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  1. #1
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    Oct 2002

    Default NIOSH & State Refute IAFF Houston Claims

    Firehouse.com’s own Heather Caspi’s investigative reporting revealed some interesting facts today.

    Last week, IAFF specifically targeted Houston's staffing as a problem in their article, "NIOSH Singles Out Staffing as Cause of Houston Death,"

    This week, While NIOSH ranked staffing equally among 10 other factors in Jahnke's death,

    NIOSH Public Affairs Officer Fred Blosser said they see inadequate staffing as one of 11 equal factors in Jahnke's death. "We don't rank these in order of importance," Blosser said. "We think every factor we mentioned and recommendation we made to address it are important, individually and together to give full perspective to the investigation."


    The State Investigators said today, Fire Marshal's office considered staffing a smaller issue than several other problems they identified. "When it came down to fighting this fire we don't think staffing played that big a role," said spokesman Mark Hanna. "There are other problems we viewed as much more severe once they got inside the building."

    And also said, "There were plenty of firefighters at the fire scene if they had been utilized correctly," said Wayne Smith, director of fire safety inspection and investigation for the Texas State Fire Marshal's office. "We had command not knowing where people were, which floor the fire floor was. They were not operating on SOP with filling air cylinders so firefighters were running out of air."

    The state report also says, "The proper utilization of personnel on the fire scene is as important as adequate staffing. Engineers on apparatus not designated for water supply or aerial ladder evolutions should remain with their officer and other company personnel to provide an additional firefighter."

    SO WAS STAFFING SINGLED OUT? NO! It was one of 11, 27 or 32 findings in the reports.

    The state did say, The Texas State Fire Marshal's report did say that engine and ladder companies should be staffed with a a minimum of four personnel, per NFPA 1710 standards. A fourth firefighter was added in Houston after Jahnke's death.

    Of course there were 4.15 per company on the first alarm and more than 5,17 were on the second alarm per company which meets NFPA 1710 standards.

    NIOSH's report does not mention some of the specific problems described in the HFD's internal report and the Texas State Fire Marshal's report.
    Blosser said NIOSH welcomes contact if anyone has questions about the report.
    He said the reason NIOSH reports often differ from fire department reports is that they serve a different purpose. "What we look at are factors that we see as big contributing factors based on the best investigation we can do," he said. "Other investigations, generally, are undertaken to look at internal administrative practices, operational factors, to look at legal issues for liability, legal responsibility. We don't get into legal issues or liability or the role of individuals," Blosser said.
    Another investigation and report was compiled by the Texas State Fire Marshal's office, to determine how a similar incident could be avoided in the future. "We look at how we can prevent any future loss of life for firefighters," said spokesman Mark Hanna. Like Houston FD officials, Hanna said some of the biggest problems at the incident were a lack of communication and the mistaken use of nearly empty air cylinders.
    Other highlights of the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office report:
    Multiple unrelated radio transmissions took place after Rescue 11's mayday call. Fire Dispatch or Command made no announcement terminating the mayday condition after Rescue 11 extricated themselves from their entrapment.
    Rescue efforts take priority over all unrelated radio transmissions until Dispatch announces the emergency situation has been concluded
    There was no feedback from the fire attack crew on the fifth floor to Incident Command regarding progress in the fire attack and initial search. The first indication of trouble was the call for help from Captain Jahnke.
    Command was not notified as firefighters exited the fifth floor as they ran out of air. Additional firefighters could have been committed to the attack to replace departing firefighters and back up those that remained if Command had been notified.
    The correct location of a high-rise fire should be repeated periodically on the radio for clarity. Companies should understand their assignments and the building floor arrangement.
    The initial dispatch reported that the fire was located on the fifth floor, followed by transmissions from E2 that they had located the fire on the fifth floor. Despite this, several companies were sent to, or on their own initiative, traveled to the wrong floor.
    Ten minutes elapsed from the time of first call to the first fire department unit on the scene. Five minutes of this time elapses between the receipt of the call at 911 to the time fire units are dispatched to the fire 15 . Insurance Services Office (ISO) requires that the call be dispatched within one minute of receiving the call.
    In addition, more than a dozen other recommendations on areas of rapid intervention, ventilation, communications and smoke control were also delivered in the state's report, as general recommendations on these types of incidents.
    NIOSH's 11 recommendations:
    · Fire departments should ensure that the department's high-rise Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are followed and refresher training is provided.
    · Fire departments should ensure that team continuity is maintained.
    · Fire departments should ensure that personnel are in position to maintain an offensive attack.
    · Fire departments should ensure that a lifeline is in place to guide fire fighters to an emergency stairwell.
    · Fire departments should instruct and train fire fighters on initiating emergency traffic (Mayday-Mayday) when they become lost, disoriented, or trapped.
    · Fire departments should ensure that a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) is established and in position.
    · Fire departments should ensure that a backup line is manned and in position to protect exit routes.
    · Fire departments should ensure that adequate numbers of staff are available to immediately respond to emergency incidents.
    · Fire departments should ensure that the Incident Commander (IC) continuously evaluates the present weather conditions (i.e., high winds) during high-rise fire operations.
    · Fire departments should establish and enforce standard operating procedures on the use of thermal imaging cameras for search-and-rescue operations.
    · The authority having jurisdiction shall ensure that the receipt and processing of alarms is completed in a timely manner.


