BERKELEY HOUSE FIRE LEAVES TWO DEAD; THIRD PERSON MISSING
April 6, 2016 - KTVI BY KEVIN S. HELD
BERKELEY, MO. - The Berkeley Police Department is looking for a man who lived in a home that went up in flames overnight. Two women were found dead inside the home.
The fire took place just before 1:40 a.m. in the 6100 block of Eaton Drive. Authorities have not identified the two women.
Police said 39-year-old Michael Smith lived at the home, but has gone missing. He's approximately 5'10" tall and weighs 185 pounds. His vehicle is described as a newer model Chevy Camaro, red in color, with temporary Missouri tags.
Anyone with information on Smith's whereabouts is asked to contact the Berkeley Police Department at 314-524-3311.
Photo by Wentzville Fire Protection District Facebook
April 6, 2016 - KSDK Sam Clancy, KSDK
WENTZVILLE, MO. - Firefighters in Foristell had to use some ingenuity to put out a barn fire Tuesday afternoon.
The fire, which the Wentzville Fire Protection District said ended up burning about 30 or 40 acres, started this afternoon in an area of St. Charles and Warren Counties were there are no fire hydrants. In order to fight the fire, firefighters from Wentzville, Lake St Louis, Lincoln County, Wright City and O'Fallon, Mo., had to use water from a nearby pond.
A post on the Wentzville Fire Protection District said the fire was wind-fed, and limited water made it difficult to fight.
There were no injuries reported. An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.
MONARCH FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT ADOPTS 'FIT-FOR-DUTY' POLICY
April 4, 2016 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson
The Monarch Fire Protection District has adopted a "fit-for-duty" policy requiring that virtually all uniformed personnel be able to complete a number of job-specific physical tests.
With the Monarch board approving the policy on a 3-0 vote, the district joins a number of other area fire protection districts that also require personnel to perform certain physical tasks similar to those done on the job.
However, not all Monarch personnel are happy with the new policy, saying it takes a narrow view of what is a much larger overall issue.
"We think the intentions are good but it seems likely the policy will result in conflicts that really shouldn't happen," said Brent Coleman, a Monarch shop steward for local 2665 of the Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri.
"We aren't opposed to there being certain physical requirements, because being able to meet the demands of the job definitely is in the best interest of the taxpayers we serve as well as firefighters themselves from a safety and long-term health standpoint," Coleman said. "But the consequences for failure to pass the tests are rather muddy and uncertain and that causes some anxieties among our members."
Robin Harris, Monarch's board president, and Coleman agree that making sure firefighters are able to meet the physical demands of the job is in everyone's best interest. However, Harris added that firefighters' desire to merge a wellness program and physical performance standards together made the resulting document "unwieldy."
Except for fire prevention bureau personnel, who are specifically exempted from the policy's provisions, all uniformed personnel, including officers, are required to take an annual "essential function exam." Anyone unable to perform all the tasks set forth in the policy will be tested again in six months after participating in a physical fitness prescription administered by a peer evaluator.
Two consecutive failures or three failures in a five-year period "may be cause for disciplinary action in accordance with the disciplinary procedures" of the district, the policy says. "Individuals who refuse to participate and/or who fail to cooperate fully shall be disciplined following the departmental disciplinary procedures," the document adds.
Anyone whose medical condition at the time of the exam makes them unable to take the assessment is required to present a physician's statement at least 10 days in advance. An exemption is considered a failure of the exam.
Among the tasks in the exam are:
- Lifting a 95-pound object from the floor, taking a side step and placing the object on a surface 21 inches from the floor. The procedure must be done twice and is designed to simulate picking up half the weight of a stretcher with a patient on it and placing it on a gurney. A separate but similar test calls for two repetitions of lifting the object and going up and down an eight-inch step.
- Dragging a 100-pound load 100 feet while wearing all protective gear, including a mask and breathing from an air tank.
- Dragging a hose attached to a 60-pound sled 50 feet while walking and another 50 feet while crawling or maintaining a low-to-the-ground position. The drag must be done while wearing all protective gear, including a mask and breathing from an air tank.After completing the last two tasks described above and two others in the exam, the person being tested must be able to answer questions posed by the examiner to demonstrate an ability to communicate while under stress.
The tasks to be performed apply equally to men and women.
Monarch's policy also offers a 1.5 percent of base pay stipend for those certified by the American Council on Exercise as a peer fitness trainer on each of its crews, and will pay for that certification and recertification.
A spot check of other area fire protection districts showed that all those contacted require their personnel to complete similar tasks to demonstrate their fitness for duty.
The Mehlville Fire Protection District lists ten tasks that must be performed and requires that all be done in seven minutes and 39 seconds or less. Asked what happens if someone fails to pass the exam, Chief Brian Hendricks said the person can be removed from active duty until completing the tasks successfully. But that has never happened, he added.
"Our fitness tests are part of a wellness program and we've had very good buy-in on that," Hendricks said.
According to John Bradley, assistant chief of fire and emergency medical services at Metro West Fire Protection District, the labor contract with firefighters/paramedics calls for an hour of physical fitness work during every on-duty day.
Anyone unable to pass the annual fitness tasks receives remedial training and repeats the exam in 30 days. As with Mehlville, Metro West has had no instances of personnel unable to perform the tests.
"There could be situations when a medical condition such as heart disease or a severe case of diabetes causes someone to resign. But we believe in working with our people, especially during the recovery period after an injury to prevent a re-injury from occurring," Bradley said.
Chief Ernie Rhodes of the West County Fire Protection District said his department doesn't have a specific policy, but does conduct an annual fitness exam program.
"Anyone who can't do what's required is evaluated medically to see what needs to be done to correct the problem," he noted.
KEELER RETIRES FROM CENTRAL COUNTY EMERGENCY 911 BOARD
April 4, 2016 - West Newsmagazine
Cathy Keeler, a Creve Coeur Fire Protection District board member who represents the district on the Central County Emergency 911 Board, has decided not to seek re-election to the CCE board.
After more than five years of board service, Keeler attended her last CCE board meeting on March 23. At that meeting, Keeler received a plaque from Tim Flora, CCE board chairman, recognizing her service, which included a stint as board chair from late 2013 until early 2014.
