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This is a blog by Mike Legeros. To start your own discussions, try The Watch Desk. New to blogs? Read these Rules of the Road

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+ 7 - 1 | § Social Media Workshops at the South Atlantic FIRE RESCUE Expo

Counting down to the South Atlantic FIRE RESCUE Expo in Raleigh, which starts in ten days with a two-day golf tournament on Monday, August 10. See this Schedule at a Glance.

Conference workshops start on Friday, August 14. Yours Truly will be co-presenting at one of two social media workshops that afternoon. The other one's is that morning. Here's the skinny on both:

How much to attend these classes? Full conference registration is $70 for NCSFA members or $100 for non-members. (And this year there's a bonus for full conference registrants. Special show floor preview on Thursday night, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.)

Want to visit the show floor only, with no access to the workshops? On Friday, the "show only" passes are $35.00 each and good for two days. On Saturday, the "show only" passes are $20.

(And while you're walking on the Mezzanine Level of the Raleigh Convention Center, watch for the Raleigh Fire Museum's booth. Yours Truly will be there as well. We're also selling new fire department challenge coins. More on that later.)

Register for SAFRE

+ 4 - 4 | § Memorial Service for Durham County Paramedic Donald Fonville, Thursday, July 30

This announcement was shared to public safety personnel this week. Memorial service tomorrow night for recently deceased Durham County Paramedic Donald Fonville:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you know, we lost Paramedic Donald Fonville, unexpectedly, on July 4th. The precepts of his faith required burial within 24 hours, so many who knew him and wished to pay their respects did not have the opportunity to do.

Accordingly, the Durham County EMS family has planned a memorial service to remember Donald as our brother and a member of the Durham County health care and public safety families. This will be a non-denominational event. It will be held at Clements Funeral Service, 1105 Broad Street, Durham, North Carolina, at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, 2015. Friends, colleagues, and others who wish to remember Donald are invited to attend.

Attire will be dress uniform for public safety personnel, business or business casual for others.

Chiefs of allied law enforcement, fire, and EMS agencies are asked to give this invitation the widest possible dissemination throughout their organizations.

Please come and join us as we remember our departed brother.

Thank you.

SKIP KIRKWOOD, M.S., J.D., NREMT-P, EFO, CEMSO | DIRECTOR • CHIEF PARAMEDIC

+ 4 - 4 | § Memorial Service for Durham County Paramedic Donald Fonville, Thursday, July 30

This announcement was shared to public safety personnel this week. Memorial service tomorrow night for recently deceased Durham County Paramedic Donald Fonville:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you know, we lost Paramedic Donald Fonville, unexpectedly, on July 4th. The precepts of his faith required burial within 24 hours, so many who knew him and wished to pay their respects did not have the opportunity to do.

Accordingly, the Durham County EMS family has planned a memorial service to remember Donald as our brother and a member of the Durham County health care and public safety families. This will be a non-denominational event. It will be held at Clements Funeral Service, 1105 Broad Street, Durham, North Carolina, at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, 2015. Friends, colleagues, and others who wish to remember Donald are invited to attend.

Attire will be dress uniform for public safety personnel, business or business casual for others.

Chiefs of allied law enforcement, fire, and EMS agencies are asked to give this invitation the widest possible dissemination throughout their organizations.

Please come and join us as we remember our departed brother.

Thank you.

SKIP KIRKWOOD, M.S., J.D., NREMT-P, EFO, CEMSO | DIRECTOR • CHIEF PARAMEDIC

+ 3 - 2 | § NC ANG Firefighter Dies at Firehouse in Stanly County

North Carolina Air National Guard Firefighter Capt. James Alan "Truck" Hicks, 44, was found dead on Monday morning at Station 27, at the Stanly County Airport. He was discovered at 7:30 a.m., lying on a sofa in his sleeping quarters, reports this Stanly News & Press story. His passing is being treated as a line-of-duty death, as it occurred within twelve hours of firefighting activities. 

Hicks was among the firefighters who answered as mutual aid to Bethany Volunteer Fire Department, a house fire on Kemp Road at 7:40 p.m. on Sunday. Reports this WBTV story, Hicks and a second firefighter took a tanker to the scene. They both then assisted with interior firefighting. Crews were eventually withdrawn as "conditions inside became too dangerous."

He became sickened at the scene and displayed "nausea and vomiting." (Described as heat exhaustion in other stories.) He reported feeling better about an hour later. Upon returning to their quarters, the two firefighters "went to bed."