  2. #2
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    Jan 1999


    Firewalker1 are you a Houston firefighter?
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  3. #3
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    Join Date
    May 1999
    Here, There, Everywhere


    E40L35 & others-

    Although I can't be entirely sure there is a good chance Firewalker is probably our good friend LHS*. (aka Larry Stevens) His writing style is almost unmistakeable. If you haven't been around the forums a long time you might not know his past. Well it includes being kicked off the boards for spewing forth insults and other filth. (multiple times under different names mind you)

    The reason he is so involved with this topic is that he is also the one noted in the latest article as the consultant for the City (remember: Larry Stevens) He is NOT a Brother from Houston!

    He formerly has bashed every Department in existance on these forums with the exception of his own. His technique is that of a shotgun attack...he throws so many random acusations and half-truths at you one has no idea where to start as far a refuting any of his claims.
    And when you do nail him on an incorect statement of his he refuses to answer it or change the topic. Or ignores you as he is doing in the case of identifing himself.

    He is a coward and a lacks any integrity whatsoever.

    Which incidentaly makes him the perfect hired gun for the city of Houston.

    He is a very old & bitter. I would call him a has-been but the fact is he is a "Never-Was"!

    E40L35 and others I would offer this advice...ignore him and hopefully he will wilt away. He isn't worth your time.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006


    Until we can verify the identity of certain poster(s) this thread will close.


  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002


    HOUSTON: More IAFF Lies and Half Truths

    xxx Houston Union May Seek No Confidence Vote on Chief

    Again? They’ve already done that once so what is new?? Gee, with this pack of guys what does a vote of no confidence against the fire chief accomplish? It proves to the Mayor the fire chief is in fact doing his job.
    The Union walked away from negotiations in May from the city and hasn’t returned. Could it be the real issue here is poor local union leadership is the reason for this public fight? The HFD members are told they meet with the city monthly but that is not true. So who threw the first stone? The IAFF and local published stories trying to tell everyone what the report said, when in fact no one singled out staffing as the real issue! Caught in another lie, they post another riddled news release!

    xxxx Debate Rages on Over Opinions of LODD Reports

    Opinions or facts? Shall we see if the Union told the truth in this one side press report?

    xxxxx LON SLEPICKA Firehouse.com News

    Who wrote the one sided report? Same folks who did the last one!

    xxx The debate escalated last week after the IAFF specifically targeted Houston's staffing as a problem in their article,NIOSH Singles Out Staffing as Cause of Houston Death; while Houston Fire Chief Chris Connealy and department consultant Larry Stevens maintained that there were many other, more serious problems at the incident.
    There were many other factors, HFD members, firehouse.com forum readers, The Texas State fire marshal says there are 32, The city report says 27 and NIOSH 11. So do we believe the Union trying to cover their members tails or three independent sources?

    xxxx In a statement Friday released by IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger and Houston Fire Fighters Local 341 President Steve Williams, the union responded saying, “We respectfully submit that the lack of leadership and forthrightness by the Fire Chief on accepting responsibility for this tragic fire leave us no option than to suggest strongly that it is time for new fire department leadership in Houston. The Fire Chief’s failure to lead the department jeopardizes the safety of Houston fire fighters and the citizens they protect.

    Leadership? That is a two sided sword. The fire chief authorized the city report that in fact does mention where the responsibilities lie, item by item. The Union on the other hands will not accept responsibility of its members actions in regard to the LODD. So, the Union says off the chief for not saying it was just staffing. Is the Union and the IAFF suggesting that if the fire chief had not asked NIOSH and the State to review the events of that day and if the city had not published a report that that would be leadership? What they are really looking for and as you’ll read later are asking for is someone to sweep these reports under the rug?
    Forthrightness? So who is forthright the FD who published a report showing all sides of the story or the Union who said it was staffing only? The Fire Chief authorized as did the Mayor the release of the reports. The chief had the State and NIOSH come in and publish independent reports. Guess what? They essentially say the same thing that there are between 11 to 32 factors in the event in question. The Union cannot support their case or headlines that staffing was singled out by NIOSH. Even NIOSH says that is not true!

    xxxx As a result, the membership of Local 341 voted Thursday night to proceed with a formal process to hold a vote of no confidence in Houston Fire Chief Chris Connealy. The motion was made by members of District 28 - B Shift - who were members of the companies that were first on the scene of the Four Leaf Fire. B Shift was the late Captain Jahnke’s shift.
    Of course that shift doesn’t want the world to keep asking questions why the assigned RIT crew wasn’t where they were supposed to be. Why the staging floor crew never made their assignment. Why 30% of the first two crews didn’t bother to participate. Why 3 or the four members on the fire floor started with really low air pressures in their bottles(of course they will tell you HFD rules say bottles must be filled if they fall below 3000 psi, does that let off E-2 crew with an air wagon in their station, with 150 spare bottles, or not to put full bottles in their packs…NO, it is just an excuse for not paying attention). Why they didn’t use 60 minutes bottles on a confirmed visible working high rise fire. Why crews didn’t bring spare bottles. Of course they don’t want the world to know they had guys in street clothes on the fire floor. Of course they don’t want anyone to know they don’t even know how to turn their portable radios on the right channel! Why guys forget their thermal imagers.
    The biggest question posed in the report, was why do two Captains who state Jay was just 10 feet away low on air and confused, not help him out of the fire floor, but instead leave him? Of course no one wants to answer these questions.
    Sure throw the chief out! It was his fault! He was chief for 5 months prior to the fire.

