Recall: What Made Headlines This Past Week

Changes in leadership, dramatic flood rescues, firefighter injuries and a courageous presentation were among the headlines involving the fire service the past week.

In Hall County, Ga., where four firefighters were injured when an aerial ladder suddenly retracted, the fire chief has been relieved of command.

David Kimbrell  will retain his post as Emergency Management Agency director, while Jeff Hood has been named interim chief.

"I am anxious to find the cause of the truck accident more than anyone," Kimbrell wrote in an internal email this morning obtained by The Times. "I look forward to what (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) finds when they come in to do their investigation, and the final report of the county and their investigation. Hopefully, that will prevent this from ever happening somewhere else and will prevent this from happening here again."

Meanwhile, a Colorado fire chief highly criticized by a cop for his handling of a wildfire remains incommunicado.

Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey has not officially resigned, but his actions, including his refusal to communicate with the board, have amounted to a public resignation, fire district board members said.

At its monthly meeting, the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District board reiterated that it will begin searching for a new chief.

Despite the fact that the members have not spoken with Harvey for 11 weeks, they have not fired him.

In Pennsylvania, a firefighter barred from a department after arson convictions donned gear and showed up at an incident.

Francis Kestner Jr., the son of fire Chief Francis Kestner, wore Mt. Oliver fire gear at a fire on Saturday despite being dismissed from the department 10 years ago.

Closing the firehouse doors are among the immediate changes that will take place.

Also this week, a former fire chief suffered a serious head injury while donning gear to respond to a call.

Verdoy fire officials are investigating to determine how Jason Wheatley fell and struck his head on the floor of the firehouse. He was in a coma.

In an unrelated incident, a Texas firefighter was stabbed in the stomach by a disgruntled resident who didn’t want him extinguishing a debris fire.

The firefighter suffered a gash on his abdomen.

Also, a Virginia paramedic who is still suffering from the LODD loss of her partner shared her experiences to promote Life Safety Initiative 13 – that all firefighters should have access to psychological help.

Beth Honaker has relived the incident in which Josh Weissman fell to his death from an overpass a thousand times or more.

While some of her colleagues were supportive, others remained silent. She now knows that some of them didn't know what to say. 

In other news, Arizona personnel performed  rescues from the air and land as the area was inundated with floods.

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