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TWO CANDIDATES VIE FOR CONTROL OF A WEST COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT (story below)

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FLORISSANT VALLEY FIREFIGHTER NAMED WARREN COUNTY CORONER BY NIXON

January 31, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Mark Schlinkmann

WARREN COUNTY - Glenn Craig, a firefighter and paramedic with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District, was appointed Friday as Warren County coroner by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Craig, a Democrat who lives in Wright City, will fill out the remainder of the term of former Coroner Roger Mauzy. Mauzy, a Republican, was elected in November as presiding county commissioner.

Craig previously was a paramedic for the Warren County Ambulance District and has been a part-time medical legal death investigator for the St. Louis medical examiner's office.

Nixon also recently appointed a new public administrator for Warren County - W. Eugene Buxton.

Buxton, a political independent, held the same post from 1988 to 2000. The post opened up when Republican Jeff Hoelscher resigned after he was elected county treasurer in November.

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GUNS N HOSES FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHT CARD




GLENDALE, ROCK HILL CONSIDER COMBINING FIRE DEPARTMENTS

January 29, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

GLENDALE - Glendale officials are asking Rock Hill aldermen to consider a broad plan in which the two cities would have a joint fire service, probably organized similar to the consortiums providing public safety dispatching among groups of St. Louis County cities.

Warson Woods, which has received contracted fire service from Glendale since 1948, would also be involved as a service user.

For their part, Rock Hill aldermen agreed on Tuesday night to explore the issue at their next several meetings. They had been invited by Glendale to a joint study session.

ESCI, a consultant that Glendale hired last summer to address its own fire needs, is suggesting the consortium pattern. ESCI would be available to write a detailed study focusing on a joint fire service among the three cities. Glendale paid about $12,000 for the first study, and the second would cost about $15,000.

Glendale's fire department is housed in an inadequate 85-year-old city government building, and its main pumper is 16 years old and needs replacement soon. But replacement of the fire station on the current site is considered costly and impractical, as it would impose on present, non-fire building needs.

Rock Hill's fire department is in a newer, leased building and its main pumper is less than four years old. For many decades through 2005, Rock Hill had all of its services in a complex on Manchester Road. These were later split into leased buildings a few blocks away. But Rock Hill aldermen in recent years have discussed a new fire station, and perhaps a new city complex. In December, the board requested proposals for architectural and financial consultants.

The joint fire service could be housed in a new facility near Manchester and Berry Roads, ESCI said. About a mile to the east, at the Glendale/Rock hill border, is Glendale's public works facility. Glendale owns other unused land parcels nearby and possibly could develop a new fire station there. These locations would be within the acceptable response time range, according to ESCI.

The cost would be in the millions for any new project for either city, and operating details would have to be crafted and agreed to by both cities, it was noted. While a new fire protection district, with its own elected board and property tax rate, is possible, voters would not be likely to support its creation, ESCI found.

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LOCAL COUPLE GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY


(Photo: Jimmy Bernhard, KSDK-TV)

January 29, 2015 - KSDK By Jimmy Bernhard, KSDK

ST. LOUIS - Two local firefighters have someone very special they'll be cheering for at this year's annual Budweiser Guns 'N Hoses charity boxing event.

After being together for five years, Jimmy and Kelly D'Angelo were married last October; on Friday they are both participating in The BackStoppers Inc. annual charity event.

For Jimmy, an Olivette firefighter, and Kelly, a Richmond Heights firefighter, this event means something special. This isn't their first BackStoppers event.

"Every year, someone is lost in the field. Police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and those families are not only lost without that person but they're also lost without the funds. BackStoppers actually raises money to help with that, whether they have someone in college or just regular living expenses, they help take care of that family," Kelly said.

After the death of a police officer, firefighter, or first responder, their family receives a check from The BackStoppers Inc. The organization helps the family pay for insurance, education, mortgage payments, and so much more.

"When we first did this, I didn't know a whole lot about what BackStoppers did and it was more of, kinda like, 'Yeah, we wanna do that. It'd be cool to participate in Guns 'N Hoses.' But finding out what BackStoppers actually does, how much they impact is awesome," Jimmy said.

And this isn't an event someone can just jump into. It takes dedication, and a lot of training, to prepare yourself for one of the 16 three-round boxing or MMA bouts.

"It's been awesome to have the support of our friends and family," Kelly said. "I know there's been a lot of family stuff that we've had to miss due to training and nights at the gym."

But a couple that trains together, stays together.

"We get each other .... when we come home from a bad shift .... But staying happy? We train together, so, working out together helps," Kelly said.

"She gets to punch me so that makes her happy," Jimmy added.

"Punching each other may help a little bit, getting a little frustration out, but training together really helps a lot too," Kelly said.

At the end of the day, the D'Angelos know all the hard work is worth the blood sweat and tears.

"Win or lose, we're all there for the same cause. There are a lot of people who can't get in the ring and do that ..... Especially in front of 17,000 people," Kelly said.

Tickets start at $15 and are still available for this year's event. You can purchase tickets at all Hair Saloon locations, the Scottrade Center Box Office, and through Ticketmaster.

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METRO WEST CHIEF'S PARTICIPATING IN CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK


Left to right, Deputy Chief John Bradley, Battalion Chief Rod Cook, Sister Rosario, Assistant Chief Ed Beirne. Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District

January 28, 2015 - Metro West Fire Protection District

Metro West Chief's participating in Catholic Schools week at Holy Infant School in Ballwin. Sister Rosario proudly displaying her previously awarded "Honorary Chief" helmet she received for 50 Years of service as an educator at Holy Infant.

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STEGMAN UNOPPOSED FOR MFPD BOARD SEAT

January 21, 2015 - Call Newspaper

MEHLVILLE - Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors Treasurer Bonnie Stegman is unopposed in her re-election bid.

Stegman was first elected to a four-year term in 2005 and re-elected to a full six-year term in 2009.

Because no one filed to oppose Stegman in April, no election will be conducted. The seat carries a six-year term.

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TWO CANDIDATES VIE FOR CONTROL OF A WEST COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT

January 27, 2015

WEST ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Two residents of the Monarch Fire Protection District have filed as candidates for a six year term, on the three member Board of Directors, in the April 7th election. The winner of that contest may very well determine the future direction of the Fire District. They are Mr. Robin Harris and Ms. Kelley Miller.

ROBIN HARRIS is the incumbent candidate and is currently Chairman of the Fire Board. The Board, in a controversial decision, recently hired Cary Spiegel as Assistant Fire Chief and Chuck Marsonette as Fire Chief to command the District.

KELLEY MILLER who states she is the granddaughter of a firefighter, has filed as a candidate to replace Robin Harris on the Fire Board. Ms. Miller, speaking at a recent Fire Board Meeting, was very critical of the hiring of Cary Spiegel as Assistant Fire Chief and Chuck Marsonette as interim Fire Chief (has since been promoted to fire chief).

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CENTRAL COUNTY FIRE/RESCUE SEEKS BOND ISSUE FOR NEW FIREHOUSE, TRUCKS AND EQUIPMENT


Central County Fire & Rescue Firefighter James Densmore holds a ladder as a fellow firefighter works a fire in a condo building on South Wisteria Drive in St. Charles on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Photo by Erik M. Lunsford elunsford@post-dispatch.com

January 26, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Mark Schlinkmann

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - The board of Central County Fire and Rescue will ask voters April 7 to pass a $16-million bond issue to replace fire trucks and equipment and to build a new fire station.

The board voted Thursday to place the measure on the ballot. It would not require a property tax increase.

District spokesman Steve Brown said some of the additional revenue would be used to buy ground for a new firehouse that would replace the existing station #5 on Ehlmann Road.

The bond issue also would allow the agency to replace its fire trucks and equipment over several years, he said.

The proposition requires 57.1 percent majority approval.

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FIRE DISTRICT TAX TABLES

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FIREFIGHTER RAISING MONEY FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS MO.

January 26, 2015 - KSDK Brandie Piper, KSDK-TV

ST. LOUIS - A Eureka Fire Department employee is raising money for Special Olympics Missouri by taking a shocking 24 dips into the Lake of the Ozarks within a 24-hour period.

Last year, firefighter and public information officer Scott Barthelmass raised $4,500, which funded 11 Special Olympics athletes. His goal this year is to raise even more money to support more athletes while participating in Super Plunge Feb. 27 and 28.

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WEST COUNTY EMS AND FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT PLACES TAX INCREASE ON APRIL BALLOT

January 26, 2015 - West Newsmagazine
By: Jim Erickson

WEST ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Voters in the West County EMS and Fire Protection District will have a substantial tax increase proposal presented to them.

At its Jan. 21 meeting, the West County Board of Directors approved a tax proposal that calls for a general fund tax levy boost of 30 cents per $100 assessed valuation on real estate and personal property.

The district serves a resident population of some 51,000 in Manchester, Town & Country, parts of Winchester, Valley Park, Ballwin, Des Peres and Twin Oaks and unincorporated areas of St. Louis County.

West County's general fund tax rate is the largest of the five levies included in its overall tax bill, which now stands at just over 96 cents per $100 assessed valuation on residential real estate and $1 per $100 assessed valuation on personal property.

The 30 cents to be voted on represents a 31 percent increase in the total residential tax levy, although the increase in the general fund rate, now 42.8 cents, would be 70 percent.The district has separate tax levies for its ambulance, pension, dispatch and debt service funds, but those are not affected by the proposed general fund increase.

In a brief discussion of the reasoning behind the tax increase proposal, Cobb and Levine noted before the board vote that real estate values in the district basically have remained flat in recent years. As a result, income generated by the current tax levy has not kept pace with rising expenditures and the district has dipped into reserves to make up the difference.

Current budget projections indicate that nearly $300,000 in reserve funds will be needed to pay all the bills this year. However, based on the current real estate and personal property assessments in the district, the proposed increase will generate considerably more than that amount.

In comments after the meeting, Cobb said plans also call for an increase in community outreach efforts. He noted that safety-related education programs such as fall prevention and fire prevention as examples of those efforts and added that many people are unaware of services already available, such as smoke detector inspection.

"Some people think they'll be charged if they call 911," he stated.

Modest increases in staff as part of the outreach and increased training efforts, as well as a pay increase for firefighters, whose pay scale hasn't been changed in several years, also are anticipated if voters approve the higher levy.

District officials said a recent strategic planning project showed residents wanted more community outreach, along with the best possible training and competitive wages for West County personnel.

Much of the outreach effort will center on the district's safety house built behind the West County fire station on Manchester Road and paid for with a portion of the bond issue funds approved by voters in 2008, Cobb said.

According to Dave Frazier, West County's deputy chief, there has not been a voter-approved increase in the general fund tax levy since 1987.

If voters OK the 30-cent increase, West County's overall tax levy will be well above neighboring Metro West and Monarch fire protection districts. Metro West's total tax levy is $1.057 per $100 assessed evaluation on residential property; 50.8 cents of that goes for the general fund alone. Monarch's total is 82.9 cents per $100 assessed evaluation, with 42.9 cents of that for the general fund.

