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October 31, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Valerie Schremp Hahn 314-340-8246

MEHLVILLE - Firefighters rescued a parachutist who got stuck on the guy wires of a radio tower in south St. Louis County late Thursday.

Authorities got the call about 9:30 p.m. He was pulled to safety by rescuers from the Mehlville Fire Protection District about 11:45 p.m.

The man was about 155 feet high and about 20 feet from the tower, in the 5400 block of Butler Hill Road, said Brian Hendricks, chief of the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

"It appears this was a BASE jump that went wrong," Hendricks said.

BASE jumping is when someone climbs a cliff or fixed object - like a building, tower or bridge" and parachutes off it.

A firefighter climbed the tower and passed the parachutist an anchor to hold him in place. The chutist was then able release himself from his parachute. He was then lowered to the ground.

A small group of neighbors who gathered at the scene applauded after the man was safely on the ground.

The chutist appeared to be in his mid-20s. He had a cellphone with him and was talking with rescuers on the ground. He walked to an ambulance before being taken away.

The chutist was in distress because of suspension trauma, but he was able to follow rescuers' directions.

It was not known how high the man had climbed before he jumped and got tangled.

The Mehlville district has had its own high angle rope rescue team for years, Hendricks said, and trains for such events.

"It worked incredibly," Hendricks said. "It couldn't have gone any better for us."

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Photo by KTVI

September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Fire Department officials say a man died after firefighters pulled him from his burning home Thursday.

The fire started just before 1 p.m. in the 4400 block of Neosho. Neighbors spotted flames and called 911. When fire crews arrived, they pulled the man from the home. He was taken to an area hospital were he was later pronounced dead. He was the only one home at the time.

Neighbors say he was married.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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October 30, 2014 - Ladue Fire Department

LADUE - The City of Ladue Fire Department is accepting applications for the position of Firefighter/Paramedic. Applicants must possess a current Missouri State EMT-P license and Firefighter I and II certification through the St. Louis County Fire Academy.

Applications may be downloaded from the web-site or are available for pick-up at Fire Station #1 located at 9213 Clayton Road. Applications will be accepted until 4:00 PM on November 14th, 2014 and shall be returned to Station #1.

An application can be downloaded below:

Fire Department Job Opportunity/Firefighter Paramedic


October 29, 2014 - KMOV by Ray Preston / News 4 and Dan Greenwald /

WENTZVILLE, MO. - A News 4 viewer claims the union representing Wentzville firefighters is using incorrect information to persuade voters to support a property tax hike.

The viewer said the flyers claim insurance rates on homes will drop if voters support Proposition S. If passed, Proposition S would increase the annual tax on a home worth $200,000 by $95. The proposition is on the ballot because Wentzville voters previously approved a bond issue to build two new fire stations, but they also voted down a separate property tax increase to pay for the new stations' staff.

"I don't think the insurance is going to go down, it will go up just like everything else," said resident Charles Viehman.

A firefighters' union representative said the union cites a reliable source.

"We met with several different agents and several different agents said insurance rates will go down," said Dave Marlo with Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri.

Marlo said insurance rates will do down because the Insurance Services Office or ISO that does risk assessment for the insurance industry will improve the area's rating.

"We've done numerous studies on where these future stations need to go and if we can put a firehouse within five miles of your house your ISO rating is greatly impacted by it," Marlo said.Some supporters said lower insurance rates do not play into their decision to vote "yes" on the proposition.

"Personally I don't care if they do or not. I'd like them to go down but I still think what little increase it's going to be for each individual family is well worth it," said resident Gail Wolfe.The insurance industry said there many factors that determine rates.

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Shall the Board of Directors of the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District be authorized to levy an additional tax of not more than forty cents on the one hundred dollars of assessed valuation to provide funds for the support of the district and to maintain the present level of ambulance and fire services?

Summary: The district wants authority to increase its property tax rate by 40 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Officials say because of lower home values, the district has had difficulty dealing with increased costs. Without a tax increase, they say, response times and the quality of service could decline. If passed, taxes on a $100,000 home would increase by $76 a year. Voters in August rejected a similar proposition.

Shall the Maryland Heights Fire Protection District issue bonds in the amount of Nineteen Million Dollars ($19,000,000) for the purpose of purchasing real property, constructing, equipping and maintaining fire stations and purchasing and equipping ambulances and fire protection and fire-fighting apparatus and auxiliary equipment therefor to carry out the objects and purposes of the District?

Summary: The district wants to borrow $19 million to build and maintain fire stations and replace fire trucks, ambulances, rescue vehicles and other equipment. Among the projects is replacing the fire station at 12828 Dorsett Road and renovating the station at 2600 Schuetz Road. If passed, the property tax rate would increase by 24 cents per $100 assessed valuation. The owner of a home worth $100,000 would pay an additional $45.60 per year. Voters rejected a similar proposition in the August primary.

Shall the Wentzville Fire Protection District hire firefighters to staff your voter approved Fire Stations which will assist in reducing emergency response times as well as potentially lowering your home owner insurance ratings, by levying twenty five cents per one hundred dollars assessed valuation?

Summary: The district wants to increase the property tax rate by 25 cents per $100 assessed valuation. If passed, the annual tax on a home worth $200,000 would increase by $95. District officials say the tax increase is needed to meet increasing demand and maintain response times in the fast-growing district by hiring additional firefighters to staff two new fire stations and to hire a training officer. This is a repeat attempt at passing the tax hike, which was rejected by voters in August. At the same election, they passed a bond issue providing money to build the two new fire stations.


October 29, 2014 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

The Florissant Valley Fire Protection District is accepting applications for the purpose of creating a hiring list for Firefighter/Paramedic. Applicants must be Firefighter 1 and 2 Certified by St. Louis County Fire Standards Commission. Applicants must also be Paramedic certified by the state of Missouri, must be age 21 or over and possess a valid motor operations license. Residency within the Fire District is not required. ACLS, PHTLS, PALS, or equivalent certification must be achieved within one year of hiring and retained.

Interested candidates may print an application from our website - or request an application from the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District Administration Offices located at 661 St. Ferdinand Street, Florissant, MO 63031, Mon. thru Thur. 8:00 am to 5:00 pm or Fri. 8:00 am - 3:00 pm.

The completed application, along with copies of Firefighter 1 and 2, St. Louis County Fire Academy Certificate, valid Paramedic Certificate, valid Missouri Driver's License and driving record check through the DMV, and a police background check must be received at the Florissant Valley Fire District Administrative Office by Friday, December 12th at 2:00 p.m. Equal Opportunity Employer

Florissant Valley Fire Protection District web site

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October 28, 2014 - KSDK By Brandie Piper, KSDK

ST. LOUIS - A north St. Louis business went up in flames late Monday night.

St. Louis firefighters were called to the 5000 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive shortly before 11 p.m. for a two-alarm fire in a two-story brick commercial building.

