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The Texas Edition PUBLISHING SINCE 1993

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SUMMER, 2013

Firefighter Heroes

1st Responder News sends its thoughts and prayers to the families of the Texas firefighters who paid the ultimate price


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Summer, 2013

Focus turns to volunteers in wake of tragedy

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1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

The horrific explosion that cost the lives multiple firefighters and first responders in West, TX, on has brought national attention to the role that volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel have in our nation. With 69% of our nation’s fire service comprised of volunteers and most small towns like West served entirely by volunteers, the commitment and sacrifice of these men and women have come into sharp focus amid very tragic circumstances. Several articles in recent days have spotlighted the fact that volunteers are often the ones responding to the call in communities across America. Articles from MSN News, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor, featuring interviews with National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg, look at the importance of volunteers in our nation’s fire service, especially in small and rural communities. An article on CNN focused on how

volunteer firefighters in and near West stepped up to help others despite their own personal tragedies or imminent safety risks. Local news outlets across the country such as the Abilene R e p o r t e r - N e w s , Click2Houston.com, and WJPFTV in GA are looking at the importance of volunteers in their own communities. International media such as the U.K.’s Guardian reminds us that the volunteer fire service shares a bond that crosses geographic barriers. As the entire fire service community mourns the deaths of our fellow firefighters and emergency responders in West, let us also join the nation in understanding the importance of volunteers and take time to recognize the dedication and heroism these individuals show every day. We will always remember and honor all of the volunteers who have fallen in the line of service. - NVFC

PATCHES If you have photos you would like to see in our “Patches” feature, please upload them on our website, www.1stResponderNews.com or email them to Heather@1stResponderNews.com.

EUGENE WEBER JR.

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CORPORATE INFORMATION 1st Responder News (ISSN 1525-1683) - Vol. 3 No. 1 - Texas edition is published quarterly, 4 times a year for $15 per year by Belsito Communications, Inc., 1 Ardmore St., New Windsor, NY 12553. Periodicals Postage Paid at Newburgh, NY and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to 1st Responder News, 1 Ardmore St., New Windsor, NY 12553. No financial responsibility is assumed by this newspaper to publish a display, classified, or legal ad or for typographical errors except of reprinting that part of the ad which was omitted or in error. Omissions A division of: or errors must be brought to the attention of the newspaper during the same month of publication.

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PUBLICATION CONTENT Notice: The advertisements, articles, and letters contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of 1st Responder Inc. and Belsito Communications, Inc. Advertisements are sold pursuant to the "space available" and corresponding fee schedule. The mere fact that advertisements are contained in this publication does not express nor imply that 1st Responder Inc. and Belsito Communications, Inc. vouches for the credibility of the claims made in the advertisements or the representations expressed or implied in them.

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summer, 2013

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Summer, 2013

1St Responder Newspaper - tX

GREG GOETTSCH

Semi-trailer fire in Abilene

JASON EVANS

Abilene, TX. At 7:20 a.m. on April 11th, units of the Abilene Fire Department were dispatched to a fire involving a semi-tractor/trailer located on Interstate 20, approximately 1.5 miles west of Tye, near milemarker 276. The driver of the vehicle reported that he had been transporting swimming pool chemicals and that the trailer was heavily involved in fire. He had managed to disconnect the tractor from the trailer, moving it a short distance away. Due to the involvement of chemicals, the Abilene Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team responded, as well. Due to the intensity of the fire and the chemical involvement, westbound traffic was detoured around the incident scene for approximately one hour. Responders were able to determine the trailer was loaded with a non-toxic, non-reactive swimming pool sanitizer, which posed minimal danger to the public. However, smoke from the fire was still considered to be

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highly hazardous due to the burning plastic containers containing the chemical. Most of the fire was extinguished very quickly, but firefighters remained on the scene for quite some time to ensure complete extinguishment. Units of the Tye and Merkel Volunteer Fire Departments responded, as did law enforcement units with Tye, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Personnel with the Texas Department of Transportation assisted with the detouring of traffic. Preliminary indications are that the fire began near the axle at the rear of the trailer and was, quite possibly, the result of a mechanical malfunction. There were no injuries reported and there is no cost estimate of the loss. - GREG GOETTSCH

PATCHES If you have photos you would like to see in our “Patches” feature, please upload them on our website, www.1stResponderNews.com or email them to Heather@1stResponderNews.com.

JASON EVANS

Three alarm fire with animal rescue for Dallas Dallas, TX, At 6:54 a.m., Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to a 911 call for a structure fire at the Wind Tree Condominiums, located at 8110 Skillman Street, in Northeast Dallas. When first responding companies arrived, they could see an excessive amount of fire coming from the second and third floors of a condominium building. They immediately set up to attack the fire from all directions and, after adding a second and third alarm response, extin-

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guished it. There were a total of 12 units in the building (two vacant) all of which were rendered uninhabitable. An undetermined number of people were displaced, but we are working with the American Red Cross and the Dallas Office of Emergency Management to assist them.

