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  1. #1
    Forum Member FFTide's Avatar
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    Default Lucky they weren't dragging two people out.

    There is a reason we're the firefighters and wear the gear. Five days in the hospital with smoke inhalation and the firefighters ended up recovering the boy (who later died). This officer is just lucky they didn't pull her out either.

    Home New Tribune May 6, 2005

    FRANKLIN PARK ó Smoke billowed from the two-story house as frantic family members assembled outside the burning Maplewood home.

    When police officer Dawn Williams arrived, she quickly discovered someone was missing: a 7-year-old boy.

    "It was a large family," Williams said. "They were running around yelling his name."

    For her attempt to save the boy, who died from injuries suffered in the blaze, the former Milltown woman was honored this week with a Carnegie Award for heroism. The Maplewood patrol officer, who lives in the Franklin Park section of Franklin, suffered severe smoke inhalation in the blaze, but she is back on the job.

    The Dec. 16, 2003, fire on Midland Boulevard in the Essex County township was called in shortly before midnight. Williams

    was first on the scene.

    The family told Williams the boy, Christopher McPhatter, was most likely in the basement.

    Williams told them to stay on the sidewalk and she opened the front door in her attempt to find Christopher, crouching with her hand out in the darkness. The smoke poured out, keeping her from getting far, she said.

    She ran around the house to a side door and went inside to get to the basement.

    "I was just hit by this wall of heat," she said.

    She went back to the front of the house and entered through the front door again. She walked up and then down a set of stairs and then searched for a basement door, but flames shot across the ceiling over her, she said.

    "I thought, "I really shouldn't be in here,' " she recalled. "I walked outside and realized I couldn't breathe, and I collapsed."

    Firefighters found the boy alive, but he died later at a hospital.

    Williams was placed on a ventilator in an intensive care unit and remained hospitalized for five days, she said.

    "The first thing I wanted to know when I woke up was, "Did he make it?' " Williams said. "It's still tough. I'm still disappointed in the outcome. I don't want to say it was a failure, but I was unable to do what I wanted to do that night."

    Her injuries kept her out of work for two months.

    "This is just the way she is," said Maplewood police Capt. John Cheasty. "She's a very caring person. She had no equipment. She tried three times until she just couldn't do it physically any more."

    She received word that she was chosen for the award Wednesday.

    "I was very much like, "Wow!' " she said.

    Williams, 34, became a police officer in Maplewood a little more than 10 years ago.

    Her desire to go into law enforcement stretches back to the second grade at Parkview School in Milltown, Williams said.

    She credited family and her second-grade teacher, Lorraine Suppa, now retired, with giving her the sort of confidence and sense of commitment that she needed to become a police officer.

    Williams became a standout athlete at Spotswood High School, playing on the varsity girls' basketball, soccer and softball teams. She achieved a school record of 1,000 points scored on the basketball court.

    "She was one of the premier athletes of that time," said Graham Peabody, athletic director of Spotswood High School.

    She is one of 33 people honored by the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission so far in 2005. Each receives $3,500 as part of the award. More than 8,900 people have won the award since it was first handed out in 1904, according to the commission.
    Piscataway Fire Dist #2
    Possumtown V.F.C.


  2. #2
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lucky they weren't dragging two people out.

    Originally posted by FFTide
    There is a reason we're the firefighters and wear the gear. Five days in the hospital with smoke inhalation and the firefighters ended up recovering the boy (who later died). This officer is just lucky they didn't pull her out either.
    Actually, I think the town is lucky to have an officer like her. It's appauling that you would chastise her for trying to save a child. I don't know about you, but if I just happened to be passing by on my way to work and I didn't have my gear in the car, I would probably find myself doing the same thing.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
    Forum Member fireguy919's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re: Lucky they weren't dragging two people out.

