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The 48-year-old was part of the crew that responded to a gas leak in the Village Fairgrounds II condominiums development on January 16, where workers were installing underground cable when they ruptured a gas line. Just as Patterson and firefighter Jerry Knapp were ready to force open the door to 52 Zarriello Lane, the explosion occurred, leveling the house and throwing both men close to 15 yards.
Patterson suffered broken bones and ribs, a back injury and serious burns to his face, while Knapp suffered a concussion, a fractured cheekbone, first- and second-degree burns to his head and bad bruises to his leg. Knapp – who was released from the hospital a few days after the blast – said he was glad to see his comrade’s recovery progressing.
Patterson was surrounded by a crowd of family, friends and colleagues in the lobby of the hospital just after he was transferred.
“Glad to be back home, I’ll tell you that right now,” Patterson told The Journal News. “Thanks very much for coming out for me. You guys are my family – the greatest family I’ve ever had.”
Four-Alarm Fire at Three-Story OMD Spreads to Five Buildings
Newark, NJ, firefighters responded to a reported fire at 1 am on August 13. Arriving companies found fire showing on the top floor of a three-story occupied multiple dwelling (OMD) with a commercial business on the ground floor. First-due companies rescued several people were rescued from windows via ground ladders. Heavy fire quickly extended to neighboring buildings as this became a four-alarm fire. Several ladder pipes and deck guns were put into operation as fire took control of the top floors of the buildings.
The fire tore through five buildings, including a popular supermarket. The fire was declared under control by almost 8 am. One firefighter and a resident were treated for smoke inhalation on scene. Mutual aid companies from Bloomfield, Belleville, Cedar Grove, East Orange, Irvington, Livingston, Millburn, Orange, South Orange, Verona, West Orange, Jersey City and Elizabeth assisted in covering the city.
Suicide and the Fire Service
In light of recent tragedies, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) released a joint statement encouraging all members of the fire and emergency service to familiarize themselves with the credible and valuable tools and resources that are available to assist firefighters and their families who may be coping with depression or thoughts of suicide. Anyone who feels at risk or knows of someone who may be at risk should contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or seek emergency medical assistance.
In July of 2011, the NFFF convened a two-day summit in Baltimore to learn from the nation’s leading experts on suicide about the incidence, causes and pathways to prevention. The three organizations are working on the next steps that were identified during this gathering. The white paper from this symposium can be found on the NFFF’s Life Safety Initiatives website.
Furthermore, to better understand the complexities of this issue, behavioral health experts recommend the book Why People Die by Suicide by Dr. Thomas Joiner, of Florida State University, who assisted with the Baltimore summit.
It is important to remember that we support each other by “Taking Care of Our Own.” Do not hesitate to reach out to one another or seek assistance from our individual organizations if you feel the need.
Helping Our Heroes
A Long Island, NY, Assisted Living Community is lending a helping hand to its local heroes in these tough economic times. The Arbors is offering current or former firefighters, police officers and EMS/EMT workers and their immediate families a discount of up to 10 percent off its monthly rental rate for assisted living at any of its five Long Island communities.
“The Arbors Assisted Living Communities’ Heroes Welcome Program for First Responders was originated to help offset the rising healthcare costs for the many brave men and women who dedicate their lives to serve and protect,” said Christine Herting, Regional Director of The Arbors. “In this tough economic climate, many first responders and their families go without the option of assisted living due to the common misconception that they can’t afford it. Since these first responders are out there caring for us, we wanted to show our appreciation for them by making our high-quality senior care and assisted living a more obtainable and affordable option for them and their loved ones.”