There were no reported injuries to any residents or firefighters during the course of the incident. Firefighters were able to save at least two cats; but unfortunately, animal control had to be notified to come out and attend to a number of other pets who were unaccounted for or deceased. The cause of the fire is under investigation. - JASON EVANS

EUGENE WEBER JR.

Iola is a city in Grimes County on Farm Road 39 and the Burlington-Rock Island Railway, at the headwaters of Ragan Creek in northwest Grimes County. A July 1, 2009 U.S. Census Bureau estimate placed the population at 430. In 1976, the Iola Fire Department was founded.


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Summer, 2013

1 ARDMORE STREET • NEW WINDSOR, NY 12553 845-534-7500 • (fax) 845-534-0055 • News@1stResponderNews.com

EXECUTIVE STAFF PUBLISHER

Joseph P. Belsito (Joe@1stResponderNews.com) ••• GENERAL MANAGER

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

In memory of those who gave all 1st Responder Newspaper honors and remembers emergency responders lost in the line of duty

Kathy Ronsini (Kathy@1stResponderNews.com) ••• PRODUCTION DIRECTOR

Ashley Ramos (Ashley@1stResponderNews.com) ••• MANAGING EDITOR

Heather Pillsworth (Heather@1stResponderNews.com) ••• WIRELESS OFFICE MANAGER

Michelle Belsito (Michelle@1stResponder.com) ••• DISPATCHER RECRUITMENT & RETENTION (Rich@1stResponder.com)

••• OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

Nicole Roby (Nicole@1stResponderNews.com) EDITORIAL STAFF COLUMNISTS Rick Billings (Cartoon) Henry Campbell (Staying Safe) Lori Hodgkinson (FF Fitness) Bob Long (Cartoon) John Malecky (Apparatus, Bookshelf, Video) CORRESPONDENTS Christian Bove • Pat Canales • Michelle DeCrane Jason Evans • Deborah Foster • Greg Goettsch Andrea Goodson • Randy Harley • Sheri Hemrick Bill Kelly • Joel Lavender • Jim Reaves • Flor Salas Ken Scar • Linda Stewart • Eugene Weber Becky Robinette Wright

EDITORIAL INFORMATION Join our team of correspondents or columnists! 1st Responder Newspaper welcomes submissions by our readers. Send stories and photos to us at 1 Ardmore St. New Windsor, NY 12553. Or, give us a call or send us an e-mail. If using the mail, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for all submissions you wish to have returned. Publisher reserves the right to refuse any editorial or advertising material submitted.

845-534-7500 ext. 212 • (fax) 845-534-0055 News@1stResponderNews.com

ADVERTISING INFORMATION

Jackson Heights, TX Jalen Smith, 20 Rank: Firefighter Incident Date: 11/30/2012 Death Date: 12/03/2012 Fire Department: Jackson Heights Volunteer Fire Department Fire Dept. Info: M. Terence Thompson Initial Summary: Enroute to the firehouse in response to a tractor accident in the area, Firefighter Smith was riding in a personally owned vehicle that according to preliminary reports was forced to take evasive action and crashed. Three members of Jackson Heights Fire Department were involved in the single vehicle rollover and all were taken to the hospital. Smith passed away from injuries sustained during the rollover; he was reported to have been ejected from the vehicle. The other two firefighters were treated and released the night of the accident. Bryan TX Gregory Pickard, 54 Rank: Lieutenant Incident Date: Feb 15, 2013 Death Date: Feb 16, 2013 Fire Department: Bryan Fire Department Fire Dept. Info: Chief: Randy McGregor Initial Summary: While battling a blaze at a Knights of Columbus Hall, Lieutenant Wallace became trapped inside the structure. He notified others on the scene by radio, stating he was low on air. Lieutenant Pickard, accompanied by two other firefighters, entered the building to rescue Lieutenant Wallace. During the rescue, the roof collapsed. Lieutenant Wallace died at the scene and Lieutenant Pickard was rushed to the hospital where he later passed away from his injuries. Both firefighters died from burns sustained in the collapse. The two other firefighters involved are in stable but serious condition. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Bryan, TX Eric Wallace, 36 Rank: Lieutenant Incident Date: Feb 15, 2013 Death Date: Feb 16, 2013 Fire Department: Bryan Fire Department Fire Dept. Info: Chief: Randy McGregor Initial Summary: While battling a blaze at a Knights of Columbus Hall, Lieutenant Wallace became trapped inside the structure. He notified others on the scene by radio, stating he was low on air. Lieutenant Pickard, accompanied by two other firefighters, entered the building to rescue Lieutenant Wallace. During the rescue, the roof collapsed. Lieutenant Wallace died at the scene and Lieutenant Pickard was rushed to the hospital where he later passed away from his injuries. Both firefighters died from burns sustained in the collapse. The two other firefighters involved are in stable but serious condition. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

If you would like information about how advertising in 1st Responder News can benefit your company call our advertising hotline at:

845-534-7500 ext. 211 • (fax) 845-534-0055 Advertising@1stResponderNews.com

CIRCULATION INFORMATION 1st Responder Newspaper is delivered to all fire, rescue, ambulance stations and hospitals. If you do not receive your papers, please contact our circulation department. Home subscriptions are $15 per year.

