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METRO WEST FIRE CHIEF RETIRES (story below)

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ARSON INVESTIGATORS PROBING NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY FIRE


KMOV

April 16, 2015 - KMOV By Dan Greenwald

VINITA PARK - Firefighters said arson investigators are looking into the cause of a house fire that broke out in Vinita Park.

Authorities said a house caught on fire in 1700 block of Crystal Court Thursday afternoon. A neighbor captured the flames shooting through the home's roof on his cell phone.

"You just saw the smoke pouring out of the vents in the attack and we heard a little pop, nothing serious, like a baby explosion and then we saw the flames going up about 10 feet in the air," said neighbor Austin Ostroff.

Police said a man and woman were seen at the house shortly before the fire started. A man who recently moved in wasn't home at the time.

Authorities said they are searching for the man and woman. They were in a gray four-door Chevrolet pick-up with Illinois license plates.

More on KMOV story




ARSON GUTS NORTH COUNTY HOME, CLAIMING LIFE OF BELOVED RESCUE DOG


Greg Stinson and Nichole Torpea with Murphy in happier times.

April 16, 2015 - Daily RFT By Sarah Fenske

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Greg Stinson and his fiancee, Nichole Torpea, were both at work on Monday (he at Ralston-Purina, she at a St. Charles garden center) when they began receiving frantic messages from a neighbor they barely knew. "Your house is on fire. You need to come home now!"

They rushed back to St. John, the north St. Louis County municipality where Stinson had bought a home in 2003. But it was already too late.

"At that point, everything that had been done was done," Stinson says. The house was a burnt shell. Virtually all of their possessions had been destroyed. And their dog, a beloved lab mix rescue named Murphy, was dead.

Naturally, Stinson found himself questioning his actions that morning. "You think about tea kettles, and candles, or a curling iron, or that faulty electric cable -- all the things you should have fixed and never did."

Investigators on the scene quickly zeroed in on something else. They wanted to know how many gas cans had been in the garage, Stinson says. As it turns out, one can that had been newly filled was missing. Fire officials told Stinson and Torpea that they believe someone poured the fuel liberally throughout the house before it was set ablaze, Stinson says, making for a quick, and deadly, inferno.

(Reached by Daily RFT, Geoff Fish, assistant fire marshal for the Community Fire Protection District, could confirm only that the fire was suspicious in nature, and that it's under investigation. He also confirmed that Murphy had been killed.)

The fire was shocking for a number of reasons: The fact that it was set in broad daylight in a quiet neighborhood. The fact that neither Stinson nor Torpea could think of anyone who wished them harm. The utter pointlessness of it. They now believe either a thief or a kid intent on vandalism swiped their coin jar and rifled through their drawers, taking a few credit cards and some camera equipment before pouring the gas and lighting the fire. Far more valuable possessions were left to burn.

But what happened next, Stinson says, has been perhaps an even bigger shock than the arson.A coworker at Purina, Rick Swensen, put up a GoFundMe page, seeking donations to help the couple. Almost immediately, and with zero publicity beyond word of mouth, it blew up -- generating more than $27,000 in just 24 hours. Other colleagues and friends dropped everything to bring by supplies and household essentials.

"You see the level of generosity..." Stinson says. "It just kind of blew my mind." The last two days have been a roller coaster, he says. And yet, "We cried more over the love we felt from our friends than over all the crappy stuff that happened."

Swensen himself was shocked by how quickly the crowd-funding campaign took off. "My heart was just broken for him -- that dog was like family to them," he says. He initially thought the GoFundMe page could raise just a few thousand to help cover the basics before insurance kicked in.

He put it live in Tuesday morning. "Within an hour, we had $1,000. Before lunch, it was close to $10,000. I had to keep upping the goal because I didn't want people not to donate!"

The crowd-funding campaign initially took off thanks to his Purina colleagues, a close group. But another reason it found such massive success was the goodwill Stinson has generated within St. Louis' tight-knit music community. He's a member of the pop-punk band the Humanoids, as well as '90s cover band the VCRs, and his house has long been a haven for members of the scene. (Stinson also played with two bands along with RFT's music editor, Daniel Hill, Step On It! and Kill Me Kate.)

Ryan Wasoba, an RFT contributor who used to be a part of the rock band So Many Dynamos, recalls the house's central place in St. Louis' punk scene.

"It was a frequent place of lodging for out-of-town bands, and a makeshift studio when Greg's old band Step On It! made their record," Wasoba writes in an email. "So Many Dynamos used to practice in Greg's basement, and we wrote and rehearsed our When I Explode album in that house. I definitely think the energy of that environment made a big impact on the music we were writing at the time."

Murphy was a part of that. Adopted at three months old after he turned up at Stinsons' parents' house, "I took him home, where he proceeded to destroy most of our things and terrorize the touring bands who would stay after shows," Stinson recalls. Yet after a year, the pup became a docile, loving part of the family.

"His chill, couch-loving, bed-crashing demeanor brought so much love every single day," Stinson recalls. "Without a doubt he was our best pal."

Stinson and Torpea have been planning an October wedding, which might make the events of the last week just about the worst thing that could possibly happen, at the worst possible time.

But for now, Stinson is focused on the support they've received -- not all they've lost.He says,"The only thing that's on my mind right now is the positive stuff. You wish that everyone in the world could experience how many people love them, and how many people care.

"If everyone knew this love was all around them, even the guy who broke into our house -- even he wouldn't be like that anymore."

See the GoFundMe page set up to help Torpea and Stinson.

More on Daily RFT story




EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIRE MARSHAL

April 16, 2015 - Fenton Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The Fenton Fire Protection District is currently seeking qualified applicants for the position of Fire Marshal.

Resumes must be submitted in person or by mail by 4:00 PM on May 1, 2015 to:
Fenton Fire Protection District
845 Gregory Lane
Fenton, MO 63026

For more information including education and experience requirements, qualifications, salary, benefits, physical demands, environment, application, and selection process, an informational document is available for download as a PDF.

Questions regarding the position or process may be addressed to Deputy Chief Lou Hecht by phone (636-343-4188 x138) or by email (lhecht@fentonfire.org).




