Heroic Arizona firefighters remembered at memorial service

(CBS News) PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. - In Arizona on Tuesday, they said goodbye to 19 heroes -- firefighters who put their lives on the line to protect their neighbors. Firefighters from just down the road, and as far away as Canada, came to honor the 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots -- their empty fire gear a reminder of their full sacrifice. "If I could fulfill my fondest wish," Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo told the audience, "it would be that my tears would wash away the pain and loss that we all feel. Rest in peace, my fellow professionals. You will be missed but you'll never, never ever be forgotten." Fallen Arizona Hotshots "animate our national identity," Biden says Fallen Ariz. firefighters return home Ariz. town honors fallen firefighters as it honors USA About 6,000 people packed the arena. And there were hundreds more outside in the 90-degree heat. Jacqui Brown drove two hours from Phoenix. "It's very important to me personally," she said. "I just felt the need, I felt pulled to be here to show my respect." Brendan McDonough -- the only survivor of the 20-man crew -- read the "Hotshots Prayer." "'For if this day on the line I should answer death's call, Lord,bless my Hotshot crew, my family, one and all. Thank you, and I miss my brothers." McDonough was the lookout on June 30 as the Hotshots tried to build a fire line between the flames and the town of Yarnell. They became trapped when the wind suddenly changed direction and pushed the fire over them. Their bodies were draped with American flags by those who stood by their remains until it was safe enough to remove them from the ridge. On Sunday, 19 white hearses brought the crew home to Prescott. The 125-mile route was lined by those wishing to offer their respects and thanks. The people of Yarnell also came home this week to a town that was left unrecognizable. While they are not yet sure of all they have lost, the toll here is already 19 times more than anyone can bear. Continue Reading

Firefighter killed in California wildfire honored at service

SAN DIEGO — A California firefighter who died more than a week ago while battling what has become the largest blaze in the state's recorded history was honored in a memorial service Saturday in his home county.The celebration of life for Cal Fire Engineer Cory Iverson, 32, of Escondido, Calif., wove raw emotion into the rituals of a line-of-duty death as Iverson's widow, his younger brother and other family members spoke.Iverson died Dec. 14 in the Thomas Fire outside of Fillmore, Calif., about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles.Iverson's service, held at the Rock evangelical megachurch where about 15,000 people worship every week, had thousands in attendance and a worldwide audience via live, streaming video. California Gov. Jerry Brown, who met privately with the family before the service, was among the many officials on hand.The firefighter, who had been with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection since 2009, died of burn injuries and smoke inhalation while fighting what has grown to a 427-square-mile wildfire as of Saturday night. His survivors include his wife, Ashley, who is pregnant with their second child; and their 2-year-old daughter, Evie. ► Friday: Thomas fire becomes California's largest wildfire in history ► Wednesday: After brief lull, strong winds could send huge wildfire roaring back ► Dec. 17: Fallen firefighter honored by crowds on overpasses during procession Iverson "lost his life for one very simple reason: He put others first," said Chief Tony Mecham of Cal Fire's San Diego unit.Mecham, who gave Saturday's most extensive comments, spoke of what he had learned after spending more than a week immersed with Iverson's grieving family and friends. Iverson was goofy and shy growing up but by high school had "come out of his shell" to be defined by determination, Mecham said."When playing baseball, he would Continue Reading

FDNY 2014 Calendar of Heroes: Because everyone likes ’em hot!

Brace yourselves, ladies: New York’s Bravest and buffest are igniting the city’s next big heat wave. The FDNY 2014 Calendar of Heroes — the yearly pictorial featuring 13 smoke-eating hotties — goes on sale Monday for $15.95. Each of the chiseled firefighters was shot in famous New York City hot spots by nightlife photographer Patrick McMullen. The FDNY put the breaks on the steamy calendar in 2008 after it was discovered that cover model Michael Biserta starred in a racy porn video called “Guys Gone Wild” before joining the FDNY. The calendar was reinstated in 2012. All proceeds from the calendar will go to raise funds for the development and training of firefighters and for public outreach. Mark Morales Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Broken hydrants, hot plastic made GE fire worse