845-534-7500 ext. 220 • (fax) 845-534-0055 Circulation@1stResponderNews.com

GRAPHIC DESIGN/MARKETING 1st Responder News’ graphics team will work with you on your A division of: advertisement free of charge. Additionally, we offer a complete marketing department for all of your printed needs. Whether they are posters, or single sheet handouts, full color or black and white, no one else delivers the high quality work at our competitive prices. As a newspaper in the Belsito Communications Inc. family, 1st Responder News has a state-of-the-art production facility which utilizes the latest scanning technology available. Materials are processed using Power Macintosh G4s. Output is handled on our HP Color LaserJet 8500 to produce this highest quality black and white or color prints on the market.

845-534-7500 ext. 214 • (fax) 845-534-0055 Info@Belsito.com

League City, TX Donald Mize, 62 Rank: Firefighter Cadet Incident Date: Mar 6, 2013 Death Date: Mar 6, 2013 Fire Department: League City Volunteer Fire Department Fire Dept. Info: Brad Goudie Initial Summary: ncident Description: Firefighter Cadet Mize was cooling down after the training exercise at the department's training facility when he fell ill from a cause still to be determined. Mize was treated and transported to the hospital but succumbed to his injury. Incident Location: Fire Department Training Field, 911 North Kansas AVE, League City, TX

West, TX Cody Dragoo, 50 Rank: Firefighter Joseph Pustejousky Rank: Firefighter Douglas Snokhous, 50 Rank: Firefighter Robert Snokhous 48 Rank: Firefighter Morris Bridges, 41 Rank: Firefighter Incident Date:Apr 17, 2013 Death Date: Apr 17, 2013 Fire Department: West Volunteer Fire Department Fire Dept. Info: Chief: Gorge Nors Sr. Initial Summary: Firefighters and other responders were operating at the scene of a fire at the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas. Initial reports indicate that as the situation on the fireground worsened, the fire chief ordered all personnel to evacuate the property. Shortly thereafter, a massive explosion occurred damaging or destroying a portion of the City of West. Many people were injured or killed as a result of the explosion, including five firefighters from the West Volunteer Fire Department. Due to the timely efforts of first responders and other volunteers working in the face of pending catastrophe to evacuate occupancies nearby the fertilizer plant, many other lives were saved. Several other emergency responders were also killed in the incident. Their names and additional information about their deaths will be forwarded, as appropriate, as additional information becomes available. Investigation into the cause of the fire, explosion, and resulting fatalities continues by local, state and federal authorities. Incident Location: West Fertilizer CO, 1471 Jerry Mashek DR, West, TX 76691 Dallas TX Stanley A. Wilson, 51 Rank: Fire Rescue Officer Incident Date: May 20, 2013 Death Date: May 20, 2013 Fire Department: Dallas Fire-Rescue Department Fire Dept. Info: Chief: Louie Bright, III Initial Summary: Fire Rescue Officer Wilson died of injuries sustained in a multi-unit residential structure fire. Wilson became caught and trapped when a portion of the condominium unit in which he was operating collapsed. Investigation into the fatal incident continues by authorities. Incident Location: Hearthwood Condominiums at 12363 Abrams Road, Dallas, TX Houston, TX Name: Robert Bebee, 41 Rank: Engineer Operator Name: Matthew Renaud, 35 Rank: Captain Name: Robert H. Garner, 29 Rank: Firefighter Name: Anne M. Sullivan, 24 Rank: Probationary Firefighter Incident Date:Apr 17, 2013 Death Date: Apr 17, 2013 Fire Department: Houston Fire Department Fire Dept. Info: Chief: Terry Garrison Initial Summary: The Houston Fire Department responded to a structure fire. While battling the blaze, the roof of the motel collapsed, trapping the firefighters in burning debris. All four firefighters perished. Incident Location: 6855 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX


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PagE 7

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Firefighters climb equivalent of 110 flights to honor FDNY fallen heroes The Third Annual Lancaster 911 Memorial Stair Climb will be held on Sunday, September 8, 2013 at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, PA. Participants will climb steps at Clipper Magazine Stadium multiple times for a total of 110 stories, representing the number of floors in the World Trade Towers. Each climb is hosted and managed by local firefighters or people with an interest in ensuring that the 343 firefighters are not forgotten and to support the families of the fallen. All participants will receive a photo and badge of one of the fallen heroes of September 11th. A total of 343 individuals can participate in each event. Registration fees will be directed to the NFFF to assist the surviving families and coworkers of those firefighters killed on September 11, 2001. “The 9-11 Memorial Stair Climbs are a tremendous way to honor those heroes by completing the symbolic climb that they could not finish,” said Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF. “These climbs are also a way to let the families know the legacies of their loved ones are remembered by so many in the fire service.” The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs are inspired by stair climbs that first took place in Denver in 2005. Five Colorado firefighters gathered at a high-rise in the city

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to climb 110 flights of stairs in memory of their 343 FDNY brothers. Word spread throughout the Denver area fire departments and by 2007, more than 100 firefighters wanted to participate. Interest continued to increase each year and was capped at 343 in 2008. The Lancaster Stair Climb also remembers firefighters from Pennsylvania who have died in the line-of-duty since the previous year’s Stair Climb. For more information on the Lancaster Stair Climb, visit Lancaster Stair Climb on Facebook, or contact Scott Yuill at syuill@comcast.net. About the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) The United States Congress created the NFFF to lead a nationwide effort to remember America's fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the nonprofit foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers. The NFFF also works closely with the U.S. Fire Administration to help prevent and reduce line of duty deaths and injuries. For more information on the Foundation and its programs contact us at 301-447-1365 or visit www.firehero.org. - PROVIDED

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1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Firefighter Fitness, Belly Buster FIREFIGHTER FITNESS Lori Ann Hodgkinson

GREG GOETTSCH

Downed aircraft in Abilene Just before 10:30 on February 14th, the Abilene 911 Center received a report of a downed aircraft approximately three miles North of Elmdale Airpark. Units of the Abilene Fire Department, along with responders from the Abilene Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Metro Care Services, and other response organizations located the crash site near the Jones / Shackelford County line, just south of Shackelford County Road 150. The plane was largely intact and there was no fire or fuel spill. The lone occupant of the aircraft, a seventyfive year old male, was able to exit the aircraft prior to responder arrival. He displayed no sign of injury and was not transported to a hospital. The Texas Department of Public Safety took charge of the investigation but a representative of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was expected to arrive within a short time.

Correspondent Contest Sponsored by Tyler Fire Equipment The readers of 1st Responder Newspaper have helped make www.1rbn.com the fastest-growing Fire/Rescue/EMS site on the web. Information comes from our valued correspondents. Each time you post an entry on our website, your name will go into a drawing for a monthly prize. Only web entries are eligible. The prize for our July editions from Tyler Fire Equipment is a Yellow Bullard UST Traditional Fire Helmet. Our June editions winner of the Kimtek is a Viper Wildland Nozzle was John Sjostedt III of Duxbury, MA. If your company would like to provide a prize and sponsor our monthly contest, contact Heather at 845-534-7500.

Matte Yellow Bullard UST Traditional Fire Helmet ESS goggles Bourke Eye Shields 6" Stars and Stripes carved brass eagle Traklite integrated lighting

Tyler Fire Equipment LLC PO Box 4037, Elmira, NY 14904 • 1332 Broadway, Albany, NY 12204 7048 Interstate Island Road, Syracuse, NY 13209 Phone (800) 352-2079 • Fax (607) 734-1951

Wow! Summer must really be around the corner. As I mentioned last month the requests for fat-burning, middle whittling, butt shaping routines pour in around this time. My last column contained a fat-burning total body toning workout. Guess it spurred some of you on. What I’m getting now is requests for a quick effective abdominal routine that can be done every day. Boy, you are rolling now. Here goes… The first routine requires a swiss ball and a medicine ball. The second one is equipment free. Choose the one that suits you or alternate their use for variety. Both routines are intended for clients with healthy backs and free of any other exercise restrictions. As always, consult your physician before beginning this or any other exercise routine. Perform 15-20 of each exercise. Three sets of each exercise with a set of standing alternating knee lifts, front kicks and side kicks (all kickboxing style) in between each set as listed. Routine 1 Jacknife: Over a swiss ball , with shins resting on ball and hands on floor, shoulder width apart. Keeping hands still and shoulders stable roll ball under you by bending knees up to chest. Return to start position. Alternating knee lifts Seated twists, sit, straddling a bench. Hold a medicine ball (be sure to select an appropriate weight). Turn and place ball on bench behind you. Twist to opposite side and pick up ball. Turn

