NFFF and FDNY Announce Culmination of National Stair Climb

Citi Field event will honor all of America’s fallen firefighters, not just the 343 of the FDNY
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Published Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NEW YORK CITY -  National Fire Prevention Week this October will culminate with the National Stair Climb, an event honoring firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice. FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro joined leaders from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), United Technologies Corporation (UTC), Kidde Fire Safety, and loved ones of fallen firefighters to announce the event today at FDNY Firehouse Ladder 20 and Division 1 on Lafayette St. Seven members of this station died on 9/11. Previous stair climbs have focused solely on the 343 members of the FDNY who perished on 9/11. The National Stair Climb, scheduled for October 10 at Citi Field, will expand the scope of this tradition to remember all of America’s fallen firefighters, and is the first event of its kind to take place in New York City with the support of the FDNY.

“Every day, here in New York City and across the country, firefighters go into harm’s way, through every obstacle and climbing every step needed to accomplish their life-saving mission,” said FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “The FDNY is proud to take part in this fitting tribute to every firefighter who has made the supreme sacrifice and to lend our support to the families they left behind.”

Participants will climb 2,200 steps in Citi Field. These steps symbolize the 110 stories of the World Trade Center Towers — the ascent that FDNY firefighters took on September 11, 2001 — and the ultimate sacrifice that 343 first responders made that day. It also is a journey of hope, raising funds to help programs for surviving family members of firefighters across the country. Approximately 100 firefighters die in the line of duty each year in the U.S.

“The National Stair Climb is a tremendous way to honor all firefighters from across our country who have died in the line of duty,” said Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF. “This climb is also a way to let the families know the legacies of their loved ones are remembered by so many.”

The first 9/11 stair climb took place in Denver in 2005 when five Colorado firefighters gathered at a high-rise to climb 110 flights of stairs in memory of their 343 FDNY brothers. In 2010, they partnered with the NFFF to hold a series of climbs around the country. The National Stair Climb is open to the public and to all ages. Proceeds will benefit the FDNY Counseling Services Unit and the NFFF.  

“We are proud to partner with the FDNY and NFFF to help support the launch of this unique tradition in New York City,” said Jim Ward, president, Kidde Fire Safety, a global leader of residential fire safety products and sponsor. Kidde is a part of UTC, the climb’s presenting sponsor. “Whenever there’s a call for help our nation’s firefighters respond without hesitation. They put their lives on the line every day. The funds raised from this climb will help ensure that survivors of the fallen will continue to receive outstanding assistance as they navigate through challenging times.”

Participants will receive a name badge honoring or in memory of the firefighter for whom they have chosen to climb and an event t-shirt. Early registration costs $35 until August 31. For more information and to register, visit www.nationalstairclimb.org.  

About National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
The NFFF's mission is to honor and remember America’s fallen firefighters. The NFFF provides resources to assist their survivors in rebuilding their lives and works within the fire service community to prevent firefighter deaths and injuries. For more information about the NFFF visit www.firehero.org.

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Congress Urged to Extend Zadroga 9/11 Health Act

9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act is set to expire in October 2015
A firefighter looks at a memorial mural on the outside of firehouse Engine 10 Company 10 adjacent to the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Three hundred forty three New York firefighters were killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Published Thursday, June 11, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — Advocates for ailing Sept. 11 first responders urged Congress on Thursday to permanently extend a law providing medical monitoring and treatment for the rescue workers, saying they need reassurance that their health care will not be cut off.

Dr. John Howard, the administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program, told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that extending the law would help clinicians treat victims, and allow administrators to better plan patient care. He pointed out that there are affected individuals in 429 of the 435 congressional districts.

"It's stressful to be told on a year-to-year basis that your care might be taken away," Howard said. "From the administrative perspective, it's stressful because we have to constantly prepare for when this may end."

Proponents of the law are seeking its permanent extension in part because some illnesses may not manifest until years later, after the statute of limitations for worker's compensation or certain state laws may have run out.

The law, which is set to expire in October 2015, established the World Trade Center Health Program to provide medical monitoring and treatment for first responders affected by Sept. 11-related illnesses. It also reactivated the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which is set to expire in October 2016.

Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-New York, said the law is "more than likely" to be reauthorized. She said the permanence of the law is critical because of the children who may be affected by the delay and persistence of certain illnesses.

"The heavy lifting is done," Clarke said. "We're building a case for why (a permanent law) is a necessity."

The law, called the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, is named after a New York police officer who participated in rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center after the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. He died in 2006 from respiratory failure that was said to be related to his Sept. 11 service.

Nearly 15 years later, dozens of firefighters have died and hundreds more are seriously ill with health problems. Howard said there have been rare cancers and chronic health problems found in some victims.

Without the funding provided by the Zadroga Act, research on these illnesses would cease, Howard said.

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Cause of Deadly Harlem Explosion Identified

Poor gas line joint is likely cause of blast that killed eight in 2014
In this March 12, 2014 file photo, firefighters work the scene of an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings killing eight people and injuring about 50, in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. A new report indicates that a gas main that leaked before the explosion had not been pressure-tested to federal specifications because of a New York state exemption. The report by the National Transportation Safety Board made public Wednesday, March 18, 2015, does not say the lack of a pressure test had anything to do with the explosion. (AP Photo/Jeremy Sailing, File)
Published Wednesday, June 10, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — A poorly crafted joint in a plastic Con Edison gas line and an 8-year-old break in an old city sewer line were the likely causes of an explosion that killed eight people in New York City last year, federal investigators said Tuesday.

FRM/FFN East Harlem Explosion Coverage

The weakness of the plastic pipe joint was exposed because the soil that supported it was washed away by groundwater flowing into a gaping hole in the brick sewer line, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Both Con Ed and the city took issue with the conclusion, each claiming the other was fully responsible for the March 12, 2014, blast. The morning explosion also injured 50 people, left more than 100 families homeless and disrupted train travel by throwing debris onto the Metro-North Railroad tracks above the street.

Con Ed blamed the sewer breach entirely, saying, "Not all of the participants involved in this investigation reached the same conclusion concerning the sequence of infrastructure failures."

City spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said blaming the sewer line "appears unsupported by the facts," noting that the breach was 43 feet from the gas pipe connection.

"The full investigation reveals that a properly fused fusion joint would not have failed," she said.

The NTSB said the worker who made the saddle joint in the plastic gas line in 2011 — so a new building could get gas from the main — failed to ensure that the two surfaces were clean. That contaminated the joint, which was made by melting the plastic, the agency said.

The defective joint "was the only credible source of natural gas that could have provided a large enough flow rate" to fuel the explosion, the NTSB said. But the joint opened up because the gas line was sagging as a result of the erosion beneath it, the board said.

If the break in the sewer main had been repaired after it was detected in 2006, the explosion might have been prevented, the board said.

It said that when a report of a gas odor was called in to Con Ed on the day of the explosion, a dispatcher notified the city fire department, but when the department called back for an address, the dispatcher said, "Hold up. No, sorry. Hold up one second. Hold on. I will call you back. I will call you right back," but did not follow up.

The NTSB's staff analysis said the fire department could have reached the scene 15 minutes before the explosion and perhaps would have begun an evacuation. During a discussion, however, NTSB members cautioned that it's not clear any lives would have been saved.

Other findings included:

—Several people reported after the explosion that they had smelled gas the day before, but none called it in.

—Con Ed's public education program did not effectively tell customers what to do when detecting a gas odor.

—If Con Ed had installed appropriate valves on the gas line, the leaking main could have been isolated and turned off more quickly after the explosion.

—The gas line installer's qualification credentials were not up to date.

The board recommended that Con Ed revise its plastic welding procedures; provide guidelines and training on how to notify the fire department of an emergency; and install more isolation valves.

Con Ed said — and the NTSB agreed — that it has already implemented several remedies.

"We agree with many of the NTSB's recommendations, and many new gas safety and quality control measures are already underway," the company said.

The NTSB also recommended that New York City implement new procedures to ensure the integrity of sewer lines and make timely repairs.

