Hempstead, NY Fire with Rescues (1) Hempstead, NY Fire with Rescues (2)

One Dead, Four Injured in New York City Bus, Truck Crash

Two passengers on the bus were critically injured
A Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus and another vehicle rest against scaffolding and a subway entrance at 14th Street and 7th Avenue in New York, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, after an early morning collision between a city bus and a truck. One person was killed and at least four were injured in the crash. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Published Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — A city bus and a box truck believed to have been stolen collided at Manhattan intersection early Wednesday, sending both vehicles onto the sidewalk and into scaffolding, killing the bus driver and injuring at least four other people, authorities said.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the crash, which occurred around 5:30 a.m. in a busy commercial district in Greenwich Village. Streets in the vicinity were closed to traffic.

Police identified the victim as the driver of the bus, whom they did not name. Fire officials said two people were critically injured in the crash and at least two other people suffered minor injuries.

Among those injured was a coffee cart vendor, who was hospitalized in stable condition, Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Kevin Ortiz said. He said the vendor was struck by the box truck.

The MTA has not been able to independently confirm that the bus driver was killed, Ortiz said.

Police said there were two passengers on the bus at the time of the crash. They said the truck driver, who also suffered minor injuries, was being questioned at the hospital.

"Apparently a stolen box truck traveling on 7th Avenue struck a M14 bus" at the intersection, Ortiz said. Police did not immediately confirm that the truck was stolen.

The injured were taken to Beth Israel Hospital.

Both vehicles careened onto the sidewalk and into scaffolding that collapsed around them before striking a 12-story commercial building at 14th Street and 7th Avenue. Several parked cars were also hit.

Seventh Avenue between 13th & 15th streets and West 14th Street between 6th & 8th avenues were closed following the crash. Local bus service was being rerouted. Subway service was not affected.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

USFA: New York On-Duty Death

Assistant Fire Chief Wilber suffered an apparent cardiac event
USFA Published Monday, February 10, 2014

The U.S. Fire Administration has announced the official on-duty death of Assistant Fire Chief James C. Wilber, 58, of the Franklin Fire Department on February 9, 2014.

Assistant Fire Chief Wilber suffered an apparent cardiac event while responding to a motor vehicle accident call. Wilber was transported by the Unadilla Emergency Squad and Cooperstown Medical Transport to the Tri-Town Regional Hospital in Sidney where he succumbed to his injury a short time later.

Tribute is being paid to Assistant Fire Chief James C. Wilber at http://apps.usfa.fema.gov/firefighter-fatalities/
 
To date, 12 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2014.  Year-to-date and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted online at http://apps.usfa.fema.gov/firefighter-fatalities/fatalityData/statistics

Fatality status is provisional and may change as USFA contacts State Fire Marshals to verify fatality incident information.

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To date, 12 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2014.

Woman Jumps to Escape New York Apartment Fire

Occupant jumps from second floor of East Aurora apartment home
Firefighters begin packing up after a three-alarm fire in East Aurora, New York. (WIVB photo)
Published Friday, February 7, 2014

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WIVB)- East Aurora Fire Officials say a woman jumped out of a second floor window to save herself from a burning fire. The three alarm blaze started before 9 a.m. Thursday morning at 45 Church Street.

When fire crews arrived flames were spewing out of the home. The hot embers destroyed the wooden apartment home. Fire investigators are on the scene trying to determine what caused it.

East Aurora Fire Chief Roger LeBanc says one pet is confirmed dead. At this time it’s unclear if any more were in the home.

The chief says the woman who jumped is lucky to be alive. She was taken to ECMC to be treated for minor injuries.

A man was also in the building at the time of the fire. He was on the first floor and taken to a nearby hospital to be checked.

The chief says the home will be destroyed in the near future.

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Woman Jumps to Escape New York Apartment Fire

Buffalo’s Rescue 1 Saves Dog from Sinkhole

Firefighters rescue German shepherd from park sinkhole
Published Monday, February 3, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A German shepherd is back on solid ground after being rescued from a sinkhole that opened up in a Buffalo park.

