARRIS
KELLEY MILLER


DIRECTOR - PACIFIC FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
EDWIN A. BRUNS (ED)
JOHN DAVIS


DIRECTOR - RIVERVIEW FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
PATRICK K. RUSSELL
THEO (TED) BROWN, SR.
DAVID SCHMERBER
MIRANDA AVANT-ELLIOTT


DIRECTOR - ROBERTSON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
JENNIFER PARKIN
MARK BRIGHT
DARRELL R. SMITH
LARRY TINKER


DIRECTOR - SPANISH LAKE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
JOHN E. (JACK) GREEN
KHALIL ABDULMUMIN (MUMIN)


WEST COUNTY EMS AND FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
SIMPLE MAJORITY REQUIRED
PROPOSITION F Shall the Board of Directors of the West County EMS and Fire Protection District be authorized to levy an additional tax of not more than thirty cents per one hundred dollars assessed valuation to support the general fund of the District?
YES NO


MERAMEC AMBULANCE DISTRICT
SIMPLE MAJORITY REQUIRED
PROPOSITION E
Meramec Ambulance District serves 244 square miles within Franklin, Jefferson and St. Louis counties by providing paramedic staffed ambulances that respond to the emergency medical needs of a growing and aging population. In order to prevent the possible closure of District ambulance stations, significant reduction in staff, a decrease in the number of available ambulances, and delays in response times to 911 calls, shall the Board of Directors of Meramec Ambulance District be authorized to levy an additional general tax, for the first time in 35 years, of not more than thirteen cents per one hundred dollars assessed valuation, the revenues from which will be deposited into the general fund?
YES NO




CANDIDATES' NAMES MISSING ON PRIMARY BALLOTS

March 5, 2015 - KTVI BY JEFF BERNTHAL

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Miranda Avant-Elliott is running for a position on the Riverview Fire Protection Board. The election is scheduled for April 7, but could be delayed because of a mistake.

The names of candidates running for the office have been left off the ballots of Jennings voters. Absentee voters noticed the problem.

"This is a big mistake," said Avant-Elliott.

The St. Louis County Board of Elections confirms the mistake. A spokesman said the board was never notified about a change to the Riverview Fire Protection District. The City of Jennings voted last year to contract services with Riverview. Without proper court notification, the candidates' names never made it on Jennings ballots.

Attorneys representing the City of Jennings, the Riverview Fire Protection District, and the elections board met Thursday to work on a solution. Details about the plan will be announced Friday during a news conference.

The attorney representing the Riverview Fire Protection District characterized the mistake as a, "paperwork glitch."

Part of the plan, pending court approval, is to start over. Absentee ballots already cast would be thrown out. A new election would take place in August.

Avant-Elliott is glad there's a plan to correct the mistake. She's in the process of trying to replace her campaign signs. They all say the election is April 7.

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY WOMAN MAKES GUILTY PLEA IN FATAL 2001 FIRE


Sandra Kemper, later known as Sandra Bryant, talks outside of her home in Florissant on Nov. 16, 2001. Her son, Zachariah Kemper, 15, died in the fire. Sandra and her husband, Steve Kemper, were not injured. Photo by Sam Leone of the Post-Dispatch

March 5, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Robert Patrick

ST. LOUIS - A woman from St. Louis County pleaded guilty to a federal charge on Thursday and admitted setting a fire in her home in 2001.

Sandra Kay Bryant, 59, admitted that financial difficulties drove her and her then-husband to plan the fire to reap the insurance proceeds. She and her husband, Steven Kemper, set the fire early on the morning of Nov. 16, 2001, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rea said in court.

There was no mention of it in her plea to a charge of aiding and abetting the use of fire to commit mail fraud, but the fire claimed the life of the couple's 15-year-old son, Zachariah Andrew Kemper, after he became trapped in the basement.

Bryant's lawyers declined to comment when asked why the detail was left out.

Also left out of Bryant's plea was any mention of two other fires.

As part of his plea to the same charge in 2013, Kemper, then 54, admitted setting a fire to his then-mother-in-law's house on Jan. 1, 1997. He was retaliating against Betty Bryant for ending her financial support and cutting the couple out of her will after she discovered that the couple had been defrauding her.

On July 20, 1999, Sandra Bryant set fire to her mother's new home in Alton when it failed to sell in a few months, Kemper's plea documents say. Betty Bryant was in a rehabilitation center at the time and had agreed to the sale.

Kemper's plea says that Sandra Bryant planned to set the 2001 fire in a trash can in a basement utility room. It was supposed to look like an accident triggered by careless smoking and cleaning habits.

Under Kemper's plea agreement, he faces 10 years to life in prison when sentenced. His sentencing has been delayed awaiting Bryant's trial.

Kemper pleaded guilty both out of fear that he was near death and out of a desire to get the "truth out," he told a judge at the time. He suffered a heart attack and stroke in 2008.

Both prosecutors and Bryant's lawyers will recommend a prison term of 46 months in prison at her sentencing hearing June 11, but U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig is not bound by that recommendation.

Bryant was scheduled to go to trial Monday on the charge, but she had just lost her bid to keep her confession out of the trial, as well as the results of a polygraph test that triggered it, U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said.

Callahan said that Bryant's lawyers wanted to argue that investigators lied and that Bryant didn't really fail the lie detector test. Prosecutors would have argued that she did fail the test, as she had been told.

Bryant originally faced murder and arson charges in St. Louis County Circuit Court, but her 2002 trial ended with a mistrial after St. Louis County Judge David Lee Vincent III allowed jurors to see a video showing Bryant's polygraph examination.

Although lie detector results aren't usually admitted at trial, Bryant's attorneys wanted jurors to see Bryant repeatedly deny any role in the fire.

But Vincent later changed his mind, triggering the mistrial. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that because Bryant's lawyer objected to the mistrial, Bryant could not be re-tried.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took up the case, and the couple was charged federally in 2011.

Asked about the delay, Callahan said that there was initially not enough evidence to support federal charges. Experienced prosecutors began working what was essentially a cold case, he said. A thick file became two six-foot-high stacks of paper, and both Bryant and Kemper ended up facing charges, he said.

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HIBERNIANS RECOGNIZES OUTSTANDING ST. LOUISIANS
Receiving special honors will be firefighters and law enforcement officers from St. Louis City and St. Louis County

February 15, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch
BY Ancient Order of Hibernians

ST. LOUIS - The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) will honor eight distinguished St. Louisians at a special reception and award ceremony Thursday, March 12 at 6:00 PM at Electricians' Hall 5850 Elizabeth in South St. Louis.

The Hibernian celebration is dedicated to firefighters, law enforcement officers, public safety personnel and union members killed in the line of duty since September 11, 2001. The benefit is being held in conjunction with his year's 2015 AOH Saint Patrick's Day Parade on March 17 in Dogtown (Baile Madra in Irish).

Among those honored will be co-Grand Marshals of the 32nd Ancient Order of Hibernians Saint Patrick's Day Parade, Jim and Susan Venincasa, owners of Seamus McDaniel's, a Dogtown landmark, located at the corner of Victoria and Tamm avenues. Hibernian officials selected the Venincasas for their many years of support to the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Dogtown neighborhood.

