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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Columbus, OH engine makes thirty mile run.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Four firefighters took a city fire truck
    more than 30 miles to help put out a fire at a colleague's house.
    Deputy Fire Chief Charles Bardocz said he stands behind his
    decision to take the truck from a downtown fire station ranked as
    one of the nation's busiest to Millersport in rural Fairfield
    County.
    The truck's presence on Jan. 18 wasn't enough to save the home
    of Columbus firefighter Victor Runkle. Fairfield County Sheriff
    Dave Phelan said the building was a total loss.
    "Firefighters risk their lives for complete strangers,"
    Bardocz said. "One of the things that gives them the latitude to
    do that is they would have their brother and sister firefighters
    back them up if they need."
    A neighbor called Runkle telling him of the fire, and the
    29-year veteran was allowed to leave work.
    Bardocz said he decided to send the engine from city Fire
    Station 2 because Runkle works there and there is a second engine.
    No other runs were delayed, he said.
    Fire Chief Ned Pettus declined to comment until he could talk
    with Bardocz or his supervisor, Warren Cox.
    Fire officials were unable to say how many times firefighters
    have been assisted this way. Bardocz said it was a "unique
    situation."
    "I'm a little surprised that this story has taken a negative
    turn," he said. "I'm responsible. I'll take whatever comes from
    it. It's good for morale in the division. It was good for him."

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    Good for morale? What happened to other mutual aid assistance?
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  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber gordoffemt's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I would guess that the Deputy Chief who sent the engine knew that their response was not going to significantly impact the outcome of the incident. Knowing that it was going to be a traumatic situation for his firefighter, he sent a crew to support their brother in a difficult time. I'm sure the FF involved was very greatful to see his buddies show up to offer whatever assistance was needed. According to the article, no other responses were affected. I don't see a big deal here.

    I'm glad to see the DC stand up for his actions and take the accountability for whatever happens as a result of his decision. Personal accountability is something that is disappearing form this entire country.

    I'd also be willing to bet that Deputy Chief Bardocz is well respected by the men and women in his command. No harm, no foul.
    Lt. D. Gordon
    Greendale Fire Department
    Greendale, IN

  3. #3
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    Helluva good call that chief made. I have no problem at all with him doing that for his subordinates.

    --spud--

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber Halligan84's Avatar
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    Default

    Seems kinda odd to take an engine 30 miles out of your city let alone first due area for morale. I wonder how his Chief enjoyed answering those questions?

  5. #5
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    I'm with Halligan. The engine could not possibly have made any impact on the fire. But, you could give the guys who worked with the victim time off, and when their spots were covered, send them in their POV's or a department vehicle to the home for support. Sending a $300,000 engine 30 miles out of the city id irresponsible. But it sureis nice he is taking responsibility for it. You don't often see that.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    I'm going to toss in my 2 cents worth so take it for what it's worth (about 2 cents).

    I am not familiar with the geographical size of the City of Columbus nor the outlying area (sp00k where are ya ?? ), as such I can/will not make a issue out of the distance (30 miles), but rather out of leaving your coverage area and the (possible) resultant loss of coverage & city policy on leaving your coverage area.

    I live & serve in the 7th largest county in VA (at just over 692 sq miles). This is protected by 10 Jurisdictional and 3 Non Jurisdictional FD's. Here we could make a 30 mile run and still be in our first due area.

    According to the article there was an additional engine at the station (and I can only assume there was staff for it as well). As such no true loss of coverage existed.

    So now the sole remaining issue is with City policy & was it violated by doing this ? If so, what should the punishment be and to whom ?

    Bottom line
    Leaders are given great power and great responsibility.
    Leaders are also human and therefore make mistakes.
    Great leaders admit their mistakes and hold themselves accountable.
    Tip o the hat to D.C. Bardocz for stepping up and taking responsibility.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
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  7. #7
    Forum Member TC33FF's Avatar
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    Default

    The real issue is that I hope the FF that lost his house gets the help needed to rebuild and get on with his life. The DC made a decision to send the crew he works with to help him in a traumatic situation. Good call DC

  8. #8
    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    Had the local FD requested mutual aid? If not, they were taking a huge liability risk to send firefighters out on a 60-mile round trip without any documented reason for it.

