Rescue in Alameda


ALAMEDA (CBS SF) — Firefighters rescued a resident who was later taken into custody from the balcony of a burning apartment building in Alameda Wednesday morning, according to a fire chief.

The fire had been burning for over an hour at a four-unit two-story apartment building located in the 3200 block of Briggs Avenue near Lincoln Park, Alameda fire Chief D’Orazi said.

The man rescued from his second-story balcony was in custody and being questioned by police.

Some tenants said the man intentionally set the fire after several days of odd behavior–including at 24-hour at the county psychiatric ward on Sunday and flooding his apartment on Friday.

“I just woke up to smoke and then I heard the window break out and that’s when I knew the house was on fire,” Twila Kennedy, who lost everything she owns and lives next door to the man, said.

“I suspected that he would do something like this after the flood.”

One firefighter was taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion.

Firefighters are continuing to put out the fire but the four-unit building is already considered a total loss.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Rope Rescue in Toronto


A 47-year-old woman had to be rescued from a Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue ravine after she went looking for the family dog.

The woman noticed the dog had left home just before 2 a.m. on Wednesday.

She went looking for the beloved pet, but fell about 18 metres into a ravine near Gwendolen Crescent.

Her husband then noticed she was missing and followed her footprints in the snow.

Eventually, firefighters and paramedics were called, and firefighters rescued her using a rope.

She was taken to hospital with minor injuries. The dog was found safe at home.

Man Extricated from Under Truck in Toronto


An elderly Toronto man has been airlifted to hospital after he was trapped for hours in his vehicle, under a transport truck, in North York.

The collision happened at around 10 a.m. near Fenmar Drive and Steeles Avenue. Although the man’s car was trapped under a transport truck, Toronto police say the senior received only minor injuries.

Toronto Police Const. Clint Stibbe said the car had “cocooned” around the man in his 80s, likely saving his life.

Though emergency officials first said the man was unconscious when they arrived at the scene, he was said to be speaking to paramedics by the time crews managed to extricate him from the wreckage.

The car had to be cut apart, piece by piece, in what Stibbe described as the longest rescue he’s ever seen.

“The car was basically wrapped around him, with a very large, heavy transport truck on top of him,” Toronto Fire District Chief Mike Ancio said. “You have to dig away slowly. You have to make sure the truck is shored up and supported.”

“Otherwise, the truck (could have) come right down on him, as well as come down on us,” Ancio said.

The trapped man was finally freed and taken to hospital by air ambulance at around 1 p.m., about three hours after the collision happened.

While Traffic Services usually only investigates collisions resulting in death or serious injury, they have chosen to investigate the incident because of the injured man’s age. They will be looking at the speed of the truck, the colour of the lights and witness statements.

The driver of the transport truck is being treated for minor injuries.

With files from CTV Toronto’s Tamara Cherry.

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Rescue in Scranton


SCRANTON – A man rescued from a North Scranton house fire Friday remains in critical condition, a city fire official said Saturday.

James Brown was rescued by two firefighters called to 2147 Rockwell Ave. at 2:30 p.m. Fire Chief Tom Davis said he arrived on the scene first and found Mr. Brown’s son in the backyard. The man told the chief his father was still inside the home.

Two firefighters were injured while rescuing Mr. Brown, the chief said. Both were examined at hospitals and released Friday.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Rescue in Salisbury


SALISBURY — Firefighters said training paid off when their team was able to work together and bring a man and a dog out of a burning Cherry Way home.

“I’m just very proud of this department; I’m very proud of the guys that were involved,” said Salisbury Lt. David Bowling on Monday. “It was a complete success from start to finish.”

Assistant Chief Jim Gladwell said it took about three to four minutes for firefighters to find the victim — identified as 76-year-old Gordon Hitchcock — and get him out of the home. From the time of the firefighters’ arrival to the time Hitchcock was at Peninsula Regional Medical Center was only about 11 minutes, he said.

“I’m as proud as I can be,” Gladwell said.

After being transported to PRMC as a result of the 7:24 p.m. Sunday fire, Hitchcock was flown to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center in critical condition, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. A spokeswoman at the Bayview Burn Center said Monday afternoon Hitchcock remained in critical condition.

Bowling located the victim inside, but wasn’t able to get him out of the building by himself. Zackary Keenan and Andrew Merrill got to the man and were able to pull him out of the home, and Bowling could go back to helping extinguish the fire.

Buddy, a 14-year-old mixed-breed dog, was also rescued from the home after a second search, Gladwell said. The fire hadn’t gotten to the bathroom he was in, he said.

Buddy was lethargic and suffered from smoke inhalation, but after firefighters put him on oxygen for about 10 or 15 minutes, he was doing well, Gladwell said.

Keenan’s mindset was, “I’m not coming out unless I got the person,” he said. Because firefighters aren’t able to see in the burning home, it comes down to instinct and training, he said.

Before he went into the home, neighbors were saying there was someone inside. Keenan was separated from his partner after getting into the home, but he said Merrill was able to find him using a thermal imaging camera.