Receiving special honors will be firefighters and law enforcement officers from St. Louis City and St. Louis County. The honorees include St. Louis City Firefighter, Battalion Chief Ken Mitchell, St. Louis County Firefighter, Bob Burkes Jr. Florissant Fire Department, St. Louis City Police Officer Jason Flanery and Mike Toombs, Jefferson County Sheriff Office.

Mark J. Boyle (Gas Workers) was selected the AOH 2015Labor Leader and Eddie Neill, owner Dubliner restaurant was named the 2015 AOH Civic Leader.

The Irish Session Players and Mayer-Torno School of Irish Dance will perform.

The event is open to the public. The suggested donation is $15.00 per person. Funds raised help underwrite the AOH Parade and help support Irish charities.

"We are really gratified by all the support St. Louis community, especially our civic leaders and labor unions have given the Hibernians, especially Anheuser-Busch/InBev " said AOH spokesman Jim Wahl.

"The Hibernians also want to thank Local 73 of the St. Louis Fire Department, Local 2665 of the St. Louis County Fire Department, the Emerald Society of St. Louis and the IBEW Local 1 for all their support in helping us put on this event to honor these outstanding individuals.

"We would also like to acknowledge a number of local businesses that have assisted us in putting on this year's event including, The Dubliner, John D. McGurk's, Pat Connolly's Tavern, Bruno's American Grill, Maggie O'Brien's, Friendly's Sports Bar & Grill, and Keeton's Double Play.

"I also want to personally thank Pat Loughan, Pat Maloney, Jim Mohan, Tori Newman and Larry Magee, who help me put this event on every year."

For more information on the AOH Award Ceremony contact Jim Wahl at (314) 421-3100.

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TODAY WE HONOR AND REMEMBER CAPTAIN RAYMOND TROG

Captain Raymond Trog, Jr., of the Chesterfield Fire District, was killed on March 2, 1979 while battling a house fire.

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MONARCH FIREFIGHTERS SHAVING THEIR HEADS TO HELP KIDS WITH CANCER

March 3, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS, MO. - Need a haircut?

Join Monarch Firefighters and Paramedics on Saturday, March 7 who will shave their heads in exchange for donations to raise money to help cure childhood cancers as part of a program by the St. Baldrick's Foundation.

This public event will be at Helen Fitzgerald's Irish Grill and Pub, 3650 South Lindbergh Boulevard, St. Louis, 63139. Registration starts at 10:00 a.m. Shaving begins at 12:00 noon and continues until there are no more heads to shave.

Monarch Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Underwood said, "Our goal is to raise $6,000 to help kids fighting cancers." For information or to donate, see the website https://www.stbaldricks.org/teams/mypage/97967/2015.

The effort is part of the Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach, a charitable program created by firefighters and paramedics to help people while off duty. Its volunteer activities are inspired by a mission to help local residents and their families who have suffered injury, illness, or disability.

"The work we do off duty is motivated by our commitment to community service, volunteerism and charitable fund-raising," Underwood said.

For information about Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach or to make a charitable donation, contact the Monarch Firefighters & Paramedics at 636.397.1572.

See the website http://www.monarchfirefighters.org/community-outreach/our-mission.

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PROMOTION TO PARAMEDIC SUPERVISOR


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

March 3, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - Effective immediately, Fire Chief Dennis M. Jenkerson has promoted Colin Mccoy Jr. from the rank of Paramedic Crew Chief to Paramedic Supervisor.

Congratulations!!

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MONARCH FIRE DISTRICT EMPLOYEES REWARDED FOR REACHING SAFETY GOAL


Photo - Monarch Deputy Chief Nick Harper helped chef Todd Corum prepare and serve the meal.

March 2, 2015 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

ST. LOUIS - Many firehouses have earned reputations for dishing up good food for firefighters and paramedics, because usually there is someone on-duty who knows his or her way around a kitchen. But the dinner bill of fare served recently at the Monarch Fire Protection District's House 1 on Baxter Road near Clarkston set an especially high standard.

The occasion was the celebration of Monarch's Battalion A achieving the goal of 60 days without a lost-time accident - and, as promised, they were treated to a feast.

Preparing the sumptuous repast for the some three dozen Battalion A members was Todd Corum, executive chef at the St. Louis Zoo, who he oversees the planning and preparation of menu items for the approximately 700 special events held at the Zoo annually. Corum volunteered his expertise at no charge when he learned the Monarch command staff member was looking for someone to plan and prepare the reward meal. Monarch paid for the food.

Beginning about 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22, Battalion A firefighter-paramedics at all five Monarch firehouses ate in shifts so that personnel always were available to respond to any emergency medical and fire calls that sounded. In fact, two such calls - both medical - did come in which meant that for one ambulance crew the food had to be reheated. Given the tastiness of the menu offerings, no one complained.

Battalions B and C and the staff group that works a regular five-day week also have reached the loss-time accident target established last fall, which is part of a safety program aimed at reducing injuries and their accompanying workers' compensation claims and overtime costs.

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HOMELESS MAN DIES IN DOWNTOWN ST. LOUIS TENT FIRE


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

February 15, 2015 - KTVI BY JOE MILLITZER

ST. LOUIS - One person is dead after a tent caught on fire in downtown St. Louis.

The St. Louis Fire department says they responded to a fire at 10th and Cass. One of the tents in a homeless encampment started on fire. Emergency crews were able to put the flames out.

Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire

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BATTALION CHIEF RETIRES AFTER 39 YEARS OF SERVICE


Photo by Black Jack Fire Protection District

February 27, 2015 - Black Jack Fire Protection District

BLACK JACK - Black Jack Fire District thanks Battalion Chief Rob Wohldmann for 39 years of service to the community.

Rob was hired on November 3, 1976. He was promoted to Captain in 1993 and Battalion Chief in 1999. He was also the recipient of a Unit Citation by the St. Louis Area Fire Chief's Association for the rescue of a trapped occupant in a house fire in 2012.

We wish Battalion Chief Wohldmann a happy retirement!

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FIRE CHIEF WANTS TO HIRE FIREFIGHTERS WITH SALES TAX

February 27, 2015 - Webster Kirkwood Times by Dennis Hannon

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Kirkwood Fire Chief Tom Openlander (photo) has asked the Kirkwood City Council to commit to using about half of the expected proceeds of the proposed fire and ambulance sales tax, which will appear on the April 7 ballot, to hire seven new firefighter/paramedics.

The new personnel would staff an ambulance the fire department keeps at the city's Fire House #3, Openlander said. That station, unique among Kirkwood's three fire houses, has no permanent paramedic staff, though an ambulance is kept on the premises. When a medical emergency arises in the vicinity of Fire House #3, an ambulance is dispatched from one of the city's other two stations. When more than two ambulances are needed, things often can get muddled, Openlander said.

"The fire department is forced to take the crew off the fire truck at Fire House #3 and put them on the ambulance that sits unstaffed at the station," he said in a letter to Chief Administrative Officer Russell Hawes. "This leaves the fire truck at Fire House #3 without a crew.... to respond in the event of a fire or other emergency."

