1. #1
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    Thumbs down Bel Alton VFD Kids Wreck Half Million Dollar Tanker on Joy Ride

    from Billy G's secret list.
    --------------
    By Kenneth C. Rossignol

    ST. MARY’S TODAY

    BEL ALTON, MD --- Another incident which is all too familiar has taken place in a Southern Maryland Volunteer Fire Department, that of younger members going wild with fire department facilities and equipment which has been purchased with a great deal of public and donated funds.

    On Sunday, June 5, 2005, on Bel Alton-Newtown Road, a Bel Alton Volunteer Fire Department tanker truck was being operated at a speed greater than reasonable when it left the road on a curve and overturned, with the $500,000 vehicle virtually demolished.

    The tanker, which has the purpose of carrying water to fires, hopefully had water in it and as it was operated at higher speeds, the water, according to one source close to the investigation, apparently began to slosh back and forth and at one point made the truck keel over.

    The truck was not on a emergency call and according to one source, was being used to take members of the department to a birthday party.

    Police report that the truck was not on a call and that it was operated by a number of young members of the department, including a 17-year-old girl.

    Young members of various departments have been attempting to take over La Plata, Mechanicsville and other area departments and their biggest focus has been on spending money unnecessarily, such as Hollywood Vol. Fire Dept., when it bought a ladder truck, or having beer bashes at the various department’s social halls. Younger members complain that the old guys who have been running the departments are "dinosaurs" in various internet chat rooms and forums on fire service, while the older members fear the younger members are reckless with both money and equipment.

    Hollywood Vol. Fire Dept. is surrounded by fire companies with ladder trucks and to put the money out for a ladder truck when as many as five trucks could be in their first due area within 15 minutes constituted a gross misuse of public funds which are designated for the department’s activities and come from taxing districts with no controls or strings attached. That was the feeling of many veteran firefighters who have worked hard for decades to build up the volunteer fire companies of the area.

    Bay District VFD lost money it made on donated funds in the stock market with the loss equaling the cost of a fire truck.

    Mechanicsville VFD advertised a beach party at which young people under age were invited to attend.

    A beer bash at La Plata went bad when a man was stabbed at the affair while it’s chief reportedly wrecked the chief’s car while out of county on personal business. An allegation that the chief was operating the official vehicle while intoxicated has not been verified by officials and La Plata’s chief has never returned a call seeking comment. A La Plata officer used a company vehicle to go bar hopping in past years, a practice which supposedly has been curtailed.

    Taking fire equipment to birthday parties is inconsistent with the purposes for which public funds are appropriated to the volunteer fire companies.

    In Sunday’s incident, there were no serious injuries or was their any reported contribution from the use of alcohol. According to the Charles County Sheriff’s Department, the incident is still under investigation but speed was a factor.
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

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    Wow. My biggest question is how in the HELL did these departments lose so much control?

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    This has a weird feeling of a hack editorial, not an article, to me.

    Either way, obviously somebody has to answer for the screw up.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Okay, so what does, by the sound of it, Junior Firefighters out being stupid and joy riding have to do with young people taking over fire departments and throwing "beer bashes?"

    Junior firefighters driving apparatus....BIG PROBLEM there but unrelated to how departments are making poor investments or spending money foolishly...

    If I were in one of those depts. mentioned I would be having a discussion with that newspaper. Bad PR for those mentioned, and not too many hard facts....just sounded like because a group of kids did something stupid they are trying to make depts. in the area appear irresponsible. Why? 17 y/o girl...17 isn't old enough to know right from wrong? She can't be held responsible for her actions, so the credibility of that dept. and others near by needed to be attacked? I DON'T THINK SO!!!
    Last edited by Co11FireGal; 06-09-2005 at 11:33 PM.
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    It's layed out, dateline and writers name, as if it were an article for a newspaper written by a journalist. But the lack of objectivity and the use of statments such as
    Another incident which is all too familiar has taken place in a Southern Maryland ...
    ...tanker truck was being operated at a speed greater than reasonable...
    and
    Taking fire equipment to birthday parties is inconsistent with the purposes for which public funds are appropriated to the volunteer fire companies.
    all sound like someone stating opinions in the Editorial section.
    The entire paragraph-
    The tanker, which has the purpose of carrying water to fires, hopefully had water in it and as it was operated at higher speeds, the water, according to one source close to the investigation, apparently began to slosh back and forth and at one point made the truck keel over.
    doesn't sound like anything a reporter would be able to get past an editor with any sense.
    hopefully had water in it
    ??? Why would the reporter or writer say "Hopefully" that it had water in it?
    Sconfire, is St Mary's a Grade school? Was this an article or editorial written by a 6th grader for extra school credit in the school newspaper? Do you have a link?
    Steve
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    as I stated at the top of my post...

    from Billy G's secret list.

    Here is the link to the newspaper. You have to copy and paste. For some reason I cannot get the link vB code to work. Add the www to the beginning.

    stmarystoday.com/bel_alton_vfd_kids_wreck_half_mi.htm
    Last edited by sconfire; 06-10-2005 at 12:22 AM.
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

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    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
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    www.firehistory.org
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    Default Another Take

    http://somd.com/news/headlines/articles/2124.shtml

    On June 5 at 7:41 p.m., a Bel Alton Fire Department Fire Engine driven by Donald Ray Simms, 31, of White Plains, was traveling north on Bel Alton Newtown Road, north of Mallow Road in Bel Alton, when the driver left the right side of the roadway, lost control of the vehicle and struck an embankment on the southbound side, causing the vehicle to overturn. Simms was flown by a Maryland State Police helicopter to Prince George's General Hospital; his injuries were said to be non-life-threatening. The passengers - La Plata residents Steven Kyle Schultz, 19, and Christopher Nicholas Beane and Phillip John Rieman, both 20, and a 17-year-old Bel Alton girl sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were transported to Civista Medical Center. They were not responding to a call at the time of the crash. Cpl. D. Belfield of the Traffic Operations Unit is investigating.
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    Okay, so just because there were kids in the vehicle, the headline automatically states that they're responsible for the wreckage....alrighty....