METRO WEST FIRE CHIEF RETIRES

April 14, 2015 - KSDK By Brandie Piper

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The chief of the Metro West Fire Protection District and EMS Services has officially retired after 36 years of service.

Vince Loyal, 57, served 12 years as the chief, and started his career with the district in 1978 as a firefighter/paramedic. He was appointed chief in 2003.

"I've had the good fortune to work with outstanding elected officials and the highly skilled fire officers and paramedics during my career. I think that what has made me successful as Chief is that I never lost sight of the fact that the most important members of our department are those that arrive in the middle of the night to answer the public's call for help. I am most proud or our outstanding safety and training record. I leave the District in very capable hands. Our ability to cultivate outstanding leadership internally is a testament to the quality people we've been able to attract to Metro West," said Loyal.

The district's board of directors has appointed Deputy Chief of Operations and Training G. Michael Krause to fill the position of chief.

More on KSDK story

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ST. LOUIS 6-YEAR-OLD HONORED FOR 911 CALL THAT SAVED HIS DAD'S LIFE


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

April 14, 2015 - KTVI BY PAUL SCHANKMAN

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - At an age when kids are still working on their "A-B-C`s" one north county boy did something extraordinary because he knew the three numbers, 9-1-1. He got quite a surprise on his birthday and quite a present more than a month later.

It was a sixth birthday James Hagler Young and his dad will never forget. The Community Fire Protection District in North St. Louis County honored young James Young for saving his father`s life by having the composure to call 9-1-1 when the older James Young had a diabetic attack on March 2nd, his son`s 6th birthday.

"He was able to tell the dispatcher his address his telephone number all the imperative things he needed. He was able to recognize most importantly that his dad was in a crisis situation." said Capt. Keith Pigg of the Community Fire Protection Dist.

"Those situations are scary even for adults when their friend wife husband has an insulin reaction. He did everything like I taught him and I couldn't be more amazed or impressed, even though he is my son." said James Young.

Firefighters were so amazed and impressed the gave james a VIP tour and showered him with all the presents they could think of. They still could not think of enough accolades to offer James so they gave him one more. A new bike to replace one he is giving to a friend because James outgrew his.

No wonder his junior firefighter coat looks more like the cape of a superhero.

More on KTVI story




FAMILY OF 3 ESCAPES BALLWIN HOUSE FIRE

April 13, 2015 - KTVI BY CHRIS REGNIER

BALLWIN, MO. - A Ballwin family is forced out of their home in the middle of the night after fire engulfs part of their house.

"The firefighters upon their arrival, they had a heavy volume of fire on the exterior of the structure. It was certainly a major fire at that point," said Metro West Fire Protection District spokesperson Mike Thiemann about the fire at a ranch home on Holshire Way in Ballwin.

Firefighters from four departments rushed to the home when the call came in just after 2:00 a.m.

It took crews nearly a half hour to get the fire under control.

The flames did significant damage to the back of the home.

Investigators believe a hybrid car which was parked just outside the garage caused the fire.

Investigators say there was some sort of electrical problem in the charging system.

"Basically the electrical system always has current going through it whether it be static or not. Something happened to where it malfunctioned, caught the car on fire," said Thiemann.

Neighbors heard explosions; possibly from the tires, the airbag, or even the battery.

John Kemp heard them two blocks away.

"Turned on the TV, was watching TV and next thing I knew I heard a big boom. I thought my furnace blew up. And I got up, looked around, everything was fine, next thing I knew I heard another explosion," Kemp said.

Crews spent hours boarding up the home.

A man, his wife, and their two young daughters-ages three and five-were all inside when the fire started.

They all got out ok after the husband smelled smoke and the smoke alarms went off.

"The mother and father did an extraordinary job as parents getting the children out in a safe area. So we're very proud and happy that they're all safe," Thiemann said.

Authorities say the fire was purely accidental and there is nothing suspicious.

They also tell us they don't think the car problem that happened in this case is indicative of a larger issue with hybrid cars.

There were no injuries reported in the fire.

More on KTVI story

More Headlines for Metro West Fire




FIREFIGHTER RETIREMENT

April 13, 2015 - Kirkwood Fire & Rescue

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Kirkwood Fire Rescue bids farewell and best of luck to our co-worker Rex "the boss" Franke who is retiring from the Fire Dept. to move his family back to the Philippines. Rex is starting a mission to help the poor and needy in his home country...a good man doing good work. We love ya brother, thank you for your years of service.

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EX-ST. CHARLES COUNTY AMBULANCE OFFICIAL GETS SHOCK TIME FOR STEALING FROM URGENT CARE CENTER

April 15, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - A former county ambulance district official who prosecutors say took more than $500,000 from a private urgent care center was sentenced to 120 days shock time and must repay $150,000.

Kevin James Guerra, 46, pleaded guilty in December to taking money from Our Urgent Care, which has locations in Wentzville, St. Charles and Maryland Heights. Guerra had served as operations director of the business.

The sentence was handed down by Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham. Prosecutors had asked for Guerra to pay restitution of more than half a million dollars, but Cunningham said it was unrealistic to expect Guerra to pay back that amount in the five years he will be on probation.

Court documents say an audit commissioned by the company discovered the missing funds. The thefts occurred from 2008 to September 2013.

Guerra, of the 600 block of Ballantrae Drive in Wentzville, resigned from the ambulance board in October 2013. He had been elected to the nonpartisan part-time post in 2010.

More on St. Louis Post Dispatch story

More Headlines for St. Charles County Ambulance District

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GUNS 'N HOSES ANNOUNCES DONATION TO BACKSTOPPERS


(L to R) The Guns 'N Hoses Boxing Association donates $340,124 to The BackStoppers April 8, 2015. The donation, which represents the proceeds from the organization's 28th annual Budweiser Guns 'N Hoses boxing event held Jan. 30 at the Scottrade Center, was accepted by Chief Ron Battelle, Chief Dennis Jenkerson, David Stokes, Steve Holley, Jack Martorelli and Chief Jim Silvernail. (Courtesy of Byrne PR on behalf of Guns 'N Hoses)

April 9, 2015 - KMOX

ST. LOUIS - The Guns 'N Hoses Boxing Association made its annual donation to BackStoppers, a not-for-profit organization that assists families of first responders who die in the line of duty.