    Originally posted by nmfire


    Actually, I think the town is lucky to have an officer like her. It's appauling that you would chastise her for trying to save a child. I don't know about you, but if I just happened to be passing by on my way to work and I didn't have my gear in the car, I would probably find myself doing the same thing.
    Me to

  4. #4
    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    Default

    There is a reason we're the firefighters and wear the gear.
    While by the book this is technically true.... try being in her shoes and doing nothing!

    What if your the first fire officer on location, POV with gear and no scba, what are you going to do when you hear "My baby is in there!" Are you going in with turnouts and no scba? Again while technically correct and obviously safer, are you going to stand there and wait for an engine while precious seconds tick by?

    I see totally where you are coming from, but this is one of those things that is so easy to comment on if you are not there. I would like to stand outside and wait for the ideal situation myself, but I've been on the unfortunate end in the scenario I outlined. Full turnouts and no scba with confirmed 2 entrapped, at the time fire only in one end of the house, but smoke obviously throughout. An off-duty career FF who lived in the neighborhood and myself opted to make entry with gear only. We were successful in getting in and getting out with the victims however only one of them survived.

    Were we lucky to live and have a story to tell, yes and I am totally thankful for that fact, but I guess what I'm getting at is you don't really know what that feeling is until you stand there and get slapped in the face with it at zero dark thirty! It's tough, very tough. As firefighters our entire profession is calculated risks. We calculate based on our training and experience and we hope that someone is riding on our shoulder looking out for us during the worst times so that we go home after everything is said and done.

  5. #5
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    we (firefighters) shouldn't be tackling armed bank robbers, police shouldn't be entering IDLH.

    if an off duty FF wants to make entry, fine, at least then they have the training and experience to do something.

    if you want police officers to do what this officer did, fine, I have no problems with that, provided they meet two requirements: they recieve firefighter training (or at least firefighter search and resce training), and the are provided with full PPE and SCBA, and they use it whenever they make entry into an IDLH atmosphere. otherwise, they should be securing the scene and assisting in the investigation after the fact.

    we tell civilians to evacuate a burning building and let the fire department handle it. a police officer in a station uniform and no fire training should do the same thing.

    btw, it's not just a problem in franklin park, it happens all the time in central NJ, and probably elsewhere too. sad, it will probably take a death of a police officer to stop this dangerous practice, where the badge and gun make a person able to withstand all the dangers of a sturcture fire.
    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

  6. #6
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re: Lucky they weren't dragging two people out.

    Originally posted by nmfire


    Actually, I think the town is lucky to have an officer like her. It's appauling that you would chastise her for trying to save a child. I don't know about you, but if I just happened to be passing by on my way to work and I didn't have my gear in the car, I would probably find myself doing the same thing.
    Yup!
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  7. #7
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    we (firefighters) shouldn't be tackling armed bank robbers, police shouldn't be entering IDLH.

    It should not be your job to, but as a citizen of the community I would say that you should do what you can in the situation as long as you are not getting in the way of the police.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  8. #8
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    Originally posted by FFTrainer
    What if your the first fire officer on location, POV with gear and no scba, what are you going to do when you hear "My baby is in there!" Are you going in with turnouts and no scba? Again while technically correct and obviously safer, are you going to stand there and wait for an engine while precious seconds tick by?
    well, the only officers that should be responding to the scene are chief officers, and in that situation, they should open the truck of their chief's car, remove their gear, grab their SCBA and make entry. that's why they keep their gear in their car.

    and dennis, I'll be sure to tell your widow that when that robber shoots you, kills you, and still gets away because you were unable to stop him, because you lacked the proper training to restrain and disarm an armed suspect.

    remember, there is a very thin line between being a hero and becoming a statistic. and sometimes luck is the deciding factor.
    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

  9. #9
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    Default

    Originally posted by DrParasite
    we (firefighters) shouldn't be tackling armed bank robbers, police shouldn't be entering IDLH.
    ????

    How about the POS robbing the convience store as you are paying for you morning coffee, the carjacker trying to drag the mother out of the car her baby is in, the jihadist hijacking the plane you are on? Dialing 911 does not count as making a contribution to solving the problem.