West County's overall tax levy on residential real estate would move to $1.262 per $100 assessed valuation, with the general fund rate accounting for 72.8 cents of the total. For a West County residence appraised at $150,000 and assessed at 19 percent of that amount, or $28,500, property taxes would increase $85.50 per year.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIRE INSPECTOR

January 26, 2015 - Monarch Fire Protection District

The Monarch FPD is currently searching for a Fire Inspector.

Responsibilities Include (but are not limited to):

Under supervision enforces fire and building regulations, ordinances, codes, and applicable laws to ensure compliance and consistency. Plan, review, and inspections of all aspects of commercial construction and occupancies, including but not limited to building construction and renovation, fire protection systems, operations, processes and the storage, handling or use of hazardous materials or devices. Approves occupancy permits and similar licenses. Conducts investigations into causes of fires and fire protection system failures. Performs inspections of existing buildings for fire and life-safety hazards. Responds to complaints by residents, employees of businesses, and other citizens regarding possible hazards and/or violations of district ordinances. Interacts and communicates with design professionals, contractors, business owners, and public officials regarding fire prevention and other district-related issues. Provides fire and life-safety information and assistance to businesses, occupants, contractors, and the general public as necessary.

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'SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT,' EMERGENCY COORDINATOR TELLS BRIDGETON COMMUNITY MEETING


Pattonville Assistant Fire Chief Matt LaVanchy discuses recent data from the Bridgeton Landfill's underground fire, which has been smoldering since late 2010. Credit Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

January 24, 2015 - St. Louis Public Radio By DURRIE BOUSCAREN

BRIDGETON - Residents in municipalities surrounding the Bridgeton Landfill are growing increasingly frustrated with the pace of cleanup efforts and a "lack of communications" between environmental agencies tasked with overseeing the project.

At a monthly community meeting in Bridgeton, Pattonville assistant fire chief Matt LaVanchy said recent data showed higher temperatures than ever in the northern area of landfill. Until recently, the underground fire was mostly in the south part of the landfill, known as the "south quarry." The north quarry is closer to the West Lake Landfill, which contains World War II-era uranium processing residues, or nuclear waste.

"Something is different today than what it was before the holidays. The smells seem to be coming back," LaVanchy said who also serves as the Commander of the Special Operations Team for St. Louis County.

For two hours, presenters outlined updates and took questions from residents about the location of the fire and potential evacuation plans. Should the fire reach the surface, LaVanchy said he would not send firefighters to battle an event unless he knew it was in an area untouched by radioactive waste. That realization drew frustrated reactions.

"My firefighters deserve to know, when they go onto that site, what areas are contaminated (with radioactive material) and what areas aren't," LaVanchy said.

It's hard to say what would happen if the underground fire reached the radioactive waste in the West Lake Landfill, but for local firefighters to respond to it, LaVanchy said "That's one risk that goes a little bit too far."

Of particular interest was an open letter recently written by a former the Missouri Department of Natural Resources official, alleging that the state agency's "cozy" relationship with Republic Services had hampered efforts to address the underground fire.

Between 2012 and 2014, Dan Norris had directed air sampling efforts at the West Lake site, living in a hotel near Bridgeton and "personally experienced what life was like for those who lived or worked around the landfill." In the letter, Norris cautioned that conditions at the landfill are far from ideal.

Due to pending litigation, the MDNR refused to comment on the letter, but they did confirm that Norris worked for the department. MDNR referred to the Attorney General's Office, which did not immediately return a request for comment.

Richard Callow, a spokesperson for the landfill's owner, Republic Services, said in a statement to St. Louis Public Radio, that the smells were due to ongoing construction installing gas extraction wells in the south quarry area.

"This sort of invasive work can, unfortunately, result in odors, even though we make every effort to minimize them. But these improvements are important steps in our continued work to control the reaction and its impacts, and has to be done," Callow wrote.

The resident group, Just Moms STL, is pushing for the Army Corps of Engineers to take over removal of the radioactive waste through a federal program created to clean up disposal sites from the Manhattan Project. Currently, West Lake is classified as a Superfund site, which means the landfill's owner is in charge of cleanup, with oversight from state and federal authorities. But residents say they are concerned that the EPA and MDNR have broken the community's trust, and don't appear to be communicating with each other.

"There are all kinds of ways that it's very complex, and the worst stuff that can happen hasn't exactly happened when people were there with monitors," said meeting attendee Kriss Avery, who lives and works within two miles of the Bridgeton Landfill.

"The way the agencies work, it makes it beyond their 'box,' and they're not able to think outside of it."

The resident group that organizes the monthly meetings, Just Moms STL, is hoping to convince legislators to transfer oversight to the Army Corps of Engineers in the coming year.

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NEW ST. CHARLES COUNTY SYSTEM WILL MAP LOCATION OF CELLPHONE 911 CALLS

January 24, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Mark Schlinkmann

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - A driver in a rollover accident on the Page Avenue extension earlier this month used a cellphone to call 911 but was unable to give a precise location to the O'Fallon police dispatcher on the other end.

The driver knew only it was somewhere between Highways K and 40 - a 4.5-mile stretch.

"We could have gotten the proper agency involved quite a bit more quickly had the "X" marked the spot immediately," said Capt. John Neske, who heads O'Fallon police's administrative division.

Under a new countywide 911 system expected to be operating by late April, county officials say, emergency dispatchers will be able to immediately pinpoint and map the location of most calls coming in from cellphones.

Now the county's police agencies can't do that, said Jeff Smith, who heads the county's Department of Dispatch and Alarm.

That's a problem because more than 70 percent of the 150,000 emergency calls made in the county last year were from cellphones, he said. And the percentage is expected to go up in the future.

In contrast, dispatchers automatically get addresses and phone numbers for 911 landline calls.

While most cell users do give dispatchers a specific location, some cannot - like that driver on the Page extension, also known as Highway 364.

Others may not be able to because of their circumstances, police say. Sgt. George Grove, communications supervisor for St. Charles police, said about a week ago a woman used a cellphone to call 911 to report that her boyfriend was punching her but didn't have the correct address.

Eventually, police figured out where they were. But the boyfriend left before police arrived, he said.

Unlike the police agencies, Smith said, his dispatch department - which handles fire and ambulance calls countywide - already has good mapping capability.

The new 911 setup, Smith said, also will have other advantages. For the first time, he said, people in the county will be able to text 911 from a cellphone. That capability will kick in by next year, he said.

"Now you get a message saying it's not available," he said.

He also said the current system is old, and its software can no longer be updated.

He added that all components are in his agency's office in Wentzville, making the system vulnerable to a tornado or some other catastrophe. In contrast the new system will have cloud-based backup with data stored remotely outside the county.

The new countywide system will replace the current two-system arrangement with one run by the county and the other by St. Charles.

Emergency calls will continue to flow initially to the county's six largest law enforcement agencies - the O'Fallon, St. Charles, St. Peters, Wentzville, Lake Saint Louis and county police departments.

The County Council in October approved a $3.5 million, seven-year contract with Alabama-based Emergency CallWorks to set up and operate the system.

The county is negotiating contracts with the cities to share some of that cost, which they don't do now.

A countywide 2 percent tax on landline phones for 911 service no longer supplies enough revenue to fund the system by itself and state law doesn't allow it to be applied to cellphone bills.

St. Louis County plans a similar upgrade to its system to improve on the limited mapping of cellphone 911 calls it has had for several years in many but not all locales.

Tom McCormack, St. Louis County's 911 services coordinator, said the proposed upgrade also would extend reliable cellphone mapping capability to police agencies in the county that don't have it now.

In Jefferson County, 911 dispatch chief Travis Williams said his agency has had cellphone call mapping for more than two years. The agency serves most of the county.

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VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER
WILLIAM BROGDEN
Spanish Lake Volunteer Fire Department
January 22, 1960

Today we honor and remember Firefighter William Brogden of the Spanish Lake Volunteer Fire Department. Firefighter Brogden died in an automobile accident while responding to a call. The Brogden family was the first family to be assisted by The BackStoppers.

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WENTZVILLE FIREFIGHTERS USE NEW RESCUE EQUIPMENT AFTER 3-CAR CRASH ON HIGHWAY T


Photo by West Sentinel

January 22, 2015 - West Sentinel By: TAMARA DUNCAN

WENTZVILLE - After training on the equipment just the day before, Wentzville firefighters used newly-purchased hydraulic rescue tools to extricate two victims in a car crash late Wednesday night on Highway T.

The tools has just arrived at the fire department late last week, Assistant Chief John Schneider said. The department posted pictures of the new tools and firefighters training with them on their Facebook page on Tuesday.

Then, on Wednesday night, a head-on crash on Highway T quickly proved the worth of the new equipment and training.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. 18-year-old Brianna N. Kelley of Marthasville was southbound on T just south of Route N in a Ford Ranger and attempted to pass a Kenworth tractor trailer driven by Anthony A. Glass, 48, of Troy. The Ranger struck a Ford Focus driven by Kayla Thompson, 25, of O'Fallon. Thompson's car spun and then hit the trailer.

All three drivers were wearing safety belts. Glass was not injured, and two women are reported to be in serious but stable condition.

The new Hurst extrication tools had been recently purchased with money from capital improvement bonds that voters in fire district approved last August. The district was also able to build two new fire stations, add staff, purchase equipment, and provide training with the funds, Schneider said.

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GLENDALE VOTES TO BUY LOT IN ROCK HILL

January 21, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

GLENDALE - Glendale aldermen, who have a fire services discussion with neighboring Rock Hill scheduled for Jan. 27, approved on Monday night the acquisition of a small lot there that could help support the development of a new Glendale fire station. The lot is adjacent to Glendale's public works department.

Last year, Glendale commissioned a fire services study from the firm ESCI. Not only is the city's fire department operation in a building from 1926, it will also soon need a new pumper. The study involved neighboring Rock Hill, although aldermen in that community have agreed to nothing besides listening to proposals.

The hilly, land-locked lot, at 711 Bismark Avenue, has been owned by St. Louis County since 1973, but never developed. When the county received a recent proposal to buy the property, it followed its long-time policy of first offering the land for free to an adjacent owner if that owner is a city.

Glendale has owned 709 Bismark in Rock Hill for several years, and also not used the land. Glendale's public works department, at 721 Bismark, touches the border. The new lot could possibly be used in development of a new fire facility, or continue to serve as a visual buffer between the public works department and nearby Rock Hill homes, City Administrator Jaysen Christensen says.

Glendale will also act to move the new lot into the city boundary, aldermen agreed, regardless of the future use of the site. That can be done by the county Planning Commission.

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FIRST RESPONDERS TRAIN FOR ICE RESCUES

January 21, 2015 - KSDK By Stephanie Diffin, KSDK

LAKE ST. LOUIS - The same rescuers who pulled two 14-year-old boys from a partially frozen lake Monday were out on the ice again Tuesday.

They were performing a training exercise, using the same equipment and techniques they used during Monday's rescue. One of the firefighters at both the rescue, and the training, was Joseph Marrow.

