CHIEF WYLIE SELECTED TO SERVE ON THE FIRERESCUE1 EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
August 31, 2015 - Cottleville Fire Protection District
COTTLEVILLE, MO. - Cottleville Fire District Chief Rob Wylie has been honorably selected to serve on the FireRescue1 Editorial Advisory Board! FireRescue1 is known to be the leading online information and training resource for the fire and rescue community.
Chief Wylie was recognized as one of the 10 industry's top experts from across the nation with complementary perspectives on critical fire rescue topics, issues and trends.
Chief Wylie will serve one year on this board to provide direction, guidance, and oversight of FireRescue1 and Fire Chief editorial efforts, including original news, columns and major coverage initiatives.
Congratulations goes out to Chief Rob Wylie and the Cottleville Fire District for this outstanding opportunity!
FIRST RESPONDERS CONCERNED ABOUT POSSIBLE OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT IN ST. LOUIS
August 23, 2015 - KTVI BY CHRIS HAYES
ST. LOUIS, MO. - St. Louis' Fire Chief says our region is not prepared for an oil train derailment and that it could wipe out an entire neighborhood.
'It's a moving pipeline,' Mechelle Minden said. Minden is a member of the group called St. Louis for Safe Trains. Minden added that the pipeline is 'along these rails and it's going through neighborhoods all across the city and state.'
Minden lives in Holly Hills. She said, 'It's a life or death issue. If one of these trains were to derail, we would all be gone.'
After the oil train derailment and explosion in Quebec, Canada, the St. Louis Fire Department created a map to show what it would look like in Holly Hills, showing a similar explosion could destroy hundreds of homes.
Minden added, 'Almost the entire half of Holly Hills would be gone, including a school that's just a couple blocks away from us right here.'
St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said, 'That wasn't an exaggeration at all. I was involved with the development of that what the fallout would be.'
Jenkerson says his men and women could not handle it. He said, 'One tanker we can handle, but you start looking at 100 of them coming through this neighborhood where I've got 75-80,000 people? I've got a problem.'
Hours after our interview, it appeared nearly 100 oil train cars rolled through downtown St. Louis, right past Busch Stadium, along the interstate and under the Arch Grounds. They appear to be returning north to get more oil. Jenkerson said, 'They are residual cars, which means they can have ten percent of product in that car. So a 30,000 gallon tanker has 3,000 gallons of product probably left in there. Problem. You`ve got vapors and with vapors coming off that new product, there's a big issue there. They're all flammable.'
He says it's part of the new oil boom out of the Bakken Formation in North Dakota. Chief Jenkerson says Bakken oil is being fracked faster than anyone can prepare for. He said, 'It's a different animal. It's shipped under the crude oil DOT regulation but it's not. It's a younger oil. It's a sweet oil. They call it a sweet crude. It's got high ends, which contains 10 times the amount of propane, butane, pentane, hexane, highly volatile products.'
Through St. Louis, the Terminal Railroad Association inspects the tracks constantly, sometimes using x-ray technology that can detect problems inside the steel. Special train cars look for erosion and possible rail problems. Inspectors examine bridges to make sure all the bolts are working and there`s no cracks in the steel.'
Terminal Railroad Chief Engineer Eric Fields said they're looking at big structures like the downtown MacArthur bridge almost daily. Fields said, 'Steel repair is a huge part of what we do. The MacArthur Bridge is the second longest bridge over the Mississippi River and has a lot of structural steel. We do steel repairs constantly.'
Before our interview, we walked underneath finding lots of corrosion. One item seemed to stand out. It was a ground support with so much corrosion that it appeared the walls of the support were bending in.
We sent pictures to Terminal Railroad. About a week later, they showed us a repair. Fields said inspectors identified it long ago and they were watching it. He said, 'It was a concern that came up on an audit finding. We have a lot of bridge to maintain and we rank and prioritize it but it fell into an intermediate category of repair and it was repaired within I think three or four years since it was first audited.'
Jenkerson added, 'Historically the railroads have been fairly safe.' He said they have a great track record, but added that there's a reason we've seen nearly ten oil related derailments since the explosion in Quebec two years ago. Accidents happen.
Jenkerson said, 'We need product. We need foam. You know should something happen, this is what I'm going to need. We've got enough foam to put out a tanker car or two. So we`ve been working with them trying to get some of their products here so we can keep them on site in the region.'
A Union Pacific spokesman said the railroad does have some foam here in St. Louis and a larger amount nearby. He added that they a hazardous materials material manager and air monitoring equipment here too.
The Federal Government has also mandated safer train cars, such as cars with thicker walls and better braking. The railroads say they've already been paying for improvements. The Association of American Railroads told me the railroads have spent more than half a trillion dollars in upgrades in the last three decades.
August 29, 2015 - KSDK Sam Clancy and PJ Randhawa, KSDK
SPANISH LAKE MO. - A Spanish Lake father died in the basement of his home - trapped by fire Saturday night.
Family members say that 34-year-old Levi Griffin, 34, was one of five people in the move when the fire started at around 4 p.m. The other four - Griffin's mother 5-year-old twin sons and 7-year-old son - all made it out, but Griffin did not.
When St. Louis County Police Officers arrived on the scene on the 11400 block of Ortega they could not get into the house because of the excessive heat and smoke.
Firefighters arrived on the scene and put the fire out shortly after police arrived. When police officers made their way into the house, they found Griffin's body in the basement of the house.
