Hudson River Plane Crash
Another of the year’s most captivating events was the landing of a U.S. Airways plane on the Hudson River in January. All 155 people on board survived the landing and were rescued from the frigid water by emergency crews and other boats. One victim reportedly suffered two broken legs but there were no other reports of serious injuries.
The plane had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport enroute to Charlotte, N.C. and struck one or more birds, disabling two engines. The pilot, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, became known as a national hero for safely guiding the plane down, and rescuers were heavily praised for the successful emergency response. FDNY got the first call, and additional response agencies included NYPD, NY Waterway ferries and Weehawken, N.J., police, firefighters and emergency medical crews.
Worcester Tragedy 10th Anniversary
Dec. 3, 2009 marked the 10th anniversary of the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse Fire, the tragic 1999 blaze that claimed the lives of six Worcester, Mass. firefighters. The historic incident sparked safety assessments throughout the U.S. fire service, leaving a positive legacy on behalf of those killed: Paul A. Brotherton, Jeremiah M. Lucey, Joseph T. McGuirk, Timothy P. Jackson Sr., Thomas E. Spencer and James F. 'Jay' Lyons III.
Firehouse.com was on the scene for the memorial service, and for updates from those who helped the department weather the storm and come out stronger.
Line of Duty Deaths
As of Dec. 31, there have been 93 line of duty deaths reported for 2009, according to the USFA. This is down from 118 reported for 2008.
While all of these deaths are equal and tragic losses, several stood out as lessons learned for the fire service.
In one incident, a Boston firefighter was killed and several others were injured when a ladder truck crashed into a high-rise building in January. The incident took the life of 30-year veteran Lt. Kevin M. Kelley and put its apparatus maintenance division under a microscope when catastrophic brake failure was found to blame.
In another tragic accident, two Texas firefighters were killed in ladder truck training. The Kilgore firefighters fell eight stories from an elevated aerial platform Jan. 25 on the Kilgore College campus. Firefighters Kyle Perkins, 45, and Cory Galloway, 28, were participating in a training exercise to familiarize fire department personnel with the newly purchased equipment. Fall protection was not used during the training.