  10. #10
    medic123
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    What about the FF that have stopped crimes should they stop. If you recall there was a post just last week about this. Some on this BB. bash the Cops to much. She is what the definition of a hero is. A term used much too much to explain every days activities but when a person takes the risk she did for an attempted save is true heroism. This also involved a kid how many of us in the same situation would have done the same.

  11. #11
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by DrParasite


    and dennis, I'll be sure to tell your widow that when that robber shoots you, kills you, and still gets away because you were unable to stop him, because you lacked the proper training to restrain and disarm an armed suspect.

    If it happens that way it happens, but at least I will have tried to do the right thing to help the greater good. THAT is what being a CITIZEN is ALL about!
    Semper Fi!
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  12. #12
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    I have been in my car going or coming home from work and seen a house on fire several times and was first on the scene. I have been inside, without any type of ppe and did a quick search and once did remove a older person from a bed room. I would do it again if I had to.

    Here is a news story of April 27th where two kids playing with a lighter caught the house on fire and THREE OFF DUTY FIREFIGHTERS were on scene before the fire department and attempted to get inside.

    Were they wrong? NO!

    Should they just stand there knowing that children were still in the house and wait for the department to arrive? NO!

    They did what they had to do and in all probably, will be cited for bravery.



    House fire kills Chesterfield boy
    His two siblings were playing with a lighter and started the blaze
    BY MARK BOWES
    TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
    Wednesday, April 27, 2005


    Two children playing with a lighter ignited a blaze that killed their toddler brother and gutted the family's home yesterday in southeastern Chesterfield County, fire officials said.
    The tot, 22 months old, was pulled from the burning house in the 2000 block of Milhorn Street by firefighters and taken to VCU Medical Center in Richmond about 8:15 a.m., said Chesterfield fire Capt. Robbie Dawson.

    Firefighters were notified about 10:30 a.m. that the child had died.
    Six other family members the child's mother, father and four siblings -- escaped unharmed after the father discovered a fire in the living room that had been started accidentally by two of his children, ages 3 and 5.

    Those children "were playing with a lighter [and] lighting paper on fire," Dawson said. After starting a fire on the living-room floor, they tried unsuccessfully to put it out and alerted their dad, who also tried extinguishing the blaze.
    But it was too late.

    "The fire got bigger, and they evacuated the home," Dawson said.
    The parents escorted four of their five children outside, but once they were out, they realized their youngest child was still asleep in their bedroom. The father then tried to re-enter but was driven back by the heat and smoke, Dawson said. He suffered minor smoke inhalation.

    The mother called 911 at 8:12 a.m., reporting that everyone had made it out safely except her youngest son.
    About that time, three off-duty firefighters -- one each from Petersburg, Hopewell and Colonial Heights -- converged on the scene and tried to rescue the trapped child, Dawson said.
    Two of the firefighters live in the neighborhood; the other stopped after seeing smoke while driving on Jefferson Davis Highway.
    "They all three knew each other, as it turned out," Dawson said. "The mother told them the baby was just inside that window."
    The firefighters then broke out the window and used a ladder from the backyard to try to reach the boy. Since they were off-duty, they were working without protective gear or breathing apparatus.
    "They didn't go all the way in," Dawson explained. "One guy was in up to his waist, with the other two guys basically holding his legs . . . to be able to pull him out."

    Once that firefighter was positioned in the window, he began to grope around with his hands to find the child. But the smoke and heat drove him back, Dawson said.

    By then, the first Chesterfield fire crews had arrived. They entered the window with protective gear, found the child and immediately began resuscitation efforts.

    Dawson said the identities of family members would not be released until the child's grandparents were notified.
    Two of the three off-duty firefighters who attempted to rescue the child sustained minor injuries. One received minor burns, the other some cuts to his arm, Dawson said.

