Early Saturday morning, two Wilmington (DE) Fire Fighters were tragically killed while fighting a fire in an attached row home. Additionally, four other Fire Fighters were burned, two of them critically. Lieutenant Christopher Leach, age 41, and Senior Fire Fighter Jerry Fickes, age 51, were both killed when the floor collapsed beneath them during the initial fire attack.
I was on the ground in Wilmington on Saturday morning immediately assisting President Bruce Schweiger and the members of Local 1590. I also had a somber opportunity to visit the incident scene and meet with the affected families to extend our full support and condolences on behalf of our entire membership.
The IAFF has deployed AGP Pat Morrison, Director Jim Brinkley, and Director Mark Treglio to assist with funeral planning, communications, and peer support for our members. We are also bringing in resources from our Burn Foundation to assist our members, and their families, who will require extensive stays in the Crozer Burn Center outside of Philadelphia.
A Memorial Service will be held to honor our fallen Brothers on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Details are as follows:
Separate funeral services will be held for Brothers Leach and Fickes. Those services will be private and limited to family, friends, and members of the Wilmington Fire Department.
Additionally, the Wilmington Fire Fighters Association has established an online fundraising pageto support the families of our fallen Brothers. I ask each of you to please consider making a contribution to this effort.
I would like to thank all of our members from across the District who have reached out to offer support. Please continue to keep the Leach Family, Fickes Family and the members of IAFF Local 1590 in your thoughts and prayers. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. Stay safe.
Andrew K. Pantelis District Vice President International Association of Fire Fighters, 4th District
Click HERE to contribute to the GoFundMe Account for Brothers Leach and Fickes.
***We will be getting a detail together to go to the services. We will meet at Mack south at 10:00 on Saturday.
If you are interested in attending contact Jeremy Warmkessel at (484)-223-7276
Pa. Supreme Court hears Allentown fire department staffing dispute
Allentown administrators and the city's firefighters union disagree on who should determine the number of firefighters at work at any given time, and on Tuesday the question was before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
During arguments in Philadelphia, a lawyer for the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 302 told the justices that staffing level is a safety issue open to negotiation. It was correctly set at 25 per shift by an arbitration panel after the city and firefighters reached an impasse in contract negotiations in 2011, attorney Quintes Taglioli said.
But the administration contends that decision infringed on Allentown's right to manage the services it provides to ensure efficiency and work within its budget.
The requirement under the firefighters' previous contract to have 30 people on each shift and call in replacements for those who called out sick cost the city about $1 million a year in overtime, attorney John McLaughlin told the justices. That contributed to skyrocketing retirement costs because pensions are based on an employee's overall earnings, including overtime, the city contends.
Support Our Brothers and Sisters of Petersburg Local 2773
Brothers and Sisters,
Many of you have been following the budget crisis that has been building in Petersburg, Virginia for some time. The situation has reached a tipping point and the city is proposing 17 layoffs and the closure of a station. Furthermore, the Petersburg Fire Department has already had their new SCBA confiscated by the vendor and they are now at risk for the same to occur with their Personal Protective Equipment.
On Thursday, September 1st, we held a press conference to alert the residents and business owners of Petersburg to this looming public safety crisis. On Tuesday, September 6th we will be holding a rally at the Petersburg City Council Meeting to continue our fight against layoffs and unsafe working conditions.
Let’s show the Brothers and Sisters of Petersburg Local 2773 that we have their backs and come out to support them in force:
Brothers, There will be a dine and donate fundraiser for the
Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley on Sunday 9/25/16 from
4:00 to 8:00 PM. It will be at the 1760 House in Trexlertown and 15% of
all food proceeds will be donated to the Foundation. This event was
brought to the Local's attention by brother Jody Mongilutz. The more
guys that can come out, the more kids we can help. Come out for a brew
and dinner and assist in the fight against childhood cancer!
Brother and sister firefighters, its time again for the
annual golf tournament. This year Hazleton City Local 507, is hosting the event. The
tournament will take place on Wednesday, September 14, at the Edgewood in the Pines Golf
Course, 22 Edgewood Rd, Drums PA 18222, their web site is www.edgewoodpinesgc.com.The tournament will be a shotgun start at 10 AM o’clock. A cocktail
hour, dinner and then 3 hours of open bar, will follow at the golf course.
Format will be a captain and crew.
It is with deep regret that Local 302 announces the passing of Retired Firefighter Mike McFarland.
Mike started in the Allentown Fire Deparmtent on January 13, 1986 and Retired as a Lieutenant January 16, 2008.
Shortly after completing his apprenticeship program in January of 1989, Mike excercised his bidding rights and bid to the position of Driver of Engine 9 at the Central Fire Station. Among other bid positions in the rank of Firefighter, Mike concluded his firefighter rank on Engine 15 at the West End Station.
He tested and was subsequently promote to the position of Fire Specialist on September 18, 2000. Mike spent the requesite two-years in rank and was promoted to the position of Lieutenant on February 21, 2003, starting as a Lieutenant on Engine 14. Mike eventually finished his 22-year career as a Lieutenant at the West End Fire Station.
Beyond all his position and ranks, Mike, to most, can fondly be remembered for his sardonic wit. He had a dry-humor that, after he delivered his one-liners, you had to wait for awhile for Mike to deliver his next line to figure out if he was kidding or not. Much to the delight of onlookers, many a rookie didnt know to wait for Mike's next line, only to find themselves on an opposite side of Mike's position where a very firefighter friendly discussion would ensue.
Journeyman versus rookie? Mike won in Ali style.