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Firefighters Urge Congress to Pass Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act

House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the law
International Association of Fire Fighters Published Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Professional Fire Fighters from New York City are in Washington, DC to urge Congress to Reauthorize the Zadroga Act, which provides essential health care assistance and victim compensation to the thousands who have suffered illness as a result of their tireless efforts searching for survivors at Ground Zero after 9/11.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing to learn more about the Zadroga Act. Hearing witnesses will include Dr. John Howard, Director National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Dr. Iris Udasin, Medical Director, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; David Howley, Retired NYPD Officer and Barbara Burnette, Former YPD Detective.

House Energy and Commerce Committee
Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 10:15am
2320 Rayburn House Office Building

Following the attacks, fire fighters from New York and across the U.S. flocked to “the Pile” to help with the recovery. More than 30,000 people, and hundreds of fire fighters, have developed chronic diseases as result of toxic exposure. Sadly, more than 70 fire fighters and 60 NYPD officers have died from 9/11-related illness.

The Zadroga Act will expire in the coming year unless Congress Acts. If that happens, those who have become ill and the untold numbers expected to fall ill will be cut off from this essential federal assistance. For more information Contact: Tim Burn 202 230-7167 tburn@iaff.org.

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In this Jan. 8, 2001 file photo, a rescue worker wearing a dust mask, peers through a cloud of dust created by an excavator at the World Trade Center site in New York. A decade’s worth of study has answered only a handful of questions about the hundreds of health conditions believed to be related to the tons of gray dust that fell on the city when the trade center collapsed, from post-traumatic stress disorder, asthma and respiratory illness to vitamin deficiencies, strange rashes and cancer. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Yonkers Firehouse is Condemned

FDNY Honors Fire and EMS Bravery in Annual Medal Day Ceremony

FDNY’s 146th Medal Day event recognized several acts of valor and courage
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro and all of the medal recipients. (Fire Department City of New York photo)
Published Friday, June 5, 2015

June 3, FDNY celebrated its 146th annual Medal Day in a ceremony at New York City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro presided at the ceremony, which honored 13 Fire Officers, 1 Fire Marshal, 26 Firefighters, two Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Officers, four paramedics, and four Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), as well as four Fire companies that were awarded unit medals.

Read the FDNY 2015 Medal Day book

FDNY Photos: 146th Medal Day Ceremony

“It doesn’t just mean so much in terms of the work that these individuals do every day, and have done - those before them - for 150 years, protecting the people of this city, keeping this city whole,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It’s part of what makes us proud as New Yorkers - this extraordinary department...It epitomizes the strength, the resiliency, the bravery, the professionalism, the sense of innovation - all of which we see is part of what is great about New York City, what we are proud of as New Yorkers - the very characteristics that make us proud to say this is our home.”

In total, 71 members of FDNY were awarded medals for their discipline, courage and honesty in protecting life and property in New York City.

“Today, in this historic year for FDNY, we celebrate the bright future of our job and the extraordinary actions our members take each day to save lives,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “In our storied history, countless lives have been saved, and as we march forward, we will continue to work and train hard, and we will always make good on our promise to the people of New York to go into the danger and save lives.”

The triennial Dr. Harry M. Archer Medal was awarded to Firefighter Kevin J. Hogan of Ladder Company 114 in Brooklyn, after receiving the James Gordon Bennett Medal in 2011, for repeatedly reentering a fire and rescuing some of 31 people saved that morning.

This year’s James Gordon Bennett medal was awarded to Captain William J Grant of Staten Island Engine Company 168, for rescuing his neighbors while off-duty after smelling fire in their home.

This year, for the first time ever, medals were awarded to three probationary firefighters - Jordan C. Sullivan of Ladder Company 105, Justin L. Tallett of Ladder 107, and Marlon Q. Sahai of Ladder 9.

“It’s a true honor to be included in this,” said Chelsea Barnett “I, literally, can thank him for my life - it’s just something really special.” Barnett was rescued by Probationary Firefighter Marlon Q. Sahai on August 17, 2014, having been trapped in a burning apartment in the East Village.

“It’s nice to see her smiling and see her here, it’s a beautiful day and so I appreciate her and her family come and celebrate it with us,” said Sahai. “And am just glad that she is okay and can continue doing what she has with her life now.”

