Heavy Extrication in Grand Rapids, Mich


Grand Rapids, MI (WZZM) – Grand Rapids Battalion Chief Bart Perry says removing the driver from a semi-truck that overturned on I-196 Thursday morning was the most difficult extrication in his 30 years at the fire department.

“It was a 3 ½ hour extraction,” he says. “I’ve never had anything like that in my entire career.”

The semi overturned at about 6:45 a.m. trying to exit the Interstate at Ottawa Avenue.

Battalion Chief Perry says it took 29 firefighters using every tool on the truck to finally cut the driver out.

He says they had to overcome many challenges.

“The vehicle rolled over onto the driver’s side, which impaired our access,” he explains. “We also had flammable liquids and oil spilling from the vehicle. We didn’t have access to the batteries so at any minute the air bags could deploy causing more harm. And we had traffic trying to get around us. It was a stressful scene.”

“Fortunately, he wasn’t in serious or critical condition,” he points out. “It gave us the luxury of time to slowly dismantle this vehicle.”

The truck driver was conscious during most of the rescue, but the chief says he started to fade at the end. He is expected to recover from his injuries.

“It was a very dynamic scene with a successful outcome all the way around,” says Chief Perry. “We operated in harm’s way so we could save that man’s life.”

After the driver was out it took several more hours to remove the wrecked truck loaded with peat moss and get traffic moving normally.

Rescues in Chicago


A 1-year-old child and an 18-year-old man were taken to a hospital after they were among three people rescued from an extra-alarm fire in the Back of the Yards neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.

The fire started about 3:20 p.m. in two residential buildings in the 4400 block of South Honore Street. The fire was raised to a 2-11 alarm, with an emergency medical services Plan 1, sending six ambulances to the scene.
Homes burn in Back of the Yards
Chicago firefighters work at the scene where two homes are burning in the 4400 block of S. Honore St. in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago. (Abel Uribe, Chicago Tribune)

A 1-year-old child and a male teenager were taken the hospital, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. Several other people were evaluated by paramedics. The teen and both victims were believed in good condition, with the teen going to the hospital with the child to make sure the child was all right, said Fire Department Chief of Special Operations Michael Fox.

The two buildings that caught fire are 2-1/2 story frame homes, at least one of them broken up into apartments. Firefighters had the most trouble extinguishing the fire in the attics of the buildings, officials said. The fire began in the building to the north and spread to the second building, officials said.
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The three rescued were all trapped in an area on the first floor of one of the homes, with fire in front, behind and both sides of them, Fox said.

The fire was under control by about 4:15 p.m.

Dioselina Covia, 56, was taking her children to her car and was talking to a friend when she saw smoke coming up from one of the houses and called 911 as she ran toward the fire, she said.

Covia ran down to the house and started banging on doors and getting children out, as her husband and another man and woman from the block started doing the same.

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Her husband and a man and woman from the block also helped get people out.

The group ran out of the house when they started hearing loud noises, Covia said.

“It began to pound, boom, boom, boom, and we ran out,” Covia said in Spanish.

Tanesha Jones, 32, who rents one of the three apartment in the south building, went to get her four sons and returned to see her home smouldering, with ambulances and firetrucks there surrounding the buildings.

Once Jones found out that everyone made it out alive and were fine, “All I could think about was my homework and my laptop,” which were burned, she said.

Jones said she is “messed up, not too good right now.”

“We’ll take it one day at a time. We have to start from scratch.”

After the fire, most of the windows in both of the homes were broken out, and the tan siding on each building was heavily scorched in several places, especially on the sides of the buildings where only four feet separated the two. Rooms on the second and third floors that were visible from the street appeared heavily damaged by fire.

Woman Rescued from Ravine

A Northern California woman was rescued and rushed to the hospital after being trapped for more than 17 hours when her car crashed in a remote area.

The 28-year-old woman’s car plunged off a ravine Monday afternoon on Mount Hamilton Road in Santa Clara County and no one could find her, even though her OnStar service sent two alerts. But finally, a quick thinking officer found a solution.

The woman was airlifted to Regional Medical Center in San Jose. She’s in stable condition getting X-rays and other tests.

A Coast Guard helicopter transported her to the hospital and doctors wheeled her into the emergency room.

The woman was found 500 feet down a ravine on Mt. Hamilton. The California Highway Patrol says the car went down the embankment Monday sometime around 2 p.m. They were alerted by OnStar, but were given the wrong location and spent hours searching the wrong area.