and place ball on bench behind you. Complete your 15-20 reps and then repeat in opposite direction. Alternating front kicks Medicine ball crunch, lie on back knees bent, feet flat on the floor, shoulder distance apart. Hold a Medicine Ball beyond your head. Perform a crunch, bringing medicine ball up and then toward knees. Alternating side kicks Cool-down with some low back stretches Routine 2 Seated knee raise, sitting at the end of a bench or on the floor, lean back 45 degrees. Hold that position. Bend legs as you pull knees to chest. Extend to starting position. Alternating knee lifts Elbow to knee touch, lying on back knees bent, feet flat, clasp hands behind head, (being careful to avoid pressing head forward). Cycle your legs (like pedaling a bike) while simultaneously lifting head/shoulders and touching right elbow to left knee then left elbow to right knee. Alternating front kicks Crunches, lying on back, hands clasped behind head or crossed over chest. Legs extended upward, knees very slightly bent. Crunch/sit-up. Alternating side kicks Cool-down with some low back stretches These exercises will tone and shape those abdominal muscles, but remember if they are disguised by a layer or two of fat, you’ve got to do some burning in your workouts and/or trim some of the fat from your diet. Last month’s routine is a great way to accomplish that. Go For it! Be Smart! Stay Safe! - LORI HODGKINSON

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Summer, 2013

1St Responder Newspaper - tX

FACES If you have photos you would like to see in our Faces feature please upload them on our website www.1stResponderNews.com or email them to Heather@1stResponderNews.com.

KEN SCAR

SHERI HEMRICK

Two Abbott firefighters embrace Willie Nelson after his benefit concert for Abbott and West

KEN SCAR

Fort Hood emergency responders react to full-scale forces response exercise FORT HOOD, TX. First responders on Fort Hood took part in the III Corps 2013 fullscale forces response exercise on May 15th. The training exercise began with simulated incidents in the local community, with subsequent Fort Hood events, including vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices resulting in injuries and death. Responders were not forewarned, and their reactions were documented for later after-action reviews. One simulated event was a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device outside a building near the 79th street gate that left 47 casualties with varying degrees of injuries - from mere scratches and bruises to severe lacerations and shock. Realisticlooking wounds and blood were applied to the volunteers, who wailed and screamed and did everything they could to make the exercise as realistic as possible.

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“This training was well set up,” said Michael Watkins, a Fort Hood EMT and retired U.S. Army staff sergeant. “The injuries looked very realistic. Some of the them we expected to see, some were much worse.” As the exercise was winding down, with the role players all bandaged up and carried away in ambulances, Watkins reflected on the value of this kind of training. “Training like this, where we care for real people, is always worthwhile,” he said. “My chief will time the response, and evaluate the treatment we gave each patient. I think it went well. We have lots of experience and knowledge treating patients. The paramedics and EMT’s we have here on Fort Hood are quality people.” - SGT. KEN SCAR

SHERI HEMRICK

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Summer, 2013

1St Responder Newspaper - tX

DALLAS FIRE-RESCUE

Firefighter Stanley A. Wilson

BRYAN FIRE DEPARTMENT

Lt. Greg Pickard (February 4, 1959-February 16, 2013)

Six alarm fire in Dallas with firefighter fatality At 2:52 on May 20th, Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to a 911 call for a structure fire at the Hearthwood North Condominiums, located at 12363 Abrams Road, in northeast Dallas. When firefighters arrived at the location, there was lots of smoke coming from the roof of a three story condominium building. Firefighters initially attempted an offensive attack; but the fire was growing too quickly and forced them to take a defensive stance. As the fire quickly moved from east to west through the building, two major areas of concern developed. First, two breezeways at the west end of the building provided easy means of fire extension, through the attic and between the floor spaces, to the adjacent buildings. However, firefighters were able to breach those spaces, and cut the fire off before it extended beyond the building of origin. Second, the high winds were carrying embers to neighboring homes. Several reports began coming in regarding those embers, but none of them resulted in additional fires. Two residents were treated on the scene for minor smoke inhalation, but neither one of them wanted to go to the hospital for further evaluation. Two firefighters were taken to hospitals with non lifethreatening injuries suffered during firefighting operations; but both of them are expected to be okay. Firefighters conducted at least six rescues during the course of the incident. Specifically, members from Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Team (while searching for a lost firefighter) heard someone call out from beneath the rubble. It turned out to be a young

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boy, who was fortunate enough to find himself in a space, beneath the debris, just large enough to fit without being harmed. Firefighters were able to position themselves in such a way that they were able to simply grab his hand from above and pull him to safety. Reportedly, he was reunited with family and was not taken to the hospital. Before the rescue however, the fire had grown to four alarms; at which point we began receiving radio traffic indicating that a firefighter was trapped inside. Immediately afterwards, a fifth alarm was transmitted for extra manpower and sirens on the fire ground were sounded to alert everyone on the scene of the latest developments. As search efforts went on for hours, and after a sixth alarm was transmitted, everyone’s worst fears were confirmed when the unresponsive body of our Brother, Stanley A. Wilson, was found in the debris. While given an honor line, made up of everyone from Fire, to Police, to Box 4 and personnel from other responding agencies, Firefighter Wilson was draped in the American Flag and carried away to a rescue unit in which he was taken to the hospital. The cause of the fire, and of his death, is under investigation. Firefighter Wilson was a Second Driver Engineer assigned to Fire Station 53, B shift. He has been with the department since 1985. He leaves behind a wife and two teenage sons. - JASON EVANS

