Seven Firefighters Injured in Brooklyn Fire

Dispatching Problems Cited in Fatal New York City House Fire

Investigation finds problems leading to delayed response to Queens fire
KEVIN SHEEHAN and LEONARD GREENE, The New York Post Published Thursday, October 23, 2014

Human error and a Fire Department dispatch system that's "unduly complicated and unacceptably flawed" delayed the response to a Queens fire in April that took the lives of two 4-year-olds, city investigators said Tuesday.

Jai'Launi Tinglin and his half-sister, Aniya Tinglin, died from smoke inhalation when a fire roared through the basement of their Far Rockaway home on Bay 30th Street on the night before Easter.

By the time EMTs arrived, it was too late. That's because it took 21 minutes for an ambulance to arrive after the initial 911 call.

According to the city's Department of Investigation, the ambulance was delayed by a "highly cumbersome" dispatching process that involved interaction between no less than seven staff members from the NYPD, the FDNY and EMS.

"DOI's investigation exposed an antiquated, unwieldy system for dispatching ambulances to the scene of an active fire that substantially increases the opportunity for human error," DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said.

"We must start to overhaul this process immediately. The Fire Department, at DOI's urging, has taken positive first steps by implementing preliminary remedies to streamline the process, but it must continue to pursue more advanced solutions. DOI will continue to monitor this process."

Fire Department officials said the April 19 blaze, which started just before midnight, was caused by children playing with matches. Their grandfather, who was asleep at the time, was able to get another child out safely, but Aniya and Jai'Launi didn't make it.

The first 911 call was received at 11:51 p.m., but ambulances didn't arrive until 12:12 a.m., 21 minutes later, officials said.

"I was here," said Estella Jackson Bernard, the victims' great-grandmother. "I saw those firemen save the babies. They laid them here on the lawn, then they all started yelling, 'EMT, ambulance! Any ambulance people here!' "

Jackson said when the EMTs finally arrived, firefighters had to hurry them along.

"Run, don't f--king walk," she heard them say. "It was smoke inhalation. They could have been saved."

Under the current system, a 911 operator records the location of the emergency and then asks the nature of the emergency before adding a fire or medical call taker to the conference if necessary.

A new pilot program, set to start in January, would have the operator ask, "What is the emergency?" - and then conference in the fire or medical call takers before the location is recorded.

That change would help determine the benefit of conferencing in other operators early in the call flow and help dispatch ambulances more quickly, officials said.

"I hope this change makes it so no more babies die out on the lawn," Bernard said.

Additional reporting by Shawn Cohen

 

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Copyright 2011 Lexus Nexus. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

A fire on Oct. 6 that killed two children in Queens was found to be caused by an unattended candle. The home also did not have working smoke alarms. (Fire Department City of New York photo)

FDNY Bans “Ebola” from Radio Transmissions

Incidents related to virus now identified as “Fever/Travel” calls
New York Observer Published Friday, October 17, 2014

To avoid citywide alarm, FDNY medics are now forbidden from saying the word "Ebola" over their radios. The new 911 code is "Fever/Travel," to indicate that the sick individual has recently been to West Africa.

To reduce public panic, city medics can no longer say they're on Ebola-related calls (Getty)

Ebola panic in New York City has now reached linguistic levels.

The New York Post reports that to avoid citywide alarm, FDNY medics are now forbidden from saying the word "Ebola" over their radios. The new 911 code is "Fever/Travel," to indicate that the sick individual has recently been to West Africa.

The dispatchers are taking this precaution because "civilian hobbyists" and members of the media listen to the emergency radio channels.

"We just wanna keep our cool, be professional and not jump to conclusions," a firefighter at the firehouse on 8th Avenue at 48th St told the Observer, declining to supply his name because of department policy against speaking to the media. "It's like the scene from Jaws- if you yell 'fish,' nobody moves. If you yell 'shark,' you've got a fire on the Fourth of July."

City officials have also taken other, more active precautions to ensure New Yorkers are protected from Ebola.

FDNY medics have been given "Hi-Risk Kits" containing gowns, gloves and face masks, along with a memo detailing a 19-step process for putting on and taking off the protective gear.

Bellevue Hospital has 20 isolation rooms ready for Ebola patients, whose blood samples can be tested at the City Health Department lab across the street. The city also has 100,000 body bags at the ready.

Also last night, the Department of Education sent the city's school principals a letter which said that any student who has traveled to West Africa should immediately be seen by the school nurse if they exhibit symptoms of Ebola.

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Copyright 2011 Lexus Nexus. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


New York City Council Lays Off Firefighters

Lockport vote adds more to layoff after union rejects retirement offer
THOMAS J. PROHASKA, The Buffalo News Published Friday, October 17, 2014

LOCKPORT - The Common Council voted Wednesday to lay off five more firefighters, effective immediately.

The action came in immediate reaction to the Lockport Professional Fire Fighters Association's decision Tuesday night to reject the city's retirement incentive offer.

Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey offered to pay five firefighters up to $30,000 each to retire by Monday.

However, the condition attached was that the union would have to drop its collection of lawsuits, grievances and unfair labor practice filings, including challenges to the legality of the city's privatization of its ambulance services and the reduction of minimum staffing levels on each shift.

The union termed that "extortion."

McCaffrey said the city's cash-flow problems and fiscal crisis make further layoffs necessary.

Alderman John Lombardi III, R-1st Ward, who voted against the layoffs of nine civilian employees last week, voted for the fire layoffs, as did all of his colleagues.

