Los Angeles | Fire Captain injured battling major blaze in downtown garment district

LAFD Photo by Harry Garvin

1025 Maple Avenue, Los Angeles | 22 April 2012

One Los Angeles Fire Captain was injured while battling an early morning blaze in a large commercial building in downtown Los Angeles, on April 22nd, 2012. Scores of firefighters were forced into a defensive attack to extinguish the flames.

Firefighters quickly arrived to 1025 Maple Avenue to find a large 50′ x 100′ commercial building attaching four units, with black smoke pouring from the roof.

Additional resources requested by the Incident Commander surrounded the structure, forced entry from the front while attacking from Santee Alley in the rear. Truck teams laddered the building, and aggressively cut holes on the lightweight panelized roof.

As the well entrenched fire rapidly spread, conditions worsened. Approximately 45 minutes into the firefight, an “emergency traffic” radio transmission instructed firefighters to attack defensively with large hose streams. It was deemed unsafe for firefighters inside and the roof was described as “spongy”, for those standing on it.

A total of four businesses, containing clothing and shoes, were damaged, however the bulk of the fire was on the south side of two units. Fortunately, a division wall separated the other two units, minimizing damage to the north side of the concrete tilt-up structure.

Approximately 150 firefighters, under the command of  Battalion Chief Chris Logan, extinguished the blaze in one hour and 41 minutes.

The cause of this early morning fire is under active investigation and the dollar loss is still being tabulated.

A Fire Captain suffered a significant avulsion to the arm and was transported to a local hospital in fair condition. No other injuries were reported.

Dispatched Units: E9 T9 RA209 E10 RA810 E3 T3 E203 SQ21 EM11 BC1 BC11 E15 RA809 E221 T21 E11 DC2 BC13 E210 T10 E17 E4 E211 T11 EM2 UR3 E27 T5 E205 UR88 BC5 RA803 E229 T29 AR1 E13 E14 E202 T2 EA1 RA860 RT83 E2 E25 E201 T1 E220 T20 RA10 RA17 RA4 EM9 EL83 RA9 RA3 BC11 RA848 RT40 AR7

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New York City | Line of Duty funeral for FDNY Lt. Richard Nappi of E237

Photograph courtesy of FDNY


Lake Ronkonkoma | 23 April 2012

Thousands of FDNY members gathered on Long Island bid farewell to a hero on Apr. 21, Lt. Richard Nappi of Engine 237, who died in the line of duty on Apr. 16.

The 17-year veteran of the FDNY suffered an apparent heart attack while battling a three-alarm fire the same day in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

“Firefighting isn’t just an occupation – it’s a vocation, a mission and a passion,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during the service at the Church of Elizabeth Ann Seton in Lake Ronkonkoma. “Today it’s my duty and privilege to praise the memory of one of New York’s Bravest, who understood that.”

Lt. Nappi, 47, was remembered as someone who loved his job as a firefighter. Many said he always got to the firehouse early for his tour and went home late.

His devotion to the job was evident on Sept. 11, 2001, when he responded from home. He then continued to help at the site – whether it was search and rescue or extinguishing pockets of fire – for months after the tragedy.

He also volunteered on Long Island both as a trainer at the Suffolk County Fire Academy in Yaphank and a firefighter in the Farmingville Fire Department.

“Rich was very serious about his work as a firefighter and very committed, not just in learning everything he could about the job, but sharing that knowledge with others,” Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said.

But beyond his love for the job, he also adored his family, including his wife, Mary Anne, and children Catherine, 12, and Nicholas, 11. At the request of his firehouse, the FDNY Foundation set up a scholarship fund for Lt. Nappi’s children.

“He was a fun-loving guy who was full of life and loved to talk,” Firefighter Michael Babino, Engine 7, said. “He was always good natured … and we’re going to really miss him.”

Firefighter Brian Dillon, Engine 237, reminded the Lieutenant’s family that they will always be a part of the FDNY.

“Mary Anne, [the members of Engine] 237 will always be a part of your life. We’ll always be here for you.”

