1. #1
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    Post Tampa Fla--Fire Chief Asks for Investigation Into Response to Apartment Fire

    The Fire Chief wants to know whey the officer on the first arriving piece took the maintenance man's word that nothing was wrong and did not investigate the call for help which originated from occupants, not maintenance. The result.... 1 hour later the Fire Department returns to a 2-Alarm Fire and $200,000.00 in damages to the building.
    ___________
    http://www.sptimes.com/2003/07/10/Hi...nvestiga.shtml
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    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.

  2. #2
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    Unhappy

    I remember one of our officers doing that once. They took the word of law enforcement, that a car fire was OUT. They retruned to the station.

    Shortly after.....the car was a total loss. The engine responded to wet down the remains.

    If you don't see it with your own eyes......check it out!
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    Unhappy

    Perhaps if this "Chief" had talked to his own Captain before the newspaper he would have had something productive to say. If only he had taken that simple step, he might even have been perceived as a leader. Wouldn't that be refreshing?
    Bring my brother home and salute him, he earned it! FDNY 343 Never Forgotten

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    Default

    I do agree that the situation should have been further investigated. but how many of us have been responding to an EMS or fire run, and then get cancelled by PD on scene as being unfounded?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

  5. #5
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    fyrlieu....Are you saying that a fire chief needs to tell all of his officers how to do their jobs? If so.....how did they get there? I am not laying blame on the officer....this is just one of those big.....OOPS! Local TV news footage interviewed residents who indicated that in addition to the FA...they had smelled smoke and called. You would think this would prompt some further investigation. Obviously the residents, maintenance, and Fire Dept. had a breakdown in communications...
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    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.

  6. #6
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    Default

    A quote from former President Ronald Reagan from the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) with the former Soviet Union sums it up nicely...
    [size=large]

    "trust, but verify!"
    [/size]
    ‎"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

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    captstanm1,
    Once again I failed to communicate my thoughts accurately. No, I am not saying that a chief needs to tell his officers how to do their jobs. Please accept my apology and say thank you for bringing this up. The point I was trying to make is that if the chief had talked with his own Captain he would have known what happened and why, prior to talking to the newspaper reporter. My take on the story was that the chief told the newspaper he didn't know what happened but at first blush it appeared his officer screwed up and he (the chief) wants an investigation. This tells me the chief failed to talk to his officer before publicly humiliating him. It appeared to me the chief was trying to wash his hands of any responsiblility for this incident by saying I don't know what my people are doing so an investigation is needed. I would certainly hate to find out my chief is investigating my actions by reading it in the newspaper! Wouldn't you? As an experienced fire officer I know that when one of my people is accused of something the first thing I do is ask my firefighter "what happened." I always get more information and try to find a way to make the situation better without humiliating anyone especially publicly. All the chief had to do was place that call to his Captain and he could have avoided making his people appear imcompetant. I agree with you, there was obviously a breakdown in the communication process, but the chief compounded it by not talking with the Captain involved. I have worked for and observed many bad bosses in my career. In my not so humble opinion this chief perpetuates bad leadership. Of course I could be wrong, I frequently am. Thanks again for questioning my statement and the opportunity to clarify.
    Bring my brother home and salute him, he earned it! FDNY 343 Never Forgotten

  8. #8
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    Question

    Makes you stop and think when responding to that "routine" fire alarm. You know...the one you run on a hundred times on a false call.

  9. #9
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    Post Letter to the Editor

    Here is a letter to the editor on this story that was written by a Tampa Fire Department Lieutenant.
    _________________
    Tampa Tribune


    New Equipment Needed

    Published: Jul 19, 2003

    The article ``Building Burns After Fire Crews Check Once'' (Metro, July 10) reveals procedural areas in which Tampa Fire Rescue should improve; however, the presumption that fire crews are casual and inattentive when investigating an automatic fire alarm is false.
    Lightning strikes and automatic fire alarms are a common occurrence in the Tampa Bay area during the summer months and create high call volume during thunderstorms.

    False alarms from lightning strikes, power surges or human error are frequently the cause for automatic fire alarms, and information gathered at the scene from a credible source, such as a maintenance worker, police officer or a home owner, is usually sufficient to mitigate the situation.

    Furthermore, smoldering fires are difficult to detect and often are hidden in the confines of an attic, compounding the situation.

    While Tampa Fire Rescue re- examines procedural guidelines for automatic fire alarms, the city of Tampa should reconsider a request for thermal imaging cameras capable of detecting hidden hot spots, such as smoldering attic fires. These cameras would improve the ability of fire crews to discover hidden fires, minimizing property damage and saving lives.

    Firefighters in the city of Tampa are dedicated professionals who put their lives in harm's way to protect the citizens of this community. Tampa Fire Rescue responds to more than 6,000 automatic fire alarms per year with very few problems. However, this one incident gives the department an opportunity to re- examine standard operating guidelines for automatic fire alarms and the city of Tampa a chance to improve services through the purchase of thermal imaging cameras.<

    JACK ATTKISSONOldsmar


    The writer is a lieutenant with Tampa Fire Rescue.
    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.

  10. #10
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    Thumbs down Doesn't Happen Here............

    Originally posted by DrParasite
    but how many of us have been responding to an EMS or fire run, and then get cancelled by PD on scene as being unfounded?
    This doesn't happen here (Maryland) because we don't let it happen. We may get an update while enroute, providing additional information, but we simply do not get cancelled by anyone, EXCEPT that the Alarm Company may provide info that they (Alarm Company Operator) have contacted the resident, and that the call is false, (the resident MUST provide a code number to the Alarm Company to insure against an unauthorized person being on the premises) but even then, it's our call, so we can cancel or go on in to check. The final say is the officer on the Apparatus. We love our cops, many of them are Volunteer Firefighters themselves, but cops don't run Fire/EMS calls unless there is a need for law enforcement (Auto Accidents, Assaults, Etc.) or we request their help (Traffic Control Etc.). Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  11. #11
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    Post Press Conference Scheduled to Release Findings

    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    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.