"Your adrenaline does get going, but you've just got to control that. You have to go back to your training," said Lake St. Louis Firefighter Joseph Marrow.

And using his training is exactly what Marrow did when he responded to the call Monday. He was the first one on the ice, and one of the firefighters to help pull both boys from the water. Coincidentally, his department had just completed a refresher course on ice water rescues last week.

"You're dealing with at any time being on a solid surface, then going possibly into frigid water. And you have to be ready for that, you have to know how to deal with that," said Lake St. Louis Fire Chief Chris Fay.

The Lake St. Louis Fire Dept. completes ice water rescue training at least once a year. It says one of the most important components, is being able to move around efficiently in a specially-designed suit. The suit is nylon, so it's waterproof. And, there is thermal insulation inside to help keep rescuers warm while they're in the water.

"As long as those guys are wearing these suits, they're in pretty good shape," said Fay.

The rescuers who responded Monday were wearing those suits, which is a part of why they say they were able to get the victims out alive.

"It was like clockwork. It was textbook. It was the way you're supposed to do it, and it was perfect," said Fay.

Both of the boys who were rescued are recovering from injuries. One of them was submerged for more than 10 minutes, and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Both the Lake St. Louis and Wentzville Fire Departments responded Monday. There were also members from both departments at Tuesday's training.

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MONARCH FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT PURCHASES NEW APPARATUS


Photo by Monarch Fire Protection District

January 21, 2015 - Monarch Fire Protection District

CHESTERFIELD -The Monarch Fire Protection District has issued the following press release announcing the purchase of two new pieces of fire apparatus for the District:

The Monarch Fire Protection District Board of Directors is pleased to announce the purchase of two state of the art pieces of Fire Apparatus. In the month of December, the Fire District acquired an E-ONE 95 foot aerial platform (pictured above). This well-equipped aerial apparatus is the longest ladder platform the District has ever owned, and will assist in better protection of our upward and outward growth. This aerial will be going into service in late February. The District is very excited to have this equipment for its taxpayers and visitors.

Our Second state of the art apparatus is a Smeal fire engine with additional rescue capabilities. This fire engine is just beginning construction and photos will be released as that process continues!

These two purchases increase the safety of our citizen's and employees with no tax increase!

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TEEN PULLED FROM LAKE SAINTE LOUISE AFTER FALLING THROUGH ICE REMAINS IN CRITICAL CONDITION


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

January 20, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

LAKE ST. LOUIS - UPDATED at 10:22 a.m. : According to the Facebook page for Living Word Christian Academy in O'Fallon, the teen who was under the water for 15 minutes is John Smith, an eighth grader at the school. He remains in critical condition Tuesday morning at Cardinal Glennon.

Classmates wore blue -- the boy's favorite color -- to show their support today, according to the page.

Hospital officials released a short statement from the teen's family asking for people to continue praying for their son.

"We are trusting in God for healing and have seen the power of prayer," the statement said.

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2 BOYS PULLED FROM LAKE SAINTE LOUISE AFTER FALLING THROUGH ICE


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

January 19, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

LAKE ST. LOUIS - When police Officer Rick Frauenfelder got to the lake, the two boys were yelling, scared.

The 14-year-olds had fallen into the lake about 11:35 a.m., moments after a worker at the association office had told them to get off the thinning ice.

The recent 50-degree temperatures had shrunk the ice at Lake Sainte Louise, the smaller of the city's two lakes, to less than 2 inches thick in some areas.

Frauenfelder said the boys were about 40 yards away from the closest dock behind the association headquarters on Cognac Court. One of them was bobbing in and out of the water, and the other was trying desperately to hold on to the ice shelf.

"He was trying to pull himself out of the water, but he was getting weaker and weaker; the water was really getting to him," Frauenfelder said.

Frauenfelder and Officer Ryan Hall, who had just arrived, tore off their duty gear off, grabbed a couple of ropes and life jackets and raced to the water.

As they threw the ropes in the boys' direction, one of the boys disappeared below the surface.

Lake Saint Louis and Wentzville firefighters, wearing special ice rescue suits, arrived and ran to help. They pulled the boy who was still above water to shore.

"He was confused and disoriented from the cold," Frauenfelder said. "Firefighters had to basically bear hug him onto the sled he was so weak."

Firefighters rushed him to a waiting ambulance and then went to work to find the other boy.

Frauenfelder told them the last place he had seen the teen, and firefighters used rescue hooks to poke around the 40-degree water to find him.

"About five minutes later we located him; he was on the bottom of the lake," said Lake Saint Louis Fire Capt. Justin Darnell. "We were able to get him up and out and to shore."

The boy had been under water for about 15 minutes, and he wasn't breathing. He had no pulse. First responders started CPR and used a defibrillator to try to resuscitate him.

When the boy got to a hospital, emergency personnel were able to get a pulse back, officials said. He was later airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, where he was in critical condition, officials said.

The other boy who was rescued and a third boy - who fell in trying to rescue the pair but got to shore on his own - were treated at hospitals for hypothermia. Authorities have not identified any of the victims.

Darnell said firefighters had just conducted ice-rescue training last week, which helped them to stay focused.

"It helped, too, to know that the cold water gives you a little more time than you've got with warm-water drownings," he said.

Frauenfelder said initial reports about the prognosis for the most seriously injured boy were good.

"We're all dads, so it hits close to home," he said. "Unfortunately, kids sometimes make wrong decisions."

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TICKETS ON SALE FOR GUNS 'N HOSES

January 15, 2015 - KSDK Brandie Piper, KSDK-TV

ST. LOUIS - It's back! The annual Guns 'N Hoses boxing and mixed martial arts event, which pits police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel against each other is almost here.

The matches are typically held on Thanksgiving Eve, but was postponed in 2014 because of the unrest in Ferguson. It was rescheduled for Jan. 30, 2015 at 7 p.m.

Guns 'N Hoses raises money for The BackStoppers, an organization that helps financially support families of fallen police officers, firefighters, and publicly-funded paramedic and EMS workers. To date, Guns 'N Hoses has raised more than $4.5 million to support The BackStoppers.

Tickets start at $15 and are available for purchase at all Hair Saloon locations, the Scottrade Center Box Office, and through Ticketmaster.

NewsChannel 5 is a proud sponsor of this year's event.

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PERSON, DOG DIE IN WENTZVILLE HOUSE FIRE

January 15, 2015 - KTVI

WENTZVILLE, MO. - One person is dead following a house fire late Thursday afternoon in Wentzville.

The fire occurred around 6:45 p.m. in the 1400 block of Plaza Place.

The Wentzville police and fire departments are investigating, along with the state fire marshal. The fire is not suspicious.

A dog also perished in the fire.

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NEW ST. CHARLES COUNTY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM BEGINS OPERATIONS

January 15, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch
By Mark Schlinkmann

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - Most first responder agencies in St. Charles County recently began taking part in an upgraded countywide emergency communications system in the works the past few years.

All fire departments, most police agencies, the county dispatch and alarm agency, the county ambulance district and the county highway and parks departments began using the $39 million system in recent weeks, county officials say.

The exceptions are police in O'Fallon and Lake Saint Louis, where technicians are still working to correct glitches encountered in joining the system.

Meanwhile, similar upgraded systems are expected to be operational in Jefferson County at the end of the month and in St. Louis County by mid-March, say officials in those areas.

The overall cost for the three counties is around $136 million, much of it to build a network of new radio towers. Some tower sites caused controversy with nearby residents objecting. Sales tax hikes approved by voters are providing much of the money.

One goal of the upgrade is to allow police, firefighters and ambulance crews from different agencies to talk directly with one another as they respond to emergencies.

The plan also eliminates dead spots in radio coverage for first responders and improves voice quality. Moreover, the new systems also meet a federal requirement to switch to a narrow broadcast band width.

"The implementation of this project, and the system itself, represents a significant transformation in public safety and demonstrates the power and benefits of cooperation," said County Executive Steve Ehlmann.

The revamped systems in the three counties also allow for direct communications with first responders in St. Louis city and Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties in Illinois.

Those areas had made such improvements earlier, said Nick Gragnani, an official with the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

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FERGUSON AND THE FIRE SERVICE


Photo by The St. Louis American

January 15, 2015 - The St. Louis American
By Addington Stewart, Guest columnist

The South Central Region of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters has been working to address the economic issues of blacks in the fire service throughout metropolitan St. Louis. We wholeheartedly support the peaceful protesters who are exercising their rights to protest and free speech. We continue to pray for the family of Michael Brown Jr. during these trying times in our quest for justice to be served. But we believe that economic issues are at the crux of the protests in Ferguson.

We are an international group of black retired and active firefighters organized to create a liaison between our black brothers and sisters throughout the world. We collect and evaluate data on all deleterious conditions in all areas where minorities exist, and compile information concerning the injustices that exist in the application of working conditions in the fire service, and implement actions to correct them.

We seek to promote interracial progress throughout the fire service and to see that competent blacks are recruited and employed as fire fighters, wherever they reside. We also aid in motivating our black brothers and sisters to seek advancement to elevated ranks throughout the fire service.

As the director of the South Central Region - one of seven regions in the international, which presides over eight states (Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and Louisiana) - I am charged with investigating the issues of the lack of diversity in St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis.

Diversity in the nation's fire service is a matter of national security in today's fire departments. We need to understand how the lack of diversity can impact our communities so that we stop situations across the country like the one in Ferguson. Ferguson has approximately 27 fire service personnel, yet only two blacks in a city that is 65 percent black.

We have started the process of requesting demographic information related to the hiring of blacks in the 42 fire districts of St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis. We will review the census data as it relates to the make-up of each of those communities, the demographics of those departments, the plans to diversify fire departments, and requests for federal grants that they have received over the last five years. We will also look at the number of black new hires in the last five years and a percentage of total new hires.

The fire service offers great public safety jobs, which can give a young man or women the opportunity to earn a minimum of $1.5 million over a 30-year career. These jobs give them the opportunity to support their families and move into the middle class.

We are working to remove all of the barriers that are in place that prohibit departments from hiring black youth in the metropolitan area. Our focus is on ending discriminatory testing processes; obtaining funding to recruit, train and retain black youth in area fire departments; and mentoring and supporting candidates in the application and hiring process to ensure that there are well-qualified candidates to compete for these jobs in the communities in which they live.

Because of the focus on Ferguson, cities across the country are looking to see how they can diversify their police departments so they look like the communities they serve. We feel that the fire service must be included in these equations also.

Addington Stewart is director of the South Central Region of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (www.iabpf.org).

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CAPTAIN
ROBERT BREHM
Shrewsbury Fire Department
January 13, 1977

Today we honor and remember Capt. Robert Brehm of the Shrewsbury Fire Department. Capt. Brehm collapsed at the scene of a fire, after searching a burning house for trapped persons, and died later that day.