This "creates regular confusion for the crews in the station and also for the dispatchers," Openlander said. "We must constantly change on the fly depending on the changing conditions we are presented with."

Such situations arise up to 100 times a year, he said.

Openlander said he had never presented the situation to the council because he knew there was no money to fix it. Now, with the possibility of a quarter-cent sales tax for fire and ambulance services, that has changed, he said when addressing the council at its Feb. 19 meeting.

If approved by voters, the new sales tax is expected to produce $1.1 million its first year, and more thereafter.

Openlander said the seven new fire department personnel would cost about $525,000 a year.

State law permits municipalities that provide fire and ambulance services to levy a special quarter-cent sales tax. The understanding is that the money will be used for that purpose, though there is no legal restriction on how it is spent. Fifteen other St. Louis County municipalities - out of 17 that are qualified - levy the tax.

An accident of timing requires the city to approve its next budget before it knows the result of the tax election. The city charter requires that a budget ordinance be enacted prior to the beginning of the 2015-16 fiscal year, April 1. The election is April 7.

Hawes said he would support an allocation for the new fire department staff immediately upon passage of the quarter-cent sales tax. Further, he said the council should vote to issue a public statement to that effect. No vote was taken, however.

Several council members have remarked that the city should make some statement to voters on how the sales tax proceeds would be used.

Council Member Gerry Biedenstein has advocated that a fixed portion of the funds be used for street repairs.

The council held its annual public hearing on the budget Feb. 19, but postponed discussion until its meeting March 5.

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LANDFILL NEIGHBORS URGED TO BUILD 'SHELTER IN PLACE' KITS

February 25, 2015 - KMOX By Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

BRIDGETON, MO. - "We have the potential for a very, very dangerous situation in our community."

So said Dawn Chapman, who made sure not to waste her opportunity to speak for the first time before the St. Louis County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) on Tuesday.

Chapman is a self-described "concerned Mom" and resident of the area near the burning West Lake landfill in Bridgeton. She has long been sounding the alarm over the potential health dangers to those who live near the site.

"The communication between the LEPC and the state emergency response isn't there," Chapman told KMOX News after the session. "It's a broken channel."

Much of the focus of Tuesday's meeting was on further making those who live, work and go to school in the danger zone aware of how they can best protect themselves, especially in the event of an emergency.

LEPC signed off on a plan to disperse two sets of pamphlets - one for adults and one for schoolchildren - on the same topic - a technique called "Shelter In Place: Keeping Safe During a Hazardous Chemical Emergency."

It urges landfill-area residents to purchase a large plastic tub and fill it with the following items:

- Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- Weather radio
- Plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
- Scissors
- Water (1 gallon/person/day)
- Ready-to-eat food and utensils
- First aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Towels and blankets
- Hygiene items
- Medications
- Cell phone charger

In the event of an "accidental hazardous chemical release" or other toxic emergency, residents are also reminded to turn off fans and HVAC systems, close doors windows and vents, and seal off a designated "Shelter in Place" room with plastic and towels, having already closed off windows with plastic sheeting and duct tape.

What is Chapman's concern if such an emergency would occur before everyone in the danger zone was prepared?

"Nobody would know what to do," she said. "It would be like it was when there was a fire on the surface of the landfill (in March '14) and nobody knew what to do and nobody had even called 911 yet. It would be mass panic and I think people would get hurt."

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MONARCH INCREASES USE OF LEASES FOR ACQUIRING EMERGENCY VEHICLES


Photo by Monarch Fire Protection District

February 23, 2015 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

CHESTERFIELD - The Monarch Fire Protection District will use a lease-purchase arrangement to replace one of its aging vehicles - a financial strategy the district recently employed to secure two new fire trucks.

At its Feb. 17 meeting, the district's Board of Directors reviewed proposals from two companies to provide financing for a new ambulance costing $261,144. Under the lease-purchase plans submitted by Republic First National of Rochester, Indiana, and Leasing 2 of Tampa, Florida, Monarch will own the vehicle after making lease payments for five years.

Republic's bid called for a 2.99-percent interest rate on the lease while Leasing 2's charge would be 2.85 percent. The board took no action pending further negotiations on interest rates but should finalize the transaction soon, although the delivery of the new ambulance is still months away.

The lease-purchase ambulance acquisition will be the second such transaction in recent months. The board earlier approved a similar arrangement for obtaining two fire trucks costing some $1.3 million. Monarch will own the vehicles after 15 years of lease payments with a 3.65-percent interest rate.

Lease-purchase plans enable Monarch to pay for equipment with operating funds instead of dipping into the district's reserve funds or issuing bonds that would require voter approval of a separate tax levy to retire them.

"We don't want to lease everything," noted Steve Swyers, a Monarch director and retired partner in a major St. Louis accounting firm. "But lease-purchase arrangements are a useful alternative to the outright purchase of all major capital items."

Determining whether to lease or purchase outright requires the district to develop a long-term capital plan, Swyers said.

As with vehicles purchased outright, the district is responsible for maintenance costs on leased equipment during the lease period. Similarly, when the lease is up and Monarch receives title, it has the option of keeping each vehicle or selling it to defray the costs of getting a replacement. When the new leased vehicles arrive and are put in service, the district plans to sell an ambulance and two pumper trucks now on reserve.

Chief Chuck Marsonette said, "All of that income from the sale of those two trucks and one ambulance will defray the cost of the lease."

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ROBERTSON FIRE DIRECTOR BEATS RESTRAINING ORDER BUT SAYS HE'S RESIGNING

February 24, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - A court order that blocked the president of the Robertson Fire Protection District from filling a seat on the board was overturned Tuesday, but the official now says he will resign within a week.

Mark Bright, who has served on the fire board for 14 years, said his job as a supervisor with the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is the reason he must quit his board post.

Under Missouri law, any person holding office or employment with the state or any political subdivision is barred from holding office in a fire protection district.

However, Bright said he got releases from several executive directors at MSD allowing him to serve. He refused to comment about why those waivers are now being questioned or who was raising the issue.

"I'd like to move on and not have this impact anything else going on in my life," he said. "I wish it could have worked out, but it didn't, and now it's time for me to go."

Bright's departure will leave the three-person board with just one director - Joan Noel. Board member Steve Neuner died in January. His post, which runs through 2017, remains open.

Fire district attorney Chuck Billings said the district will have to ask the circuit court to appoint a temporary director before the April 7 election. He said the district needs two board members to make decisions and sign checks.

The temporary restraining order was filed against Bright two weeks ago, after he and Noel appeared ready to fill Neuner's seat with Hazelwood Councilman Mike Conley.

Board candidate Larry Tinker filed the request for the order, which claimed that Conley's appointment could be financially detrimental to the district because Conley might be open to renegotiating a funding agreement with Hazelwood.

Hazelwood officials have been critical of an 18-year-old annexation agreement with the fire district that requires the city to pay the residents' portion of taxes to the fire districts. The city's annual fee to Robertson is about $3.5 million. City officials have said the firefighters union at the district prevented renegotiation efforts.

Jeff Proctor, business manager with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2665, said Tuesday that firefighters had nothing to do with the filing of the restraining order or Bright's departure.