Fire investigators have blamed the total loss of a General Electric warehouse on outdated Appliance Park equipment that failed when fire crews rushed to the scene April 3.An insurance company engineer foretold the devastation more than a year ago, warning that a blaze stoked by hot-burning plastic appliance parts could rage out of control and overwhelm Building 6's 1950s-era sprinklers and the park's antiquated water pumps and lines, according to the investigation report by Louisville Metro's Arson squad."Everything that could go wrong went wrong that day," Maj. Henry Ott, the lead investigator for arson squad, said.As it happened, when flames were first seen in the warehouse leased by a GE parts vendor early Good Friday morning, sprinklers and alarms didn't activate properly, and fire crews found most GE hydrants were inoperable.Water pressure from the single pump firefighters hooked to plunged suddenly, forcing crews to extend water lines far off the complex. All told, the poor water supply hampered firefighters' efforts to battle the blaze, the report said.Authorities quickly ruled out arson and listed the cause as "undetermined." But they believe either an electrical short or lightning seen in the area that morning may have been the spark. No one was injured, but the blaze ranks as county's largest structure fire and took a huge financial toll on the appliance maker.GE officials contradicted the Arson squad's report in a statement released Tuesday night. They asserted that "there was nothing that could have been done to save the building despite the efforts of firefighters and GE employees." Story continues after the gallery. They defended the fire suppression equipment at the property and said the arson report contained "several key factual errors."They had already begun on a multiyear plan to upgrade fire suppression and safety systems at the park — and that they expect to complete $11 million in upgrades by the end of this year.They also plan an Continue Reading

Hot shot crews, helicopters to help fight Oak Grove Fire

A Color Country Type 3 Incident Management Team has taken over operations on the Oak Grove Fire burning north of Leeds and continues to “evaluate the fire to gain situational awareness to be able to best plan the next actions and ensure success through the incident,” said Marica Gilles, public affairs officer for the Dixie National Forest.Two hot shot crews and two helicopters arrived Wednesday to help Leeds Fire Department, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands firefighters and the four engines already on the scene battle the blaze.Fixed-wing single engine air tankers and an aerial supervision aircraft have also been requested.The lightning-caused fire is burning in steep terrain on the south slope of Pine Valley Mountain and as of Wednesday night, had consumed 350 acres and was zero percent contained, Gilles said.Smoke from the fire is visible along the Interstate 15 corridor from St. George to Cedar City.When the fire was first reported Tuesday morning, officials estimated it had consumed about 20 acres near the Oak Grove Campground in the Pine Valley Ranger District of the Dixie National Forest.Officials evacuated and closed Oak Grove Campground as a precaution shortly after the fire was reported. In addition, Forest Service Road No. 032, an unpaved road leading through the area of the fire, has been closed.“The Pine Valley Wilderness area provides municipal water to local communities including St. George,” said Joe Rechsteiner, the Pine Valley District ranger “The objective is to contain the fire quickly to protect the municipal watershed.”No structures have been damaged nor are any currently threatened by the fire, officials said.One minor injury - hand laceration - was reported Wednesday night. Follow Jud Burkett on Twitter and Instagram @judburkett. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 435-674-6262. Related Stories Oak Continue Reading