"We really didn't know where he was. We tried to get in, but excessive heat, it forced us out," said Jason Raines, Captain of the Spanish Lake Fire Protection District.
Family members say Griffin was still recovering from a stroke that he suffered earlier this year, making it difficult for him to walk.
Neighbors said they could see the smoke all the way from the highway while they were on their way home.
"The smoke was so thick, when we pulled up, it was billowing," said Nicole Burton, a neighbor.
Around 4 p.m., the basement of the home off Ortega Drive became completely engulfed in flames.
"We saw the grandmother hollering, 'Please help me help me!'" said Marilyn Wilkinson, a neighbor.
St. Louis County Police Department Crimes Against Persons Unit, Crime Scene Unit and Bomb and Arson Unit are all investigating.
This story will be updated when more information becomes available.
WEST COUNTY EMS/FPD APPROVES WORK AGREEMENTS WITH FIREFIGHTERS, OFFICERS
August 25, 2015 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson
- Firefighters and command officers at the West County EMS and Fire Protection District have a new collective bargaining agreement in place five months early.
While firefighters' wages, benefits and other working conditions have been covered for a number of years by collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the board and the International Association of Firefighters Local 2665, the formal agreement with the command staff is a first for West County. But it's a precedent that Board Chairman Dave Cobb describes as "absolutely a good thing.
"We have a good team of people here and we want to keep them," he said.In general, the new agreement with firefighters calls for an immediate pay increase of approximately 2 percent with additional 1 percent hikes scheduled yearly from 2016 through 2018. The contract went into effect late in July, some five months before the current pact's expiration at years end. It will conclude early in January 2019.
The previous agreement froze the hourly base pay rates for all personnel from probationary firefighters through the rank of captain at the levels effective when it went into effect early in 2012.
A firefighter/paramedic with at least 60 months of service now has an hourly wage of $30.20, compared with $29.61 paid from 2012 until the new agreement went into effect in last month.
As in many St. Louis County fire districts, West County firefighters work two, 24-hour shifts and then are off four days. During a regular 28-day pay period, they are on duty for 212 hours before overtime pay at a rate of time-and-a-half applies.
Other significant changes in the new contract include:
- An accelerated schedule for earning vacation days, with a maximum of 20 shift days off for those with 25 years of service. The previous schedule included a maximum of 15 shift days off after 20 years of service. A shift day is one 24-hour, on-duty day.
- A fitness incentive of $1,250 annually to pay for fitness training, health club membership and/or fitness and aerobic training expenses. However, no specific proof of fitness-related expenses is required and the payment will be paid to everyone the new contract covers. Cobb said the fitness issue is an important one and remains under discussion with the goal of developing reasonable fitness standards.
- A labor-management initiative (LMI) that includes the chief, union shop steward and their selected representatives whose task will be to meet labor-management principles developed jointly by union leaders and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
- An annual payment of $1,000 to any employee who attains special skills, as determined by the LMI.
Other benefits continued from the previous contract include:
- Payments, ranging from $200-$1,000, to paramedics for successful renewal of their licenses.
- Paid sick leave of up to 168 hours annually for 24-hour shift employees. Unused sick leave can be accumulated and carried over to subsequent years, up to a maximum of 1,680 shift hours.
- Salary continuation at the regular pay rate for up to 90 days after an on-duty injury. The district pays the difference between any worker's compensation payment and the employee's regular earnings.
- Health insurance paid by the district for each employee and eligible dependents.
- A longevity pay bonus after five years of service. The bonus begins at 2.5 percent of the employee's pay and increases in half-percent increments up to a maximum of 7 percent after 14 years of service.
- Ten paid holidays, with employees scheduled to work on any of those days receiving an extra $100.
- A $500 uniform allowance annually and a $450 yearly payment for uniform maintenance.
- Payment of tuition and books for college courses related to the employee's job, up to a bachelor's degree. The employee must receive a grade of "C" or better to receive the reimbursement.
Provisions in the officers' agreement closely follow those in the union contract. No individual staff member's salary is mentioned but percentage increases matching those of firefighters are called for.
Cobb said the board is facing the problem of salary compression among its command staff and the pay at one level is close to that received by an officer at the next level.
"We know we need to fix that because there isn't much incentive for anyone to accept the greater responsibilities that come with a promotion," Cobb said. "But the budget doesn't allow us to fix everything at once, so we just need to do what we can now, knowing there's still more to be done."
FIREFIGHTER HURT AFTER FALLING THROUGH FLOOR OF BURNING ST. LOUIS HOME INTO BASEMENT
St. Louis firefighters finish containing a fire on Monday Aug. 24, 2015, in which a home in the 4900 block of Nagel Avenue was destroyed. One firefighter suffered a minor injury. Photo by Christian Gooden, firstname.lastname@example.org
August 24, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch
ST. LOUIS - A firefighter was injured while fighting a house fire in the 4900 block of Nagel Avenue Monday.
The firefighter fell through the floor into the basement, according to the fire department. He was was treated at the scene and was not seriously injured.
The fire broke out in the basement of the home at about 11 a.m. It was a one-alarm fire.
August 21, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Mark Schlinkmann
ST, CHARLES COUNTY - Russ Mason, the fire chief of Central County Fire and Rescue for more than 12 years, will retire in January.
"This has been a difficult decision, but after nearly 40 years of service, and many discussions with my family I realized the time had come to turn over the reins," Mason said in a news release issued by the district.
The Central County district board has yet to announce how a successor will be picked.