Bright had been seeking re-election in April. The district's union firefighters are endorsing Jennifer Parkin, the wife of a retired firefighter who is disabled. Also running are Tinker and Darrell R. Smith.

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MONARCH FIREFIGHTERS COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAM DONATES $6,500 TO "NO WOMAN LEFT BEHIND"

February 23, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - The Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach Program is pleased to announce that Monarch firefighters and paramedics donated $6,500 to "No Woman Left Behind," a non-profit group that helps uninsured and under-insured women who need mastectomy or prosthetic products.

Monarch Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Underwood said, "We raised the donation by selling our breast cancer awareness T-shirts. We sincerely thank everyone who supported this effort." Ann's Bra Shop in Chesterfield helped coordinate the effort.

The Monarch Firefighters' next fundraising event is Saturday, March 7. A team of Monarch Firefighters and Paramedics will shave their heads in exchange for donations to raise money to help cure childhood cancers as part of a program by the St. Baldrick's Foundation. This event will be at Helen Fitzgerald's Irish Grill and Pub, 3650 South Lindbergh Boulevard, St. Louis, 63139.

Registration starts at 10:00 a.m. Shaving begins at 12:00 noon and continues until there are no more heads to shave.

"Our goal is to raise $6,000 for the kids," Underwood said. For information or to donate, see the website.

The Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach Fund is a charitable service organization created by firefighters and paramedics to help people while off duty. Its volunteer activities are inspired by a mission to help local residents and their families who have suffered injury, illness, or disability.

"Our off duty commitments as Monarch firefighter/paramedics help a variety of charitable enterprises that provide special programs, aid in research and fund activities to help those in need."

"The work we do off duty is motivated by our commitment to community service, volunteerism and charitable fund-raising," Underwood said.

For information about The Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach Fund, or to make a charitable donation, contact the Monarch Firefighters & Paramedics at 636.397.1572.

See the website Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach.

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FIREFIGHTERS HOST BLOOD DRIVE TO HONOR FRIENDS OF KIDS WITH CANCER

February 24, 2015 - KTVI BY ANDY BANKER

ST. PETERS, MO. - The Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Missouri are having their second annual blood drive on Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 8am-Noon at the Firefighters Hall in St. Peters.

Firefighters see the need for blood donations on a daily basis, not only for people in accidents or trauma situations, but with people who have things like cancer and treatment of diseases. This year, they are hosting their blood drive in honor of Friends of Kids with Cancer.

The Firefighters Hall is located at 115 McMenamy Road in St Peters. The first 70 people that attempt to give will receive a free t-shirt.

Reservations are not required, but if you'd like to reserve a time to donate, click here.

IAFF Local 2665 represents 2300 firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers from four counties and 62 departments.

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BATTALION CHIEF RETIRES AFTER 35 YEARS


Battalion Chief Mark Stenger is fourth from left next to Fire Chief Tom Vinyard on his right. Photo by O'Fallon Fire Protection District.

February 24, 2015 -

O'FALLON, MO. - Battalion Chief Mark Stenger is retiring from the O'Fallon Fire Protection District after more than 35 years of service to the community.

Mark will carry out his final shift on March 1, 2015 serving along side his son Adam and nephew Brandon.

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RED CROSS ASSISTING 52, INCLUDING 16 CHILDREN, AFTER SEVEN-ALARM BLAZE

February 23, 2015 - KMOV

ST. LOUIS - The American Red Cross is providing emergency food, clothing and shelter to 52 people after a seven-alarm apartment fire over the weekend.

Thirty-six adults and 16 children were displaced after the Norwood Court Apartment complex, located in the 7200 block of Norstead Walk, caught fire around 2:00 a.m. Saturday.

Crews battled the blaze for hours and were able to extinguish it later in the morning.

Nobody was injured during the blaze.

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY SCANNER UPGRADES LIMIT SOME FIRST RESPONDERS

February 23, 2015 - KSDK Grant Bissell, KSDK

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO. - Technology upgrades are creating communication issues for some local first responders. St. Charles, Jefferson, and St. Louis counties are all switching over to a digital emergency radio system. The changeover is keeping some emergency crews from hearing important information.

The new system requires new radios that are far more advanced than the old system, but they come with a price of around $6,500 apiece. Most departments don't have the kind of money needed to provide a new radio to all their personnel.

While every department can still hear the initial call, some members of small departments, like the all-volunteer Orchard Farm Fire Protection District, might not get the whole message.

"On the old system we could listen to the dispatch channel and the primary talk channel," Orchard Farm Battalion Chief, Micah Conner, said. "On the new digital system we only hear the dispatch channel.

"That means without new radios, responders can't hear critical communications from crews already on the scene. Every officer and truck in the Orchard Farm District has a new radio. But Conner says as many as 30 of the district's firefighters have had to go without.

"We can't afford to give them a walkie," Chief Conner said.

Some crews in smaller districts are turning to a free smartphone app. The audio stream is provided by a group of local guys.

"That app allows our firefighters who don't have walkies to hear the radio traffic," Chief Conner said.

The team behind the St. Charles County Missouri Scanner Traffic Facebook page just got its new digital scanner up and running with help from the Cottleville Fire Protection District.

"To help them provide that service we made a $300 donation to their organization so they could buy the new digital 800 trunking scanner which is required to monitor this new system," Assistant Chief Craig Tihen said.

You can download the free scanner app here for Apple devices or here for Android devices. A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help raise money for new scanners.

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PERSON POSING AS ST. LOUIS FIREFIGHTER IS BEHIND PHONE SCAM

February 20, 2015 - KMOV

ST. LOUIS - Authorities said a con artist posed as a firefighter in an effort to scam people out of money.

News 4 has learned several people have received a call from someone pretending to be a firefighter asking for donations through either cash or credit card.

Firefighters told News 4 the fire department never calls for donations. If you receive such a call, notify police.

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RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST ROBERTSON FIRE BOARD PRESIDENT UNDERSCORES BATTLE FOR MILLIONS IN TAX MONEY


A resident has filed a restraining order to block the resident of the Robertson Fire Protection District from filling a vacancy on the board.

February 21, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. LOUIS - A court order has blocked the president of the Robertson Fire Protection District from filling a seat on its board amid a broader fight over a contract worth millions in tax money.

On the surface, the dispute is a political spat, one that pits the firefighters union against the fire district's leadership over who should fill the seat.

But tied into those politics are the interests of the cash-strapped city of Hazelwood, which is looking for a way to reduce the $3.5 million it pays the fire district annually.

According to court papers filed in St. Louis County, fire board president Mark Bright and director Joan Noel planned to fill an open seat on the three-member fire board earlier this month.

Director Steve Neuner died in January, and state law allows the remaining directors to appoint a replacement to serve until the seat comes up for election, which in this case is not until 2017.

The candidates for the opening included Jennifer Parkin, identified by Bright in court papers as the choice of the firefighters union, and Mike Conley, a Hazelwood councilman.

According to Conley, Bright and Noel were going to appoint him.

A short time later, though, resident Larry Tinker, who is running for Bright's seat in April, filed for a restraining order. Tinker said in the request for the restraining order that it was necessary to prevent Bright from causing irreparable harm to the district and its employees.