2 firefighters dead in ‘tragic day’ for Wilmington Fire Department

Two longtime firefighters were killed when a floor in a Canby Park rowhouse gave way in an intense fire early Saturday, injuring four others in what Chief Anthony Goode called "a very tragic day for the Wilmington Fire Department." The incident is the first death of a city firefighter in almost two decades.Lt. Christopher Leach, 41, a 14-year veteran, and Senior Firefighter Jerry Fickes, 51, a 13-year veteran, died in the fire. Both men had children and families, Goode said at a press conference Saturday.Firefighters Ardythe Hope and Brad Speakman were transported to Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pennsylvania, and were in critical but stable condition Saturday evening.Two other injured firefighters, Terrance Tate and John Cawthray, were treated at Christiana Hospital and discharged Saturday afternoon.Cawthray thanked well-wishers on Facebook, and noted Leach and Fickes "paid the ultimate sacrifice.""I was lucky, I came away with only 2nd degree burns on my wrist and hand," he said. "I truly loved both of them and they will be missed. Keep their families in mind."The fire was reported 2:54 a.m. at 1927 Lakeview Road, in a neighborhood of brick rowhouses about a block south of South Union Street. Firefighters arrived to find flames shooting out of windows and doorways."It was a huge pile of fire coming out of the front door," said a neighbor who goes by Ed and declined to provide his last name. "I said to myself, 'How the hell are (firefighters) going to get in there.'"According to the Fire Department, one or more firefighters became trapped at 3:14 a.m. and radioed for help. Dozens of firefighters responded and searched, officials said. They also used ladders to access the upper story of the rowhouse, where the fire shot through the roof and sent flames and thick smoke into the night sky.Fire Department Battalion Chief James Jobes said firefighters were working on the Continue Reading

Firefighter braved 1,000-degree heat, pulled man trapped in burning building

The only way out was through a room that glowed orange with flames. The fire in the Brooklyn apartment was burning at 1,000 degrees, so hot that it cooked the usually impenetrable bunker coat Firefighter Peter Demontreux wore. He and the man he found trapped in a back room charged through the searing heat in lockstep and made their way to a ladder outside the third-floor window. Demontreux was burned; the man he rescued suffered second-degree burns over 40% of his body. The man survived and is expected to recover. Demontreux went back to work at Ladder 132. For his bravery and boldness, Demontreux is the Daily News Hero of the Month. "I got away with a scratch compared to him," said the 30-year-old firefighter. "I'm glad he's alive." Demontreux, with nearly nine years in the FDNY, responded with Ladder 132 to the arson blaze that engulfed 175 Putnam Ave. on Aug. 30. "I went in the front door and upstairs, and on the third floor, a man said his friend was inside," Demontreux said. "I did a search with my right hand; there was zero visibility; it was getting hotter and hotter and hotter." He could hear a man screaming, who was later identified as Clyde Matheny, 51. "He was at the window of the back bedroom. I could hear him," Demontreux said. "I went to the front window where there was an aerial ladder and told Firefighter Richard Myers of Rescue 2 that it was so hot in here, and he started to break the windows. "I go back in and do a search with my left hand along the wall. The smoke was lifting, and I could see the flames at ceiling level," Demontreux said. "I went through the kitchen to the back bedroom, and I saw the man with his upper body out the window, trying to breathe. I was looking for the fire escape, a ladder, but there was nothing out there. "He's at my left side; we go to the front room, and the whole thing turns orange. "It was like someone turned the lights on." He could feel his bunker coat catch fire, which FDNY Continue Reading

CL NOW! Police, firefighters needed, JPS 3rd option and goodbye to Fats

Today is Thursday, Oct. 25, 2017, and this is your CL NOW! newsletter.It’s a beautiful fall day out there, people. We at The Clarion-Ledger hope you’re outside with your devices catching up on the news while you’re enjoying this gorgeous weather.Our big story has to do with JPS and what Gov. Phil Bryant has in mind, but before going there, here are a few stories you need to keep an eye on today.In a late-night Tuesday vote, the Jackson City Council lifted residency requirements for all city fire and police personnel. In response to pleas from Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance stating the requirement was preventing the department from hiring qualified applicants, the 6-1 vote passed. Read to see who cast the one descending vote. Sign up: Get the CL NOW! e-newsletter every weekday On a sad note, legendary singer Fats Domino — the man who brought us Blueberry Hill, The Fat Man, Ain’t That a Shame and I’m Walkin’ — has passed. The Louisianna music man who mastered New Orleans R&B to Rock & Roll passed on Tuesday. Read to learn more about Fats Domino.A manhunt continues for a suspect who shot two men found dead in a courtyard between two dormitories at Grambling State Universityin Louisiana. The incident occurred as the HBCU celebrates its homecoming.On a brighter note, check out The Upside story on Eagle Ridge Conference Conference Center chef John Hale and his pumpkin-carving tips. While you're at it, check out this video of a pumpkin-carving time lapse. Sign up: Get the CL NOW! e-newsletter every weekday Gov. Phil Bryant offers a bit more insight on a third option regarding state takeover of JPS’s 27,000-student district. Bracey Harris continues her outstanding coverage staying up to date, when Gov. Bryant spoke during the Mississippi Economic Council’s annual Hobnob event about his communication with several Continue Reading