"It's a different situation from last week," Lombardi said. He said he is chairman of the Highways and Parks Committee and opposed layoffs in that area of the budget.

The layoffs were to impact the five firemen with the least seniority. The Fire Board was to ratify the abolition of the jobs in an emergency meeting after the Council meeting.

Firefighter Sam Oakes, union vice president, said the Fire Board should have voted first. Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said there is nothing in state law or the City Charter directing which group had to vote first.

Capt. Thomas Lupo called the Council's action as a late addition to the agenda "callous." Council President Joseph C. Kibler told The Buffalo News Tuesday night that layoffs would not be on Wednesday's agenda, but McCaffrey said that decision changed during the day.

The mayor said of the retirement incentive, "The Council and I believed this was a win-win for the city and for the union."

She responded to union demands for negotiations by noting that the union sent the city a notice of impasse this spring.

Oakes said it actually was sent in January, but added, "There are no rules that stop the city from negotiating with the union."

In other matters, the Council set a public hearing for Nov. 5 on a charter amendment moving the budget adoption deadline from the first meeting in October to the second meeting in November, which this year is Nov. 19.

The city hasn't met the October deadline since 2009. City officials say that information needed for the budget isn't available anymore in time to meet the earlier deadline. Lena D. Villella, acting city assessor, said, "I need to get the file to the county by Dec. 1 to print tax bills."

So far, little has been done publicly on the 2015 budget.

A public hearing on the budget is expected Nov. 5, and budget adoption is anticipated Nov. 19.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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Audio: Big Rig Hanging Off New York Overpass

FDNY Responds to Fire at Macy’s Store Loading Dock

Flagship store evacuated due to blaze on loading dock
Published Saturday, October 11, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Shoppers are being allowed to return to Macy's flagship store in New York City after a brief evacuation over a fire in a loading dock trash receptacle.

The Fire Department of New York says no injuries were reported.

The blaze started around noon Friday on the West 35th Street side of the building. Firefighters left roughly an hour later.

The store in Herald Square covers an entire city block.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Multiple Rescues at Buffalo Fire

FDNY Appoints First Deputy Commissioner

Chief in charge of training lieutenants is named to second highest ranking position
Fire Department City of New York Published Friday, October 3, 2014

The First Deputy Commissioner, appointed by the Fire Commissioner, is the second highest ranking civilian administrator in the Department, and is charged with managing the day-to-day operations and activities of the FDNY across all offices and bureaus. Deputy Commissioner Turner was appointed in 2014.

Deputy Commissioner Turner's 36-year career with the Department started in Brooklyn in 1978, as a Firefighter assigned to Engine 222 in Bedford Stuyvesant, and later at Ladder Company 175 in East New York. Promoted to Lieutenant in 1986, he was assigned to Engine Company 1 and later Ladder 24 in Midtown Manhattan. Turner returned to Brooklyn following his promotion to Captain in 1992, to lead Engine Company 214 in Bedford-Stuyvesant. As Battalion Chief in 1999, Turner was initially assigned to Battalion 35 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn before joining Battalion 46 in Elmhurst, Queens. As Battalion Chief, Turner also served as a Safety Chief, leading safety inspections and investigations in all five boroughs.

In 1985, Commissioner Turner was cited for bravery and awarded the Brooklyn Citizens Medal for responding while off-duty to a fire in his Queens neighborhood. Two hours into January of 1984, he ran barefoot from his home to the scene of a fast-moving fire, removing three occupants before returning to attempt to remove a fourth. Operating on his own and without protective gear before additional units arrived, Turner suffered serious burns and lacerations to both arms during the fire.

Most recently, Deputy Commissioner Turner served as director of the FDNY First Line Supervisor Training Program (FLIPS) where he oversaw the training of all new FDNY Lieutenants, along with fire officers throughout New York State. As an adjunct instructor at John Jay College, he trained fire safety directors and taught courses on emergency action plans (EAPs). Turner has also mentored numerous firefighters and Fire officers now serving in leadership roles in the Department.

Deputy Commissioner Turner is the son of Battalion Chief Robert R. Turner, who served the Department for 41 years. A native New Yorker, he holds a B.A. from John Jay College, and resides in Queens with his wife, Tamara.

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Buffalo Firefighters Injured in House Fire

Two suffer burns and one has smoke inhalation at Grant Street fire
Buffalo firefighters at work on a fire on Grant Street on Thursday, October 2, 2014. Firefighters responded to seven fires overnight. (WIVB/Lloyd Mitchell photo)
Published Thursday, October 2, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A police officer rescued a person from a house fire on Grant Street Thursday morning. A neighbor witnessed the officer run into the home and save someone from the second floor.

The police officer suffered from smoke inhalation. Three firefighters were also injured during the blaze. Two firefighters suffered burns and were transported to Erie County Medical Center. Another firefighter suffered from smoke inhalation.

Fire crews were called to the scene at Grant Street and Pooley Place around 6:30 a.m. The fire was under control by 7:45 a.m.

Buffalo Fire Department Division Chief Magavero says the fire started in a red box on the side of the building. The fire ran up to the attic. It was difficult for fire crews to put out the fire because the attic was such a confined space.

Buffalo Fire Commissioner Whitfield said they are looking into whether five overnight fires were started by a serial arsonist.

He said they responded to fires on Massachusetts and West Ferry, Grant Street and Gardner, 19th Street and West Ferry, Danforth and Forest in addition to the fire on Grant Street and Pooley. There was also an overnight blaze on Gatchell Street, where one firefighter was injured.

No suspects are in custody.

 

 

 

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Buffalo Firefighters Injured in House Fire

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