As an assistant chief with the old St. Peters Fire Protection District, Mason helped lead efforts to consolidate with the neighboring St. Charles district in the late 1990s into what is now Central County. He became deputy chief of the new district and then chief in 2003.
Earlier in his career he was fire chief in Bolivar, Mo.; assistant chief in Rolla, Mo., and deputy chief and chief investigator for the state fire marshal's office.
Mason, 58, said Friday he and his wife plan to open a sign company franchise.
FOES RAMP UP CHALLENGES AS UNIVERSITY CITY PREPARES TO ROLL OUT PRIVATE AMBULANCE SERVICE
Phyllis Straatmann, of University City, holds up signs during a University City City Council meeting at City Hall on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Council members discussed a potential agreement that would outsource emergency services to Gateway Ambulance. Photo by Roberto Rodriguez
August 22, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Steve Giegerich
UNIVERSITY CITY - Lingering resentment over a City Council decision to outsource ambulance service continues to percolate here, with the union representing city firefighters mounting a legal challenge, and a residents' group considering a recall effort to target Mayor Shelley Welsch.
"This has pushed people to a tipping point I didn't think was possible," said Jeff Hales, a leader of the recall movement and an unsuccessful 2014 council candidate.
At issue is a contract that will shift responsibility for city emergency medical services on Sept. 1 from University City firefighters to crews employed by Gateway Ambulance Services, a private company with headquarters in Louisville, Ky.
City officials say the switch will improve response times, reduce the possibility of mistakes by exhausted firefighters working 48-hour shifts and save more than $500,000 annually in salaries and equipment the city now devotes to medical emergencies.
The city promises that no firefighters will lose their jobs. University City will not, however, replace at least 10 fire department employees lost through retirement or other circumstances.
Opponents of the move charge that the mayor, a majority of council members and City Manager Lehman Walker purposefully limited public input by waiting until the last minute to announce the deal with Gateway.
Residents learned of the contract on July 30.
The following Monday, nearly 150 residents showed up to voice mostly objections at a contentious four-hour City Council meeting. It concluded with a 5-2 vote approving the Gateway pact.
"I've never seen anything like I saw that Monday night," said Kurt Becker, the district vice president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2665, representing University City firefighters. "I've never seen elected officials treat residents with such disregard and disrespect."
In a newsletter to constituents, Welsch noted that the "loud" critics of the measure represented a small fraction of University City's 35,000 residents.
As proof of the transparency of the process, the mayor pointed to a 2014 city-issued request for proposals from private firms interested in bidding for the ambulance service, as well as a council workshop where bids were discussed.
Welsch said in an interview this week that the Gateway vote fell within the dictates of the city charter.
"I do not believe every issue needs a public hearing," the mayor said. "And I don't think public hearings need to be held on issues that are mandated by authority of our charter to the city manager and our council. That is the case with this contract."
Becker and residents opposing the privatization disagree.
Local 2665 has filed a brief in St. Louis County Circuit Court asking a judge to overturn the contract.
Circuit Court Judge Tom DePriest has scheduled a hearing on Oct. 5 to determine whether to grant the union a "writ of mandamus" - a legal device which, if granted, would declare that University City elected and appointed officials had exceeded the scope of their duties.
Becker said the union would argue that the Gateway pact violated the terms of a labor agreement University City and the firefighters signed in April.
"We feel this is a breach of contract," said Becker. "Implementing this contract will cause our members to suffer irreparable harm."
As Becker and the firefighters pursue legal remedies, a group of University City residents led by Hales is readying a political response to the outsourcing.
The first step, the group said, is to "re-energize" a petition campaign initiated earlier this year to remove Councilman Stephen Kraft from office. Kraft defeated Hales in the 2014 race for the 1st District council seat.
Petitioners need to secure the signatures of 20 percent of the 26,000 registered University City voters to place a recall referendum on a special or general election ballot.
Kraft, a physician and leader of the effort to replace the firefighters with a private ambulance company, says the outsourcing makes sense from an economic and medical standpoint.
He cites research that he says shows University City residents will be better served by Gateway paramedics working 12.5-hour shifts than firefighters with the potential to be dispatched on a call at the end of a 48-hour shift.
Kraft expressed little concern about the recall campaign.
"Council has been able to make the difficult decisions, and the decisions really are difficult," Kraft said Tuesday. "Almost every issue has compelling arguments on either side, and I admit that I do not have a monopoly on the truth. My job is to listen to the arguments, explain my views and vote my conscience."
Hales said the group had not ruled out circulating petitions seeking the recall of additional council members.
Another elected official may find herself in the sights, as well.
"A lot of people really want to go after the mayor," resident Suzanne Greenwald acknowledged.
"That's fine, let 'em," Welsch responded.
With the Gateway contract about to take effect, the city is moving forward.
"We've done some trial runs to make sure there is a smooth transition," said Walker, the city manager.
The tests, he added, determined that the new system was ready to go.
August 22, 2015 - Wentzville Fire Protection District
WENTZVILLE, MO. - Wentzville Fire Protection District is accepting applications for the purpose of creating a hiring pool for the Position of Firefighter/Paramedic. Attached are the requirements and the application packet. The completed application packet and requested documents must be received at the District's Administrative Office located at 209 West Pearce Blvd., Wentzville, MO 63385 on September 1, 2, or 3, 2015 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Equal Opportunity Employer.
