SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) — A group of Bay Area firefighters plans to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks with a cross country bike ride ending in New York city.
Because some days in American history are so significant, people can remember exactly where they were, even decades later.
September 11, 2001 is one of those days for retired Santa Clara firefighter Darrell Sales.
“That morning I happen to come into work and we had a group of 17 brand new firefighters that were in the last week of their fire academy,” Sales said. “For the first two or three hours of our training, all of us watched as the events unfolded.”
“Trying to come up with a way to honor the 343 firefighters that gave their life on that day, we thought that this would be a good way to do that,” Sales said. “We’re looking at averaging 100 miles a day, going across the heart of the United States, connecting with fire departments each way and then coming into New York in time for the 9/11 events.”
“People will ask you, ‘why do you do this? How do you get the energy to do something like this?’,” Sales said. “It really goes along with your thought process for the fire service. You just make that sacrifice, because that’s what you do because you want to give back to your community.”
The ride will begin on August 1 in Santa Clara.
The team is also raising money for the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation.
Firefighters working in the hot weather struggled to control the Northern California wildfires that continued to spread on Sunday and forced a major highway to be temporarily closed. This was one of several fires in the western United States. Another heat wave broke records and strained the power grid.
In Arizona, on Saturday, two firefighters crashed an airplane that crashed while investigating a small wildfire in rural Mojave County. The Beech C-90 aircraft was helping to detect a lightning-induced fire in the Cedar Basin near the small community of Wikieup when it crashed around noon.
There are only two firefighters on board. Officials determined that one of them was Jeff Pichola, who was a retired fire chief in Tucson who worked for the US Forest Service. Before the relative was notified, the name of the other person was concealed. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.
In California, a fire in southern Oregon destroyed interstate power lines and prevented up to 5,500 megawatts of electricity from flowing south to the state. Officials demanded that all residents quickly reduce electricity consumption.
The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power grid, said on Saturday that due to the soaring temperature in the area, the Bootleg fire caused three power transmission lines to be cut off, resulting in a shortage of power supply.
The National Weather Service in Medford, Oregon, said on Twitter on Sunday: “The piracy fire today will see the potential for extreme growth.”
Driven by strong winds, the fire spread in the dense timber of Fremont-Vinema National Forest (near Sprague River Township, Klamath County) in Oregon, spreading to 580 square kilometers.
Unstable wind is a problem
In the southeast, California’s largest wildfire this year is raging near the border with Nevada. The Beckwourth Complex Fire-the fire caused by two flashes of lightning burning 72 kilometers north of Lake Tahoe-doubled in size between Friday and Saturday, there is no sign of spreading northeast from the forested area of ??the Sierra Nevada.
Later on Saturday, flames spread from U.S. Highway 395, which was closed near Doyle, a small town in Lassen County, California. The driveway reopened on Sunday, and officials urged motorists to proceed with caution and continue along the key north-south route where the fire is still active.
“Don’t stop to take pictures,” said Jack Kagle, head of California’s Incident Management Operations Department. “If you stop and see what happened, you will hinder our actions.”
Cagle said that Doyle’s building was burned down, but he did not have an exact figure. Bob Prary, who manages the Buck-Inn bar in the town of approximately 600 people, said that after the outbreak on Saturday, he saw at least six houses destroyed. On Sunday, Doyle and the surrounding fires were smoldering, but he worried that some remote pastures were still in danger.
“It looks like the worst situation in the town has passed, but back on the mountainside, the fire is still strong. Not sure what will happen if the wind changes,” Prali said. Kagle pointed out that unstable wind is a concern for firefighters, and gusts are expected to reach 32 km/h.
The fire was controlled by only 9%, and the fire expanded to 339 square kilometers. The temperature in the area may again exceed 37 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
Temperatures in Death Valley are as high as 53 degrees Celsius
This is one of several fires threatening homes in the western states. As the high pressure zone covers the area, the high temperature is expected to reach triple digits throughout the weekend.
According to readings by the National Weather Service in Furnace Creek, Death Valley in the Mojave Desert in southeastern California reached 53 degrees Celsius on Saturday. The shocking high temperature was actually lower than the day before, when the location reached 54 degrees Celsius.
Death Valley also recorded 54 C days in August last year. If the expert confirms that the reading and that Friday are accurate, they will be the highest temperature recorded there since July 1913, when the Furnace Desert reached 57 degrees Celsius, which is considered the highest temperature measured on earth.