2007 Hot or Not: New York Living

We seemed to be getting it right when a mere day into the new year, a guy from Harlem jumped under a train to help a fellow New Yorker. But shortly after Wesley Autrey's selfless stunt, the city succumbed to BlackBerry-slinging celebrities, sports scandals and multimillion-dollar lawsuits. A town as controversial as it is cool, New York offered more than its share of the best and worst of 2007. HOT: BRONX BABIES Is J.Lo pregnant or not? That just might have been the year's most commonly asked question. Whispered rumors turned to shouts when, at a September concert in Atlantic City, Lopez performed in billowy dresses and tops. But the Bronx-born performer and husband Marc Anthony kept quiet. Then there was the buzz that she'd confirm she was with twins at an October concert at Madison Square Garden. No such luck. But designer Roberto Cavalli slipped soon after, when he mentioned that J.Lo's "waiting for the baby." She finally announced last month she's expecting. In other Bronx baby news, Yankee slugger A-Rod and wife Cynthia are due in the spring. NOT: BRONX BOMBSHELLS For Yankee fans, 2007 was a season of shockers and setbacks. They were in last place in April, and by the end of May were tied for last with a third baseman in the center of a scandal. Alex Rodriguez was photographed with a classic busty blond in the lobby and elevator of his hotel after an alleged trip to a strip club. But the team turned it around in June and made it to the playoffs - only to fall in the first round. An angry George Steinbrenner punished manager Joe Torre with a reduced contract offer that Torre rebuffed. Torre fled to the Los Angeles Dodgers, leaving a team he had taken to the playoffs every season in his 12-year run. HOT: FACING THE MUSIC In March, model Naomi Campbell proved to be more than a catty catwalker when she completed five days of community service in a lower East Side garbage-truck garage. As any true diva would, she swept in style, using each day as a photo op Continue Reading

7 kids from Orthodox Jewish family killed in Brooklyn fire sparked by hot plate; dad ‘devastated’ as mom, daughter fight for lives

The flames were followed by the smoke, the screams — and then the small bodies, brought out one by one. Seven Orthodox Jewish siblings, ages 5 to 16, died early Saturday in a raging Brooklyn house fire that sent their mother and teenage sister smashing through windows and leaping to safety. The smoky blaze was ignited by an untended hot plate used to keep food warm in the first-floor kitchen as the Sassoon family slept upstairs on the Sabbath, officials said. Neighbor Andrew Rosenblatt wept as he recalled a child’s shrill call for help coming from inside the burning two-story home in Midwood. “I heard a child yelling, ‘Mommy! Mommy, help me!’ ” said Rosenblatt, 65. “I looked out the back window, and I saw flames, smoke. . . . The smoke and the flames were horrendous.” Mom Gayle Sassoon, 45, and a 15-year-old daughter crashed through second-floor windows to flee the flames, but could not save the helpless children trapped in their upstairs bedrooms, authorities said. The bleeding mother howled for help after reaching the street as acrid smoke poured from the house owned by her family for generations. RELATED: New York City's deadliest fires of the past century “I heard the mother yelling, ‘My kids are in there! My kids are in there! Get them out! Get them out!’ ” said neighbor Nate Weber, who lives a few doors down. None made it out alive. The dead boys were identified as Yaakob, 5; Moshe, 8; Yeshua, 10, and David, 12. The sisters who perished with them in the city’s deadliest fire in eight years were Sara, 6; Rivkah, 11, and Eliane, 16. “I saw the EMTs carrying people on the stretcher,” said Weber. “I just turned away. I didn’t want to see that.” The mom and the surviving daughter, Siporah, were seriously injured with burns and smoke Continue Reading