    The family's home did not appear to have a working smoke detector, he said.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  13. #13
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    well, the only officers that should be responding to the scene are chief officers, and in that situation, they should open the truck of their chief's car, remove their gear, grab their SCBA and make entry. that's why they keep their gear in their car.
    Maybe in your little corner of the world. What makes you think that's the way it is everywhere? You should know that by now.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Forum Member FFTide's Avatar
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    Wow look at the storm I caused only a few hours into this morning. I guess I should say that the reason I chose to share this was because of the fact that a few seconds more inside for the officer and she would have been a victum (she already was in the hospital for a few days). This house sounds like it was more than a little involved... hero? I guess, though unsuccessful.

    I would like to thank DrP for seeing what I see in this situation.
    Piscataway Fire Dist #2
    Possumtown V.F.C.

  15. #15
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    CaptOldTimer, your comparing apples to oranges. in your news article, the 3 people were experienced firefighters with firefighter training. most police officers (as well as civilians, EMS personnel, etc) don't have that. that is the difference.

    nmfire, are you serious? ok, the SCBA maybe not (although I think it's a good thing to have, even if it is an older model), but there are fire chief's that don't carry a set of turnout gear in their chief's vehicle? I will admit, my experience is only in new york and new jersey, but I always thought that all chiefs carried thier gear with them. and if you have other officers responding directly to the scene with no gear, then who is going to be on the trucks, and more importantly, who is going to supervise the firefighters when then start making an interior attack?
    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

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    Forum Member BFDNJFF's Avatar
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    Actually, I think the town is lucky to have an officer like her. It's appauling that you would chastise her for trying to save a child. I don't know about you, but if I just happened to be passing by on my way to work and I didn't have my gear in the car, I would probably find myself doing the same thing.

    i agree with this statement 100%

    this women did what any decent human being would do if they had the Balls to do it.
    I think she took the job to protect and serve and IMO thats what she tried to do !
    If i was in there and in the same situation as the boy was i would hope someone would try and rescue me or my family member instead of waiting for the FD to respond.Those few spare minutes could meen a life or death.

  17. #17
    Forum Member allineedisu's Avatar
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    Where is it written that a POLICE OFFICER can not try to enter a building that they have been told by someone on the scene that someone is still inside and to look for them?

    Too many police officers have been decorated for bravery for doing such. Beside in larger cities, they have had the basic training by the fire department to enter and make a quick survey in such as case.

    I say good job officer and a tip of the old helmet to them.

  18. #18
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DrParasite nmfire, are you serious? ok, the SCBA maybe not (although I think it's a good thing to have, even if it is an older model), but there are fire chief's that don't carry a set of turnout gear in their chief's vehicle? I will admit, my experience is only in new york and new jersey, but I always thought that all chiefs carried thier gear with them. and if you have other officers responding directly to the scene with no gear, then who is going to be on the trucks, and more importantly, who is going to supervise the firefighters when then start making an interior attack? [/B]
    Your asking ME if I'm serious? Wow.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  19. #19
    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    I don't agree with Police officers attempting these rescues ahead of fire service response, especially if the response is close at hand. I have been to so many incidents where Police officers have made the fire worse by breaking windows and opening doors. Its normally a better call to get some control at the incident, clearing the way for incoming engines.

    Having said all that I salute the mentioned Police officer! If she hadn't have gone in for the boy then maybe one or more of the family members might have tried. Its not easy to just stand by and do nothing in these cases. The difference between an off duty firefighter and the Police officer is that one knows (should know) a 'bit' about fire behavior and the likely hazards involved.

    Its wrong .... but don't condemn her .... she's a hero in my mind. Some of the greatest rescues I have seen carried out by firefighters were wrong .... against all manner of normal safe practice .... but tip of the hat to them as well!

  20. #20
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    first of all hello to all and i am new at this site.i just want to say that i agree with the police officers actions here.i myself would not stand there and do nothing about the situation.i applaud this officers actions and would thank her.

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