The St. Louis Fire Department says approximately 60 firefighters helped fight the fire, which was heavy on the first floor. They used three aerial master streams to get the fire under control.

Nobody was injured and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Video by FirstAlarmphotos Stl


October 27, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Jim Erickson

ELLISVILLE - It has been just over a year since Central County Emergency 911 expanded its Ellisville dispatching facility to handle dispatch services for former users of North Central Fire Alarm last October and South County Fire Alarm last July - and what a year it has been.

The 2013 expansion was to handle fire and emergency medical calls from two dispatch centers in north and south county - operations that closed due to financial problems. The sudden growth occurred under major time pressures that magnified past differences and split the center's board, whose members represent the six first responder agencies, primarily in West County, that own CCE.

In rapid order, as 2013 ended and 2014 began:

- Three CCE owners - the Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights and West County Fire Protection Districts -told the St. Louis County Emergency Communications Commission they were interested in having their dispatch services handled by the county's new communications center. Subsequent resolutions from all three warned they would withdraw from CCE if the center's internal differences weren't resolved.

- In apparent response, Metro West FPD announced its intention to withdraw as a CCE owner and become simply a user of its services. (Metro West has since withdrawn that plan.)

- The ECC tabled a nearly $1 million grant request from CCE to offset its expansion costs.

- The ECC said it will equip and staff its new center to handle fire and emergency medical calls in addition to 911 calls for law enforcement.

Fast forward to late this summer when the CCE board unanimously agreed to negotiate with county officials on a possible consolidation of the emergency call handling function. The action quickly was interpreted as meaning a sale of CCE was imminent. But a major group from CCE now is asking for a slower, more analytical approach for any decision that would close the center.

Chiefs of seven of the eight South County agencies that joined CCE last year have signed two letters with that request. Chiefs from Metro West and the Monarch FPD also signed the second letter, which was a major item of discussion at a special meeting Oct. 16 at the dispatch center's Ellisville headquarters.

Among other things, the chiefs said an analysis shows the county center on average takes much longer to handle emergency calls than CCE personnel. Resulting delays in dispatching first responders, as well as uncertainty about fees the county will charge for its services, are among the reasons why CCE should continue to operate until those and other issues are resolved, the chiefs said.

County officials have said the new dispatch center can and will meet the service level CCE provides and at a reasonable cost. That cost will depend on the number of agencies choosing the county for dispatch services, but no one now knows how many will do so.

Monarch Director Jane Cunningham, who chaired the Oct. 16 meeting, identified what she described as the "two elephants in the room": How to find out if the county can provide service equal to or better than CCE and how its user-owners will vote when it comes to deciding CCE's ultimate fate.

Theoretically, she said, the three districts that already have expressed interest in having the county provide their dispatching could simply make that move when the new center is ready to provide those services. However, with the Meramec Ambulance District's withdrawal as a CCE owner Jan 1 due to budgetary reasons, the three also could opt to use their majority position on the resulting five-member board to close CCE, Cunningham theorized. That action effectively would force all of the Ellisville center's 34 current users to the county as their dispatch provider.

The three districts interested in moving to the county center have cited governance issues and other internal disputes on the CCE board as major factors influencing their decision. But the nine chiefs who signed the most recent letter said they are willing to work with the board to address those issues, as well as any operational and ownership questions, "in order to facilitate the continuance of CCE."

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October 24, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

CLAYTON - A mistrial has been declared in the murder trial of a Hazelwood man.

The trial for Jeremy Henderson has been reset for Feb. 23 before St. Louis County Circuit Judge Joseph Walsh III. Henderson, 20, is accused in the death of Mike Mansfield, who was found dead in his Hazelwood apartment building that was set on fire on Aug. 4, 2012.

A trial started Tuesday but no witnesses were called before the judge granted a mistrial. The mistrial came because a civil lawyer had taken depositions of some witnesses, and the defense attorney and prosecutor didn't have access to that information, said Paul Fox, St. Louis County's director of judicial administration.

The defense asked for the mistrial. Fox said the continuance will give both sides a chance to review the depositions.

Henderson was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson about a week after Mansfield's death. Henderson lives in the 5300 block of Ville Angela Lane. According to court documents, Henderson told police that others poured gasoline in the apartment building's hallways and near the door of their intended victim. Mansfield wasn't the target.

Henderson told police he saw one of the other people light a match and set the gasoline-soaked carpet on fire. The court documents didn't offer a motive. Police say they got a tip that Henderson was involved.

Mansfield, 48, lived in an apartment building at 5230 Villa Rosa Lane. Several other people, including an infant, were stranded on the third and highest floor of the 10-unit building until rescuers arrived, firefighters said.

Mansfield was a gas station attendant for his landlord, family said. He also fixed and cleaned fish tanks for Tanks A Lot Aquarium Service. He had two sons, Andy and Alex.

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October 24, 2014 - Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach

CHESTERFIELD - The Monarch Fire Protection Fire District Firefighters and Paramedics mailed a survey to select residents of the Fire District. Their letter to the residents reads as follows:

To all residents of the Monarch Fire Protection District:

The survey that you may have received in the mail is from the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics who work for you, the residents of Monarch Fire Protection District. We value this process so much that we are funding this through non-tax payer dollars.

We sought out a local, professional and highly recommended business to gather your opinions on various fire-district related items. The firm, Berry Organizational & Leadership Development (BOLD) LLC, randomly selected 3,500 residents to receive the survey by mail, with this selection being representative of the entire community we serve. To allow for full transparency, the scope of the project and survey tool can be viewed for you to make up your own mind on whether to complete the survey, that is not biased towards or against any political agenda. We truly want to know our residents' opinions on various fire-related matters to determine how to respond to future matters, which include the stability of your fire and paramedic-related services, and as always, to make sure Monarch residents are safe if they are ever in an emergency or life threatening situation.

We respectfully ask the residents of The Monarch Fire Protection District to review and complete the survey at:

An incentive for survey completion is a well-founded method to increase response rate, which we value for this project. We can ensure you that the results we will be receiving will not reveal any personally identifiable information by BOLD, LLC.

Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach Facebook

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October 24, 2014 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

FLORISSANT, MO. - The Florissant Valley Fire Protection District has launched a new "Vital Board" program for the citizens of the District as shown in the video. Citizens can participate by contacting the Fire District at any of their stations.

Florissant Valley Fire Protection District Facebook

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October 22, 2014 - KTVI

MEHLVILLE, MO. - Firefighters from Mehlville, Affton and Lemay are training for dangerous situations.

This is video of a training exercise they performed Wednesday morning. The firefighters practiced removing victims from three types of accidents. Car versus car, car versus school bus and car versus dump truck. All situations the firefighters say they need to be prepared for.

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Pictured, from left, are: Capt. Dan Rosenthal, Deputy Chief Tim Dempsey, Pvt. Tim Block and Deputy Chief Dan Furrer.

