For the Record 11/12

Marion Body Works President Dies in Crash James M. Simpson, 51, the president and chief executive officer of Marion Body Works, was killed in a motor vehicle crash on Oct. 4. Simpson had been president and chief executive officer of the WI-based maker...


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USFA Releases Report on Portable Heater Fires

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has released a special report examining the characteristics of portable heater fires in residential buildings. The report, Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010), was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is based on 2008 to 2010 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report:

  • An estimated 900 portable heater fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 70 deaths, 150 injuries and $53 million in property loss.
  • Only 2 percent of heating fires in residential buildings involved portable heaters, however, portable heaters were involved in 45 percent of all fatal heating fires in residential buildings.
  • 52 percent of portable heater fires in residential buildings occurred because the heat source was too close to combustibles.

While portable heating fires were small in number, the consequences were substantial, accounting for nearly half of all fatal heating fires in residential buildings. Many of these fires were preventable as human error – placing the heater too close to combustible items or leaving the heater unattended – was a contributing factor to the fire.

To download this report, go to http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v13i9.pdf. For further information regarding other topical reports or fire prevention, visit the USFA website at www.usfa.fema.gov.

 

Line-of-Duty Deaths

 

FIRE POLICE CAPTAIN STEVEN HENRY JR., 52, of the Columbia, PA, Consolidated Fire Department died on Sept. 7. The previous day, Henry responded to a fire call and became ill at the scene. He went to his family doctor the next morning. Later that day, he suffered cardiac arrest at home and died. Henry was a 35-year veteran of the fire service.

FIREFIGHTER CHRIS SEELYE, 61, of the USDA Forest Service, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Wenatchee, WA, died on Sept. 17. Seelye was working as a timber faller on the Wenatchee Complex Fire when he suffered a medical emergency. He was treated on the scene by medical personnel and transported to a nearby hospital, where he died.

CAPTAIN NEAL W. SMITH, 46, of the Atascocita, TX, Volunteer Fire Department died on Sept. 17. On Sept. 15, Smith passed out from heat exhaustion while participating in a smoke diver class at the Beaumont Emergency Services Training Complex. He was transported to a hospital, where he remained in critical condition until his death. Smith was a five-year member of the department. This was the first line-of-duty death in the department’s 44-year history. Another firefighter was hospitalized due to a heat-related illness.

EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN BELINDA GAYLE RIVERS, 43, of the Sandhills Ambulance Service in Cheraw, SC, died on Sept. 25. Rivers was the front-seat passenger in an ambulance that collided with a tractor-trailer on U.S. 74 in Monroe, NC. According to reports, Rivers was ejected from the ambulance and pinned underneath. The driver of the ambulance was transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries.

JUNIOR FIREFIGHTER JUSTIN TOWNSEND, 17, of the Dagsboro, DE, Volunteer Fire Department died on Sept. 27. Townsend was a passenger in a pickup truck responding to the fire station to respond to a brushfire. The 18-year-old driver of the pickup truck lost control of the vehicle, struck a utility pole and overturned. Townsend died at the scene of the accident. Both occupants of the vehicle were properly restrained, according to reports. Townsend was a member of the department for one year. This was the first line-of-duty death in the department’s 69-year history.

LIEUTENANT JOHN GRABOWSKI, 49, of the Riverview, MI, Fire Department died on Oct. 1. On Sept. 30, Grabowski participated in department training. The following morning, he was found unresponsive in his second employer’s parking lot. He was transported to Henry Ford Wyandotte Michigan Hospital, where he died of an apparent heart attack.