FIREFIGHTERS IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY DO NOT LOOK LIKE THOSE THEY ARE TRAINED TO PROTECT
Black Jack Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Roger Ellison (left) helps Pauline Pearson, 17, into a firefighter's coat, helmet and air pack during an organizational meeting for a new Explorer Post for teenagers interested in fire fighting careers Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at the district's house three in Florissant. Photo by Sid Hastings
April 4, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Doug Moore
ST. LOUIS COUNTY - In Hazelwood, none of the city's 36 firefighters is black although nearly a third of its residents are African-American. In neighboring Ferguson, more than 67 percent of residents are black, compared with 7 percent of firefighters.
And in the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District, two of the 60 firefighters are black, representing 3.3 percent of the department. By comparison, more than a quarter of the residents who live in that part of the region are African-American.
The situation is the same throughout the parts of St. Louis County with large African-American populations. With the Justice Department fresh off an investigation here after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, more cities are being scrutinized for their hiring practices amid criticism that minorities are systemically underrepresented in public employment.
Fire chiefs say that there are not enough qualified black applicants and that blacks hired are hard to retain, often recruited by other departments that offer better pay and benefits in communities with fewer emergency calls.
"Even when we are fortunate to hire a minority, we don't get to hold onto them for very long," Hazelwood Fire Chief Dave Radel said. He said part of the reason for a lack of blacks on his department came from having two fire protection districts that also serve parts of his city. It doesn't take long for firefighters on mutual aid calls to begin talking and find where the better salaries are, he said.
But one of those districts - Florissant Valley - is not faring much better.
The department recently received 70 qualified applicants to test for a hiring list that is likely to go into effect in May. Fire Chief Scott Seppelt recalled one or two African-Americans among them. After a series of tests, 10 applicants made the cut. All are white.
Seppelt said his department continued to look at ways to improve diversity. Like some other departments, Florissant Valley provides training for fire and EMT programs at North Technical High School, part of the Special School District. Successful students graduate from high school with community college credits.
"We really do want to see that applicant pool change. We are open to any way we can assist in doing that," Seppelt said.
Addington Stewart is the regional leader of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, which works to encourage young African-Americans to consider the profession. Retirees with the association have for the past two months been offering free classes in test preparation for those wanting to become firefighters.
Later this year, the organization will offer tuition reimbursement to those who successfully complete emergency medical technician training. Stewart, a retired St. Louis city fire captain, said young African-Americans didn't know much about fire service as a career because outreach had been poor. And those who are doing the hiring need to look at more ways to reach minorities. Often, job postings are made in a newspaper ad, the fire department's website or by word of mouth.
"We're not looking to blame anybody," Stewart said of the hiring practices he wants changed. "But to say they (minority applicants) are not out there is insulting to me."
Quinten Randolph agrees. He is fire chief of the Northeast Fire Protection District, which represents Normandy and parts or all of 17 other tiny communities. They range from Bel-Nor with a black population of 46.4 percent to Velda Village Hills, where 98.5 percent of its residents are African-American.
By comparison, 12 of the 30 firefighters in Northeast are black, or 40 percent.
"We as leaders can't sit back and say we can't find black firefighters. We are at the helm to change things to make fire districts look somewhat like those they serve," said Randolph, who is black. Once you build a culture of diversity in your department, then it becomes a place where people want to work, he said.
But Stewart, Randolph and those they criticize for not doing enough to change the fire department culture, all agree there are challenges that have to be addressed.
'A BIG BUGABOO'
Most departments now require firefighters to be paramedics, which means additional schooling beyond graduating from the fire academy. That can put the career out of grasp for those who can't afford community college. Poverty rates in Missouri are three times higher among blacks compared with whites. And it is required in all 42 fire districts and departments in St. Louis County that those hired must go through the county's fire academy. That includes veteran firefighters from other jurisdictions such as St. Louis, where 39 percent of firefighters are African-American.
Karen Aroesty, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the requirement "reeks of structural racism."
Aroesty served as chairman of the St. Louis County Fire Standards Commission until December, when she resigned. She was appointed to the commission in the fall of 2010 by then-County Executive Charlie Dooley. She said she grew frustrated by the system, log-jammed by policies that she could not get changed.
A few years ago she and other commission members were being introduced to a cadet class.
"One gentleman stood up and said: 'I'm an 11-year vet of the St. Louis City Fire Department.' I remember thinking: 'Why can't he just get hired?' It's awful he has to go through the county academy."
The commission, which has been in place for 35 years, is made up of seven St. Louis County residents who must, among other things, pledge that every firefighter working in the county "will be trained to established standards to ensure professional, quality, and uniformed firefighting and the safety and well-being of our citizens and firefighters."
Members are appointed by the county executive and confirmed by the County Council. Aroesty's resignation makes four vacancies on the board. A spokesman for St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said those vacancies should be filled by the end of the month. A new executive director for the commission also should be in place by then.
William Pruitt is one of the remaining members of the commission. He also serves on the three-member board of the Mid-County Fire Protection District, where 22 percent of firefighters are black, serving communities where the majority of residents are African-American.
"This is just a big bugaboo," Pruitt said of hiring practices within the county. Pruitt, who is black, was hesitant to be critical of the current St. Louis County system and the required academy training.
"You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution," he said. "You can't do anything from the outside looking in. For the time being, I'd like to stay on the board and hope that things are guided in the right direction."
Aroesty is leaving the board discouraged.
"I will be honest - I did not succeed the way I hoped I would" on the commission, she said.
"Where is the political will to make these changes? The fact is fire jobs are good jobs and the challenge is you have to make the effort to go find people," she said. That includes black firefighters going out into the community to talk about their profession and instill confidence in minority candidates that "they will be respected and be successful in the job."
REFLECTING THE COMMUNITY
Stewart, with the black firefighters association, said he began looking at the racial makeup of fire departments long before Ferguson. But after Brown's shooting, he began to formally request information from the county's departments. Of the 21 departments that serve parts of St. Louis County where at least 10 percent of African-Americans live, 15 responded to Stewart's request. Among those supplying information was Ferguson, where two of 27 firefighters are African-American serving a city where more than two-thirds of residents are black.