WEST COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS OFFERED RARE TRAINING OPPORTUNITY
Photo by KMOX
August 22, 2015 - KMOX Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)
ELLISVILLE MO. - Firefighters from several area districts this week are getting to practice at the site of an actual commercial structure - an opportunity that only comes along about once a decade.
They're using a former car dealership at the southwest corner of Manchester and Clarkson as a training ground before it's torn down to make way for new development.
Metro West deputy fire chief Edward Beirne says normally firefighters have to train in a burn tower or other facility on their own back lot.
"They tend to be remembered," he says of those facilities. "You can only set the building up so many different ways before your firefighters and your paramedics start to remember the entry patterns."
That's why they jumped at the chance to train inside the shuttered dealership."Commercial property - the market's so hot for it, when you get a property, it's usually re-purposed right away," Beirne says.
As for what will happen to the site once firefighters are done smashing its walls, cutting holes in its roof, and generally destroying the place - it will become a convenience store and gas station."This portion (of the property) was sold off, and QuikTrip bought it for a 'superstore' they're going to build here," Beirne says. "They're going to start tearing this building down next week or the week after."
The same property was the focus of much heated debate when it was proposed as the site for a Walmart store, an idea that eventually fell through over a disagreement about whether TIF money should be used on the project.
August 21, 2015 - Wentzville Fire Protection District
WENTZVILLE, MO. - Last evening, Board Chair Jennifer Houston and member Robert Hawkins appointed Wentzville resident Frank Grassmuck (left in photo) to the vacancy on the Board of Directors. Frank is retired and has lived in Wentzville for over 10 years. Welcome Director Grassmuck!
August 21, 2015 - KMOV By Stephanie Baumer, Online News Producer
ST. LOUIS, MO. - A firefighter was injured while battling a blaze in north St. Louis Thursday night.
The firefighter suffered multiple injuries after falling while fighting a fire in the 4400 block of Lee around 11 p.m. The firefighter did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.
The blaze is believed to have started on the back porch before spreading to the kitchen, fire officials said. Once crews arrived to the scene, they were quickly able to control the fire.
According to fire officials, the fire is being investigated as 'suspicious' because there was a strong smell of an accelerant coming from the home. Fire investigators and the bomb and arson squad were called to the home to investigate.
FIRES, TEARGAS, ARRESTS AFTER ST. LOUIS POLICE FATALLY SHOOT TEEN
Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch
August 20, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Jesse Bogan , Doug Moore
ST. LOUIS, MO. - A St. Louis police officer stands guard as firefighters extinguish a fire in the 1300 block of Bayard Avenue on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, after a fatal officer-involved shooting near Page Boulevard at Walton Avenue. Photo by Christian Gooden, email@example.com
CHRISTIAN EMS RECEIVES MEMSA PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP AWARD
Frank Seavert, Kendell Jones, Christopher Wahoski, Aj Ventimiglia, Michelle Moffett, Jen Royer, Karl Parks, Brian Bruemmer, Joe Siegfried, Joshua Malson, Patricio Renner, Nathan LiveLee, Wes Jansson, Ian Breden, Kerri Jansson, Matt Fitzgerald, Nathan Brown, Christopher Jones and Jane Lubiewski.
August 20, 2015 - Christian Hospital EMS
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - Christian Hospital's EMS team was recently honored with the Missouri Emergency Medical Services Association (MEMSA) Presidential Leadership Award. This award is given out once a year by the MEMSA board president to the recipient of his choice.
Christian Hospital's EMS was recognized with this award for their response to the Ferguson unrest in August and November of last year.
LANDFILL FIRE SLOWING, CLOSER TO RADIOACTIVE WASTE
August 19, 2015 - KMOX Kevin Killeen (@KilleenKMOX)
ST. LOUIS - The Pattonville Fire Protection District is keeping a close eye on the Bridgeton Landfill, after new data shows the underground fire may be getting closer to nuclear material buried in the nearby Westlake Landfill.
"This thing is going to continue to consume fuel and it is going to seek its source of fuel," says Assistant Chief Matt LaVanchy . "And there is an abundance of it in the north quarry towards the waste and radioactive material."
LaVanchy says the underground fire may now be just 1,000 feet from the radioactive material, compared to 1,200 feet a couple years ago. The good news, he says, efforts by the landfill owner to stop the fire have slowed it down.
"If it continues to progress at the rate that it has been progressing, then yes we have years," LaVanchy says. "But if we go back to the consumption rate that it was three or four years ago where it was moving three feet a month, you know that shortens that time period considerably."
The nightmare scenario LaVanchy hopes to avoid is the eventual outbreak of a surface fire that has made contact with radioactive waste. That, he says, would be an environmental disaster for the region.
FIREHOUSE SUBS DONATES DIVE TEAM EQUIPMENT TO FIRE DISTRICT
Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District
August 19, 2015 - BALLWIN, MO. - Metro West is incredibly grateful to Firehouse Subs and their Public Safety Foundation for the generous donation of $43,275 to purchase equipment for our Dive Rescue Team.
At the event Chief Mike Krause said, "These donated funds have enabled our organization to reduce response times and increase survivability for those in peril during a drowning situation. The equipment has outfitted nine divers with a full complement of personal protection equipment for dive rescue operations in all conditions. Our Dive Rescue Team not only responds to our community, but throughout the State of Missouri to assist with rescue and recovery efforts."
We at Metro West are extremely thankful to the Ballwin Firehouse Subs store, Mr. Pogemiller, Mr. Marquart, and Mr. Domico for their dedication to the community by helping local emergency service providers.