The home, at 322 Cherry Way, is owned by 48-year-old Kevin Brown, who was at a neighbor’s house at the time and upon finding out about the fire, ran to the home but wasn’t able to get inside because of the fire, the Fire Marshal’s Office said.

Investigators determined the fire was caused by the electrical failure of a cord of an oil-filled radiant heater, said Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire.

He said the damage is estimated at $20,000, and it’s still under investigation whether smoke alarms in the home were working.

It couldn’t have gone any better, Gladwell and Bowling both said.

“This is why we train,” Bowling said.

VES Rescue in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO — Firefighters rescued an injured man, and a woman and a child safely exited on their own, from a Saturday fire that killed another man in a single-story Live Oak house.

Firefighters were dispatched just after 1:30 a.m. to the house in the 7500 block of Wishing Oaks Way, said Gerry Galindo, assistant chief of the Live Oaks Fire Department. Galindo said there were four people in the house who all appeared to be relatives.

Firefighters are still unsure where and how the fire was started, Galindo said.

“The majority of the house was pretty much involved in the fire when we got called out,” he said.

Firefighters had to go through a window to rescue one man, who was hospitalized with burns over 30 percent of his body, Galindo said. The outlook was favorable Saturday that he would survive, Galindo said.

The house is a total loss and the American Red Cross was contacted to provide relocation assistance, Galindo said.

Firefighters from Universital City, Selma, Schertz and Converse assisted in battling the blaze, Galindo said.

Rescues in Southfield Apartment Fire

SOUTHFIELD, Michigan — Southfield firefighters have used a bucket truck to rescue seven people from a burning nine-story apartment building.

Authorities tell The Detroit News ( ) that no one was injured in the fire, caused by a cooking accident. Fire battalion Chief Ed Cary says it broke out about 1 a.m. Sunday on the seventh floor of the Providence Tower Apartments.

Authorities say the complex’s water piping system failed, and Southfield turned to help from six neighboring agencies to bring the fire under control.

The fire has left 24 families homeless. The American Red Cross has given shelter to 12 people, and the rest are staying with family and friends.

2 Rescued from Frigid Waters in Seattle


SEATTLE – Two people were rescued after spending nearly an hour clinging to the side of a sailboat in the frigid waters of Shilshole Bay early Saturday, officials said.

Officials said it was not immediately known why three other people on the sailboat waited so long to try get help for the two in the water.

Lt. Sue Stangl of the Seattle Fire Department said authorities received an emergency call at about 3:35 a.m. and launched a water rescue that also involved resources of the Seattle police, the Coast Guard and the King County Sheriff’s office.

She said it appears one of the people on the 40-foot sailboat went into the water, and the second person went in to help the first one. The second person was unable to help and became stranded overboard, too. All the pair could do was cling to the side of the boat and wait for assistance.

The three other people on board the vessel threw ropes and life jackets to the two in the water, said Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt, but apparently were unable to help them get back on board the boat. Finally someone called 911.

“My understanding is that they were in the water for approximately 45 minutes until we were notified,” Stangl said. “And in this kind of temperature that is pretty significant. It does not really allow you to have that strength to hold on.”

She said the life jackets probably saved their lives.

“In this situation that definitely did make a difference,” she said.

Emergency responders reached the scene and were able to get the two people inside a harbor patrol boat. They were taken to shore, then to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of hypothermia. Both were expected to survive.

After the rescue, a Coast Guard vessel escorted the sailboat and the three other occupants back to Shilshole Bay Marina.

Rescue in Las Vegas


LAS VEGAS (KSNV — A man is in critical condition this morning at UMC after he was found unconscious shortly before 6 a.m. as firefighters fought a condo garage fire.

The fire was reported at 5:51 a.m. at Stone Ridge Condominiums, 2152 Turquoise Ridge Street (Sahara and Hualapi), according to the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Department.

The middle-aged man was found near the entrance to the two-story condo. When firefighters arrived they encountered think, black smoke coming from the garage door.

Damage was primarily confined to the garage area with mostly smoke and some content damage estimated at $10,000.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. There were no other injuries.

Man Rescued from Water Tower (Raw Footage)

A maintenance worker was in stable condition Thursday (Nov. 14) after a 30-foot fall into a water tower in Port Fourchon.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans evacuated the injured worker from the 145-foot-tall water tower Thursday evening (Nov. 14). He was later taken to University Hospital in New Orleans.

The man apparently lost his footing and fell 30 feet into the tower, receiving a significant gash on his head and possibly suffering a skull fracture, according to the Coast Guard.

A firefighter initially climbed into the tank to treat the man after the fall, the Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard Air Station was contacted by the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, and deployed an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew to retrieve the man, according to the statement.

Air Station New Orleans pilot Lt. Ken Rockhold said the crew had to work within a “very, very small confined space” to rescue the worker. The man was hoisted by the helicopter from a 2-foot-wide catwalk on top of the water tower.

“Our frequent, standardized training really helps us out in these unique situations,” Rockhold said.