Guns 'N Hoses donated $340,124, which represents the proceeds from the organization's 28th annual Budweiser Guns 'N Hoses boxing event held Jan. 30 at the Scottrade Center.

"Once again, the St. Louis community has shown support for these families through their generous donations and participation in the event," said David Stokes, president of the Guns 'N Hoses Boxing Association, in a news release. "The January Guns 'N Hoses event was one of our most successful to date, and we hope this contribution will continue to make a difference in the lives of those families supported by The BackStoppers."

At the January Budweiser Guns 'N Hoses event, the blue team won a 9-7 team decision over the red team. For the first time, both teams comprised a mix of firefighters and police officers. "This donation from Guns 'N Hoses helps The BackStoppers provide a financial safety net for the families of our fallen heroes," said Chief Ron Battelle, executive director of The BackStoppers, in the release. "Currently, The BackStoppers is supporting 66 families and 64 children who have lost loved ones. The need is always great and the community's support is always appreciated."

Budweiser Guns 'N Hoses is presented by the St. Louis Guns 'N Hoses Boxing Association, and the title sponsors for the 28th year were Budweiser and Grey Eagle Distributors, the Anheuser-Busch wholesaler in St. Louis County.

The BackStoppers cover St. Louis City, the Missouri counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Cape Girardeau, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Perry, Pike, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Warren and Washington and the Illinois counties of Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair. The BackStoppers also cover members of Troop C of the Missouri Highway Patrol and District 11 of the Illinois State Police.

After a loss of life, The BackStoppers provide money for emergency expenses and later arranges to pay bills, mortgages, debts, college costs and other expenses. The organization was founded in 1959.

More on KMOX story




1 DEAD, 1 INJURED IN WEBSTER GROVES HOUSE FIRE

April 9, 2015 - KTVI BY DANIELLE SCRUGGS

WEBSTER GROVES, MO. - One woman is dead and a man was injured during an early morning house fire in Webster Groves. The fire started around 6a.m. at a home located in the 400 block of Greeley Avenue. Our Nissan Rogue Runner was on the scene.

Authorities say the male victim has been transported to the hospital. His condition is unknown.

The fire is still under investigation.

More on KTVI story




FIRE DISTRICTS APRIL 7th ELECTION RESULTS - ST. CHARLES COUNTY

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

DIRECTOR - COTTLEVILLE COMMUNITY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
SEAT 1 -
KEN BROOKS - 1,773 - 50.90%
CATHERINE DREHER - 1,696 - 48.69%
WRITE-IN - 14 - 0.40%


DIRECTOR - LAKE SAINT LOUIS FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
DANIEL F. RYAN - 819 - 65.21%
RICHARD E. THURWACHTER - 429 - 34.16%
WRITE-IN - 8 - 0.64%


DIRECTOR - O'FALLON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
MICHAEL (MIKE) BALLMANN - 2,793 - 34.32%
WILLIAM (BILL) LAUGHLIN - 5,311 - 65.26%
ARNIE AC DIENOFF Removed
WRITE-IN - 34 - 0.42%


DIRECTOR - CENTRAL COUNTY FIRE & RESCUE

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

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

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

YES - 5,072 - 68.16%
NO - 2,369 - 31.84%




FIRE DISTRICTS APRIL 7th ELECTION RESULTS - ST. LOUIS COUNTY

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

DIRECTOR - MARYLAND HEIGHTS FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
DAVID R. PENNING - 1,117 - 98.07%
WRITE-IN - 22 - 1.93%


DIRECTOR - METRO WEST FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
MARK MACINSKI - 3,886 - 59.46%
STEPHEN H. WARD - 2,604 - 39.84%
WRITE-IN - 46 - .70%


DIRECTOR - MONARCH FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
ROBIN HARRIS - 3,656 - 62.93%
KELLEY MILLER - 2,135 - 36.75%
WRITE-IN - 19 - .33%


DIRECTOR - PACIFIC FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
EDWIN A. BRUNS (ED) - 3 - 100.00%
JOHN DAVIS - 0
WRITE-IN - 0


DIRECTOR - RIVERVIEW FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
(THIS ELECTION POSTPONED UNTIL AUGUST)

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


DIRECTOR - ROBERTSON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
JENNIFER PARKIN - 298 - 68.35%
MARK BRIGHT - 66 - 15.14%
DARRELL R. SMITH - 38 - 8.72%
LARRY TINKER - 33 - 7.57%
WRITE-IN - 1 - .23%


DIRECTOR - SPANISH LAKE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
Vote For: 1 / 6 year term
JOHN E. (JACK) GREEN - 628 - 61.03%
KHALIL ABDULMUMIN (MUMIN) - 399 - 38.78%
WRITE-IN - 2 - .19%


WEST COUNTY EMS AND FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
SIMPLE MAJORITY REQUIRED
PROPOSITION F Shall the Board of Directors of the West County EMS and Fire Protection District be authorized to levy an additional tax of not more than thirty cents per one hundred dollars assessed valuation to support the general fund of the District?
YES - 1,554 - 52.59%
NO - 1,401 - 47.41%


MERAMEC AMBULANCE DISTRICT
VOTERS GUIDE INFORMATION
SIMPLE MAJORITY REQUIRED
PROPOSITION E
Meramec Ambulance District serves 244 square miles within Franklin, Jefferson and St. Louis counties by providing paramedic staffed ambulances that respond to the emergency medical needs of a growing and aging population. In order to prevent the possible closure of District ambulance stations, significant reduction in staff, a decrease in the number of available ambulances, and delays in response times to 911 calls, shall the Board of Directors of Meramec Ambulance District be authorized to levy an additional general tax, for the first time in 35 years, of not more than thirteen cents per one hundred dollars assessed valuation, the revenues from which will be deposited into the general fund?
YES - 2 - 66.67%
NO - 1 - 33.33%




FIREHOUSE SUBS AWARDS $54,000.00 GRANT TO FIRE DISTRICT

April 7, 2015 - Maryland Heights Fire Protection District

Maryland Heights - Firehouse Subs has awarded the Maryland Heights Fire District a $54,000 grant that has been used to purchase specialized emergency equipment.