Jeremy Henderson, of Hazelwood, was convicted in the arson murder of a man killed in an apartment fire.
August 19, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Nicholas J.C. Pistor
CLAYTON, MO. - A man was convicted on Monday in connection with an arson fire at a Hazelwood apartment that killed a man who lived there.
Jeremy Henderson, 23, was found guilty on counts of felony murder and first-degree arson. His trial started last week. A previous trial had ended in a mistrial.
Henderson was accused in the death of 48-year-old Mike Mansfield, who was found dead in his Hazelwood apartment building that was set on fire on Aug. 4, 2012.
The apartment building is at building at 5230 Villa Rosa Lane. Henderson told police he served as a lookout while others poured gasoline in the apartment building's hallways and near the door of their intended victim. It's not clue who the target was, but it wasn't Mansfield, according to court documents.
Henderson told police he saw one of the other people light a match and set the gasoline-soaked carpet on fire. The court documents didn't offer a motive. Police say they got a tip that Henderson was involved. The others have not been identified.
Several other people, including an infant, were stranded on the third and highest floor of the 10-unit building until rescuers arrived.
Mansfield was a gas station attendant for his landlord, family said. He also fixed and cleaned fish tanks for Tanks A Lot Aquarium Service. He had two sons, Andy and Alex.
Sentencing for Henderson is set for Sept. 21. The jury recommended consecutive sentences of 18 years on the arson charge and 21 years on the murder.
ST. LOUIS FIRE DEPARTMENT LOOKING TO HIRE AROUND 50 FIREFIGHTERS
August 17, 2015 - KTVI BY SHIRLEY WASHINGTON
ST. LOUIS, MO. - The St. Louis Fire Department is looking for a few brave men and women to join its elite force. The department is short about 43 firefighters. It plans to hire about 50. Several recruits are undergoing physical fitness tests to determine whether they are fit to join the department. They have a little more than six minutes to complete an obstacle course that includes, lowering and raising a ladder, carrying a hose up a flight of stairs, and dragging a 185 pound dummy. The recruits selected to move forward in the process will go through a series of interviews before being chosen to undergo sixteen weeks of training in the academy. When they graduate they will earn $37,000 a year.
August 17, 2015 - West News Magazine By: Jim Erickson
CHESTERFIELD, MO. - Scarcely a day goes by without a news media story about unmanned aerial vehicles - UAVs or drones as they commonly are identified.
While most of the news coverage deals with military applications or with drones being in places where they don't belong - such as near airports - the Monarch Fire Protection District is among a number of area fire departments considering them as a possible tool to aid in firefighting efforts.The issue was aired at the Aug. 12 meeting of the Monarch Board of Directors when the district's command officers reviewed aspects of an Aug. 5 fire at a condominium complex on Bantry Lane in Chesterfield.
Plumbing work being done in the 37-unit building is believed to have caused the blaze, which led to major fire, smoke and water damage. Fortunately, almost all the residents of the complex who were home at the time were able to evacuate safely and with no injuries. One woman physically unable to escape was rescued by a West County EMS and Fire Protection District crew member and taken to a hospital where she was treated for smoke inhalation.
Much of the damage came from a secondary blaze apparently caused by fire making its way through wall and floor openings and ultimately erupting some distance away from the initial flames.
According to Monarch Chief Chuck Marsonette, a drone equipped with forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensors likely would have spotted the secondary fire developing so that firefighters could have attacked it before the flames broke through the structure.
Marsonette said drones equipped with the sensors can spot and relay to personnel on the ground a visual image showing differences in temperature. Unseen flames in a building would emit a heat signature much different from surrounding areas where there was no fire burning.Marsonette said he planned to attend an upcoming demonstration showing the various capabilities a drone has and would evaluate the possibility of aquiring a UAV.
In addition to its use in firefighting, a drone also could be used to help someone in danger of drowning, Marsonette noted, by carrying and dropping a flotation device to the person more quickly than a rescue boat could arrive.
The Bantry Lane fire was Monarch's biggest in recent memory in terms of manpower and equipment. Some 100 firefighters and 35 fire and rescue trucks from West and North County departments responded to the four-alarm blaze.
FIRE DEPARTMENT CONDUCTING WATER RESCUE IN WEST ALTON
Photo by Rivers Pointe Fire Protection District
August 16, 2015 - KSDK Sam Clancy, KSDK
WEST ALTON, MO. - Police are looking for a man after finding a missing boat in the Missouri River in West Alton, Mo.
Rivers Pointe Fire Chief Richard Pender said they are looking for a man after finding a john boat at around 7:30 p.m. They say the boat, which went missing this morning, was damaged when they found it. They said the man went to check trotlines Saturday morning.
Rivers Pointe Fire District, Orchard Farm Fire, Christian Northeast Hospital, and the St. Charles County Police Department are handling this search.
This story will be updated when more information becomes available.
CENTRAL COUNTY ENGINEER NAMED INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR
ENGINEER ERIC BRAATZ
August 14, 2015 - Central County Fire & Rescue
ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO. - For the third consecutive time, Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) Engineer Eric Braatz has been named the St. Charles County Fire Academy Instructor of the Year. Braatz is the lead SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) instructor, and assists with live fire training at the Academy. He has volunteered as an instructor for the past 15 years.
"It is a privilege to be able to guide our students to become the next generation of emergency responders," Braatz says. "I try to instill in them that serving our community is at the core of every successful firefighting career."