"Diversity has always been, and continues to be, very important and beneficial to the city of Ferguson," city spokesman Jeff Small said in an email. He said the fire department had seen very little turnover the past few years.
The city last hired firefighters in 2012. Both hires were white men, based on records from Ferguson's human resources department.
In University City, 15 percent of the firefighters are African-American, compared with 41 percent of the community. City Manager Lehman Walker said efforts were ongoing to improve minority representation throughout city departments.
"When I came here in August 2010, we had two African-American firefighters. Now we have six," said Walker. "It's very important from a city point of view that our workforce in every department reflect the demographics of the community."
Part of that effort includes putting minorities in leadership positions. Walker, who is African-American, has six department heads who report to him. They include two black men, a black woman, an Asian woman and a white woman.
Other departments with a small percentage of African-Americans say they are working to improve their numbers but are finding it a challenge.
In the Black Jack Fire Protection District, for example, an Explorer post is being started through the Boy Scouts, where firefighters mentor young people ages 14 to 21 interested in the profession. Yet at an open house last week, just one of the eight participants was African-American.
Close to 20 percent of the Black Jack district's firefighters are black. By comparison, more than 81 percent of residents of Black Jack, which composes a big chunk of the district, are African-American.
Black Jack Fire Chief Mike Gantner said the key was getting to young people as early as possible to put firefighting on the radar as a profession. He is hopeful the Explorer program and continued visits from firefighters into classrooms will increase interest - and eventually qualified applicants.
Stewart's firefighter group has been holding Monday night sessions at the O'Fallon Park Rec Complex in north St. Louis since Feb. 2. More than 50 young people have stopped in. About 15 are regulars, he said.
At a class last month, 14 young African-Americans - 12 men and 2 women - went through a two-hour session of reading exercises from a manual used to help prospective firefighters prepare for exams. Gavin Alfred, 25, of University City was one of the more engaged students.
Alfred has a few years of college under his belt, but he had to stop taking classes to take care of family. He has held a series of jobs but is looking for a career. Firefighting seems a good fit, he said.
"It's a way to give back to the community," Alfred said. "There is nothing wrong with working alongside the law and helping those in need."
MAN REMOVED FROM SCENE AFTER YELLING AT MO. FIREFIGHTERS
April 2, 2015 - Firehouse Magazine
CHESTERFIELD - A Chesterfield man yelled at firefighters and tried to block the roadway as crews were battling a house fire Tuesday.
Larry Hoffman blocked roadway access and interfered with Monarch Fire Protection firefighters during the Still House Creek Road house fire, Chesterfield Patch reports.
Hoffman, who is a critic of the firefighter's union, blocked the street and then videotaped firefighters as he yelled insults and profanities at the crews, according to a police report that was filed. Police told him to leave the scene and move his vehicle.
"It was totally inappropriate to interfere with emergency services and public safety at the scene of a fire - the firefighters filed a police report for interference immediately," an eyewitness told the website. "Luckily, the firefighters extinguished the fire before Mr. Hoffman caused any further trouble. Thanks to the police order, they could get out of there without further incident or any accident."
The website said he's vocal supporter of Robin Harris, the incumbent Monarch Fire Protection District Board President , who is running for re-election next week.
ST. LOUIS FIREFIGHTERS PLAY HOST TO SOUTH KOREAN COUNTERPARTS
April 3, 2016 - KTVI BY SHAWNDREA THOMAS
ST. LOUIS, MO. - On Sunday morning the St. Louis city fire department became ambassadors to a group of firefighters from Daegu the third largest city in South Korea. The group is on a 6 day tour across the United States to learn how American fire crews battle fires, plan schedules, use equipment and conduct rescues. Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson and South Korean officials say it's a good experience for both sides.
The St. Louis Fire Department has over 600 fire fighters compared to the 2,000 in Daegu and they also have 48 fire houses in Daegu to serve over 2 million people while St. Louis has 30. The next stop for the group is Indiana on Monday.
Someone I use to work with told me a story recently about a situation in which the police called for the fire department to respond to clean a perpetrator who had defecated following a police chase and arrest. After arriving at the scene and finding out why they had been called, one of the firefighter-paramedics went off on a tirade about the police officers and the patient. He said defamatory and derogatory things in a raised voice to the point where other fire department members had to intervene. To his embarrassment, the whole outburst was caught on a police officer's body camera.
CAMERAS ARE EVERYWHERE
Firefighter-paramedics need to realize that their actions on incident scenes are probably being captured from multiple vantage points. There are police wearing body cameras. Sometimes images are captured on police dash cameras, and the police officer has a microphone on his body tied back to the dash camera.
Citizens are notorious for whipping out their camera phones to record any scene where police officers are present. And of course there are security cameras everywhere these days. It is estimated that the average American citizen is caught on camera 75 times per day, including residential security surveillance systems, traffic cameras, elevator cameras, banks, parking garages, convenience stores, to name a few.
Some fire departments even have dash cameras mounted in the front of ambulances, engines and other apparatus for driving purposes or, in some cases, a command car is pointed at the scene to capture all the action for after-action reviews. I haven't seen it myself, but I have also heard of fire departments that have cameras in the rear of the patient compartment or a camera mounted on the back of the ambulance pointing to the rear area of the ambulance. Others have cameras mounted in the rear of the ambulance as part of a telemedicine project that they might be involved in. And if this was not enough, don't forget that some firefighters have cameras mounted on their helmets.
If you're worried about your privacy, you might as well forget about it in most public places and emergency scenes. You're actions, words and gestures are all captured for the world to see. As a public servant in the fire service, you are accountable for your actions.
You don't even have to be on duty to be responsible for your actions, as evidenced by a recent situation in DeKalb County, GA. It all started when a fire captain and a fire department employee were pulled over by a police sergeant for an expired license plate. Both personnel, who were off-duty at the time, claimed that the sergeant was unprofessional, belligerent and cussed them out. Shortly thereafter, the fire department employee filed a written complaint against the police sergeant. The fire captain backed up her story in writing, too. What they did not realize was that the police cruiser had a dash camera and the sergeant was wearing a body camera. The story told by the two DeKalb County Fire and Rescue employees was not even close to what the camera video showed. After being shown the video, the Dekalb County Fire and Rescue employee recanted her story in writing.