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FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE DOG FROM LAKE


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

January 13, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

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

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CENTRAL COUNTY EMERGENCY 911 BOARD APPROVES FY2015 BUDGET

January 15, 2015 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

As last year wound down to an end, the Central County Emergency 911 Board of Directors approved the organization's 2015 budget, which is expected to result in a small increase in the organization's unallocated fund balance by the end of next year.

With projected revenues of $7.3 million, operational expenditures of $5.95 million and non-operational costs of nearly $1.227 million, the end result should be a $123,000 addition to CCE's fund balance, boosting that account to $1.37 million.

The 2015 budget includes an almost $351,000 principal payment on a line of credit the Ellisville-based center established in 2013 to help pay for a major expansion. The center also used more than $1.2 million of its reserves to finance that growth.

Employee salaries and benefits will be some $3.3 million in 2015 and represent CCE's largest expense item. Telephone communications services of more than $1.5 million and capital outlays of $486,000 - with most going for computer software upgrades - are other major expenditures budgeted in 2015.

In recent years, CCE's board has included one representative from each of the six fire and EMS districts that have an ownership interest in the center. Other districts and departments contract with the center for dispatch services. Effective in 2015, CCE's board will drop to five members when one of its current owners, the Meramec Ambulance District, becomes a contract entity.

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POLICE: NEIGHBORS REPORTED HEARING EXPLOSIONS BEFORE SPANISH LAKE HOME FIRE

January 12, 2015 - KMOV

SPANISH LAKE - The St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson Unit is investigating an early morning blaze in Spanish Lake.

Authorities told News 4 neighbors reported hearing explosions when a house caught fire in the 12000 block of Bellefontaine Road around 2:15 a.m.

Firefighters say they are currently unsure if anyone was inside the home at the time of the fire. Neighbors told authorities all of the family's cars were in the driveway but an RV was missing.Fire officials said one firefighter was taken to the hospital for an unrelated illness.

No other details were immediately available.

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TWO INJURED IN AFFTON HOUSE EXPLOSION AND FIRE

January 11, 2015 - KTVI BY GEORGE SELLS,

AFFTON - Two people were injured when a house caught fire early Sunday, possibly after some type of explosion. A father and son were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and were later released. The mother also went along to the hospital, but she was reportedly uninjured.

The father was reportedly injured when he went back in to try to save the family dog. There is no word on if he was successful.

According to the Affton Fire Department, the fire broke out around 3:40am on Terri Lynn Drive, but exactly what caused the fire is in question. The garage door was blown off the house. It was discovered some fifty feet away.

Because of the debris at the scene, St. Louis County's Bomb and Arson Squad was called to the scene to investigate. Their presence does not imply that a crime was committed, but that fire crews want to determine the exact cause of the fire.

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GLENDALE FIREFIGHTER DIES IN OFF-DUTY CAR CRASH IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY

January 9, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Kim Bell

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - A firefighter from Glendale was fatally injured in off-duty crash about midnight Thursday in St. Louis County.

The firefighter was identified as John Blumenthal.

Blumenthal crashed at about 11:45 p.m. Thursday on Hanover Avenue near Kammerer Avenue. St. Louis County Police Officer Shawn McGuire said the car ran off the road and hit a tree. Blumenthal was pronounced dead about an hour later at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Glendale City Administrator Jaysen Christensen said Blumenthal started as a firefighter with Glendale in 1998. Before that, he was a firefighter with Rock Hill for about three years. He also served as a volunteer with the Black Jack and the Affton fire protection districts.

Christensen said Blumenthal had two children.

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FIRE CAPTAIN RETIREMENT


Photo by West County EMS & Fire Protection District

January 9, 2015 - West County EMS & Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Congratulation to Captain Gary L. Halfacre, retiring from West County EMS & Fire after 31 years of service to the community.

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FIREFIGHTERS RECOGNIZED AT OPENING SESSION OF LEGISLATURE

January 7, 2015 - OzarksFirst.com

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. - Members of the state legislature were given many reminders of the events of the past five months in Ferguson during the opening day of the legislative session.

In addition to protests in the Senate Chamber and the Capitol rotunda during opening day ceremonies, the leaders of the Republican majorities in both chambers discussed what part they expect issues stemming from the shooting death of Michael Brown, Junior by a Ferguson police officer, would play in the session.

The new House Speaker, John Diehl, Junior (R-Town and Country), in his opening day address, told the chamber, "No one in this room needs any reminder of how things can look when that kind of hope is missing. The national attention our state received last year isn't what anyone would have wished for, but the story and narrative which is missing about Missouri is the goodness and character of our people. We live here. We see it every day."

Diehl introduced firefighters from the Metro North, Pattonville, West County and International Association of Firefighters fire departments that he says had to take cover during gunfire while fighting fires set the night the grand jury decision not to indict the officer that Michael Brown, Junior, was announced.

"Let me make this pledge to all of our public safety personnel and first responders," said Diehl, "that this body will do its best to get answers to what happened that night, and as Speaker I will do everything in my power to make sure it does not happen again."

Asked about the more than three dozen bills that have been filed stemming from Ferguson, to do things such as require body cameras for all police officers, eliminate the grand jury process, and require special prosecutors in all officer-involved shootings, Diehl said his caucus' members would be selective in the issues they pursue.

"We're not going to have a Ferguson agenda here in the House. I think the Senate has indicated the same thing," Diehl said.

"I view the situation of Ferguson as really a reflection of decades of bad government policy, whether it be in the entitlement area, failed education systems, and lack of economic opportunity, so to the extent that there's an interest in fixing some of the fundamental building blocks that have led to the deterioration of society in certain areas of our state I think we'll be open to that," said Diehl, but on the subject of reforms impacting law enforcement he added, "I think we have to be very, very careful when we talk about these issues that we separate failed government policies from those men and women who serve the public by defending our lives and property. They shouldn't be scapegoats for what are bad public policies."

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) spent a significant portion of his opening day address talking about reforming municipal courts, which is seen as a social justice issue that has added to unrest and mistrust in Ferguson and the rest of the St. Louis region.

He said the 81 municipalities in the region that have their own court systems, "are home to 11-percent of Missouri's population but account for a troubling 34-percent of the state's municipal court fines and fees."

"This perverse scheme of taxation by citation," Dempsey continued, "is an unsustainable trend that stifles our communities, damages the reputation of law enforcement and creates an adversarial relationship with the very citizens they are sworn to protect and serve."

Senator Eric Schmitt has filed a bill that would reduce the amount a city, town or village can receive from traffic fines and court costs in its annual budget from 30-percent to 10-percent.

Dempsey said the Senate would, "not turn a blind eye to the need for reform on this front," but then admonished those who turned violent during the protests in the past five months.

"Let me be clear," Dempsey said, "the criminal acts carried out against local shopkeepers, citizens, and police officers by individuals who have hi-jacked the peaceful protests of concerned citizens have no place in a civil society where all must be subject to the rule of law."

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OUSTED FIRE CHIEF IN O'FALLON, MO., RUNNING FOR FIRE DISTRICT BOARD SEAT


O'Fallon, Mo, Fire Chief Mike Ballmann, center, attends a meeting in 2004 along with other fire chiefs from the area. Photo by Huy Mach, hmach@post-dispatch.com

January 8, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

O'FALLON, MO. - Former Fire Chief Mike Ballmann, who claimed he was forced out by the firefighters union and filed suit against the O'Fallon Fire Protection District, is now vying for a seat on the district board.

Ballmann, 59, announced his candidacy on Wednesday. He is running against incumbent William Laughlin, 39, who is seeking his second four-year term.

Laughlin said it didn't make sense that Ballmann was running for the board.

"It's absurd that somebody would be running for office representing the taxpayers of O'Fallon when they're suing that same district," he said.

Ballmann, a lifelong resident of O'Fallon with 40 years of fire service experience, said he decided to run because he wants to remain involved in some of the projects started under his tenure, like the building of a new firehouse on North Main Street.

"The fire service is really the only thing I know a whole lot about, so I don't want to give that up yet," he said.

Ballmann was one of two top fire district officials who was placed on paid administrative leave in April and given a choice of a buyout offer or being fired.

Afterward, Ballmann spoke out about what he said was too much union involvement in district operations.

The job ultimatum followed a lawsuit Ballmann and four other officials filed over an earlier buyout offer. The suit alleged the offer breached their employment contracts and asked a judge to ensure they'd get severance pay if they were fired in the cost-cutting move.

That suit and two others over Ballmann's departure remain active.

"I'm hoping that those things will be settled by the time the election rolls around," he said. "And if they're not, I wouldn't be able to be part of any of the negotiations or the discussions if I were to win."

Laughlin said Wednesday that while the personnel changes that included Ballmann's termination were difficult, they resulted in a $330,000 annual savings to the district and an improvement in morale.

"We really felt we had too many chiefs, and now we're getting more work done with less people because people know what their responsibilities are," Laughlin said.

Laughlin said that while he had respect for Ballmann's tenure, the district needed a fresh perspective.

The filing period for the board seat runs through Jan. 20. The election is April 7.

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MAN ACCUSED OF STARTING FIRE AT ESTRANGED GIRLFRIEND'S ST. CHARLES COUNTY HOME

January 5, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Mark Schlinkmann

ST. LOUIS CHARLES COUNTY - Kelvin Jackson Jr., 29, faces a felony arson charge after police said he started a fire Thursday at the home of his estranged girlfriend.

A court document says Jackson, of the 9200 block of Shadydale Drive in Jennings, poured gasoline on the garage door from a plastic cup and ignited it with a lighter. The incident was at a townhome on Letham Court.

St. Charles County police said Jackson had followed the woman home and became enraged after realizing her new boyfriend was there. Authorities said damage was limited to the garage door.

Jackson was in the St. Charles County Jail Monday with cash-only bail set at $100,000.

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TWO CAPTAINS RETIRED FROM FIRE DISTRICT


Photo by Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

January 6, 2015 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

FLORISSANT - Congratulations to Captains Frank Schuler and Jim Hibbeler on their retirement from the Florissant Valley Fire District. Captain Schuler retired December 30th after working 32 years and Captain Hibbeler is retiring today after working 34 years for the district. Thank you for your service. You will be missed!

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TIME RUNNING OUT TO FILE FOR FIRE BOARD DIRECTOR

January 6, 2015 -

Those wishing to be a candidate as a Fire Board Director have until January 20th, 2015 to file as a candidate for election at the General Municipal Election to be held on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

According to RSMo Section 321.130: A person, to be qualified to serve as a director, shall be a voter of the district at least one year before the election or appointment and be over the age of twenty-five years; except as provided in subsections 2 and 3 of this section. The person shall also be a resident of such fire protection district. In the event the person is no longer a resident of the district, the person's office shall be vacated, and the vacancy shall be filled as provided in section 321.200. Nominations and declarations of candidacy shall be filed at the headquarters of the fire protection district by paying a ten dollar filing fee and filing a statement under oath that such person possesses the required qualifications.