Hicks lived in Cabarrus County. He had been a firefighter with Station 27 since July 2010. He's the first member of NC ANG Fire Emergency Services to die in the line of duty.  (Four NC ANG airmen died in 2012, when their 145th Airlift Wing airborne tanker crashed while finding a woodland fire in South Dakota.)

Believe this is the second in Stanly County's history, following the death of East Side Fire Department volunteer firefighter Grady Mill in a motor-vehicle accident on May 1, 1965.

This tribute banner is making the rounds on Facebook. Creator credit TBD:
 

+ 3 - 3 | § Charlotte Fire Department Receives Class 1 Rating

News outlets are announcing that the Charlotte Fire Department has received a Class 1 Public Protection Classification rating from the Insurance Services Organization (ISO). Congratulations!

(It's their first Class 1. They join the ranks of recently announced Class 1 inductees of Cary, Fayetteville, and High Point fire departments. See blog posting from May.)

Here's a WSCO-TV story on same. Google for others stories. CFD has produced this nifty full-color flyer about the new rating, includes the "Class 1" graphic that's being added to fire apparatus. (Here's a picture via Twitter via #CFD_alarm.) View the PDF document:
 

+ 6 - 4 | § How to Become a Fire Photographer

By Mike Legeros

Version 1.1 – July 24, 2015

So you want to become a fire photographer? Meaning, someone who takes pictures of firefighters in action, at structure fires and other incidents. Basically, a combination fire buff and photojournalist.

For the purposes of this document, we’re presuming that these are civilians. They might have prior experience as a responder—or agency affiliation therein—but they’re not presently active as one.

What about active responders who are taking pictures on- or off-duty? Much of this information is applicable, but there are probable gaps. Such as the policy and legal considerations for someone taking pictures of their own department in action, and how they use or share those photos.

Also worth asking, is anyone with a camera at a fire automatically a “fire photographer?” Of course not. The label applies to someone with a set of demonstrated skills and practiced standards. They’re adept at getting good shots, telling a good story, and sharing appropriate imagery. They’re agile on scene and know where to stand and where not to stand. They work with the responders and their community and not against them.

Does that still sound interesting and exciting? Then let’s proceed with what we’ll call a direct download of Mike’s brain.

You have been warned.

Short Version

How to become a fire photographer

Three easy steps:

  1. Visit fire scenes.
  2.  Take pictures
  3.  Post pictures.

Or with slightly more explanation:

  1. Visit fire scenes.
  2.  Take pictures from public perspective.
  3.  Post pictures/share pictures with fire department.
  4.  Develop relationship(s) with firefighters and fire department.
  5.  Develop mastery of technical skills for photojournalistic techniques required for shooting fires.
  6.  Learn about fires and fire departments, to better choose what you’re photographing.
  7.  Learn and demonstrate how to edit and parse pictures, to respect privacy of victims and promote positive image/actions of firefighters.
  8.  Learn and demonstrate how to conduct yourself at a fire scene, to minimize impact on operations.
  9.  Earn permission to take pictures from “inside the tape.”

Considerations:

READ MORE

+ 6 - 2 | § Glenwood Towers First Fire Alarm Circa 1971

For your Thursday evening enjoyment comes this vintage photo, circa 1971. Was the first fire alarm at 509 Glenwood Avenue, e.g. Glenwood Towers. High-rise apartment building for seniors and the destination of Engine 5 and Engine 13 and too many other red trucks for the last forty-five years. Fire alarms, fire alarms, and more fire alarms. Plus many medical calls and even the occasional working fire. (We answered a reader question about that, back in September 2012.)

What do you see in the picture? Looks like Engine 5 in the foreground, one of two 1961 American LaFrance 900 Series pumpers. (But not the surviving one that's currently owned by the Raleigh Fire Museum.) Behind the engine is a foam unit, probably Foam 5. That's a 1965 International Harvester D1200 pick-me-up truck with a Kidde high-expansion foam generator. One of two such units in the fire department.

In the background is either Engine 1 or Engine 15, which was the second engine at Station 1. Both were 1970 Mack CF pumpers, the first two of those in the city. Also pictured are a pair of ambulances. Most likely Beacon Ambulance Service. Pretty cool picture and was scanned from a nifty booklet published by the Raleigh Housing Authority in 2013, titled 75 Years of Building Communities. What's the exact date of this image? We'll see if we can find it. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 5 - 4 | § Durham Highway's 1984 Mack For Sale... Three Hours Left!