After retirement Mike could be found at the Pension Men's picnic or pretty much anywhere on his bike with his High School and Firefighter Friend.
He will be remembered.
Funeral Details to follow as they become available.
***A Celebration of Life will be held at 3:00 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2016 Trexler Funeral Home 1625 W, Highland St., Allentown
On May 26th, 2016 Local 302 Allentown Firefighter's played two 10 minute volleyball games against the Harrison Morton staff and students. Before the game Harrison Morton Principal and students thanked the Firefighters for raising over $2700 to help pay for a new score board.
It is with deep regret that Local 302 announces the passing of Retired Firefighter Gerald E. Miller
Gerald E. Miller, 79, of Bethlehem passed away peacefully on May 26, 2016 at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township surrounded by his loving family. He was the husband of Sandra (Walters) Miller for 59 years. Born in Allentown, he was the son of the late Dewey Jay and Beatrice (Faux) Miller. Gerald served as an Allentown firefighter for 20 years before retiring. His years as a firefighter and time spent with family was a great source of pride and joy.
Survivors: Wife; daughter, Brenda Troxell and her husband Robert of Bethlehem; grandson, Kyle Troxell of Los Angeles, California. Services:
Private services are under the direction of the Reichel Funeral Home, Northampton. Online condolences may be submitted at www.reichelfuneralhome.com. Contributions: In lieu of flowers, memorials may be presented to Lehigh Valley Hospice in c/o the funeral home
Allentown Fire Chief Lee Laubach has announced the promotion of Battalion Chief Jim Wehr to the position of deputy fire chief.
Wehr is in his 22nd year with the department. He was the 2009 Firefighter of the Year.
Mayor Ed Pawlowski said, “Jim is a highly decorated firefighter who has risen through the ranks. He has been a tremendous asset to the department and will do great work as deputy chief.”
Over the course of his career, Deputy Chief Wehr has been honored for valor which according to department guidelines involves a degree of danger of “extreme personal risk.” He also has been cited for heroism which according to department guidelines “involves personal risk.”
“Jim has been a superior firefighter and a great leader as battalion chief,” said Laubach. “He is well deserved of all the recognition he has received during his career. He will be an outstanding deputy chief of the department.”
When he was honored as Firefighter of the Year in 2009, Deputy Chief Wehr served in the Central Fire Station office. He was cited for his professional manner, work ethic and flawless and timely handling of administrative duties. He had recently assumed command of the department’s dive team. Wehr was also recognized with a Certificate of Appreciation for his assistance in fund raising through extracurricular activities.
Deputy Chief Wehr also earned the Alfred W. Fischl Firefighter Service Award in 2014. The award is presented to an individual who has served the department for at least 20 years and has exemplified himself with consistent and dedicated work habits during that period.
As Deputy Chief of Operations, Wehr is second in command in the department. Among other things, the Deputy Chief of Operations supervises and evaluates assistant chiefs, battalion chiefs, captains, lieutenants, fire marshals and firefighters assigned to the division as well as being responsible for all personnel and apparatus assigned to the department.
“I want to thank Mayor Pawlowski and Chief Laubach for placing me in a leadership role in the department,” said Wehr. “We have an exceptional department. Our members do not hesitate to risk their lives to save others.”
Wehr joined the department in 1994. He was promoted to Fire Specialist in 2005, later promoted to Lieutenant in 2006 and was promoted to Captain in 2010. He was promoted to Battalion Chief in 2012.
The September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance is having a bike ride that will be coming through Allentown on Friday Sept 18th. This bicycle ride started at the Flight 93 National Memorial (Sept 10th) and will be ending up in NYC at the 9-11 Memorial (Sept 21st). You are invited to join in a leg of the ride if interested. See attached link for details. Also it would be nice if some guys would come out to support the riders. At 7pm on this Friday, Sept 18th, the riders will be gathering at the Allentown Brew Works. Feel free to come and meet them and enjoy a fun night.
It is with deep regret to announce the passing of Retired Firefighter Nicholas Vrablec
Vrablec, Nicholas P.Nicholas P. Vrablec of Whitehall died August 28, 2015. He was the husband of Grace J. Vrablec. Born in Allentown, he was the son of the late Emerich Vrablec and Mary (Kralik). He honorably served his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. Nick was a Fireman for the City of Allentown for 28 years and he retired in 1994. He was a member of St. John Slovak Baptist Church. Survivors: In addition to his wife Grace, son Mark of Davenport, Iowa and wife Janice, daughter Mary and husband Alphonse Rivera of Whitehall, 4 grandchildren Laura and Adam Vrablec, and Aleyah and Maria Grace Rivera. Sisters Valeria Bernardo of Jacksonville, Florida and Mary Ann Reese of Fountain Hill. He was predeceased by 4 sisters and 1 brother.
It is with deep regret to announce the passing of Retired Battalion Chief Robert Dudding.
The services for retired Battalion Chief Robert Dudding will
be held at Trexler Funeral Home 1625 W. Highland St. On June 5th.
Calling hours are from 930 to 1030 followed by a service given by our department
Chaplain, the burial will follow and is at Resurrection Cemetary on Krocks road
in Wescosville. The family is requesting both Honor Guard and Pallbearers
anyone interested contact Capt Christopher or BC Held.
May 22nd Boot Drive was a huge success. In just 3 hours Local 302 Brothers raised $3925.30 despite braving a 20 minute rain shower!
I would like to start off by thanking Mike Humes for setting up this great Boot Drive.Chief Laubach for allowing us to use Department Apparatus to shadow our guys in the street.
