Plane Skids off Runway at LaGuardia Airport

Passengers suffer minor injuries after airliner hits berm on edge of Flushing Bay
KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Published Thursday, March 5, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — A plane from Atlanta skidded off a runway at LaGuardia Airport while landing Thursday, crashing through a chain-link fence and coming to rest with its nose perilously close to the edge of an icy bay.

Photos showed the nose of the plane resting on a berm that separates the runway from Flushing Bay. Passengers saddled with bags and bundled up in heavy coats and scarves slid down an inflated chute to safety on the snowy pavement.

Delta Flight 1086, carrying 125 passengers and five crew members, veered off the runway at around 11:10 a.m., authorities said. Six people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, said Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport.

Emergency responders are still assessing people, and one person was seen getting into an ambulance at the airport.

Images show the plane resting in several inches of snow. Passengers trudged through the snow in an orderly line after climbing off the plane.

Among them was New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell, who said he felt blessed to be safe after the scary landing.

"I feel fine physically and hopefully all the other passengers did not have any significant injuries," Donnell said in an email. "We were all shocked and alarmed when the plane started to skid, but most importantly, as far as I know, all of the passengers and flight crew were able to exit the plane safely."

Michael J. Moritz Jr., a well-known Broadway producer, said he was commenting on the heavy snow on the runway when he saw the plane come in for a landing.

"Landing looked normal, didn't look abnormally rough at all," Moritz wrote in an email. "Once on the ground, the plane lost control very quickly, visibility was low."

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said passengers were bused to a terminal and it is working with authorities to figure out what caused the crash.

Pentangelo said the plane is apparently leaking fuel.

Both the airport's runways are closed until further notice, which is standard procedure after such incidents.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending an investigator to the scene to secure the plane's flight data and cockpit voice recorders and to document damage to the plane and other evidence, said spokeswoman Kelly Nantel.

The Delta flight was landing on LaGuardia's main runway — a stretch of pavement that is 7,003 feet long and 150 feet wide. On the right side of the runway are a taxiway and the airport terminals. On the left is a berm, fence and Flushing Bay.

In 2005, a safety buffer was added to the end of the runway at LaGuardia, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. It was updated just last year. Called an engineered material arresting system, the buffer is typically a crushable material that can extend 1,000 feet beyond the runway. It is designed to slow or stop a plane that overruns, undershoots or veers off the side of the runway.

The tires of the aircraft sink into the lightweight material and the aircraft is slows as it rolls through the material.

In the case of Flight 1086, it appears that the jet didn't end in the buffer zone but instead veered off the runway and into the berm separating the airport from Flushing Bay.

LaGuardia is one of the nation's most-congested airports. It's also one of the more difficult ones to land at due to its close proximity to three other busy airports. When rain or snow reduces visibility, the number of landings slows down. The same occurs during high winds.

John M. Cox, who spent 25 years flying for US Airways and is now CEO of consultancy Safety Operating Systems, notes that LaGuardia's runway is "reasonably short" but still safe.

At airports with longer runways, pilots will glide a few feet above the runway and gently touchdown. At LaGuardia, "you put the airplane on the ground and stop it."

"You're concentrating on getting your plane on the runway and stopped," Cox says.

The airport has had its share of planes mishaps. In July 2013, the front landing gear of a Southwest Airlines flight arriving at the airport collapsed right after the plane touched down on the runway, sending the aircraft skidding before it came to a halt. Ten passengers had minor injuries. Federal investigators found that the jet touched down on its front nose wheel before the sturdier main landing gear in back touched down.


AP Airplane Writer Scott Mayerowitz, AP Drama Writer Mark Kennedy and Associated Press writers Joe Frederick and Meghan Barr in New York contributed to this report.

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

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Emergency vehicles line up outside of a terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Thursday, March 5, 2015. A plane from Atlanta skidded off a runway at the airport while landing Thursday, crashing through a chain-link fence. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)


FDNY Marks 40th Anniversary of Telephone Company Fire

Smoke from landmark five-alarm fire caused long-term health effects for many firefighters
Fire Department City of New York Published Friday, February 27, 2015

Active and retired FDNY members gathered at Headquarters on Feb. 27 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Telephone Company fire.

“This fire reminds us all of the real dangers of the job,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, who was among the firefighters who responded to the fire.

Chief of Department James Leonard, whose father worked as a switch operator, said “I’ve never seen smoke like that, conditions were brutal. It tested the skills, training and ability of all members responding that day.”

The FDNY was called Second Avenue and 13th Street at 12:25 a.m. on Feb. 27, 1975.

The fire was at the New York Telephone Company’s main switching centers, housed in an 11-story building constructed in 1924. It started in a large cable vault located in the cellar that contained 488 telephone cables, with anywhere from 400 to 2,700 pairs of lines and covered in either lead or polyethylene.

Firefighters encountered numerous structural obstacles when battling the fire, including a partition in the building made of steel and wire glass used to protect the switching equipment from dust, as well as windows made of wire glass in heavy metal frames that were sealed shut and covered in sheets of Lexan plastic or metal screens. On top of that, heavy, acrid smoke poured from the building and around 30,000 square feet on each floor was covered in wires that glowed and radiated tremendous heat.

“It was hard to find the exact location of the fire due to the thick smoke,” retired Firefighter Dan Noonan, Ladder 3, said. “There was zero visibility.”

The fire knocked out phone service, including 911, to more than 173,000 homes and businesses.

It escalated to five alarms, and 700 firefighters from 72 units rotated to fight the fire for more than 16 hours before it was placed under control just before 5 p.m. Nearly 300 of those firefighters were injured.

While no firefighters were killed at the fire, many suffered long-term health effects from their exposure to the smoke.

“Because of this landmark fire, we knew we had to do better,” Dr. Kerry Kelly, FDNY’s Chief Medical Officer said. “We needed to get it right.”

She said the long-term health effects of the fire, including cancer and other diseases, inspired the FDNY’s Medical Office to create the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program after 9/11 to better treat both active and retired members.

“We strive to do more,” Dr. David Prezant, FDNY’s Chief Medical Officer, said. “We now know the dangers and are focused on prevention.”

Everyone attending the commemoration lauded the heroism of the members who responded that day, many of whom were in attendance.

Firefighter Noonan said, “The valor was in the finest traditions of the Fire Department.”

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FDNY members respond to the Telephone Company Fire on Feb. 27, 1975. (FDNY photo)

  • FDNY Responds to Building Collapse in Manhattan

    FDNY and FDNY EMS respond to a collapse in Midtown that injured one person
    Firefighters watch as others work to shore up the outer shell of a midtown Manhattan building that was in the process of being demolished when it partially collapsed, injuring at least one person, construction workers said, in New York, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Rubble from the building damaged a yellow school bus parked on the street. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
    Published Thursday, February 26, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — The outer shell of a midtown Manhattan building that was in the process of being demolished has partially collapsed, injuring at least one person.

    Construction workers say the collapse Wednesday afternoon sounded like an explosion. Rubble from the building damaged a yellow school bus parked on the street.

    Firefighters are using drilling equipment to examine the wreckage.

    Police say one person injured in the collapse on West 57th Street has been taken to a hospital in serious condition.

    The city Buildings Department planned a news conference on the collapse later Wednesday.

    The incident happened the day after a construction worker at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was crushed to death when several steel beams fell on him.

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


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    Associated Press
    Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Buffalo Firefighters Injured in Two-Alarm Fire

    Four firefighters were sent to the hospital due to significant injuries
    MARK BELCHER, WIVB Published Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A large Buffalo fire sent four firefighters to the hospital Monday.

    The fire broke out in the back of a two-story vacant home at 100 Maurice Street just after 7 p.m. One company responded and soon after a second alarm sounded. Four firefighters were injured in the blaze, but officials aren’t yet sure as to if their injuries are cold related or fire related. They were taken to Erie County Medical Center around 9 p.m.

    “From my understanding they were significant injuries, but not serious,” Battalion Chief Daniel Bussi said. “Two are still at the hospital, two have been released already and two are still being observed.”

    Fire officials say the fire did $40,000 damage to the building, but damage to the contents of the building is negligible.

    Firefighters battled the blaze in record cold temperatures. February is well on its way to being the coldest month in Buffalo’s history; Monday dipped to -7 degrees below zero, edging out the day’s record low in 1889 of -6 degrees below zero.

    Fire crews continued battling the blaze past 9 p.m. and cleared the scene of the fire just before 10 p.m. They continued battling hot spots past 11 p.m. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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    Four Buffalo firefighters were injured while battling a two-alarm fire at a vacant structure in below-zero temperatures on February 23, 2015. (WIVB photo)

    Buffalo Firefighters Battle High-Rise Fire

    Fire was showing from 15th floor of Main Place Tower when companies arrived
    Fire was showing from three windows on the 15th floor when firefighters arrived at Main Place Tower on February 20, 2015. (WIVB photo)
    Published Friday, February 20, 2015

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A fire broke out in the records room at the Main Place Tower early Friday morning, in downtown Buffalo. Firefighters needed to deal with frigid temperatures, and climb up 14 flights of stairs to fight the blaze.

    Flames and heavy smoke were billowing from the 15th floor of the high-rise building around 5 a.m.  About 40 firefighters climbed up 14 flights of stairs, staged their gear and fought the blaze on the floor above.

    WIVB Photos: Fire at Main Place Tower

    Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield said no one was injured during the fire, and it’s unknown whether anyone was inside the building. It’s isn’t a residential building, it has technology, communication and law offices.

    Whitfield said, “The guys did a great job today in very difficult circumstances, the weather being that it’s below zero outside, they had to carry equipment up to the floors below the fire floor. The guys worked very, very, very hard.”

    Whitfield said the firefighters needed to spray foam on the smoldering papers. Burnt paper from the records room was sent floating through the air near the scene. Whitfield said he doesn’t believe the records were confidential.

    Whitfield said crews are cleaning up damage on the 15th floor and the  surrounding floors. The status of the building for Friday is unknown.

    Some damage from the fire is visible from outside the building. Three windows are blown out for the 15th floor, and water that was used to fight the flames is frozen on the side of the high-rise building.

    The fire scene is impacting traffic downtown. Lafayette Square eastbound and westbound traffic  is blocked off at Washington Street. Portions of Pearl and Court Streets are also blocked off.

    There is no information available on the cause of the fire.

    This story will be updated as information becomes available.

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    Two-Alarm Fire Strikes Brooklyn Business, Apartments

    FireEMS Blogs: Wooster Street Collapse Lessons

    Fireground Leadership presents valuable information from a New York City fire
    These building types and occupancy risks requires a new found degree of building insights and the need for increased building pedigree knowledge and understanding of how these type of buildings are built and impacted by fire on today’s fireground.

    By Christopher J. Naum
    Published Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    137 -139 Wooster Street in Lower Manhattan (New York City) was a six story 80 x 100 loft building constructed of heavy timber construction and masonry brick perimeter walls. This was a common building size and type in this area of the city called “Hells’ hundred acres” in lower Manhattan. Hells Hundred Acres is an area bounded by Chamber Street on the south, the Bowery on the east, West Broadway on the west and West 8th.street on the north.

    This area in lower Manhattan was named Hell’s Hundred Acres due to the numerous firefighters that had been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty over numerous decades in frequent multiple alarm fires and building collapses.

    These characteristic buildings were constructed during the civil war era (mid 1850-1870), which resulted in a major build-out of the area and were predominately used for mercantile activities that included rag storage, baled goods, paper rolls and manufacturing with heavy machinery and varied occupancy uses.

    On February 14, 1958 at 22:15 hours, FDNY Box 334 was transmitted for a report of fire in an occupied commercial building that housed a paper and twine manufacturer with baled paper storage. The building at 137 -139 Wooster Street was bound by West Houston Street and Prince Street and located in the center of the block area.

    There were seven employees working on the third floor in the building at the time of the fire which was initially reported on the first floor. All the employees were able to escape unassisted from the building.

    Read more of "Lessons from the Fireground - 1958: Wooster Street Fire & Collapse"

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    New York Mayor Backs Grant for Firefighter Vacancies

    Lockport mayor seeks to use federal grant to fill vacancies due to retirement
    THOMAS J. PROHASKA, The Buffalo News Published Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    LOCKPORT - Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said late last week that she supports applying for a federal grant to hire city firefighters but that those hires should replace retirees rather than expand the Fire Department's roster.

    Interim Fire Chief Patrick K. Brady and Firefighter Kevin W. Pratt, president of the firefighters union, said rehiring four of the 12 firefighters laid off since the end of 2013 would likely produce a reduction in the high overtime costs that have plagued the department.

    But McCaffrey said Friday that recent history shows that this is not the case. The city hired firefighters in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011, she said, and in every case but the last, overtime costs rose the following year. Common Council President Joseph C. Kibler contended that this was the case at last week's Council meeting, and McCaffrey consulted a graph of 20 years of fire overtime costs that corroborated Kibler's recollection.

    "Adding firefighters has not indicated a savings in overtime," McCaffrey said.

    The overtime drop in 2012 was temporary, as 2013 showed a record amount of overtime, and 2014 broke that record by about a quarter of a million dollars, with overtime reaching $706,478. "I don't see how adding manpower would increase overtime," Brady said. "There must be a reason, but I don't know what it is."

    One factor might be the minimum staffing level that the city sets for Fire Department shifts. That figure had usually been nine firefighters, but on Sept. 15, the city cut that to six, as it abolished the Fire Department's ambulance service, signing a contract with Twin City Ambulance.

    The terms of the union contract make minimum staffing levels a key factor in costs. The roster is divided into four platoons, and two work on any given day, one for 10 hours and the other for 14.

    If a platoon cannot make the minimum because of vacations, illnesses or any other reason, duty officers must call in members of other platoons until they reach minimum staffing. All the call-ins are paid time-and-a-half for the shift. The city allows no more than three firefighters per platoon to be on vacation at any one time, except around major holidays, when up to four vacations are permitted.

    At present, there are eight firefighters on each platoon. With the minimum staffing level at six, some overtime is inevitable on each shift during the prime summer vacation season because it's likely that a platoon will have only five members available to work. Pratt called it "automatic overtime."

    "I don't know why anyone who is an elected or appointed official in the City of Lockport would show any surprise over the overtime numbers," Pratt said. "It'll be considerably less with the grant and four more guys. There would be no more automatic overtime."

    Pratt said that overtime assignments are based on seniority and a rotation system. When faced with an understaffed shift, the duty officer starts making calls to the most senior firefighters. When the shift is filled, the calls stop. The next time call-ins are needed, the offers resume at the spot on the seniority list where the duty officer stopped the last time.

    The Council is expected to vote as soon as Feb. 18 on making the application for the federal SAFER grant, short for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, which pays two years of salary and benefits for rehired firefighters.


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


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