Georgia Firefighters Talk About Being Held Hostage – Part II

USFA: Georgia On-Duty Death

Firefighters were performing aid to the injured motorist when Nutt collapsed
USFA Published Friday, March 8, 2013

The U.S. Fire Administration has announced the official on-duty death of Firefighter Engineer Lonnie Nutt, 49, of the Marietta Fire Department on March 7, 2013.

The Marietta Fire Department was responding to a motor vehicle accident.  Firefighter Engineer Nutt was the driver of the apparatus accompanied by two other firefighters.  After arriving on the scene, the firefighters were performing aid to the injured motorist when Firefighter Engineer Nutt collapsed.  Aid was immediately given and Firefighter Engineer Nutt was rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.  The cause of death is still to be determined.

Tribute is being paid to Firefighter Engineer Lonnie Nutt at

To date, 11 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2013. Year-to-date monthly and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted online at

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

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Georgia Firefighters Win Appeal in Test-Cheating Case

Ruling stems from lawsuit against the city of Atlanta, contending fire chiefs had given the test's contents to their favored firefighters before they took the exams
Bill Rankin; Staff Published Thursday, February 7, 2013

Four lieutenants who were demoted were denied due process, court says.

A Georgia Supreme Court ruling on Monday cleared four Atlanta firefighters who had been found to be "probable cheaters" on their promotional exams, attorneys for the men said.

Lts. Carlos Barham, William Edwards, Royce Turner and Derrick Dabney had appealed a decision by a Fulton County judge that subjected them to demotion.

"Our clients really feel vindicated, and they're just as thrilled as we are," said Cheryl Legare, one of the firefighters' lawyers. "The court recognized that a shadow had been cast on all of the lieutenants who had been accused of cheating."

The ruling stems from allegations brought by three other firefighters who led a class-action lawsuit against the city of Atlanta, contending fire chiefs had given the test's contents to their favored firefighters before they took the exams. A Fulton jury, after hearing evidence, found that the exams were tainted. The city is appealing.

After the trial, Superior Court Judge Kelly Lee issued a permanent injunction with instructions for how the city must conduct a re-test.

Lee said that all firefighters who scored 84 or higher on the first exam would be ineligible for promotion if their re-test score was two standard deviations lower than their first test score. Lee also said any firefighters who scored 90 or better on the first exam would immediately have their promotions revoked.

The four lieutenants, all of whom scored better than 90 on the first test, appealed. "The jury was never asked to find who cheated --- just whether there was cheating," said Atlanta lawyer Steven Wolfe, who also represents the four men.

Justice Hugh Thompson, writing for a unanimous court, agreed that the four lieutenants were denied due process and cannot be treated differently than the others who took the test.

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

Raw Video: Fiery Georgia Pile-Up Atlanta Firefighters Face Stubborn Warehouse Fire

Smoke from Fire Fills Sky Near Atlanta Airport

Blaze was reported at a vacant building once used as a training facility for firefighters
Published Thursday, December 13, 2012

ATLANTA (AP) —An abandoned government building erupted into flames early Thursday near Atlanta's airport, with smoke filling the sky as jets approached the runway.

A spokeswoman for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport says there were no flight delays as a result. Spokeswoman Myrna White says the airport's operations team was closely monitoring the situation.

Fire officials say the blaze was reported at a vacant building once used as a training facility for firefighters. There were no immediate reports of any injuries.

Hartsfield-Jackson, which is located south of downtown Atlanta, is the world's busiest airport.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the fire was burning as early as 5:30 am., and that firefighters were taking a defensive posture in battling the blaze. It was unclear late Thursday morning if the fire had been brought under control.

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Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

42 Sickened, Over 500 Evacuated, During Georgia School CO Leak

Atlanta elementary school had no detectors
JEFF MARTIN, Associated Press Published Monday, December 3, 2012

ATLANTA (AP) — Potentially lethal carbon monoxide levels at an Atlanta elementary school with no detectors sent at least 42 students and seven adults to hospitals Monday and forced 500 more to evacuate, authorities said.

Young children with oxygen masks over their faces were strapped to gurneys and others carried to ambulances by emergency officials at Finch Elementary School in southwest Atlanta. Four kids reported passing out at the school, according to hospital officials. A teacher and a cafeteria worker were also among those treated.

Firefighters found unsafe levels of carbon monoxide near a furnace at the school with a reading at 1,700 parts per million, said Atlanta fire Capt. Marian McDaniel.

The colorless, odorless gas can be deadly at that concentration, said Stephanie Hon, assistant director of the Georgia Poison Center.

