Thread: Bairds sentence

  1. #51
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    Station 2, thank you for your candor in this, and for taking the time to do a little background checking.

    The question of why the Chief was provided with immunity and has not spoken out on this issue is a sore spot with all of us. We still don't have any straight answers on that issue. Likely as not, we never will either. (lots of head shaking here).

    As for making sure this never happens again, well that basically comes down to each and everyone of us who have been following this particular story, and have been a part of these forums in general. We have seen what has happened, and cried out that it must never happen again.

    I wonder who will be the Guiding Light? NFPA, NIOSH, WCB (for the Canadians)... OR will it be each and every one of us? I can say for myself, now that I am more aware than ever both from the regulations point of view (I have learned one hell of a lot from this) and from a safety point of view, I will do my part in my little neck of the woods to try to prevent an incident like this from happening. On that thought, I would ask that each and everyone of you who have read this story do the same. We can't save the entire world as an individual, but we sure's hell can do a lot as a group. PLAY SAFE, STAY SAFE, BE SAFE.
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    To BONES and truck6alpha
    I think that you misunderstood me.
    I am by no means against NFPA standards, but I feel that there may be quite a few departments in New York State that may not be able to comply with them, due to monetary constraints. Quite honestly there are some departments that can't even afford to purchase a set of the complete standards.
    The problem I have with NFPA is that I don't feel that a private organization should be able to write standards that affect municipal departments and charge for them.

    And yes I do realize that the committees that write the standards are made up members of fire departments both paid and unpaid, and other industry professionals.

    I feel that perhaps the standards should be adopted by the USFA and issued to all departments in the country not just New York, since I'm sure that the same type of problems exist elsehwere in this country.

    The standards are excellent and it might not be a bad thing to adopt them.

    Mike

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    Please bear with me here as I muse and pardon my ignorance on how individual states work.

    My first question of coarse would be......
    Where are all those threatening to walk out unless their Departments or States adopt and adhere to NFPA standards? We had a large contingent threatening to leave if Baird was sentenced to jail time, but none are willing to leave over blantant disregard for their safety or their lives.......interesting isn't it?




    Now, here comes the ignorance part. Here in Ontario we are not allowed to "start up" or "found" a Fire Dept on our own. Any Municipal fire department in the province is subject to the Fire Protection and Prevention Act. Standards exist for Company Officers, Chief Officers, Fire Prevention Officers and Firefighters. All firefighters, officers etc are expected to adhere to these standards whether they are volunteer or career. We have a very strong OHSA and Ministry of Labour, who will ORDER equipment or training if such is required to do your job safely. Municipalities are then obligated to fund said training/equipment.

    So please forgive me if I fail to fully comprehend some of the issues that you face.

    - numerous "independant" Fire Dept's that operate on little or no funding
    - all equipment needs are met through fundraising within the community
    - those who are funded appear to be grossly underfunded in some circumstances
    - Fire Commisioners that are unwilling/unable to provided adequate funding for training or health and safety issues
    - no standards exist at either the state or individual levels
    -Departments that operate with little training and at times inadequate or non existant PPE


    Now, please don't take this the wrong way, I am really trying to understand here.

    - If my Community was not interested in ensuring I was adequately protected while fighting fires in THEIR homes, and protecting THEIR lives and property, why am I doing it?
    - If I do not have adequate training/equipment, why in GODS name am I doing interior attacks and search and rescue?
    - if I am willing to "walk out" because a CRIMINAL may have to be incarcerated for their crime, why would I not be willing to withhold service in order to demand adequate protection for my life and those who fight beside me?
    - IF we accept funding from our State, Municipality or even the community, are we willing to be accountable for how that money is spent? Are we willing to provide documentation that money was spent appropriately, that training was provided as required etc?
    - Are we willing to forgoe the fancy toys for one more year in order to focus this years budget on health and safety issues?

    Seriously, please educate me on these issues as I find I'm having a very very hard time understanding.
    Last edited by LadyCapn; 07-10-2002 at 02:51 PM.

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    FFMike9, there is no need to purchase the complete set of standards as that would be more information than anyone would ever need or want to know. Go through the catalog and purchase what is related to what you do. Most of the books are around $20-$30 and if need be, get the few that they can afford this year and buy some more next year and so on. No one can be expected to adopt the standards and meet them overnight, but to start trying is a step in the right direction. I don't know your department, but you may be closer to the standards than you think. Don't wait for NY to adopt them or not, have your company/department do it. I would suggest starting with 1710 and/or 1720. Buying the books may not be the big expense, training might be. I also would like to see the books offered at no charge, but NFPA is a business, and I don't see that happening. Try local libraries and municipal offices, they sometimes have copies that can be borrowed. Challenge your company/department to improve itself. If you already meet the standards, congratulations, but keep trying to improve and learn. NY is far from the only area with problems like this but NY was brought to center stage by the Lairdsville fiasco. We can only hope to learn from it.