FIREFIGHTERS WEARING CAMERAS?
Some contend that firefighter/paramedics should also now start wearing body cameras to protect themselves from litigation claims of malpractice to other complaints centering on sexual abuse of the patient or other forms of abuse. Because opinions from attorneys will vary on what is and what is not permissible under HIPAA, I am sure that many in the fire and EMS community will be reluctant to place body cameras on firefighter/paramedics. If a firefighter/paramedic wears a body camera, there is an issue of confidentiality and privacy. The confidentiality issue can be addressed through procedures to ensure that the videos are only accessible by authorized personnel. Privacy is a bigger issue, and some will contend that the patient is entitled to a certain level of privacy in a medical situation. I suspect the debates that the police went through several years ago when they started moving to cameras will one day unfold in the fire and EMS profession.
It is important to remember that while you are working on a scene, it is more likely than not that you're actions and comments are being recorded in some fashion. It is imperative to remain professional to ensure that your actions and comments are not called into question later.
GARY LUDWIG, MS, EMT-P, a Firehouse contributing editor, is the fire chief of the Champaign, IL, Fire Department. He has a total of 38 years of fire, rescue and EMS experience. He is a well-known author and lecturer who has successfully managed two large award-winning metropolitan fire-based EMS systems in St. Louis and Memphis. Ludwig is a licensed paramedic and has a master's degree in business and management. He is past chair of the EMS Section for the IAFC. He is the author of the recently published book Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Prayers.
FIRE DISTRICT TAKES DELIVERY OF NEW ROSENBAUER APPARATUS
April 2, 2016 - Firehouse Magazine
WENTZVILLE, MO. - Wentzville Fire Protection District has taken delivery of a 2016 rear-mount Rosenbauer pumper with a unique red and and gray color scheme. It's built on a Rosenbauer Commander cab and chassis which is powered by a Cummins ISL 450-hp engine and an Allison transmission. It has a Waterous pump, a 750-gallon water tank and a 30-gallon foam cell. It has a blacked out grille and a Marathon Diesel generator.
ST. LOUIS CO. FIRE DISTRICT BALLOT ISSUES FOR THE APRIL 5th 2016 ELECTION
BLACK JACK FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT - PROPOSITION R
BALLOT WORDING: Shall the Board of Directors of the Black Jack Fire Protection District be authorized to levy an additional annual tax rate of not more than fifteen cents per one hundred dollars valuation, the revenues from which shall be used for Firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics pension program of the district?
MEHLVILLE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT - PROPOSITION S
BALLOT WORDING: Shall the Board of Directors of the Mehlville Fire Protection District be authorized to abolish the Alarm levy, reducing the authorized tax levy five cents (5 cents), while increasing the General Revenue authorized tax levy by five cents (5 cents) per one hundred dollars assessed valuation as a cost saving measure to simplify and streamline accounting procedures of the District? If this proposition is approved by a majority of the voters,
the overall authorized tax levy will remain the same and there will be no reduction in service.
MID-COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT - BOND ELECTION - PROPOSITION E
BALLOT WORDING: Shall the Mid-County Fire Protection District of St. Louis County, Missouri issue its general obligation bonds in the amount of Two Million Eight Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($2,850,000) for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, renovating, maintaining and equipping fire stations and related facilities and acquiring and equipping fire protection and fire-fighting apparatus and auxiliary equipment therefor to carry out the objectives and purposes of the District?
MID-COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT - PROPOSITION P
BALLOT WORDING: Shall the Mid-County Fire Protection District of St. Louis County, Missouri be authorized to levy an additional tax of not more than twenty-four cents per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation for the purpose of providing funds for the general support of the District and to maintain the present level of fire services?
ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF PROMOTION
Photo by Cottleville Fire Protection District
March 30, 2016 - Cottleville Fire Protection District Facebook
COTTLEVILLE, MO. - Congratulations to Assistant Chief Skip Stephens! Skip was sworn into office at Monday's night board meeting. Skip will serve as our new Assistant Chief of Professional Standards.
Skip began his fire service career with Cottleville in 2000 and was promoted to Captain in 2012. In 2008, Skip was integral in establishing Cottleville Firefighters Outreach and led the firefighters' charitable organization as Executive Director for 8 years.
In his new role, he will manage multiple duties that will include personnel, human resources, public fire education, public relations, training, emergency response, and much more.
LADUE COUNCIL OKS $4.5 MILLION FINANCING PLAN TO REBUILD FIREHOUSE
March 30, 2016 - St. Louis Post Dispatch
LADUE, MO. - The Ladue City Council on Monday gave final approval to a $4.5 million financing plan to rebuild Fire House No. 1 at 9213 Clayton Road.
Councilman John R. Fox said the total cost of construction is estimated to be $4.171 million with estimated interest costs of $536,000 over entire 10 years (if the loan is taken to full term) and $39,500 in legal fees, for a total cost to the city of $4.746 million.
"The current house dates from the early 1950s, and the new state-of-the art facility will be 24 percent larger," Fox said.
Groundbreaking is set for the end of July, with estimates that the building will be completed in August 2017, he said.
The financing plan was recommended by the city's finance committee. Mayor Nancy Spewak said that the recommendation is based on factors such as the current city capital improvements fund has a balance of $1.393 million, insufficient to fully fund the fire house project; the likelihood that there will be additional significant capital needs of all city departments in the next several years; and the current low interest rates that are allowing the city to lock in a 2.18 percent fixed 10-year rate with Commerce Bank, as well as the ability for the loan to be prepaid at any time without penalty.
During construction, a temporary fire house trailer and fire engine will be set up in the rear of the City Hall site.
The city, a couple years ago, completed a similar reconstruction of Fire House No. 2, at 9911 Clayton Road.
ST. LOUIS, MO. - Broken ambulances, fire trucks that won't go in reverse, or trucks breaking on the way to a call. Those are problems the St. Louis Fire Department says pose real safety risks for St. Louisans.