    xxxx Local 341 members also voted to take the position that the Houston Fire Department report on the fire is not valid and presents a biased, untruthful, and politicized view of the incident,
    Kinda makes you wonder why after 13 months they have not published the other side of the story doesn’t it? The first three reports are based upon, video, interviews of Union members and radio time lines all come to the same conclusion.
    Xxxx and that the local will take appropriate action to prevent the presentation of this report in its entirety or in a condensed form in any forum.
    Can you say sweep it under the rug forever???? Professionals don’t run from their mistakes, they face up to them. When Phoenix FD cut into a tank full of explosive fuel and had an LODD, did they sweep it under the rug, or use it as a forum to tell the world their mistake so the rest of the service would not repeat the same actions? They told the world. Houston Professional firefighters what are you afraid of?

    IAFF Statement in Response to the Four Leaf Tower Fire


    xxx Recent statements by Houston Fire Chief Chris Connealy and his spokesman on the federal report on the October2001 Four Leaf Tower fire raise further concerns about the veracity and completeness of the Houston Fire Department’s original report on the death of Fire Captain Jay Jahnke. Their comments and actions also raise serious doubts about the Fire Chief’s ability to continue to lead and manage the fire department.
    It is disturbing that the Houston Fire Department report specifically ruled out short staffing as a factor in Captain Jahnke’s death
    Excuse me? It is clearly in the report! Several times! Have you read the report?
    Nice story but let’s read from the Houston Internal report, it is if full on the bottom of this post:

    Discussion: The NFPA recommends a minimum of four firefighters on each engine and ladder company responding to a fire. See National Fire Protection Association Codes and Standards, Appendix A-6-4.1. This standard is discretionary and is not required by Texas or federal law. Nevertheless, the Department will continue to comply with this standard. At A-6-4.4, the NFPA Appendix also states:
    The assembling of four members for the initial fire attack can be accomplished in many ways. The fire department should determine the manner in which they plan to assemble members in their response plan. The four members assembled for the initial firefighting operations can include an officer, chief officer or any combination of members arriving separately at the incident. [Emphasis added.]

    At the incident in question, the initial attack team consisted of two members from E-2 and L-28. The four members of E-3 were assigned as backup for the fire floor. A total of eight members were assigned for the initial attack. At the time of the first call for help, there were fifty-five firefighters on the fire ground. The number of firefighters available for initial attack was not a factor. Communication or “miscommunication” affected the utilization of firefighters during the incident in question.

    The city report was quite clear. With 55 guys on scene and only 50% of the assigned crews completing their assignments that utilization of firefighters not lack of firefighters was the big issue.

    Think about it, only 4 of the first 12 firefighters filled their assigned roles, yeah 33%. Plus, the company officers decided not to use 1/3 of their own crews. They were on scene, they felt attack with 2 was preferred over attack with three on their crews. No one forced the company officers not to use their entire crews. They made that choice.

    So, let’s say for a moment that the firefighters used full bottles or 60’s, does anyone die in this fire? Remember, 5 minutes into the attack, 5 minutes on air 2 guys are out of air.

    If 12 guys show up ready to do their job, is their really a staffing problem?

    The fact the crews don’t keep command up to date and command doesn’t request updates, is that a staffing issue? 3 of the first 6 engines don’t do what they are told and don’t tell anyone in charge they aren’t doing their assignments.