October 22, 2014 - Call Newspapers

MEHLVILLE - Capt. Dan Rosenthal of the Mehlville Fire Protection District recently was honored as Officer of the Quarter by the Kiwanis Club of South County. He was selected for the honor on the basis of his longtime service to the community and the outstanding work he does with Strike Team 3 and the district's Boat and Rope teams.

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October 21, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

LADUE - The Ladue City Council unanimously approved on Monday the purchase of body armor for firefighters.

The council agreed to spend up to $8,800 to buy the gear from Ed Roehr Inc.

"With recent civil unrest in the area, it's come to my attention that body armor will be necessary for firefighters - these vests will be kept on our trucks," Ladue Fire Chief John Bailot (photo) said.

Bailot also announced the reopening of fire station No. 2 at 9991 Clayton Road, after a year-long reconstruction, will be marked by a dedication ceremony and public tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

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October 20, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Dan Fox


Getting to know the next St. Louis County Executive

With the Nov. 4 General Election fast approaching, West Newsmagazine interviewed candidates for the St. Louis County Executive race to present each candidate's qualifications, interests and stances or opinions on critical issues facing the county. Constitution candidate Joe Passanise, Libertarian candidate Theodis Brown and Republican candidate Rick Stream responded; however, Democrat candidate Steve Stenger did not respond to repeated requests to participate.


Discussing experience

Typically, the first thing a person does when applying for a new job is submit a resume, so West Newsmagazine asked each candidate, "What are your qualifications and past experiences?"

Brown has worked in the community and as a first responder. A graduate of the St. Louis Police academy, Brown was elected to the St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees in 2014. He has worked as the chief of police and the fire marshal for Kinloch, and as a St. Ferdinand Township Committeeman. He noted that he is listed in the International Biographical Centre's Outstanding People of the 21st Century, and in the 30th edition of Who's Who in American Law.

He recommended that voters choose him "because of my proven style of leadership, and my special talents and skills as a veteran seasoned CEO and manager over both public and private entities of some the largest and smallest agencies of both public and private organizations, and because of a work history unmatched by any other candidate."

Responding to the unrest in Ferguson

The impact of the shooting of Mike Brown and subsequent protests in the Ferguson are still being felt throughout the city, and conversations about how the issue will affect the county executive race have been swirling since the shooting took place. Recent events may have shifted the perspective of North County voters in regard to their choice for county executive. West Newsmagazine asked each of the candidates to share their reaction to the events in Ferguson.

"Ferguson is wake-up call; we have work to do in police-community relations issues," Brown said.

The question of a city-county merger

While the events in Ferguson have dominated headlines since early August, there are other issues that the new county executive will need to tackle. One of these is the proposed city-county merger, over which debate has been occurring for years. While there is no formal plan for a city-county merger on the table, opinions about the prospect of consolidation have run rampant of late, so what do the candidates have to say?

Brown said he has an action plan that would divide St. Louis County into two sections, with a "northside" and a "southside."

He also would like to create a new Castle Point County, as well as a new Castle Point Fire District/Ambulance District.

"First of all, we need to streamline county government to better serve our political subdivision because St. Louis County is too large," Brown said.

Setting personal priorities

Each candidate has their own to-do list to tackle if elected, but what are they most interested in working on?

Brown said his first priority is to "sweep with a new broom."

"The first thing to do is to replace old managers with my department heads of choice for my new administration as my appointees," Brown said. "(I would) disband county incompetent public works department... (and) seek to have a county sheriff office elected again."


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October 20, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Brian Flinchpaugh

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - St. Charles County is getting closer to improving the county's 911 emergency response system.

But municipalities are facing picking up more of the cost of that improved system because existing funding sources can't pay for it.

The St. Charles County Council heard a progress report regarding efforts to rebuild the system at their Oct. 14 meeting - improvements that may take until 2015 to finish.

Jennifer George, the county's assistant director of administration, said the county has sought bids for a single 911 system for the county.

Presently the county has two separate systems - one for the city of St. Charles, the other, serving the county sheriff's department, department of dispatch and alarm and the cities of St. Peters, O'Fallon, Lake Saint Louis and Wentzville.

Three vendors submitted bids, with Emergency Callworks, Inc., chosen by the county to submit to the council for consideration, she said. At the meeting, the council did give a first reading to a bill approving a contract with Emergency Callworks.

George said once some issues are resolved, the bid will go before the council for a final decision.

Meanwhile, George said the county has to extend its agreement with the operator of the present system, AT&T-Missouri, for eight months in 2015 until the new system is operational.

George said the county also must enter new intergovernmental agreements with St. Charles, St. Peters, Lake Saint Louis, Wentzville and O'Fallon to share the cost of the 911 system.

"They never had to pay for the 911 system in the past," she said.

The present 2 percent tariff on local service rates to fund 911, approved by county voters in 1984, cannot support the purchase and operation of an improved 911 system, she said. Cities and the county have discussed these costs for the last several years, which remain to be finalized, she said.

Fewer telephone users are using land lines, and software needed to upgrade the system is expensive, local officials say.

The 911 issue follows closely a separate issue involving upgrading emergency communications between emergency providers that involved building 12 new radio towers throughout the county.

The towers are part of an effort throughout the St. Louis area to upgrade emergency communications for first responders as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission.

The improvements will create a single, unified system for law enforcement, fire, ambulance and public works communications to help eliminate the gaps in service from a patchwork of systems.

A 1/4-cent sales tax was approved by county voters in 2009 to fund the changes. The system would also tie the county with other counties throughout the St. Louis area and is supported by emergency providers and local officials.

Some extra maintenance and other costs may be borne by municipalities and other emergency providers and are being discussed by county and city officials this month.

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October 18, 2014 - Ladue Fire Department PRESS RELEASE

LADUE, MO. -The City of Ladue announces the re-opening of fire station #2 located at 9991 Clayton Road after a 12-month construction period. Mayor Nancy Spewak, City Council Members, Board of Fire & Police Commissioners, and Fire Chief John Bailot proudly present Ladue Fire Station #2 to the community on Saturday October 25th 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Following the 10:00 AM dedication ceremony, the new fire station will be open for tours guided by the Ladue firefighters.

The original fire station #2, located on the same lot, was built in 1950 and served the western half of the community until it was demolished in October of 2013 to make way for the new building. Construction began in December 2013 for a two-story, two-bay fire station with the requisite function areas on the main floor and firefighter quarters on the second.

A few highlights of the new building are, individual (shared) bunkrooms for the firefighters who work a 48-hour shift instead of the dated communal open-bunkroom style; a traditional fire pole for the firefighters to use to get to the main floor when responding to emergencies; a training room that will serve for firefighter training use as well as programs such as community CPR provided by the department, storage spaces, and modern communications and technology.

The building was planned and designed for the fire department to efficiently respond to all types of emergencies in the community and meet the needs of today as well as growth to meet the needs of the future for decades to come. Construction services were provided by Layneco Construction Services, design by Chiodini Associates, and construction management by Landmark Contract Management.


