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  1. #21
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    XXXXXAlthough staffing has been placed at the forefront of this unfortunante loss
    That is just it, none of the reports put staffing at the forefront.

    XXXX*and what I believe to be the most critical, the lack of a properly timed, trained and staffed Rapid Intervention Team.
    In this case, the 5th in engines job is that of being the RIT team. The Union is fine with the fact E-11 made no attempt to do their assigned task. So it wasnít equipment, it wasnít training, it wasnít time IT WAS A LACK OF DESIRE AND PROFESSIONALISM ON RGE CAPTAINS PART NOT TO DO HIS JOB. So 22 minutes after dispatch E-11 only excuse for not setting up a RIT a floor below the fire was, ďit was raining.Ē If the Union will support company officers not doing their jobs, not wearing their gear, not doing what they are told, why should anyone else not respect their decisions??

    xxxxAs the years role by we as a fire service continue to focus on the suppression of fires, EMS and Haz-mat training far more than on providing quality firefighter survival and firefighter rescue skills. Incident Commanders continue to overlook or place as secondary and even ignore the need of Rapid Intervention or Firefighter rescue teams on every conceivable type of incident.
    It is far better to simply do what is right than to have to rely on a RIT team to bail out downed firefighters.

    XXXXPlease be safe and lets take care of each other.
    Taking care of each other is the real case here, With 174 firefighters on scene and 500 other sitting around stations who could have been invited had anyone asked, that one theme of looking out for one another was not in effect.
    What kind of an Driver Operator (EO) wouldnít accompany his crew in full gear to the fire floor or assigned floor?
    What kind of company officer would allow members of his crew to stay with his rig when the rig does not have an assignment?
    What kind of officer would allow his crew members not to wear full protective clothing on the fire floor.
    What kind of company officer would allow his individual crew members to leave without notifying him? They all have portable radios the so the radio excuse doesnít work.
    What kind of firefighter walks away from his crew without notifying them?
    What kind of fire department allows assigned companies to get away with not fulfilling their assigned tasks?
    What kind of an officer says he was told such and such when video tape evidence proves otherwise.
    What kind of a firefighter knowing heís fellow firefighters are down and numerous maydays are in effect would bring a dog down a stair way instead o help his own?
    What kind of fire department and Union allows one way communications on the fire ground to be condoned?
    What kind of fire department and Union allow requests for help not to be fulfilled? With 50 onscene all the crew wanted was one more engine company, the one assigned anywhere would have been plenty.
    What kind of FD doesnít top off its air packs.
    What kind of chief officer with hundreds of people above the fire in a 42 story high rise building allows the fire to burn for almost 2 hours unchecked?
    What kind of command officer arrives on scene of a 42 story high rise structure with a working fire at 5 in the morning and does not request multiple alarms?
    What kind of dispatch center takes 7 minute to handle a call and process the 2nd alarm
    What kind of fire department doesnít bring charges on the above?
    How do these guys live with themselves knowing full well the skirted their responsibilities? How can the Union leadership condone all of this?
    xxxx Apr 15, 2002: Riding Short: Newspaper Looks into Staffing Issues
    If you want to know how screwd up a union is and how biased a story on firehouse.com cn be the riding short article was the second piece where the Union posted absolute total lies and no one bothered to check the facts they simply published the piece as fact. One can only hope a forum link on the front page to a lead story will become common place. In firehouse.comís defense, they did admit that the stories have been totally onesided and offered up the current story.
    SO was there a single company riding short in the city of Houston on April 15th 2002? NO, nor in March, or Feb, or Jan, or Dec, or Nov it was all fixed four per rig in October of 2001.

    It is it easy to see why HFDís union leadership or lack of it has failed to win a new contract with the city in the last four years with all this negativity in the press, acts on the Mayor, and bad press of its members actions (you know refusing treatment and kids have died twice, stopping at donut shops with a stabbing victim in the back of an ambulance, putting deaf guys in dispatch, sending ambulances to the wrong address, medic units stopping on the freeway and their members having a fist fight, falsifying records, racial attacks on city employees, Union members sending white powder in envelopes to city council members, the mayor and the fire chief, etc) and lack of accountability for its members actions. The Union has the ultimate Communistic rules, when offered a contract with a $4500 raise minimum per member to match HPD salary and benefits, the Top managers of the Union walked away from the offer knowing the rank and file would never be able to see the contract. Consequently this is the 4th year they make 16% less than the HPD.