The temporary order, issued Feb. 10, prevents Bright from doing anything "extraordinary," said Chuck Billings, attorney for the Robertson district. That includes filling the opening on the board. A hearing on the order is set for Tuesday.

Bright and Tinker could not be reached for comment. Tinker's attorney, David C. Knieriem, declined to say why his client didn't want anyone appointed to the open seat.

Court papers, however, point to an 18-year-old agreement with Hazelwood.

In the 1990s, Hazelwood annexed three parcels of land and made a deal with the Robertson and Florissant Valley fire protection districts, which were serving the areas. The new city residents would still be protected by the fire districts, not Hazelwood's fire department, but they would pay taxes to the city only. In return, Hazelwood would pay the residents' portion of taxes to the fire districts.

In the 18 years since reaching the agreement, the city's fire protection bill has increased more than 250 percent, from $1.8 million to $4.7 million next year. Approximately $3.5 million of that goes to Robertson.

Hazelwood Mayor Mathew G. Robinson said the city had had several financial setbacks due to, among other things, a dip in property values. Last year, facing a $1.4 million deficit, the city reduced that by half through cuts in services and personnel.

Officials also met with Robertson and Florissant Valley to see if they could renegotiate their contract. According to the mayor and other city officials, the fire district directors were open to the idea but the union was not. Union officials could not be reached for comment.

Robinson said the union decided not to endorse Bright for re-election. But because of Bright's willingness to talk to the city, Robinson sent a letter supporting Bright's candidacy to the North County Labor Legislative Club.

In the letter, Robinson expressed frustration with trying to work out a new tax deal and blamed the firefighters union.

"Instead of welcoming a dialogue, I was told (by district employees) that we can't meet or talk to board members without the shop steward present," the letter says.

Conley said the firefighters union may have interpreted his interest in the open board seat as a way to give the city of Hazelwood an ally in attempts to renegotiate a deal.

"But I never made any promises like that," he said. "And unless we get the state legislature to change the law, I don't think there's anything we can do."

Conley said he believed the restraining order reflected a rift between Bright and the union.

In addition to citing the contract with the city of Hazelwood, the restraining order alleges that Bright has been on the board illegally for 12 years.

Under Missouri law, any person holding office or employment with the state or any political subdivision is barred from holding office in a fire protection district, the court papers say. Bright has been employed by the Metropolitan Sewer District the whole time.

Billings, the district's attorney, declined to comment on the allegation or why it took 12 years to become an issue.

"If Mark Bright were to win, that may be brought up," he said. "Right now, everyone is in agreement to let it go until the election is over."

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7 ALARM FIRE AT NORTH COUNTY APARTMENT COMPLEX

February 21, 2015 - KTVI BY GEORGE SELLS

NORMANDY - Dozens of people will likely be homeless in the wake of a seven alarm fire that continues to bellow smoke and flames from an apartment complex in the Normandy area. Firefighters say no one has been injured, but the damage is significant.

Flames broke out before 3:00am at the Norwood Court Apartment Complex at the corner of Lucas and Hunt and Interstate 70. Residents report police going door to door banging on people's doors to wake them up. People ran from several buildings, saving only what they could carry.

Firefighters say the fire originally caught in the building at 7278 Norstead Walk, one of several structures described as 24 family units. Witnesses report the fire spreading quickly as fire departments struck alarm after alarm, doing all they can to stop the advance of the flames. Lucas and Hunt has been shut down completely south of Interstate 70, and many residents of other apartments in the complex are unable to get out due to fire hoses and equipment clogging the roads in and out of the complex.

This is the second time in less than five years that a major fire has broken out at the Norwood Court complex. Back in 2010, flames erupted at another building, also requiring several north county fire departments to put it out.

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SAFETY TIPS FROM THE PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS OF EASTERN MISSOURI


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

February 20, 2015 - KTVI BY ANTHONY KIEKOW

WENTZVILLE, MO. - Firefighters are often busy during the cold winter months. Assistant Chief John Schnider, with the Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri, tells us how firefighters stay prepared and how you can stay safe.

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4 PEOPLE JUMP FROM WINDOW TO ESCAPE FIRE


FEB. 18, 2015: Four people jumped from a second floor window and two others escaped through a back door and the basement after a fire started in the 300 block of Park West Drive in St. Peters, Mo. (Photo: Brandon Jones, Battalion Chief, St. Charles County Ambulance District)

February 18, 2015 - KSDK Brandie Piper, KSDK-TV

ST. PETERS, MO. - Four people jumped from a second floor window of an apartment complex to escape a fire that started at the building in the 300 block of Park West Drive in St. Peters late Wednesday night.

The fire started just before midnight and quickly went to two alarms. Firefighters also had to battle the brutal temperatures, which bottomed out around 5 degrees, and it took them about an hour to get the fire under control.

Two other people escaped through the basement and a back door. The American Red Cross says they are helping six adults and one child with food, shelter, clothing, and blankets.

Firefighters say two units are damaged; one is destroyed, the other sustained smoke and water damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is believed to have originated on the first floor.

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CAPTAIN PROMOTION

February 17, 2015

FLORISSANT - The The Florissant Valley Fire Protection District has recently promoted Firefighter/Instructor Frank Lipski to the rank of Captain.

Congratulations to Captain Lipski.

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NEIGHBORS WAKE ST. CHARLES MAN, 93, SO HE CAN ESCAPE HOUSE FIRE


Neighbors helped get a 93-year-old man out of his home on Elmwood Court in St. Charles after it caught fire on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Photo courtesy St. Charles Fire Department

February 17, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. CHARLES - A 93-year-old man escaped injury early Tuesday when neighbors noticed flames shooting from the roof of his home and woke him, authorities say.

Irvin Wessler of Elmwood Court appeared to be uninjured when firefighters arrived, but he was transported to St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles as a precaution for potential smoke inhalation.

St. Charles firefighters received the alarm just before 7 a.m. and arrived to find heavy fire and smoke coming through the roof of the residence.

Wessler, a World War II veteran, was the only occupant of the home. The fire was brought under control within 30 minutes.

Additional crews were called in to assist with extinguishing the fire due to the freezing temperatures. No other injuries were reported.

The home suffered severe damage estimated near $100,000. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Officials are looking into an area where the occupant used a space heater near the garage of the home.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - PROBATIONARY FIREFIGHTER/PRIVATE

THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS MISSOURI

Salary

Starting Annual Salary: $37,889

Nature of Work This is work as a team member at various life threatening emergency medical scenes and fire scenes, extinguishing fires and operating a variety of fire and medical equipment, apparatus, and tools.

Minimum Qualifications Age: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age by June 30, 2015. Pursuant to Ordinance No. 67310, applicants must not have reached their 33rd birthday by the last date for filing application. Also pursuant to Ordinance No. 67310, qualified applicants who have served in active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States may deduct from their age the length of time spent on such active military duty provided the total deduction for military duty does not exceed six years.

Education: Graduation from high school or possession of a General Education Diploma (G.E.D.) by June 30, 2015.

Driver's License: A valid driver's license is required at the time of filing application. Please note the kind of license, number, class, and expiration date on the Employment Application.