The following Fire Protection Districts are requesting candidates to fill openings for Fire Board Director:

FLORISSANT VALLEY
MEHLVILLE
MONARCH
O'FALLON
RIVERVIEW
SPANISH LAKE
WENTZVILLE
WEST COUNTY EMS & FIRE




HIDDEN DANGERS OF EXTREME COLD WEATHER

January 5, 2015 - KTVI BY JEFF BERNTHAL

ST. LOUIS - It is a busy time for area fire departments. This cold snap has first responders issuing a number of warnings. One of those warnings is to stay off ponds that appear frozen. It seems each year someone falls through ice. It doesn't take long for hypothermia to put a life at risk.

Area plumbers are also preparing for a busy week. They hope homeowners will take precautions when it comes to keeping pipes from freezing. If they do freeze, one area fire chief warns of a potential fire danger.

"I have been to so many fires where people use a blow torch to thaw their pipes," says Chief Ernie Rhodes, West County EMS & Fire Protection District. "As they're thawing the pipe, the heat is conducted up the pipe and that starts a fire in the wall."

It isn't too cold for skiers, snowboarders and snow tubers at Hidden Valley. They hit the slopes Monday night after the resort made more snow.

General Manager Bill Brandes says technology is catching up with the weather. He was wearing heated gloves that were battery-powered.

"Enjoy your sport but think sensibly," said Brandes. "Dress accordingly and warm up once in a while."?

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VIDEO: TURKEY ATTACKS WENTZVILLE FIRE TRUCK

January 4, 2015 - KMOV

ST. LOUIS - Firefighters from the Wentzville Fire Protection District posted a video on Facebook of turkey who tried to chase down and peck a fire truck. Firefighters said the bird attempted to do so for nearly four hours.

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SPACE HEATER SPARKS EUREKA HOUSE FIRE


Photo by KSDK

January 1, 2014 - KSDK

EUREKA - A space heater is to blame for sparking a house fire in Eureka.

It happened just before 8 a.m. Thursday in the 700 block of Top Notch Lane. Investigators say the fire started in the basement.

Firefighters from Eureka and five other communities battled the fire.

One resident suffered minor burns on his hands trying to put out the fire on his own.

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BATTALION CHIEF RETIRES


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

December 31, 2014 -

ST. LOUIS - Congratulations to Battalion Chief Robert "Lucky" Shy who is retiring after 31 years of dedicated service with the Saint Louis Fire Department!

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EMS SUPERVISOR RETIREMENT


Photo by St. Louis Firefighters Community Outreach

December 31, 2014

ST. LOUIS - Congratulations to EMS Supervisor Yvonne Ewing on her retirement after 31 yrs of service to the City of Saint Louis.

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HEAVY SMOKE, WATER DAMAGE AFTER CONDO COMPLEX GARAGE FIRE


Photo by KTVI

December 28, 2014 - KTVI , BY PAUL SCHANKMAN

CREVE COEUR - Firefighters in Creve Coeur scrambled to put out a smoky fire in a 30 car garage Sunday morning.

"There was smoke pouring all the way down the entire building, just bellowing out," said resident Shelia Umbright. "It was huge!"

Fire in a 30 car garage is nothing to take lightly so several departments responded to this two alarm fire at about 8:00 Sunday morning at Creve Coeur Station condos.

Chief Chuck Marsonette with the Monarch Fire Protection District explained, "We have a common attic in that building that runs all the way down that building. With the items that could be inside, petroleum products and items of that nature, we certainly wanted to be prepared should we need any additional units."

Most of the fire damage is to the ceilings and the roof. Firefighters had to chop their way through the garage doors. But as it turned out, there were hardly any cars parked inside. A lot of residents are out of town for the holidays and many others prefer to use these one car stalls as storage lockers.

Resident Anita Paxton said, "We keep junk in there."

FOX 2 reporter Paul Schankman asked her, "Good junk or just junk junk?"

"Actually good junk. That was the problem. We were driving up going oh my god oh my god..."

Still some cars were parked inside, including a 1963 Plymouth Fury. But it was the damage to a 2000 Honda that was breaking one owner's heart.

Angela Schelker explained her husband's sadness, "He has had it for years. It's his baby so he is a little upset about it right now. I actually have the newer car but he always keeps his in the garage because it's his baby."

"These are all material things." said Shelia Umbright. "No one is injured. No one lost their home or their puppies or kitty cats so that's... so if we were going to have a fire it was better out in the garages than in the building."

Investigators think the fire started in the attic but they have yet to figure out the cause. Most of the damage to the contents of the garages was from smoke and water.

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FIRE DESTROYS SPANISH LAKE HOME

December 26, 2014 - KMOV

SPANISH LAKE - The Spanish Lake Fire Protection District said the preliminary cause of an early morning fire that destroyed a home in the 1400 block of Farmview was electrical. Officials said the fire had been burning in the wall for some time, which resulted in structure damage to the home.

Two adults and seven children were in the home and disaster volunteers with the American Red Cross are providing emergency food, infant formula and shelter.

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FIREFIGHTERS HELP NEEDY FAMILY WITH GIFTS


Photo by St. Louis Firefighters Community Outreach

December 26, 2014 - St. Louis Firefighters Community Outreach

ST. LOUIS - Engine Company 10 had a call for a fire in a water heater a few weeks ago, during the call they noticed that the family (a single mom and little girl) didn't have anything and were sleeping on the floor. After seeing this the 10's decided to bring a little holiday cheer to them this Christmas. So guys from Engine Houses 10 and 17 bucked up to purchased gifts for the little girl and her mom. As you can see from the pics it turned out great!!

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MOST FIRE DISTRICT EMPLOYEES TO RECEIVE ONE-TIME PAYMENT OF $924

December 24, 2014 - Call Newspaper
By Mike Anthony Executive Editor

MELVILLE - The majority of Mehlville Fire Protection District employees will receive a one-time payment of $924 as a result of a surplus distribution from the district's workers' compensation insurance trust.

The Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to divide the $114,595.67 surplus evenly among the 124 employees who have worked for Mehlville for more than one year and are actively employed as of Dec. 30.

The $924 is based on a preliminary calculation, according to Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond, who noted that the one-time payment will not modify the district's 2015 budget that was adopted earlier this month.

At the Dec. 17 board meeting, Bond said, "... The Missouri Fire and Ambulance Districts' Insurance Trust, who is the trust that we have our workers' compensation insurance through, has approved a surplus distribution related to the years 2004 and 2005. That means there were some claims that were open that have been resolved to the point that now they're able to close out those years.

"I realize it was a decade ago, but sometimes it takes awhile to resolve certain matters, not necessarily related to our district, but perhaps other districts that participate in the trust."

Bond added, "This surplus distribution is the result of actual claims not exceeding the premiums that were charged for the respective years for all participants in the trust."

In the past, Mehlville has received surplus distributions, he said, noting that from 1996 to 2013, the district received surplus distributions totaling $951,571.47.

Since 1996, the district's workers' compensation experience modification factor, which is based on claims submitted, has decreased to 0.95 from 1.25, Bond said. The experience modification factor is applied to the district's annual preliminary premium, and increases or decreases the premium, he added.

"An experience modification factor of less than 1 discounts the premium, which is the current situation here at the Mehlville Fire District ...," Bond said.

The chief financial officer said the district's 2014 and 2015 budgets did not include employee salary increases, other than step increases.

While both budgets projected surpluses, the surplus revenue was reserved for a variety of future expenditures.

"So our recommendation that we're bringing forward to the board tonight is that since these surplus funds were not anticipated, it's recommended that the distribution be passed through with the employees, who have not had any pay increases the past two years," Bond said. "The payment will serve as an incentive to employees to continue their dedication to safe working practices ..."

Board Chairman Aaron Hilmer noted that when he and board Treasurer Bonnie Stegman first ran for office in 2005, they questioned the need for Proposition S, a 33-cent tax-rate increase that had been approved by voters in November 2004.

Hilmer and Stegman ran a reform campaign in which they pledged to eliminate fiscal waste and roll back the 33-cent tax-rate increase.

During the process leading up to placing Proposition S on the ballot, district officials projected that workers' compensation premiums would increase dramatically in the coming years.

For example, annual increases of 20 percent were projected for workers' compensation and property insurance premiums. In 2004, the district paid $759,859.

Those premiums were projected to rise to $5,645,816 in 2015 - a 642-percent increase over the 2004 cost.

After taking office, Hilmer said reducing the district's workers' compensation premium became a priority. In December 2005, the board voted 2-1 to hire a consultant to assist the district in formulating new workers' compensation guidelines and a minimum level of fitness policy.

Hilmer and Stegman voted in favor of hiring the consultant, while then-board Secretary Dan Ottoline was opposed.

Before that vote was taken, Hilmer noted that the district's premiums for workers' compensation had increased by more than $560,000 since 2000 - to $892,616 from $332,311.

As a result of the reforms enacted by the board, the district's workers' compensation premium is $567,000 for 2015 and $582,000 for 2014. Hilmer noted last week that while the district has reaped benefits from the changes to the workers' compensation program, a big factor was also that employees bought into the changes.

"... We can only create policy. We can hire administrators to enforce it, but at some point the buy-in really helps, and I think we've had that. You can even call it a culture change," he said. "So when (Chief) Brian (Hendricks) presented this to me, I thought it would be a good idea to say, 'Hey, we did it, but we also had help along the way now so we could do that ...'"

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KIRKWOOD HOME DESTROYED BY FIRE


Photo by Kirkwood Fire Department

December 23, 2014 - Kirkwood Fire Department

KIRKWOOD - Kirkwood Fire Department responded to a fire in a residence Monday on Couch Ave. No injuries were reported but the house was heavily damaged. Kirkwood was assisted by Glendale, Fenton, Crestwood and Valley Park fire departments.

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FIRE DISTRICT PROMOTION


Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District

December 23, 2014 - Metro West Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - In December of 2014 Metro West proudly promoted Jim Moss to the rank of Lieutenant / Paramedic. Lt. Moss has worked hard shaping his career both at Metro West and through external efforts as a trainer and educator in the Fire and EMS profession.

Please join us in congratulating Lieutenant Moss on this achievement.

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KIRKWOOD PREPARES TO ASK VOTERS FOR SALES TAX FOR FIRE, EMERGENCY MEDICAL WORKERS

December 21, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

KIRKWOOD - The Kirkwood City Council had the first reading last week of a bill to ask voters on April 7 to approve a 0.25 percent sales tax for fire and emergency medical services.

It is scheduled for a final vote on Jan. 8.

Passage of the initiative would bring the Kirkwood Fire Department about $1.1 million a year in new revenue.

Seventeen cities in St. Louis County with municipal fire departments are allowed to use sales taxes to fund their departments. Only Kirkwood and Glendale haven't approved the taxes.

Kirkwood public information officer Beth von Behren said that since 2008, Kirkwood city expenditures have been growing faster than revenues. They now outstrip revenues.

Meanwhile, the percentage of the budget taken up by fire and police increased from 52 percent in fiscal year 2008 to 60 percent in fiscal year 2014.

This is one way to deal with this situation, von Behren said.