British Columbia | Premier launches expanded AMBER Alert to keep kids safe

Vancouver | 23 April 2012

British Columbia’s AMBER Alert system is getting a major boost. Premier Christy Clark and Justice Minister and Attorney General Shirley Bond today announced a new government-wide initiative that will see 30,000 civil servants receive AMBER Alerts on their work computers and mobile devices on a 24-hour basis.

“There is nothing to compare with the terror a parent feels when their child goes missing,” said Premier Clark. “The AMBER Alert expansion will mean 30,000 extra sets of eyes all over B.C. looking for a child – helping them get back to their families faster, and making this tool more effective so that police can do their job. This is part of our government’s commitment to supporting strong families and safe communities.”

The expansion will get information out faster and more widely, helping police to bring children back to their families as quickly as safely as possible. AMBER Alerts will also be spread via the provincial government’s social media sites, including the Emergency Info BC site and Twitter feed: @EmergencyInfoBC

“Expanding the AMBER Alert program is just one example of how small innovations can have a significant impact on the criminal justice system and the safety of our communities,” said Minister Bond. “By getting AMBER Alerts out to a larger group of people, this will become even more valuable to police and ultimately to B.C. families who want to know that everything possible will be done in the unfortunate event that a child is missing.”

While all provinces have AMBER Alert, this step will place B.C. among leading jurisdictions in Canada. In making the announcement, Premier Clark challenged private sector organizations and Crown corporations to join the Province in a united effort. The first three Crown corporations to have committed to implementing AMBER Alerts in their own systems are BC Hydro, ICBC and BC Transit. Eventually all Crown corporations will be phased into the program.  From the private sector, London Drugs and Teck have agreed to take up government’s challenge. The first phase of the program expansion will be completed by May 25, International Missing Children’s Day.

AMBER Alert is used to seek the public’s help for the safe and prompt return of children. It immediately broadcasts descriptions of the abducted victims, their abductors and suspected vehicles involved. A total of 12 AMBER Alerts involving 15 children have been activated in B.C. since 2004, the year the program began (an average of two alerts a year). All 15 were located due to the program’s ability to raise awareness and disseminate vital information.

The B.C. RCMP co-ordinates the resources of police agencies, the media and the public to provide the most up to date and immediate information about child abductions. They also work with municipal police departments to activate notifications within local jurisdictions.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Rideout, criminal operations officer for the BC RCMP –

“By broadening the reach of AMBER Alert, police will be closer to our goal of ensuring that every single person in British Columbia is immediately notified when a child has been abducted. The importance of timely dissemination of information to the broadest audience possible is critical in these investigations.”

Wynne Powell, president and chief executive officer, London Drugs –

London Drugs applauds the B.C. government for taking this step to broaden the technology and distribution of AMBER Alerts. London Drugs is a family-owned, B.C.-based company, and we are proud to be a partner in this important program supporting the safety of B.C. families.

Jon Schubert, president and chief executive officer, ICBC –

“ICBC is pleased to be able to help B.C. children and families. Our employees and broker partners are active in communities throughout the province – these AMBER Alerts will allow them to be another set of eyes to help find missing children. We’re dedicated to road safety and this is a natural extension of our efforts to help make communities safer.”

Manuel Achadinha, president and CEO, BC Transit –

”At BC Transit, safety is our number one priority. Making our buses and operators part of the community effort to protect children through the AMBER Alert program is a privilege and responsibility we take very seriously.”

Crystal Dunahee, president, ChildFind BC –

“As with technology everything must change or it becomes stale and forgotten. This new enhancement to the AMBER Alert by the B.C. government is a move in the right direction. On behalf of all parents of missing children; thank you.”

British Columbians can sign up to receive AMBER Alerts via text message subscription at: www.wirelessAMBER.ca

The RCMP has plans to introduce further enhancements to the AMBER Alert system in the summer.