The National Weather Service warned that this dangerous situation could lead to heat-related diseases.
On Saturday, Palm Springs in Southern California also set a record high of 49 degrees Celsius, while Las Vegas tied the record of 47 degrees Celsius.
NV Energy, the largest electricity supplier in Nevada, also urges customers to save electricity on Saturday and Sunday nights, as heat waves and wildfires affect transmission lines throughout the region.
In Idaho, Governor Brad Little mobilized the state’s National Guard to help extinguish fires caused by thunderstorms that swept through dry areas.
A memo from a source close to the Champlain Tower East building sought to reassure residents concerned about the stability of their building following the collapse of the south tower on June 24.
The memo says a construction company has “added shoring to the post that had concrete spalling” in the building’s garage that day, noting the post “showed [spalling] after CTS [Champlain Towers South] collapsed.”
For reference, Champlain Tower East (built in 1994) is located between the partially collapsed Champlain Tower South (built in 1981)and its sister building, Champlain Tower North (built in 1982).
Concrete spalling is the breakdown or flaking of a concrete surface, which can expose what’s underneath. It often happens when steel reinforcements underneath the concrete begin to rust.
The memo said although seven different engineers have ensured the board that the building “is safe and in good shape,” the post should be repaired “immediately to relieve and doubts anyone might have.” The repair needs to be approved by the city, the memo says, but the board has requested the approval process be expedited.
In addition to the shoring of that particular pillar in the garage, the memo explained that a structural firm has added 13 sensors to monitor for any movement in the building.
“They use precise laser readings to determine the precise location of each post and then monitor that target to determine if there is any movement. We have been told that this activity is more that we need to do, but again in an abundance of caution we will implement this monitoring program,” the memo reads.
More details: The memo said engineers will return in two weeks to see if there has been any movement of the building.
The memo says the board “will continue to do what is necessary to keep our people and building safe. It is our highest priority. Much has been said about the forty-year certification program. Many buildings wait until 40 years to do maintenance to their building. This is not our approach. We will continue to do any maintenance as we experience it.”
The documents were filed as part of widow Vanessa Bryant’s federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County that alleges invasion of privacy.
LOS ANGELES — Two Los Angeles County firefighters could be fired and a third suspended after first responders took and shared graphic photos from the site of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his teenage daughter and seven others, court documents say.
The court documents were filed Monday as part of widow Vanessa Bryant’s federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County that alleges invasion of privacy. The filings propose that a Nov. 16 trial be postponed five months to April 27, 2022, because of a large amount of material that attorneys need to review.
Kobe Bryant and the others were killed Jan. 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were aboard crashed west of Los Angeles. Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the wreck that killed the basketball star, whom Michael Jordan will present for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
An internal investigation by the Los Angeles County Fire Department found that two firefighters — whose names were not disclosed in the court filings — had taken photos of the bodies in the helicopter wreckage that “served no business necessity,” Vanessa Bryant’s attorneys wrote, and “only served to appeal to baser instincts and desires for what amounted to visual gossip.”
They then sent the photos to a third firefighter — a media relations officer who went to the scene and later shared the images with off-duty firefighters and their wives and girlfriends while socializing at an awards ceremony at a Hilton hotel the month after the crash.
The two firefighters — one of whom was at the site solely to monitor safety procedures — were sent “intention to discharge” letters last December. The third firefighter received an “intention to suspend” letter. The employment status of all three was not immediately clear Wednesday.
Los Angeles County attorneys have argued that there is no legal basis for Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit because the photos were not publicly disseminated. She can’t sue for a “hypothetical harm” that they may be shared publicly, the county said in filings.
Capt. Ron Haralson, a spokesperson for the county Fire Department, declined to comment, citing the lawsuit.
Several Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies — none of whom were directly involved in the investigation of the crash — are also included in the lawsuit because they are accused of taking or passing around the grisly photos with family, friends and, in one case, a bar patron and a bartender who later complained to the sheriff’s department.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva condemned the deputies’ behavior and, in a move that has since been heavily criticized, ordered them to delete the photos. The captain of the Malibu-Lost Hills sheriff’s station, which oversees the area where the crash occurred, pushed back on the decision but was overruled.
The Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday that “a full administrative investigation was conducted and appropriate administrative action was taken.” But it couldn’t provide details about discipline involving the deputies because of a pending lawsuit and state employment law that bars disclosing “specific administrative actions.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom last year signed a law that makes it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime.