"We are very fortunate to have firefighters like Eric on our team. His experience and expertise are a strong asset to our fire district, community and our future firefighters," CCFR Chief Russ Mason says.
Braatz has been with CCFR for more than 20 years. He typically works from Fire Station #2 on McMenamy Rd.
The St. Charles County Fire Academy is a joint effort of St. Charles area fire departments. Each year, 26 students train three evenings a week, and Saturdays from January through July to become certified firefighters. Students study a variety of topics taught by volunteer instructors from the various departments.
August 12, 2015 - West End Word By Mitch Schneider
UNIVERSITY CITY, MO. - The City Council of University City voted Aug. 3 to outsource the city's ambulance services to Gateway Ambulance.
The five-year contract with Gateway was approved on a 5-2 vote. The vote followed a contentious discussion lasting three-and-a-half hours, during which more than 30 attendees spoke on the subject. The meeting drew more than 100 people.
The majority of residents who spoke, as well as the two council members who voted against the contract with Gateway - Paulette Carr and Terry Crow - questioned the level of services Gateway would provide. Those supporting the contract insisted that many of those concerns were unfounded.
Kurt Becker, district vice president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2665, earlier described the Gateway contract as "a vicious attack" on city firefighters, an attempt by some in the city to "break the back of the union." City Manager Lehman Walker, along with other city officials, have denied that charge.
In July 2014, the city solicited candidates to provide emergency and non-emergency ambulance transportation services. A city council study session was held in September of that year. Gateway and Abbott Ambulance responded with proposals.
Under the terms of the contract, Gateway will have two ambulances stationed in and dedicated to the city. Additional ambulances could be called from nearby areas if needed. Among the advantages of the agreement cited by Walker are cost savings to the city of more than $500,000 annually after the first year. Savings would come in reductions in staff and vehicle costs.
Gateway would be responsible for billing, freeing up the city's finance department staff to attend to other matters. Walker claims that response times would be quicker with Gateway crews positioned in the field, as opposed to current crews stationed at a firehouse.
Walker said that the contract, which goes into effect Sept. 1, has a provision allowing the city to terminate if Gateway does not meet the agreed-upon standards.
Council members Crow and Carr contend that since the request for proposals was sent out, public input on the subject, as well as information provided to council members, was lacking. Crow said he was not aware that a discussion and vote on the matter was scheduled until 9 p.m. on the Thursday before the Monday meeting.
"This council has never met to discuss this agreement. There are 100 people in this room whose lives depend on this. Madam mayor, it is disingenuous, duplicitous and unworthy of your office for you to say that we had nine months to ask questions," Crow said.
Mayor Shelley Welsch remarked that Crow had exceeded his allotted speaking time by six seconds, which led to an extended debate among council members over how much time each should be allotted to speak on the subject.
Carr echoed Crow's sentiments, directing some of her comments at Welsch.
"There has been no opportunity to discuss this. You have not convinced me or them (residents) that this is a good idea. You must give them a chance," Carr said.
A major concern by opponents of the Gateway contract was the level of care that Gateway would provide.
Under the city's current procedure, an ambulance with two paramedics aboard is dispatched first to a scene that does not require a fire truck. If additional support is needed, a fire truck is called in with at least three additional paramedic/firefighters on board.
Under the Gateway contract, the procedure is similar, with the ambulance dispatched first, followed by a fire truck if needed. Gateway opponents, however, noted that Gateway's ambulances are staffed by a paramedic and an emergency medical technician. Technicians cannot perform some of the duties of a paramedic, such as inserting an I.V.
Another concern was that while Gateway does serve several county municipalities, along with the city of St. Louis, it does so as a backup to the municipal services in those areas - not as the primary first responder/ambulance service.
The agreement was supported by other members of the council, including Rod Jennings.
"People have fears about this, and I had fears, but my fears were alleviated. We have an out. Response times may be better than we have ever seen. The council has looked at this and the risks have been minimized," Jennings said.
Council Member Stephen Kraft supports the contract.
"It's about providing higher quality service at a lower cost. Improving public safety is what is important," he said.
Kraft commended the city's first responders as "hardworking men and women who do their jobs with expertise and pride," but added the 12-hour shifts that Gateway employees work is an improvement over the 48-hour shifts worked by city employees.
Greg Pace was one of four citizens who spoke in favor of the contract. Pace assisted Walker during the selection process. He described the contract as a "win for University City and its residents. Quality of care will not decline."
Council Member Carr made a motion to table a vote on the contract for 60 days to allow for more discussion. The motion failed, and the council then approved the contract.
After the meeting, Mayor Welsch issued a written statement she had intended to read during the course of the meeting. It read, in part:
"If this recommendation is approved, residents will be provided with superior service at a lesser cost to all taxpayers .... I am supporting this recommendation. It is the right thing to do."
ST. LOUIS, MO. - The St. Louis Fire Department is giving you unprecedented access to fire scenes. If you follow the department on Periscope, you can take a tour of a burned building as investigators look for clues as to how the fire started. Behind the camera, narrating what is being shown, is Captain Garon Mosby, the Public Information Officer for the department.
"By and large the public has been intrigued, we are a society that wants information," said Captain Mosby.
St. Louis Fire Chief, Dennis Jenkerson, said the department is using Periscope to show what firefighters deal with on a daily basis. He believes too many people have a Hollywood version of firefighting.