Character Investigation: Applicants will be notified to present a "Police Record Check". Applicants who have unsatisfactory records of convictions (including traffic violations) will be eliminated from consideration.

Military Service: Applicants who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces must have received an Honorable Discharge or a General Discharge under honorable conditions. Applicants will be notified to present their DD214.

EMT License: As a condition of employment, Probationary Fire Privates are required to obtain a Missouri State EMT-B license before completion of the probationary period and to maintain the license thereafter.

Proof of age, education, driver's license, and/or Form DD214 must be provided upon request by the Department of Personnel.

The Examination Components and Their Weights are to be determined. Further information will be provided to applicants at a later date. The examination will likely include but not be limited to a Physical Ability Test which measures the strength and endurance necessary to perform the job. A Character Investigation and Medical Examination will also be included as part of the examination process. The pre-employment medical exam will include a drug/alcohol screen.

All applicants must complete the Employment History and Educational/Training History sections of the Employment Application. Resumes will not be accepted as a substitute to a fully completed application. Applicants must provide explanation for all changes in employment and any gaps in their employment history. Incomplete and/or carelessly completed applications will not be accepted.

Last Date For Filing Application Is March 13, 2015

Applications can be submitted online. A Printable Application Form that can be mailed in is also available.

Examination Components and Their Weights

No waiver of the Residency Requirement will be granted.

City of St. Louis Personnel Department

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BRIDGETON MAN CHARGED WITH SETTING GARAGE FIRES IN FLORISSANT


Fire in the 400 block of Myrtle Dr.
Photo by Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

February 13, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Denise Hollinshed

WESLEY C. WILLIAMSON (left)

FLORISSANT - A Bridgeton man has been charged with setting fire to the garages of two homes in Florissant, authorities said.

The Florissant Police Department investigated two suspicious fires on Thursday, in the 1900 block of Apple Blossom Court and 400 block of Myrtle Drive. Both addresses are off Patterson Road near Saint Ferdinand Park.

The fires started in the garages of the homes and were contained to those areas.

Florissant Police Officer Criag DeHart said a tip took them to Wesley C. Williamson, 21, of the 12000 block of Nottingham Lane in Bridgeton. He was charged Friday with two counts each of arson and burglary.

DeHart said Williamson had no known connection to the properties and authorities believe he set the fires at random.

Williamson was being held in the St. Louis County Justice Center. Bail was set at $75,000 cash-only.

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FIREFIGHTERS TO CARRY NEW DRUG TO REVIVE HEROIN OVERDOSE VICTIMS

February 12, 2015 - KTVI BY DAN GRAY

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO. - Firefighters in St. Charles County will soon be carrying a life-saving drug on their trucks.

The Central County Fire and Rescue will have Naloxone on their trucks.

The drug, better known as Narcan, can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.

The unit will be among the first in the area to carry the drug on their trucks.

The St. Charles Ambulance District has given 36 doses of the drug in just the past month.

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DEPUTY CHIEF RETIREMENT


Deputy Chief Rick Ruhmann (on left) with Fire Chief Scott Seppelt: Photo by Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

February 13, 2015 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

FLORISSANT - Deputy Chief Rick Ruhmann is retiring today after 37 years of service and protection to our community. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication throughout the years. You will truly be missed.

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MAN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTING TO SET FERGUSON MARKET ON FIRE


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

February 13, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

FERGUSON - A federal grand jury has indicted a man for trying to set fire to the Ferguson Market on Nov. 24, the night it was announced that officer Darren Wilson would not face any charges in the killing of Michael Brown.

The indictment, which was made public Thursday, alleges that Antonio Whiteside "maliciously attempted to damage and destroy, by means of fire and explosive materials" the Ferguson Market at 9101 West Florissant Avenue.

Whiteside was in custody Thursday night.

"The St. Louis (County Police) Bomb and Arson Unit and agents with ATF have been working on multiple criminal investigations in the aftermath of the Ferguson rioting," said U.S. Attorney Richard G. Callahan. "This indictment is but one result of that collaboration, which is an ongoing effort and I expect will produce additional indictments at both the state and federal level."

In December, St. Louis County Police circulated a picture of a man squirting what appeared to be lighter fluid on the floor of the market. Callahan would not comment beyond what was in the indictment.

A woman eventually put out the fire and kept the market from burning down. Although the market was looted and damaged, it remains standing. Several other businesses in the area were completely destroyed.

The Ferguson Market was where Brown allegedly committed a strong-armed robbery shortly before he was fatally shot by Wilson.

The decision by a St. Louis County grand jury to not indict Wilson sparked widespread protests, along with looting and arson in the days that followed.

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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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EDITORIAL: THE NIGHT FERGUSON BURNED: NIXON OWES PUBLIC ANSWERS

February 13, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By the Editorial Board

In comparing Ferguson to Kent State, Gov. Jay Nixon seeks to free himself from the burden of governing.

On Wednesday night, a joint House-Senate committee of the Missouri Legislature led by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, opened hearings into the events of Nov. 24. That night, after a St. Louis County grand jury refused to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, rioters torched more than 18 buildings in Ferguson and Dellwood.

The stated purpose of Mr. Schaefer's hearings is to get to the bottom of this question:

Why, after having called out the National Guard a week earlier to prepare for potential violence, did Mr. Nixon have soldiers well posted in Clayton and St. Louis, but not in Ferguson, where nearly all of the looting, rioting and arson took place?

We suspect Mr. Schaefer, who is running for attorney general and who has turned criticizing Mr. Nixon into a full-time job, is more concerned with scoring political points than getting answers that will help Missouri learn from the decision-making that took place that fateful night.

But the fundamental question is a fair one. To the minimal extent that Mr. Nixon has answered it, he has suggested - without offering any details - that property was sacrificed to save lives.

At a news conference in his Capitol office on Wednesday, Mr. Nixon invoked Kent State in suggesting that the end result was better on the night of Nov. 24 precisely because the National Guard wasn't sent into Ferguson during the heat of the unrest:

"But I think when this is looked at, the discipline that was shown there, we are talking about what tactically should've been done and what buildings were damaged. It's a lot better than the discussion after Kent State," he said. The reference was to fatal shootings of four students by Ohio National Guard troops at an antiwar protest in 1970.

History may prove that true, but to get there, we first have to hear from Mr. Nixon and his administration about how the decisions were made that night. This is a basic question of government accountability during a state of emergency that is perhaps the most significant event that has occurred under Mr. Nixon's watch.

More than two months later, we don't know who decided the National Guard should stand down and why. Was it a joint decision by the unified command? Was it Adjutant General Steve Danner? Was it Missouri Highway Patrol Superintendent Ron Replogle, who, coincidentally, announced his resignation the day Mr. Schaefer's hearings began? Was it St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar? The White House? Was it Mr. Nixon himself?

Why were firefighters assured before that night that they'd have protection from the guard only to find themselves without support while trying to put out the fires? Why wouldn't Mr. Nixon accept a phone call from Ferguson Mayor James Knowles?