BRYAN FIRE DEPARTMENT

Lt. Eric Wallace (June 24, 1976-February 16, 2013)

Two firefighters perish and two seriously injured in Bryan On February 15, 2013 at approximatly 11:20 p.m., firefighters were called to the Knights of Columbus Hall for a structure fire. While battling the blaze, Lieutenant Eric Wallace became trapped within the structure. He notified others on the scene by radio, stating he was low on air. Lieutenant Pickard, accompanied by two other firefighters, entered the building to rescue Lieutenant Wallace. During the rescue, the roof collapsed. Lieutenant Wallace died at the scene and Lieutenant Pickard was rushed to the hospital where he later passed away from his injuries.

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Both firefighters died from burns sustained in the collapse. The two other firefighters involved were in stable, but serious condition. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Both Lt. Wallace and Lt. Pickard were a career lieutenants with the Bryan Fire Department. Lt. Wallace, age 36, was married with five children. He had been with the department for almost thirteen years. He was highly decorated and honored for previous acts of

courage and bravery. Lt. Pickard leaves behind a wife, two children and three grandchildren. Both firefighters were mourned by firefighters from Bryan, the State of Texas and from across the country. Chief McGregor said, “There are no words to express our grief at the loss of Eric and our concern for Greg, Ricky and Mitch, and their families. These four courageous individuals represent the best of the profession and are true heroes in every sense of the word.” - HEATHER PILLSWORTH


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Four Houston firefighters perish in five alarm fire Houston, TX. Four Houston firefighters died after battling a five alarm restaurant fire on May 31, according to the Houston Fire Department public affairs office. The Houston Fire Department was dispatched to a UMP TO FILE # building fire at J053113133 12:09 p.m., at Bhojan Restaurant at 6855 Southwest Freeway. Five firefighters were initially transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion to critical injuries. The fire was upgraded to a five alarm fire just after 1 p.m. The Houston Fire Department has identified the Fallen Firefighters who gave the ultimate sacrifice from a fire in Southwest Houston. • Captain EMT Matthew Renaud (35) of Engine 68. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in October of 2001 and in addition to Fire Station 68, has served out of stations 51, 39, 83, 73, 37, 60 and 35. • Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee (41) of Station 51. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in August of 2001 and in addition to Fire Station 51, has served out of Stations 37, 40, 10 and 48 • Firefighter EMT Robert Garner (29) of Station 68. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in October of 2010 and has served out of Fire Station 68 since. • Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan (24) of Station 68. She graduated from Houston Fire Department Academy this past April and was assigned to Fire Station 68. A public memorial service was held at Reliant Stadium on June 5th. The 100 Club Survivors Fund is accepting donations to benefit the firefighter’s dependents. The Houston Fire Department said they never have seen four firefighters pass away from the same incident in the history of the department. In 1929, three firefighters passed away after their engine was broadsided by a train. - BECKY ROBINETTE WRIGHT

HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT

HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT

Captain EMT Matthew Renaud (35) of Station 51. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in October of 2001.

Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee (41) of Station 51. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in August of 2001.

HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT

HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT

Firefighter EMT Robert Garner (29) of Station 68. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in October of 2010.

Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan (24) of Station 68. She graduated from Houston Fire Department Academy this past April and was assigned to Fire Station 68.

The Houston Fire Department has seen an enormous outpouring of sympathy and support from not only the Citizens of Houston, but also from around the Nation. We are working closely with the 100 Club and ask that those who would like to make monetary donations contribute to the 100 Club. The 100 Club, a 60 year old Houston based non-profit organization, that supports the dependents of Firefighters and Law Enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Donations are being accepted to “The 100 Club Survivors Fund”, which provides benefits to the dependents of Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers who lose their life in the line of duty. Contributions are being accepted at: 100 Club Survivors Fund, 5555 San Felipe – Suite 1750, Houston, TX 77056 Or they can be made at The 100 Club website: www.the100club.org. 100% of “Survivors Fund” donations go to the families of firefighters and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.


summer, 2013

1st Responder Newspaper - tX

PAgE 15

Fertilizer plant explosion devastates West

SHERI HEMRICK

West Explosion. The helmet pictured here was presented to Willie Nelson after he did a benefit concert for Abbott and West.

SHERI HEMRICK

Abbott Fire Department, followed by West EMS, during the Perry Calvin funeral procession. Perry Calvin lost his life at the West Explosion. Russell Strickland is driving, and his mom Doreen Strickland is in the passenger seat.

SHERI HEMRICK

Hillsboro Firefighter Clint Blair dousing a grass fire next door to a nursing home.