"Too many of these police and fire shows over romanticize our services. This is nothing but a very dirty, hardworking career;" said Chief Jenkerson. "This isn't a Hollywood set where, at any time I say, 'Stop,' the fire goes out. To show the condition of a building to a civilian and to show what happens after the fire is over, gives them a totally different perspective on what we do."
The department describes its use of Periscope as "a work in progress." The Chief said the department is constantly having discussions on when it's appropriate to go live.
"There are some things you don't want people to see. You don't want to see any type of heartbreak or misery of a family because of a fire. You don't want that out there," Said Chief Jenkerson.
The department's live videos are getting noticed by other departments across the country. Captain Mosby was recently asked to share how the department uses social media on a popular website for fire and EMS workers called Statter911.
"I know for a fact when the fire chief travels and talks with other fire chiefs, that is one of the conversations. 'Hey, look at what we are doing with Periscope.' I'm not saying it works for every department, but it works for us," Captain Mosby said.
You can follow the St. Louis Fire Department on Twitter and Periscope-- @STLFireDept
August 8, 2015 - KMOV By Ashleigh Jackson, Online News Producer
ST. LOUIS, MO. - Firefighters in St. Louis may soon use drones in future emergency operations, according to department officials.
The St. Louis Fire Department said the airborne devices would capture better aerial views and add a layer of safety for first response crews.
Authorities recovered a body in the Mississippi River last week, but said their efforts were initially delayed, because crews did not have a good view of the scene. Fire Capt. Gregg Favre suggested drone technology would drastically improve efforts in similar instances.
"This brings a technological advancement that we couldn't match through sheer muscle," said Favre.
The department is considering purchasing $5,000 devices that would sense body heat during searches and provide instant aerial pictures.
According to Favre, the department's operational budget would fund the equipment.
"We're also in talks right now with partners we have in the private sector," said Favre.
If officials decide to move forward, drones could be in service within the next year.
REJECTED BOND ISSUE MAY HURT ST. LOUIS FIRE DEPARTMENT
August 6, 2015 - KMOX By Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)
ST. LOUIS, MO. - The St. Louis Fire Chief is disappointed that city voters rejected a $180 million bond issue on Tuesday, which included $40 million for the fire department.
Chief Dennis Jenkerson says some of his fire trucks are so old, they've broken down on the way to fires.
"We're still going to provide the services that we provide," says Jenkerson. "It becomes a daily grind for the members on the department to make sure these things are in operational condition, that we can use them every day."
Jenkerson says that they are going to take a look at how they respond with the apparatus and if there's a way to increase their longevity.
"We have to get something in the works very quickly, because we can't keep operating on 15 and 20 year old pieces of fire equipment," says Jenkerson. "... and 8 and 9 year old pieces of EMS equipment. We have to move forward, we have to get something in place."
The bond issue needed a 66 percent voter approval to pass, but only received 62 percent. The plan would have also included money for new police cars along with money to help keep the defense mapping agency in north St. Louis.
TWO INJURED IN FIRE AT CHESTERFIELD APARTMENT COMPLEX
(Photo: Casey Nolen)
August 5, 2015 - KSDK By Sam Clancy, KSDK
CHESTERFIELD, MO. - Two people are being checked out for injuries after an apartment fire Wednesday afternoon.
According to a spokesperson for the Monarch Fire Department, the fire broke out just before 4:30 at the Manors of Village Green apartment complex at the 14400 block of Bantry Lane in Chesterfield, Mo.
According to a fire department official, an elderly woman with mobility issues was trapped in her second-floor apartment when the fire broke out, but firefighters were able to get her out, and to a hospital. She suffered minor injuries due to smoke inhalation.
At around 6 p.m., the spokesperson with Monarch said the two-alarm fire had been controlled. Later in the day, the fire was updated to a four-alarm fire. They said they believe the fire may have started when a plumber was doing some routine maintenance that went wrong, but they are still investigating.
All the people, and five animals, have been evacuated from the 35-unit complex. It is unclear how long they will be displaced or the extent of the damage to other units. The Metro West, Valley Park, Creve Coeur and Cottleville Fire Departments assisted in controlling the fire, and West County EMS assisted those suffering injuries.
This story will be updated when more information becomes available.
11 FIREFIGHTERS RECEIVE RECOGNITION FOR RETIREMENT
(from left to right) Fire Chief Terry Loehrer, Bill Esterline (Fire Board Chairman), Gary Frank, K.J Spurloch, Dan Leibach, Mark Widemann, Jerry Herrmann, Tim Grimminger, Steve Wolf. (Photo by Pattonville Fire Protection District)
August 4, 2015 - Pattonville Fire Protection District
PATTONVILLE - 7 of the 11 retirees that were able to join us today to be recognized for the years of service. Almost 200 years of combined experience in the fire service has left us in the past few years. The current employee group has large boots to fill but we bridge the vast experience leaving us with routine training.
ELECTION RESULTS FOR ST. LOUIS COUNTY FIRE DISTRICTS
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 -
ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Source: ST. LOUIS COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSION
DIRECTOR RIVERVIEW FIRE DISTRICT
(Vote for) 1
(WITH 15 OF 15 COUNTED)
PATRICK K. RUSSELL . . . . . . . 433 48.76
THEO (TED) BROWN, SR. . . . . . . 104 11.71
DAVID SCHMERBER . . . . . . . . 88 9.91
MIRANDA AVANT-ELLIOTT . . . . . . 259 29.17
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 4 .45
UNIVERSITY CITY COUNCIL APPROVES CONTROVERSIAL PLAN TO OUTSOURCE EMS
Photo by Roberto Rodriguez
August 4, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Steve Giegerich
UNIVERSITY CITY - Over an angry citizen outburst for a recall, the University City Council approved on Monday a controversial contract to outsource its ambulance service to a private contractor.