    With 55 guys on scene an either 2 or 4 on the fire floor, wouldn’t you need 110 onscene to get 4 to 8 on the fire floor is the utilization rate of that event stays constant? To get the assigned and required 12 on the fire floor would require 165 to 330 firefighters onscene. If 50% of the crews don’t do what they are assigned as happened in this fire, 330 guys onscene might not insure 12 on the fire floor.
    …..and only after that premise was contradicted last month by the federal NIOSH report did the Fire Chief and his representative admit that staffing was indeed a factor in that tragedy.
    I wonder with all these quotes, why the Union can’t post the citation the representative and the chief made? Is there one?
    Where did NIOSH contradict the HFD report? NIOSH said, “ensure that adequate numbers of staff are available to immediately respond to emergency incidents”
    Gee, 55 guys onscene, is that an adequate number? 179 were onscene before anyone attacked the fire with water, is that Adequate? NFPA 1710 says crews can meet on the scene and form up, they did that at Four leaf Towers in fact E-3 did and the officer lost half his crew somehow.
    Come on Union President and IAFF President, doesn’t the Union contract Houston local last signed have a limit of 4 members per engine and ladder? Yes! Weren’t their 4.17 members per company on first alarm and more that 5 on 2nd? Doesn’t that meet and exceed NFPA 1710? Yes! So NIOSH said, “make sure adequate staff are available”. They were!
    xxxx And if staffing was not a factor in the Four Leaf Tower tragedy,
    Excuse me? It is clearly in the report! Several times! Have you read the report?
    You’ll note all the reports ask for four per rig or assemble onscene, to be compliant to NFPA standards. Which were not state law in Texas at the time. HFD met that at the FLT fire. Did the Union note the country was at war? That a 6 year plan was budgeted. That 40 days earlier a consultant was brought in for the city who found a funding source to pay for the 4th firefighters overtime on all apparatus? He also found the bucks to handle the 50 million needed a year for a new contract with a 16% raise for all Union members.
    xxxx why did the mayor increase firefighter staffing from three to four within several days of that fire and Jahnke’s death?
    The Houston Mayor made it quite clear in his press release and on all Houston TV stations. Here is what he said, “to increase Houston Fire Department staffing and provide additional funding for overtime to work toward the national standard of four firefighters per truck.” That 6 year plan that was in effect before the fire. Also, he was being as political as his HFD Union, you were politicizing Jay’s death for raises, for staffing and to support your losing candidate and so did the Mayor. He won, so I guess he did a better job than you. Of course you’all said once he was in office he would cut staffing again, but of course he did not! You’all still don’t have parity with the cops because you won’t sit at the table.
    Seeing as how you asked the question, how did the mayor know what caused the death of Jay if no reports had been completed at that time? Like you said a couple days later? He didn’t know how reckless members of the Union had been that day!
    What is really amazing was how the International UNION the IAFF whined when he gave you a 4th guy on all rigs and a 6500 to 8000 dollars per firefighter raise. Here I’ll repeat your whine:
    “Statement of Harold A. Schaitberger, General President International Association of Fire Fighters
    Houston, Texas, Press Conference
    I am here today to join with the Houston Fire Fighters Association and President Stevie Williams in their continuing efforts to convince Mayor Lee Brown to take some meaningful action to permanently correct seriously deficient firefighter staffing levels that jeopardize the lives of Houston’s citizens and its firefighters.
    But first, I want to offer my personal condolences and the condolences of the 245,000 members of the International Association of Fire Fighters to Mrs. Jahnke and the entire Jahnke family over the loss of her husband, their loved one, and our firefighter brother. It took a lot of courage and conviction for Mrs. Jahnke to stand up at her husband’s funeral and call for the city to fully staff its fire department. I applaud her and admire her for having the strength and the resolve to look beyond her terrible personal ordeal and seek to protect the safety of Houston’s citizens and its firefighters. I find the timing of Mayor Brown’s announcement to be outrageous and downright offensive. Considering that fire fighter staffing has been a critical issue for several years here in Houston, Mayor Brown should have shown respect and dignity for the loss suffered by the Jahnke family before issuing his hastily-prepared plan only hours after Captain Jay Jahnke was laid to rest.
    Mayor Brown’s plan is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to cover his political *** and get past Election Day. Even though Brown’s proposal has the appearance of being a step in the right direction, and I wish the Houston firefighters could truly claim victory on behalf of the citizens of this great city, I fear the plan will be short-lived. Once the election has passed and the furor raised by Mrs. Jahnke courageous statement subsides, I suspect, given the mayor’s track record on this issue, that the overtime funds earmarked to fully staff the fire department will dry up and the plan will soon be forgotten. Then Houston firefighters and Houston citizens will again be placed in jeopardy.
    We saw the tragic results of inadequate staffing last Saturday in that high-rise fire in the Galleria area. We saw it when firefighters Lewis Mayo and Kimberly Ann Smith were killed a year-and-a-half ago. We’ve seen it over the last four years in Houston with more than 200 civilian fire deaths. And I have seen short staffing kill firefighters in Worcester, Massachusetts; Chesapeake, Virginia; Stockton, California; Lexington, Kentucky; Washington, D.C., and countless other cities over the last decade.
    The report issued by the federal National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) on the February 2000 fire that killed Houston firefighters Smith and Mayo listed inadequate staffing as the principal reason for their deaths, yet no action was taken. The IAFF also believes that the federal NIOSH investigation into the line of duty death of Captain Jahnke will also pinpoint staffing as the principal cause of this most recent tragedy to strike the Houston firefighters.
    The mayor’s plan is a band-aid approach to resolving the long-standing staffing problem. Quite frankly, it has all the trappings of a politically motivated shell game. If he was truly serious about increasing staffing, he would get the money needed to hire new firefighters by reevaluating priorities in the city. He would hire new recruits at an accelerated pace and he would utilize Houston area colleges, as well as the fire training academy, to train those firefighters. Experience has shown that backfilling vacant positions with overtime is merely a stopgap measure that is ultimately doomed to failure.
    If a comprehensive program to enhance firefighter staffing in Houston costs $35 million or more, so be it. How much was Captain Jahnke’s life worth? How about the lives of firefighters Mayo and Smith? What was the value of the lives of the more than 200 civilians who died in fires during Mayor Brown’s tenure in office? I say $35 million, or even $50 million is a small price to pay to save the lives of Houston’s citizens and its dedicated firefighters.
    The citizens of Houston have been kept in the dark about the most serious case of short staffing in any large city in this nation. We are talking about the fourth largest city in America. A city of this size, with many high-rise buildings, and with a substantial petrochemical industry, should really be staffed at five or even six firefighters per apparatus like New York, Chicago, and other comparable large cities. Dallas has had a staffing level of four firefighters for years. The international industrial standard for fire department deployment and staffing, passed this summer, calls for a minimum of four firefighters per apparatus, and recommends five or six in high density, high hazard areas. Every study conducted over the last several decades has pointed to four firefighters as the absolute minimum staffing level required for fire apparatus in order to be effective and in order to keep firefighters as safe as possible.
    Yet, the fact remains that Mayor Brown ignored these studies, ignored the pleas of his city’s firefighters, and ignored the federal study that pinpointed short staffing as the cause of two firefighter deaths. He only came forward with a plan, of sorts, when he was forced into a corner, three weeks before the election, by a grieving, but strong and brave, widow.
    I promise you this. The IAFF will stand with Stevie Williams and the members of the Houston Fire Fighters Association for as long as it takes. No matter what happens on Election Day, we are going to hold the next mayor’s feet to the fire to insure that this city has adequate staffing to protect its citizens. And we will hold the mayor personally accountable for every fire death that occurs in Houston when there are not enough firefighters on the scene to do their job properly and safely. “

