News from down in Texas is that the Fire Chief, Rhoda Mae Kerr, is getting tough on DUI’s involving her personnel. Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks states that Chief Kerr’s “tactic” is “very heavy-handed.” But Chief Kerr’s actions target what has been described as a significant AFD problem, and this also follows an apparent crackdown by Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo on his personnel as well. In early April, APD Chief Acevedo distributed a dramatic video to departmental personnel (LINK TO VIDEO BELOW) announcing a new, zero-tolerance policy against drunk-driving police officers. First-time offenders won’t just receive temporary suspensions anymore, the Chief asserted. Each suspected offender stands to be fired, whether or not they’re found guilty in a court of law.”If our investigation shows through an abundance of evidence that someone at our department, whether they’re sworn or unsworn, committed a violation of DWI, we’re not going to tolerate it,” he clarified at the time. He has not had to fire any officers for that offense since the program rollout.READ: According to the NHTSA an estimated 10,322 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2012, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths that year.DUI is a lose/lose for everyone involved-many of us know that first hand. When a Fire Chief takes a fair but tough stance against DUI, (and that includes getting help for the members involved) – that Chief is protecting the member, the other members, their families and the public. Austin DUI VIDEO: http://kxan.com/2014/04/10/austin-police-chief-cracks-down-on-dwi-officers/ENTIRE media article:http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2014-08-01/last-call-for-dwis-at-afd/FACTS from the IAFF:https://www.iaff.org/ET/JobAid/EAP/Drug_and_Alcohol_Use.htmEFO PAPER ON ONE FD’S PROBLEM:http://www.usfa.fema.gov/
Two Cleveland firefighters are facing charges after they lied about a crash with a fire truck.
Richard Nickerson and Ron Vargo have been charged in city court with misdemeanor charges of falsification.
The incident involved the ladder truck from Station 36 near East 131st Street and Union Avenue. The accident left the truck out of service, knocked down a heavy light pole, and the city says this caused about $20,000 damage.
Records show last month near East 116th Street and Buckeye Road, Nickerson drove into the parking lot of a business to cut through. He claimed a car cut him off, and he crashed into a pole. His boss, Capt. Vargo, signed reports backing up that story, and reports show he was on the truck at the time.
But we’ve learned security video shows that is not what happened; no car swerved into the path of the truck.
Fire investigators and Cleveland accident investigators got to the bottom of it.
We went to the fire station looking for the two men involved, and they were not there. We spoke briefly by phone to Nickerson, but he didn’t want to comment.
The falsification charges are misdemeanors, so the city says the two men can continue to work as the case plays out in court. Any city discipline will come after that.
There are new questions about the safety of a ladder truck in Hall County that collapsed sending three firefighters to the hospital.
The fire marshal says the men fell 40 feet during a training exercise. Two days after the accident, engineers from both the county and the manufacturer inspected the ladder and extension cable to determine what went wrong.
11Alive obtained the Vehicle Identification Number from a source that asked not to be identified. When the county refused to verify the information, 11Alive ran several online searches. The vehicle with the same year, make and model as the truck involved in the accident. A carfax report, also confirmed it was currently owned by someone in Gainesville, Georgia.
After two days of questioning, Hall county did agree to release the VIN confirming concerns it had purchased a truck with a troubled past.
Digging deeper, 11Alive learned the fire truck used to belong to the Bluffton Township Fire District in South Carolina.
According to the vehicle title, Bluffton bought the truck new in 2006. Battalion Chief Robert Payne says they sold the truck back to the manufacturer in Ohio seven years later. In a report to the Beaufort County Deputy Administrator, the fire department “had lost all confidence in the truck” due to its “catastrophic” and “consistent failures.” The report says the fire district had several maintenance problems with the vehicle, but the 100 foot aerial ladder was the most “problematic part of the apparatus.” It lists six times in four years, that the ladder and/or its extension cables were repaired.
Just three months after Bluffton got rid of the truck, Hall County approved purchasing a used 2006 Sutphen from the manufacturer for $525,000. According to minutes from a Hall county commission meeting, the fire chief assured the board it “would receive a certificate indicating the equipment was back to factory specs.”
Even after the accident, Fire Marshal Scott Cagle defended the purchase.
“It was totally refurbished by Sutphen and in fact, if we had the money in the bank today, we would go out and buy the same exact one,” said Cagle.
Just how much the county knew about the truck’s history is yet unknown. The manufacturer also declined to comment on what efforts were made to rehab the truck before it was resold.
An Orlando Fire Engine hit a car trying to get away from police. The driver of that car ran off and is still missing.
Just before midnight last night, Orlando Police said an officer tried to pull over a car near Columbia Street and Goldwyn Avenue.
They say the driver of the car appeared as if he was slowing down, but then quickly sped up. Police said the car drove through a stop sign at Bethune Drive and Columbia Street.
At the same time Orlando Fire Department’s Engine 7 was headed west on Columbia Street with their lights and horn on responding to a call.
The front of the engine hit the side of the car. Police say the driver got out of the car and ran away. His three passengers were taken to the hospital in stable condition.
If caught, the driver of the car will certainly face numerous charges. No one from inside the fire truck was transported to the hospital.
No injuries were reported after a Mahwah fire truck collided with a sedan last night.
The truck carrying five firefighters from Fire Company # 2 Hazmat was responding to a gas leak from a dryer on Greene Street in the Fardale section when the crash occurred.
The truck had its lights and siren activated when it stopped on Wyckoff Avenue for a red light at Pulis Avenue and was struck by the car as its driver made a right as the rig continued on, Police Chief James Batelli told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
The collision damaged the truck’s undercarriage pullout drawer, the chief said.
Police were investigating, he said.