    Like the chief of Phoenix says look at any FD prior to its big problem and youíll see a dysfunctional fire department. Have they had 3 fatality fire is 4 years? Yes! Has command every had accountability of it members at any of themĒ No! Finding downed firefighters 23 to 30 minutes after someone thinks they are missing or a Mayday is the norm. Does HFD have an accountability system today? NO! If captains with 20 plus years experience wonít stay in side in heavy smoke conditions together why should firefighters?

    If it made sense 2 hours into the fire to stick a ladder pipe through a window and put the fire out, why didnít it make sense 2 hours earlier? No one gets hurt. You arenít going to push any fire anywhere with a smooth borer tip either.

    Seems to me we need the federal government to nationalize the fire service into a military
    Service where they are willing to hold people accountable and not allow the above to happen over and over again. If the volunteer in Lardsville was guilty certainly the clowns involved in the above should be doing time too! They are an embarrassment to the fire service.

    You get the kind of fire protection you deserve and require.


    SPFDRUm

    xxxx If staffing wasn't an issue, why was an operator on the fire floor?

    SOP says the entire crew shall enter the building EOís included

    SPFDrum xxxxxhave you ever been to a high-rise fire?

    Well have you???? The ladder and pumpers donít all pump and use their ladders when the fire is above their reach and two other companies are assigned to supply the system and the building fire pumps are operating properly.


  2. #22
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    So was the I.C incompetent for not knowing who was his RIT that was never established. Had the Rit been established two floors below the fire could they have gotten to Jay ???

    The story of Engine 11 the RIT team. As the 5th engine E-11 was assigned by SOP at all high rise fires to set up and do nothing but standby for the attack team incase they get in trouble. Dispatch at 4:48 they arrived at 5:00. SO?????

    L-28 and E-2 only took 6 and 8 minutes to get to the fire floor. May Day s called at 5:11.

    While flames are blowing out of the building Engine Ė11 says in the cab of their truck. For 7 minutes. At 5:07 command orders them in the building. Is it possible in the 7 minutes they are I\on break in the cab of their truck they could have made the clear air of the staging area a floor or two below the fire? YES!!!!

    Is it quite possible in 11 minutes they could have made staging or the fire floor? YES!!!!!!!!!!

    So was HIGHLY EXPERIENCED (USING Station 2ís words) the I.C incompetent for not knowing who was his RIT that was never established. Had the Rit been established two floors below the fire could they have gotten to Jay ??? in less than the 24 minutes all the lobby based crews took to get there??? YES, YES,YES.

    So why isnít command and E-11captain up on charges? Why doesnít the crew of E-11 say, ďhey cap, youíve been doing this 20 years and us guys back her combined only 63years, arenít we supposed to do something at a highrise fire when everybody else is doing something? Gee we all see flames cap, can we play please, hey there is this book here called SOPs it says we have a job to do cap, YOU ARENĒT SCARED ARE YOU cap????Ē

  3. #23
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    Firewalker: yes I have been a highrise fire or 2, the reason I asked the question of Dal is that he has a great read on things and his insite has always been good. As to the question "why was the operator on the fire floor", different city, different SOP's. Just trying to keep an open mind and learn.
    Do I have all the answers- NO, lots of questions- YES. Have enough in my own backyard to worry about. I'm here to read and get educated. I wasn't there, so that limits how I can get information on what happened.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
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  4. #24
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    Default A Matter of Time

    Facts are facts. And it is a fact that the local is hidding the fact HFD is filled with incompetant firefighters that are over weight. No one wants to talk about the L-28 captain who left JAY BEHIND! Think about it you describe an officer as confused and excited and you know the way out, and then let him crawl away from you. It did not happen, JAY was left. PERIOD!

  5. #25
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    Default New apparatus

    The staffing issue is not about safety. It is about money. I am designing a new apparatus, half buss half quint. This way we can send 20 firefighters to a fire. The local will still blame staffing for problems on the fire ground. HFD is spending 120,000 a day to keep 4 on the truck, times are tuff for everyone, how long can this last? It is about padding peoples pensions. NFPA states it is just as important to manage the personnel you have as it is to have 4 on a rig. Structure fires are down by over 400,000 a year and fierfighter deaths remain constant. The Sr. Captain who wrote the HFD report attempted to give a powerful presentation of lessons learned and the local threatened to put the widow on the front row. Would you want to know if the people you were risking your life with were compantent or would risk danger to bring you out alive so you could go home to your family? Recently at the HFD valor awards they made a hero out of L-28 captain. I am sick about it. You made a hero out of someone who left a well respected captain. Thats who I want to be in a fire with, " Its hot, every man for himself" Staffing, staffing, staffing- it will not help you if you don't know what your doing and you do not bring things like Thermal img. to help you get out. Basic stuff firefighting 101.

