Thread: Houston LODD

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    Default Houston LODD

    By The Associated Press
    (4/04/04 - HOUSTON) — A Houston firefighter has died fighting an early morning fire at a local ballroom.
    It started about 5am at the El Festival ballroom on Kempwood and Todd. Firefighters arrived to find flames shooting out of the building. The roof collapsed on one firefighter. He died at the scene. Three other firefighters are at the hospital being treated for smoke inhalation and other minor injuries. The call originally came in as a truck fire and there were several people in the building when the fire started.

    "Somebody told me there was a truck outside on fire," said eyewitness Pete Petropoulos. "I saw flames under the truck and all around the corner of the building."

    The cause of the fire is unknown. An HPD homicide detective is on the scene with an arson team investigating the fire.

    At this time, we don't know the identity of the firefighter who was killed, but we do know he was from fire station 50 on 290 at 43rd.

    We'll continue to follow this developing story and have more information as it becomes available.
    (Copyright © 2004, KTRK-TV)
    __________________________________________________ ____________________

    Sad, Sad day in Houston. My prayer go out to the brothers an d sisters and most of all the family.

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    Another sad day in what is turning out to be a very tragic year for firefighters all over. God bless the mans family, friends and co-workers.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    My deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of our departed brother. May the firefighting community of Houston, also be comforted in this time of sorrow.

    5-5-5-5 Rest in peace brother!



    April 4, 2004, 11:10AM

    Firefighter killed battling ballroom blaze
    Associated Press

    A firefighter was killed and three others were injured early this morning while battling a blaze at a ballroom.

    Firefighters who arrived at the El Festival Ballroom in northwest Houston around 6 a.m. found the building engulfed in flames. They went inside, but the fire was too intense and they were pulled out about 20 minutes after arriving, said Javier Rodriguez, an inspector with the fire department.

    "Part of the building collapsed," Rodriguez said. "We don't know whether that was the cause" of the firefighters' death.

    The name of the firefighter who was killed wasn't immediately released, as his family was still being contacted.

    The three other firefighters suffered minor injuries, Rodriguez said. One had smoke inhalation, one had a collar bone injury and one had minor burns to a hand. All were transported to a local hospital for treatment.

    The blaze was brought under control about an hour and a half after firefighters arrived at the scene.

    A Houston police department detective along with a team from the fire department's arson division were investigating the blaze.
    Last edited by NJFFSA16; 04-05-2004 at 01:56 AM.
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    Reports are now that this was a Probie on the job since September 2003. What a shame.

    Rest in peace Brother.

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    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
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    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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    My condolences to thhe Houston brothers and sisters and to the FF's family........ Another sad day in the fire service..........

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    Truly tragic, a young man just starting his career. Brother's,,,,you never know. Offer up a prayer for this brave kid and his family, and stay safe out there.

    Q6cap

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    Unhappy LODD

    Thoughts and prayers with the family and HFD.
    REST IN PEACE. Gone but not forgotten.

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    Unhappy Rest in Peace Kevin!

    Houston firefighter killed battling ballroom blaze

    (Houston-AP) -- A Houston firefighter is dead and three others
    injured after battling an early morning a blaze at a ballroom.
    The fire was at the El Festival Ballroom in northwest Houston.
    Firefighters were called to the scene around six this morning.
    A fire inspector says the firefighters went inside but the fire
    was too intense and they were pulled out about 20 minutes later.
    The inspector says part of the building collapsed, but officials
    don't know if that's what caused the firefighter's death.
    The firefighter who died was identified as 32-year-old Kevin
    Kulow. He had just been hired in September.
    The three other firefighters were Captain James Walterbach,
    Eddie Perrot and senior Captain Robert Smith. All had minor
    injuries and were transported to a local hospital for treatment.
    The fire is under investigation.
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    I am very sorry to hear about this.


    Thoughts and prayers to all concerned.

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    Rest in peace brother. The Bells will be silent for you tonight.
    "DON'T GO IN THERE!!! DON'T YOU KNOW THERE IS A FIRE IN THERE!!!!"

    "YOU'RE KILLING ME ROOK"

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    Thumbs up

    One confessed arsonist is now in custody and charged with the capital murder of Houston firefighter Kulow. Three more are being sought by police and fire investigators. Fire was supposedly the result of a child custody battle between the arsonist and his ex-wife, an employee in the club.