And with three hours left at this GovDeals listing! The 1984 Mack MC pumper was removed from active service in 2008, and served as a reserve piece until 2014. Current bid is $1,500. Reserve not met.
 

+ 3 - 5 | § New Old Ladder for Four Oaks

Four Oaks Fire Department in Johnston County has added this 2007 Pierce Enforcer 1500/500/75' aerial ladder to their fleet. Placed in service on Wednesday, July 15. Originally saw service in New Chapel, IN, as Ladder 49. Later bought by Brindle Mountain Fire Apparatus in Alabama, which sold same to Four Oaks in Apri. Lee Wilson photographed the truck. See more pictures.
 


Lee Wilson photo

+ 3 - 2 | § Seen on Lead Mine Road - Former Atlantic FD

Caught this on Lead Mine Road last week, just down the road from the house. Former Atlantic Fire Department in Carteret County. Bought six or seven months ago. Used by a builder as a work truck. Maybe readers know more details about the vehicle. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 4 - 2 | § USDA Drone Warning Poster - If You Fly, We Can't

Surely you saw the story last week and even if you're name isn't Shirley, about the vehicles that burned on a freeway, after a wildfire "jumped" across the active roadway. More than a dozen cars and a couple trucks were destroyed as motorists fled on foot. Officials subsequently advised that "drones" impeded the operations of aerial firefighting. Five planes were forced to return to the airport. (Two drones even pursued the retreating aircraft!) Here's a Statter911 story about same, which links to a KNBC story.

Unmanned aircraft systems (AFS) have become enough of a problem (just out west?) that the United States Department of Agriculture has produced a poster for public education. "Drones near wildfires are not safe" it warns, noting that they can "cause injury or death to firefighters" as well as "hamper the their ability to protect lives, property, and natural cultural resources." See this USDA news release and accompanying larger version of the below poster.
 
Next question, is this the first formal education campaign about these? Or have other agencies, states, or even countries been spreading the word? Flying cameras are coming, folks.
 

+ 2 - 1 | § Recap of Raleigh Ladder 3 Accident

Early Tuesday evening, July 14, 2015, Raleigh Ladder 3 and a passenger car collided at the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Pleasant Valley Drive. The four-door sedan was traveling west on Glenwood. The fire apparatus was traveling north on Pleasant Valley, responding as the second-due ladder company to a reported apartment fire at 6205 Shandra Drive. It was dispatched about 7:00 p.m.

The accident was reported by the Ladder 3 officer, who requested fire and EMS units. Engine 17 was dispatched along with Wake County EMS 1 and District 4. That's a paramedic ambulance and District Chief. The units were dispatched about 7:02 p.m.

Engine 17 arrived almost immediately. (Station 17, which also houses Ladder 3, is located about three blocks from the intersection at 4601 Pleasant Valley Road.) The engine company crew joined the ladder company members, who were providing aid to the occupants of the automobile.

The car contained four passengers, one adult and three children of ages one, three, and five. As their conditions were assessed, the crews on scene requested additional EMS resources, including at least five transport units. They were classified as trauma due to mechanism of injury. News reports later cited that none were believed to have life-threatening injuries. ("They were going to be okay" reported the WTVD story.)
 


Mike Legeros photo
 

Arriving ambulances were instructed to bring stretchers, as the adult and three pediatric patients were placed on backboards and ready for immediate transport. EMS 13 was followed by EMS 31, EMS 1, EMS 2 (arriving in a group), EMS 6, and EMS 22. Medic 95 was also on scene. Both Medic 95 and District 4 arrived before the first arriving ambulance. (Got that? M95, D4, EMS 13, 31, 1, 2, 6, 22.)

Additional fire department units included Battalion 4, Car 20 (Division Chief), Car 14 (Safety Officer), Car 2 (Asst. Chief of Operations), and Car 1 (Chief of Department).

The firefighters aboard Ladder 3 were also evaluated by EMS personnel. There were not injured. (They were triaged along with the occupants of the car. Those with the most serious injuries or potential injuries were attended first.) EMS 22 remained on scene after the four patients were transported to WakeMed.

Raleigh Police, Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Investigation, and North Carolina State Highway Patrol investigated the incident, which took a number of hours. Westbound Glenwood and southbound Pleasant Valley Road were both closed during that time.
 


