Video: Georgia Firefighters Allow Warehouse to “Burn Itself Out”

Safe approach taken during fire at Buford warehouse due to chemicals
Plus Media Solutions Published Friday, February 13, 2015

Firefighters outside Atlanta say they're allowing a fire at a massive warehouse outside Atlanta to "burn itself out."

Gwinnett County firefighters said firefighters are taking the approach at the Buford warehouse due to potential plumbing chemicals in the building and its former use as a tannery decades ago.

Fire department spokesman Tommy Rutledge says the building known as the Buford Tannery caught fire Tuesday evening and was already engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived.

Rutledge says a former plumbing business had occupied part of the building.

Rutledge says no one was inside the building when the fire began and no injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

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Copyright 2011 Lexus Nexus. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Georgia Firefighters React to Death of Macon Lieutenant

FireEMS Blogs: Operational Considerations for Residential Basement Fires

Recent events in Macon, Georgia highlight challenges and risks faced at similar residential structures

By Christopher J. Naum
Published Thursday, February 12, 2015

Basement fires in both residential and commercial occupancies are one of the most challenging tactical operations that present numerous risk factors requiring the highest degree of situational awareness, training skill sets and continuous incident monitoring and assessment to gauge building structural integrity, fire behavior and fire dynamics and corresponding crew integrity and performance.

The predictability of performance in buildings on fire in residential occupancies varies based on building vintage (age), methods and materials of constructions and structural support components, assemblies and systems that when under duress by fire within the basement compartment create definable risks, limited operational time periods and the need for well coordinate tactical deployments managed under incident and command time compressions that are concurrently impacted by degrading building and systems resiliency and declining material integrity- which lead directly to compromise and collapse conditions.

The recent events at a residential fire in Macon, Georgia that involved a basement fire and subsequent floor collapse, numerous fire fighter injuries and reports of a firefighter line-of-duty death continues to bring to light the operational challenges and risks facing companies in safely assessing and conducting fire suppression and support deployments at similar residential occupancies and structures.

Preliminary information coming forth from Georgia and a review of county tax –building records indicates the single story residential building with a ranch design and configuration was constructed in 1962 of Type V Conventional Wood frame construction with approximately 1460 SF of area.

Read More of "Operational Considerations for Residential Basement Fires" from Fireground Leadership

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Fire-damaged I-joists where victim fell in a 2006 incident. Note how the vertical web is almost completely consumed (NIOSH photo)

USFA: Georgia Lieutenant Killed in Collapse

Macon-Bibb County fire officer killed and five others injured during house fire
United States Fire Administration Published Thursday, February 12, 2015

The U.S. Fire Administration has announced the official on-duty death of Lieutenant Randy Parker, 46, of the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department on February 11, 2015.

Lieutenant Parker was pronounced dead at Medical Center-Navicent Health and five other firefighters were injured after a structural collapse occurred while fire crews were operating inside of a burning residential structure. According to media reports, the Bibb County coroner said Lieutenant Parker died from burns and smoke inhalation. Three of the injured firefighters are being treated at the Augusta Burn Center; one of the three was in critical condition and airlifted to the Center. The fatal fire incident remains under investigation by authorities.

Tribute is being paid to Lieutenant Randy Parker at http://apps.usfa.fema.gov/firefighter-fatalities/
 
To date, 10 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2015.  Year-to-date and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted online at http://apps.usfa.fema.gov/firefighter-fatalities/fatalityData/statistics



Fatality status is provisional and may change as USFA contacts State Fire Marshals to verify fatality incident information.

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To date, 10 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2015.

Raw Video: Macon-Bibb County House Fire Neighbor Describes Fire That Claimed Georgia Firefighter Georgia Firefighter Killed, Five Others Injured

Floor Collapse Kills Georgia Lieutenant, Injures Five Others in House Fire

Collapse during Macon-Bibb County house fire kills one and injures several others

By FireRescue staff
Published Thursday, February 12, 2015

MACON-BIBB COUNTY, Ga. – One firefighter is killed and five others injured after a floor collapsed during a house fire Wednesday evening.

The Macon Telegraph reports that Lieutenant Randy Parker, 46, was part of a group of firefighters that had responded to a house fire at 2320 Fairview Drive just before 6:00 p.m.