"Mechanical breakdowns, failures, it causes me to lose sleep at night," explained Chief Dennis Jenkerson.
That's why they are looking to the voters to approve Proposition F on April 5.
"This provides equipment for us to better prepare, better respond our ambulances are at the end of their life as well. One a daily basis we're running almost 400 calls a day between fire and EMS, and this allows us the same type of protection that they're used to," said Jenkerson.
The $25 million bond would allow the department to replace about 25 percent of the fleet, including fire trucks and ambulances.
"It won't cost anybody one penny," explained Chief Jenkerson.
As explained by the city, "The current 13 cents tax levy is available for utilizing a $25 million bond issue without increasing taxes."
About $15 million will go directly to the fire department. The rest will be used to repair and renovate bridges and other facilities owned by the city.
ST. LOUIS, MO. - A south St. Louis woman watches her dog burn to death before she and another woman, along with four young children, escape safely from a house fire.
The fire began about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday at a two-family flat in the 3500 block of Nebraska.
Shannon Wade Davis says they were all inside when they smelled smoke and heard an explosion. Opening the back door, she saw flames consuming the two-story exterior wooden porch.
That's when Davis says she heard her dog yelping.
The family's pet pit bull was chained to the burning back porch, and she saw it burning to death.".... I looked in the back and my dog was on fire. Like literally, on fire," Davis says. "There was no way that I could get back there and save him. .... I started panicking and I was like, forget it."
She got everyone out of the house, but had to leave the dog behind.
The fire department is investigating whether the upstairs tenants may have been doing some careless burning in a barbecue pit on the back porch.
SHREWSBURY FIRE DEPARTMENT PROGRAM OFFERS TO TAKE CARE OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Program tracks children by establishing detailed medical histories
March 24, 2016 - Webster-Kirkwood Times
SHREWSBURY, MO. - The Shrewsbury Fire Department is implementing a new program that will better prepare firefighters and paramedics to take care of children with special needs in an emergency.
Children who could especially benefit from the program are those with significant developmental delays, seizure disorders, cardiac history, cerebral shunts, tracheostomies, or any atypical diseases or syndromes. Children and teenagers through 21 years old can be entered into the program.
Called STARS (Special needs Tracking and Awareness Response System), the program includes a form detailing the child's medical history, medications, allergies, baseline vital signs and neurological status, and common medical emergencies that is kept in each ambulance.
A number is assigned to each child that matches the form. In an emergency, the caller gives the dispatcher the child's number, which is then relayed to the responding ambulance. Having this information on hand can be crucial, especially when a regular caretaker is not present.
Parents who feel their child would be a candidate are encouraged to contact the Shrewsbury Fire Department. A paramedic will come to the house or the parent and child may come to the firehouse to discuss the children's needs and fill out the STARS form.
If children have any anxiety about the ambulance, they can tour it or see any medical equipment. Those interested should contact Shrewsbury Firefighter/Paramedic Steve Gray at 314-583-6370 or by email at email@example.com.
Photo by Black Jack Fire Protection District Facebook
March 24, 2016 - Black Jack Fire Protection District
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - Black Jack firefighters fought a residential structure fire in the Barrington Downs subdivision Tuesday. "B" shift arrived to find the garage fully involved and fire spreading into the attic space. An aggressive interior attack limited the damage in the living area. The garage was a total loss.
Black Jack was assisted by Florissant Valley FPD, Spanish Lake FPD, Ferguson FD, and Hazelwood FD.
EPA: NUCLEAR WASTE CLOSER TO BRIDGETON LANDFILL FIRE
Bridgeton landfill, West Lake landfill in distance. Taken Oct. 2015 (Kevin Killeen/KMOX)
March 24, 2016 - KMOX
BRIDGETON, MO. - The EPA released new data showing the underground fire at the Bridgeton landfill is much closer than we thought to the nuclear waste from the Manhattan Project.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the new data places the radioactive waste "hundreds of feet" closer to the fire than previously known.
The Neighborhood Moms group spokesman Dawn Chatman now worries they won't have enough time to build a firebreak barrier.
"As a resident living here, I'm horrified, I'm scared, but I'm really angry right now," Chatman told KMOX, her voice cracking at times. "They should have known this five years ago, six years ago when this fire started."
Landfill spokesman Richard Callow released a statement saying the community now has a better idea of where the nuclear waste is:
"EPA has determined that the radioactive impacted material (RIM) is not threatened by the underground smolder, which is neither moving into the north quarry nor into West Lake Landfill," Callow said in the statement. "It has found no new risks to health. This all seems like a good and important step toward reaching a final decision by the end of year."
Attorney General Chris Koster took a different approach:
"Today's report confirms that EPA has never had a clear picture of the extent of contamination at the West Lake landfill, and it is deeply concerning that it took EPA so long to figure that out," Koster said in a statement. "The EPA has yet to reveal its plan for preventing the fire from ever reaching the waste. It is long past time for the federal government to transfer responsibility of the site to the Army Corps for swift and certain remedial action."
WEBSTER GROVES, MO. - The Webster Groves Fire Department, along with several other area fire departments, responded to a house fire shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, in the 1500 block of Grant Ridge Lane in Webster Groves.
The Crestwood Fire Department also responded to the scene, as Grant Ridge Lane is near the Webster Groves/Crestwood dividing line. Fire crews from the municipalities of Affton, Glendale, Maplewood and Fenton also assisted.
Firefighters carried a dog that was in the home to safety. There is no word yet on what may have caused the fire.
3rd MAPLEWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT TRIVIA NIGHT A SUCCESS
March 24, 2016 - 40 South News By Doug Miner
MAPLEWOOD, MO. - The third annual Professional Firefighters of Maplewood Trivia Night, on March 19, at the Immaculate Conception gym, was a "huge success" the group posted on Facebook.
"Since last year's trivia night we have been able to donate $10,543 back to the Maplewood community. Looking forward to another great year donating back to the Maplewood Community," they posted on Facebook following this year's trivia night.
All proceeds from the event go to the Community Outreach Program and fire education.