Mike Legeros photo
 

Ladder 3 returned to service later that evening. It's operating Ladder 210, a reserve 1988 Pierce Arrow Snorkel. The damaged apparatus, a 2007 Pierce Arrow XT rear-mounted aerial ladder (1500/300/105') was first towed to Station 17. Crews removed equipment, for transfer to the reserve ladder. Ladder 3 was then towed to the fire department maintenance shop, located at the Support Services Center at 4120 New Bern Avenue.

What was the coverage on news and social media? TV crews arrived within, say, twenty minutes of the incident. They had web-posted the first images within another thirty minutes. Stories were posted by WRAL, WTVD, WNCN, and the News & Observer, among likely others. Didn't see any fire service news articles. On social media, saw minimal Twitter activity (just a handful) and but a pair of Facebook posts (within my circle). Otherwise quite quiet.

See more photos by Mike Legeros.

+ 2 - 1 | § Recap of Raleigh Ladder 3 Accident

Early Tuesday evening, July 14, 2015, Raleigh Ladder 3 and a passenger car collided at the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Pleasant Valley Drive. The four-door sedan was traveling west on Glenwood. The fire apparatus was traveling north on Pleasant Valley, responding as the second-due ladder company to a reported apartment fire at 6205 Shandra Drive. It was dispatched about 7:00 p.m.

The accident was reported by the Ladder 3 officer, who requested fire and EMS units. Engine 17 was dispatched along with Wake County EMS 1 and District 4. That's a paramedic ambulance and District Chief. The units were dispatched about 7:02 p.m.

Engine 17 arrived almost immediately. (Station 17, which also houses Ladder 3, is located about three blocks from the intersection at 4601 Pleasant Valley Road.) The engine company crew joined the ladder company members, who were providing aid to the occupants of the automobile.

The car contained four passengers, one adult and three children of ages one, three, and five. As their conditions were assessed, the crews on scene requested additional EMS resources, including at least five transport units. They were classified as trauma due to mechanism of injury. News reports later cited that none were believed to have life-threatening injuries. ("They were going to be okay" reported the WTVD story.)
 


Mike Legeros photo
 

Arriving ambulances were instructed to bring stretchers, as the adult and three pediatric patients were placed on backboards and ready for immediate transport. EMS 13 was followed by EMS 31, EMS 1, EMS 2 (arriving in a group), EMS 6, and EMS 22. Medic 95 was also on scene. Both Medic 95 and District 4 arrived before the first arriving ambulance. (Got that? M95, D4, EMS 13, 31, 1, 2, 6, 22.)

Additional fire department units included Battalion 4, Car 20 (Division Chief), Car 14 (Safety Officer), Car 2 (Asst. Chief of Operations), and Car 1 (Chief of Department).

The firefighters aboard Ladder 3 were also evaluated by EMS personnel. There were not injured. (They were triaged along with the occupants of the car. Those with the most serious injuries or potential injuries were attended first.) EMS 22 remained on scene after the four patients were transported to WakeMed.

Raleigh Police, Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Investigation, and North Carolina State Highway Patrol investigated the incident, which took a number of hours. Westbound Glenwood and southbound Pleasant Valley Road were both closed during that time.
 


Mike Legeros photo
 

Ladder 3 returned to service later that evening. It's operating Ladder 210, a reserve 1988 Pierce Arrow Snorkel. The damaged apparatus, a 2007 Pierce Arrow XT rear-mounted aerial ladder (1500/300/105') was first towed to Station 17. Crews removed equipment, for transfer to the reserve ladder. Ladder 3 was then towed to the fire department maintenance shop, located at the Support Services Center at 4120 New Bern Avenue.

What was the coverage on news and social media? TV crews arrived within, say, twenty minutes of the incident. They had web-posted the first images within another thirty minutes. Stories were posted by WRAL, WTVD, WNCN, and the News & Observer, among likely others. Didn't see any fire service news articles. On social media, saw minimal Twitter activity (just a handful) and but a pair of Facebook posts (within my circle). Otherwise quite quiet.

See more photos by Mike Legeros.

+ 2 - 1 | § Matchbox Mack CF Pumper

Coming soon to store shelves near you. Scale not known, but smaller than the classic Seagrave engine released in 2012. See prior post. Photo courtesy of the Lamley Group blog, posted their "first look" last week. They also have some comparison photos. Don't like the colors and lettering on the initial release? Don't worry, Matchbox will surely make a number of variations in the coming year(s).
 