Telegraph Photos: ATF Investigating Firefighter Death

A Macon-Bibb County government spokesman told the Telegraph that the initial fire companies arrived on the scene at 5:51 p.m. At 6:43 p.m. the floor near the front door collapsed sending Parker and other firefighters into the basement. An immediate evacuation was called and rescue operations begun for those trapped.

Parker was transported to Navicent Health, Medical Center of Georgia, where he was pronounced dead.

Battalion Chief Steven Stafford, 59, was flown to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta. Firefighters Adam Mitchie, 34, and Ferrell Cromer, 46, were transported by ambulance to the burn center. They are being treated for smoke inhalation and burns.

Firefighters Matt Couey, 27, and Ben Bollinger, 28, were transported to Navicent Health and are reported to be in stable condition.

The homeowners were able to safely escape the fire. Three dogs were killed in the blaze.

Macon-Bibb County officials issued a press release earlier with additional details.

Macon-Bibb District Chief Reflects on Fallen Lieutenant

Fairview Drive House Fire

At 5:46 p.m., the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department responded to a fire a 2320 Fairview Drive off of Rocky Creek Road. It was a single story brick structure that was fully involved by the time the first company arrived at 5:51.

The initial company responding included two engines, two aerials, a Battalion Chief, and a rescue unit. Upon arrival, it was noted all occupants of the structure were already out of the house.

The initial unit entered the structure and began fire suppression measures. At 6:43, the unit was inside the front door when the floor collapsed, and several firefighters fell into the basement.

A Code Red was initiated, meaning an immediate evacuation happened and rescue efforts began.

Six officers were transported to Navicent Health, including one that had been trapped for a significant amount of time.

It is with great sadness that we say Lieutenant Randy Parker passed away in the line of duty tonight, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, loved ones, and friends. He is an officer that served our community for more than 20 years.

Three officers are being transported to the Augusta Burn Center, two for smoke inhalation and one for burns on his hand and smoke inhalation. Two other officers remain at Navicent Health for monitoring.

Tonight, we ask our entire community to keep Lieutenant Parker's and the families of our other officers injured tonight in your thoughts and prayers. Also please reach out to their crew members and friends as this is a tragedy which impacts all of us.

At this time, we will not be releasing the other officers' names as we contact families and they continue treatment.

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One firefighter was killed and five others injured while battling a house fire in Macon-Bibb County on February 11, 2015. (WMGT/YouTube video image)

Twins Killed in Georgia House Fire

Kathleen fire was caused by unattended cooking
MIKE MORRIS, The Atlanta Journal Constitution Published Monday, January 26, 2015

Fire investigators in south Georgia on Friday were trying to determine what sparked a blaze at a home in Tifton that left twin 12-year-old brothers dead.

The fire, which was reported about 1:30 a.m., destroyed the family's single-story home in the 600 block of Timmons Drive, according to Glenn Allen, spokesman for state Insurance and Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens' office.

Allen said Jeremiah and Nehemiah Walker died in the fire. Both boys were autistic, and that might have contributed to them being unable to escape the blaze, according to Allen.

The boys' mother, 44-year-old Tangela Walker, and their 15-year-old sister, Florissa Walker, escaped without serious injury.

Allen said his office was also investigating a second fatal overnight fire in Houston County south of Macon. Opal Alford, 86, died in that blaze, which was reported about 7:25 a.m. in the 100 block of Lonesome Doe Circle in Kathleen, Ga.

"The fire has been determined to be accidental and it was caused by unattended cooking," Allen told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "A neighbor or bystander was able to enter the home and remove (Alford) from the home, but she died on the scene."

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Copyright 2011 Lexus Nexus. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Former Atlanta Fire Chief Files Discrimination Complaint

Former Atlanta chief Kelvin Cochran files federal complaint based on religious freedom
ABBY OHLHEISER, Washington Post Blogs Published Monday, January 26, 2015

Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran lost his job at the beginning of the year, following a controversy over a religious book he wrote that compared homosexuality to "pederasty" and "bestiality." Now, Cochran has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission on religious freedom grounds, his attorneys confirmed in an email to The Post.

