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NEWS
May 21, 2014 | By Michaelle Bond, Inquirer Staff Writer
The calls for ambulances kept coming and coming. People in Parkesburg, where Raymond Stackhouse lives, needed help. But the former chief of the Parkesburg Fire Company often had no volunteers to send. So the emergency passed to someone else. "It made us feel like we were failing the community," Stackhouse said. That was the spark that started the four-year process of forming the Keystone Valley Fire Department, a joining of the nearby fire companies of Parkesburg, Pomeroy, and Atglen.
NEWS
May 16, 2014 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Fire Department on Wednesday unveiled its newest piece of training equipment: a mobile apparatus with stairs and windows that will allow firefighters to practice escaping from harm's way. The Survivability Mobile Training Unit, which officials said costs $170,000 and was paid for with grant money, is expected to save the city money. "It reduces cost for time and travel," Mayor Nutter told reporters during a news conference at the National Constitution Center. Firefighters normally have to travel to the Fire Academy in the Northeast for fire escape training, Nutter said.
NEWS
May 3, 2014 | By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
It was hours after the explosion on Naudain Street when Christine Becer finally got a look at her home. A Philadelphia Gas Works employee walked her across South 23d Street, where caution tape was still draped between light poles. What she saw was almost too much to take in: a collapsing roof, a sagging window frame, and no clues as to what might await her inside. The house next door was leveled. Bulldozers had already arrived to begin clearing the debris. "I don't know what to say," the Center City lawyer said Thursday afternoon.
NEWS
March 27, 2014 | By Julie Xie, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia Firefighters' Union Local 22 is pushing back at Mayor Nutter's proposal to send out ambulances on advanced life-support calls with a paramedic and lesser-qualified EMT rather than the usual two paramedics. Local 22 president Joe Schulle said the proposal exposes the public to risk by dipping below the National Fire Protection Association standard of two paramedics and two EMTs for every ALS call. "We're taking a serious step back in our emergency medical protection that we offer to citizens.
NEWS
March 27, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
THE PHILADELPHIA Civil Service Commission today will hear a pitch on how the Nutter administration plans to make staffing changes to ambulance runs - but not without resistance from the union that represents the city's firefighters and paramedics. Nutter is seeking approval from the Civil Service Commission to allow the Fire Department to implement a new deployment plan for 9-1-1 calls - one that replaces the two paramedics who are dispatched with one paramedic and one EMT. Paramedics receive more in-depth training than their EMT counterparts.
NEWS
March 25, 2014 | By Jerry Iannelli, Inquirer Staff Writer
MEDFORD Once Kevin O'Toole's oxygen mask began to melt, he closed his eyes and said goodbye to his loved ones. The Bladensburg, Md., firefighter was pinned on his back in a room swallowed by fire, with none of his fellow volunteers in sight and nothing to listen to but the whoosh of the flames. O'Toole had no choice but to accept that he was going to die. Through the heroism of fellow firefighter Ethan Sorrell, who found O'Toole lying unconscious in the burning Maryland house, the 21-year-old was carried to safety, and is left with only a few burn scars to remind him of the day he nearly lost his life.
NEWS
March 18, 2014 | By Angelo Fichera, Inquirer Staff Writer
PENNSAUKEN Mike Sammon stood in Pennsauken's Fire Station No. 4 on a recent afternoon as winter at last began yielding to spring. "I've been here half my life," Sammon, 46, said, a gold fire-rescue charm around his neck. "It's been home to me. " But as of March 31, the 89-year-old Delaware Gardens Volunteer Fire Company will close in an effort to increase efficiency and firefighter safety, officials say. Contributing in large part to the decision is a decline in fire volunteers, a national trend that has hit home for the station on 49th Street.
NEWS
March 13, 2014 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
BELIEVING HE was a prophet with supernatural powers on a mission from God to conquer evil in Philadelphia, a Virginia Beach police officer stabbed two firefighters he thought were demons trying to stop his crusade, according to a lawsuit filed recently in Illinois federal court. Bradley Colas, the officer who filed the lawsuit, said that a generic form of the antibiotic Biaxin, which he was prescribed to treat bronchitis, caused him to experience an intense psychotic episode on March 4, 2012.
NEWS
March 4, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mary Y. Holcombe, 72, a former Philadelphia radio dispatcher and the widow of Fire Capt. David Holcombe, who died in the One Meridian Plaza fire in 1991, died Saturday, Feb. 8, of lung cancer at her home in San Rafael, Calif. In 1998, Mrs. Holcombe retired from the Philadelphia Police Department, where she had worked in the radio room for many years. Before that, she worked briefly as a pharmacy technician at a drugstore in the city. David Holcombe, commander of Engine Company 11 at Sixth and South Streets, was one of three firefighters killed Feb. 23, 1991, during the 12-alarm blaze at One Meridian Plaza.
NEWS
February 28, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
JOHN WILLIS got to see what few Americans have ever seen - the explosion of a hydrogen bomb. He was an Air Force enlisted man stationed on the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific in the 1950s when the United States conducted a series of nuclear tests there. Enewetak and nearby Bikini Atoll were hammered by a total of 43 nuclear explosions between 1948 and 1958. John Willis was stationed on Enewetak after his enlistment in 1953. He was discharged in 1957.
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