The Lamley Group photo

+ 3 - 1 | § Epsom's New Rosenbauer Rescue Pumper

Last weekend, Lee Wilson photographed Epsom Fire Department's new Squad 55, a sweet 2015 International/Rosenbauer 1500/1250/30 rescue pumper. Delivered on May 5 and placed in service on June 25. Epsom FD is located on Highway 39 in Franklin County, next ot the Vance County line. See more photos from Lee.

Rosenbauer has beens making inroads into our region. Wake Forest has a custom engine arriving later this year. The newest Wake County tankers are Rosenbauer on Freightliner chassis. North Chatham received a pair of custom engines last year. Etcetera. Also, rescue pumpers seem to be a recent rage. We've seen them in Wake County with Apex, Holly Springs, and Raleigh, for starters. Who else is using them?
 


Lee Wilson photo

+ 1 - 4 | § Video of Vehicle Fire on Millbrook Road

For your evening enjoyment, here's about a minute of Raleigh Engine 16 arriving at a vehicle fire on Millbrook Road at Creedmoor Road earlier today. Parking lot of the shopping center. Watch for the exploding tire. Will have some still pictures later. See more Legeros video madness at www.youtube.com/legeros. That guy's obsessed with fire trucks!
 

View on YouTube

+ 1 - 1 | § Wake County Fire Commission Meeting - July 16, 2015

The next meeting of the Wake County Fire Commission is Thursday, July 16, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. The location is the Wake County EMS Training Facility, in the lower level of the Wake County Commons Building, 4011 Carya Drive. The documents for the meeting are linked below.

Agenda

Documents

Agenda packet (PDF)

+ 2 - 1 | § Mass. Haz-Mat Trucks See New Life in Rural NC

A pair of former haz-mat trucks from Massachusetts were recently placed in service by Faison and Pilot fire departments, in Duplin and Franklin counties, respectively. The identical 1996 Freightliner/Hackney beer truck-style trucks were two of thirteen that served the state's Department of Fire Services. (We're told that six of these have been re-sold to rural or small town fire departments in North Carolina.)

The trucks originally saw service as haz-mat Operational Response Units, part of a larger fleet that also included similar haz-mat Technical Operations Mobile units as well as command post, communications, and rehab units. (Massachusetts has a similar program to North Carolina's haz-mat regional response teams.)

Visit this FireNews.org page for more information and photos about current and these retired units. See also this massfiretrucks.com page for additional pictures.

Faison's Rescue 5 replaces a 1983 Chevrolet Kodiak/Coastal Manufacturing Industries (Washington, NC) beverage truck that delivered Pepsi products in a former life. It was refurbished by Coastal in 1998.

Pilot's Squad 75 replaces a 1991 GMC that was built by 3D Manufacturing in Wisconsin. It was made for Iredell County Rescue Squad. The truck's been sold to a towing company in Gettysburg, PA, that will transport air bag equipment for recovery of large trucks on the highway.

Pilot's new squad has been refurbished, with improvements including coffin compartments added on the roof, a rear access ladder, and upgraded warning lights above the cab. They also had the original cascade system removed. (Pilot's truck has only 20,000 miles and 1,000 hours on the motor.)

Lee Wilson photographed Pilot's truck last week. See more photos of Lee's. Visit the Faison Fire Department Facebook page for more pictures of their new truck.
 


Lee Wilson photo


Faison FD photo

+ 0 - 3 | § Incident Summary of Emerald Isle Deck Collapse on July 4, 2015

This week the Town of Emerald Isle issued the third and final press release regarding the July 4 deck collapse and multi-patient incident that sent twenty-four people to the hospital. View the press release (PDF, 7.6M). Thanks to Trey for alerting us on this!

We've parsed the document for incident details, which are presented below in summary and details.

For news coverage about the incident, see such stories from

Google for others.

Summary

Resources

Source is the communications timeline provided in the Town of Emerald Isle Press Release #3, published on July 7, 2015. View the press release (PDF, 7.6M).

Sample:

Other sources:

 

Departments / Distance from Incident

Atlantic Beach FD & EMS - Sta 34
13.7 miles / 23 minutes
Paramedic

  • 34M1 (medic)

Broad & Gales Creek EMS - Sta 18
15.0 miles / 23 min
EMT-I

  • 18M1 (medic)

Broad & Gales Creek FD - Sta 13
15.0 miles / 23 min

  • Manpower standby at station

Emerald Isle EMS - Sta 67
3.2 miles / 7 min
Paramedic

  • 6701 (chief)
  • 6703 (chief)
  • 67M1 (medic)
  • 67M2 (medic)

Emerald Isle FD - Sta 45
Sta 1 - 3.1 miles / 6 min
Sta 2 - 1.1 miles / 3 min

  • 4501 (chief)
  • 4511
  • 4527
  • 45E1 (engine)
  • 45E2 (engine)
  • 45E42 (engine)
  • 45ST2 (?)