The complaint, filed Wednesday, accuses the city of violating Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act. The move - "based on the City's clear religious discrimination against the Chief," according to a statement from Cochran's attorneys - could portend future legal action against the city from its former fire chief.

"We are continuing to evaluate all available legal options to vindicate Chief Cochran after his unjust termination," Cochran's attorneys said.

At issue: Cochran's self-published book, "Who Told You That You Were Naked," which called "homosexuality" and "lesbianism" a "sexual perversion" morally equivalent to "pederasty" and "bestiality." Following a month-long suspension related to the book, Cochran's tenure as Atlanta's fire chief was terminated on Jan. 6 by the city's mayor, Kasim Reed.

"The book expresses my deeply held religious convictions on many subjects," Cochran says in a copy of the EEOC complaint provided to The Post. "I believe that I have been discriminated against because of my religion - Christian."

In one section of the book, Cochran wrote that "naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God."

Following the local Fox affiliate's initial report on the legal complaint Thursday, the mayor's spokeswoman, Anne Torres, said in an email to The Post that the city "has received no information that former Chief Cochran filed a complaint with the EEOC." Torres added that the office will "defend the Mayor's decision vigorously whether, through the EEOC administrative process or in any other appropriate forum."

The city said in November that it was investigating whether Cochran had violated city nondiscrimination policies by publishing and distributing the book to multiple employees. In announcing his decision to end Cochran's employment, Reed said that Cochran's "judgment and management skills were the subject of the inquiry and my decision to terminate his employment with the City of Atlanta." The mayor added: "Cochran's personal religious beliefs are not the issue."

Reed's decision had the support of the Atlanta Professional Firefighters union, which released a statement commending the chief's firing and noting that the group "supports LGBT rights and equality among all employees."

But Cochran's complaint - along with outcry from some Christian groups and leaders over the disciplinary action - demonstrate that some people did, in fact, read Cochran's firing as a condemnation of his Christian beliefs. His supporters include several conservative religious organizations, at the national and local level, including the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Family Research Council, and the Georgia Baptist Convention. Supporters recently organized a rally for Cochran.

FRM/FFN: Rally Held to Support Ousted Atlanta Fire Chief

"This is the new demand of modernity: Surrender to the moral revolution or keep your mouth shut," the presidents of Liberty Institute in Texas Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky wrote in a joint commentary.

They added: "The city of Atlanta now has an official theological position on the sinfulness of homosexuality? May God help us."

Cochran and the city disagree on whether the former fire chief adequately sought advance permission to publish his book. Reed said in his announcement of the firing that Cochran failed to notify him of his plans to publish the book, as city policy dictates. Cochran says in the EEOC complaint that he obtained permission from the city's Ethics Department.

The former chief says he has another reason to believe that the city fired him for his religious beliefs, and not for violating a nondiscrimination policy: "Upon return from my suspension," the complaint reads, "I was informed by [the city's chief operating officer]...that the investigation revealed zero instances of discrimination by me against any other employee of the city." The complaint notes that "these actions by the City arose due to the content of my book and the fact that I attempted to conduct myself in accordance with my religious convictions at all times, even when I'm at work."

The city released the results of its investigation earlier this month. In that report, which concluded that Cochran lacked adequate permission to publish his book, the city notes that Cochran distributed the book to at least nine employees, three of whom say they received it unsolicited.

Referring to interviews with multiple employees of the city's fire department, the report concludes that "there was a consistent sentiment among the witnesses that firefighters throughout the organization are appalled by the sentiments expressed in the book. There also is general agreement the contents of the book have eroded trust and have compromised the ability of the chief to provide leadership in the future."

The report adds: "No interviewed witness could point to a specific instance in which any member of the organization has been treated unfairly by Chief Cochran on the basis of his religious beliefs."

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Copyright 2011 Lexus Nexus. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, right, speaks as religious groups rally to support him following his termination at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in Atlanta. Mayor Kasim Reed says Cochran's termination was based on his judgment and not anti-gay statements in his self-published religious book. Reed suspended then fired Cochran after learning of his self-published book in which he described homosexuality as a perversion. Reed said in a statement Tuesday that an investigative report shows Cochran didn't have clearance to publish the book he gave to several subordinates at work. Cochran has said he did get approval from city officials to publish the book. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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