They will be hosting their grand opening tomorrow at 10 am. Please come by to view the new equipment and meet the owners who made this grant and area resource possible.

More Headlines for Maryland Heights Fire




Editorial: ST. LOUIS COUNTY FIRE SERVICES SHOULD OPEN THE DOORS FOR MINORITY HIRES


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

April 7, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By the Editorial Board

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The skin color of a firefighter doesn't matter the way it does for a police officer.

Firefighters are not making judgment calls about who to stop, who to question and who to put in jail. Implicit biases aren't a factor in putting out fires.

Still, as post-Ferguson St. Louis confronts its long history of racial biases, it's a fact that there are too few African-American firefighters in St. Louis County relative to the county's 23 percent black population. These are good, high-paying (sometimes extremely high-paying) jobs that should be viable employment options for young black men and women.

Instead, some of the 42 fire protection districts and municipal fire departments in St. Louis County have requirements that make it tougher for blacks to get hired, as reported Sunday by the Post-Dispatch's Doug Moore.

Like so much of the rest of the fractured city-county government structure, there are too many fire services. They exist not because of need, but because of self-interest. They provide jobs and board memberships in many of the districts. Taxpayers are footing enormous bills for inefficiencies and duplication.

Ultimately, consolidation is the answer. Until then, fire departments and districts need to make greater efforts to recruit qualified minority candidates. They need to knock down unnecessary barriers that discourage prospective African-American firefighters.

Karen Aroesty, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, is particularly critical of a St. Louis County hiring requirement that forces veteran firefighters from other districts to go through retraining at the county's fire academy. This includes St. Louis city firefighters, many of whom fight more fires in a month than their suburban counterparts fight in a year. The city department is 39 percent African-American.

The requirement "reeks of structural racism," Ms. Aroesty said.

She was chairman of the St. Louis County Fire Standards Commission from 2010, when she was appointed by then-County Executive Charlie Dooley, until her resignation in December.

The seven-member commission was established 35 years ago to ensure that firefighters in the county are professionally trained, qualified and equipped to established standards. Its board of St. Louis County residents is appointed by the county executive.

Ms. Aroesty said she left the commission frustrated and discouraged because policies are in place that need to be changed but the political will to do so is missing.

"The fact is fire jobs are good jobs and the challenge is you have to make the effort to go find people," she said. Black firefighters need to be out in the community talking about the profession and showing minority candidates "that they will be respected and be successful in the job."

Mandatory attendance at the county fire academy is not the only hurdle for would-be African-American firefighters. Most departments require firefighters to be paramedics, which means additional training beyond the fire academy. The costs associated with such training can be prohibitive. Departments should pay for the training for all recruits.

Fire chiefs say there aren't enough qualified black applicants and that African-American firefighters are difficult to retain because they are often poached by departments and districts that offer better pay and benefits in communities that have fewer emergency calls.

The firefighters' unions - the International Association of Firefighters and the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters - should be all over this employment issue.

Addington Stewart, regional leader of the black firefighters' union, is a retired St. Louis city fire captain. He told Mr. Moore that young African-Americans don't know much about fire service as a career because there hasn't been enough outreach. He was critical of district hiring practices and said the people looking for employees need to find more way to reach minorities.

William Pruitt is on the county fire commission and on the three-member board of the Mid-County Fire Protection District. The district serves communities with a majority of African-American residents, but only 22 percent of Mid-County's firefighters are black.

"This is just a bugaboo," Mr. Pruitt, who is African-American, said of the county districts' hiring practices. He said he wants to stay on the commission board and "hope that things are guided in the right direction."

Hope is not enough. Calling the problem a "bugaboo" minimizes it. Action is what's needed. Get rid of the discriminatory requirements and open up jobs for young black men and women. That's a step that can be taken now.

More on St. Louis Post Dispatch story




REPORT REVIEWS MONARCH'S PROGRESS ON WORKERS' COMPENSATION CLAIMS

April 7, 2015 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

CHESTERFIELD - The Monarch Fire Protection District is headed in the right direction in managing workers' compensation claims and is on track to post another reduction in the insurance premiums it will pay in 2016 for that coverage.

Mike Hennessey from Smith McGehee Insurance Solutions made those conclusions at the Monarch Board of Directors meeting March 26, while presenting a report on the district's actions and its trends in workers' compensation claims. Smith McGehee represents Missouri Employers Mutual, which provides Monarch's workers' compensation insurance. The company has emphasized its commitment to working with Monarch to lower its number of workers' compensation claims, costs and insurance premiums.

Despite Hennessey's prediction that Monarch is heading in the right direction, he also emphasized that future reductions in workers' compensation insurance premiums depend on the district continuing its current positive trends in claim numbers and associated costs.Among those actions Hennessey cited as contributing to the trend were:

- Increased use of occupational medical or urgent care facilities, instead of hospital emergency rooms, to treat on-the-job injuries.

- Assignment of a nurse case manager to direct and manage care of injured employees.

- A requirement to report all claims within 24 hours after an injury occurs.

- An investigation of every injury accident to determine its basic cause.

- Formation of a safety committee to analyze injury accidents, call attention to their causes and determine steps to avoid future incidents.

- Post-accident drug and alcohol testing.

- Continuing an incentive-based safety program launched last fall, along with a workers' compensation safety manual.

Those various steps targeted what Hennessey described as "breakdowns in the process, rather than the process itself" for managing and dealing with workers' compensation claims. The net results of actions taken have included a 30 percent reduction in average claim cost during the period of January 2014 to March 26, 2015, compared with an earlier comparable period, as well as a 50 percent decline in the number of lost-time claims.

Based on current trends, Monarch should see a savings of $200,000-250,000 in its 2016 workers' compensation insurance premium, Hennessey said. The district's 2015 premium is $950,000.

More on West Newsmagazine story

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC

April 6, 2015 - Metro-West Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The Metro West Fire Protection District is currently accepting applications for the position of Firefighter/Paramedic.

Applications will be accepted Monday March 23 through Thursday April 30th at 4pm.


CLICK HERE TO BEGIN PROCESS

More Headlines for Metro-West Fire




CREWS RESCUE 3 PEOPLE AFTER CANOE CAPSIZES NEAR STAN MUSIAL BRIDGE


Photo by KMOV

April 4, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Adam McDonald, Online News Producer, KMOV

ST. LOUIS - Crews successfully rescued three people after their canoe capsized in the Mississippi River Saturday afternoon.