  6. #26
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    Don't quite jump on Larry S. yet. It is someone else (Firewalker 1) I believe in the previous number of posts. After some checking around, I believe I know who it is. Maybe a former North Side Pumper Chauffeur?
    Last edited by STATION2; 11-01-2002 at 02:28 PM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  7. #27
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    Twin Cities:
    HFD has a policy that prohibits any ff from entering a potentially hazardous area without PPE. The E/O from E-2 stated he was helping to bring up equipment. Other trucks began arriving at the same time.Other firefighters entered the building with nothing in their hands. It sounds like so much equipment was brought to the fire floor. The fact is not much equipment was brought up, not enoughf to constitute a firefighter entering a potentially hazardous area without gear. With the amount of fire load in the apartment had the door failed the E/O could have been caught in the flashover, "could have". You see, like so many other fires there are many could haves.
    SOP's we die by not following them.

  8. #28
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    Default The truth

    So the truth, we are more concirned about who is sayin what, rather than asking what is being said is factual. Ask your self, looking back would you have done what the supporting crews did?

  9. #29
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    Default theres all ways more to it

    I really didn't want to voice my opinion about this topic it is kind of a taboo subject around the fire house Well at least my thoughts are.

    Station 2 is correct manpower does play a huge roll in this. I am a firm believer that a city the size of Houston should have 5 men on the pumper and 6 on the truck. Of course this will never happen But the problems with Houston as well as Jays death go deeper then anyone wants to admit.. I was there at the fire. I saw first hand the great things done by my brothers as well as the screw ups and yes there were screw ups, but for anyone to say to me that the have never seen **** go wrong at a fire...to me has never been to a fire. What we do on a daily basis amazes me that more don't die. Thats why we train day in day out. I love HFD and am a proud member. I would put our engine crews up against any pumper crew in this country any day of the week. I have fought fire from the northeast to the west to Houston and Houston does in MY Opinion have the best engine company's in town...but the problem is thats where it stops. No body like to admit there's problems with there department, but the first step to fixing problems is to admit that they are there. I believe one of the biggest problems in Houston on the fire ground is truck companies and lack of training. Houston does not know how to run there truck companies and I will argue this point with anyone. I have been to many fires where the truck companies where not used correctly. I was at a fire two nights ago and I was riding first line and I was the one to force entry with a saw...the truck was there had 2 firefighters on it. So manpower was not an issue. Why did this happen? Why do most guys on trucks try to fight fire...it's not there job....lack of training...leadership...and commitment to truck companies is half the problem. I can go on from there.
    There are many problems in the department that the old heads at the union hall don't want to address. Downtown maybe be saying them, but not because they want to fix them, but to make us look bad and place blame. Yes our own Chief rather place blame and kiss up to the mayor then to fix problems that could save not only firefighters lives but the lives of the people we protect. Like I said I was at the fire and walked just about every floor of that building, including the 5th floor. And what I saw tells me two things. 1) Both reports have things we need to look at. 2) No matter what you do in this city. Some things just won't change...
    "DON'T GO IN THERE!!! DON'T YOU KNOW THERE IS A FIRE IN THERE!!!!"

    "YOU'RE KILLING ME ROOK"

  10. #30
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    xxxx(Enter stage left): Larry S. makes an appearance (as expected).

    You think so huh? Why donít you call him at home and if you like I will call you from Houston. Iím sure the webteam can look up my IP and confirm Iím in Houston you can call larry at home and see if he is thereÖ.

    xxx(as expected).

    Him all anyone here is doing now is keeping their traps shut and are no longer defending the pathetic actions of HFD including you a member of HFD. Facts are hard to dispute.

    xxxxxDon't quite jump on Larry S. yet. It is someone else (Firewalker 1) I believe in the previous number of posts. After some checking around, I believe I know who it is. Maybe a former North Side Pumper Chauffeur?

    As hard as the hold the union line mentality is in the HFD after 4 years without a contract and having lost almost 24,000 dollars because the thugs in Union leadership wonít allow parity with PD, their awesome of us left who give a damn and want to see some of these firefighters and officers hang for their incompetence. Staffing didnít kill anyone. A bunch of no good wastes of gravity who only care about retirement not their fellow brothers are knocking off the good firefighters one at a time, 4 deaths in 3 yearsÖ..