Indian Beach/Salter Path FD & EMS - Sta 42
5.0 miles - 8 min
EMT-B

  • 42E4 (engine)
  • 42M1 (medic)

Morehead City FD & EMS - Sta 24
Sta 1 - 16.1 miles / 27 min
Sta 2 - 17.1 miles / 28 min 
Sta 3 - 23 miles / 33 min
Paramedic

  • 24Med Bus (from Station 2)

Newport FD & EMS –Sta 43
Sta 1 - 20.7 miles / 30 min
Sta 2 - 22.2 miles / 33 min
Paramedic

  • 4309
  • Manpower standby at station

Pine Knoll Shores FD & EMS - Sta 64
8.8 miles / 14 min
EMT-I

  • 64L1 (ladder)
  • 64M1 (medic)

Western Carteret FD & EMS - Sta 12
7.7 miles / 15 min
Paramedic

  • 1201  (chief)
  • 1202  (chief)
  • 12C1 (chief)
  • 12M1 (medic)
  • 12M1 (medic)
  • 12M2 (medic)

Other - Carteret County EMS?

  • 702
  • 703
  • 703

CCEMS has three Paramedic QRVs stationed at Davis (east, mainland), Newport (west, mainland), and Pine Knoll Shores (west, island). See this map.

Hospitals

  • Carteret General Hospital
    17.1 miles / 28 min

Unit Totals

Engines

  • Emerald Isle 1 of 2 - 45E1
  • Emerald Isle 2 of 2 - 45E2
  • Emerald Isle 3 of 3 - 45E42
  • Indian Beach/Salter Path - 42E4

Ladders

  • Pine Knoll Shores - 64L1

Other

  • Emerald Isle - ST2

Chief Officers

  • Emerald Isle EMS - 6701
  • Emerald Isle EMS - 6703
  • Emerald Isle FD - 4501
  • Western Carteret - 1201
  • Western Carteret - 1202
  • Western Carteret - 12C1

Ambulances

  • Atlantic Beach - 34M1
  • Broad & Gales Creek - 18M1
  • Emerald Isle 1 of 2 - 67M1
  • Emerald Isle 2 of 2 - 67M2
  • Indian Beach/Salter Path - 42M1
  • Pine Knoll Shores - 64M1
  • Western Carteret 1 of 3 - 12M1
  • Western Carteret 2 of 3 - 12M2
  • Western Carteret 3 of 3 - 12M3

Ambulance Bus

  • Morehead City - 24Med Bus

    Lee Wilson photo

Air Ambulances

  • Vidant - Rocky Mount, redirected to Carteret General Hospital
  • Air Link - Holly Ridge
  • UNC Air Care - Fayetteville, Tar Heel 2

+ 0 - 2 | § Video Footage From 1995 - High-Level Rope Rescue

Let's go back to the Wayback Machine and watch some more historical footage from the Raleigh Fire Museum video archives. e.g., their YouTube channel. This time it's a rope rescue in downtown Raleigh.

On the afternoon on Wednesday, May 3, 1995, two men were repairing windows outside the seventh floor of the Wake County Public Safety Center. At about 2:15 p.m., one side of their motorized scaffolding failed and fell away. The two workers were left hanging in their safety harnesses. 

The Raleigh Fire Department and Wake County EMS responded to the scene. Crews went to the roof and a third-floor landing below the workers. As the conditions were assessed, a couple options presented themselves. Truck 11 was brought to the scene and its 105-foot aerial ladder extended. Still wasn't long enough and even after they attempted to add a ground ladder as an extension.

Rope rescue was the next option. The first worker was raised to the roof, as his safely line was evaluated as undamaged. He was rescued at 3:40 p.m. The second worker's rope looked less sound. He would be lowered to the third-floor landing and with the assistance of a rappelling firefighter.

Firefighter D. Michael Davidson performed the task. He had trained in high-level rope rescue as a member of Six Forks Rescue Squad. He descended to the seventh-floor location, attached the worker's harness to his, and both were lowered to the landing at 3:49 p.m. (As a precaution, a giant air mattress had been inflated below them.)