Officials with the St. Louis Fire Department said the canoe tipped just north of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. Units on the ground said they were able to see the overturned canoe from their position.

Three people were reportedly seen holding on to some sort of buoy or channel marker before responders rescued them. Multiple rescue boats were dispatched. No injuries were reported.

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FIREFIGHTERS IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY DO NOT LOOK LIKE THOSE THEY ARE TRAINED TO PROTECT


Black Jack Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Roger Ellison (left) helps Pauline Pearson, 17, into a firefighter's coat, helmet and air pack during an organizational meeting for a new Explorer Post for teenagers interested in fire fighting careers Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at the district's house three in Florissant. Photo by Sid Hastings

April 4, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Doug Moore

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - In Hazelwood, none of the city's 36 firefighters is black although nearly a third of its residents are African-American. In neighboring Ferguson, more than 67 percent of residents are black, compared with 7 percent of firefighters.

And in the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District, two of the 60 firefighters are black, representing 3.3 percent of the department. By comparison, more than a quarter of the residents who live in that part of the region are African-American.

The situation is the same throughout the parts of St. Louis County with large African-American populations. With the Justice Department fresh off an investigation here after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, more cities are being scrutinized for their hiring practices amid criticism that minorities are systemically underrepresented in public employment.

Fire chiefs say that there are not enough qualified black applicants and that blacks hired are hard to retain, often recruited by other departments that offer better pay and benefits in communities with fewer emergency calls.

"Even when we are fortunate to hire a minority, we don't get to hold onto them for very long," Hazelwood Fire Chief Dave Radel said. He said part of the reason for a lack of blacks on his department came from having two fire protection districts that also serve parts of his city. It doesn't take long for firefighters on mutual aid calls to begin talking and find where the better salaries are, he said.

But one of those districts - Florissant Valley - is not faring much better.

The department recently received 70 qualified applicants to test for a hiring list that is likely to go into effect in May. Fire Chief Scott Seppelt recalled one or two African-Americans among them. After a series of tests, 10 applicants made the cut. All are white.

Seppelt said his department continued to look at ways to improve diversity. Like some other departments, Florissant Valley provides training for fire and EMT programs at North Technical High School, part of the Special School District. Successful students graduate from high school with community college credits.

"We really do want to see that applicant pool change. We are open to any way we can assist in doing that," Seppelt said.

NOT BLAMING

Addington Stewart is the regional leader of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, which works to encourage young African-Americans to consider the profession. Retirees with the association have for the past two months been offering free classes in test preparation for those wanting to become firefighters.

Later this year, the organization will offer tuition reimbursement to those who successfully complete emergency medical technician training. Stewart, a retired St. Louis city fire captain, said young African-Americans didn't know much about fire service as a career because outreach had been poor. And those who are doing the hiring need to look at more ways to reach minorities. Often, job postings are made in a newspaper ad, the fire department's website or by word of mouth.

"We're not looking to blame anybody," Stewart said of the hiring practices he wants changed. "But to say they (minority applicants) are not out there is insulting to me."

Quinten Randolph agrees. He is fire chief of the Northeast Fire Protection District, which represents Normandy and parts or all of 17 other tiny communities. They range from Bel-Nor with a black population of 46.4 percent to Velda Village Hills, where 98.5 percent of its residents are African-American.

By comparison, 12 of the 30 firefighters in Northeast are black, or 40 percent.

"We as leaders can't sit back and say we can't find black firefighters. We are at the helm to change things to make fire districts look somewhat like those they serve," said Randolph, who is black. Once you build a culture of diversity in your department, then it becomes a place where people want to work, he said.

But Stewart, Randolph and those they criticize for not doing enough to change the fire department culture, all agree there are challenges that have to be addressed.

'A BIG BUGABOO'

Most departments now require firefighters to be paramedics, which means additional schooling beyond graduating from the fire academy. That can put the career out of grasp for those who can't afford community college. Poverty rates in Missouri are three times higher among blacks compared with whites. And it is required in all 42 fire districts and departments in St. Louis County that those hired must go through the county's fire academy. That includes veteran firefighters from other jurisdictions such as St. Louis, where 39 percent of firefighters are African-American.

Karen Aroesty, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the requirement "reeks of structural racism."

Aroesty served as chairman of the St. Louis County Fire Standards Commission until December, when she resigned. She was appointed to the commission in the fall of 2010 by then-County Executive Charlie Dooley. She said she grew frustrated by the system, log-jammed by policies that she could not get changed.

A few years ago she and other commission members were being introduced to a cadet class.

"One gentleman stood up and said: 'I'm an 11-year vet of the St. Louis City Fire Department.' I remember thinking: 'Why can't he just get hired?' It's awful he has to go through the county academy."

The commission, which has been in place for 35 years, is made up of seven St. Louis County residents who must, among other things, pledge that every firefighter working in the county "will be trained to established standards to ensure professional, quality, and uniformed firefighting and the safety and well-being of our citizens and firefighters."

Members are appointed by the county executive and confirmed by the County Council. Aroesty's resignation makes four vacancies on the board. A spokesman for St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said those vacancies should be filled by the end of the month. A new executive director for the commission also should be in place by then.

William Pruitt is one of the remaining members of the commission. He also serves on the three-member board of the Mid-County Fire Protection District, where 22 percent of firefighters are black, serving communities where the majority of residents are African-American.

"This is just a big bugaboo," Pruitt said of hiring practices within the county. Pruitt, who is black, was hesitant to be critical of the current St. Louis County system and the required academy training.

"You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution," he said. "You can't do anything from the outside looking in. For the time being, I'd like to stay on the board and hope that things are guided in the right direction."

Aroesty is leaving the board discouraged.

"I will be honest - I did not succeed the way I hoped I would" on the commission, she said.

"Where is the political will to make these changes? The fact is fire jobs are good jobs and the challenge is you have to make the effort to go find people," she said. That includes black firefighters going out into the community to talk about their profession and instill confidence in minority candidates that "they will be respected and be successful in the job."