The woman’s family then reported her missing.

Officers went to her house and found a locked iPad.

They were able to crack the password and then used the “Find My Phone” feature, which led them to a hidden location in a ravine off Mt. Hamilton.

The sheriff’s department was called and the woman was rescued Tuesday morning.

“They had contingency plans developed,” San Jose fire Capt. Brad McGibben said. “The first plan was to have her hoisted out of the ravine with the Coast Guard helicopter and transported to Regional Medical Center.”

Her name has not been released but authorities say she’s a 28-year-old woman from Campbell. She remains in stable condition with injuries to her abdomen.

Trench Rescue in New Haven, Ct


Eight firefighters, a Yale-New Haven doc and a paramedic rescued a worker trapped in dirt up to his waist in a collapsed trench Tuesday morning. They couldn’t climb right in—or else they would have risked creating a second problem.

The dramatic rescue took place at a Southern Connecticut State University construction site on Wintergreen Avenue near Fitch Street.

Firefighters got the call at 9:15 a.m. that the trench had collapsed and four workers, who had been repairing a corroded steam line, were trapped inside.

Two workers had been helped out of the hole by the time firefighters arrived, according to Battalion Chief William Gould. A third worker was then easily helped out.

But the fourth was stuck, and in distress.

The hole was about seven feet deep, maybe eight feet across and 12 feet long, Gould estimated. The worker’s legs were buried in the dirt.

Gould described what happened next:

The firefighters couldn’t just climb in. It was too dangerous—they could prompt a second collapse in the process.

So first they put plywood “ground pads” around the edge of the trench, to support their weight without loosening more dirt to cave in. Then they placed heavy-duty wood panels inside along the trench’s walls. Finally they used pneumatic tubes as struts across the trench to hold the panels in place.

Now they could go in.

The firefighters climbed down a ladder and starting digging out the dirt by hand around the worker’s legs. Eight firefighters rotated on the task: Ed Taylor, Mike Milano, Mark Vendetto, Mike Gardin, Tim Papp, Ken Nolan and Lts. Karl Luschenat and Christopher Parker.

“He was conscious and alert,” Gould said of the trapped worker. “His legs were in there pretty good. He was a little anxious to say the least.”

The firefighters finished digging out the worker by 10 a.m.

A Yale-New Haven Hospital surgeon, David Cohen, then climbed down into the trench with paramedic Angel Avilas, to assess the worker. He determined that the worker was in good enough shape to climb up the ladder to safety with the help of firefighters, which he did.

The worker was then sent to the hospital for inspection, but he appeared “relatively uninjured,” Gould reported. “He might have had some bruises. He didn’t appear to have any broken bones.” Two of the other trapped workers also went to the hospital for assessment (one declined), but all three appeared to have emerged unscathed.

It could have turned out differently.

“They could have very easily been buried very quickly,” Gould said. “The weight of the soil, without oxygen—after four to six minutes their survival chances would have been very slim.”

Hamden firefighters also assisted at the scene.

Gould called this type of rescue “extremely dangerous. It requires specialized training and equipment. It requires members to complete a course to operate as a trench rescue technician.”

The cause of the trench collapse is under review. Gould said he noticed two apparent safety violations at the scene: The “spoil pile”—the dirt that had been removed from the hole—was right by the opening, rather than at least two feet away, as required. Also he didn’t see a steel “trench box” that was supposed to be inside the hole.

Rescue in Detroit


DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) –  When the Detroit Fire Department got to the scene of a duplex fire, first responders were quickly alerted a woman was trapped inside.

Late Wednesday morning, firefighters rescued the woman from the upper level of the building on Washburn, which was engulfed in flames.

Moments earlier, Detroit Police tried their best to save her, but the flames were too hot and the smoke too thick. Officers had to retreat —  then firefighters rushed in.

Sgt. Antwone Perkins was among the first at the scene.

“It was a lot of smoke, I felt heat and an lot of flames,” he said.

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

For more details watch the video for the complete report.

Rescue in Portland


PORTLAND >> Two people are recovering and a local firefighter was treated for injuries after a house fire late Sunday night, but the town’s fire chief says the outcome would have been much different if not for a quick rescue by that firefighter.

Firefighter Pete Sulinski lives within a half-mile of the fire scene at 26 Tuccitto Road, a tiny Cape built in 1954 located off Route 66, and was one of the first people on the scene of the reported basement fire around 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Chief Robert Shea said in a phone interview Tuesday.