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    Default baird

    i think that he should not serve in a chief position again but should not be setensed to any jail time at all it was a misatke that took a life but the volunteer departments in ny are hurting for people who are dedicated to the volunteer service i feel for the family but also for mr baird he has also been through hell these past monts all this is just an opinion and should only be taken as such

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    Default Re: baird

    Originally posted by jjrussell i think that he should not serve in a chief position again but should not be setensed to any jail time at all it was a misatke that took a life
    IT WAS NOT A MISTAKE. It was not an accident. His intentions may not have been to kill anyone, but he cetainly didn't think through his actions well enough before he began. We are supposed to protect the new guys. Teach them, train them, but always protect them.

    Originally posted by jjrussell but the volunteer departments in ny are hurting for people who are dedicated to the volunteer service
    While this may be true, no department would benefit from lowering its standards to this level. Dedication is one thing. A commitment to doing the job right is something else.

    Originally posted by jjrussell i feel for the family but also for mr baird he has also been through hell these past monts
    I am sure he has been through hell, with a little luck he'll spend the next 75 days contemplating his actions even more.....what about Brad Golden's family? What kind of hell have they gone through? What about Brad Golden?

    Originally posted by jjrussell all this is just an opinion and should only be taken as such
    You are entitled to yours, and I will not fault you for that. Think the whole thing through, however. This was much more than a mistake.

    Dave
    Last edited by hfd66truck; 07-10-2002 at 10:19 PM.

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    I would just like to say that obviously most of you don't know Alan, and don't know what kind of person he is. I have know him and his wife for 12 years. I met them through the fire department ironically enough. There were definitely mistakes made and very bad judgements, but he should't take the fall all alone. What about the Westmoreland cheif? If you know anything about the Westmoreland, Lairdsville and Lowell territories you would know that Westmoreland is the higher ranking fire company so when a chief from Westmoreland is on a scene they outrank a chief from Lairdsville or Lowell. What about the so-called "safety officer" that was upstairs?? Why would anyone in their right minds allow a 19 or 20 year old to be a safety officer anyway? Of course I suppose when daddy is the chief he can allow whoever he wants to be the safety officer. They all knew what was going on and what was going to happen. How about the fact that the safety officer had lighter fluid upstairs to light the burn barrel that was upstairs?? Yes, Alan is my friend but that doesn't mean that I think he did nothing wrong. Unlike all of you I just recognize the fact that he did NOT ACT ALONE and he was NOT THE HIGHEST RANKING OFFICER THERE.

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    Reebtaz,

    You must have posted at the same time as I did. I agree that more people should be taking the fall. Unfortunately everyone else hid under the "immunity blanket".

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    Station 2 EFD;
    You showed real character for: going back, getting the facts of the case and coming back and admitting some errors in your reasoning. I agree with alot of what you said in your LAST post. I had obvious differences with your first post.
    Nice work.
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    reebatz

    Your friend Alan did something horribly wrong. You are right in stating we do not know him personally, however, as professional career, paid call and volunteer firefighters we have all seen his attitude before in countless others..the difference here is his attitude caused the death of someone he was sworn to protect.

    Those that hid under the "immunity blanket" to avoid criminal prosecution will not be able to hide when the "civil trial, wrongful death lawsuit" spotlight gets placed upon them.

    jjrussell

    I have ranted over and over about new members of the forums looking at the headline and basing their opinion on what they saw on firehouse.com or what they read in the Utica Daily Observer for the first time. Do yourself a favor, go to the story, click onthe archives and read the entire story...then come back and tell us if you feel the same way.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 07-11-2002 at 09:04 AM.
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    Default In the Judge's own words:

    Oneida County Judge Michael Dwyer
    (Speaking to Alan Baird III)
    "This was not an accident. An accident is something unavoidable. This was a series of bad decisions that you should not have made."


    If you read the transcripts and news reports from the courtroom...and statements by Baird and his attorney...you might understand why this was NOT AN ACCIDENT! Please everyone.....do yourself a favor and read the info and see why the judge made the above statement!!!
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    I thought everyone might find this interesting. I received this reply to an email I sent Mr. Arcuri yesterday. The last sentence disturbs me.