    Unfortunately, that response from the UNION said staffing killed fire fighers at McDonalds. 27 on scene, another staffing is eh? Not really NIOSH made double digit recommendations there as well. Francis Brannigan said, it best, “you don’t belong on or under a heavily involved truss space.” Good ting there weren’t more guys onscene, they might be dead too! That was a fire command simply need to decide interior or exterior. Command had heavy involvement in a McDonalds truss area at 2 in the morning. The only possible life hazard were firefighters. A defensive attack should have been selected and wasn’t. Command not staffing killed those two firefighters.

    xxxxWhat is even more disturbing --following the release of the federal NIOSH report and charges by the union that the Houston Fire Department report was a whitewash -- are the latest allegations by the Fire Chief and his spokesman that fire ground operations at that high-rise fire were “out of whack” and “every fire fighter at the scene screwed up big time.”
    If what the chief alleges is true, why was this very serious issue of fire ground mismanagement not included in the original Houston Fire Department report?
    Excuse me? It is clearly in the report! Several times! Have you read the report?
    You know, you are assigned to back up the fire crew, you shouldn’t be rescuing a dog! When you know a guy is down, you ought to brig him down with you even though you ARE NOT having an air supply problem. If your crew is assigned to RIT how about doing your assignment? Id you are to set up a resource sector like two crews in this event, why not do it?
    Do those events sound out of whack or like firefighters screwed up?
    See the report for recommendation 2, “Benchmark updates must be given throughout the incident. If for any reason the assignment cannot be carried out, the IC must be notified. Accountability on the fire ground is paramount to the success and safety of all responding members.” So for example your crew was assigned to set up staging supplies and you decide to stay in the cab of your engine and not get wet in the rain, you should let command know. Or if you are assigned RIT, you need to tell command you in front of the building and can’t find half your guys. If you are lobby sector, you shouldn’t tell command crews are where they are supposed to be when in fact they are outside. You know, stuff lie that!
    Do those events sound out of whack or like firefighters screwed up? Or are they just the normal way of doing the job?
    Further it says“. Crews should stay together. “
    You know, like dang can’t find half my crew, or the first two rigs forgetting to bring 1/3 of their crews.
    Do those events sound out of whack or like firefighters screwed up? Or are they just the normal way of doing the job?
    The report says, “Under the Department guidelines, the elevators at the Four Leaf Tower should not have been utilized by firefighters. “
    Dang who didn’t use the elevator on that fire would be easier to list than who did!
    The report states: “The fifth engine company should become the initial RIT. See 6.01 F of the Highrise Firefighting Guideline. During the incident in question, E-11 was the fifth engine RIT was never created. The availability of manpower was not an issue in determining whether a RIT should have been created during the incident in question.”
    So where were they? Sitting in the cab of the fire truck? They had 11 minutes from the time they arrived to complete the same assignment others had accomplished in less than 6 minutes.
    It goes on to say: “. The independent actions of firefighters outside of the safe operating procedures of the Department nearly cost them their lives.”
    Did you know there were so many firefighters onscene that firefighters who had run out of air couldn’t get into the stairwells to escape because so many firemen were blocking the doors swing.
    And it says: “You know, there were 270 radios assigned to companies so every member on the fire ground would have a radio. During the incident, two firefighters left the fire floor without notifying command that only two firefighters remained on the fire floor and they were without back up. “
    You’d think company officers would no you don’t put your radio down and walk away from it, or would put it on a channel where they actually would hear radio traffic, or would give updates or inform command someone was down or lost, wouldn’t you?
    And it says:
    Of course I cold go on forever with what te report really says that the UNION and the IAFF says isn’t in there! You know, if the IAFF and the HFD Union would read the report they would clearly see the report addresses fire ground, sector officer and company officer management issues quite clearly.
    Xxxx How can the citizens of Houston, the City Council, or Houston Professional Fire Fighters Local 341 be expected to accept the Houston Fire Department report when the Fire Chief and the consultant who wrote the report are now contradicting their own conclusions?
    Once again, we are doing a great job of contradicting the Union claims. Please show us the citation where the Fire Chief or Consultant contradicted themselves. Every response you are getting are supported from the reports!