Neither worker was injured. The dozens of spectators cheered. And the whole thing was broadcast live on WTVD. They later supplied copies of the raw footage to the fire department. The Raleigh Fire Museum has created a thirty-minute compilation, from the two cameras that were filming that day.
 

 
View on YouTube

+ 1 - 1 | § Carrboro's New Fire Chief... and Connections to Raleigh

Morning update. This News & Observer story adds additional biographical information. We've updated our story below.

As this Herald-Sun story reported today, Carrboro's new Fire Chief has been announced. Susanna Williams starts on August 3. She's currently the Division Chief of Training for Jacksonville Fire and Emergency Services. Before taking that position in 2012, she was the Volunteer Program Coordinator for New Hanover County Fire Rescue from 2010 to 2012.

Chief Williams holds two bachelor's degrees and a master's in public administration. She's a graduate of the Fire Service Executive Development Institute and is enrolled in the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy.

From 2003 to 2009, she worked for the Chapel Hill Fire Department, as a Master Firefighter and Administrative Captain. She's also fought fire with Oak Island, Burlington, and Graham fire departments. Prior to her fire service career, she was an Educator. She her impressive resume.

Chief Williams will oversee a career department with two fire stations and thirty-seven employees. Her position was previously held by Interim Fire Chief Rusty Styons, who retired from Raleigh as Assistant Chief of Operations in 2012. He's held the interim position since February 2015.

The Carrboro Fire Department was previously led by another former member of the Raleigh Fire Department. Carrboro Fire Chief Travis Crabtree, a former Fire Protection Engineer in Raleigh, served from March 2006 to January 2015.

His Deputy Fire Chief from December 2006 to May 2010 was William "Trey" Mayo, a former Captain in the Raleigh Fire Mayo. He left to take the top slot in Rocky Mount, and again in Winston-Salem in November of last year.

Now for the trivia question. What other retired Raleigh Assistant Chief from Raleigh has served as Interim Fire Chief in our area? Answer is R. Lee Matthews, who led the Cary Fire Department from January to May, 1967. He retired from Raleigh in 1963 with over thirty-six years of service.

As this prior blog post notes, the Raleigh/Cary connection doesn't end there. Read more about other future and former Raleigh firefighters who were or became Fire Chiefs or Assistant Chiefs in Cary.

Everybody's connected to everybody, aren't they? (And we could make a heck of a "family tree" across all departments around here...) Meanwhile, congratulations to Chief Williams. Looking forward to meeting, greeting, and maybe seeing on scene.

  

+ 1 - 4 | § Durham Highway Receives Higher Rating After Inspection

Press release.

Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin announced yesterday, July 7, 2015, that the Durham Highway Fire Department completed its routine inspection and received a 3/9E rating. Previously, DHFD had a split rating of 4/9, meaning that homeowners within 1,000 feet of a hydrant had an ISO grade of 4 and all others had a 9. With this new rating, all homeowners and commercial properties within five miles of a DHFD fire station have an improved rating of Class 3. This rating should result in lower insurance premiums to commercial and residential owners of the district.

"Durham Highway is committed to providing the highest level of service at the lowest cost to the community and this rating reaffirms our work and commitment toward that goal," said Fire Chief Jim Feely in response to the rating increase.

With this review, DHFD becomes one of only 3,220 departments out of 49,010 in the country with a Class 3 rating or higher. They're also now highest rated non-municipal fire department in Wake County.

"I'd like to congratulate Chief Feely for his department's performance and for the hard work of all the department members," said Commissioner Goodwin. "The citizens in the Durham Highway Fire District should rest easy knowing they have a fine group of firefighters protecting them and their property in case of an emergency."

+ 1 - 1 | § Video - How British Firefighters Are Trained, 1957

Found by a reader via this Facebook posting, here's a dandy short clip of the Middlesex Fire Brigade demonstrating some of their skills on the training ground. The segment was produced by Pathe News. See source information. As for those vintage British "fire appliances," Yours Truly saw some of those in Phoenix last fall, at the Hall of Flame fire museum. See my pictures. Thanks Keith!
 


View on YouTube

+ 0 - 3 | § Dash Cam Video of Cary Fire, Wake EMS

From a reader, here's a dash cam video of a two-car accident, that ably captures the arriving Cary Fire Department and Wake County EMS units. And a bit of on scene action, notably firefighters raising the hood of the car. Titled My Daughter's First Accident is a Big One!, it was posted by YouTube user Speeding Cops North Carolina on June 9, 2015. Looks like likely minor injuries. Impressive video camera quality, as well. Thanks Chad!
 