October 20, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The West County EMS and Fire Protection District has approved an agreement with Mercy Hospital to oversee its emergency medical service response efforts.

Under terms of the medical direction agreement with Mercy, West County will pay the hospital $2 for each of the approximately 3,000 calls for emergency medical service that it answers annually. The hospital provides oversight of actions by the district's paramedics when they respond to the calls.

Mercy personnel have provided oversight to West County in the past but the agreement marks the first time reimbursement provisions have been included in a formal agreement. District officials said other emergency medical service providers have similar arrangements with hospitals they use to provide oversight.

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Photo by KMOV

October 19, 2014 - KMOV

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - Firefighters said a home in Lake St. Louis suffered substantial damage after a fire broke out Sunday evening.

Firefighters told News 4 the fire broke out in the 500 block of Keswick Avenue around 5:00 p.m. Three people were inside at the time, but nobody was injured.

Other details were not known.

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October 18, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

Car Dealership Decorated in Pink for Rally Set for Monday October 20 - Firefighters and Paramedics in the Monarch Fire Protection District are taking their "Pink Heals" Breast Cancer Awareness campaign to Weber Chevrolet in suburban Creve Coeur to thank the dealership and its employees for supporting the campaign that helps raise money during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For the second year, Weber Chevrolet has purchased "Pink Heals" breast cancer awareness T-shirts and made a generous donation to support Monarch Firefighters' efforts during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year Monarch Firefighters efforts will benefit the non-profit "No Woman Left Behind" group that helps uninsured and under-insured women who need mastectomy or prosthetic products.

Weber Chevrolet's main building at Olive Street and Interstate 270 is now totally decorated in pink. On Monday October 20 a pink fire truck will be displayed there to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Weber Chevrolet invites the public to join its employees for a rally when the truck arrives at 10:30 am.

Monarch Firefighter Mike Underwood says, "Weber Chevrolet has been a big supporter of our Pink Heals campaign even though the dealership is not located in the Monarch Fire Protection District. Weber employees and sales staff have purchased many of the Pink T-shirts that we sell to raise money for the Pink Heals campaign and we are very grateful for the support."

October 2014 is the sixth year that Monarch firefighters, paramedics, officers and staff have sold "Pink Heals" T-shirts to raise charitable funds for women battling cancer. Throughout the month-long campaign, Monarch fire trucks display pink cancer awareness flags.

Monarch Firefighters have directly raised more than $17,000 in recent years, donating to charities including Bridging the Gap Emergency Breast Cancer Fund; Camp Rainbow; the Life and Hope Fund at St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield; and No Woman Left Behind. Their recent fund drive for the Muscular Dystrophy Association raised more than $11,000, and the team's participation in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb helped raise nearly $55,000 for charity.

To order a "Pink Heals T-shirt," shirt, visit Weber Chevrolet on Monday October 21 at 10:30 a.m. or email the Monarch Firefighters at MFCOSHIRTS@YAHOO.COM with size and quantity. Learn more about the Monarch Firefighters and Paramedics by visiting

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October 16, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich 636-493-9674

ST. PETERS - A St. Peters woman's estranged husband is in custody after he broke into their home and tried to set it on fire, police say.

Michael Joseph Ruffino, 40, of the 2000 block of Willowshade Court is charged with burglary, arson and two misdemeanor counts of a violation of an order of protection.

According to police, on Wednesday morning, Ruffino used a hammer to break a window and gain entry. Once inside, he grabbed a gas can from the garage and poured gasoline on the stairs leading from the main floor to the unfinished basement.

Ruffino then tried to set the house on fire, police said, but the fire apparently went out on its own.

A witness saw a man running from the residence, and police seized a hammer and clothing from Ruffino's parents' home, according to court documents.

This is Ruffino's second violation of a protection order, police said.

He was being held Thursday in the St. Charles County Jail on $75,000 cash-only bail.

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October 17, 2014 - KSDK

ST. LOUIS - First responders are taking extra steps preparing, should an Ebola case happen in our area.

The St. Charles County Ambulance District tells KSDK it is preparing in every way possible.

Ebola concerns come at a time of year when the district is already doing a lot of training, but this year crews are focusing more on personal protective equipment like proper fitting gloves, body suits, and masks.

First responders are paying close attention to the information sent down by the CDC, and tweaking response plans the county government and haz-mat teams already have in place.

Dispatchers are also being trained to ask certain qualifying questions over the phone to help limit an ambulance crews' possible exposure.

Ambulance, Fire and Haz-Mat crews across our area are taking similar steps.

The Pattonville Fire District is investing in Ultraviolet lights that can help sanitize a room or ambulance from not only Ebola, but also the flu virus.

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Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

October 16, 2014 - KMOV

ST. LOUIS - Five adults and two children were displaced after their Shaw Neighborhood home caught fire Thursday morning.

One person was outside the home, in the 3900 block of De Tonty, when he noticed an electrical burning smell. The man then went to the rear of the home and found there was smoke in the basement.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and found heavy fire in the basement along with a lot of electrical discharge, which forced them out of the house.

One firefighter was transported to a local hospital with a hand injury. No one else was injured.

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October 16, 2014 - KMOX

BRIDGETON, MO. - It's not what they know, but what they don't know about where the Bridgeton Landfill fire is.

That's why Pattonville Fire Department Assistant Chief Matt LaVanchy (right) says the state Department of Natural Resources is sending a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asking for more information on where the fire is in relation to buried nuclear waste."The DNR is being proactive in saying we need a better understanding of what's going on underneath the ground with that subsurface fire," he says.

LaVanchy says there's no emergency, and he doesn't have an immediate concern. However, plans for firefighting and evacuation are currently based on estimates, he says, and he'd like more cold, hard facts to work with.

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St. Louis County Emergency Operations Center

October 15, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Jim Erickson

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Some Central County Emergency 911 owners may be ready to have their dispatching services provided by the new St. Louis County Emergency Operations Center; however, a core group of users isn't sure the county option is a good one.

At the same time, CCE's employees also don't support the idea and warn that concerns about losing their jobs already have led to resignations - whose collective impact could affect the quality of service the Ellisville-based dispatch center provides.

In a letter to the CCE Board of Directors, chiefs from six fire protection districts "formerly served by South County Fire Alarm" along with the chief from the Crestwood Fire Department asked the board to reconsider any potential sale or merger that would join CCE with the county operation.

During the meeting, Brian Hendricks, chief of the Mehlville Fire Protection District, said word about what he described as "the inevitable shutdown of CCE" is "quite disturbing."

Conceding that joining the two dispatch centers could make sense and be in the interest of taxpayers, Hendricks said the reality now is that he and others have "no idea what we're going to get" in terms of a cost structure, what computer-aided dispatch (CAD) software will be used and what response times will be for calls involving fires and emergency medical services.