    xxx And if every fire fighter on the scene that night was at fault and fire ground operations were chaotic and “out of whack,” as the Fire Chief and his representative allege,
    It was, three reports give numerous examples to support those statements!
    Xxx the real question here is whether the Fire Chief is capable of leading the Houston Fire Department and making the right command decisions to provide Houston fire fighters with proper staffing and training to deal with the magnitude and complexity of high-rise fires.
    No the real questioniswhether the Union membership, leadership and IAFF will finally admit they screwed the pouched on this fire ground operation and will stop looking for a scapegoat in staffing, the chief or anything else and step up to the plate and expect their members to operate professionally!

    xxx Decisions on incident command, training, deployment, and overall fire ground operations are the responsibility of the Fire Chief and his command staff,
    Well the chief had been in office 5 months! The command staff, company officers and firefighters for decades.
    xxx but he and his spokesman have tried to pass the buck on to the individual fire fighters who responded to that fire.
    Excuse me? It is clearly in the report! Several times! Have you read the report?
    I think youll see no buck was passed at all. While the Union was saying NIOSH singled out staffing, which it did not, the reports identify all the reasons.
    It was the IAFF and the HFD Unio who decided to discuss all of this publicly for political gain to try and gather a contract and pass the blame. The HFD is quite clear in its reply, IT WASN’T JUST STAFFING!
    XXX Who was in charge of the fire department response to that fire?
    Excuse me? It is clearly in the report! Several times! Have you read the report?
    Are you telling us you don’t know? The first in company officer who called for the 2nd alarm and gave the condition report. Jay to be exact. He transferred command to the command staff.

    xxx In attempting to minimize the NIOSH report’s recommendation on staffing, the Fire Chief and his spokesman have compromised the Houston Fire Department’s credibility.
    Well, actually, the Union decided to take their case nationally and air it in the press. Unfortunately, there was a need to respond with the bare naked facts. If you run a clean ship there isn’t anything to point at! All three reports were always available to the public.
    The Union figured no one would dare respond. I guess you guessed wrong!
    Xxx Last week, they argued that 50 fire fighters were on the scene of that fire,
    No that was actually published in all three reports weeks and months ago.
    xxxxbut they don’t point out how few fire fighters, in understaffed rigs,
    Excuse me? It is clearly in the report! Several times! Have you read the report?
    According to all the reports the rigs all met NFPA 1710 provisions. Most of the rigs left their stations leaving 2 to 4 guys behind a sleep on a confirmed working structure fire. That was a conscious decision.
    Xxxx arrived during the critical first minutes after units were dispatched to the scene.
    So are you saying in those first few critical minutes that it E-2 and L-28 would have had one more guy per rig with air bottles that were 2/3rd full it would have made a difference?
    Is that what you are saying? After all they are the only two rigs to follow SOP and to make the fire floor. So two more guys and the come out alive?
    Well heck, they had two more per company, and chose not to use them! So how can that be? How can you question the highly trained Union Captains and the decisions they made that day. They obviously didn’t think staffing was important or they wouldn’t have not taken their whole crew with them, or sent members of their crew out. Would they? They were there, they chose not to use their full crew. How do you know the two extra guys would not have worn street clothes too? Or stayed with the truck? The backup rig had 4, they lost half their members and never got where they were supposed to be! So if there were two more guys everything goes well?
    They had the guys, they chose not to use them! NFPA 1710 says that rigs do not have to have four on them, L-28 arrived with two certified firefighters on their ambulance. They chose to leave them behind. So, with a possibility of 5 on their company, they made the fire floor with just 2! You se, that is why NIOSH the State and HFD reports don’t buy the staffing issue! There wasn’t one!

    xxx They also ignored the fact that it took more than five minutes from the time the initial call about the fire was received by 911 for the first fire companies to be dispatched to the scene.
    Excuse me? It is clearly in the report! Several times! Have you read the report?
    It says, “RECOMMENDATION #20: THE DEPARTMENT SHOULD CONTINUE TO IMPROVE ITS COMMUNICATION DIVISION. And On Saturday, October 13, 2001 at 04:43:36, an initial call from Four Leaf Towers was received by the Houston City Neutral (911). At 04:43:47 At 04:48:48 the appropriate stations were alerted. “
    So the report doesn’t say what it says eh?????
    xxxx And they failed to point out that the Houston Fire Department at that time was in the process of replacing highly-trained uniformed dispatchers with civilians, despite the protestations of the fire fighters union.
    Could it be the facts are the facts and firefighter was responsible for happened in dispatch? YES!