REFLECTING THE COMMUNITY

Stewart, with the black firefighters association, said he began looking at the racial makeup of fire departments long before Ferguson. But after Brown's shooting, he began to formally request information from the county's departments. Of the 21 departments that serve parts of St. Louis County where at least 10 percent of African-Americans live, 15 responded to Stewart's request. Among those supplying information was Ferguson, where two of 27 firefighters are African-American serving a city where more than two-thirds of residents are black.

"Diversity has always been, and continues to be, very important and beneficial to the city of Ferguson," city spokesman Jeff Small said in an email. He said the fire department had seen very little turnover the past few years.

The city last hired firefighters in 2012. Both hires were white men, based on records from Ferguson's human resources department.

In University City, 15 percent of the firefighters are African-American, compared with 41 percent of the community. City Manager Lehman Walker said efforts were ongoing to improve minority representation throughout city departments.

"When I came here in August 2010, we had two African-American firefighters. Now we have six," said Walker. "It's very important from a city point of view that our workforce in every department reflect the demographics of the community."

Part of that effort includes putting minorities in leadership positions. Walker, who is African-American, has six department heads who report to him. They include two black men, a black woman, an Asian woman and a white woman.

Other departments with a small percentage of African-Americans say they are working to improve their numbers but are finding it a challenge.

In the Black Jack Fire Protection District, for example, an Explorer post is being started through the Boy Scouts, where firefighters mentor young people ages 14 to 21 interested in the profession. Yet at an open house last week, just one of the eight participants was African-American.

Close to 20 percent of the Black Jack district's firefighters are black. By comparison, more than 81 percent of residents of Black Jack, which composes a big chunk of the district, are African-American.

Black Jack Fire Chief Mike Gantner said the key was getting to young people as early as possible to put firefighting on the radar as a profession. He is hopeful the Explorer program and continued visits from firefighters into classrooms will increase interest - and eventually qualified applicants.

Stewart's firefighter group has been holding Monday night sessions at the O'Fallon Park Rec Complex in north St. Louis since Feb. 2. More than 50 young people have stopped in. About 15 are regulars, he said.

At a class last month, 14 young African-Americans - 12 men and 2 women - went through a two-hour session of reading exercises from a manual used to help prospective firefighters prepare for exams. Gavin Alfred, 25, of University City was one of the more engaged students.

Alfred has a few years of college under his belt, but he had to stop taking classes to take care of family. He has held a series of jobs but is looking for a career. Firefighting seems a good fit, he said.

"It's a way to give back to the community," Alfred said. "There is nothing wrong with working alongside the law and helping those in need."

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APPEALS COURT REJECTS EX-O'FALLON, MO., FIRE CHIEF'S BID FOR SEVERANCE PAY

April 3, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Mark Schlinkmann

O'FALLON, MO. - A Missouri Court of Appeals panel has rejected former Fire Chief Mike Ballmann's effort to require the O'Fallon Fire Protection District to give him $118,000 in severance pay.

The decision Tuesday, which upheld a ruling by St. Charles County Circuit Judge Ted House, was issued amid the final days of Ballmann's campaign for a seat on the board of directors of the district.

The ruling said the severance arrangement and those for another plaintiff were void because the district didn't authorize them by a formal board vote recorded in the official minutes. Also suing was Randy Sanders, a former division chief with the district.

"Other evidence of the board's discussion and approval cannot overcome this requirement," the three-judge appeals panel said.

Ballmann and Sanders had said the severance packages were referred to in other board minutes before the contracts were executed.

Neil Bruntrager, the fire district's attorney, said the board is pleased with the decision. "These things have to be open and transparent and they weren't," he said.

Steve Koslovsky, Ballmann and Sanders' attorney, said the two have filed another suit against the district in circuit court, seeking damages for the district's failure to properly document what was first agreed to by the board in 2004.

That was filed in November, a few months after Judge House had issued his ruling on the initial suit.

The district was negligent "by failing to supervise the board secretary to insure that she correctly recorded all official actions of the board," the new suit says.

Ballmann and Sanders were forced to resign last year, several months after they and three other district officials filed the suit to ensure they'd get severance pay if eventually fired in a cost-cutting move. The board had voted to terminate the contracts at the end of 2013.

They had been among 10 officers offered buyouts in the fall of 2013 in an effort to trim an organization that Bruntrager, the board attorney, says was too top-heavy.

Ballmann has claimed he was forced out by the firefighters union, Local 2665, in an effort to get officials more favorable to the union's positions.

The disputed contracts for Ballmann and Sanders would have qualified them for more separation pay than they would have gotten in the rejected buyouts. When they finally were ousted, they got no severance, Bruntrager and Ballmann said.

In next week's election, Ballmann is running against incumbent board member William Laughlin.

Laughlin has said it's absurd for someone suing the district to be running for the board that oversees it.

Ballmann says if he is elected, he won't take part in any board discussions on his pending suit. He also has filed a challenge of his ouster with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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MISSOURI COURT OF APPEALS EASTERN DIVISION OPINION SUMMARY




THREE-ALARM APARTMENT FIRE IN CREVE COEUR BLAMED ON SMOKING


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

April 3, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Kim Bell

CREVE COEUR, MO. - Investigators blame smoking for Thursday morning's three-alarm fire that started on a balcony at the Oxford Hills Apartments.

No one was injured in the blaze, which broke out about 2:30 a.m. Thursday. People in about 20 apartment units were displaced.

The complex is on Briar Hollow Drive.

Jerry McQueen, with the Creve Coeur Fire Protection District, said Friday that the fire was accidental. It started because of "improper discarding of smoking material," he said.

The smoker thought it was extinguished in a tray on the balcony but it wasn't, McQueen said.

Everyone got out safely from the two adjoining buildings and the smoke alarms worked properly, he said.

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MAN REMOVED FROM SCENE AFTER YELLING AT MO. FIREFIGHTERS

April 2, 2015 - Firehouse Magazine

CHESTERFIELD - A Chesterfield man yelled at firefighters and tried to block the roadway as crews were battling a house fire Tuesday.

Larry Hoffman blocked roadway access and interfered with Monarch Fire Protection firefighters during the Still House Creek Road house fire, Chesterfield Patch reports.

