1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    25 NW of the GW

    Post Contract FF escapes terror bombing

    NAVARRE, Fla. (AP) - A firefighter who works for a U.S. defense
    contractor in Saudi Arabia says returning to the Florida Panhandle
    for his junior college graduation probably saved him from a
    terrorist bombing.
    Willy Velez, an assistant fire chief for Vinnell Corp., said he
    has seen pictures of severe damage to his villa in Riyadh from the
    He said he is unsure about returning after Monday's attack that
    left 34 people dead, including eight Americans and nine suicide
    All but one of the Americans worked for Vinnell, which has been
    training the Saudi national guard.
    "From the photos there, ah, it doesn't look like I would have
    survived," Velez said.
    Velez took leave for his May 6 graduation from Pensacola Junior
    College, where he earned an associate's degree in fire science
    He has been in contact with Greg Johnson, another former
    Okaloosa County firefighter working for Vinnell, who survived the
    attack and helped in rescue efforts. Both worked at Eskan Village,
    an Army base near Riyadh.
    Looking at the photographs, Velez nodded in disbelief.
    "Can I imagine the destruction? Yes. I've entered burning
    (homes) and been through two hurricanes, Opal and Erin. It's part
    of the job," Velez said. "Can I imagine being in that bedroom
    during the explosion? No."
    Velez's two-year contract expires in November. He said he took
    the job because it pays well.
    Johnson sent an e-mail indicating as many as half of the eight
    Vinnell firefighters are leaving because of the attack. Velez's
    wife does not want him to return.
    "She was very shaken when she saw the picture of the villa,"
    he said. "She said `I thought you were going to be safe there.' "
    Information from: Northwest Florida Daily News,

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  2. #2
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001

    Post Scoop!

    I scooped you on this one buddy....LOL....Already posted the story on Firefighters Discussing War Thread!
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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