The chiefs' letter noted that an analysis of fire and EMS calls handled by CCE, and police-related emergencies going through the St. Louis County dispatch center revealed a major difference in the time required to process the 911 calls and send first responders to the scene. While CCE handles calls in 34 seconds or less 80 percent of the time, the comparable time for the county operation is 137 seconds, the letter stated.

"The gap between these call processing times" one minute and 43 seconds - is very significant," resulting in increased fire losses, delays in emergency medical care and ratings that affect fire insurance costs for property owners, the chiefs said.

Capt. Steve Sack, who heads the county communications center, acknowledged that police dispatching differs from that involving fire and EMS calls. However, he said the county is willing to meet whatever standards apply to handling the latter.

Control over tax dollars that fire protection districts collect and forward to CCE to pay for dispatching operations is another concern.

"If other areas of the county government are in need of funding, we fear that a situation similar to the way the cities were forced to pool sales tax money could conceivably develop," the chiefs' letter stated.

Les Crews, chief of the St. Clair Fire Protection District, added that he is concerned where he will go for dispatch services if CCE and the county center combine. Now served by CCE, the St. Clair district is based in Franklin County.

Greg Brown, head of the Eureka Fire Protection District and a member of the St. Louis County Emergency Communications Commission (ECC), which has overseen construction of the new emergency operations center, was the only chief from the former South County group who did not sign the letter.

Subsequent discussion noted county personnel recently had met with a number of CCE chiefs to demonstrate the new center's dispatching capabilities. Crews noted the CAD software package the center is using is one CCE had tried in the past and discarded as inadequate.

Returning to the open meeting after a lengthy closed session, the CCE board heard the South County chiefs say they would be willing to pay a higher price for dispatching services if doing so would keep CCE open.

In a letter to the board also read during the reconvened open session, long-time CCE employee Sheryl Hauk reviewed the efforts she and her colleagues had made to expand the operation to handle the added work load first from South County and a few months later from the North Central County Fire Alarm center.

Both the South County and North County dispatch centers encountered financial problems and had to close their doors last year. With the county dispatch center not yet complete, agencies served by both centers opted to have CCE provide their dispatching services.

CCE invested heavily and took on debt to finance equipment, communication links and other steps needed to handle the increased emergency call volume from the other two centers, anticipating that a major portion of the costs would be reimbursed by the ECC. However, the commission has tabled CCE's reimbursement application, saying the request failed to meet requirements for the funding.

Hauk questioned why the CCE board approved the expense and effort for the expansion.

"Why didn't you just keep all three alarm centers open until (the new St. Louis County center) was ready? Was it to make Central County not financially stable as an organization so then you would have an excuse to sell us to (the county)?" she asked.

Hauk said six dispatchers have resigned from CCE in recent months due to uncertainties about the center's future and their jobs.

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Photo by University City Fire Department

October 14, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch SPECIAL TO THE POST-DISPATCH

UNIVERSITY CITY - The possibility that University City could seek to outsource its emergency medical services has run into opposition on the City Council.

"This has been half-baked all along," said Councilman Terry Crow of city administration plans to consider outsourcing.

"EMS transport is one of our core services," said Councilwoman Paulette Carr.

During a regular council meeting Monday night, Carr and Crow questioned potential cost savings that have been cited by City Manager Lehman Walker as a rationale for possible outsourcing.

"Something about these numbers isn't quite adding up," Crow said.

According to Crow and Carr, Walker promised $1 million in savings if the city outsourced its EMS to a private service. The city currently provides EMS through its fire department and staff paramedics/firefighters.

Carr said that possible cost savings are likely to be less than estimated and are just one factor for consideration. Others include emergency call response times, the impact on city firefighting capabilities, and expectations of citizens that the city provide emergency transport with its own personnel, she said.

Walker promised responses to some council questions and said the administration is only studying the idea.

Councilman Stephen Kraft suggested that the council wait until the administration makes a specific proposal.

"I haven't made a decision because I have not seen a proposal," Kraft said. "Let's wait until we have all the data together."

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Photo by Boeing Company

October 13, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Jim Gallagher 314-340-8390

Boeing Co.'s deal with the state of Missouri obligates the firm to create at least 2,000 new, good-paying jobs here over 10 years in order to reap untold millions in state subsidies.

The dollar amount is secret for now, although the administration of Gov. Jay Nixon says it will reveal the size of the subsidies after final details are worked out with the company.

"We're not playing hide the ball," said Mike Downing, Missouri's director of economic development, who said he is still arranging details with Boeing. "We've negotiated a number we both can live with," adding that the deal contains "protections and clawbacks" in case the promised jobs don't appear.

The world's largest aircraft maker, Boeing will benefit from a program that subsidizes jobs by about 4 percent to 9 percent of payroll. Assuming average pay of $75,000 per job, a 4 percent subsidy alone would amount to at least $6 million per year once all 2,000 jobs arrive. It's likely that Boeing will reap much more when other handouts are thrown in the pot.

Meanwhile, St. Louis County will abate 50 percent of the real estate and equipment taxes on the expansion planned for Boeing's composite materials facility in north St. Louis County. The deal abates school and fire district taxes as well.

County officials say Boeing hasn't given them details on the new construction, so they can't project the amount of the tax break.

"We know it will be a significant number," said Denny Coleman, chief executive of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, the city-county business recruiting agency.

All that government generosity begs the question: Would Boeing add the new jobs if Missouri said no to subsidies?

"Most likely they would not have done this," Downing said.

Others aren't so sure, noting that Boeing already employs about 14,500 people here in sprawling facilities, and that St. Louis is the headquarters for Boeing's defense, space and security operations.

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October 13, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

MARSHFIELD, Mo. - Two Missouri firefighters who died in the line of duty were among 107 firefighters honored in a national ceremony.

Lt. Matthew Blankenship of Marshfield and Fort Osage assistant Fire Chief Harold Hollingsworth were honored Sunday when their names were added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Emmitsburg, Md.

Blankenship (photo left) died about a week after being injured when he was trapped in a house fire on July 13, 2013, in Niangua. He was 38.

Hollingsworth, 47, (photo right) of Lexington died in April 2013 in a car accident while driving to a house fire in Sibley.

KOLR reports other firefighters honored Sunday included 19 Arizona firefighters killed in a canyon fire and 10 first responders killed during a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas last year.

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September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Robert Kelly

NORMANDY - The Northeast Ambulance and Fire Protection District in St. Louis County hired St. Louis-based Kwame Building Group Inc. as construction project manager on a $6.2 million firehouse. The architect is St. Louis-based JEMA.

The 30,000-square-foot brick and stone building was approved for construction by voters in a bond issue election last spring. The building will include a 17,500-square-foot main floor with five vehicle bays, a lower level and a second floor.

Construction is expected to start sometime next year in the 7100 block of Natural Bridge Road. Completion is expected in mid- to late 2016.

Kwame also was the construction project manager on a $3 million firehouse in University City, which was completed in late 2013.