The 3-year-old dog dropped more than 10 feet to the bottom of the watery hole during a Sunday morning walk with his owner, Mattie Moore, who nearly fell in herself.

Buffalo firefighter Michael Paveljack says rescuers put plywood around the 2-foot hole to stabilize the ground, then widened the gap for the rescue. Paveljack climbed down a ladder and fashioned a makeshift harness from the dog's leash that allowed rescuers to hoist it from the hole.

Moore tells The Buffalo News (http://bit.ly/1j7bOfd ) the dog has a sore hip but otherwise seems fine.

The sinkhole appears to have been caused by a broken underground water pipe that eroded the soil.

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Rescue 1 firefighter Michael Paveljack, left, gets a kiss from Mack the dog he rescued from a sink hole in Buffalo, N.Y. Sunday Feb. 2, 2014. Mack fell into the sink hole while he was being walked by his owner Mattie Moore, left, on Sunday near Martin Luther King, Jr Park. (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Robert Kirkham)
Buffalo, N.Y. Rescue 1 firefighter Michael Paveljack, left, Mattie Moore, second from,left, and her dog Mack stand by the sink hole where Paveljack rescued Mack on Sunday Feb. 2, 2014 in Buffalo, N.Y. Mack fell in while he was being walked by Moore on Sunday near Martine Luther King Jr. Park in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Robert Kirkham)


FDNY’s Female Firefighters Try to Boost Numbers

Growth expected after record number of women take latest exam
New York City firefighter Sarinya Srisakul speaks about her work in the FDNY Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, at a Manhattan fire house. Srisakul, who didn’t work with another woman for five years, took pictures when she did because it was such a rarity. In the nation's largest fire department, out of more than 10,500 uniformed firefighters, only 37 are women, one of the lowest percentages of any big-city department. That number is expected to grow after a record number of women took the latest exam following heavy recruitment spurred by a landmark court order three years ago, but advocates say more needs to be done. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Published Friday, January 31, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — As a New York City firefighter, Sarinya Srisakul didn't work with another woman for five years, and when she did, she took pictures because it was so rare.

"We were so excited to see each other," she said. "For me, that just doesn't happen."

There are only 37 women out of 10,500 uniformed firefighters in New York City, about a third of 1 percent, among the lowest percentage of any department in the United States. But that number is expected to grow after a record number of women took the latest exam following heavy recruitment spurred by a court order two years ago. Six women entered the fire academy just this week.

"Out of a city of 8 million people, there cannot be only 37 women who are qualified enough and interested in being firefighters — that's just ridiculous," said Srisakul, president of the women's firefighters association, which has made boosting numbers a priority. She is working to help women pass the rigorous physical exam and meet fire academy expectations to graduate into the job.

In the U.S., the firefighting profession remains overwhelmingly male, with women making up only 3.4 percent of the total workforce, according to federal labor statistics. Arguments for why there are so few women on the job are common: They don't want to work in a dangerous, dirty industry, and they just aren't strong enough to deal with the physical demands, which include wearing up to 125 pounds (56 kilograms) of gear or carrying unconscious victims down a darkened stairwell.

"We've tried to recruit women. The reality is for whatever reason, it doesn't seem to be an attractive job," said Steve MacDonald, spokesman for Boston's fire department, which has 18 women out of a force of 1,470.

None of those arguments really holds up, according to Marc Bendick, an economic consultant who did a study on female firefighters nationwide. He found that men and women who take the physical fitness test known as Candidate Physical Ability Test, developed by fire chiefs around the U.S., pass at about the same rate as long as the test is administered fairly.

Bendick said other big-city fire departments have more balanced numbers, such as 16 percent in Minneapolis and nearly 5 percent in Denver. And he noted that previously male-dominated jobs, such as military combat and policing, have already made better strides. New York City's police department, for example, has more than 6,000 female officers out of about 35,000 — or about 18 percent.

Bendick's study, which researched the experiences of about 600 female and 600 male firefighters, cited as reasons for the lack of women in firefighting an unreasonably high physical standard unrelated to the job duties, a lack of recruitment and hostile behavior by male colleagues.

Srisakul, who has been a firefighter for nine years, said only 78 percent of the firehouses in New York are outfitted with facilities for women. Other female FDNY firefighters say they have been harassed, and sexist posters were regularly displayed. At least one recently filed a gender discrimination lawsuit that was settled out of court.

In Chicago, there are about 5,000 firefighters and around 120 are women — and a federal judge just awarded $2 million after ruling the department discriminated against women with a physical fitness test that was measuring brawn over the ability to do the job.

In New York, which has the largest U.S. fire department, the FDNY is under court order to hire more diverse classes, but that legal battle has focused mostly on minority men. Members of a black firefighters union sued; only about 9 percent of the firefighters are black or Hispanic, though more than half the city's residents identify with a racial minority group. A federal judge ordered a new written test and better recruitment efforts by the department to boost numbers of minorities. Of the latest class of 319 probationary firefighters that entered the academy this week, 46 percent are minorities.

To recruit more women, the FDNY launched an aggressive campaign, including attending events organized by Nontraditional Employment for Women, the U.S. military and female athletic clubs and organizations. Candidates are offered additional support through the mentoring program that pairs current female firefighters with female candidates.

New York's written test is given every four years. Depending on scores, test-takers are asked back for a physical fitness exam and finally for slots in the academy — usually about 300. The 42,161 would-be firefighters who took the most recent fire exam were the most diverse group ever— nearly 46 percent were minorities. And nearly 2,000 women took the written test — the most ever.

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Firefighter's Funeral for Young New York Hero

Honor guards and firefighters gather at funeral for Penfield fire victims
This Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 photo shows a helmet the Penfield Fire Department made for the family of Tyler Doohan, 9, to honor him at his funeral in Fairport, N.Y. for trying to rescue Lewis J. Beach and Stephen D. Smith who also died in a fire in their mobile home. (AP Photo/Democrat & Chronicle, Annette Lein)
Published Wednesday, January 29, 2014

FAIRPORT, N.Y. (AP) — Local firefighters have adopted as one of their own a 9-year-old boy who died saving six relatives from a fire that destroyed his grandfather's upstate New York home.

FRM/FFN: Heroic New York Boy Killed in Fire

A stream of cars and fire vehicles made its way Wednesday to St. John of Rochester Catholic Church for a funeral service for Tyler Doohan. The boy died trying to rescue his grandfather, who also died, along with another relative.

Tyler's mother, Crystal Vrooman, said her son was a "sweet boy" whose sense of humor made everyone smile.

"I wish you were here for me to hold you one more time," Vrooman said, choking back tears. "Rest in peace my beautiful angel. You're a hero, baby. You made me the proudest mother I could be."

The boy's heroism touched hearts across the country and among the mourners were members of the basketball team at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in Manitowoc, Wis., who served as pallbearers.

Clad in dress blues and white gloves, firefighters from departments around the Rochester area and as far away as Buffalo lined the walls of the church lobby, according to The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports (http://goo.gl/CWIqbV). Outside, fire engines lined the streets and firefighters directed traffic.

At the church entrance, Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer held a red-and-white helmet with a shield bearing Tyler's name, which he gave to the boy's mother. "We consider him an honorary firefighter," Ebmeyer said.

The Wisconsin basketball players traveled through the night to take part in the service, their coach said.

"The players were taken with the story," Silver Lake College coach Phil Budervic said. "Our core values are compassion and community and we teach them that compassion has no limits and community has no boundaries. They looked at this as if it happened next door."

Tyler died in the early morning of Jan. 20 as fire destroyed a single-wide trailer in Penfield. His grandfather, Stephen Smith, 54, and step great-grandfather Lewis Beach, 63, also died in the blaze. Tyler was off from school in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and had asked his mother the previous night to sleep at his grandfather's residence.

As the fire spread, Tyler woke six people, including two other children. They all escaped. When Tyler went back into the trailer to help his grandfather, who used a wheelchair, he never made it back out as all three perished.

An electrical problem is thought to have started the fire. Fire officials said the trailer was not equipped with a fire alarm.

___

Information from: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, http://www.democratandchronicle.com

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Relatives Mourn for Penfield, New York Fire Victims

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