West, TX. A fertilizer plant explosion on Wednesday, April 17th injured well over a hundred residents and killed 14. Five West firefighters are confirmed as killed in the line of duty. Other first responders including a Dallas Fire Rescue firefighter and four other emergency responders are reported as killed as well, according to reports from the SFFMA of Texas. It has also been reported that three fire trucks and one EMS truck were destroyed. The mayor of West advised that the departments are in need of monetary assistance currently. Much of the area around the fertilizer plant was decimated and flattened by the blast. First responders from West and the surrounding area are combing the rubble for additional victims and survivors. They are faced with the danger of and presence of ammonium nitrate in the area, which is a component widely used in explosives. The blast was so large that it registered as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake. Homes an hour from the blast site felt the ground shake. In the area of the blast were two schools, a nursing home and several other buildings. The USFA released the following information on the heroes who perished. •Cody Dragoo, age 50 •Joseph Pustejousky, 29 •Douglas Snokhous, 50 •Captain Robert Snokhous, 48 •Morris Bridges, 41 In addition to the West firefighters who lost their lives in the

JUMP TO FILE #053113133

line of duty, six other firefighters sacrificed themselves for this incredible community. •Jimmy Matus, 52 •Cyrus Reed, 29 •Jerry Chapman, 26 •Perry Calvin, 37 •Kevin Sanders, 33 •Kenneth Harris, 52 SHERI HEMRICK

- HEATHER PILLSWORTH

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Summer, 2013

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DEPARTMENT PROFILE If you have photos you would like to see in our Department ProďŹ le feature please upload them on our website www.1stResponderNews.com or email them to Heather@1stResponderNews.com.

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Summer, 2013

1St Responder Newspaper - tX

Rick Billings

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Summer, 2013

1St Responder Newspaper - tX

GOT DROP? Before you hang-up your hat, Talk to the DROP expert... LEAGUE CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT

Donald Mize

League City firefighter mourned Firefighter Cadet Donald Mize of the League City Fire Department cooling down after the training exercise at the department's training facility when he fell ill on March 6, 2013 at a little before 8 p.m. Mize was treated and transported to the hospital but succumbed to his injury. He was a cadet in the League City Volunteer Fire Department’s 2013A Training Academy. He retired after 30 years as a teach wtih Clear Creek Independent School District. Donald Mize was also a long time member of the Knights of Columbus and active in the Texas State Guard. In addition, he was a

graduate of the League City Citizen’s Police Academy. He leaves behind his wife, Theresa Mize. He was a well-respected strong contributor to his community and an advocate for children. Mize was honored at the Forest Park East Funeral Home on March 11th. Church services were held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in League City followed by an apparatus procession on March 12 by his family, friends, fellow firefighters and many others who will always remember this community hero and firefighter. - HEATHER PILLSWORTH

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paGe 22

Summer, 2013

1St Responder Newspaper - tX

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A fierce fire rages in San Antonio 1 On February 1st around 11:57 p.m., the San Antonio Fire Department arrived at a roaring fire engulfing the Childress Memorial Church of God in Christ at 901 North Pine Street. Ladder 1 arrived within three minutes of dispatch. Firefighters immediately entered the structure and attempted containment, but the fire was spreading very rapidly. Firefighters noticed the building could collapse and started to operate in a defensive position outside the historic church. Firefighters not only faced the challenge of extinguishing the rising flames, but they had to protect the houses and vehicles just feet away from the church as well. A second alarm was called for. “Our main objective was to get in between the roaring church and protect the residences next door. You try to protect what is not protected,” said Captain Fernando Sosa. Oscar Gonzalez, FSC remarked, “My initial assessment was of a fully-involved church that was only going to be put out with master streams. We proceeded to establish collapse zones and re-positioned a couple of the trucks.” There were no injuries or fatalities. The houses nearby did not experience any kind of damage. Unfortunately however, the church, built in 1908 and valued at more than $3 million, was a total loss. Arson Lieutenant Kenneth Campbell indicated that since the inside walls of the building were predominantly wood, the fire extended rapidly into the walls causing the collapse of the structure. “The fire wasn’t discovered until it was very advanced and little from the structure was able to be saved,” said Lt. Campbell. The second alarm fire involved 79 firefighters and 30 fire units. The fire was substantially controlled by about 2:30 a.m. Arson investigators and the ATF were called to the scene to try to determine the cause of the fir. After five days of scene excavation and investigation, the origin of the fire was found to be in the mechanical room located on the second floor of the build-