There is nothing unreasonable about these questions. But Mr. Nixon has stubbornly refused to answer questions about the important decisions made by him or his underlings. That refusal is particularly vexing now that he seems to want credit for saving lives.

You want credit? Tell us what happened.

Indeed, the Kent State comparison is interesting in that nearly 45 years after that awful May afternoon, there are still questions about what actually happened, even after several state and federal investigations. Just three years ago, four of the wounded survivors of Kent State asked the federal government to reopen an investigation, suggesting an enhanced audio recording contains evidence that guard commanders ordered troops to fire on protesters.

Likewise, Ferguson will be studied for years, and the question is a similar one: Who ordered the guard to stand down? The historical record will be important for future conflicts in Missouri and elsewhere. So why won't Mr. Nixon just tell us exactly what happened and who made the decisions? The longer he waits, the murkier the historical record will become.

In refusing to offer any substantive answers to what happened that night, Mr. Nixon has fed into conspiracy theorists who seek to divide along partisan or racial lines.

Days before the grand jury decision was reached, Mr. Nixon stumbled badly when asked by reporters who was ultimately responsible for keeping the peace in Ferguson. "I have to say I don't spend a tremendous amount of time personalizing this vis-a-vis me," he said at one news conference, before settling on "the buck stops with me" at another stop.

Well, Mr. Nixon, does it or doesn't it?

It is time for the governor to get beyond his political differences with Mr. Schaefer - justified as some of them are - and tell the public precisely what happened on Nov. 24. Give us a timeline. Tell us who made what decisions.

Let the historical record speak for itself.

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COMMITTEE BLASTS NIXON IN FIRST HEARING ON FERGUSON DECISION MAKING


Photo by Missouri Times

February 12, 2015 - Missouri Times

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. - (exerpts from article) Missouri lawmakers gathered to conduct their first meeting on Gov. Jay Nixon's handling of the months of unrest in Ferguson after the shooting of Michael Brown in a hearing that quickly reveled a chaotic decision-making process and entirely broken lines of communication between first responders and elected officials.

Lawmakers took issue with Nixon's decision making that night after it became clear that the Missouri National Guard was not deployed into Ferguson on the night of Nov. 24 - when a grand jury decided not to charge Officer Darren Wilson in Brown's shooting - until after 2am, well after several business were either burned down or heavily looted. Lawmakers have blamed Nixon for the destruction, suggesting that marching National Guard troops into Ferguson may have quelled the violence.

Greg Brown, Chief of the Eureka Fire District, and Matt LaVancy, Assistant Chief of Pattonville Fire District, both testified to the committee that they had originally been assured that they would have the protection of local law enforcement when putting out protest-related fires. The two laid out their own list of problems from that night.

"I watched much of this unfold on television like a lot of you in the Unified Command Center," Brown said, saying he wasn't able to deploy firefighters for lack of promised "force protection."

Firefighters in Ferguson repeatedly were forced away from fires after looters began firing guns in the vicinity. According to Brown, multiple requests were made to deploy the National Guard to protect the firefighters. No such deployment took place and, ultimately, firefighters were forced to "drop hoses" and leave.

"It goes against everything we've trained for," LaVancy said of abandoning an active blaze.

Brown told committee members that, as a direct result of the events in Ferguson, firefighters in certain parts of North County will don body armor under their gear when responding to certain calls, something he said he'd "never imagined."

LaVancy told the committee that, at one point, firefighters retreated from Sam's Meat Market in Ferguson due to danger to their lives. LaVancy said firefighters could see a man trapped inside the building when they were forced to leave, but were unable to remain behind and help.

"I think we're all floored by that," said Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, who chairs the committee.

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FIREFIGHTERS TELL MISSOURI LAWMAKERS THAT THEY COULDN'T FIGHT FERGUSON FIRES UNPROTECTED


Police arrest a man for looting Phillips 66 Energy Express at 1403 Chambers Road on Nov. 24, 2014. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatchc.com

February 12, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Virginia Young

JEFFERSON CITY - Two fire district officials from St. Louis County said Wednesday that they had been promised that the Missouri National Guard would protect firefighters called to Ferguson if protests turned violent last fall.

But they learned otherwise when fire district leaders arrived at the emergency operations center on Nov. 24 to prepare for a long-awaited grand jury announcement.

"That's when we were told they weren't able to get the Guard," said Greg Brown, chief of the Eureka Fire District.

As a result, firefighters abandoned their hoses and left buildings burning when gunfire and looting erupted that night in the aftermath of the grand jury's decision that former police Officer Darren Wilson would not face criminal charges in the Aug. 9 shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.

"To me, that was the most heartbreaking thing of all of it," said Matt LaVanchy, assistant chief of the Pattonville Fire District. "We wanted to help that community."

The fire officials told their stories Wednesday night to a joint legislative committee that is investigating the way Gov. Jay Nixon's administration handled the protests in Ferguson.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia and chairman of the Joint Committee on Government Accountability, said abandoning a plan to protect firefighters was "just unbelievable. I know any firefighter having to put down a hose and leave like that must be extraordinarily difficult."

The committee also heard Ferguson Mayor James Knowles describe his unsuccessful efforts to get the National Guard to help control the chaos that night. He said he tried to contact two members of the governor's staff, Jason Zamkus and Peter Lyskowski, but couldn't reach them.

Knowles said he reached Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Attorney General Chris Koster and State Treasurer Clint Zweifel but "none of them were able to make contact" with the governor's office that night.

Earlier Wednesday, Nixon held a news conference in his Capitol office and strongly defended his handling of the Ferguson situation as he announced a change in command at the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Nixon announced that Col. Ron Replogle will retire May 1 after 31 years with the patrol, the last five as its superintendent. Replogle said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Nixon said he will nominate Maj. Bret Johnson, commander of the patrol's Bureau of Field Operations, as the next colonel. The appointment requires Senate approval.

In Ferguson, "over the course of four months, the men and women of the highway patrol often worked night and day, away from their families to protect citizens' right to speak and to keep people safe," Nixon said.

"It was hard, thankless work under the most difficult conditions, which they performed with the courage and selfless resolve that we have come to expect. As a result, not a single person was killed in the unrest in Ferguson," he said.

Nixon had declared a state of emergency in advance of the grand jury's decision. He said then that "violence will not be tolerated" and that St. Louis County police would be in charge in Ferguson, with the National Guard deployed to assist.

But after the announcement on Nov. 24 that Wilson faced no charges, shots rang out and businesses burned on West Florissant Avenue and South Florissant Road. Nixon later said that officers sacrificed property in order to save lives.

He repeated that position on Wednesday, defending the decision not to deploy National Guard troops along the Ferguson-area business corridors in advance of the looting and arson. Instead, he chose to allow St. Louis County Police officers, trained under the Peace Officer Standards and Training program, to handle the initial wave of rioting.

"The theory here and the practice was that people who had been on the front edge of this, literally getting yelled at, getting things thrown at them, getting called a lot of names, that those POST-certified officers were the people to be in front," Nixon said.

"None of us are happy that there were shots fired," Nixon told reporters. "None of us are happy that there were buildings burned down. This wasn't a joyful time for anybody.

"But I think when this is looked at, the discipline that was shown there, we are talking about what tactically should've been done and what buildings were damaged. It's a lot better than the discussion after Kent State."