    Great that they support their FF, but what good is an engine that takes 30+ minutes to arrive? If they want to support him, they should let some of his closest friends off duty to go to the scene and help him, but leave the apparatus in its territory. If they were determined to send an apparatus, why didn't they send one that was closer? I realize the station that sent the engine still had another engine, but isn't that what fill-in/lap-in is about?

    I certainly wish the best for the brother firefighter after his loss.
    Last edited by EastKyFF; 01-28-2003 at 10:06 AM.
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  9. #9
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    IMHO thumbs up to the DC.
    To me it was a clear cut case of the Chief sending Firefighters
    from the victims home station to assist anyway they could,
    Familar faces at a time like that are a very welcome sight.

    From what I have read it seems the DC had his bases covered
    before he made the call to let the crew respond.

    Just a thought to the negative posters on this thread:
    They were helping one of their own isnt that what the
    Brotherhood is all about?
    I won't be wronged,I won't be insulted,
    and I won't be laid a hand on.
    I don't do these things to other people
    and I require the same from them.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Hmmmm mixed bag of responses here, and now mine is included. First and foremost, hats off to the DC. I will not argue for or against whether it was a good decision or a bad one, that's not mine to make. Howerver, the fact that he stands behind his crews, and he stands behind his decsion (good or bad) and is willing to take either the bow and handshake or the lumps - WELL DONE in my books.

    The Liability question is something of a bother, and I have to wonder about that part a lot. It is reported that there is a second engine and therefore, probably a second crew to go with it. So that problem is more or less covered... maybe. The big question here is:

    WHERE WAS THE LOCAL FD, AND WHAT ABOUT MUTAL AID? There is no statement on either of those questions.

    Was there a better way to handle this event? Yes maybe there was. Did he do the right thing? That is a personal question and answer. Would you do this if it was a member of your Station? The basic point here is that he was supporting one of his own. As a Supervisor/Boss type, what more can you do for your employees? That kind of support seems to be a rare item these days.
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  11. #11
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    I have noticed that many responses include giving the DC credit for standing behind his decisions. I also think that he desearves credit for being responsible becuase it is something that is desperately needed for a fire department to operate. I am also kind of leary about a thirty mile run, but he was thoughtful to support one of his FF's.

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  12. #12
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    There is no mention in the article if the engine went code-3 to the scene. There is no mention if the duty crews actually performed firefighting operations.

    Perhaps "just being there" is what they did.

    Kudos!

    --spud--

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by FiremedicSpud
    There is no mention in the article if the engine went code-3 to the scene. There is no mention if the duty crews actually performed firefighting operations.

    Perhaps "just being there" is what they did.

    Kudos!

    --spud--
    And they could have "been there" in a Chief's gig or their POV's.

  14. #14
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    I would agree that this article is very "vanilla" and offers very little in terms of background. Unfortunately, this merely increases the amount of speculation amongst the FH forum members (myself included).

    Let's face it. We live in a very litigious society. Every time we pull our engines out onto the roadway, we are opening ourselves to the possibility of a lawsuit. Right or wrong, that's what we face.

    My fire chief is always telling our crews one thing: "Do what you think is right." He empowers us to use our best judgement. We evaluate the circumstances and possible outcomes before making the decision. Yes, we may be wrong. But, if we can justify our actions, albeit for the community, the department, the firefighters, another agency or whoever, then our chief will fight for us to the end.

    An example is the recent fire in Coos Bay, Oregon which killed three of our brother firefighters. The chief of one fire district, upon hearing the news of the fatalities, contacted the on duty crews and requested volunteers to go immediately to Coos bay- a five hour drive. It only took the chief 14 phone calls to fill the 9 positions on the 2 engines and one Battalion chief vehicle. The district wasn't asked or requested to go. They just did. Upon their arrival there, they assisted the Coos Bay Fire department in picking up after the fire and then helping out around the fire station. Shortly thereafter, they were formally requested to cover the stations in the city.

    Was it the right thing to do? I think so. Ask the firefighters in Coos Bay. The covering fire district brought their own engines because they may have been requested to assist. No question of how to run apparatus. No question on SCBA compatibilities. It was done because the brotherhood bond of firefighters is unbreakable. It is what we do. We always try to do the right thing.

    I stand by my admiration of the chief officer who made this call.

    --spud--

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    Default A firetruck was traveling at an average speed of 55....

    I'm guessing that it would have taken probably 40 minutes or more to get to the scene of their brother firefighter.
    What for? SALVAGE AND OVERHAUL!
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  16. #16
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    Is it really any different than sending the truck down for a funeral? Yes I realize the circumstances are night and day, but if the DC had authorized the truck to another town for a funeral would we be asking about liability etc?

  17. #17
    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    I am not criticizing the DC's good work in helping out. But as ChiefReason just said, the apparatus was probably not needed, and moral support can be hauled in a car.

    As for Coos Bay...a very kind gesture, Spud. However, I would be concerned about loading up that many people and apparatus and showing up uninvited. What if one of those vehicles wrecked on that long drive? What would OSHA or worker's comp say about a crew being on duty three hours from home, just out of the goodness of their hearts? What would you tell a widow if one of those firefighters were killed and the financial claims were denied?

    I'm not saying they shouldn't have gone. I'm saying you have to cover your butt. A phone call to Coos Bay would have sufficed; just have a dispatcher note on the log that the IC did approve the response of the outside resources. That way everyone drives into town with their I's dotted and T's crossed.

    One always need to make sure that the head is in the right place when the heart already is.

    LadyCapn, I'm no lawyer (thank God!), but since a funeral is, for lack of a better term, an open-door event, I would say it would be different. Just the same as a fire service expo, a fire school, or whatever. With an incident, somebody who is in charge should authorize the response of other resources. If we didn't do that, every major incident would be snowed under with unneeded resources because the Timbuktu FD wants to go to The Big Fire.

    Hence I'd say that incidents require approval of the "host" agency, while non-incidents would require approval of the "guest" agency.
    Last edited by EastKyFF; 01-28-2003 at 03:11 PM.
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  18. #18
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    I realize that and was only throwing it out as a hypothetical. Some had mentioned whether or not their could be legal liability for sending the truck out of town.
    To that I was presenting another scenario where a piece of apparatus would be taken out of service and to another area.
    Whether there was ever any serious question that the crew would arrive in time to actually participate actively in the suppression of the fire is unknown, but I seriously doubt it. I have to agree with those that think the truck was sent as moral support, help with salvage, that type of thing. Right or wrong....not our call. I will say that they would have been a welcome sight to me if I was in that same situation.

  19. #19
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    In my little part of the world, the fire officers have the ability (authority?) to allow a truck and crew go to parades, funerals, and other public events. They do not have that same discretion with going to anyone else's fire calls. If we are requested to the call, we go. If we are not invited, we don't invite ourselves. A group may go (and have before) in our transport van to see what's going on and whether they can help, but not take our engines. There is also a little more time involved with these other activities where backup people/equipment can be made sure of availability and such. I wonder how the Department felt having the "big city" boys come with their toys to play? I would have supported my brother with as many people as I could, but I would not have used an engine. Anyway, I will echo the comments about the DC standing by his decision either way.
    Last edited by Bones42; 01-28-2003 at 04:35 PM.
    "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?

  20. #20
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    I agree with George, send the crew, but not an engine. A utility vehicle, maybe even one with salvage & overhaul supplies would be an excellent choice. However, I don't know what vehicles were accessible on short notice.

    Frankly, in my mind, it's a damned sight more important that the DC supported his firefighter than what vehicle they took. Not knowing how Columbus Fire is equiped, maybe it was the best choice.

    Is there any one here from Columbus fire who could tell us more - especially if this brother needs more help.
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