Last but not least all the Brothers who came out and put the real work in-
Robert K. Marsh, 90, of Allentown, passed away Tuesday, March 3, 2015 in his residence. He was the husband of Shirley M. (Roth) Marsh. They celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary in May 2014. Born in Allentown, he was a son of the late Arthur D. and Shirley W. (Gollmer) Marsh. Bob was a World War II veteran, serving with the Coast Guard and was a member of American Legion Post #576, Allentown. "Swampy" was a fire fighter with the City of Allentown for over 25 years before retiring in 1984 and was a member of I.A.F.F. Local #302. Bob also worked part-time at Haines Exxon for the past 30 years. He was a member of Asbury U.M. Church, Allentown, where he served as a greeter. Mr. Marsh was a member of the Tri-Boro Sportsmen's Club and was an avid hunter. He was also an avid snowmobiler and was a member of the PA State Snowmobilers Assoc. Bob enjoyed ice-fishing and traveling. Survivors: Wife; Daughter: Karen M. and her husband Frank "Tim" Alexa of N. Whitehall Twp.; Grandsons: Ryan and Jared; Sister: June F. Campbell of Orefield. Robert was predeceased by a brother William H. and a sister Betty J. Appel. Services: 10 am Saturday, Stephens Funeral Home, Inc., 1335-37 Linden St., Allentown. Call 7 - 8:30 pm Friday and 9 - 10 am Saturday, all in the funeral home. www.stephensfuneral.com Contributions: Asbury UM Church, 1533 Springhouse Rd., Allentown 18104 OR IAFF Local #302 Welfare Fund, 723 W. Chew St., Allentown 18102.
I.A.F.F Local 302 would like to Congratulate Lee Laubach on being sworn in as the New Fire Chief of the Allentown Fire Department.
In the Allentown City Council chambers Lee Laubach was sworn in as Allentown's newest fire chief Friday.
Laubach, is a 21-year veteran of the fire department, He joined the department in 1993 and was promoted to fire specialist in 2002 and then lieutenant in 2006. He was then promoted to fire marshal in June 2008 and was named captain of public affairs a year later, serving as the department's spokesman. Before being named deputy chief, Laubach was assistant chief of fire prevention.
It is with deep regret to announce the passing of Retired Deputy Chief Richard J. Shott.
Rick passed away at his home, on December 17, 2014. He was 60 years old.
Rick was born on May 20, 1954. He attended AllentownCentralCatholicHigh School and started in the Fire Department at the age of 23 on May 31, 1975.As a firefighter, he worked for the City of Allentown for 36 years, reluctantly retiring on December 10, 2011.
Throughout his 36 years of Service, Rick moved up the ranks of the Fire Service, from Firefighter to Lieutenant to Captain to Deputy Chief. (title changed to Battalion Chief).Rick was instrumental in establishing and training Allentown Firefighters to be qualified technicians on their Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).As a "Scott Technician", in addition to saving the City hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance costs, Rick's commitment was to insure that the Firefighter's breathing apparatus were not only safe, but were complete with the most advanced safety features.
Rick loved his family, the City of Allentown, its residents, and the Fire Department.
Though he had many work qualities, Rick's most enduring quality is that even in the most dangerous of situations, he knew how to safely and efficiently command firefighters, and even more importantly, the firefighters who worked under him knew that Rick would always ask a lot from you, but you always knew you were safe with him.
Rick is survived by his wife Jeannie and three children.Funeral arrangements will follow as they become available.
The date has been set for services for Rick Shott.
The date will be January 17th, calling hours are from 0800 till 0930.
The location will be Schlisler Funeral Home, 2119 Washington Ave. Northampton followed by a Mass at 1000 at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, 4412 Mountain View Dr. Walnutport.
Graveside service immediately following the Mass at St. Nicholas Cemetary directly behind the church.
Rick was a supporter of St. Judes Childrens Research Hospital and a "tribute" has been set up in his name, anyone wishing to make a contribution the "tribute" number is 37331864 at www.stjude.org .
If you wish to be in the honor guard contact Captain Christopher (610-437-7787) or Battalion Chief Held (610-437-7746)
Joseph (Joe) Glose was born on July 10, 1937 in Allentown, PA to his parents Harold and Dorothy Glose. He passed away on November 1, 2014 in Ft. Myers, FL.
Joe is survived by his loving wife of 57 years Madeline; children Christine (Scott) Griesemer, Kenneth (Jill) Glose, Glenn Glose, Scott (Ruth) Glose, and Terry (Michelle) Glose; 15 grandchildren; and 10 great grandchildren; brothers Wilson (Reds) and Tom Glose. Joe is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Jerry Glose.
Joe was a firefighter with the Allentown Fire Dept., in PA until his retirement in 1993. Joe and Madeline retired to Fort Myers in 1994. He enjoyed fishing, boating, playing shuffle board, and most of all spending time with his family.
A Memorial Service will be scheduled at a later date in PA. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the American or to the in memory of Joe. Please visit www.harvey-engelhardt.com to leave condolences to his family.
It is with deep regret that Local 302 announces the passing of Firefighter Marcus V. Keller.
Marcus V. Keller, 86, of Cedarbrook, South Whitehall Township, formerly of Allentown, passed away quietly on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. He departed in the presence of his wife of 55 years, June A. (Parton) Keller at the Hospice House of the VNA of St. Luke’s, Bethlehem, and entered the presence of the Lord. He was a son of the late James A. Keller, Sr. and Carrie M. (DeWalt) Keller. Marcus served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Germany during the Korean War. He was an automobile mechanic. Marcus joined the Allentown Fire Department in 1962 and served as a Fire Alarm Operator and Firefighter for 24 years. He was a member of Faith Evangelical Free Church and served as an usher and member of Seniors in Action.