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    First off, this guy loves to bash the local fire departments in our area. Being a member of Mechanicsville, we caught alot of heat for having a block party in which we allowed 16 year olds to attend. What he failed to post or realize was that we had law enforcement personnel there checking id's etc. and that there was absolutley no underage drinking tolerated. The party was put together by the younger members (morale committee)of our department, which they did a stand up job in doing. He constantly fails to get the whole story and writes and posts whatever he thinks will sell his rag sheet.

    The Bel Alton incident, from what I have heard, is they were on their way to a birhtday party, doing fire prevention, and the gentleman wheeling was in his 30's. Far from some young kid in my book!! The rig was a pumper not a tanker and it didn't cost $500k.

    The bottom line is he just loves to keep the pot stirred!!! In my department we decided to let it rest. We felt it wasn't worth the battle because in the long run he would just nit pick us to death.

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    Tbone - I guess the old addage "Never argue with an idiot because they will only beat you with experiance" applies here?

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    Obviously written by someone who has an axe to grind with Bel Alton FD.....it was not carried by AP or Reuters.

    No objective reporting in this one..........
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    Thumbs down Total BS..........................

    Anyone noting the Location in my Profile would see that I am at least 50 miles away, and I would add that I am not a member of any department in St. Marys County. I say this to show that I am removed, by some distance, to what is going on there. St Marys Today is one of at least 4 newspapers in what is commonly known as the Tri-County area (Charles, Calvert, and St. Marys Counties) of Southern Maryland. Of the 4, St Marys Today is the only one that is Bashing the local VFDs, the other 3 stick to reporting the news, rather than fabricating it. The Volunteer Fire Service is the latest target of this rag, after a couple of YEARS of tearing up the Sheriff's Departments of all 3 Counties. The editorial staff seems to have studied very hard, and graduated Magna Whatever from the National Enquirer School of Lack of Journalisim Ability. Nobody believes what they print, and how the sell any papers is a mystery. I would offer a sugguestion to those of you in the Tri-County area. Put the rag out of business. Go after those few businesses that advertise in the paper. With no advertising, there will be no revenue to continue this stupidity.
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    It's good to see that this didn't fool any of the wise members of the forums.

    The St Mary's today is a rag and is the local equivilent to the National Enquirer. Not only are the facts incomplete on the Bel Alton story, but his shots at the other local companies are cheap as well.

    On a more serious side, I'm glad that all of the brothers (and sisters) from Bel Alton are going to be OK. It's a shame to see equipment destroyed and firefighters injured in what was most likely a preventable accident.

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    Smile Hey 34.................

    Thanks for the post. You are in a position to know, is Truck 7 really a big deal? Looking at response times, and knowing that there is usually 1 truck out of service, (I listen to the Radio) seems like a few more Truck Companies would be a good idea. I've heard Charles Truck 3 hit the road to St. Marys on a regular basis, sometimes for a 30 mile run, and not too long ago, (Daytime) PG Truck 25 started on a 22 Box. The comment about 5 Trucks getting to Hollywood in 15 minutes is crazy, at the least. 9, 1, Calvert 3, St. Marys 3, Then who? Calvert 2 and Charles 3 are both 40 miles out, Charles 1 and PG 25 are closer to 50. A notable lack of research there.
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    Woods

    You are correct. There are trucks at St Mary's 3, 9, 1, and then Calvert 3. I don't know who is next. From my limited experience down here, truck work is an afterthought and any company that is willing to take is seriously is good for the community.

    I have spoken with several members of Hollywood and my understanding is that they used the company's money raised from bingo, hall rentals ect to purchase the truck as opposed to county funds as indicated in the article. They got it for a steal and could probably sell it today for what they have in it. They are doing it for the right reasons and I can only see that it helps the entire area. The biggest complainers seem to be people who might lose some calls to the new truck. The only down side that I can see is if it affects their staffing when they pull an engine, tanker and the truck for an incident. I would expect it to be put on the run card over here in Calvert for a couple of our commercial structures soon. (That's just my opinion, not necessarily my departments)

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    Why was someone under 21 driving the tanker or any apparatus,thats my question. In my company, you must be 21 to drive ANY apparatus even utility vehicles and you must have at least 6 months driver training,trained by the training officer but back on this issue, it's unbelievable how departments lose control and this is the result, i think those departments with young members should have tighter SOGs or enforce the one's they have to prevent situations like this occur again

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    29 ....

    Read the posts again .. the driver of the ENGINE envolved was 31 years old. The passengers were under 21 and the truck was headed to a public education function at a birthday party. It seems like an unfortuante accident, which the REAL article does not mention a cause.

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    you mean you gotta READ these things ?>
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    ahh, ok thanks for mentioning that, i was doing a quick read and reply i was on my way out going to the station for a meeting,i guess i skipped a line thanks again for pointing that out.

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    I was wondering what kind of tanker would carry a 1/2 mil price tag...I would think a "bells and whistles" custom would only cost around $375,000 maybe $400,000 max.
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    Smile Wasn't a Tanker................

    It was a Pumper, and not a half million one either. That figure was pulled out of thin air, like everything else that St Marys Today prints.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    What is it with people bashing firefighters these days? Most of us do this for free, taking time away from our family and lives, and yet all we seem to meet is criticism. Sometimes I feel like we should just sit back and let these people save themselves, then maybe they'll realize that they do need us...

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