When he arrived, Sulinski was confronted by a “panicked” man who told him that a woman had gone back into the house and had not come out. Sulinski rushed into the house without his protective gear and quickly grabbed the woman, who had collapsed on a staircase leading to the home’s basement.

Shea said his firefighters are careful but “when there’s a life at risk, my guys are going to do just about anything,” to save the person.

The fire itself was not that large, but Shea said it generated a great deal of smoke and heat. The woman who was rescued was sent to Middlesex Hospital for treatment.

The man who was outside was sent to Bridgeport Hospital for treatment. Their identities and conditions were not immediately available.

Shea said the fire likely started on a bed in the basement, which was “considerably” burned. He said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

He commended Sulinski for the rescue, saying that the rescue was the most important part of Sunday night’s effort.

“He did a great job, that’s what we’re there for,” he said. “Property can be replaced, people can’t. It kind of gives you a shot of adrenaline and gets the other guys thinking about what they’re here for.”

Grab in Lawrenceville, Ga

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) – Firefighters in suburban Atlanta were able to rescue a woman from a burning home by pulling her through a window.

Gwinnett County fire officials said the woman, in her 80s, was unconscious when they found her inside a bedroom of the Lawrenceville home shortly after 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Firefighters found the woman unconscious. Authorities say she suffered severe smoke inhalation and a burn injury. She was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Gwinnett County fire officials say the residence was a personal care home for elderly people, and there were a total of eight people inside at the time of the fire.

A second occupant was found outside the home with moderate smoke inhalation. He was taken to a hospital to be evaluated. Their names were not released.

Rescue in Salt Lake City



SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah)- Firefighters responding to a two-alarm apartment fire early Saturday morning rescued a 19-year-old man hanging out of a second-story window on the side of the building.

Crews quickly extended a ladder and climbed up to safely remove the man from the building just after 1:20 a.m. at 1121 East and 500 South.

He was treated for minor smoke and inhalation at the scene and then released.

The apartment building, including the basement, consisted of six apartment units. All of which were damaged during the fire. Fourteen residents were displaced.

Red Cross of Utah is assisting two of the residents. A sign has been posted at the scene of the fire for any returning residents that many need the Red Cross to assist them.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

High Rise Operations Conference 2014

HROC1129 Photo by Steve Gentry

The 2014 High Rise Operations Conference is getting close to being SOLD OUT! Don’t Wait! Register Today.


The Top High Rise Fire Instructors, from Coast to Coast, will be on Pensacola Beach December 2,3, and 4.

Current Cost for Full Conference $300 and will be $350 before the end of October. Nearly 300 already registered. Rooms for $89 a night at the Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hilton. FREE Shuttle from Pensacola Airport to the beach.

more info at http://www.countyfiretactics.com or email Curt Isakson at countyfiretactics@hotmail.com

Man Rescued from Fire in Everett, Wa


At about 10:40 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, Everett firefighters were dispatched to the 10900 block of Holly Dr. for a report of a house fire.

The 911 call was made by the resident who was still in the bedroom at the time. The caller was not coherent and Everett Police was sent to investigate. On their arrival they saw smoke coming from the front of a duplex and immediately requested assistance from the fire department.

Two men occupied the home. One was sleeping in a bedroom opposite of where the fire was located. He was awakened by the sounds of people outside his bedroom window. He was told to evacuate. Firefighters arrived and saw smoke coming from the front door of the home. They were able to rescue the other roommate from the smoke-filled bedroom and quickly extinguish the fire. The man was treated by Everett medics and transported to the local hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.

The fire was contained to a small area in the bedroom. Fire investigators have determined that it started on a desk in the bedroom. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

”There were no working smoke alarms in the home. Smoke alarms would have made a difference and both roommates would have heard the smoke alarms sounding,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Eric Hicks. “Smoke alarms should be tested every month and batteries should be replaced twice a year. Daylight saving time on Nov. 2 is a great time to replace batteries.”

Fire Prevention Week starts Oct. 5-11, 2014.

A man was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett after a bedroom fire in his duplex this morning. Shortly after 11:00am fire crews were called to a report of a structure fire in the 10900 block of Holly Drive. Arriving fire crews saw smoke coming out of the duplex. They were able to get a resident out and contain the fire to a bedroom. No word yet on the cause of the fire. Assistant Everett Fire Marshal Eric Hicks says the investigation is underway.