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OFF-DUTY ST. LOUIS FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE THREE PEOPLE FROM BURNING CAR


Firefighters Frank Carter (left), Licole McKinney and Vincent Smith (right) pose with Fire Capt. James Green (rear). Smith holds a sweater they used to put out the flames on three car crash victims. Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

December 20, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Denise Hollinshed

ST. LOUIS - Three off-duty St. Louis firefighters heading to their jobs saw a vehicle on fire and managed to pull three people from the flames Saturday morning.

The victims were on fire, and the firefighters used a sweater to swat out the flames before giving the driver CPR.

The three victims were in a car that crashed at 7:15 a.m. at North Broadway and Humboldt Avenue, according to St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby.

The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed on Broadway when the driver lost control and struck a pole, causing the vehicle's engine to burst into flames, he said. The three occupants were unconscious and trapped.

The three firefighters, traveling in three different vehicles, were on Broadway headed to work when they came upon the wreckage along with other motorists.

Two of the firefighters, Licole McKinney and Vincent Smith, work out of Engine House No. 33, at North Broadway and Halls Ferry Road. The third firefighter, Frank Carter, works out of Engine House No. 20, at Broadway and Prescott Avenue.

Mosby said the three quickly jumped out of their vehicles went into action. Several of the civilians were enlisted to help, with one directed to call 911 and another to get something to break the car's windows.

The three firefighters pulled the victims from the burning car, with McKinney burning her hand in the process. They put out the flames and started CPR on the driver, who was in cardiac arrest.

All three victims were transported to a hospital. The driver, 25, was listed in critical but stable condition; the female passenger was listed in critical condition; and the third man, 24, was listed as in serious but stable condition.

Mosby said McKinney felt helpless when she first arrived on the scene because she did not have the tools firefighters normally would use to rescue a victim from a vehicle. He said she and the others quickly overcame that and improvised.

"I have no doubt in my mind that if the firefighters had not been there, they would have burned to death," he said. "By the time our truck would have gotten there, it wouldn't have been good at all."

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FIRE DISTRICT NAMES NEW FIRE CHIEF

December 19, 2014

CHESTERFIELD - KMOX radio is reporting that the Monarch Fire Protection District has named Interim Fire Chief Charles 'Chuck' Marsonette as the new Fire Chief of the District.

According to the Fire District web site, Chief Marsonette has a diverse public safety background with 23 years of experience in fire, emergency medical services, and law enforcement. Most recently, he worked with a local healthcare company in reducing employee injuries, worker's compensation, and risk management for the aviation and safety division. In addition, Chief Marsonette has an extensive knowledge of incident command and emergency planning/management. Chief Marsonette remains a law enforcement officer with a local jurisdiction on a part time basis.

Chief Marsonette understands the importance of public safety and has the leadership skills and experience needed to lead in an effective and efficient manner. His focus will be to manage operations to ensure the community continues to receive high quality fire and emergency services.

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CENTRAL COUNTY EMERGENCY 911 RECAPS ITS EFFORTS IN RESPONDING TO FERGUSON'S NEEDS

December 19, 2014 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Personnel from Central County Emergency 911 brought their "A game" to help deal with the recent civil unrest that followed the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting death.

That description of how the dispatch center's employees performed came from Michael Turner, CCE's executive director, in a review of actions taken to handle the expected higher volume of calls for fire and emergency medical services.

At the Dec. 18 CCE Board of Directors meeting, Turner provided a detailed look at actions the agency took in the wake of planning efforts that began a month before the grand jury's decision was announced.

The preparations involved key emergency personnel from North County and the region, as well as the CCE staff. Among other things, plans included setting up and equipping a "forward command post" inside a secure brick building in Jennings where steel plates were placed across the structure's front wall to provide a bullet-resistant environment.

CCE personnel transferred gear from the agency's mobile communications command vehicle and installed it and other needed equipment to make the Jennings location operational.

CCE employees and additional personnel obtained through the Missouri Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (MoTERT) worked 12-hour shifts during the November unrest to handle the higher 911 call volume and to staff the Jennings location.

Turner said CCE's computer-aided dispatching software worked with no reported problems. A review of the center's recording equipment also showed no calls were missed and no service was denied during the unrest, he added.

In addition, sleeping accommodations, meal arrangements and training were arranged for MoTERT dispatchers.

Turners report was greeted with accolades from the board and applause from audience members at the meeting. The board unanimously approved a motion to draft and frame a resolution of commendation to the CCE staff.

Jane Cunningham, a director representing the Monarch Fire Protection District on the CCE board, said she hopes a local restaurant or caterer will volunteer to provide a meal event as a reward to the dispatch center's personnel.

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FIRST RESPONDERS: DITCH THE SPINE BOARD

December 15, 2014 - MEDPAGE TODAY
By Melissa Kroll, MD, Hawnwan Phillip Moy, MD, and Evan Schwarz MD

ST. LOUIS - (Excerpts from article) It's the middle of the night when the paramedics roll into the ED with a pedestrian that was struck by a car. The patient reports that the car came around the corner and hit his leg. He remembers everything about the accident and complains only of his leg hurting. He appears to have an open, compound fracture to his leg, which was splinted in the field. In addition, the paramedics inform you that, on his initial exam, he did not have any midline neck tenderness or any pain with full range of motion. However, secondary to his distracting injury, a C-collar and backboard were placed on the patient. After the paramedics leave, you're left wondering what the evidence is on C-collar immobilization, and if it was really necessary to place a collar and backboard on this patient without any neck or back pain.

While the data to support spinal immobilization are weak, there is an increasing amount of evidence noting potential risks and morbidity associated with spinal immobilization. Spinal immobilization has been used to prevent aggravating spinal cord injury. However, in a controversial study done by Hauswald et al., non-immobilized patients in Malaysia had better neurological outcomes than similar injury-matched patients who were immobilized in New Mexico (OR 2.03). While these studies were conducted in vastly different countries, the overall notion that secondary injury to the cord due to transport is rare because the forces exerted during transport are weak compared with that required to injure the spinal cord may still hold true. Other studies have shown increased mortality (OR 2.06-2.77) in patients with penetrating trauma and spinal immobilization, most likely because it takes time (approximately 5 minutes, at best) to place a patient into full immobilization, which delays resuscitation and getting the patient into an operating room.

Placing a patient in spinal immobilization can adversely affect breathing and airway management. One study conducted on healthy volunteers showed that placing a patient on a backboard restricts respiration, with older patients having a greater degree of restriction. It is not difficult to imagine that the restriction can have a significant impact on patients with respiratory distress or in those patients with baseline pulmonary disease. Spinal immobilization also can make airway management more difficult, as it is often much more difficult to intubate a patient in a C-collar. In addition, patients not requiring airway management are at an increased risk of aspiration from vomiting.

In addition, pressure ulcers are very painful complications from spinal immobilization. Pressure ulcers begin forming within 30 minutes of immobilization. This is particularly troubling as another study demonstrated that the average time a patient spends on a backboard is approximately an hour. The process of immobilization has been shown to cause increased pain scores in healthy volunteers, so even those without midline spinal tenderness in the field may have tenderness on arrival to the emergency department.

While the evidence supporting spinal immobilization is minimal, especially in patients who are awake and have no neurologic symptoms, the preserved consequence of causing additional spinal cord injury is so severe that randomized, controlled studies on this topic are rare and difficult to do. However, there is increasing evidence of potential harm with full spinal immobilization. In response to the research, the St. Louis Fire Department-Emergency Medical Services Division, American Medical Response/Abbott EMS, and Clayton Fire Department removed backboards from their protocol in September 2014, although C-collar and C-spine stabilization still remain a part of their pre-hospital care.

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INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TOOL UTILIZED FOR PLANNING SURROUNDING GRAND JURY ANNOUNCEMENT

December 16, 2014 - EMS1.COM

CLAYTON - An incident management tool produced by Incident Response Technologies, Inc. (IRT), allowed the city of Clayton, Missouri to prepare for and respond to demonstrations, protests and incidents surrounding the grand jury announcement of the Ferguson case. As Clayton is the seat of St. Louis County, the announcement was made from the County's justice center, making Clayton an anticipated location for demonstrations organized by various groups.

The Rhodium® Incident Management Suite, a cloud-based software, was utilized by the Clayton Fire and Police Departments to coordinate with roughly 60 other agencies in St. Louis County including those responsible for the protection and management of critical infrastructure such as local law enforcement and the Missouri National Guard. Given the possibility of widespread, on-going demonstrations following the grand jury announcement, the Clayton Fire and Police Departments worked closely with IRT to create plans and detailed maps for demonstrations, spontaneous protests and various contingency plans within Rhodium®.

Multiple incident action plans (IAPs) were prepared within Rhodium® and were first used in table-top exercises prior to the grand jury announcement. With the IAPs and robust mapping features in Rhodium®, the system allowed multiple agencies to visualize contingencies by location and incident type during the planning the phase.

The IAPs and contingency plans for the first two operational periods were pre-planned, and once activated, crews were able to roll these plans into subsequent operational periods creating simplified, effective and efficient work flows in the following days.

"These are first class IAPs," said Chief Mark Thorp with the Missouri Region C Incident Support Team. "These went out to the EOC, and a lot of guys at the EOC are on Type 2 and Type 3 teams, and they're recognizing these high quality IAPs."

Once the grand jury announcement was made at the justice center, incident commanders with Clayton Fire and Police Departments had the ability to activate the IAPs and comprehensively manage emergency response within the City of Clayton and its surrounding communities. Rhodium® provided the commanders with the ability to coordinate movements, assignments, locations and actions taken by responders through the region, to include events happening in Ferguson, eight miles away.

Rhodium® allows field commanders and EOCs in a variety of emergency situations to immediately and accurately order, track and assign resources using tablets, smartphones and computers. Clayton Fire used Rhodium® to create 15 mapping layers to track and display both contingency plans and current operational information that were continuously updated to show the locations of road closures, staging areas, protest locations, suspicious activities, alarm locations, arrest locations and other tactical information.

Clayton Fire utilized Rhodium® in three command staff briefings each day to display current resource status, and plan future operations. The use of Rhodium® contributed to a well-organized response in Clayton and helped the city prevent any major incidents from developing.

Since the City of Clayton was a new customer and had not implemented Rhodium® into its operations yet, IRT provided a technical team for five days of on-site operations throughout the incident to help manage the Rhodium® system. The IRT team was able to assist the City of Clayton with Rhodium® prior to the incident, as well as during and after by training responders, coordinating general IT support for other systems and hardware, and actively developing custom functionality to meet the unique needs of this major event.

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MONARCH FIRE BATTALION CHIEF FIRED, AND DOESN'T KNOW WHY


Photo by Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach

December 16, 2014 - KMOX

CHESTERFIELD - A 35-year veteran of the Monarch Fire Protection District has been fired, and he doesn't know why.

Sean Porter rose through the ranks during his career with Monarch - being named Battalion Chief in April of 2012.

But last Friday, according to a news release from the Firefighters Union Local 2665, Porter was called into a closed Monarch board meeting and asked to recount the procedures of the process that led to his promotion.