Manitoba | Province makes it easier to be an organ and tissue donor with new online registry

Winnipeg | 23 April 2012

Manitobans can now register their intent to donate their organs and tissues at www.SignUpForLife.ca, the province’s new online organ and tissue donation registry, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.

“SignUpForLife.ca is about saving the lives of others and making your wishes about organ and tissue donation known,” said Selinger.  “We all have the ability to make a difference and this new registry is a simple and secure way for Manitobans to quickly indicate their organ and tissue donation decisions.”

Any Manitoba resident, 18 years of age and over, can register online their intent to become an organ and tissue donor.  Individuals’ donation wishes will be stored in a secure Manitoba eHealth database, where they will be readily accessible to authorized health professionals should the information ever be required.

Arlene Wilgosh, president and CEO, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said the registry will be an invaluable tool for health-care teams dealing with end-of-life issues.  “It will help doctors and health professionals to easily access donor records and work with a potential donor’s family to honour their choice,” she said.

The new registry website also offers the option for sharing donation decisions using Facebook, Twitter or email to help encourage friends and family to register as well.

“Your decision to register your intent to be a donor is truly the gift of life because one organ donor can save up to eight lives,” said Dr. Brendan McCarthy, medical director, Transplant Manitoba Gift of Life Program.  “Sharing that decision with your loved ones remains the most important step so they can give consent to donate on your behalf when you are not able to speak for yourself.”

“Even in cases where one is not able to be an organ donor, a person may be able to dramatically change the life of up to 80 people through the gift of donated tissues such as eyes, bone and skin,” said Chris Snow, director, Tissue Bank Manitoba.

“Manitobans are among the most generous people in Canada and that is no different when it comes to organ donation,” said Health Minister Theresa Oswald, who signed up Selinger and others as the first Manitobans to register their wish to be an organ and tissue donor online.  “I urge all Manitobans to spend just a few minutes to register as an organ and tissue donor at SignUpForLife.ca.  There are people waiting for you to make this incredible gift that will change their life.”

SignUpForLife.ca also allows individuals to register their preference for donating their body and organs for scientific research and medical education.  Manitobans continue to have the option of signing their Manitoba Health cards or the blue donor card distributed by Manitoba Public Insurance.  For more information, or to register your intent to make an organ and tissue donation, visit www.SignUpForLife.ca.

Ontario | Toronto firefighters to be honoured with Cardiac Save Awards

Toronto | 23 April 2012

The Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine will present Cardiac Save Awards to 650 Toronto firefighters who played roles in the resuscitation of almost 200 cardiac patients who survived to hospital discharge.

Between August 2009 and December 2011, Toronto firefighters contributed to the successful resuscitation of 197 patients who were initially vital signs absent (VSA).

Many people who experience cardiac arrest suffer complications such as brain damage and never make it home alive even if they were initially resuscitated. The firefighters involved have made a significant contribution to Toronto’s pre-hospital care system by providing critical life-saving intervention.

The only hope of surviving a cardiac arrest is with quick cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation intervention, and thanks to Toronto firefighters, survival has improved. Toronto Fire Services, in collaboration with the Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine and the RESCu research team at St. Michael’s Hospital, continues to participate in medical research.

British Columbia | Family members are Vital Link to father’s survival of sudden cardiac arrest

Kamloops | 23 April 2012

Paramedics from Chase gathered in Kamloops at 11:00 a.m., April 21, for a Vital Link Award ceremony to recognize Breana Jones and her fiancė Jamie Bell for their life-saving actions resuscitating her father Brett Jones.

Breana, a nurse, and Jamie of Aldergrove, B.C., had been staying with her parents at their cottage on North Shuswap Lake on May 28, 2011, when Brett collapsed in cardiac arrest.

“No amount of teaching or nursing in the world can prepare you for that situation,” said Breana recalling her response at the moment her father stopped breathing. When BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) paramedics April Hames and Andrew Stanley arrived on scene, they found Breana in calm control of her nursing skills. “I asked them if they wanted me to start an IV,” said Breana.”