JUMP TO FILE #061213105

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summer, 2013

paGe 23

Fund set up to help survivors of fallen West, TX responders

SAN ANTONIO FIRE DEPARTMENT

One night, two fire alarms for crews San Antonio, TX. The night of March 6th and early morning hours of the 7th were full of challenges for those who worked on the C shift. At 7:03 pm, a structure fire call came in for a vacant building at 228 Broadway. The Traveler’s Hotel was on the right and an old restaurant on the left of the involved structure. Crews arrived to heavy black smoke coming from the building. Initially, operations started offensively as a primary search began. As the risk management profile worsened, the call was made to change the strategy and back everyone out of the building. “It was when the incident commander saw the flames breaking through the rear corner of the structure that he indicated for the firefighters to go defensive,” Engineer Rudy Elizondo said. With the magnitude of the fire requiring the use of aerials, apparatus placement and water supply became key aspects in bringing the fire under control. Remarkably, the fire was contained to the middle vacant structure. “It really could’ve been a lot worse with the amount of fire we had,” Assistant Chief Oscar Gonzalez said. “It’s a positive result from good apparatus placement and overall strategic and risk management that we saved this property without getting anybody hurt.” Once the fire was controlled, Engine 15 was on scene in charge of a fire watch which continued throughout the night for hot spots and to maintain a chain of custody. However, at 3:00 a.m. a second fire was reported just a block down the street from the first fire. E15 was the first to respond. “I heard the regular alarm sound and recognized the address being very near to the first incident. I thought that it would turn out to be same structure that had been on fire earlier so I contacted the fire watch company, Engine 15, to look down the street to see if they could confirm this,” said Gonzalez. “Instead, they reported smoke from a different threestory building so I assigned them to the incident and directed them

JUMP TO FILE #061213113

to give us an initial report.” Fire crews began an offensive attack, but access to the building became the first challenge. Captain Mark Trevino said that firefighters had to force entry through burglar bars and a metal security door in order to advance into the structure. A second alarm was consequently called at the 519 E. Houston Street address. The primary search was completed, yet fire continued to burn the stored content inside the building. Firefighters were concerned that the flames would reach the Hotel Indigo next door. “We had a different strategy for this fire in that we were offensive, but the stakes were high as well. The Indigo Hotel was joined by a party wall on the corner and was occupied by 85 people. These people were evacuated and re-located,” stated Gonzalez. “The fire crews fighting the fire were the same crews that had been at the previous incident so their hard work in a complex, three story offensive attack was all the more impressive. “ The fire occupancy was a commercial retail store with many combustibles inside, and the building had been modified many times to create storage spaces making the fire attack very difficult. Being a labor intensive fire, the incident illustrated the difference between a “contents” fire and a “structure” fire. “We were aggressive with it from the start because there is a limited window of opportunity to put out a contents fire before it becomes much worse,” said Gonzalez. The fire was eventually brought under control by interior crews and a much larger incident was averted. Lieutenant Brandon Leon said that both fires had their separate challenges however, the first fire was bigger and was much hotter. - San antonio Fire Department

The NVFC is deeply saddened by the tragedy in West, Texas, which has claimed the lives of multiple firefighters, EMS responders, and community members and injured many others. We join the rest of the nation in grieving this terrible loss. JUMP TO FILE # The National 042513106 Fallen Firefighters Foundation has established a national fund to accept donations to assist the survivors and coworkers of the fire and EMS personnel who died in the line of duty. http://firehero.org/news/2013/ westtx_041913.html In light of the tragic event in West, Texas on Wednesday and in cooperation with local support efforts, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has established a national fund to accept monetary donations to assist the survivors and coworkers of the fire and EMS personnel who died

in the line of duty. Checks can be mailed to: NFFF c/o West, Texas Fire and EMS Fallen Hero Fund P.O. Drawer 498 Emmitsburg, MD 21727. Donations also can be made by credit card at www.regonline.com/westtx. All donated funds will be used to assist the survivors and coworkers to rebuild their lives and support the programs and services they will need. As a result of the blast, the station along with the apparatus, equipment and turn-out gear were destroyed or badly damaged. If you would like to donate these items, please send a message with your contact information to www.firehero.org/contact and the Foundation will share this with the West, Texas department. "This fire and explosion have devastated the entire town in which so many people know and care about each other," said Chief Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF. "We want to ensure

the survivors and coworkers of those who died in the line of duty know that the entire fire service family is holding them in our hearts and doing all we can to offer support." As part of the Foundation's mission to assist the survivors of the fallen, the Texas LAST (Local Assistance State Team) was activated on Wednesday night to provide support to local officials and public safety personnel in West. The United States Congress created the NFFF to lead a nationwide effort to remember America's fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the non-profit foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers. The NFFF also works closely with the U.S. Fire Administration to help prevent and reduce line-of- duty deaths and injuries. For more information on the Foundation and its programs contact us at 301-4471365 or visit www.firehero.org.. - proViDeD

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PAGE 24

Summer, 2013

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1st Responder News Texas Summer Edition  
1st Responder News Texas Summer Edition  

1st Responder News is the first newspaper to cover emergency service personnel on such an intimate basis. We give detailed coverage to the...