  12. #12
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    Post Fire Department Captain Suspended

    Bay News 9

    Longtime Tampa Fire Rescue supervisor suspended following apartment fire

    From now on Tampa Fire Rescue crews will thoroughly check out all alarms, even ones sent in error. Tampa Fire Rescue made a mistake.

    That's what officials with the department said in a news conference held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. As a result Captain Ron Taylor will be suspended for without pay for 24 hours, the equivalent of one shift.

    Taylor was in charge of Engine 19 when it arrived at the Camden Bayside Apartments at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 8. Shortly after they arrived, the firefighters left because they didn’t see any fire or smell any smoke.

    Soon after Engine 19 departed the scene, Building 7 at the housing complex became engulfed in flames. Another crew, Engine 15, arrived approximately 50 minutes after Taylor and his crew left.

    By that time it was too late. Three units in the building were destroyed. The Camden Bayside fire took place on July 8.
    Investigators believe a bolt of lightning started the fire and triggered the alarm.

    At Wednesday’s news conference Tampa Fire Rescue Chief Aria Green announced the incident and subsequent investigation would lead to a change in policy.

    "From now on we will check out all fire alarms, false or not," Green said. "In the past if it was determined that they were set off in error, we will still go to the scene and check them out."


    Three of the four units in Building 7 were damaged.
    Taylor, a 25-year veteran firefighter, has an impeccable reputation and spotless record.

    The building at Camden Bayside suffered approximately $200,000 in damage. Most of it was suffered by one of the top floor units where the lightning struck the roof.

    The two bottom apartments suffered extensive water damage.
    Last edited by captstanm1; 07-23-2003 at 05:33 PM.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    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.

  13. #13
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    Their is two structures in our response area that have provided their fair share of emergency and non emergency responses. Fire alarm calls to a out of service hospital and a historic mansion. Every summer when the heat and humidity increase the structures increase heat and set off the alarm. Even though the response is rountine we still send in an interior team with TIC and check all 4 floors of the mansion and the large hospital area.

    Just like the fire service comment, try before you pry in a forceable entry situation, check every alarm like it is the real thing.

    ----------------------------
    David S. Blevins

    "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

    ~Abraham Lincoln

  14. #14
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    Post Follow Up Story

    St. Petersburg Times--Hillsborough

    City fire captain punished for error
    The crew leader is suspended for failing to properly inspect an alarm at an apartment complex, leading to a fire.

    By KATHRYN WEXLER, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published July 24, 2003

    --

    TAMPA - A Tampa Fire Rescue captain will be disciplined for not getting out of his fire engine to investigate an alarm at an apartment complex that later turned out to be smoldering from a lightning bolt.

    A half-hour after Capt. Ronald Taylor and Engine 19 left Camden Bayside apartments, on S West Shore Boulevard, flames shot out of a third-floor apartment and a second crew came to the scene. The apartment burned, and two more suffered water damage from sprinklers, a loss totaling about $200,000.

    Taylor will be suspended for a 24-hour shift, equivalent to three days docked pay.

    The incident has prompted Tampa Fire Rescue Chief Aria Green to reassess all policies governing fire alarm responses. Until the Camden fire, the department had no explicit policy requiring firefighters to get out of their vehicles and inspect a property for fire.

    On July 8, Taylor, a 25-year veteran, relied on the opinion of a Camden maintenance supervisor who walked up to the fire engine and said there was no fire. Engine 19 was at the complex for a total of six minutes.

    Although standard operating procedures don't spell it out, firefighters know they need to perform their own inspections, Green said.

    "It's kind of understood you need to get out of the truck and use your senses," Green said Wednesday during a press conference at Tampa Fire Rescue headquarters downtown.

    In some instances, however, firefighters are allowed to rely on the assessment of others. The University of South Florida has many false fire alarms, Green said, and firefighters generally depend on campus police to tell them whether there's a fire.

    "Maybe we allow that (trust) to carry over to people we shouldn't be trusting," Green said.

    Taylor has never before been disciplined, and his evaluations have been above average, Green said. The captain is "very remorseful," for what happened, Green said.

    But according to a report by Michael Gonzalez, then-fire investigations supervisor who has since been promoted, it's not clear that even if Taylor had looked, he would have seen evidence of lightning on the roof of the three-floor complex and the smoldering beneath. Said Green, "If he'd gone and investigated it, he may not have found it, but we don't know that."

    Two days after the incident, the department issued a memo to staff, telling them to investigate fires with "the use of your senses of sight, smell, hearing and feeling." Green said that will be the new policy.Taylor was cited for violating generic policies about investigating non-apparent fires, and general conduct and duties.

    Green also said that even when alarm companies inform Tampa Fire Rescue that alarms are false, firefighters will inspect the scene. He said the new policy will not overly tax personnel, although officials have long complained they don't have enough firefighters to properly staff the engines.

    Firefighters frequently respond to automatic alarms, many of them tripped by a mere break in electricity due to a storm. Last month, there were more than 500 automatic alarms throughout the city.

    Green said that "99.9 percent of the time, it's nothing."

    Tampa Fire Rescue released an incident inquiry to reporters Wednesday showing that at Camden apartments, 6301 West Shore Blvd., there were at least 34 instances of false alarms or alarm system malfunctions since June 2001.

    Still, Green extended his apologies to residents of Camden.

    "We're very sorry in this particular instance that we did not do the job that we should have done," the chief said.

    - Kathryn Wexler can be reached at wexler@sptimes.come or 226-3383.
    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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