In May 1970, the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State University demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine.

Schaefer said the joint legislative committee had requested various documents from the governor's office and would hold additional hearings.

The panel is made up of seven senators and seven House members. It was established in 2004 to study "inefficiencies, fraud and misconduct in state government."

During Wednesday's hearing, some legislators quizzed Knowles about whether he thought Nixon withheld the Guard's help on Nov. 24 because officer Wilson and Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson did not resign. (Wilson later resigned, after the grand jury decision.)

Knowles said "a pretty long list" of people had sought the chief's resignation. But he said the governor's office did not make such a request "to me directly or indirectly."

Knowles said he learned several weeks before the grand jury decision that the guard "would not be present in the city of Ferguson. I was told that was a decision made by the governor." Knowles said he was told the guard would be available "if things got out of hand."

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar gave him that news, Knowles said.

"He could not give me a reason why."

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VICTIM IN 2009 HOME INVASION THAT WOUNDED ST. LOUIS COP IS CHARGED IN BANK ROBBERY


NICHOLAS KOENIG (left)
Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

February 11, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Joel Currier

ST. LOUIS - Nicholas Koenig was shot five years ago in LaSalle Park in a violent home invasion that left his then-girlfriend wounded and ended her law enforcement career.

Koenig's cousin was killed in the attack. During a hearing for one of his attackers, Koenig testified that he turned to substance abuse after the shooting.

Now Koenig finds himself behind bars. He was charged Tuesday with robbing a bank in St. Louis.

Police say Koenig walked into a Bank of America, 4301 Hampton Avenue, about 2:35 p.m. Monday and threatened to shoot unless the teller gave him money. Police said he never showed a gun.

Koenig, 34, whose apartment in the 6300 block of Sutherland Avenue is two blocks west of the bank, was charged with first-degree robbery. He was jailed in lieu of $100,000 cash bail.

After surveillance images were published by news media, several tipsters called police to identify Koenig, police said. Officers found him at his apartment, got his permission to search it and found the blue jacket, hat and sunglasses seen in the bank's surveillance images. Koenig admitted robbing the bank, police said.

Koenig, a former firefighter, was shot during a home invasion on Oct. 5, 2009. He and his then-girlfriend, Isabella Lovadina, an off-duty police officer, encountered two men outside a home at 902 Hickory Street. The two men forced them inside the home, where Koenig's cousin, Gina Stallis, and her two children were inside with other relatives.

The intruders terrorized the family, ordering them around and ransacking the home. As one of the intruders ordered Stallis into the basement, Stallis, Koenig and Lovadina were shot.

Stallis, 34, a nurse, was killed. Koenig was shot three times. Lovadina was shot five times, which caused psychological trauma that ended her police career.

The two intruders, Ledale Nathan Jr. and Mario Coleman, were convicted of the crime, which was featured on an episode of CBS News' "48 Hours." Coleman is serving life in prison. Nathan, who was 16 at the time, will not be eligible for parole until he serves at least 75 years behind bars.

Koenig has said in open court that he turned to substance abuse after the shooting, lost his job as a firefighter and had spent winters on the streets.

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FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC
West County EMS & Fire Protection District

Employment Information

Applications are being accepted until Friday, February 27, 2015


FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC
Glendale Fire Department

Application

Applications with copies of required qualifications should be returned to Glendale City Hall no later than 3:00 p.m. on Friday, February 20, 2015


FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC
Pattonville Fire Protection District

Employment Information

Accepting applications from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, February 6th through April 17th, 2015




NEW VIDEO SHOWS LANDFILL HOT SPOTS ON THE MOVE

February 10, 2015 - KMOX By Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)

BRIDGETON, MO. - A new infrared video of the burning Bridgeton landfill raises doubts about claims by the landfill owner that the underground fire is "under control."

"There are heat signatures in the north quarry that were not there before," said Pattonville Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Matt LaVanchy. "It is not under control. You shouldn't have hot spots in the north quarry. You shouldn't have leachate pouring out."

LaVanchy said he requested the flyover video, the first of its kind in six months, after changes in the paper data suggested the ground temperatures are heating up.

"We need more information," he said. "We see things in the video that have not been there before."

The FLIR thermal imaging video shows hot spots as dark and cool spots as light.

In the most vivid portion of the footage (Seen at mark 2:59), the helicopter flies over a capped mound of the landfill that appears completely dark with ribbons of dark, oozing leachate running down a hillside toward a complex of buildings where a truck is seen leaving:

"The leachate doesn't bother me as much as the north quarry hot spots," LaVanachy said. "It doesn't mean that the fire is in the north quarry, but at least the heat front is. It appears to be moving north toward the nuclear material."

Making sure the underground fire never reaches the nuclear material buried in the adjacent West Lake Landfill has been the aim of a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. LaVanchy said he forwarded a copy of the video to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which was to foward it to Koster.

A neighborhood mom's group spokesman, Dawn Chapman, has also seen the video.

"There is no such thing as having these landfill fires 100 percent under control," Chapman said, "This is a fire and the best they can do is babysit it."

Chapman is calling for more aggressive action to put out the fire.

"When you have a fire and it's under control, you put it out," Chapman said, "Otherwise, you're standing back and watching it do what it's going to do. And that's what you see on this video."

KMOX News is awaiting a response from the landfill owner Republic Services.

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AFTER ST. CHARLES COUNTY PARTNERS SERVE FOR DECADES AS PARAMEDICS, THEY DELIVER FIRST BABY


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

February 10, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - Paramedics Karen O'Neill and Kari Martin, have seen a wide array of calls in their 50 years of combined service, but neither has delivered a baby - until last week.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 5, they helped Ashley Miller-Houston welcome her son into the world.

Miller-Houston awoke just before midnight at her home in Harvester and knew that her baby was coming very soon.

She dialed 911, and O'Neill and Martin, who work for the St. Charles County Ambulance District, were by her side in just seven minutes.

The paramedics got Ashley moved to the ambulance and began the short trip to Progress West Hospital, but just as the hospital was within sight, a healthy baby boy, Tyler, made his debut in the back of the ambulance.

An emergency department pediatrician at Progress West met the ambulance at the emergency department entrance and checked to ensure that Tyler and Ashley could to be taken directly to labor and delivery. Both are now home and resting comfortably.

"Just a few weeks ago, I commented to a niece who was expecting that I'd gone all these years without delivering a baby," said O'Neill. "It's an amazing feeling to be a part of such a special moment - it was easily the best day of my career."

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19 RESIDENTS FLEE SHREWSBURY APARTMENT FIRE


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February 10, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

SHREWSBURY - A fire that started in the basement of a Shrewsbury apartment complex Monday night has displaced nearly 20 residents.

Smoke damaged the units of the two-story River Crest Apartments, 7144 Murdoch Avenue, when a fire broke out at about 8:20 p.m. Monday.

Shrewsbury Fire Capt. Gerard Straatmann said the cause is under investigation. It started in a storage unit in the basement. When firefighters arrived, the residents had already gotten out safely. Smoke was pouring from all of the windows, but firefighters put out the fire quickly.

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