After the meeting, he was called into Interim Chief's office and asked to resign. When Porter refused to resign, he was fired.

Porter says he was told board members wanted him to resign, but that it had nothing to do with his job performance.

Union vice president and shop steward for Monarch Andy Stecko says the firing is an attempt to destroy the morale of their firefighter and paramedic team.

Porter says he is shocked by the firing, stating he has never been officially reprimanded and has no discipline problems in his personnel file.

Porter says his next move will be guided by legal counsel.

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BATTALION CHIEF FIRED BY BOARD OF DIRECTORS


Photo by Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach

December 12, 2014 - Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach

CHESTERFIELD - Monarch Firefighters report that Sean Porter, a decorated Battalion Chief of the Monarch Fire Protection District has been fired tonight at a meeting of the Monarch Fire Board. No official reason was given.

There has been no official statement from the Monarch Fire Protection District Board on the termination of the Battalion Chief.

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MAPLEWOOD OFFICIALS GET PEEK AT DESIGN PLAN FOR FIRE STATION

December 12, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

MAPLEWOOD - Officials got their first look Tuesday night at the city's proposed $6 million firehouse.

The firehouse is being designed by JEMA, an architectural firm specializing in designing fire and police stations.

The design, which John Mueller of JEMA called "transitional" in appearance, features a 20,000-square-foot, two-story building with two sections joined by a central spine. Facing Manchester Road will be a three-vehicle drive-through apparatus bay with large windows. The back section of the building will actually be the main entrance and will house administrative offices, a training room and a fitness center.

Proposed materials are brick and stone echoing the look of the Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School behind the building. The building will also have accents of the copper found in the City Hall building.

The building will be constructed just west of the existing firehouse on a site bordered by Manchester on the south, Bredell Avenue on the west and an access road behind City Hall on the north.

Mueller said the "postage stamp-sized site" posed several challenges, including the fact that the tract, like the one City Hall is on, is sloped. Like City Hall, the new building will have a "Manchester level" and a "pool level," a reference to the municipal swimming pool behind the building.

While officials have committed to building a "sustainable" building, Councilman Barry Greenberg asked if the city would be willing to spend the additional money to have the building certified by the U. S. Green Building Council that it has met specific requirements. Estimates are certification would cost the city about $60,000.

City Manager Martin J. Corcoran said it would be a good move for the city. "You are establishing for the rest of the community how you view energy efficiency, and if you ask the sustainability commission, they'll go nuts if you don't do it," he said.

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ST. LOUIS RAMS MAKE DONATION TO THE BACKSTOPPERS


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December 11, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Christine Byers cbyers@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8087

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Rams presented a $50,000 donation before Thursday night's game to The Backstoppers Inc., a charity that helps fallen police. The move comes after five players displayed a pre-game "hands up" gesture last month that offended many officers.

The team gave an equal amount to Reinvest North County to help small businesses and schools in Ferguson.

Rams officials notified the Backstoppers group's executive director, Ron Battelle, on Wednesday but did not tell him the contribution's amount. The Backstoppers provides financial assistance to families of police officers, firefighters and EMS workers killed in the line of duty.

Battelle said the football team has supported the nonprofit before by donating portions of ticket sales during games and holding a fundraising softball game, but a cash donation before a game is something new.

He would not speculate on the team's motives. "This is great news for our families, and that's where my focus is, and if it will help them, I'm all for it," Battelle said.

Kevin Demoff, Rams executive vice president of football operations, said: "We're proud to be able to continue to work on the effort with both Ferguson and law enforcement. This is the beginning of what we hope will be a very good partnership with both moving forward."

The "hands up" gesture has been used by protesters upset over the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, by then-Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white.

Rams tight end Jared Cook and wide receivers Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britt and Chris Givens used the gesture as they came onto the field before the Nov. 30 game against Oakland. Britt and running back Tre Mason struck a "hands up" pose after Mason's 35-yard touchdown on a screen pass in the first quarter of that game.

Several of the Rams players involved said it should not be interpreted as taking sides in the issue of whether Wilson was justified to shoot Brown.

But some police officers and law enforcement supporters were strongly critical of the gestures.

Since that game, Rams officials have had internal discussions about ways they could show support for St. Louis area law enforcement.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association's business manager, Jeff Roorda, and city Police Chief Sam Dotson have met with Rams officials. The team's executive vice president of football operations, Kevin Demoff, made a conciliatory call to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.

Gabe Crocker, president of the St. Louis County Police Association, had called the five players' gesture "classless."

Crocker said The Backstoppers donation "is a good first step to repairing the damage that was done several weeks ago." He said, "The players' actions had a profoundly negative impact on public safety personnel and their supporters throughout the community."

"I still would not expect many public safety folks to be lining up for tickets."

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FIREFIGHTERS SAY GOVERNOR DIDN'T PROTECT THEM

September 15, 2014 - KSDK By Farrah Fazal, KSDK

FERGUSON - The flames burned for hours on the night of November 24th. it was the night Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced the grand jury decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

Firefighters trying to battle those blazes said, "When the emergency calls came in during the protests on November 24, Governor Nixon failed to deliver on his promise to protect the community and firefighters with National Guard troops. Governor Nixon's failure meant firefighters were not dispatched in many circumstances to save businesses and homes in locations where protests turned violent with increased danger. Where firefighters were dispatched to do their jobs, in a number of cases they were attacked and gun fire was present at the scene, and they had to abandon their hose lines and equipment to take cover."

The president of the International Association of Firefighters Mark Woolbright was not available to do an on-camera interview with us but he said, "Governor Nixon turned his back on fire fighters when it mattered most - when they were needed to help save areas of the Ferguson and adjoining communities from further damage. It turned out that the governor's words were nothing more than empty promises and pathetic political posturing of the worst kind. As a result, fire fighters were often found in unsecured and dangerous positions. Because of such, the normal risk of firefighting was taken to an all new heightened level. It was extremely unfortunate the Ferguson community citizens and business owners of Ferguson were left with little or no fire protection, leaving nothing more than ashes and tears from their measurable loss."

At least 25 businesses were on fire that night. Senator Jamilah Nasheed is on the Government Accountability Committee of the state Legislature, which meets on Thursday. She said she will ask the other members to investigate the governor's decision on that day and where the National Guard was while criminals were lighting homes, businesses and cars on fire.

Statement from the governor's office--

The Governor appreciates the bravery and dedication of the hundreds of law enforcement officers, guardsmen and fire fighters who worked tirelessly to protect the public in a very difficult, dangerous and volatile situation in Ferguson that night.

From the beginning, the plan developed and executed by the unified command was to have the Guard stationed in support roles at places like fire houses, police stations and power substations so that experienced law enforcement officers could be out policing protest areas. That night, more than 700 guardsmen were deployed to nearly 100 locations around the St. Louis region, including at the Ferguson Command Post. There were also nearly 500 law enforcement officers, including 150 state troopers, in Ferguson.

The Governor has said repeatedly that the violence and destruction seen that night was unacceptable and that he will be working with those businesses every step of the way to help them rebuild. But the fact that no citizens, law enforcement officers or fire fighters lost their lives is a testament to the hard work and professionalism of the men and women who worked day and night to protect the public.

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY PARAMEDIC ALLEGES DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF HIS MILITARY SERVICE

December 10, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - A paramedic for the county ambulance district has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the district repeatedly discriminated against him while he served as a Navy reservist and a member of the Illinois National Guard.

Matthew Lindewirth, a 17-year veteran of the district, also said he was denied pay, promotions and light duty after he was injured while transporting classified information in Africa.

The suit names current and former members of the district board as well as the current CEO Taz Meyer.

In a written statement, the district said it "strongly denied" the allegations.

"St. Charles County Ambulance District strongly supports our veterans, and proudly employs numerous current and former military personnel," the statement said. "Likewise, the employment policies of the district are supportive of the men and women who have served our nation."

Lindewirth's suit said his mistreatment included being harassed when he pointed out district violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Act of 1994. He was forced to apologize to then-CEO Ken Koch and the board for challenging district policy by reporting it to the Department of Defense, the suit claims.

In addition, the lawsuit claims Koch told two other employees who were in the military at the time that "everything" was going to be taken away from them because of Lindewirth's actions. This led to arguments between Lindewirth and other employees as well as the berating of Lindewirth, according to the lawsuit.

Lindewirth claims he was not paid the differential between his military pay and his paramedic pay, despite other employees getting that money. In addition, the district failed to pay his retirement benefits for six years while he was on military duty. While deployed another time, it canceled his insurance, sick time and vacation, the suit says.

After Lindewirth injured both arms in Africa in 2012, he had to have three operations, and the district tried to force him to take time off under the Family Medical Leave Act, which would not have provided him enough time to recover, according to the suit.

In addition, when Lindewirth returned, the district refused to place him on light duty and as a result, his recovery allegedly was compromised.

"Members of the military like Lindenwirth risk all, and when they come back they shouldn't have to deal with employers that can't even follow the law," said Lindenwrth's attorney, Lynette Petruska.

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FIRE DISTRICT EARNS AWARD FOR FINANCIAL REPORTING


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

December 10, 2014 - Call News

MEHLVILLE - The Mehlville Fire Protection District recently earned a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its 2013 financial statements.

This is the 16th consecutive year the district has received this recognition.

"... This is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by our government and our management ...," Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond told the Board of Directors last month. "... I just wanted to share that information with the board that we had received a glowing review from the association and it represents to the taxpayers the good job we do with transparency and sharing with them the financial update of our organization."

The fire district's 2013 financial statements have been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the nonprofit association's program, according to a news release.

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ATF RECEIVES SOME LEADS INTO FERGUSON ARSON

December 9, 2014 - KMOX By Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)

FERGUSON - The feds report they are getting some leads from a reward offered to help solve a rash of arson the night the Ferguson grand jury decision was announced.

With more than 20 fires set that night, including one at the Flood Christian Church in Ferguson, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reports it has received several videos from businesses in the area and via the tips line.

"And all of that is very beneficial," says John Ham, spokesman with ATF.

"Even if it's just word of mouth, that somebody has started one of these fires, or was associated with one of these fires in any way, that's information that we would be interested in having," he says.

The reward for information leading to an arrest is $10,000.

The number to call with tips is 1-888-ATF-FIRE.

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FIREFIGHTER PROMOTIONS


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

December 9, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - Congratulations to those recently promoted by the St. Louis Fire Department. (Left to right) Steve Fritsch to Captain, Wayne Luster to Battalion Chief and Mike Richardson to Communications Manager.

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GUNS 'N HOSES FUNDRAISER RESCHEDULED FOR JAN. 30


Joe Stevens of the Overland Police Department (left) tries to hold off Paul Birchfield of the St. Louis Fire Department during the 27th Annual Guns 'N Hoses boxing event, held at Scottrade Center on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2013. Birchfield won the fight. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

December 8, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Christine Byers cbyers@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8087

ST. LOUIS - The region's top fundraiser for fallen first responders, postponed from Thanksgiving Eve because of unrest in Ferguson, has been reset for Jan. 30.

