1. #1
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    Default Fatal Fire Truck Crash

    I just saw this on the main page:
    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=39&id=29650
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

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    Here is a link to another thread that PFire started before the story was posted on the front page of FH.com



    HERE
    Last edited by firenresq77; 04-28-2004 at 01:13 AM.

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    This is a tragic and probably avoidable loss of life.

    One is dead, another may have suffered career-ending injuries. Aside from these terrible consequences, there are bound to be other repercussions from this.

    All of you volunteer/combination departments in the collar counties, beware. If any of you have career firefighters in a POC or volunteer role, this is going to bring up the same ugly specter that is going on in New York. I know of MANY Chicago firefighters who volunteer/POC elsewhere. I have several full-timers on my department, and this episode scares the crap out of me. I canít image where this department would be without their invaluable contribution in terms of knowledge, experience, and training. I shudder to think about the possible loss of that knowledge base.

    All of this for a stupid garage fire. If you have Opticoms, or some other traffic light pre-emption device, you should still be training your drivers to treat every intersection as a red light.

    God bless the brothers, gone and hurting.

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    My heart and prayers go out the the Brothers who were injured, may they have a speedy recovery. To Firefighter Jeffrey Birgstrom, may you Rest In Peace Brother. May God grant all the strength and courage to get them through the next little while, not only in regards to the terrible tragedy and loss that has taken place, but through the backlash this is sure to stir up.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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    Jay, I was wondering about the same stuff when I saw that he was also on CFD...........

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    I have a question, it may seem silly but since I don't know exactly how these things work here goes: They are investigating to see whether or not the sensors that trip the traffic lights when emergency vehicles are coming to an intersection failed. Now, if these two apparatus were coming from different directions, would their sensor jobbies maybe have confused the system? If you have similar distance, speed and anticipated entry to the intersection, how would that work? I'm just curious, maybe stupid too who knows.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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    Originally posted by PFire23
    I have a question, it may seem silly but since I don't know exactly how these things work here goes: They are investigating to see whether or not the sensors that trip the traffic lights when emergency vehicles are coming to an intersection failed. Now, if these two apparatus were coming from different directions, would their sensor jobbies maybe have confused the system? If you have similar distance, speed and anticipated entry to the intersection, how would that work? I'm just curious, maybe stupid too who knows.
    PFire, that's what me and Werij were discussing earlier. Don't have any of those systems around here, so I'm not sure either.

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    I echo all of 210's post..........and Pfire I/we just dont know. Bottom line when coming to an intersection......someone has to stop.
    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
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    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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    The sad fact here is that even with all the technology in the world, human error will jump up and bite ya when you least expect it. Even if you have the sensor, still slow down, take a quick look cuz there's always going to someone who doesn't obey. Not saying that was the case here, just a general observation.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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    It is very sad and tragic and was unquestionably and completely avoidable.
    To do your job, you have to get there...safely!
    It just leaves me shaking my head.
    My thoughts and prayers to all involved.
    CR
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

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    *excuse me ...... pardon me ..... don't mind me*


    *walking up and whispering in Art's ear, "please check your email"*
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

    IACOJ-WOT proud

    GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

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    Opticoms work like dis:

    A high-frequency strobe in the front of the vehicle triggers a receiver mounted on the lightpole. A white light then shines into traffic to let the operator know that he/she has triggered the system and should be expecting a green light (the system gives time to the other lanes to clear traffic and cycle from green to yellow to red). On some systems, when your rig triggers the system, you get a flashing white light, while the other directions of traffic get a steady buring white light. This lets other emergency vehicles coming from different directions know that some other rig has priority (green) and they should not be expecting a green light.