    Thank you for you e-mail. In response to your question there is no law which would prevent Mr. Baird from acting as a firefighter in the future; however we asked the Judge to make it a condition of his probation that he not be allowed to serve in any capacity with the fire service during his 5 year probation and the Judge complied. Additionally Mr. Baird received a sentence of 75 days in jail. Less than what our office requested but I think fair and sufficient to get the message across to someone who has never been in any type of trouble before.
    Michael Arcuri
    Oneida County District Attorney
    My prayers and thoughts go out to the Golden family, may Bradley now rest in peace.

    As far as the immunity goes I believe the only two people who testified at the grand jury who didn't receive immunity were Crowman and Baird. The reason is because you have to sign a waiver of immunity when you testify at the grand jury to eliminate it. I would assume that Chief Kimball, knew if he signed that waiver his butt would be the next one in the sling. I find it interesting that Morris didn't sign the waiver...
    Last edited by Temptaker; 07-11-2002 at 10:37 AM.

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    Whether the Chief at this training incident was ultimately responsible or not, it makes not one iota's difference in Baird's culpability. The premise of I was just following orders is nonsense. They tried that defense in the post WW II trials and the Mai Lai trial in Viet Nam. It didn't work then, and it didn't work this time. Different reasons, but same premise.

    The Chief that was there, (for the life of me, I can't remember his name, and I don't have time right now to search. This is a speed post) is just as negligent as Baird...that's agreed. BUT that doesn't relieve Baird from culpability from his actions. You can't claim as a defense on a speeding violation that everyone else was doing it too. Face it, you got caught...Baird got caught. The Chief saved his *** by testifying to the Grand Jury. But only on criminal procedings. Let's see how the civil suits shake out.

    This concept is not without precedent. It is common for a nurse to take a hit if he or she administers a medication in the wrong doseage to a patient EVEN THOUGH they administer the precise dose as ordered by the doctor. Yeah, the doc was wrong, but the nurse had the last opportunity to prevent the error. Unless the orders were confirmed otherwise, they will most likely get hit with the complaint. In this case, the Chief was wrong, but Baird had the last opportunity to prevent this from occuring.

    He was there when the fire was lit. He at least permitted it if not did it himself. Don't tell me that he didn't know that people were upstairs...don't tell me that he didn't know that there was no secondary egress capability...don't tell me that he didn't know that hoselines weren't laid and staffed, especially with such an obvious life hazard present. What the hell was he doing if he "didn't know" any of these things? If he didn't know that this was going to eventually lead to untenable conditions, why in the hell was he a command level officer?!

    The sentence was a gift horse as far as I'm concerned. It's not what I wanted, but that's been the story of my life. It is totally in line with what I felt he was going to get. I guess if Brad's family is content with it, I have no reason to not be as well. I do however feel that we have to police ourselves on these matters in the future. We each have individual and local control over that. The excuse that "we're not an NFPA state" is just that...an excuse. If you want to run a training under NFPA regs or their equivalent (and you should), then do it. Nothing is stopping you. If you're at a training, ask if 1403 is being followed. If it's not, then don't participate. It all has to start somewhere.

    If 5 guys in New York would pool the cost of a pack of cigarettes, they would have a copy of 1403 and the cost of shipping, too. They might be a little better off health wise, too.
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    Default Stop the non-sense

    Come on and stop this nonsense about NFPA, OSHA, etc. NFPA & OSHA standards have been around long before this terrible tragedy. There are many departments in Oneida County that follow, train and operate under these standards. It has nothing to do with board of directors, operating budgets, etc. The information is always available. This tragedy in Lairdsville happened because of carelessness, and lack of common sense. Ignorance of the law and well as the standards is NO EXCUSE. Just because you weren't familiar with something doesn't mean you do it anyway and hope to get away with it because you are a VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER.... Anyone know the difference between professionals and volunteers???? THE STINKING PAYCHECK AND THE HOURS...! They do it for a paycheck and for a set shift. Volunteers do it 24 hours a day for NOTHING!!! Someone mentioned how can you hold volunteers to the same level as professionals? WE DO THE SAME JOB AND HAVE TO FOLLOW THE SAME RULES!! Some of the VOLUNTEER fire departments train just as much if not more than "paid" departments.
    It is your RESPONSIBILITY as a chief officer, firefighter, or whatever title you want to use.... to make wise decisions and use common sense so these tragedies don't happen in the future.