 
 


View on YouTube

+ 1 - 2 | § Chinese Lanterns vs. Cell Phone Tower in Gastonia - May 2, 2015

Who else saw Chinese lanterns floating through local skies last night? We watched at least three of them launched from the Boylan Heights bridge area, while the downtown fireworks were firing. Google can tell you all about the things, their centuries-old histories, and fire risks therein. (Such as the recycling plant in England that caught fire from a "sky lantern" in June 2013. Over two-hundred firefighters fought the estimated £6 million blaze.)

Closer to home was a cellphone tower that burned in Gastonia two month agos. Happened on the evening of May 2, 2015, at Carolina Speedway. Was a mass lantern launch at something called Lantern Fest. Attendees bought tickets that "guaranteed a lantern, decorations and ingredients to make s'mores," noted this Gaston Gazette story from April 25. The event operators had partnered with the American Cancer Society of Greater Charlotte.

Thousands of people attended. They released presumably thousands (or at least hundreds) of the paper lanterns at sunset. Then something unexpected happened. Several of the lanterns struck and became stuck in a nearby cell tower. Their fiery contents ignited wiring and insulation and started the evening's second light show. (The fire burned about 150 feet above the ground on the 250-foot tower, noted this Gaston Gazette story from June 2. The resulting repair costs were between $200,000 and $500,000.)

The Union Road Fire Department was already on site, staged for medical calls or brush fires. The resulting fire proved more than a little challenging. The department's ladder truck couldn't reach to the height of the fire. Nor were there any hydrants at the site. As this TWC News story notes, "it look 20 firefighters, nearly 6,000 gallons of water, [and] help from a neighboring department" (New Hope VFD) to extinguish the blaze. 

As for the festival, it's probably not returning to the Charlotte Speedway.
 


Lindsay via YourPics@WCNC.com photo


Charlotte Observer/URFD photo

Sources:

+ 2 - 4 | § New Ambulance with New Colors at Apex EMS

Revised posting! Apex EMS recently placed a new ambulance in service and sporting new graphics. The truck is a 2015 Chevrolet 4500 diesel with a custom body built by American Emergency Vehicles (AEV). The body was designed with extensive planning for safety and function. The paramedic in the patient compartment can reach most controls as well as patient while remaining seated and belted. Here are some pictures they've shared, click to enlarge:
 

 
The new graphics are derived from a new patch design created by Director and Chief Randall Heath. He created the patch in 2013 with the red, while, and blue color scheme. The final design for the ambulance resulted after about twenty-five edits. It combines visibility and a fresh look and also aligns with the new logo.
 

 
The new ambulance is unit 40-401 and is presently assigned as EMS 41. It joins a fleet that consists of:

The new design replaces the traditional orange over white colors used by Apex EMS. Here's one of the Chevy/Wheeled Coach ambulances on scene at a structure fire in town last month:
 

+ 0 - 2 | § New Fire Station 3 Under Construction in Wilmington

Photographer Lee Wilson wandered to Wilmington this week and snapped a couple pictures of Fire Station 3, which is under construction on Cinema Drive. The 14,500 square-foot facility was designed by Becker Morgan Group. The $3.4 million fire station will is designed to house ten firefighters. See larger version of drawings. See more Wilmington FD photos from Lee, including a ton of truck photos.

The fire station project is part of a restructuring plan that was announced in 2014, and that planned to close four fire stations, build two new stations, and relocate one fire company. Read prior blog post. What's the status on the overall plan? This WECT story from February notes that the Shipyard Boulevard fire station still needed more funding. We'll do some more sniffing around, and see if readers have information to add.
 


 

Lee Wilson photos


 

+ 2 - 1 | § Wake County Firefighter Recruits Graduates on Thursday

Wake County Fire Academy Recruit Class 7 will graduate at a ceremony tomorrow night, Thursday, July 2, 2015. The event will be held at the Wake County Commons on Carya Drive and starts at 7:00 p.m. Come and help celebrate their accomplishments.

During the twenty-six week academy, the seven recruits received certifications and training in Firefighter II, EMT - Basic, CPR, Infectious Control, Live Fire Company Drills, ICS 700, ICS 800, ICS 100, ICS 200, Hazardous Materials Responder, Technical Rescuer VMR, Fireground Procedures, and Firefighter Survival and Rescue.

The keynote speaker will be Wake County Fire Services Director Nick Campasano. The graduates and their sponsoring fire departments: