1. #1
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    Default WOAH!! How'd this one sneak by???

    Charleston Daily Mail

    Nitro, West Virginia - Some Nitro, West Virginia firefighters may soon be carrying weapons.

    If a new ordinance that is in the drafting stages is adopted by Nitro City Council, a few firefighters in the city would be able to carry the same weapons as the Nitro police force and would be able to arrest people in certain situations.

    Nitro Police Chief Jack Jordan said at Tuesday night's Nitro City Council meeting that a West Virginia Fire Marshal has to respond to every arson investigation, and until a Fire Marshal arrives on the scene, a member of the police force must secure the scene. By authorizing firefighters to act as police officers in these situations, it would free regular police officers to resume their duties.

    Nitro Councilman David Miller said that he thinks the ordinance, which is based on an ordinance in the city of Huntington, is important.

    Miller said, "If the fire marshal wants it to happen, I think it's a good idea."

    Jordan said that the number of firefighters who would be carrying weapons if the ordinance were adopted would be three, at the most.

    Nitro City Recorder Joan McClanahan suggested that instead of authorizing firefighters to carry weapons, the city should consider hiring another police officer.

    "If the problem is that we need someone on the scene, can't we just hire another police officer," she said.

    Miller said that in order for arson investigations to be completed, a fire marshal must be on hand, and therefore, hiring another police officer for the city would not solve the problem.

    Miller said, "We're spread pretty thin right now. I think there are only two fire marshals in Kanawha County and one in Putnam."

    Members of the council will receive, in writing, more information about the proposal from city attorney April Robertson at the next city council meeting.

    The cost of weapons and training will also be a factor in the decision.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

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    I'll make one assumption here. That is, that these three fire marshals will be thoroughly trained as LEO before they are handed guns. That said...

    This is no big deal. There are a huge number of fire investigators, affiliated with fire departments or fire service agencies, who have police powers. It makes sense if they are properly trained. They are performing a function which very often crosses over to the law enforcement side.

    This is a smart decision by the council.

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    George from what I gathered they will not be fire marshals they are going to be firefighters.

    If that is true I am not too sure on how they will work.
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    "Sorry LT I forgot my pistol in my locker" "Why Joe how are
    you going to secure the scene??" "I can put my finger in my pocket and pretend."
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    Originally posted by MikeF25
    George from what I gathered they will not be fire marshals they are going to be firefighters.

    If that is true I am not too sure on how they will work.
    While they may not be the fire marshal (I read it again. The story is somewhat confusing), I am assuming the fire fighters they are talking about have some sort of responsibility for fire investigation. If they are going to arm fire fighters, that's a stupid idea.

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    Default Any you homos touch me, an' I'll kill ya....

    Hmm, if that happened here, we'd have a bunch of guys jump off the rigs looking like Francis from "Stripes," dancing around: "Chief, instead of pulling that 2 1/2" I'm just gonna shoot the fire!!"

    "Chief, I'm outta ammo! Call a box!!"

    "This is MABAS Div 6 to all locals, the Hillrod Fire Dept is requesting box number 69 to the second level. The following departments are due: Jacksonville, you're due with 1,000 rds. of 7.62mm; Peoria, you're due with 1,000 rds. of 9mm pistol; Sheboygan, you're due with 200 mortar rds. All depts. switch to NIFERN....."

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    Default One thought...

    Certified fire investigators-key word; "certified"-should carry firearms. There are times when they are questioning the bad guy and the moment may require a police action of some sort.
    Certified firefighters-key word; "firefighters"-should carry hose; not guns. Were that the case, the "deck" gun would take on a whole new meaning.
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    George, a question, how about Fire Police? We have a couple members who have gone through the County Fire Police school. In NJ, would they have some type of authority and can (I really hope not) they carry a firearm?

    We normally will have the PD call in an off-duty, Class II, Special Officer to standby at the scene until the Fire Marshall's release them. It's overtime for the PO, so there is usually a waiting list for who is to be called.
    "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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    Correct me if I'm wrong but, securing a fire scene pending the arrival of a Fire Investigator needs to include an ongoing fire operation. Once all fire suppression crews leave the scene, the owner occupant can deny entry to investigators without a warrant.

    If all FD personnel leave the scene and the PD is left in charge, fire suppression has ceased. Many FDs leave a single member with a water can on scene to loosely remain within these laws, at the same time, PD remains to safegaurd both the firefighter and the property.

    The day firefighters become armed law enforcement officers, is the day the public trust will be lost by us.

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but, securing a fire scene pending the arrival of a Fire Investigator needs to include an ongoing fire operation. Once all fire suppression crews leave the scene, the owner occupant can deny entry to investigators without a warrant.

    That's the way I've always understood it.

    If it's just a "routine" investigation, we'll leave a Firefighter on scene as a fire watch or the Town Fire Marshal will hire one of our members to babysit until he can return in daylight when it's easier to complete the investigation.

    Once criminal action is suspected, a State Trooper will take over -- they can't enter the property without a warrant, but they can deny entry to the owners & others as a crime scene while the Judge is being woken up. Once the State Fire Marshals (who are Troopers) have a warrant in hand then they'll enter the property.

    Even though they have the "right" to enter the property to continue their investigation as long as the fire department has maintained custody, just to be safe as soon as arson is suspected the S.F.M. stop and pull out until they have a warrant in hand so there's no question about the admissibility of any evidence seized.

    Sounds like from the article, they're calling in the WV State Fire Marshal for "arson" investigation -- indicating there's already been a decision a crime may have occured. Also sounds like they're giving "Police authority" to regular firefighters with to babysit the scene with no mention of giving them training, and that just sounds like a situation only a defense attorney could love as he starts to rip the "chain of custody."

    It's not that armed Fire Marshals, if they've received proper police training, is bad. But from the article, the stuff sure leaves me scratching my head hoping there's a couple major points the reporter left out!

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    Another question, our fire investigations are handled by our Police Detectives, who are certified investigators. County Fire Marshalls are only called in when requested by them. Since it's the PD that does the investigation, isn't that putting it under their control?
    "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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    I think there needs to be a hard line between Police and FF. To be effective with a firearm in an emergency situation, you have to train that way constantly, as police do. I think this half-and-half situation would make the armed FF more of a liability than an asset.

    Personally, if I'm going into a burning building, I want to know that the guy next to me has been busting his butt on fire suppression, VES, etc.-not getting all 9 shots in the 10-ring.

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    our fire investigations are handled by our Police Detectives,
    By investigation, do you mean "cause and origin" or the investigation once the fire has been labled suspicious?

    The initial phase of cause and origin usually stops once accidental causes have been eliminated, then comes the warranted search and investigation.

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    Cause and origin. They do not respond to every call, we request them on anything reasonable (not garbage cans, false alarms, etc.)

    If they determine suspicious, they usually notify County Fire Marshall at that time.

    Where this has mostly come into play for us, late at night and/or early morning, they will make a quick appearance at the scene and decide to return when their is more light available. They will have one of the officers called and put on scene to secure it at that time. This may be in advance of determining accidental or not.
    "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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    Originally posted by Bones42
    George, a question, how about Fire Police? We have a couple members who have gone through the County Fire Police school. In NJ, would they have some type of authority and can (I really hope not) they carry a firearm?

    We normally will have the PD call in an off-duty, Class II, Special Officer to standby at the scene until the Fire Marshall's release them. It's overtime for the PO, so there is usually a waiting list for who is to be called.
    As far as I understand the NJ Statutes, they would have to attend and succesfully complete a course of training at a certified POlice Academy which would certify them as Special Police Officers. The Fire Police designation gives them no authority to carry weapons. That is a very good thing.

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    Originally posted by E229Lt
    Correct me if I'm wrong but, securing a fire scene pending the arrival of a Fire Investigator needs to include an ongoing fire operation. Once all fire suppression crews leave the scene, the owner occupant can deny entry to investigators without a warrant.

    If all FD personnel leave the scene and the PD is left in charge, fire suppression has ceased. Many FDs leave a single member with a water can on scene to loosely remain within these laws, at the same time, PD remains to safegaurd both the firefighter and the property.

    The day firefighters become armed law enforcement officers, is the day the public trust will be lost by us.
    Completely false.

    In the US Supreme Court cases on point, they state that the fire investigation can continue within a reasonable time after the initial entry of the fire service. It would then be considered a continuation of the FD entry. Reasonable time varies with each fire. The decisions even recognize situations where darkness or ice may make the scene exam unsafe. It offers the latitude to continue the exam when conditions improve.

    Also, if you follow your example, you could lerave a hose ine and a FF at the scene for a week. Would that mean that fire operations are continuing and it is alright to keep going in? Absolutely not. The validity of the search would be judged by the reasonable time test.

    Other factors that are considered by the court would be whether the property was a residence (residences arealways afforded more constitutional protection than other property types), whether the owner took any steps to protect his privacy interest and the facts known to the investigators (If the fire is clearly an arson, they would likely need a search warrant to continue whether the FD was there or not).

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    Originally posted by E229Lt


    By investigation, do you mean "cause and origin" or the investigation once the fire has been labled suspicious?

    The initial phase of cause and origin usually stops once accidental causes have been eliminated, then comes the warranted search and investigation.
    Also false.

    The origin and cause investigation is not complete until the investigator has determined:
    1. The first material ignited
    2. The heat source
    3. The event which brought the two together

    There is no absolute need for a warrant. If the property custodian has consented knowingly to the search, you can stay there until the cows come home w/o a warrant. ALso, if the evidence is in plain view, that evidence can be collected w/o a warrant.

    Please note that the proper accepted terminology is "origin and cause" as one must first determine where the fire began before one can determine how it began.

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    Thanks for the info George.


    That is a very good thing.
    Amen!
    "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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    Default It's really not a big deal.

    I would have to agree for the most part that it is not a big deal for certain FD personnel to be issued sidearms to be used in the capacity of an arson investigator (provided they are thoroughly trained and certified). In my department the arson investigators are FF who have reached the rank of FAO (engineer). Once they transfer to AI they must complete the SA Police Academy as well as become certified Arson Investigators. Since they are certified Police Officers they do carry the PD issued Glock pistol, handcuffs and secondary means of force. All AI are easily recognozable by the black BDU uniform.

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    In Illinois Fire Investigators can take a four week cousre to carry fie arms and have arrest powers. ! week of this is a mandatory 40 hour firearms course the other 3 weeks are legalities.

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    There are some pretty scary places in some citys, where i'd carry a halogen bar just to protect my self. They should cary atleast 1 firearm in the cab.

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    Talking Halogen Bar????

    Shall we presume that you have the Halogen Bar mounted on top of the rig?? Stay Safe....
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    Yup, just what I want, a gun in the cab of my truck. During a fire, do these guys carry the gun with them under their turnout gear? Or do they hand it to the driver of the truck and say, "Here, hold this." Or do they lock it in the cab of the truck in the glove box? Arson investigators during an investigation is fine. Firefighters fighting a fire, can't see a need for a gun there and see too many issues with it.


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    Originally posted by Kvfcjr
    There are some pretty scary places in some citys, where i'd carry a halogen bar just to protect my self. They should cary atleast 1 firearm in the cab.

    Oh yeah, that's a great idea. Do you ever think of the ramifications of the ideas you post BEFORE you post them?

    But, I forgot. It's a bad thing for a cop to help with a ladder.

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    George,

    I'm not even gonna start with ya.



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