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Photo by KMOV

October 9, 2014 - KMOV

ST. LOUIS COUNTY -Firefighters are currently battling a 3-alarm fire at an apartment complex in south St. Louis County.

Fire crews were called to the 3700 block of Huntington Valley Drive around 8:30 a.m. for the blaze.

Stay tuned to News 4 and for the latest in this developing news.

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October 9, 2014 - Gateway Pundit

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - This document was sent out Wednesday warning of Emergency Conditions in the St. Louis area this weekend.

The St. Louis County Emergency Operations Center will be activated at 4:00 PM Thursday and remain activated until midnight Tuesday morning.

The activation is in response to intelligence information and planned demonstrations over the holiday weekend which is being organized as a "Weekend of Resistance."

Far left Ferguson protesters are planning mass demonstrations in St. Louis starting Thursday.


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October 8, 2014 - Rivers Pointe Fire Protection District

WEST ALTON - Rivers Pointe Fire Protection District Chief Richard Pender and Board of Directors are pleased to announce to it's residents that the results from the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) Review have been received and the Fire District has lowered it's rating to a 6/8B. The District for years was a Class 9 and in 2008 right after a review, the residents in Portage Des Sioux area of the District were lowered to a Class 6 due to the hydrant system. Now after years of hard work, the remainder of the District that is more than 1,000 feet away from a hydrant is a Class 8B rating.

What does this mean for you?

If you own a home or property with a building on it, contact your insurance agaent and tell them that the fire district has received a new lowered ISO rating. They should be able to look up that new rating in the system that they use. If they cannot find it or would like to have a letter, please have them contact Chief Richard Pender at 314.713.9900. He will be more than happy to provide the documentation needed to assist in saving you money.

This lowered rating is the first step into another review that will be conducted in early 2015 that will hopefully provide another lowering of the classification. The Fire Chief and his staff are working hard on the second phase of the 2015 review and fully hope and expect to save you, as the residents, more money on your insurance premium.

If you want to know any further information on how the process works or what is planned in the next phase of the review, please reach out to the Fire Chief. He will be happy to explain the operations to you.


October 8, 2014 - KMOV By staff

FENTON - Firefighters in Fenton, Missouri will be offering free pizza and smoke alarms to randomly selected people who order Domino's pizza Wednesday night.

Those ordering a pizza from the store could be randomly selected for a fire engine delivery. The delivery will include a check of the home's smoke alarms to make sure they are working. If they are working the order is free. If they are not working, the firefighters will give the homeowners a free functioning alarm.

The special offer will run from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

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Photo by Christian Gooden,

September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By DAVID A. LIEB Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - Too many public entities are violating Missouri's open-government laws by meeting in closed sessions without giving a good reason or by discussing things behind closed doors that they shouldn't be, the state auditor said Tuesday.

Auditor Tom Schweich said about 15 percent of the nearly 300 audits he conducted over the previous two years found some sort of violation of Missouri's open-meetings-and-records laws. That's an improvement from the 19 percent problem rate for Sunshine law compliance during audits conducted in 2010 and 2011, he said.

"Maybe things are getting a little better," Schweich said. But he added: "That's not to say I'm happy with the fact that so many entities are still not complying."

The most common problems relate to decisions to hold closed meetings.

The Sunshine Law allows exceptions to open-meeting requirements for a variety of reasons, including discussions about legal actions, real estate transactions and the hiring, firing, discipline or promotion of particular employees.

But state auditors cited about two dozen public entities - mainly county governments - for failing to properly document the reasons for closed meetings in 2012 and 2013.

The report released Tuesday cited 19 cases in which public entities discussed things in closed session that were not allowed or did not document how their secret discussions were proper. The report cited an additional 18 audits that faulted public entities for not keeping detailed minutes of their closed sessions.

"When they go into closed session, they don't handle it right," Schweich said, and "they start talking about things that shouldn't be discussed in closed session."

Schweich said there wasn't much evidence of intentional Sunshine Law violations. He said many violations appeared to be accidental or the result of a lack of training for public officials.

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October 6, 2014 - KTVI

ST. LOUIS - A little boy's dream of going to a playoff game is coming true tonight. Liam Myrick is from Houston Missouri and he's a huge Cardinals fan who is living with stage four cancer. According to his parents, he may not be here next baseball season; but when you see this little boys smile, you can tell he's living it life to the max.

Liam may be a little shy but his spirit is anything but.

Liam was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the age of three. He's undergone 14 rounds of chemotherapy, had nine surgeries, and 10 rounds of radiation.

Liam spends countless nights in the hospital, but that doesn't take away from this little guy's spirit. He's always rooting for the Cardinals and his favorite player Jason Mott.

Mott may have not made the playoff roster, but the Cardinals made it to the 3rd game of the NLDS and the icing on cake for the whole family is that they got to be here to watch it together.

I spoke with his mother Shawna and you can tell she's been Liam's rock. She says every time her family's back has been up against the wall, the community has come through.

Liam's may be only 6, but he's had so many wonderful experiences thanks to the public's generosity.

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October 6, 2014 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

FLORISSANT - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District EMS Chief Mark Flauter presents St. Ferdinand School Nurse Michelle Ritter, RN, with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) donated by the district to St. Ferdinand Parish for placement in their school.

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October 6, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis M. Jenkerson has promoted George Clark from the rank of Fire Private to Fire Captain! Captain George Clark is assigned to T-29B. Congratulations!

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Photo by Mid-County Fire Protection District

October 3, 2014 - Mid-County Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The Mid-County Fire Protection District is actively seeking applicants to establish a hiring list for the position of Firefighter/ Paramedic. Minimum requirements for the position are a current National/ Missouri EMT-P License with current ACLS, Graduate of the St. Louis County Fire Academy, a current valid Driver's License and 21 years or older. You may pick up a hiring packet at 1875 Pennsylvania Ave. St. Louis, Mo 63133.

Monday-Friday between the hours of 9am to 4pm. Applications will be available starting October 6th must be turned in by October 20th.

You must follow the instructions in your packets to be eligible to participate in the process.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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October 3, 2014 - Mid-County Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - After 41 years of dedicated service to Mid County Fire District, Engineer and Vietnam Veteran, Gene Royce is retiring. The Board, Firefighters and Staff thank you and wish you the best!

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October 1, 2014 - Operation Warm

Providing the gift of warmth to children in the communities they protect, Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri, IAFF Local 2665, have become ambassadors of Operation Warm.

Through this invaluable partnership, Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri are revolutionizing the expansion of our important mission and impacting the lives of children throughout their community.

Help us provide new winter coats to children in need. Support jobs in the USA.

Click here to donate to Operation Warm


Photo by Crestwood Fire Department

October 1, 2014 - Call Newspapers By Mike AnthonyExecutive Editor

CRESTWOOD - A representative of Local 2665 of the International Association of Fire Fighters told Crestwood aldermen last week that city staff "has been nonexistent to negligent in its response" to the union's efforts to schedule contract negotiations.