    As far as the sentence, it is lenient. But there is nothing we can do to change it.

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    LadyCaptain,
    The unfortunate reality is that there are many fire and EMS agencies scraping along with grossly inadequate funding. In many cases they do their best to protect small and/or poor areas and there is no funding available at the local level. In the US, almost all of fire, EMS, and police protection is paid for by local taxes. For example, I did several EMT classes for a township EMS department that's entire budget was $28,000/year. Out of that they had to keep 2 ambulances running, buy EMS supplies, etc. They paid their people $1/year - and everyone donated that back. In many cases, the reality is that it's either whatever level of service that can be scraped together, or none at all.

    The question that confronts members of these organizations is what to do in situations where there's an immediate hazard, even a life hazard, and they don't have the equipment or training to perform a rescue or mitigate the incident safely. Unfortunately, many choose to take too great of risks - the pressures on scene are enormous. I think the answer is enough education, news media, whatever it takes to set the clear expectation in the minds of the public and all responders, that no responder will try anything beyond their level of training and protective gear.

    Reebtaz & jjrussell,
    The fundamental problem is that Baird didn't know enough of the basics about fire behavior and safe fireground operations to play his part in the drill safely. He didn't recognize that lack of knowledge and stay within what he knew how to do safely. That killed a probie. His chain of command is also guilty of all of the same things.

    Like I said above, each of us needs the guts to say, "I won't do this because I don't know how to do it safely". For example, I have a low head dam on a river about 1/2 mile from my station. Neither my department or I have the training or equipment to do water rescue beyond a throw bag. So, even if it means waiting while mutual aid responds with boats & trained personnel while a person drowns, that's what I'll do. That's horrible to watch, but less horrible than adding fire & EMS fatalities to the scene.
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    There were no winners in this whole case.
    Mr. Golden is gone, the other 2 are injured, Mr. Baird is jailed and barred from contact with firemen (back to that later) and everyone who was at that house on Rt 5 that day has their own life sentence of memories.
    Lairdsville FD is now Westmoreland #?
    Generations of Volunteer Firefighters in the town of Westmoreland (and around Oneida County) are turning in their keys.

    I had seen the reports on the wire here since September but couldn't place the house, then I visited home recently and a chill ran up my spine when I realized which house it had been.I once sold Real Estate in Oneida County. I have been IN that house, in better days.
    Over 10 years ago, when it was an active residence, prospective buyers each had the same comments upon touring the home. In a nut shell, they were afraid that if there was a fire (while) occupied, the place was a death trap.

    Blame and accusations will make nothing right.

    About the "no firefighters sentencing"...am I misinformed or is Mr. Baird's occupation as an EMT? How can he do that and avoid firefighters? If I am mistaken void that last comment.

    I am an EMT-FR because my community needed one (or more)and I grew up in a FAMILY of Firefighters, including several chiefs and officers. The fear of prosecution for participation in volunteer activities is a clear thought on each of their minds. I hope the prosecutor, judge, and defense attorney got their 5 minutes of fame.

    Who is going to be left to put out the fires and rescue the babies?

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    "Who is going to be left to put out the fires and rescue the babies?"

    Hopefully only people who are willing to train and execute their duties safely

    If volunteers are turning in their keys by the hundreds, good riddance. Maybe this is exactly the housecleaning the area needed to start fresh with a responsible professional (in behaviour not as in career) department. Once the good ol boys are gone, then so are the good ol attitudes of no way of doing things but their way.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, it's too bad they weren't so eager to turn in their keys in a fight for adequate funding for safety issues and training.

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    The fear of prosecution for participation in volunteer activities is a clear thought on each of their minds
    Why?

    When done correctly, safely, according to well known standards, and a fair amount of common sense...what would you be afraid of? Mistakes can and will be made. This was not a mistake. It was not an accident. This was someone who did not know what they were doing, not using common sense, making dangerous choices, and then blaming everyone else for their lack of knowledge and training.

    When done correctly, safely, according to well known standards, and a fair amount of common sense...why would you be afraid of prosecution?