LAKE ST. LOUIS FIREFIGHTERS SAY TAX INCREASE MAY BE NEEDED TO BUY NEEDED EQUIPMENT
March 22, 2016 - KMOV By Dan Greenwald, Online News Producer
LAKE ST. LOUIS, MO. - The Lake St. Louis Fire Chief says a tax increase may be necessary to get firefighters and first responders the equipment needed to do their jobs.
Lake St. Louis Fire Chief Clinton Gussner said the department's trucks are 18-years-old and not adequate. Gussner also said budget problems are preventing needed equipment upgrades.
"We need to provide the level of service they require of us and we're not able to do that at this time," said Gussner.
Gussner told News 4 the department is looking at all options to solve the problem including a tax increase, bond use, or a merger. Firefighters believe a merger is unpopular, so officials are doing some number crunching to see how much of a tax increase they would need to request.
In 2015, fire officials said they thought about asking for a property tax increase of 15 to 20 percent.
Many Lake St. Louis residents said they are willing to pay a little more in taxes if it means better equipment.
Gussner said he would like to see a tax proposal on the August ballot, which would mean a decision on the exact proposal must be made by May.
Photo: Spanish Lake Fire Protection District Facebook
March 20, 2016 - Black Jack Fire Protection District Facebook
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - Black Jack firefighters fought an early morning 2 alarm fire at the Paddock Village Apartments. The fire involved the second floor, third floor and roof. "A" shift did a great job containing this fire to 2 units.
Firefighters from Spanish Lake FPD, Ferguson FD, Metro North FPD, Riverview FPD, Florissant Valley FPD, Hazelwood FD, and St. Louis City FD assisted.
More Headlines for Black Jack Fire
FEMALE FIREFIGHTER TO RETIRE AFTER 25 YEARS OF SERVICE AT LAMBERT AIRPORT
Rhonda Lee is retiring after 25 years. (Credit: KMOV)
March 19, 2016 - KMOV
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - First responders throughout the St. Louis area help serve the community.
Firefighter Rhonda Lee is retiring from her post at Lambert International Airport after 25 years. Lee started out in 1990 at Engine House 12 in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood.
Female firefighters are few and far between. Out of nearly 800 on the job in St. Louis, only 15 are women.
Lee was urged to become a firefighter because of her brother. She says that the part she enjoyed the most about her job was helping people in the community and the camaraderie she developed with her fellow firefighters.
Lee says she plans to pursue her doctoral degree in counseling and has also started her own event planning business called Taste.
Photo by Pattonville Fire Protection District (Chief Loehrer on left - Chief Dotson on right)
March 18, 2016 - Pattonville Fire Protection District Facebook
During the March 15, 2016 Board of Directors meeting, the Pattonville Fire Protection District officially appointed David Dotson to the rank of Fire Chief of the District.
Chief Dotson has over 28 years of fire service experience, and has held the ranks of Firefighter/Medic, Captain, Battalion Chief/Training Officer, and Fire Chief Transitional Officer. Under his tenure as Training Officer, he has been instrumental in expanding the District's Fire Command Simulation Training to regional and statewide audiences, with most training being funded through a mix of state and federal grant funding.
The District has been transitioning leadership for several months with the impending retirements of Fire Chief Terry Loehrer and Deputy Chief Fire Marshall Paul Richard. Fire Chief Terry Loehrer will continue to guide the remaining departmental transition as Chief Administrative Officer until his retirement on January 3rd, 2017.
March 17, 2016 - Professional Firefighters of Eureka Fire District Community Outreach Facebook
EUREKA, MO. - Today we say goodbye to our friend and mentor, Battalion Chief Trower, as he starts the next chapter of his life.
After 44 years of service with the Eureka Fire Protection District, Battalion Chief Trower completed his last shift this morning. We would like to wish Battalion Chief Trower the best of luck on his retirement!
MAPLEWOOD, MO. - Three Maplewood firefighters were promoted to officers, Professional Firefighters of Maplewood announced on Facebook.
The promoted officers are:
Rod Latorre - Captain Matt Wilcox - Lieutenant JJ Anderson - Lieutenant
Posted on Facebook: "Great job by everybody in the hunt for advancement. This was the closest race we've ever had which shows the greatness within our department. Everybody should hold their heads high for a job well done. Cheers brothers!"
FIREFIGHTER'S BLITZ THE ST. LOUIS AREA INSTALLING NEW SMOKE DETECTORS
March 13, 2016 - KTVI BY SHAWNDREA THOMAS
ST. LOUIS, MO. - While we are all springing forward this weekend, fire officials say you should also check the batteries in your smoke detector.
On Sunday St. Louis City Firefighters spent their day installing free smoke detectors all across the city.
It's in an effort to make sure to the public checks their smoke detectors twice a year.
Fire Captain Garon Mosby says the lack of smoke detectors and non-working smoke detectors affects people from all walks of life.
Departments make a push twice a year for installation of new smoke detectors.
Officials say if you missed today's event you can call your local department and they will install a new detector for free. Over the last year more than 600 people have died nationwide from fatal fires.
KIRKWOOD NARROWS LIST OF FIRE CHIEF CANDIDATES TO FIVE
March 11, 2016 - City of Kirkwood
KIRKWOOD, MO. - The City of Kirkwood is pleased to announce the names of the five final applicants for the position of Fire Chief for the City of Kirkwood.
The five long-time fire department professionals are Gary B. McCarraher, Leo A. Meyer, Jr., John J. Shea, George W. Sheets, and James L. Silvernail.
McCarraher is the Fire Chief of Franklin, Massachusetts. Meyer is the Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal for the Kirkwood Fire Department. Shea was the Fire Chief of Clinton Township, Michigan, until June, 2015. Sheets serves as Fire Chief of Oak Lawn, Illinois. Silvernail is a Battalion Chief with the Metro West Fire Protection District in Wildwood, Missouri.
The City had assistance from GovHR USA with the recruitment and received more than 70 applications. The five finalists will be in Kirkwood on March 17 and 18 for interviews with Chief Administrative Officer Russ Hawes. At that time they will also participate in an Assessment Center, which is a process whereby the candidates are evaluated in a variety of areas by a group of observers from outside the City.