The 5-2 vote ended four hours of contentious debate between residents and the council - as well as council members themselves - over a five-year agreement that will strip emergency medical services from city firefighters/paramedics.
"This is the height of disrespect for all of you," Councilman Terry Crow told what remained of a crowd that numbered nearly 150 at the start of the marathon meeting.
In addition to objecting to a contract that could transfer first-responder duties to Louisville-based Gateway Ambulance as early as Sept. 1, Crow and Councilwoman Paulette Carr took their colleagues and city officials to task for attempting to enact a last-minute agreement without a proper public hearing.
"We really need time to flush this out," Carr said.
Residents attending the meeting expressed disappointment that no one beyond City Manager Lehman Walker and a handful of top officials were aware that University City was in the process of striking a deal with Gateway.
Most City Council members learned of the contract when the council agenda packet was delivered to them last Thursday night.
The five councilmen supporting the agreement "clearly stuffed it down the citizens' throats tonight," Crow said after the meeting. "They did it without any input at all from the citizens."
Crow questioned the choice of Gateway Ambulance to replace the city fire fighters on emergency calls.
Citing his own research and responses to inquiries posed at the council meeting, Crow labeled Gateway an "emergency transport service" that shuttles patients "between hospitals."
The company paramedics, he added, have minimal experience as first-responders."They are to the best of my knowledge only a back-up" service," Crow said. "And that has to be a concern to all of our citizens."
Carr's remarks during the meeting were among many sparking prolonged applause from residents - many holding signs opposing the outsourcing bid - who showed up in the council chambers on a steamy summer night.
"They are here not because we knocked on doors or passed out fliers. But because they are scared," said Carr.
Under the terms of the contract, Gateway will collect the nearly $700,000 the city now receives from individuals and insurance payouts for hospital transport and on-site medical care.
City officials say the outsourcing has the potential to save the municipality about half of its annual $1.1 million emergency medical services budget.
Gateway officials promised Monday that the company would have two ambulances stationed in University City 24 hours a day with two additional units nearby and available for backup service.
"This contract is about higher quality of service at a lower cost," said Councilman Stephen Kraft, who helped draft the agreement.
Kraft, a physician, said residents would benefit from emergency responses from paramedics working 12-hour shifts as opposed to the 48-hour shifts of city firefighters.
Resident and Republican committeeman David Stokes, a policy analyst with the Show Me Institute, praised Kraft and Walker for the "creative thinking" that led to the outsourcing agreement.
But most residents balked at the proposal.
"I cannot believe a for-profit company can do a better job than the services of the people the citizens of University City have hired," Loren Grossman said.
Like Grossman, Nancy Pasco was one of several residents who prefaced their remarks with anecdotes about positive interaction with University City firefighters/paramedics.
"I just wonder how we can save $500,000 and still get good service," Pasco said.
Resident Dennis Fuller cited a conversation with his daughter, an emergency room nurse, as the basis for his opposition.
"She says there is a distinct difference between the two parties here. And it does not favor Gateway," Fuller told the council.
Kurt Becker, the head of the union representing University City fire fighters, said his members are "are profoundly grateful for the outpouring of support from the community for our members, and in opposition to the notion that a private, for-profit, out-of-state company with no 911 contracts in St. Louis could provide better service. We are disappointed in the decision of the City Council, but we have no intention to let the citizens of U-City down by giving up this fight."
Kraft said no firefighters would lose their jobs as a result of the privatization. But as many as 12 current fire department positions vacated through normal attrition will probably go unfilled.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Becker disputed the math University City officials relied on to justify the outsourcing.
"You are being lied to," Becker wrote to city residents. "You are being lied to you by your city manager. You are being lied to by your councilmen. You are being lied to by some of your councilmen."
The public input on the measure was delayed for 30 minutes Monday as the council debated a procedural point to expand the 10 minutes allotted for council members to ask questions about the Gateway pact.
Dismayed that he and Carr hadn't been consulted on the pact, Crow lashed out after Mayor Shelley Welsch cut him off with an announcement that his line of questions had exceeded the 10-minute limit by "six seconds."
"To call a question on the rules for a (discussion of) a contract I just received Thursday night is disingenuous, duplicitous and unworthy of your office," Crow told the mayor.
Firefighters responded to a first alarm fire in the 3800 block of Shaw, where two people were injured.
August 3, 2015 - KMOV By Laura Shay
ST. LOUIS, MO. - Two people were injured in a fire at a two-family home in south St. Louis on Monday.
Firefighters responded to the two story brick home in the 3800 block of Shaw with fire in the basement and on the first floor of the home. Responders experienced heavy fire and smoke when they arrived.
A woman was rescued from the first floor and firefighters used a ladder to rescue a man from the second floor of the home.
Both of the victims were transported to the hospital. The woman was in serious condition and the man had minor injuries of burns and smoke inhalation.
No information was released on the cause of the fire.
ST. CHARLES, MO. - The St. Charles police and fire departments responded to a garage fire near the intersection of North 4th and Tecumseh streets early Sunday Morning. According to Mike Myers with the St. Charles Fire Department, the fire was in a detached garage. No one was injured. Heather De Mian