Hoffman, who is a critic of the firefighter's union, blocked the street and then videotaped firefighters as he yelled insults and profanities at the crews, according to a police report that was filed. Police told him to leave the scene and move his vehicle.

"It was totally inappropriate to interfere with emergency services and public safety at the scene of a fire - the firefighters filed a police report for interference immediately," an eyewitness told the website. "Luckily, the firefighters extinguished the fire before Mr. Hoffman caused any further trouble. Thanks to the police order, they could get out of there without further incident or any accident."

The website said he's vocal supporter of Robin Harris, the incumbent Monarch Fire Protection District Board President , who is running for re-election next week.

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MULTIPLE UNITS AFFECTED WHEN 3-ALARM BLAZE RIPS THROUGH APARTMENT COMPLEX


Photo by KMOV

April 2, 2015 - KMOV By Jasmine Brown

CREVE COEUR - Firefighters battled a 3-alarm blaze that affected six apartment units in west St. Louis County early Thursday morning.

The fire began around 2:30 a.m. on the balcony of the Oxford Hills Apartments, officials say.

At least 21 units had to be evacuated.

The Red Cross has been called in to assist displaced families.

There are no reports of injuries.

It is unknown what caused the fire.

No other information has been made available.

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

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

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


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


DIRECTOR - O'FALLON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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


DIRECTOR - CENTRAL COUNTY FIRE & RESCUE

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

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

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




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

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

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


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


DIRECTOR - MONARCH FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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


DIRECTOR - PACIFIC FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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


DIRECTOR - RIVERVIEW FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
(THIS ELECTION POSTPONED UNTIL AUGUST)

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


DIRECTOR - ROBERTSON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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


DIRECTOR - SPANISH LAKE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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


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


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




NARCAN LIKELY SAVES LIFE OF OVERDOSE VICTIM

March 31, 2015 - KSDK By Alexandra Martellaro, KSDK

ST. PETERS - Firefighters in St. Charles County likely saved someone's life Monday night, and it's because of a recently-legalized medication that's an antidote for narcotics.

Central County Fire and Rescue responded to an overdose call in St. Peters. The victim was in respiratory arrest, so they administered a dose of Narcan.

The 26-year-old victim, who firefighters say was overdosing on heroin, regained consciousness and began breathing again within seconds.

It became legal last year for all first responders in Missouri to carry and administer Narcan, and Central County says its firefighters just finished training with Narcan five days ago.

Other local departments have followed suit, and are stocking up on Narcan as well.

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FIREFIGHTER PROMOTED TO CAPTAIN


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

March 29, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Fire Department and Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson are proud to announce the promotion of Firefighter Ian Sasek to the rank of Fire Captain, effective immediately.

Congratulations Captain Sasek and Justifiably Proud!

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FIRE DISTRICT FINISHES 2nd and 3rd IN FIGHT FOR AIR CLIMB

March 29, 2015 - O'Fallon Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS -This weekend members of the O'Fallon Fire District ran the American Lung Association 2015 Fight for Air Climb.

Congratulations to O'Fallon Firefighter Heather Gump on her 2nd place finish in the female division and Captain Chris Jones on his 3rd place finish in the male division!

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AMBULANCE DISTRICT CHIEF COMES TO AID OF HIGHWAY SHOOTING VICTIM


(photo) Reginald Adams Jr., of Kansas City, was charged in a shooting rampage along Interstate 70.

March 27, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Leah Thorsen, Valerie Schremp Hahn

KANSAS CITY MAN FACES MULTIPLE CHARGES IN I-70 SHOOTING RAMPAGE, POLICE CHASE -
A Kansas City man faces felony charges in St. Louis and Warren counties for a shooting rampage on Interstate 70 that left two motorists wounded Wednesday night. Reginald D. Adams Jr., 22, was charged Thursday in St. Louis County with nine felonies, including assault of a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, first-degree assault and resisting arrest. He was being held in lieu of $250,000 cash-only bail.

In Warren County, Adams faces 12 charges -- six counts each of first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. His bail there was set at $750,000, cash only. Charges are pending in St. Charles County.

When detectives asked Adams why he did it, he initially told them he "snapped" because of a girlfriend and later said he was "tired of life and he was tired of being a victim of everything. And he was just basically having a bad life," St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez said Thursday.

Adams has a criminal background that included drug possession and distribution charges but nothing violent, Jimenez said.

Adams was caught after a police chase that started in Warren County and reached speeds in excess of 100 mph. It ended when Adams crashed the Dodge Charger he was driving near St. Louis-Lambert International Airport and tried to flee.

"When the defendant ran out of ammunition, he ceased fleeing and gave up," charging documents say.

Jimenez was one of four officers who Adams shot at, the documents allege. None of the officers were hit, but two motorists were.

In Warren County, police say the first victim was struck about 6 p.m., near the 190 mile marker on eastbound 70.

The man told police he noticed a white vehicle next to his 2003 Ford Expedition just before the driver's side window of his SUV shattered. The man was hit by a bullet in his right arm and chest, according to court documents.

Five other motorists, including a man driving a tractor-trailer, said their vehicles were hit by gunfire. All of them reported seeing a white car pull up alongside them just before the shots rang out, police said.

In St. Charles County, another victim, a woman, suffered a more serious injury after being struck near the Wentzville Parkway exit.

Ray Antonacci, chief of the Lincoln County Ambulance District, administered first aid to the second victim. Antonacci said he was driving home to Wentzville about 6 p.m. Wednesday on the South Outer Road when he saw a woman motioning for help on I-70.

"She was crying and said, 'I think my friend is shot,' " he said Thursday.

Antonacci has a paralyzed left leg and uses a brace and a cane to walk. Nevertheless, he climbed a guard rail in the pouring rain and walked to the car.

Inside, a woman in the driver's seat was unconscious and unresponsive, he said. She had indeed been shot, but Antonacci, a certified paramedic, did not want to discuss her injuries Thursday. Police said Wednesday night she was in critical condition.

Antonacci lifted her head and saw she needed help breathing. He inserted a tube in her nose and down her throat to keep her airway open until Wentzville police and ambulance crews arrived. He had the equipment in a first-aid kit in his truck.