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    Great to hear that they caught this turd. Capital murder in Texas means either the "big shot", or life with no chance of parole for at least 40 years.

    q6cap

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    Post Three more arrests

    DALLAS (AP) - Federal and local authorities arrested three
    people early Sunday for questioning in a Houston ballroom fire in
    which a firefighter died.
    A man and woman were arrested at a hotel in Dallas, said
    Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Trent Touchstone. Another man fled
    the hotel and was arrested later. Touchstone said he believed the
    three had been staying in the hotel.
    The three were being questioned in connection with the blaze in
    which Kevin Kulow, 32, a rookie firefighter, died.
    Firefighters arrived at the El Festival Ballroom on April 4 to
    find it engulfed in flames. Three other firefighters were injured
    in the fire.
    Houston police spokeswoman Sandra Aponte said two Houston
    homicide investigators were in Dallas interviewing the three and to
    determine whether charges would be filed.
    Houston police arrested James Alonzo Guevara, 20, on Tuesday. He
    has been charged with capital murder.
    Police said Guevara admitted setting the fire because of an
    ongoing child custody dispute with his estranged wife, who worked
    at the ballroom.
    Touchstone said the three people arrested Sunday were taken to
    the Dallas County jail. Jail officials said the three were not yet
    in their system.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    GLAD THEY GOT 'EM !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
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    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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    Hope all of 'em get what they deserve. Rest in peace brother Kulow.
    Proud member of the IACOJ
    ftm-ptb-egh
    *** These are my opinions, they do not in any way reflect those of my department.***

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    Post This is gonna stir a hornet's nest........

    Don't shoot NJ...he's only the messenger.

    HFD training, practices questioned following death

    (Houston-AP) -- Proper training could have prevented four
    firefighters' deaths in the last four years. That's according to a
    state investigator appointed to review the latest fatality.
    Mike Herman is co-chairman of the state fire marshal's team
    investigating the death of rookie firefighter Kevin Kulow.
    Kulow died during a nightclub fire in northwest Houston last
    week.
    Herman says that the four fatalities may have been prevented if
    the Houston Fire Department better trained its personnel to retreat
    from dangerous, fully engulfed buildings.
    All four perished while inside buildings.
    Herman says a 16-member state marshal's team will look at
    whether any procedural or communication breakdown played a role in
    Kulow's death.
    The Houston Chronicle reports that the state panel hasn't yet
    made a preliminary determination in the Kulow case.
    Three people have been charged in connection with the fatal
    blaze.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    Arm-chair quarterbacking at its best. My opinion is he's trying to get his 15 minutes of fame. Either way, it doesn't matter, since he's removed himself from the committee. Local 341 immediately made it known that they didn't feel he could make an unbiased decision based on his comments and past track record.

    Hindsight's 20/20, especially seems true with people who weren't involved in the incident.

    Capt. Jahnke died trying to save a confirmed entrapment. FF Kulow's crew was told that there were people inside the building. In Houston, a club quits serving alcohol at 2 am, but can stay open as long as it wants.

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    Looks like the people accused of starting the fire that killed Firefighter Kulow were a bad group of hombres. Congratulations to all the investigators that took this crew off the street.
    ///////////////////////////////////////////

    Some suspects in deadly fire accused in second arson case

    (4/17/04 - HOUSTON) — Two men accused of starting a fire that killed a Houston firefighter have now been linked to another blaze.

    Police have arrested four suspects in all for the death of firefighter Kevin Kulow at the El Festival Ballroom. Two of them, Jeremy Robinson and Brian Weiner, are now also accused of torching a strip center that same night on West Tidwell.

    HFD Chief Fire Investigator Roy Paul said, "They wanted to inflict more damage on the owner of the festival ballroom. They thought he owned that building. However, he doesn’t."

    Investigators say one of the suspects, James Guevera, admitted to setting the fire at the El Festival Ballroom. He believed the owner was helping his estranged wife finance her child custody battle against him.

    Guevera faces capital murder charges. The others have been charged with murder.

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    Here is a better understanding of who Mr. Herman is. This is a great reply.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________


    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/page1/2506779

    Dear Chronicle:

    I am writing this in response to the headline "Firefighting tactics questioned in probe of deaths," which was displayed on the cover page of the April 15, 2004, paper.

    The text below is solely the opinion of the writer, and in no way represents the views or opinions of the Houston Fire Department, City of Houston, Houston Professional Firefighters Association, International Association of Firefighters, or any other agency or individual.

    I find it hard to believe that Mr. Herman has the experience or knowledge it takes to conduct even the simplest fire investigation. According the Texas Commission on Fire Protection's website, Michael J. Herman is not an Arson Investigator, Cause and Origin Investigator, or an Inspector. So where did he receive his knowledge? Was it while he was hiding in the ranks of HFD? Mike Herman WAS NOT a Captain, he was a Dispatcher. The only similarity is the pay grade.

    Herman never advanced past the ranks of Chauffeur while in the Suppression Division of HFD, and that was only after several attempts at the Chauffeur's Test. Actually, while a Chauffeur on Engine 39 in Houston's northeast side, Herman was responsible for causing 1st and 2nd degree burns to a firefighter and his Captain when he connected over 500' of fire hose directly to the fire hydrant and bypassed the fire engine. The firefighters were forced to fight a motel fire on the Eastex Freeway with only the pressure supplied by the fire hydrant. This is a routine task that couldn't be mastered by Herman.