    Where it gets confusing is there is not set standard statewide as to who gets a steady burning light and who gets a flasher. For example, in DeKalb, when you trigger the system you get a flasher; When I worked in DuPage County, you got a steady light. If a guy went from one place to the next, he might forget which is which. If fact, I may have those reversed, now that I think about (ADSNWNFD?). Anyway, for those of you who do not receive the FIRE-L List, Mark Warnick posted this today. I think he's right (I've seen it from my neighbors, and it scares me):
    Brother and Sister Firefighters;
    I am not, and will not play arm chair quarterback on this incident,
    however I feel I MUST bring something to light! As many of you know, I
    travel the country quite a lot, from time to time, I get the opportunity to
    ride with stations all across the country. I have learned many different
    tactics and methods doing so, but let me say that I have also suffered some
    major pucker factor doing this too. Was it the high speeds, the idiot
    drivers, or the zipping from lane to lane??? No, it was the mentality of the
    driver, Captain (or Lt.), and sometimes the whole crew. I fear what I am
    talking about may be at play in this accident. I will fully explain what I
    am talking about, and flat out say "IT MUST STOP!!"
    The mentality I am talking about is when multiple departments and/or
    stations are dispatched to the same call. The mentality is "We gotta be
    first!" sometimes while doing this, safety is severely compromised. Please
    let me re-state, while I have my suspicions on this accident, they are only that, and I will wait for the final report. After all I WAS NOT there!
    Being a guest rider, I have been in a midsize PA town with three different companies. When an alarm went out at 9 PM, we all boarded and was out the door in thirty seconds, headed for a fire alarm in a housing project. From the minute the truck cleared the door, the Capt. was yelling "Come on Mike, kick it in the ***, we gotta beat (Wont use the station number) X" As we went down the narrow streets, I glanced over the drivers shoulder to see he was doing 55 MPH on city streets. This wasn't as
    disturbing as what happened next. As we came barreling down on the intersection, I heard other sirens, and they were very close. The jake brake in the truck began rumbling.The Capt. yells "You can make it, cut them off!" Looking out the side door, I heard tires screech and saw the truck slow. The driver of that truck was slapping his hand on the steering wheel. The near miss was too close for me (at about 5') and the whole crew on the engine I was on, was cheering. After the emergency was over at the housing project, the stations began bantering each other. "What's the matter, forget to put the lead filled boots on today?" and from the other side "You been cheating haven't you? What did you do, have the turbo charger tuned up on that
    thing?" It was very obvious it was a game, a game that someday will cost
    someone a life.
    I talked to that specific Captain about that, and he said it was no big
    deal, just a game they play so that it looks better on the year end report.
    I made the comment that year end reports weren't worth a firefighters life.
    To that comment he said "Come on Mark, take it easy, we know what we are
    doing, and the worst we have ever had was one little scrape down the side of
    the truck. We like it close"
    This is not the only department or station I have seen this in. I have
    seen it in NY State, District of Columbia, IL, MO, CA, TX, and several more. Hell, in my earlier years in firefighting, we had a rivalry between the rescue squad and the fire department much like this!This childish, egotistical, and possible deadly competition HAS to stop! Firefighting is
    deadly enough without a competition between departments trying to get on
    scene.
    I am begging you, IF your department is playing this game, do everything
    in your power to stop it! It may be fun to play the game now, but it won't
    be when an accident happens, and a firefighter (or civilian) is killed!, ...
    Mark


    Mark S. Warnick (Founder)
    Helping Our Own (TM)
    Firefighter helping Firefighter
    I know for a fact that two neghboring deaprtments have a rivalry going. Of course, they are on auto-aid, and the chief of one department promises steak dinners to his crews if they beat the other department to their own fire. I wouldn't be surprised if this kind of thing was going on.

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    I replied to the "L" list and wonder if this along with other things may have contributed. How very sad.
    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
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    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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    Dang it, Jay, I was gonna post Mark's comments. In fact, I've still got the whole thing on my clipboard ready to paste.
    Probably every department has a similar problem except ours is with the guys coming to the station. I can harp at them all night to take it easy, but every 3 or 4 months, I'll get told they drive stupid coming to the station. Some day, it's going to happen. I just hope nobody gets mangaled for life. I think I'll paste the comments to our next newsletter which I'll work on this weekend while sitting out by the lake. It's supposed to rain tomorrow night so I'll be inside the camper with not much to do.
    Stay Safe, everybody!
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

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    ya know Jack............that too almost hits the nail on the head ........very good post for Vols or POC depts.......
    Last edited by Weruj1; 04-29-2004 at 11:32 AM.
    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
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    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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    Good points, Jack. I harp on my people, too. Haven't had any complaints yet, but I know it's only a matter of time.

    This is in today's Tribune. I have added the emphasis:

    Chiefs Await Crash Data

    Site of fatal firetruck collision had emergency system in place


    By Brett McNeil and Angela Rozas, Tribune staff reporters. Tribune staff reporters Alison Neumer and James Kimberly contributed to this report
    Published April 29, 2004


    The intersection where two firetrucks collided Tuesday night, killing a Stone Park firefighter, was outfitted last year with a system that allows emergency vehicles to trigger the green light, but only one of the trucks was equipped to do so, officials said Wednesday.

    The vehicle without an emitter, a pumper truck from the Stone Park Fire Department, broadsided a Northlake truck at Mannheim Road and Armitage Avenue in Melrose Park, investigators said.


    The collision injured five other firefighters, one critically.

    ...

    Melrose Park Deputy Police Chief Sam Pitassi said investigators determined that only the Northlake truck was outfitted with an emitter.

    The devices are designed to help emergency vehicles move quickly through intersections while avoiding collisions, a leading cause of death for firefighters.

    Last year, 13 west suburbs, including Northlake, outfitted their vehicles and traffic signals with the devices. Stone Park did not participate in the program.

    Stone Park Mayor Beniamino Mazzulla said his firefighters reported that they had a green light as they headed into the intersection northbound on Mannheim.

    Mazzulla said the village's acting fire chief was following close behind the truck in a sport-utility vehicle equipped with an emitter.