Local 2665 represents the city's firefighters, and 4th District Vice President Kurt Becker said union representatives have attempted to schedule contract negotiations with city officials since June 1, but to no avail. The city's current agreement with the local was set to expire Sept. 30.

He noted a 2012 Missouri Supreme Court ruling "mandated that employers collectively bargain with their employees and to do so in a framework that is defined by the judges' rulings as bargaining in good faith with the specific intent to reach an agreement ...."

Citing a memo he presented to the board, Becker said, ".... Since June 1 of this year, we have been attempting very diligently to schedule contract negotiations with the city of Crestwood. There have been six formal written correspondences submitted to city staff to commence that bargaining - documentation of all that correspondence is contained within this memo here. The extent of our response that we've received from city staff has been one email. Most of our correspondence has gone unresponded to.

"We are currently facing a situation where our contract is set to expire within days, and we have received absolutely no feedback, no affirmative response, candidly, no acknowledgement of most of the correspondence that we have sent to the city in an effort to commence bargaining with the city."

In addressing aldermen, Becker said he was not "looking to be confrontational, not looking to - in any way, shape or form - create an adverse relationship with the city of Crestwood, but we need some assistance from the elected officials because city staff has been nonexistent to negligent in its response to our inquiries and requests for bargaining. The Supreme Court set forth a very specific framework for this bargaining.

"I am making the city aware that the city is, at its staff's behest, currently bargaining in bad faith. By refusing to even acknowledge and schedule bargaining sessions, you are putting your city at risk for significant litigious efforts on our part. We don't want to go that route. However, we are being put in a position where we're not being given too many options here."

The union official said his hope was the "Board of Aldermen will exercise its authority and direct staff to expeditiously schedule bargaining sessions with our bargaining unit, and to do so in a manner that is very much in good faith and with an intent to reach an agreement ...."

Board President Mike Tsichlis of Ward 4 later addressed Becker's comments, adding that he would have liked to have had the information the union official presented to the board before the Sept. 23 meeting.

He noted that two representatives of the city's Fire Department addressed aldermen in May, citing significant savings on employee health insurance for 2014-2015 and requesting that Crestwood's contribution for health-insurance premiums be the same for all employees - 89 percent.

In a June 18 memo, City Administrator Mark Sime recommended that the four tiers for the city's contribution to employee health-insurance premiums remain unchanged.

On June 24, aldermen voted to retain existing percentages for the city's contribution to employee health-insurance premiums, rejecting the firefighters' request.

Referencing the firefighters' insurance request, Tsichlis said, ".... That proposal didn't go anywhere, but there was also what I could see at the time a lack of communication between the local's representatives and the city administrator. I thought I called him out about that at that meeting.

"So this really disturbs me that there's been a complete breakdown in communication between the local and between our city administrator. Now I have to ask our city administrator .... I guess you've been aware of their attempts at contacting you regarding setting up an agreement and you did not respond? Is that correct?"

Sime said, "That's incorrect."

Tsichlis said, "OK. Could you explain, please?"

Sime replied, "I've responded and also Fire Chief (Mark) Menning has responded .... Not all responses have been in writing, but we have made attempts to respond."

Tsichlis said, "OK. So in other words, you did respond, and I might ask you, how did you respond? Did you agree to meet or no...."

Sime said, "We told them that we were still reviewing their 50-plus-page document."

About every two weeks since June, the union has submitted requests to schedule bargaining sessions, Becker said.

Tsichlis again asked Sime about his responses to the union's requests.

Sime said, "We responded verbally and we let them know that we were reviewing their document."

Tsichlis said, "OK, is that true?"

Becker said, "That is inconsistent with my experience, candidly. My contact information is readily available to the city administrator (and) the fire chief. No one has contacted me and said, 'Hey, can you give us another month?' .... What we've experienced in other communities when we've run up to deadlines like this is frequently I'll be contacted by counsel from the city and asked to enter into a bridge agreement - a 90-day, a 120-day bridge agreement - so that the contract doesn't expire. No such communication has come our way ...."

Noting he hoped the matter would be resolved soon, Tsichlis later said, ".... I would say one last thing to our city administrator, if you have anything to say in response, this is your chance to do it before, you know, we move on because I think I've heard enough, too, now."

Sime said, "We received the proposal. We have been going through it. We have worked with the city attorney's firm (Lashly & Baer), and we are getting ready to start negotiations."

Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding asked, ".... What happens a week from today when Sept. 30 comes around and there's no agreement? Will there be the old MOU (memorandum of understanding)?"

Sime said, "My understanding .... from the attorney is that the old MOU will remain in place."

Breeding asked Becker, "Is that how you all see it, I hope?"

Becker replied, "That is clearly not the ideal scenario for us to operate under, candidly ...."

Breeding later asked Becker, "So at the end of the day, is our public safety in jeopardy here?"

Becker said, "Absolutely not. The members of the Crestwood Fire Department will take very seriously their obligation to the city of Crestwood and would never even consider any outcome as a result of any kind of bargaining session or lack thereof that would jeopardize the public safety of the city of Crestwood."

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Photo by Hazelwood School District

September 29, 2014 - Hazelwood School District

The weather outside may have been unseasonably cold on the morning of March 20, but the selfless act of local heroes was truly heartwarming. The Black Jack Fire Protection District fire fighters took time from their day to deliver food to the HSD Food 4 Thought closet at Hazelwood East High School.

The truckload of food items were collected from members of the community at two Florissant Shop 'n Save locations during last weekend's food drive. The event was spearheaded by the Black Jack Fire Protection District to benefit the HSD Food 4 Thought program.

"I commend the efforts of Chief Michael Gantner, Assistant Chief Ken Corbin and the entire Black Jack Fire Protection District, HSD staff, the Hazelwood PTA Council, and Hazelwood National Education Association on coming together to help alleviate the food hunger problem for many of our students," said Dr. Grayling Tobias, HSD superintendent. "I am thankful to our entire community for their continuous support of the HSD Food 4 Thought program, and their generosity to our students."

Fire fighters arrived at the school on Thursday and were greeted by members of East High's student council and SoJAM, a justice and social issues club, Principal Dr. Jacqueline Kelly, Counselor Angela Bryant, PTA members, and other HSD staff. Students and staff helped transport the food items from the truck to a holding area in the building where the items could be sorted. Eventually, the food was equally distributed to the District's three high school sites: Hazelwood East, Hazelwood Central and Hazelwood West. Although the food is stored at the high schools, the HSD Food 4 Thought closets will service all HSD students who are in need.

The HSD Food 4 Thought program provides for students who lack access to nutritious food at home with a reliable source of food for evenings, weekends, and other breaks from school.

For the program to operate sustainably, continued support from the entire community is needed. If you have questions about the HSD Food 4 Thought program, please call 314-953-5045.

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Photo by Mehlville Fire District

September 17, 2014 - Call Newspapers By Mike Anthony Executive Editor

MEHLVILLE - Mehlville Fire Protection District firefighters participated in a training class last week at Clydesdale Park in Green Park to earn their certification as trench-rescue technicians.