Survivors: Wife; Son: Glenn M. Keller; Nieces and nephews. Marcus was predeceased by brothers Warren and George, and sister Carrie (Keller) Billman.
Services: 10:30 am Tuesday, Stephens Funeral Home, Inc., 1335-37 Linden St., Allentown. Call 7 – 8:30 pm Monday and 10 – 10:30 am Tuesday, all in the funeral home. www.stephensfuneral.com. Interment, Greenwood Cemetery, Allentown.
Contributions: May be made to: Local 302 Welfare Fund, c/o IAFF Local 302, 723 W. Chew St., Suite 302, Allentown, PA 18102-4058.
**We need guys for Monday 1900-2030 andpallbearersTuesday Contact Heldy by cell (610 349 1667)**
It is with deep regret that Local 302 announces the passing of former Deputy Fire Chief Herbert L. Ring, Sr..
Herbert L. Ring, Sr., 81, of Allentown, passed away Feb. 24, 2014 at the Hospice House of the VNA of St. Lukes, Bethlehem. He was the loving husband of Mary A. (Seng) Ring, for the past 60 years. Born in Allentown, he was a son of the late Julius L. and Theresa A. (Pach) Ring. Herbert was employed by the City of Allentown as a fire fighter for 39 years until his retirement in 1995 as Deputy Fire Chief.
Survivors: Loving wife; daughters, Therese wife of Robert Bitler of Chandler, AZ and Kathleen wife of Shawn Habrial of Bethlehem; son, Daniel Ring and his wife Renee of East Texas; daughter- in-law, Kathleen Ring of Bethlehem; brother, Robert Ring and his wife Lucille of Allentown; 12 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Herbert L. Ring, Jr. in 2010 and 7 siblings.
Services: 10 AM Monday at Bachman, Kulik & Reinsmith Funeral Home, 17th & Hamilton Streets, Allentown. A gathering will take place 9-10 AM Monday at the funeral home.**Services For Tomorrow Have Been Canceled. New Date Has Not Been Set. Standby For New Dates**
Contributions: May be made to the American Lung Assoc., 2121 City Line Road, Bethlehem, PA 18018.
**Also we are looking for men to stand Honor Guard. Contact Heldy at central or by cell (610 349 1667)**
The PA State Capitol came alive today as I have never seen it. Unions members of every shape and size came together in an amazing show of solidarity. Our PPFFA members came from across the state, from Locals large and small to engage in what we are seeing as a battle for our very survival. Our troops, veteran and rookie, showed what emergency responders are made of. The officers and staff of the PPFFA proved, once again, that they have what it takes to enter a campaign. The forces that have launched this attack against us have tried to beguile us with their propaganda into believing that these legislative initiatives won't affect our members. These unwarranted attacks are not going to stop anytime soon. What our opponents fail to realize is that we fight everyday for our lives and of the lives of those we're sworn to protect, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. We put our lives on the line every time we step into that station. We cover each other's backs day in and day out, week after week and year after year. If you want to hurt one of us, you want to hurt all of us. These special interest groups hide behind a false mask of moral righteousness, and that is the thing that is most repugnant about them. No matter what they say, no matter what they do they will not prevail. Brothers and Sisters, what I saw today was amazing, for those of you who turned out, thank you. For those of you showing your support from home thank you. For those of you who put it on the line each and every day, thank you. We will not be bought, we will not be threatened, we will not be brushed aside, we will never give up and we will NOT be defeated.
Mayday: Two Toledo, Ohio Firefighters Trapped, Killed in Structure Fire
The Toledo firefighters who died after fighting a fire in North Toledo died of thermal burns and exposure to carbon monoxide, an autopsy showed. Stephen Machcinski, 41, and James Dickman, 31, were fighting a two-story apartment fire at 528 Magnolia St. on Sunday afternoon when they became lost. The two were eventually pulled from the burning building by their fellow firefighters and taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center where they were pronounced dead. The autopsies were performed on Monday by Lucas County Deputy Coroner Dr. Cynthia Beisser. Toxicology results are pending.
Officials have concluded a press conference, providing some additional information about the fire that claimed the lives of Toledo firefighters Stephen A. Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31. Fire Chief Luis Santiago asked for privacy for the families of the men. Dickman leaves behind a wife and two young children, Machinski is survived by his parents and a sibling.
“We are a band of brothers and sisters… We are a family. We are a team,” Santiago said. “We are all trained to maintain professionalism and composure in things like this. It’s going to take some days.”
Officials said conditions deteriorated rapidly as crews battle Sunday afternoon’s fire. As reported yesterday, command was seconds away from shifting to defensive operations when the initial Mayday was called.
Memorial and funeral arrangements are pending. No cause of the fire has been released.
Perkins Township Police officials told us today that James Dickman was a firefighter with the Perkins Township Fire Department prior to be hired by Toledo.
It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Deputy Fire Chief Ronald E. Wentzel, Jr. Chief Wentzel served as a 1st Deputy Chief with the Reading Fire Department since December of 2010. Previously, he served as the department training lieutenant & with Rescue 1 on the "C" platoon. Chief Wentzel dedicated more than 24 years of service to the Reading Fire Department.
Chief Wentzel impacted countless number of lives as a public servant in the police, fire, and emergency medical fields for over four decades throughout Berks County. Chief Wentzel’s knowledge and expertise in public safety extended nationwide as a local-level fire instructor with the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy, a member of the NHRA Safety Safari, and a member of the East Central PA Incident Management Team.