    xxxAlso ignored was the fact that the problems with establishing Rapid Intervention Teams
    Please tell us what that was? Was it using the elevator when other crews took stairs? Was it failure to listen to your assignment? Was it having your radio on the wrong channel? Was it losing half of your crew? Was it because they were standing outside the building? Was it failure to ask command what was going on? Was it because they were saving a dog? Was it because they were walking people down the stairs instead of doing there assigned duty. Was it walking away from the guy who needed help? Was it the fact they never asked anyone on the fire floor what’s up?
    Yeah these all sound like staffing issues! Or are they personnel responsibility and accountability issues? Yeah must be the second one!
    Xxx and the staffing and response times for the Four Leaf Tower fire don’t come close to meeting the criteria set out in NFPA 1710, the international standard for fire department operations and deployment.
    Really? Prove it!
    Xxx The location of the Four Leaf Tower fire and the fact that it was a high-rise fire would place it in the standard’s “high hazard” category and require substantial staffing and fire ground resources, as noted in the NIOSH report.
    True or false. Command can assemble crews onscene to make up crews of 4 or 5 or 6 per NFPA 1710? TRUE! Did you all bother to do it? Yes, ONCE!
    It is pretty hard to say you don’t have enough guys when you leave 17 guys behind asleep at the fire station isn’t it? When you leave behind 1/3 to 1/2 of your crew on the ground level! When 50% of the engines don’t do their assignments!
    With only two fire departments in the U.S. running 5 or 6 per company, why should Houston? Your own crews onscene had the choice of more people in there crews and didn’t think they needed more people, why do you?
    Sure more is sometimes better, but not when they are so poorly utilized!

    xxxx It is obvious from the omissions in the Houston Fire Department report and in the subsequent comments by the Fire Chief and his spokesman that the Houston Fire Department report was more than a whitewash.
    The report clearly says the FD will continue to follow NFPA 1701 and had the ability to do it that day. If the company officers won’t use their entire crews, that is company officer and command officer issue. The guys were there.
    Looks like your news report is full of holes!
    Xxx It was a deliberate attempt to cover up serious deficiencies -- including deficiencies in dispatch, staffing, training, deployment, and operations -- that are the responsibility and purview of the Fire Chief and his command staff.
    All were called out by name in all three reports! Are you sure you read any of them?

    xxxx We respectfully submit that the lack of leadership and forthrightness by the Fire Chief on accepting responsibility for this tragic fire leave us no option than to suggest strongly that it is time for new fire department leadership in Houston. The Fire Chief’s failure to lead the department jeopardizes the safety of Houston fire fighters and the citizens they protect.
    I respectfully submit, the Union has been trying to cover up the reasons for Jay’s death and when they went public trying to blame it on staffing, they got caught! Yes caught! The reports are quite clear and were allowed to be published and posted nationally by the Mayor and Fire Chief. If you don’t like what is being said publicly, then don’t take your fight publicly! Every time you bring up a charge it will be answered and referenced. Most of what you wrote again is half truths and lies!

    xxxxx Local 341 members also voted to take the position that the Houston Fire Department report on the fire is not valid and presents a biased, untruthful, and politicized view of the incident,
    We all look forward to your report explaining why:
    Guys don’t wear gear,
    Why a safety is clearly given the correct fire floor and tells the back up crew E-3 it is on the 3rd floor “ A SAFETY OFFICER!”,
    Don’t bother to fill their air bottles,
    Won’t use department supplied equipment,
    Walk away from down firefighters,
    Why 179 guys have to be to be on scene to apply water to a fire,
    Why the assigned RIT crew wasn’t where they were supposed to be,
    Why the staging floor crew never made their assignment.
    Why 30% of the first two crews didn’t bother to participate.
    Why you left 17 guys in bed?
    Why company officers lost half their crews.
    Why crews didn’t use department supplied 60 minutes bottles on a confirmed visible working high rise fire.
    Why crews didn’t bring spare bottles up.
    Why guys in street clothes are on the fire floor.
    Why radios were on the wrong channel.
    Why guys forget their thermal imagers.
    Why members leave their radios behind.
    Why when volunteers fighting fires in the city of Houston die in the line of duty don’t get their name on the LODD statue, it should be an interesting read!
    xxx and that the local will take appropriate action to prevent the presentation of this report in its entirety or in a condensed form in any forum.
    A little late isn’t it after 6000 people have read this n firehouse.com! Who knows how many have downloaded their own copy! Sure sweep it under the rug, say it didn’t happen. Oh hey, you never bother to reply, what does Jays family think about E-3 and L-28’s Captains? What are their thoughts on them leaving Jay behind? Can you handle the truth?

  6. #6
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    You still haven't answered the question....

    Are you a Houston Firefighter?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  7. #7
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    Default Does it matter?

    Again as I have seen in other postings everyone is more concerned with who is posting what, But not is the truth being posted. You or no one else can refute what has been posted. Who I am is your worst night mare, "THE TRUTH" !

    Let me see if I understand what is going on here. So, we have a Chief who has been in office, for 5 months, a bad fire occurs and the Chief has his staff interview everyone involved and puts it out in the form of a report. He also has the State and NIOSH do independent reports.

    The Union decides it is time to politicize the death of a firefighter. Goes to the IAFF who doesn’t like what the State or the City say so they put out a press release lying that says “NIOSH singles out staffing”. NIOSH comes back and says we didn’t say that! The state says we didn’t either and the Fire Chiefs says HFD’s report did not say that either.

    All three reports and a consultant say, there were a multitude of operational issues. The Union doesn’t like the public discussion on the opening page of FHdotcom or on their forums. FH shuts down all the threads and locks out the statements of the side that is contrary to the Union position. Lots of direct questions were answered and supported with facts. The Union chooses to ignore all the questions asked of it and its members.

    Instead of speaking to the facts, they want to hide the report, ask the Mayor to off the chief, and say that it was totally staffing!