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    Default Training

    Again we get on the funding part of it. This accident had nothing to do with funding. This accident was a direct result of poor decision making skills. Common sense tells you: if you light an overstuffed couch on fire in a wooden structure on the 1st floor and you have people on the second floor with no water and another means of egress something is going to go wrong. 1st of all in training you NEVER use live victims and 2nd why would you use live victims in a wooden structure that was in bad shape anyway to perform a "live" fire evolution. Oneida County has several Concrete training towers available "FREE of charge" for training. They are designed for burning hay in a barrel to create smoke and heat conditions. The excuses have to stop.. It boils down to poor judgement. Training is to prepare you in advance. You don't have to risk anyone's life to PROVE A POINT!

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    Default The towers were for burning hay

    Deputy the training towers in NY were for buring hay in, oru department requested to use one this past monday and were told by the county that unless we have a smoke machine we are not allowed to use the tower.......guess it goes back to funding then huh, required to have this to use this. Not pointing fingers here but i really dont think one of the wealthier departments in the county should even be discussing funding.

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    Default Funding & Training

    The point I am trying to get across is that at the time of the tragedy in Lairdsville there were many resources available to prevent this. The use of smoke machines in the towers now is obviously a way in which the county wants to protect themselves so they aren't in the same shoes. But at the time of this accident smoke machines weren't required, you were allowed to burn hay in a barrel. Also smoke machines are relatively cheap.

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    Al Baird screw-up bad. But Judge Dwyer said he made some bad decisions which is true and he should pay for those mistakes. But I have seen a lot of Judges make bad decisions and do they pay for there mistakes??? NEVER

  23. #73
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    Default Bottom Line

    Here we go:

    #1 We (most of us) dont agree with the sentence.
    SOLUTION: Nothing we can do....except voice our opinion.

    #2 We all (most of us) think that more should be held accountible
    SOLUTION: Hope and pray that now more people are indicted

    #3 This must not happen again
    SOLUTION: Educate (yes...believe it..some still need it) fire departments across the country about this tragic homicide. Do this via the IAFF, IAVFC, FDIC, and any medium possible. Make sure every fire department in the U.S. gets a copy of the NFPA report on this death. Then hope that people take the bull by the horns and pass on the word. EDUCATE EDUCATE EDUCATE.... Every state needs to REQUIRE standards be followed and implement ways of policing it through the designated training agency for that state.

    This homicide did not occur due to a lack of funding or an accident. First and foremost you don't have to have money to train safely....but...you do need common sense. It occured because a person made decisions that were inconsistent with accepted training principles. There was a total disregard for safety and human life. Irresponsible, childish actions led to the death of firefighter Golden. It is apparent from his actions that Baird knew little about anything except how to light a flare and perhaps give orders (even though they were lacking in common sense) as well as turn on the lights, blow the siren and pose for pictures.

    The question that was raised about him being an EMT and in that capacity how could he "not interact with firefighters" is a good one. I would love to hear that answer.

    Those that took immunity are COWARDS...plain and simple....But my friend GONZO is correct....criminal liability do not protect them from civil liability and they will go down when those suits begin.

    Reebatz...I dont care if he is your friend. He is now a murderer and should pay. It is too late now to point fingers. If you had information to support him then why did you not testify. Although, I can not imagine why anyone would testify in his behalf. He killed a firefighter in training due to poor decisions, lack of common sense, disregard for safety, ignorance of training standards (so he says), imporperly assigning personnel involved in the "drill"....and the list goes on. He has no business in this business.... Yes...we do agree that more people are responsible and should be accountible. Those that are quiting in support of Baird are probably similar in behavior styles...so good riddence.... Who is accountible besided Baird...well...it starts with the city board that appointed him and then encompasses anyone in the department that is/was in a position of power.

    jjrussell.....Like President Gonzo says...go back and read all the threads on this issue and come talk to us. We have discussed this for 9 months now and it is apparent you are not very well informed.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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  24. #74
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    It really sucks. The whole situation. People think that this tragedy just affected Lairdsville but in reality it affected everyone. Its time we stop making excuses for everything. We need to all come together and fix the problems countywide to ensure everyone is on the same page. There are zone meetings, chiefs meetings, county coordinator meetings. Those are the places to make everyone aware of training standards, updates, policies and pertinent information. Take care and stay safe.

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    I don't know where deputy387 came from all of a sudden but it's refreshing to see that someone in the area of this disaster is ready and willing to win one for the Gipper.

    Enough of the wailing and gnashing of teeth- look up deputy387 and follow him to the nearest fire station and get together and move toward positive change. Good luck and know that if you ever want advice on how to do things better, you have people among you who realize that change is needed.
    Michael "Mick" Mayers
    Acting Director, Urban Search and Rescue
    South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force
    www.sctf1.sc.gov

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