Services for Chief Wentzel have been scheduled as follows;
A viewing will be held at the Kuhn Funeral Home located at 8th & Penn Ave. in West Reading Borough on 01/16/2014 from 1600 – 2100
A second viewing will be held at the Kuhn Funeral home on 01/17/2014 from 0800-1000 prior to the memorial service. A procession will occur from the funeral home to the church.
A memorial service will take place on 01/17/2014 beginning at 1100 at the Advent Lutheran Church located at 16 Telford Ave. in West Lawn.
Final internment will be at the Pleasant View Cemetery located on Fritztown Rd. in Spring Township.
At the conclusion of the memorial service, a procession involving fire department, police, and EMS vehicles will transport Chief Wentzel to his final resting place.
Individuals and/or organizations from public safety agencies that are planning on attending as an organization and bringing apparatus to the services, please click here for information relative to the services.
**Because Chief Wentzel has impacted so many lives, it is anticipated that the attendance at the viewing and memorial services will be extremely large. With this in mind, it is recommend that individuals attending any of the services carpool with other individuals to limit the number of vehicles.
It is with deep regret that Local 302 announces the passing of former Fire Lieutenant Mike Kush.
Mike, 75, passed away in his home Saturday, December 21, 2013. Mike was born on July 23, 1938. He started in the Allentown Fire Department on March 1, 1972 along with Charles Schmick. He was a former Vice-President of Local 302. After serving the Fire Department for 24 years, Mike retired as a Lieutenant at the Fearles Fire Station on July 27th, 1996. Mike will be remembered for many things. He was an avid hunter, and organized the annual Spring Thaw at Agricultural Hall at the Allentown Fairgrounds.
His obituary, as it appears in mcall.com is below.
Michael E. Kush Michael E. Kush, 75, of Lower Saucon Township, passed away peacefully in his home on Saturday, December 21, 2013. He was the husband of Martha (Fahs) Kush, with whom he shared many years of loving marriage. Born in Bethlehem, he was the son of the late William and Amelia (Gralka) Kush. He served his country in the US Army, and later became a firefighter for the Allentown Fire Department, retiring as a lieutenant after 23 years of service. He was active in the Union Historical Fire Society, and coordinated the annual Spring Melt Fire and Antique Show at Ag Hall to benefit area burn centers. He also sold sports and fire memorabilia at Renningers Antique Market for over 30 years. He was an avid baseball and softball player, most recently for the Patriots Old Timers in Allentown, where he also coached and managed the team. He loved the outdoors, and was an avid hunter. Michael was a former member of St. Stephens Evangelical Lutheran Church. Survivors: Wife, Martha; daughter, Jill Kush-Johns and her husband David Johns of Swoyersville; grandchildren, Amanda Thompson, Teriane Streitel, David, Michael and Tessa Johns; great-granddaughter, Gwen Johns. Michael was predeceased by his brother, William Kush. Services: Funeral Services will be held at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, December 26 in the Long Funeral Home, 500 Linden Street, Bethlehem, where friends may call from 10 a.m. until time of services. A memory tribute may be placed at www.longfuneralhome.com. Contributions: In lieu of flowers, to Union Historical Fire Society, 2729 Redington Rd., Hellertown, PA 18055. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/mcall/obituary.aspx?n=michael-kush&pid=168699073&fhid=4622#sthash.iCLUV7yd.dpuf
**Also we are looking for 6 to 8 men to stand Honor Guard. Contact Heldy at central or by cell (610 349 1667)**
It is with deep regret that Local 302 announces the passing of former Firefighter Harold Seibert
Harold's passing was announced June 7, 2013.
Harold was born on February 13, 1929 and was 84.
Harold started in the Allentown Fire Department on June 2, 1956, and retired on July 19, 1980. Harold was well known to all firefighters, not just active and retired for he was the Fire Department Historian. Among the thousands and thousands of photos that Harold took, he was noted for publishing in 1992 the "Allentown Fire Department, Allentown Pa. First 125 Years."
Joseph P. DAnnibale, 62, of Allentown passed away Monday, April 22, 2013 in the Lehigh Valley Hospice, 17th and Chew, Allentown. He was the husband of Priscilla A. (Lohr) DAnnibale, they were married 42 years. Born in Allentown, he was the son of Ruth DAnnibale of Allentown and the late Mario DAnnibale. He graduated from Allentown Central Catholic High School and Kutztown University. He retired from the Allentown Fire Department as Deputy Chief serving the city for 25 years. He was past President of Local #302 International Association of Fire Fighters. He served as former Vice President of the Lehigh Valley Labor Council and former President of Millbrook Homeowners Association at Lake Wallenpaupack. He enjoyed fishing, boating, hunting at Lake Wallenpaupack, and vacationing in Florida. Survivors:Wife, Priscilla; son, Joseph M. and wife, Christine, of Bethlehem; daughter, Lauren J., wife of James Hulings, of Macungie; daughter, Nicole M., wife of Bill Hartman, of Emmaus; son, Phillip of West Chester. Grandchildren, Zander, JonAnthony, Logan, Zoe, Michael, Ridley, and Zalen. Brother, Michael H. of Bethlehem; and sister, Nancy D. West of Allentown.
Services:Memorial service, 11 a.m., Friday, April 26, 2013 at the Trexler Funeral Home, 1625 Highland St., Allentown, PA 18102. Calling hours 9 to 11 a.m., Friday in the funeral home.www.trexlerfuneralhome.com.