Roughly 25 MFPD firefighters participated in the four-day trench-rescue technician class offered by the University of Missouri-Columbia's Fire and Rescue Training Institute, according to Assistant Chief Dan LaFata.

".... To earn a certification, you have to do a scenario in three different kinds of trenches - an L-shaped trench, a straight trench and a T-shaped trench," LaFata said.

With the roughly 25 firefighters certified in last week's class, Mehlville now has about 50 certified trench-rescue technicians.

"With this (class), we now have 50 people that are deployable with other statewide teams," LaFata said, adding that's nearly half of the district's 117 firefighters.

The assistant chief emphasized that even though this was a training class, working with trenches is never completely safe as the three types of trenches used for the class are a minimum of 8 feet deep.

".... When you smoke up a building with fake smoke for firefighter training, there's really little chance of getting hurt," he said. "This is a live trench. You can never make these safe - 100 percent .... One thing these guys will all do after this class is they'll notice how many trenches are being dug in the district right now. Anytime you see a backhoe on the side of the road, there's a trench next to it."

Firefighters participated in 40 hours of training for the class, including one day in the classroom and three days of working in the trenches, according to LaFata.

Of the training, he said, "This incorporates all of the incident-command features, teamwork, carpentry skills, knowledge of specialized tools. That's why is such a good training (class)." Digging a trench "is not a do-it-yourself project" and should be left to professionals, LaFata said.

"Typically, when we have a trench rescue, it's someone who has rented a backhoe and gotten in a little bit deeper than they should of ....," he said. "If a trench collapses on you, that dirt weighs so much. If it doesn't break you in half, it will suffocate you because you won't be able to expand your chest."

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Photo by Robertson Fire Protection District

September 29, 2014 - Robertson Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Private Kevin McMichael retired on September 23, 2014. Kevin retired with 27 years as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the Robertson Fire District. Kevin was presented with an axe for his years of service during his retirement ceremony.

Good Luck Kevin and THANK YOU for your years of service.


Protesters yell at police during a rally for Michael Brown August 30, 2014 outside the Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri.
(Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

September 26, 2014 - KMOX

FERGUSON, MO. - A caller to KMOX's Charlie Brennan Show said her brother's car was "fire-bombed," Thursday night around the time of the protest outside the Ferguson Police Department.

"The people that are doing this violence, they're not going to be pacified," she says. "The law is the law. The law needs to be enforced so that good, law-abiding citizens, such as the police chief, are protected."

KMOX News checked with Ferguson Fire Department to verify her claim, and found they did put out a car fire in the 300 block of Harrison around 11:15 p.m. Thursday.

Their report listed the fire as electrical in nature, but the St. Louis County Police bomb and arson squad was brought in to investigate further.

KMOX is awaiting word on its findings.

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September 26, 2014 -

CHESTERFIELD - The Monarch Fire Protection District Tactical Paramedics responded to the City of Ferguson on 12 different days of civil unrest this month, for a total of 432 man hours at a cost of $21,328.83. Monarch is hoping to recover the costs from the State of Missouri because Governor Jay Nixon declared a "State of Emergency."

The tactical paramedics were in Ferguson to treat any police officers or Highway Patrol troopers who were injured during the protests.

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Photo by Central County Fire & Rescue

September 15, 2014 - Central County Fire & Rescue

ST. PETERS - The Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) Board of Directors presented the Medal of Valor to three firefighters, and an Award of Recognition to two St. Peters residents at its meeting tonight, Sept. 23 at CCFR Fire Station #1, 1 Timberbrook Dr., St. Peters, MO 63376.

St. Peters residents Mark and Angie Davidson will receive the Award of Recognition for their quick reaction to a condominium fire on Sept. 9. at 4:30 a.m. that morning they were on their usual morning jog when they noticed a fire on the deck of a first floor condominium at 1391 Forest Creek Dr. The two immediately jumped into action, Mark began knocking on doors and ringing doorbells to warn residents of the six-unit, two-story complex, while Angie called 911, alerting emergency responders of the fire.

"Without their quick response it would have been a different situation when we arrived on the scene. As with many fires, this one grew quickly and seconds made a difference in the condominium residents getting out, and our crews being there before the flames spread," says CCFR Chief Russ Mason.

When emergency responders arrived on the scene there was a small fire on a deck, next to an exterior wall. As the crews began deploying their fire hose the fire grew, engulfing the wall and reaching the roof. Everyone in the building was safely evacuated, and the blaze was extinguished.


(Photo: Rick Meyer/KSDK-TV)

September 15, 2014 - KSDK By Brandie Piper, KSDK

ST. LOUIS - Multiple tractor-trailers are on fire at a contractor supply company in north St. Louis.

The fire started late Wednesday morning at Nu Way Services in the 7400 block of Hall Street. A large plume of smoke can be seen rising above the city.

Capt. Gregg Favre with the St. Louis Fire Department says the trailers contain non-combustibles, meaning there's nothing hazardous inside.

There's no word yet on what started the fire or if anyone has been injured.

This story will be updated as information becomes available.

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September 23, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

FERGUSON - Firefighters arrive to put out a burning pile of stuffed animals and other assorted items that made up a memorial to Michael Brown on Canfield Drive on Tuesday, Sept. 23. The fire started somewhere between 6:30 and 7 a.m., according to the photographer. Submitted photo by Jacob Crawford

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September 23, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Valerie Schremp Hahn 314-340-8246

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

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

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

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

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

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September 17, 2014 - EMS WORLD MAGAZINE

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

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

Click here to view other recipients.

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

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

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

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September 16, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 16, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department

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

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September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Christine Byers 314-340-8087

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

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

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

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

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

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September 16, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo by Wentzville Fire Protection District

September 16, 2014

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

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September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 15, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 14, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department

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

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September 13, 2014 - West Overland Fire Protection District

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

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

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

Additional information can be obtained from Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Team website at

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

September 12, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

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

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

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

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

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September 11, 2014 - IAFF Local 757

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

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September 11, 2014 - Black Jack Fire Protection District

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

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

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

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September 10, 2014 - KMOV

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crow seemed surprise by Walker's denial.

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

Walker spoke to News 4 and denied the denial.

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

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September 9, 2014 - KTVI

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

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

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Photo by The Missouri Times

September 9, 2014 - The Missouri Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo by Monarch Firefighter's Community Outreach

September 9, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 5, 2014 - KPLR

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

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

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

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September 3, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

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

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

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September 3, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 4, 2014 - KMOX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 4, 2014 - KMOV

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

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

Maritz said all employees inside the building were not hurt.

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Photo by KMOV

September 3, 2014 - KMOV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 2, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The planning effort is expected to take about six months.

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September 2, 2014 - KTVI

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

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

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

No one was hurt.

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

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

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September 1, 2014 - KTVI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 1, 2014 - KMOV

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

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

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

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

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

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