The firefighters’ punishment was first reported by KNBC-TV. Representatives from the union that represents firefighters did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’ request for comment Wednesday.
The firefighter who received the photos and shared them with others was not named in court documents, but the Los Angeles Times has reported that Capt. Tony Imbrenda filed a retaliation lawsuit in November. Imbrenda alleged he was demoted for refusing to hand over his personal cellphone during the investigation into the photos, which he said was a violation of the Firefighter Bill of Rights.
Imbrenda did, however, hand over his department cellphone and laptop, the Times reported. His lawsuit says he received photos from people working at the crash site “as is common practice on all major incidents.”
He took his own photos the next day, the Times reported, but denied taking photos of the victims’ bodies and said he did not take photos with his personal cellphone.
Imbrenda did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Up to 115 Austin firefighters were potentially exposed to asbestos during a three-alarm warehouse blaze in the St. John’s neighborhood of north Austin on May 6, according to Austin Fire Department spokesperson Michelle Tanzola.
The property, located at 7309 N. Interstate-35 at the corner of the service road and Blackson Avenue, is owned by the City of Austin, according to Travis Central Appraisal District records. The burned warehouse sits next door to a former Home Depot property the city also owns.
“We’re sending approximately 115 individuals for X-rays as a precautionary measure. Should they develop some sort of medical issue later as a result that needed treatment, establishing a baseline record and paperwork now ensures less red tape later for them to get care, even though it would be covered under the presumptive law regardless,” Tanzola said in an email. “We want to take care of our folks, and doing this protects them both while they’re still working for us and into retirement, too.”
The cause of the fire is not known, but the damage to the structure is estimated at $ 100,000 with $ 10,000 in damage to the building’s contents, Tanzola said.
Photos of the fire’s aftermath posted by AFD on its informational Twitter feed show the aging warehouse was covered in graffiti. It is not yet clear what was stored inside.
In one of those incidents, up to 120 city workers in an airport office building were potentially exposed to asbestos in 2016 during floor renovations that disturbed asbestos-laden glue. KXAN also discovered city employees were potentially exposed in buildings operated by the Austin Water Utility and Parks and Recreation Department.
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A man is being charged after firefighters saved his life and then he reportedly pointed a rifle at them.
Houston firefighters responded to a home on Glen Lee near Glenvine in northeast Houston just before midnight Tuesday.
When they arrived, firefighters used Narcan to save a man from an overdose, HFD officials said.
When he came to, the man reportedly got agitated, grabbed a gun and told the firefighters to leave the house, according to HFD.
“Make sure nobody is going to respond actually up to the residence. He did come out with a rifle,” a first responder said on an emergency call. “Yes confirming, they did come outside with the rifle. We also have a female, his wife, at the residence.”
Firefighters retreated and called Houston police. Officers surrounded the home and the man gave up peacefully, according to HPD.
“We’re glad all firefighters are OK,” HPD Lt. M. Contreras said. “We’ll always be here for them. That’s for sure.”
HPD says the man will be charged with aggravated assault of a public servant.
Mr. Lloyd, who had been a Rockland County firefighter for more than 15 years, radioed a call for help from inside the Evergreen Court Home for Adults in Spring Valley, N.Y., before the building collapsed on Tuesday, the authorities said.
“He was that guy that you could call and he would be here in a minute,” Chief Conjura said. “He was that guy that couldn’t leave because he was afraid to miss something. He was that guy you want to have on your team. He’s going to be a big, big, tremendous loss to this department.”
Logan, who was still absorbing his father’s death, didn’t know if any fire truck was coming for his birthday, Chief Conjura said. But as the huge procession of vehicles left the lot and headed to the boy’s street, Chief Conjura told Logan to come outside.
It was gray and rainy, and the sound of the sirens came first.
Then the vehicles arrived, a long, snaking river of flashing red, white and blue lights through the streets of Nanuet.
The vehicles seemed to stretch for miles — fire engines from Monsey, police cars from Orangetown, ambulances from Stony Point, dump trucks from MCM Paving & Excavation from West Haverstraw — and so many more from so many places.
Logan watched as the vehicles rolled by his house for more than 40 minutes, stopping occasionally so firefighters could hand him presents.
“It was unbelievable,” Chief Conjura said. “He was super excited. He was very happy.”
On a day of mourning and loss, the procession, Chief Conjura said, was about answering a call to service.