"I don't work as a paramedic saving lives everyday," said Antonacci, whose duties are largely administrative these days. "It was a great experience for me to help out. I was at the right place at the right time."

And it was mere chance that he was there when he was - he'd worked later than usual that day.

"If I hadn't stayed late at work, I'd have been home when all that happened," said Antonacci, 49. "It was a strange coincidence that I was there at the time."

Susan Weich of the Post-Dispatch contributed information for this report.

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CHESTERFIELD RESIDENT RECEIVES "TIP OF THE HELMET AWARD" FROM FIRE DISTRICT


Sara Schrefer (left) with Board Chairman Robin Harris. - Photo by Monarch Fire Protection District

March 27, 2015 - Monarch Fire Protection District

CHESTERFIELD - On Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, while at her home in the Chesterfield Village Apartments, Sara Schrefer detected an unusual odor. As time passed the odor failed to dissipate. At that point, she chose to investigate in an attempt to locate a source. Sara discovered the sound of an automobile engine running inside a locked garage. Understanding the potential fire and health hazard, she chose to notify emergency services for assistance.

Upon the arrival of police and fire, Sara directed them to the garage. Fire personnel forced entry where an unoccupied van was found running. The van engine was shut off and all apartments above and adjacent were evacuated. Carbon Monoxide levels were immediately checked in all apartments. Many of the apartments were found to have dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide. If left unchecked, such levels of Carbon Monoxide would have resulted in unthinkable tragedy. Fire personnel used fans to reduce the Carbon Monoxide to safe levels.

Ms. Schrefer's willingness to get involved and take the appropriate course of action may have saved many lives. The Monarch Fire Protection District is pleased to commend her actions and present her with a "Tip of the Helmet Award".

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WEST COUNTY FPD, CARDINAL GLENNON ANNOUNCE JOINT EFFORT

March 24, 2015 - West Newsmagazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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EXPLORER POST MEMBERS COMPLETE FIREFIGHTER PROGRAM


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

March 24, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

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

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

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FIREFIGHTERS MADE 10 YEAR OLD "FIREFIGHTER FOR A DAY"


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

March 23, 2015 - Cottleville Fire Protection District

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FIREFIGHTER HURT AS BLAZE GUTS ST. LOUIS HOUSE


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

March 23, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

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

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FIREFIGHTER RETIRES AFTER 35 YEARS OF SERVICE


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

March 20, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

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

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

Enjoy retirement!

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ST. LOUIS FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE A BLAZE AT WOODWORKING STUDIO


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on Daily RFT story and more photos

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CAPTAIN PROMOTION


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

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

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

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MAN WHO SET FIRE IN SHREWSBURY PARK WAS SEMINARY STUDENT


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on KMOX story




CAPTAIN PROMOTED TO BATTALION CHIEF


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

March 16, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

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

Congratulations!

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

March 16, 2015 - KTVI BY JOE MILLITZER

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

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

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

More on KTVI story

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FIREFIGHTER PROMOTED TO CAPTAIN


Photo by Monarch Fire Protection District

March 13, 2015 - Monarch Fire Protection District

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

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

Congratulations Captain Sullivan!

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FIRE DISTRICT PROMOTES 4 AND HIRES 3 NEW FIREFIGHTERS


Photo by Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

March 13, 2015 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

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

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

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

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


Photo by Central County Fire Protection District

March 13, 2015 - Central County Fire Protection District

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

The retirees were:

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

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

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

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

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

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SALES TAX WOULD MAKE MORE STAFF POSSIBLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on Webster-Kirkwood Times story

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FIRST RESPONDERS TO CLIMB TALLEST BUILDING FOR LUNG ASSOCIATION

March 11, 2015 - Emissourian.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on Emissourian story

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

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

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



Dear Taxpayers and Visitors, March 11, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,
Chuck Marsonette, Fire Chief
Monarch Fire Protection District

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COUNCIL APPROVES RYAN HUMMERT MEMORIAL COST


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

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

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

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

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

More on 40 South News story




MIXED MESSAGES IN MONARCH FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on KMOX story

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS FIREFIGHTERS EARN FAVORABLE MEC JUDGEMENT

March 10, 2015 - The Missouri Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on The Missouri Times story

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MEC RULING




TODAY WE HONOR AND REMEMBER
FIRE CHIEF JERRY BUEHNE

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

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FIREFIGHTER PROMOTION TO CAPTAIN


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

March 9, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

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

Congratulations to you and your family Captain Birchfield! #JustifiablyProud

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BATTALION CHIEF PROMOTION

March 9, 2015 - Monarch Fire Protection District

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

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

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

March 8, 2015 - KTVI BY WADE SMITH

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

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

More on KTVI story




BALLOT BLUNDER LEADS TO DELAY OF FIRE DISTRICT ELECTION

March 6, 2015 - KTVI BY ELLIOTT DAVIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on KTVI story

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MEDICAL HELICOPTER PILOT KILLED IN CRASH NEAR SLU HOSPITAL

March 7, 2015 - KTVI BY GEORGE SELLS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


DIRECTOR - O'FALLON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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


DIRECTOR - CENTRAL COUNTY FIRE & RESCUE

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

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

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




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

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

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


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


DIRECTOR - MONARCH FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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


DIRECTOR - PACIFIC FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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


DIRECTOR - RIVERVIEW FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
(THIS ELECTION POSTPONED UNTIL AUGUST)

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


DIRECTOR - ROBERTSON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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


DIRECTOR - SPANISH LAKE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

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


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


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




CANDIDATES' NAMES MISSING ON PRIMARY BALLOTS

March 5, 2015 - KTVI BY JEFF BERNTHAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on St. Louis Post Dispatch story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TODAY WE HONOR AND REMEMBER CAPTAIN RAYMOND TROG

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

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MONARCH FIREFIGHTERS SHAVING THEIR HEADS TO HELP KIDS WITH CANCER

March 3, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS, MO. - Need a haircut?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PROMOTION TO PARAMEDIC SUPERVISOR


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

March 3, 2015 - St. Louis Fire Department

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

Congratulations!!

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MONARCH FIRE DISTRICT EMPLOYEES REWARDED FOR REACHING SAFETY GOAL


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

March 2, 2015 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

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

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

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

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

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

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