    Come on Station2 you for more of the same or you want to see some people hang?? Do you really want these guys in charge of you? Hung out to dry?

    You know Station2, it doesnít matter who is or isnít writing these posts, is it fact or isnít it? Can you defend the actions of your fellow firefighters and officers or canít you? Are part of the cover up of the facts too?

    Should L-28 officer have received a purple heart from the Union last week as a hero for dropping his portable radio and running away from the fire leaving Jay? He didnít even try to call for help leaving Jay to die.

    You think he made a good decision leaving 1/3 of his crew behind Did jay make a big mistake leaving one third of his crew behind too!

    Why was he found cowering in the fetal position near the stairs until another firefighter comes up to him and asks him a question and he magically gets up and walks down five flights of stairs. So what really went on?

  11. #31
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    Firewalker1: Our SOP's on entering the hazard zone and equipment requirements sound very simular (ie. don't leave the apperatus without something in your hand). PPE also needs to worn, and just as important, worn right.
    SOP's we die by not following them.
    Many have died to get them implemented, too...
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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  12. #32
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    Hey Staion2 This Larry Stevens you keep talking about, Didnít he help your volunteer department go from a Class 6 to a Class 2 and your rural area from a Class 9/10 to a Class 2 as well??? And isnít he the one who got us a Class 1 from a Class 3 and took out Class 9 and 10 areas that existed for 90 years and made them a Class 1 as well.

  13. #33
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    HFD838, I agree with you brother with one exception. There are some HFD Truck Co.'s who hit the ground running and do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. On everything else your right.

    Firewalker 1, I never once stated in here that there were not mistakes made. Every fire I go to there are mistakes made by people of all ranks. We learn and implement their lessons the next time. I do believe that there are lessons to be learned from Four Leaf. The point of this thread was manpower. I personally believe that manpower was the biggest factors of all the factors on that morning.
    However, my opinions of who should or should not hang and what companies did well and which ones didn't do well is not something to present to the world. I have more pride in my organization than to air dirty laundry here. You might have well used their names. The facts, as you like to say, are important and need to be shared with others so hopefully this situation will not be replicated again and another fire fighters family devistated. But to "out" them here is irresponsible and unnecessary. In house is one thing, here the facts need to be passed on as I said and let it go from there. As for me contacting Larry S., I just recieved an e-mail from him and I know you are not him. I know alot more than you think about who made up the adhoc internal report writing group. Did Larry S. help my volunteer department? Hell yes he did. As I have said many times over, Larry S. and I have been having debates and disagreements since before HFD heard of him. He knows ISO well and helped us greatly. The nice thing about Larry S. is, when he was helping us it was just that. Helping our organization with little talk of HFD. I appreciate the help he gave us on our ISO rating. And by the way, we are going from a 5 to a 1in the 2 cities we cover, and from a 9/10 to a 2 in the county areas. That will make us the 1st Houston area Class 1 fire department ahead of other volunteer and career departments both large and small. Ain't it great? On the flip side, when Larry S. is in town for his weekly work in Houston, it is just that, working for HFD. I disagree with the downplaying of the manpower issue in the internal report as well as the state fire marshals report. It is as simple as that.
    Last edited by STATION2; 11-01-2002 at 04:19 PM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  14. #34
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    Twin Cities: You are so right about firefighters paying the price for SOP's. Why can't we learn? Like a drug addicted individual we must admit there is a problem befor we can fix the problem.

    To the others: It is sure quiet. The topic is switching to Stevens. It reminds me of when you argue with someone and they start cursing because they have no argument and switch the argument to a personal one. I hate to argue with an unarmed individual. It is to easy. I still have no answere "Would you do what thoes crews did that night"?
    Staffing was brought up at the McDonalds fire and befor that when the police officer was shot and killed. The local ff president went to the police local and asked for their support saying staffing attributed to the death of the police officer. They threw him out. Not a bad idea. Their comment was you"NEVER POLITICIZE THE DEATH OF A FALLEN OFFICER" The union needs to learn and move on to the next issue. The problem is they do not know what that is. Give you a hent "CONTRACT". Check with that north side E/O he might know something about that issue. For the record. Iwould not have left a confused and excited firefighter to find his own way.

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    Station 2 you are right lets take 7's they are one of the best trucks in the city and there are a few more. I have a lot of respect for them and wish other companyís would follow them.