EMTs Shaun Alexander and Kadijah Hall from Station 58 were awarded the Christopher J. Prescott Medal for assisting a Police Officer who was shot while they were off-duty in Brooklyn. “Good thing that they were there,” said Police Officer James Li. “They could have drove away, not get involved, but they stayed and they helped me.”

FDNY Medal Day Ceremony, 2015

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  • 10 Injured in Manhattan Crane Load Collapse

    Air-conditioning unit broke free and fell 28-stories onto Madison Avenue
    New York City firefighters stand near the damaged facade of 261 Madison Ave. after a piece of mechanical equipment being lifted by a crane broke free and fell about 28 stories to the sidewalk below, Sunday, May 31, 2015, in New York. Ten people including two construction workers were injured, but none of the injuries was considered life-threatening. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
    Published Monday, June 1, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — A massive air-conditioning unit being lifted by a crane to the top of a Manhattan office building broke free Sunday, fell 28 stories and landed in the middle of Madison Avenue, injuring 10 people, officials said.

    Two were construction workers, while the others were pedestrians and occupants of passing cars, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. All were struck by debris that caused minor injuries; they were treated at hospitals.

    Police said the emergency call came in around 10:45 a.m. Officers who responded to the high-rise building a short walk from Grand Central Terminal on Manhattan's East Side found that the crane's payload had broken free as it was heading to the top of the 28-story building. It plummeted to the street, shattering parts of the building facade composed of widening, stepped edges on the lower floors.

    De Blasio, speaking to reporters on Madison Avenue a block from the accident site, called it "obviously, a very serious incident."

    "Thank God, this incident occurred at an hour of the day on a weekend when there were not too many people around," the mayor said.

    Buildings Department Commissioner Rick Chandler said it was typical for work to be done on weekends when equipment, such as a crane, is being used. He said all the needed permits for the work involving the crane were "in place," and there had been no official complaints about the crane.

    "We think this device, in this preliminary stage, is in good state and we'll follow up with that," Chandler said.

    Audio: 10-60 Manhattan Box 0739


    The office building on Madison at East 39th Street houses various companies and Zuma, a trendy Japanese restaurant at the street level.

    Authorities said a full investigation is underway. Streets were closed in the surrounding area, but officials hoped to have them open again by Monday morning's rush hour.

    ___

    The story has been corrected to show that the equipment fell onto the street, not the sidewalk.

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    Four Killed in New York House Fire

    Vestal firefighters faced a report of people trapped on the initial call
    Published Thursday, May 21, 2015

    VESTAL, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say a mother and three children have died in an overnight house fire in upstate New York.

    Vestal Assistant Fire Chief Bill Stout says firefighters answered a call just after 2 a.m. Thursday in the suburban town located just west of Binghamton on New York's Southern Tier. He says the victims were trapped inside the home, and a 15-year-old boy managed to escape by jumping out a window and running to a neighbor's house to call 911.

    The victims haven't been identified.

    A statement released by the Susquehanna Valley School District says two of the victims were students and the other two were the children's mother and a younger sibling.

    Authorities say the father was not at home.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.

    Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    WBNG: Four People Killed in Vestal House Fire

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

    A mother and her three children died inside this Vestal, New York house fire on May 21, 2015 (WBNG image)

    Feds Investigate New York Nuclear Plant Fire

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigates aftermath of Indian Point fire
    Published Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — Federal regulators are investigating why water accumulated in a room of critical electrical equipment after a transformer fire at the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

    Fire Shuts Down New York Nuclear Plant

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday it has sent a team to the plant in Buchanan, New York.

    It said water appeared after a May 9 fire that destroyed a transformer, caused an oil spill and forced Indian Point 3 offline. It said the room's electrical equipment, which was undamaged, powers plant safety systems.

    The fire was put out by a built-in system as well as on-site and outside firefighters.

    A spokesman for Indian Point's owner said water from a sprinkler system flows to a floor drain in the electrical room by design, but did not drain as quickly as expected.

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    Fire fighting apparatus enters the grounds of the the Indian Point nuclear power plant Saturday May 9, 2015, after a transformer failed at New York's Indian Point 3 nuclear power plant, causing a fire that has been extinguished in Buchanan, N.Y. A spokesman for Entergy says the unit has shut down automatically and is safe and stable. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

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