"Meet the Finalists" Reception: A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m., on Friday, March 18, at Kirkwood City Hall in Council Chambers. This is open to the public for anyone wishing to meet
the finalists. Comment cards will be available for anyone wishing to leave comments about one or more of the candidates, and these will be forwarded to the Chief Administrative Officer.
TODAY WE HONOR AND REMEMBER FIRE CHIEF JERRY BUEHNE
Gerald 'Jerry' J. Buehne, Fire Chief, Affton Fire Protection District, died March 10, 2005, while en route to a Chief's meeting when his staff vehicle was struck head on by a fleeing robbery suspect. Jerry was with the Affton Fire District for 43 years. He was the Fire Chief for 5 years.
March 8, 2016 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson
The Monarch Fire Protection District has renewed its membership in the Missouri Association of Fire Protection Districts but will consider alternatives to ensure its voice is heard on key issues in the state capital.
The vote on membership renewal was unanimous but it came only after directors discussed concerns about not always receiving adequate information on pending legislation and other issues and the possible need to join with other local fire districts and hire a lobbyist.
MAFPD is a statewide organization whose goal is to serve as a centralized source of information, training, education and leadership for fire district directors and personnel.
Robin Harris, board president, said he believes recent changes at the state organization will address Monarch's concerns about not getting adequate and timely information on various issues, including legislation in the Missouri General Assembly. Director Jane Cunningham noted that she has been receiving MAFPD emails recently but that their frequent use of acronyms and technical jargon made them difficult to understand.
One bill cited during the discussion was HB 2410, which would require all fire protection districts and municipal fire departments in St. Louis County to consolidate into one fire district if voters approved that step. Harris said if HB 2410 was approved, Monarch residents likely would face sizable property tax increases to help pay for fire and emergency service upgrades in areas where those capabilities now are lacking.
Another measure, HB 1751, includes a number of public safety provisions, including the right for two or more fire protection jurisdictions to create a regional fire protection service authority, subject to voter approval.
Director Rick Gans said he believes fire district consolidation has merit but agreed with Harris in predicting the likelihood of higher tax bills for Monarch residents if that were to happen.Gans recalled that Monarch had joined with other West County districts in the past in hiring a lobbyist to represent them on legislative matters. Such a move now could address both the need for better communications and having input on issues pending in Jefferson City, he noted.Harris asked Gans to investigate the lobbyist idea and report to the board at a later meeting.
MAPLEWOOD, MO. - The victim of a house fire Friday in the 7500 block of Flora Avenue has died, Maplewood police confirmed Monday. The victim, named Jeff Papin, according to a source, was taken to the hospital Friday from the fire. The source said he died Saturday, also that he donated his body to science.
Harold Jehne and his son John, who live two houses away on Flora, said Maplewood fire and police arrived at the same time (a little before 2 p.m.), but police surrounded the house with guns drawn for several minutes before firefighters entered and removed the victim.
Harold Jehne said he suspected Papin set the fire himself. He said Papin had called his sister and told her his plans, who called police. Maplewood Fire Chief Terry Merrell said Friday that the St. Louis County Arson and Explosives Unit is investigating.
"He was an awesome dad," John said. "You would never think anything was wrong. He always had a smile on his face. He talked to everyone. If someone walked up the street, he always waved at them."
Harold Jehne said he hopes that any plans for a funeral will be published because the neighbors would like to attend.
John Jehne shot video from his yard of police and fire arriving.
FRONTENAC, MO. - The Frontenac Fire Department would like to congratulate Floyd Blake on his recent promotion To Fire Captain!
MONARCH, EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION DIFFER ON RADIO NEEDS
March 7, 2016 - West Newsmagazine
The fact that St. Louis County's emergency communication system is up and running doesn't mean everyone is completely happy. A case in point is the Monarch Fire Protection District's request to have some radios programmed so they can be tied into the system. However, the Emergency Communications Commission, which oversees the wireless network, so far has refused to do so.
Both sides put forth compelling arguments supporting their respective positions.
Monarch points out that it has given some of its radios, which were officially approved and provided by the ECC, to the Boles Fire Protection District,located just across the St. Louis County line in Franklin County. The reasoning is that both districts help each other under a mutual aid agreement. Other adjoining districts in St. Louis County have similar pacts with Boles. However, Boles isn't in St. Louis County and its regular radios aren't tied into the countywide network that serves Monarch and the other county operations
Monarch replaced the ECC-provided units given to Boles with a smaller, less costly model paid for from Monarch's own funds. Monarch still has a number of other ECC-approved radios for its own operations and the replacements have gone to command staff members so they can remain in touch while off duty or away from Monarch facilities.
Monarch also has volunteered to pay the ECC for having the additional radios programmed. But ECC argues that the replacement radios don't meet the standards set for fire service use and that Monarch approved the same agreement that all other districts and departments signed, agreeing to abide by those standards.
Monarch cites safety concerns for its and Boles' personnel as a key reason for giving some of its ECC-supplied radios to the Franklin County district. The ECC also cites safety issues in arguing for consistency in the radios used in what can be life-and-death situations.
Monarch leaders point out that from a practical standpoint, the replacement radios it has purchased are much smaller and serve as a more convenient portable unit. The same manufacturer, Motorola, makes both the ECC-approved model and the type Monarch has bought on its own.
"In getting the new network in operation, it's important to maintain consistency and not have everyone going off in different directions," observed Greg Brown, an ECC board member and chief of the Eureka Fire Protection District. "The new system can do amazing things, but we need to have everyone on the same page in the same playbook.
"We still have a lot of things on our plate right now and we're trying to work through them," Brown added. "We are trying to find some common ground on this particular issue and I'm confident we can."
CLAYTON, MO. - The City of Clayton Fire Department is seeking applicants for the position of Firefighter/Paramedic. Candidates must be a high school graduate or have an equivalent level of education, possess a current Missouri Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (EMT-P) license, have current CPAT card by time of job offer and possess a valid driver's license in their state of residence. Starting salary range of $54,841 - $73,225 DOQ. Certification as a Professional Firefighter by St. Louis County is preferred. Veterans with relevant experience are encouraged to apply. Application packets are available at City Hall, 10 N. Bemiston, Clayton, MO, from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
ONE VICTIM IN HOUSE FIRE, ARSON UNIT TO INVESTIGATE
40 News South
March 4, 2016 - 40 News South By Doug Miner
MAPLEWOOD, MO. - There was one victim in a house fire about 2 p.m. Friday in the 7500 block of Flora Avenue in Maplewood. Officials said the cause of the fire is being investigated.