“Breana and Jamie were really impressive,” said April. “They took direction from us and continued with CPR until we had a pulse back. They did everything we needed to help Brett all the way through 27 minutes of cardiac arrest. He’s back at work now and has made a full recovery with no neurological damage.”

“Saving a life with your own hands is something to celebrate. Congratulations to these BCAS paramedics whose team and community support efforts assured the best outcome for this patient,” said Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake.

BCAS Kamloops District Paramedic Supervisor Troy Clifford will also recognize the team of paramedics that responded to this emergency, including the BCAS dispatcher, the first paramedics on the scene and the BCAS critical care paramedics responsible for transporting Brett from Kamloops to Vancouver by air ambulance for further treatment.

Brett attended the ceremony with his wife Shirley Jones who made the 9-1-1 emergency call. “Jamie is definitely my favourite of Breana’s boyfriends,” said Brett of the newly engaged couple. “We both survived his initiation into the family.”

BCAS attends between 2,400-2,800 cardiac arrest calls each year. Approximately 250 are in the BC Interior. Fewer than 10 per cent of people who have a cardiac arrest survive.

British Columbia | Nanaimo teen honoured by BCAS for saving her dad’s life

Nanaimo | 23 April 2012

Samantha Brockman of Nanaimo will receive the BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) Vital Link Award at a ceremony hosted by local paramedics to recognize her courageous and mature response to her father’s cardiac arrest.

On April 21st, one year ago tomorrow, Samantha came home just after midnight to discover Tom Brockman unconscious and unresponsive. With the help of her brother Zachery and sister Katie, she recognized the symptoms of cardiac arrest and immediately began cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

“I did 30 compressions to two breaths and watched for his stomach to rise,” says Samantha. “I was in shock but the adrenalin rush kept me going.”

Eighteen years old at the time, Samantha had acquired her CPR skills as a lifeguard with the City of Nanaimo.

“Samantha did the critical CPR required to prepare her dad for our arrival and defibrillation treatment,” says BCAS paramedic Kelly Ross. “She made it possible for him to survive and recover without brain damage.”

“This has been an eye-opener for the whole family,” says Tom. “I felt I owed Sam, so I’ve tried to pay her back by helping her to buy a car. My son Zachery has since gotten his level-one first aid training.”

The BCAS Vital Link Award is being presented to Samantha Brockman at the Nanaimo General Hospital at 1:00 p.m. The award is given to public bystanders who provide vital CPR support to a patient experiencing cardiac arrest.

BC Ambulance Service attends between 2,400-2,800 cardiac arrest calls each year. Approximately 700 occur on Vancouver Island. Fewer than 10 per cent of people who have a cardiac arrest survive.

Alberta | City donates two decomissioned fire rigs to small village in Mexico

Edmonton | 23 April 2012

Retired Fire Captain Bert Toornstra is traveling more than 3,500 km to deliver two decommissioned City of Edmonton fire trucks to a small village in Mexico. 

Mayor Stephen Mandel and Fire Chief Ken Block officially presented the keys to Toornstra at Fire Station #1. He will begin his journey to Mexico on May 3, 2012.

“We’re very proud to help Retired Captain Bert Toornstra in his efforts to deliver these fire trucks to such a worthy cause,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel. “I’m glad these vehicles will be appreciated and used by communities that really need them.”

Toornstra plans on getting to Vicente Guerrero, located approximately 200 km south of Ensenada, 9 days after departing the outskirts of Edmonton. He will be staying in fire halls across the United States along the way.

“This community has limited fire protection and it can sometimes take up to an hour to get to the fire,” said Toornstra. “These units will make a world of difference for firefighters in this community.”

A friend will make the trip to Mexico with Toornstra, driving one of the fire trucks.

Toornstra learned about the plight of the Baja of Mexico from a friend who was involved in the non-profit organization Foundation for His Ministry, an organization that provides home and outreach services to needy children in Mexico. What started off as collecting used firefighting clothing, grew into a trip to Mexico in 2007 where he drove his first City of Edmonton decommissioned fire truck for donation.