Budweiser Guns 'N Hoses - which pits police officers against firefighters in boxing and mixed martial arts - will go on about two months late at the Scottrade Center, organizers said.

The annual event has been on Thanksgiving Eve for 27 years, but organizers were concerned that participants would be weary from working long hours of extra duty. It is the largest fundraiser for The Backstoppers, Inc., a nonprofit that provides financial support to families of the region's police officers, firefighters and EMS workers killed in the line of duty.

When news of the postponement spread, donations to The Backstoppers soared. Someone launched a Facebook page challenging bars and lounges to charge $1 admission at their doors to benefit the nonprofit, and online contributions jumped, said Ron Battelle, the executive director.

About 60 bars and lounges participated in the Thanksgiving Eve challenge. Coupled with the online donations, Battelle said, the organization has collected about $10,000 in unexpected help.

"It has certainly helped in the cash flow situation," he said.

This year's event will honor Hematite Fire Protection District firefighter Clarence Watson (left) and Louisiana, Mo., Police Chief Richard Hughes (right). Both died of heart attacks shortly after finishing busy shifts.

"This is our one time of year that we get to honor our fallen heroes and recognize all the fine police, fire and EMS officers out there who are working really hard," Battelle said.

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FIREFIGHTERS SUPPORTING THE DREAM FACTORY


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December 8, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Fire Department supporting The Dream Factory - "Making a Child's Dream Come True!" Area firefighters shopped for holiday gifts with sixty excited children! A special thanks to Dillard's and their associates!

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REWARDS OFFERED FOR FERGUSON, DELLWOOD ARSONS

December 8, 2014 - KTVI BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

FERGUSON - The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering rewards up to $10,000 for information leading to arrests in the intentional fires set after the grand jury announcement in the Ferguson police shooting.

The ATF announced the rewards Friday. The agency singled out the arson at Flood Christian Church in nearby Country Club Hills. The father of police shooting victim Michael Brown Jr. was baptized at the church one day before the November 24 grand jury announcement.

Bomb and arson units from St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis, as well as investigators from the Missouri Highway Patrol, are assisting the investigation.

Federal investigators ask members of the public with video or photographic evidence or other information to email them at Fergusonfires(at)ATF.gov

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NEGOTIATIONS TO CONTINUE WITH FIREFIGHTERS

November 14, 2014 - South County Times by Eileen P. Duggan

CRESTWOOD - The Crestwood Board of Aldermen on Oct. 28 approved a six-month bridge agreement with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2665, representing Crestwood fire personnel.

But the board postponed the second reading of a bill that would amend the city's code regarding collective bargaining.

The bridge agreement extends the city and the firefighters' three-year memorandum of understanding, which ended Sept. 30, until March 31. The extension gives the parties time to negotiate a new contract. All terms of the 2011-2014 contract will remain in force. If a new agreement is not approved by March 31, firefighters would be offered the same economic enhancements, such as wages or leave benefits, extended to other city employees.

The collective bargaining ordinance would add to chapter 2 of the municipal code a five-page section 2-147 describing the collective bargaining process with union groups.

The board voted 8-0 to approve the bill on first reading after very little discussion, but one alderman voted against an immediate second reading. The second reading is postponed to the next meeting, Nov. 28.

The collective bargaining process would involve a team appointed by the board of aldermen to negotiate with a recognized labor organization. The bill sets forth a process to recognize any previously unrecognized labor organizations for the purposes of negotiation.

Currently, Crestwood firefighters are the only employee group represented by a labor union, the International Association of Fire Firefighters Local 2665. The proposed code change addresses the procedure should any other employee group wish to join a union.

On Sept. 23, the IAFF Local 2665 representative addressed the board of aldermen to complain that city officials had failed to schedule bargaining talks, even though the contract was near expiration. Kurt Becker, IAFF's 4th District vice president, alleged that city officials had responded only once in writing to six written communications asking that they set dates for bargaining discussions.

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FIREFIGHTERS SAY GOV. NIXON PUT THEM IN DANGER AFTER GRAND JURY DECISION

December 5, 2014 - KTVI BY CHRIS HAYES

FERGUSON - A fire fighter union says lack of leadership put fire fighters at risk on the night of the Darren Wilson grand jury decision. They say it resulted in some businesses burning while fire fighters watched powerlessly. The International Association of Fire Fighters released a statement saying Missouri Governor Jay Nixon turned his back on fire fighters when they needed him most.

On the night of November 24th, they had the manpower to fight fires, but no protection from National Guardsmen. IAFF representative Mark Woolbright, who's also a firefighter said, "We were led to believe there would be some kind of protection and barrier around us to do the work and to do the job we were sent there to do." He added, "This job is dangerous enough without having to worry about bullets flying around you or over you."

Woolbright says they were often forced to abandon equipment and drop hose lines to avoid gunfire. He said, "It's very disappointing, because we have ownership in the community." IAFF released a statement saying in part, "It turned out that the Governor's words were nothing more than empty promises and pathetic political posturing of the worst kind. As a result, fire fighters were often found in unsecured and dangerous positions."

During an interview Thursday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon defended his decision to keep National Guard out of North County November 24th and also defended his decision not to call the Guard when businesses began burning. I asked, "Why not send rapid response? (Nixon) Later, as we saw the number of shots, the fires, the choice became really clear, what was first, property or life? And in that situation, without a doubt, the right choice and the right plan was to - unfortunately there was property loss and we`ll work hard to make sure that's rebuilt - but it's also important to know that over the last 120 days, we haven't had a single life lost.'

Woolbright said fire fighters never heard about plans to let property burn. He added, "Many of the decisions either weren't enacted on or there was a change of plan at the very last minute and therefore it seemed to be a total blotched effort."

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MAN SOUGHT FOR SETTING BUSINESS ON FIRE IN FERGUSON THE NIGHT OF GRAND JURY'S DECISION


Police released this image of a suspect wanted for setting fire to a Ferguson business on December 5, 2014.

September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

FERGUSON - St. Louis County police released surveillance photos Friday of a man wanted for starting a fire at a business in Ferguson the night of the grand jury's decision.

Police say the man is wanted for starting a fire at Ferguson Market, at 9101 West Florissant Avenue after the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson on Nov. 24.

The photos show the man in the market holding what police believe is an accelerant. He started a fire, police say, but an unknown woman put out the blaze.

The market was looted and damaged that night, but remains standing. Several other businesses in the area were not as lucky; some burned to the ground.

Authorities asked anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477. Callers can remain anonymous.

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FERGUSON UNREST EXPOSES NEED FOR BALLISTIC VESTS FOR FIREFIGHTERS

December 5, 2014 - Kirkwood Times by Dennis Hannon

SHREWSBURY - The turmoil in Ferguson has had an impact on the Shrewsbury Fire Department budget. On Tuesday the board of aldermen approved an emergency purchase of ballistic vests for firefighters.

The vests were in the budget for next year, but the purchase was pushed up because firefighters had been called to duty during the riots in Ferguson, Fire Chief Bill Fox said.

While never shot at directly, Shrewsbury's firefighters were exposed to gunfire in August when called to back up departments involved in the first riot in Ferguson, Fox said.

"They were at the command post when it came under attack," Fox said. "There were shots fired," though no one at the headquarters was injured, he said.

During the second round of Ferguson riots Nov. 24, Shrewsbury sent an eight-man contingent of firefighters, Fox said. However, they were fortunate to be stationed in Clayton, where the Missouri National Guard maintained calm.

The department bought 10 vests for its 18 firefighters, Fox said.

"We bought enough to cover people who are on duty," he said.

The $6,100 purchase will put a crimp in the department's capital equipment budget next year, but "the safety of our men must come first," Fox told the board.

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CENTRAL COUNTY EMERGENCY 911 DISPATCH CENTER HIT WITH LAWSUIT

November 17, 2014 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - A consultant, whose agreement with Central County Emergency 911 was terminated more than a year ago, has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was the target of libelous statements and breach of contract.

Specifically named in the lawsuit filed by Colleen Dealey are Timothy Flora and other members of the CCE Board of Directors as well as Mike Turner, the dispatch center's executive director. Dealey is seeking $40,800, costs, attorney fees and other relief on each of the action's three counts and punitive damages from Flora, Turner and CCE on two of the counts involving libel and conspiracy to commit libel.

The lawsuit recounts Dealey's work with the dispatch center beginning in October 2012 when she was hired to provide technical expertise as CCE expanded its operations. The first contract was extended twice, the second time in June 2013 for an additional six months. However, the CCE board terminated Dealey's consulting contract just three months later.

The termination came after a number of events described in the lawsuit including:

- Flora's efforts to provide information to the board suggesting that Dealey hadn't disclosed a conflict of interest from her ownership of a software development company with Ernie Rhodes, chief of the West County EMS and Fire Protection District. According to the lawsuit, Flora also accused Dealey of receiving kickbacks from CCE vendors through the software company and for billing CCE for more than her contract specified.

- Flora's asking for and then receiving a forensic copy of the hard drive from Dealey's laptop computer. The copy included not only Dealey's billing records and various reports but also confidential medical and other personal information from EMS calls handled by the various agencies dispatched by CCE.

- The discovery that a person employed at the center during Dealey's tenure used CCE facilities to host websites with adult content and the failure of Turner to inform the CCE board on a timely basis, even though Dealey says she advised him to do so.

- Dealey and Turner differing on a number of issues, including lack of accountability and network security, overspending on the expansion effort and Turner's alleged inability to provide the CCE board with accurate information on important matters.

Asked about the lawsuit's allegations, Turner declined to comment, but Flora issued a statement saying: "Ms. Dealey's lawsuit is totally without merit. She is asking (CCE) to pay her for work she never performed. Right now she is hoping that the CCE board of directors will choose to pay her to avoid the costs of litigation. If the board declines to pay her, we expect her to withdraw her claims. We plan to file a counterclaim against Ms. Dealey, and I fully expect that she will dismiss her claims before she has to testify under oath."

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MEDIC DESCRIBES ANGER, HEARTBREAK OF FERGUSON RIOTS

December 4, 2014 - EMS1.COM

FERGUSON - Christian Hospital EMS paramedic Katie Keeter shares some of her thoughts and experiences while working in Ferguson, Mo. during the riots and protests since August 2014.

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SPANISH LAKE FIREFIGHTER RETIRES AFTER 42 YEARS OF SERVICE


Mark is shown with his two sons, Nick (right) and Steven (center). Steven is a firefighter with the St. Louis Fire Department and Nick is a firefighter with the Ferguson Fire Department.

December 3, 2014

SPANISH LAKE - Steven 'Mark' Lodes has retired from the Spanish Lake Fire Protection District effective on December 2nd, 2014. Mark retired as a firefighter/engineer with the Fire District, where he has served for the last 42 years.

Mark has said "Now I can really spend as much time as I want in the deer stand and duck blind as I've always wanted to".

Congratulations to Mark Lodes on his retirement and long service to the Spanish Lake Community.

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