Contributions: Allentown Professional Fire Fighters Welfare Local #302, 723 Chew St., Allentown, PA 18102 or American Cancer Society, 3893 Adler Place, Bethlehem, PA 18017.
**Also we are looking for 12 men to stand Honor Guard. Contact Christopher at central or Heldy by cell**
GBI probe raises question of whether first engine at fatal 2010 day care fire needed five firefighters instead of three
A Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe of Columbus Fire & Emergency Medical Services records is resurrecting questions of whether the first engine at a 2010 home day care fire that killed one child and injured three others was understaffed.
The questions aren't new. They were the subject of an internal fire department investigation sparked by firefighters' complaints that Engine 7 from Station 7 at 5343 Buena Vista Road should have had five firefighters instead of three.
It was the first fire unit to reach the blaze at 5629 Mill Branch Road, off Amber Drive north of Buena Vista Road. The fire was reported at 1:37 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. First responders described a chaotic, congested scene, with neighbors gathering on the street and parents rushing to find children.
The one-story house was the westernmost of a set of homes tucked away off a paved semicircle on the road's north side. The arrangement left little room for parking.
Having originated in a carport where paint and gasoline were stored near a gas water heater, the blaze erupted with explosions and spread to two cars. When firefighters arrived, flames were racing through the attic.
According to the department's internal probe, Engine 7 was missing two firefighters because the lieutenant who would have been in command was out with an injury, and minutes before the alarm a battalion chief had picked up another crew member for a random drug test.
The affidavit backing the search warrant GBI agents served Tuesday at fire department headquarters alleges Engine 7 was understaffed because both missing firefighters were out for drug testing. Records later were either removed or falsified to show only one was drug-tested, while the second was out sick, says the affidavit.
So Engine 7 left the station that afternoon with Sgt. Greg Adams as the ranking officer, backed by firefighters Rodney Pitts and Connie Jones. Pitts was driving.
Lancaster Woman and girl die in fire, Firefighter seriously injured.
Originally Published Feb 18, 2013 07:58
By CINDY STAUFFER and RYAN ROBINSON Staff
A 6-year-old girl and a 38-year-old woman died in an intense fire in Lancaster early Monday.
Three firefighters were injured — one critically — after the first floor of the home burst into flames.
The fire broke out at 225 E. Madison St. shortly before 4:30 a.m. Four people were in the home at the time.
A 42-year-old man and his 13-year-old son escaped the fire, said Fire Chief Tim Gregg at a press conference Monday. The two were sleeping in the basement of the two-story house.
The woman and the girl, who were on the second floor, were not able to escape the flames.
Gregg did not release the identities of the family members, pending an autopsy. Property records show the house is owned by Pauline Stone.
The two firefighters were injured as they were fighting the fire on the second floor and it "flashed over," Wright said.
That means all of the contents of the area went up in flames at the same time, as everything reached its combustion point.
Firefighter Andre Kelley was in critical but stable condition after being flown to Crozer-Chester Medical Center for treatment. He was rescued by his fellow firefighters. Wright said he suffered second-degree burns. The son of a retired city firefighter, Kelley has been with the city fire bureau for more than 10 years and was honored in 2004 for helping with a rescue in the city.
Firefighter Tom Benders, who was able to get down a flight of stairs and out of the house, was treated for injuries and released.
Firefighters were continuing to search for the woman and child today.
"They haven't been discovered," Wright said. "We are methodically going through the building. We are concerned about the structural integrity."
The search was being slowed by the fact that the second floor collapsed into the first floor, Wright said.
Fire officials also were still investigating the cause of the fire.
The frigid morning air quickly turned water on East Madison Street into ice. Firefighters spread salt to try to combat the freezing.
About 30 city firefighters and 30 to 40 others from outside the city extinguished the fire.
Youell's Oyster House- Scene of a 3 Alarm, early morning blaze.
Youell's Oyster House, sitting at 2249 Walnut St., in the City's West End was the scene of an early morning fire that quickly reached 3 Alarms and sent 5 firefighters to the Hospital.
At approximately 4:00 a.m. the 4th Platoon responded to the 2200 block of Walnut St. for a reported structure fire. Upon arrival, Engine 10 Lt. Dave Arner reported heavy smoke visible. Fire crews initiated and offensive interior attack. Fire suppression efforts were hampered by bitter cold temperatures in the teens, and heavy winds that whipped and extended the fire. One interior fire attack crew was consumed by flames that sent two firefighters to the hospital. Both were treated for burns. One, a firefighter, with minor burns reported back to the scene. The second, a fire Lieutenant, suffered 2nd degree burns to a forearm and ears.
Due to the fact that the fire consumed so much of the structure inless than 30 minutes into the fire, a 10-69 procedure was transmitted. A 10-69 procedure is an all out alert to on-scene personnel to evacuate the fire building and transform the offensive attack to a defensive fire attack.
Sometime after the establishment of a defensive fire attack, Firefighters Tatum and W. Atiyeh were on a lower roof, directing fire streams into the windows, when the entire northern side brick wall collapsed upon the firefighters. Firefighter W. Atiyeh was thrown from the roof as a result of the collapse and his head struck the ground causing lacerations and a concussion. Firefighter Tatum was trapped beneath the rubble. Firefighters, including an RIT team, (Rapid Intervention Team) rushed to dig firefighter Tatum out from the debris. Firefighter John Burkhart suffered a sprain to his right ankle in the rescue efforts.