    In his article, and previous speeches about the Four Leaf Fire which claimed the life of Captain Jay P. Jahnke, Herman stated that manning had not contributed to Jahnke's death. He states that Houston Firefighters, as well as the Union is upset with his findings. Well, I guess so. Maybe that's because Herman doesn't realize the workload at a high-rise fire. Firefighters must don their protective equipment including a 1-hour breathing air bottle which weighs in at nearly 60 pounds. This does not include the 150' of 2-1/2" fire hose with a nozzle, water appliances or the wrenches used to attach the hose. Nor does it include search ropes, flashlights, forcible entry tools, door chocks, a portable radio, or extra air bottle. Nor does it take into account that even if the elevators are operational, firefighters must still ascend 2-4 flights of stairs before entering the fire floor.

    It takes an average of six firefighters to effectively connect and stretch a 2-1/2" fire hose. With a three-man crew, you would have to wait until the first 3 companies arrive. Then companies must connect fire hoses between the building's Fire Department Connection and nearby fire hydrants, secure the elevators and stairwells, access the roof for ventilation, search for occupants on the fire floor and the floor above, maintain the building's Fire Control Panel and PA system, establish a resource pool of equipment below the fire floor, establish a Rapid Intervention Team to rescue firefighters in distress, appoint Sector Officers, Safety Officers, an Accountability Officer, Staging Officer, Rehab Sector, and EMS Sector.

    On the initial alarm, 5 Engines, 3 Ladder Trucks, and 3 Chiefs are sent to high-rise fires. Keeping the Chauffeurs with their apparatus for pumping, and aerial operations, this leaves a firefighting force of 24 firefighters. If you factor in trapped occupants, you would further reduce the number of firefighters due to rescue efforts. One other thing, don't forget the possibilty of the closest fire trucks not being available due to the other emergencies; this will increase the time it takes to effect a rescue, and extinguish the fire.

    Larger fire departments, such as New York City operate with a 6-man Ladder Truck, and a 5-man on Engine Company. Firefighters are also assigned to a specific apparatus, and not just a particular fire station. This maintains crew integrity. Working with the same crew in and out, every day allows firefighters to operate as a team. You know every member of that team as if they were family. You know and understand what they're thinking, and can anticipate their moves. The fire service can not operate the same as an office environment where you can transfer the employees in and out of divisions or from office to office. We depend on each other on a daily basis. Imagine having to depend on the guy at the end of your block, whom you've never actually met, to save your life. Crew integrity is everything!

    The Houston Firefighters I know, and the firefighters I work with, are very aggressive; but, they are aggressively smart! Our Officers know, through training and experience, when there is a "No Go" situation. A situation that is untenable by firefighters, a building that is structurally unstable, or when fire conditions make survival for a trapped victim unsustainable.

    In Herman's comments, he alluded to the fact that Lewis Mayo and Kim Smith should have not entered the McDonald's restaurant because it was 4:30 am. I know the McDonald's across the street from the firehouse which I work at opens for business at 6:00 am. It is not uncommon to see workers arrive at 5:00 am, or earlier to prepare for breakfast. Should we always assume no one is home if the business is not open? This was also prior to every firefighter being issued a radio, and personal accountabilty transmitter.

    Most retail stores take advantage of after hour operations to handle restocking, floor cleaning/waxing, and inventory. Should we assume, because it's after hours, that no one is home?

    Let's face the facts, our job as a firefighter is a risky job; at times we put our lives on the line to initiate a search for reported or trapped victims. The citizens of the City of Houston count on us, and as firefighters, we count on each other.

    While I agree, it is horrible that we lost four firefighters in the last four years; these brave men and women were heroes, doing what they were trained to do. These firefighters displayed the courage and integrity that makes Houston Firefighters the Bravest in the Nation!

    There is no room for some ex-dispatcher, who hid during his entire career to play "armchair quarter back" and make suggestions about situations he has never experienced. Don't criticize these courageous men and women, who have unselfishly given their lives in an attempt to make Houston a safer place until you have walked a mile in their shoes!

    The text above is solely the opinion of the writer, and in no way represents the views or opinions of the Houston Fire Department, City of Houston, Houston Professional Firefighters Association, International Association of Firefighters, or any other agency or individual.

    Steve Sanguedolce
    29807 Tomball Parkway #429
    Tomball, Texas 77375

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    That was a really nice article!!

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    What a MUTT. The worst part about it is that anyone is giving this guy any air time at all!!!!
    -------------------------------------
    "An aggressive interior attack does not mean just going inside to put out a fire. THAT'S just doing our job...."
    IAFF Local 55

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    Mike Herman------

    All he will ever be is a dispatcher. He couldn't make a good driver, when he finally got that promotion, let alone a firefighter when he was in the ranks.

    He is just a wannabe trying to make some one think he knows something. He is the white spot on chicken poop. Same old, same old!!


    The brothers and sisters in Houston doesn't need this type of guy running his sewer and not knowing what he is talking about.

    He needs to ran out of town.

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    That could be the best letter-to-the-editor I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

    Sounds like Mr. Herman has been squarely put in his place and called- out on this one.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    God bless the men and women of the HFD. Be smart, be safe.
    Lt. D. Gordon
    Greendale Fire Department
    Greendale, IN

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