    Northlake Fire Chief Robert Hjelmgren and Acting Stone Park Fire Chief John Cummins issued a statement Wednesday saying they would not comment on the crash until the investigation is complete.

    Northlake Mayor Jeffrey Sherwin said, "We need to learn from what happened, but we need to wait for the investigation results."

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    and the plot thickens............thanks for the update. And, if they did not participate, how did the chief's SUV have one, and did that have something to do with it ?
    Last edited by Weruj1; 04-29-2004 at 11:46 AM.
    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
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    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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    alls i knows is: we have two stoplights in our whole county (it was only one until very very recently). those sensors don't work in the daylight, is my opinion. they work good at nite, hell i can sit there in my car, only 6 inches off the ground and flash my brites at the stoplight and it will turn green REAL quick, even when it has just turned red. but during the day, i don't think it catches enough of the lights on the rig to set it off, because i have never seen it change during the daylight hours. and i have been driving and had one partner who scared the living s*@t out of me because i hit the brake a little going into a left turn at the stoplight, when he screamed "don't slow down!!! GO!" when there was a car flying up to the intersection. lucky for us, i told him to shut up and the car missed my front bumper by inches. had i not stopped, he would have hit the side of the rig. (my partner did shut up by the way...real quick)...i think a lot of people are just in such a hurry and assume that nothing, including one of their own, will get in their way in that intersection, and obviously people need to take every step possible to make sure that help arrives at the scene, even if it does take an extra 2 seconds to slow down at that intersection, at least you make it there safely.
    "Well behaved women rarely make history"

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    The Opticom from 3M is an infared traffic system that will control the traffic signals allowing us to better pass through traffic.
    Their are many options available but basically the first rig that captures the intersection changes the light to green while cross traffic is given a red signal. The white light mounted to the traffic light (an option) will tell a driver who has control of the intersection. In Addison a flashing light means you have it, steady is against you. But I also believe it is user defined, so it may not be the same everywhere.
    The system also records information like who had the system and for how long, so the investigation should be a little less complicated. If memory serves Stone Park doesn't have the Opticom.

    This is a tragic event and my heart goes out to everyone involved.

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    Exclamation well that didnt take long ............

    Injured Stone Park Firefighter Files Lawsuit


    POSTED: 6:13 p.m. CDT April 29, 2004
    UPDATED: 7:15 p.m. CDT April 29, 2004


    Story by nbc5.com

    NORTHLAKE, Ill. -- One of the firefighters involved in the crash of two fire engines on Monday is filing a lawsuit.

    Images: Fatal Fire Truck Accident
    Video: Police Study Fire Truck Accident
    Video: Firefighter Killed
    Video: Firefighter Remembered

    Ricardo Mendoza was driving the Stone Park fire engine that collided with a Northlake fire engine. Mendoza says the Northlake unit failed to decrease speed heading into the intersection, where the collision took place, and failed to use its horn to signal that it was approaching.

    The collision took the life of Stone Park firefighter Jeffrey Bergstrom.

    Mendoza is hospitalized at Loyola University Medical Center with severe leg injuries. His condition was upgraded from critical to stable Thursday, according to Stone Park village officials.
    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
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    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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    "If you are injured, call 1-800-Dewey, Cheatham, & Howe! We'll come to your hospital room!"

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    I think we all knew this was coming but I sure didn't think it would be so quick. I'll bet there'll be some policy reviews and revisions. i just hope they (we) all learn from this tragic accident.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

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    The thing that bothers me most is that Mendoza was the driver of the Stone Park rig. I don't know Mendoza and I wasn't there but.
    The Stone Park Engine hit the Northlake Engine just before the back wheel. Isn't it the responsibility of the apparatus drivers to get their rig, and crew, to the scene safely.
    I know how it is when you hear that you are going to a worker. It realy doesn't matter to me who blew through the light (some one did) these guys have to live with what happened.
    We all just have to learn from this, keep our situational awareness, and remember that driving is probably the single most important job on the shift.
    I don't know how these guys are behind the wheel, but if you work with someone, (and we all do) that can't follow our driving rules or looses his head on a call, or just drives like nothing can touch him, it is up to us to get him retrained or removed from driving.
    You can't tell me that in Jonesboro, Arkansas semi trailers just jump out infront of fire apparatus. That semi was hit in the middle of the trailer. The damage to the rig would indicate that the squad was going way to fast and failed to avoid the accident. Please be careful out there.

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    It would appear that neither fire department exercised enough caution at the intersection.
    It also appears that someone disregarded a traffic control device. Even if the signal was pre-empted; whoever had the red light and still entered the intersection is at fault. Whoever DID NOT have the green light will be held responsible for the accident.
    CR
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    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

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    Hey, can a Massachusetts guy get a word in here?

    Traffic device or no traffic device, I was always taught to enter and proceed through every intersection with care. To me that means I should be able to stop if someone is being stupid......

    And one question? Any word on seatbelts?

    Dave

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