All firefighters have been examined and released from St. Luke;s and Lehigh Valley Hospital. Due to the nature and extent of their injuries, 4 of the 5 firefighters will be unable to immediately return to work. As of 1430 Hours on January 22, 2013, fire crews are still on the scene.
Beginning Monday, January 7, 2012. Local 302 will have open office hours every Monday (excluding holidays) from 0900 until 1100. An executive board member will be in the union office to assist any member who may need a union representative. If you need to fill out a form, purchase a license plate, have a question, would like to register a complaint, or for any other reason the executive board member will be able to assist you are refer you to the appropriate representative. The office will be staffed by a union officer who is not on duty so they will be they will not be interrupted by fire calls. This is a pilot program and will be evaluated after 6 months to see if it will become permanent. So, active or retired, if you have any needs for union services or just want to stop by and check in with a board member all are welcome. Your executive board is here to serve you.
Compare ourselves to other struggling Fire Departments???
At last night's council meeting, the Administration compared Allentown's new staffing pattern to that of Reading, Pa and Bethlehem Fire Departments. Click this link to see what was happening in the City of Reading at the precise moment these comments were being made.
On November 7, 2012 Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski unveiled his proposed 2013 Budget that institutes draconian cuts to fire protection for the Citizens of Allentown. Pawlowski's budget proposes to reduce firefighter complement from the 2012 budgeted number of 140 to 126.
This reduction, spread out over 4 shifts equates to almost 4 firefighters per shift. Or One fully staffed Engine.
This is the lowest level of fire protection in over 27 years (As far as available records reveal.) During this same period of 27 years, the Allentown Fire Department has seen an increase of calls for service of almost 350%.
This budget proposal ensures that no engine in the City will staff the Nationally acccepted fire protection standard of four Firefighters per engine.
This is not the first reduction of Fire Protection that Allentown Citizens have seen under Pawlowski this year. Immediately after receiving an arbitration decision in July 2012 that set the minimum staffing at 25 firefighters per shift, Pawlowski, though not required to reduce staffing, VOLUNTARILY reduced staffing levels. As a result, Engine's 11, 10 and Engine 13 no longer have the National Fire Protection Association accepted standard of 4 firefighters per apparatus. In fact, Engine 6 (when it is actually in-service) is running with 2 firefighters.
In addition, Pawlowski eliminated an in-service Aerial apparatus. He eliminated Truck 1 from front line duty. Truck 1 is a 5 year old KME Aerialcat with $530,000 left in lease payments over the next five years.
This elimation of an Aerial unit ensures that the Allentown Fire Department can no longer respond to high rise responses with 2-100' Aerial ladders.
This elimination of available Aerial apparatus and staffing was evident on August 23, 2012 when, 78 minutes after the fire started, and 29 minutes after an evacuation of the scene was declared, the 2nd Aerial apparatus was put into operation for a defensive attack. In this instance, the Aerial unit was delivered to the scene by Allentown garage mechanics who responded to the scene in lights and sirens. This 854 N. 8th St. fire, with 24 firefighters on-duty (rather than the 30 firefighters.) in addition to damage to the fire building, saw damage to 4 other homes and sent 5 firefighters to the hospital.
Lack of safe staffing was evident at a recent Chew St. fire, when searching by himself, Lt. J. Warmkessel, and a 2 year old victim became trapped on the second floor of the fire building. After both firefighter and victim escaped, the 2 year old was admitted to a local hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and burns.
Prior to the proposed cuts, about half of the time, the City of Allentown could meet the NFPA 1710 Standard that provides for 15-17 firefighters be on scene, 90% of the time, within 8 minutes of dispatch. With the current cuts in place, and current response standard, the City meets that standard 0% of the time. This 8 minute standard is paramount because it is a nationally accepted standard that about 8 minutes after fire inception, the probability for fire flashover is such, that if seen, no unprotected living thing survives.
The next step in the budget process is for City Council to hear the budget presentation department by department. Tonight, at 6:00 P.M. in City Council chambers, City Council will hear the budget presentation of theFire and Police. If paying for an Aerial that isn't in service, denying the East Side Citizens of a respectable fire response and fire station isnt enough, to add insult to injury the Mayor is proposing $5,000 raises to the top two department heads!!! It will be most interesting to hear what the Fire Chief says tonight.
It is with deep regret that Local 302 announces the passing of former Deputy Chief Darwin C. Brunner.
C. Brunner, 66, of Allentown passed away Friday, November 9, 2012 in
his home. He was the husband of Rochelle D. (Getz) Brunner, they were
married 42 years. Born in Allentown he was the son of the late Carl and
Margaret (Reinert) Brunner. He was a member of St. Marks Lutheran Church
in Allentown. Darwin served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He
retired from the Allentown Fire Department as Deputy Chief after
serving for over 30 years. He was an Eagle Scout and was involved with
Scouting for many years with Troop 11 and Cub Pack 9. He was a member of
the American Legion, Allentown Fire Association and the Fearless Fire
Co. He enjoyed trains and fishing, but most of all he enjoyed spending
time with his family. Survivors: Wife, Rochelle; daughters,
Jennifer L. Huff of Macungie; daughter, Stephanie L. Giniewski of
Lehighton; son, Daniel C. and his wife Ammie of Kodiak, AK; brothers,
Frederick W. of Allentown, David W. of Slatington; grandchildren,
Daniel, Baylie, Carisa and Aidan. Services: 1:30 p.m., Tuesday,
November 13, 2012 at Trexler Funeral Home, 1625 Highland St., Allentown.
Calling 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial to follow at St.
Marks Cemetery, Allentown. www.trexlerfuneralhome.comContributions: Can be made in memory of Darwin to charity of ones choice.