    Firewalker you make a lot of good points as well. To bad downtown didn't spend so much time blaming us and spend more time fixing some of the problems. But as we all know we are to busy fighting among ourselves to take a good hard look at the problems and fix them. In your profile you state that youíre a Sr. Dispatcher. I respect you for taking a job that most people don't want and look down at. But I all so have said that like the chiefs downtown you have forgotten what it's like out on the streets and in the station. I don't know how long you have been at dispatch and am in no ways disrespecting your choice to be there. But if you have any influence with the chiefís downtown then maybe you could have them come spend some time again on the front lines and get back in touch with us and why they are here. So we can start to fix some of the problems that even you have stated.
    "DON'T GO IN THERE!!! DON'T YOU KNOW THERE IS A FIRE IN THERE!!!!"

    "YOU'RE KILLING ME ROOK"

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    As for the McDonalds fire, I was there and staffing WAS a problem. They didn't get a 4 man Truck Co. until the 4-11 and that was Ladder Co. 28. The only way they got a 4th man was because Ladder Co. 28 was listening to the fire, knew there were missing fire fighters and took someone off the Engine Co. when they left on the 4th. The manpower rundown on the original box:

    E-76 - 4
    E-73 - 4
    E-75 - 4
    E-10 - 4
    L-76 - 3
    L-75 - 3
    D-10 - 1

    Thats just the box. The DC (I know him personally and he is an excellant IC) was by himself and expected to handle Strategic Planning for the incident, Accountability, Water Supply, Resource Management, Staging (When it went to a 2-11), etc. But we don't need Chiefs Assistants or whatever you want to call them.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  17. #37
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    This is where I get mad at the manpower issue. Taking away the chiefs e/o and the booster e/o is wrong for so many reason. The other night durning the storm an engine company was screaming for a rescue boat and a booster, but dispatch told them they had no one to drive the booster...but again we don't have a manpower problem do we???? From what I heard they had 6 people trapped in high water. Hope they all made it out.
    "DON'T GO IN THERE!!! DON'T YOU KNOW THERE IS A FIRE IN THERE!!!!"

    "YOU'RE KILLING ME ROOK"

  18. #38
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    SPFD: Have I ever fought a high-rise fire? No, not a "high-rise." But my department protects a Correctional Institution with building ranging from the late 1800s to a 600 inmate facility built in 1990. Since they're very similiar to high-rises with the exception of elevation. Operations are very similiar -- slow down, take a deep breath, assemble the forces and tools you need, move to a forward command & staging area, then begin to move on the fire. These are not buildings we can make a quick escape from if things go south, so you have to make sure your ducks are in a row before entering. You only have one shot at being safe.
    -----
    As for the McDonalds fire, I was there and staffing WAS a problem.
    E-76 - 4
    E-73 - 4
    E-75 - 4
    E-10 - 4
    L-76 - 3
    L-75 - 3
    D-10 - 1

    22 Firefighters and a Chief on the initial alarm and staffing was a problem? How many firefighters does it take to hit a hydrant and stretch a line -- even if you're going inside with a line, it's not like fast food restaurants have the most difficult floor plans to crawl through. Provided you even go in -- I'd hope most of us finding heavy fire in a fast food restaurant at three in the morning would use one engine, one ladder. Hit the hydrant, wait a couple minutes for the a/c to predicatbly come through the truss roof, open up the pipe and hydraulically overhaul. There's nothing in there to save.

    The only possible manpower issue was lack of Command staff. Chief's Aides are important. So is having more than one command level officer even on routine incidents. I don't mind having an aggressive Chief take a forward command, but he best be backed up within minutes by another Chief who establishes an Incident Command with an outside view of the fire.

    -----
    Many, many factors influence what happens. It's a miracle sometimes what can get accomplished, and every department has great companies, great officers, great Chiefs. But sometimes things just plain go to *****. And that's when making sure everything you possibly could have in order is in order so you don't start having failure after failure leading to tragedy.

  19. #39
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    Operations are very similiar -- slow down, take a deep breath, assemble the forces and tools you need, move to a forward command & staging area, then begin to move on the fire.
    Thanks, Dal.
    Hope you don't think I was slamming you with the question, as I posted, your insight is right on target...
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    Default All is quiet

    Well the facts are in and all three reports say the same thing. HFD finally released an internal reoprt, the McDonalds report disappeared, go figure. Will we learn? I am glad to have had the oppertunity to respond to the comments made on this issue. There are many firefighters in HFD that will not say openly but know what happened and have the smarts and know not any one thing kills a firefighter. I hope we all can LIVE and learn.

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