    You think that someone in the IAFF would say, we screwed up, yeah we made lots of mistakes and we are going to work with the city and fix these things so no one else dies. The city by releasing a report came clean telling the whole truth of what happened and supported the case with three independent reviews. Nope, kill the messengers, hide the reports, it never happened! Why doesn’t the Union write a report telling the world where their members lied to all the investigators and tell us what really happened?

    Surely their members did not go to the fire floor in street clothes, didn’t really cut their own staffing by 33%, didn’t have 50% of their crews not do their assignments and I bet they didn’t really leave their own guy behind on purpose, did they?

    You want to know what is wrong with the fire service? No one wants to take responsibility for their actions. The city admitted the truth, will the Union and the IAFF???

    Now don't get personal. The web master is watching. If you have anything to add with any truth to it or would like me to stop tossing nuclear boms which you can not deffend against get on down the road. The facts are the facts. As for the vote of no confidance for the fire chief, it will most likely get the fire chief a raise. I would if I were the mayor. We are comming out of the wood work to state the truth so other firefighters can learn. You started this and as it was put so eloquently, you are way out of your league.

  8. #8
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    Default Sun Zu

    I am finnished here. My work is done. I only wish there were more challenging questions to respond to. Watching this from the begining there was only one side who made this topic personal. Time heals everything. Firefighters will learn from this or just make the same mistakes. Look at the NIOSH report from McDonalds and Four Leaf and pull other LODD reports it is amazing the similarities. This has got to stop. The point was made and the only question to be asked is not who is this, but rather how can we stop LODD's!.

  9. #9
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    As a matter of fact..it does matter!

    You answered the question...

    You are not a firefighter.

    Who knows what the hell you are?

    Oh yeah...our worst nightmare
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  10. #10
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    Here, There, Everywhere


    Truer words have never been spoken Captain Gonzo, well said.

    FTM (you know who you are)-PTB

  11. #11
    Disillusioned Subscriber Steamer's Avatar
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    I thought solicitation for purposes of prostitution was illegal.
    Steve Gallagher
    "I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

  12. #12
    Forum Member BCmdepas3280's Avatar
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    What the heck was his malfuction !!
    IACOJ Membership 2002

    Mike IAFF

    The beatings will continue until the morale improves

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    I am finnished here. My work is done. I only wish there were more challenging questions to respond to.
    Aside from being relieved that we are done with you again......chew on this one stumpy....

    All of your wordy, overstated, no one can argue with with because my point has been lost in 10,000 word answers will mean nothing here to anyone until you step and indentify yourself....period, end of story.

    So go forth and spew, change your name a couple more times, fail to address any issues, and repeat your mantra over and over.

    what does Jays family think about E-3 and L-28’s Captains? What are their thoughts on them leaving Jay behind? Can you handle the truth?
    Hmmmm...what would Jay's family think about an ambulance chaser with all the answers that continuely rips apart a department based on his over inflated opinion of himself?

    More true than BS there Gonzo!

    So noholds...or Larry, or whomever.......step up and speak like a man...with your identity visible.......or crawl back to the rock you came from...either way.


    So, how many times can a banned user come back? How many Larry's are there?

  14. #14
    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    Oct 1999
    Why? It's not like you're going to visit me! But I'm near Waco, Texas


    Episode 2,056,126,981
    Attack of the Clones again....
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
    IACOJ Attack

    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

  15. #15
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    I believe that the webteam had closed this thread until they confirmed that Firewalker wasn't Larry.

  16. #16
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    Thumbs down

    Firewalker1 and noholdsbared are surely the same person. Noholds registered yesterday 11-09-02 from and requested all email to him be blocked. If this guy wanted to engage in a meaningful debate maybe we could have learned something or nothing at all. This only supports the unions claim of the City report being Whitewash! Spinless cowards really bother me.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Richmond, VA

    Default It Lives!

    I woulda' swore this thread died...and like the good LadyCapn stated- the webteam,I am sure,could not confirm this bonehead was indeed the infamous Larry "Lard*****" Stevens. If it smells like it, looks like it, and talks like it...Well y'all know...


    Be Safe!

    "Well done is better than well said" - B. Franklin

  18. #18
    Junior Member
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    Nov 2002


    I thought there was a debate going on. Some choose to bash. I thought this was a free country. You want to bash anyone who has a different opinion than you. If I aggree that staffing could have changed the outcome would you agree that the other untruths could have changed the outcome? Those of you who are from HFD you talk about standing up and being a man, you tell the fire chief what you are saying here. Are you sure he is not watching? I would never ask anyone to expose who they are. Everyone has the right to have their say, some of us are out matched and get mad. One last question how many union executive members or presidents have been fire chief or assistants in HFD?

  19. #19
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Feb 2001
    Dauphin County, PA


    Has anyone ever said that staffing was the ONLY reason for this tragedy? No, because it wasn't. Did it affect the outcome? Absolutely. So, what is the issue, and w/ whom are you arguing, noholdsbaird / firewalker1?

    Stay Safe

  20. #20
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
    Pt. Beach, NJ


    My guess would be that he feels even if they put 6 guys on every engine and 8 guys on every truck, they would still make the same mistakes, just more guys making them. At least, that's my take on his arguement.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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