We would like to thank FF Cannon for coming out yesterday helping out with Danny McNeill s canvasing event. Due to his efforts we were able to represent Local 302 and accomplish the McNeill campaign s canvasing goals. The McNeill campaign thanks Local 302 for our support and efforts.
Update: As of 1530 today, all positions have been filled: 4ff's, 4 Officers
The Fire Chief has notified us that New York City Fire Department is looking for assistance. Call Central to sign-up. Going in Seniority order. Firefighters primary duty would be generator operation and pump out. All firefighters would be in a pay status.
Daniel McNeill's campaign could use guys for next Saturday and or Sunday to hang signs. We are meeting in Whitehall around 10 am.
It would be good for us to have some guys show up. He's appreciative of our support. He is a retired union ironworker and is strong on labor issues. He is running for State Representative; Pennsylvania State House of Representatives; District 133.
If you would like to help, get in contact with Adam Perreault at (484)-892-1787.
Take an opportunity to view this video. It is over 12 minutes long. Can anyone, after viewing this video say that more firefighters on the scene would NOT have helped extinguish this fire sooner? I don't think any but a politician could say that more people wouldn't have helped.
At 1:00 minute into the video you hear comm center make a report regarding fire in the rear of the structure. If there were more firefighters on scene, could suppression tactics been initiated sooner? You decide for yourself.
3 of 5 Hospitalized firefighters back at work after rowhouse fire in Allentown yesterday.
After a midday fire yesterday in the 800 block of North 8th that sent 5 firefighters to the hospital for dehydration, exhaustion and overexertion, 2 of those firefighters although released from the hospital, are not medically cleared to return to work.
Lt. Jim Saylor, Lt. Jack Bryant, Lt. Robert Xander, Lt. Michael Smith and Firefighter Steve Foulke were all treated and released at Sacred Heart Hospital yesterday.
As a result of the injured firefighters not being medically cleared, the City is now working with 2 less firefighters today. (August 24, 2012).
Today's Shift Staffing level: 22
8 below pre August 18, 2012 levels.
If the same fire call went out today to that location, where the City initially had 12 firefighters on scene, today they would only get 10 firefighters!
The Mayor was quoted on WFMZ's website stating that:
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski denies the staffing shortage. He told 69 News that the number of structure fires has dropped in the past 10 years but the current contract only takes staffing numbers back to that of 2005.
This statement is not accurate. In August of 2005 staffing did not drop below 25 men per shift.
Since the change of staffing by Mayor Pawlowski on August 18, 2012, here is a partial picture of comparative staffing levels.
As you can see, there is no time in 2005 that the staffing levels were the same. It is also important to note, the Mayor referenced 2005. 2005 was the first year in which there was a safe staffing mandate, and the contract provided for a ‘ramping' up period that was agreed to by the administration and Union. This "ramping up period" from 25 in 2005, to 26, then 27, then 28 in successive years was designed to minimize staffing through overtime, in favor of full time personnel. A review of the City's 2005 budget will reveal an overall department strength of 150 personnel. This 150 personnel was in EXCESS of the contractual requirement to have 140 firefighters on duty. The City, at that time, under another Mayor chose to fill staffing requirements with non-overtime personnel.
This Mayor agreed in 2009 to raise the staffing level to 30 personnel per shift, but did not increase overall department strength. This resulted in record levels of overtime being needed to meet agreed upon staffing levels. This situation resulted in 43 firefighters retiring in 2011.
Yesterday, as this fire raged on, we had a total department strength of 104 firefighters, with an additional 16 members who just started their 18 week training period on Monday, August 20, 2012.
854 N. 8th St. Fire sends 5 firefighters to the hospital
5 Firefighters hospitalized in 2+ Alarm fire at 854. N. 8th St. with 6 less firefighters on duty as a result of an administration reduction of on-duty personnel.
Fire crews were dispatched to a noon hour fire at 854 N. 8th St. in the Center of the City that sent 5 firefighters to the hospital.
Initial comm. center dispatch indicated that multiple callers were reporting heavy smoke. Immediately upon exiting the Fire Station, from more than a half mile away, Battalion command indicated heavy smoke showing. Upon arrival, fire crews assessed the scene finding heavy smoke and fire from the rear of 854 N. 8th st.
Fire Crews initiated an offensive, interior fire attack. Fire was immediately encountered from within the structure. Crews found heavy fire on the 2nd and 3rd floors and called for a second handline to assist in the interior attack.
Initial alarm assignment was 3 Engine Companies, 1 Ladder, and one Command vehicle totaling 12 initial, on-scene personnel. (3 less than National Fire Protection Association standards of 15 first assignment personnel.) The fire quickly spread and has consumed at least 3 adjoining properties. 4 Fire lieutenants and 1 Firefighter were taken to Sacred Heart Hospital for treatment for elevated, irregular heart rythms, dehydration and exhaustion. 4 have been released and 1 is still receiving treatment.
This fire comes less than 6 days after City administrators reacted to a recent Arbitration decision by Richard Kasher which reduced the on-duty minimum strength to 25 personnel. Arbitrator Kasher also ruled that any employee absence, other than vacation could reduce the 25 number. Today, the on-duty shift strength was 24 as a result of one non-vacation absence. Mayor Ed Pawlowski has reduced the on-duty strength to levels not seen since 1996. When, in 1996 fire call volume was 1/4 of what it is today. The Mayor did not respond to repeated phone calls, nor was he on scene, or at the Hospital. Fire crews are still on the scene, with the fire under control.