Maplewood Chief of Police Steve Kruse said a 54-year-old victim was taken to the hospital. Maplewood Fire Chief Terry Merrell could only say generally what happened.
"The department was called to a structure fire," Merrell said. "When we arrived there was light smoke showing. We had to delay our entry due to a possible hazard, but then we were able to go in and rescue the patient and transport him to the hospital. I can't tell you anything more specific because I don't know more specifics yet."
Merrell said, though that the St. Louis County Arson and Explosives Unit had been called to investigate.
If you need help in an emergency and call 911 from your cell phone, chances are the smart phone app Uber could find you faster than first responders. That's the warning from the commissioner of the FCC who says 911 service hasn't kept up with smart phone technology.
Now a St. Louis startup, SirenGPS, is working on an app that could allow smart phone users to dial 911 and send specific location information to the operator that the current 911 system doesn't receive.
"The technology they have is outdated and they can't reach your phone," says Paul Rauner with SirenGPS.
This month West County Fire and EMS will be the first in the country to test SirenGPS. First, only using its community communication features to send out information for emergencies like weather.
In the future, they may consider using the app to allow people to use the 911 dialing feature.
The FCC is trying to improve the way 911 locates cell phones with new standards that will be phased in over the next five years.
But even those standards only expect 40% of calls to be located within 50 meters by 2017.
AFFTON, MO. - Affton FPD 1st alarm Deck Fire Next to 7620 Clevedon St. Fire in a 1-Story Frame dwelling. Live electrical wires presenting a slight problem. Companies from Affton, Lemay, St. Louis City, Webster Groves, and Shrewsbury. Fire was initially reported in the City. Companies make agressive attack. None found and no injuries reported.
BELLEFONTAINE NEIGHBORS, MO. - On Sunday afternoon, residents in Bellefontaine Neighbors say they heard a loud pop. When they came outside to see what it was, a fire had erupted and was spreading throughout several backyards.
"All the neighbors came out. Everybody had their hoses out. We were all trying to get the fire out. It was really just scary, scary, scary," Barbara DeBerry said.
It turns out, a tree limb fell on power lines which hit a fence. The flames took out yards of at least ten homes, leaving nothing but black grass in its wake. The damage was mostly done to the yards, but the fire did come close to the houses themselves. It's unclear as of yet if there's any structural damage to houses.
"Somebody called the fire department but it seemed like it was taking them forever. It probably wasn't that long but it seemed like it was hours. They finally did come but by that time we had done a lot to keep our homes safe," DeBerry said.
The question now turns to responsibility and who will pay for any damage done. DeBerry says her insurance agent told her to call Ameren.
News 4 called Ameren and was told victims will be asked to file a claim which will then turn into an investigation. Based on a variety of factors, the residents could see some money.
"Somebody needs to take some responsibility for this because I didn't start (the fire)," DeBerry said.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT INSPECTS FIRE HYDRANTS ANNUALLY FOR PERFORMANCE
Firefighters inspect fire hydrant performance. Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District
March 1, 2016 - Metro West Fire Protection District Facebook
ST. LOUIS, MO. - In a majority of the communities served by the Metro West Fire Protection District we are pleased to report that we have an EXCELLENT fire hydrant system provided to us through Missouri American Water. In the western areas of our district (west of 109) there are portions that require a "tanker response" when we are called to a structure, or brush fires. We would like to take a few minutes of your time to explain how something most of us take for granted is maintained and monitored for the critical moment when water is needed for fire suppression efforts.
A proactive approach - Company Officers are assigned several roles at Metro West. A Metro West Captain, who manages a crew of Firefighter/Paramedics on a daily basis, is also designated as the Metro West "Water Supply Officer". This Captain works with Missouri American Water when our crews find issues or a malfunctioning hydrant. He is responsible for maintaining records of annual inspections (also conducted by Metro West staff). This data captures information on the volume of water that can be expected from each of the over 2,800 hydrants in the district and is placed into our database on our mobile laptops that are used when responding to calls in our community. The information is incredibly useful to fire service personnel as they begin firefighting efforts.
Relationships - "Metro West has a STELLAR relationship with Missouri American Water who is the owner of the water system in our area" according to Deputy Chief Edward Beirne (Chief of Operations & Training). When issues arise with hydrants they are usually addressed within 1-2 days after notification. If they are going to be longer due to complications they notify Metro West immediately so that we can enact other plans.
Planning is key - Residents who reside outside the hydrant system, or, should a hydrant or area be without adequate water supply Metro West implements a "tanker response". This response adds tankers to respond in addition to the Ladders, Engines, and EMS Units that will be coming to rescue trapped victims and fight a fire. This response brings an average of 12,000 gallons of water that can provide over 2,500 gallons of continuous water supply per minute for firefighting efforts. This requires a well-orchestrated effort that our crews train on frequently.
Your part - As spring approaches and bushes, trees and grass begin growing Metro West would like to remind citizens and businesses within our jurisdiction to take a look at the fire hydrants and make sure they are visible from the street. Please contact us (636.458.2100) and Missouri American Water (1.866.430.0820) if you know of hydrants that are not working properly.
The men and women at Metro West care about the safety of those we protect. One of our critical tools is the water we access from fire hydrants. Thank you for helping us serve the community. Your Life ... Our Mission ...
Hundreds of fire hydrants... reported as broken... or needing important maintenance..
March 1, 2016 - KSDK Mike Rush, KSDK
ST. LOUIS, MO. - Any firefighter will tell you, when the heat is on you need a fire hydrant.
One that works.
But NewsChannel 5 On Your Side Investigates has made an alarming discovery: hundreds of hydrants, reported to St. Louis officials as being broken or needing important maintenance - fire hydrants near schools, homes, and businesses - have gone untouched, sometimes for years.