Superintendent Erroll Davis praised school officials for quickly evacuating after children started getting sick and said officials were considering installing carbon monoxide detectors in schools. Finch Elementary did not have a detector, he said, though he did not know whether any other district schools had detectors.

Twenty-five states have laws requiring carbon monoxide detectors in certain residential buildings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut takes that a step further and requires detectors in all public and nonpublic schools, while Maryland recently enacted a law requiring detectors in newly constructed and remodeled schools, according to Scott Hendrick, program manager with the NCSL.

Bridgette Berry, a grandmother of two students at the school, said the children — ages 6 and 7 — were checked out at the hospital. The family was given a form instructing them to keep a close eye on the children and alert medical officials if they exhibit any symptoms such as a headache, Berry said.

Berry said school officials must put in carbon monoxide detectors.

"They're not going back unless they get them," Berry said.

Her son and the children's father, Marquis Berry, said the family feels fortunate the situation wasn't worse and frustrated about what he called a lack of communication from the school.

"I had to find out about it on the news," he said.

District officials said they worked to notify parents, but some did not have updated contact information on file.

Of the 42 children taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding, the first four were already showing improved oxygen levels by the time they arrived, said Dr. Naghma Khan, the emergency room director.

She said those four received oxygen and were sent home with their parents since they were not demonstrating severe symptoms. The rest of the children were being released to their parents, she said. A few children were still being brought to the hospital by concerned parents, she said.

"We were really lucky that this didn't go any further than that," Khan said.

Davis, the superintendent, said the investigation continues into what caused the leak. He said authorities suspect the issue started with the boiler, which passed state inspection in 2011 and was not due for another look until 2013.

Other students were sent to a nearby middle school until their parents picked them up.

Meanwhile, fire officials said they were ventilating the school, which was expected to reopen Tuesday as long as it's cleared by the fire marshal.

In Baltimore last year, officials vowed to put carbon monoxide detectors in all of the system's approximately 200 schools after two carbon monoxide leaks within a week's time at one of the schools.

City officials in Baltimore said the battery-powered detectors cost $15 each wholesale.

Hon, with the Georgia Poison Center, said children are more susceptible to carbon monoxide than adults.

She said it can be easy for initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning to be confused with the flu since both include malaise, headache, nausea and vomiting. A few key differences: Carbon monoxide poisoning generally does not cause a fever, and generally a person starts feeling better once he or she is moved to an area with fresh air, Hon said.

Most children did not show severe symptoms, likely because their exposure was brief and because the leak originated far from them, Hon said.

"The good news is that they sound like mild to moderate symptoms," Hon said. "Luckily those kinds of exposures do not carry significant long-term health risks, especially with the children involved."


Associated Press writers Christina Almeida and Phillip Lucas contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Anxious parents crowd the entrance to Brown Middle School where students were brought after being evacuated from Finch Elementary School in Atlanta Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. Officials say at least 31 people were taken to hospitals after apparently being overcome by carbon monoxide at Finch Elementary School in Southwest Atlanta. Firefighters responding shortly after school began detected high and unsafe levels of carbon monoxide near a furnace at the school, said Atlanta fire Capt. Marian McDaniel. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution,Bob Andres)

Gainesville, Georgia, Seeks Marker to Remember Deadly Fire

Town wishes to commemorate the largest loss of lives due to a fire caused by a tornado in U.S. history
Published Thursday, November 8, 2012

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Leaders of a northeast Georgia town are seeking a historic marker to commemorate the deaths of dozens of young women, killed when a tornado slammed into their factory and the building caught fire in 1936.

The Gainesville City Council agreed this week to submit an application to the Georgia Historical Society to place a historical marker at the spot, The Times of Gainesville reported ( ).

The tornado that struck Gainesville in 1936 is considered one of the deadliest in U.S. history, with about 200 people killed according to some estimates.

The tornado struck the Cooper Pants Factory, causing a collapse that set off the fire there. It killed at least 40 workers who were trapped inside, authorities said. Some bodies were never identified.

"This was an event of national significance," said Garland Reynolds Jr., an architect whose father worked in a butcher shop near the factory at the time of the tornado and fire. "It's the largest loss of lives due to a fire caused by a tornado in U.S. history."

Reynolds said it's still unclear how many workers, mostly young women, perished in the fire. Estimates range from 40 to 125, he said.

Reynolds' father was nearby when the fire broke out.

"I recall him telling me how he stood outside and heard the women scream as they died," he said. "They knew they were doomed."


Information from: The Times,

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Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Child Killed in Chatsworth Mobile Home Fire

Texas Firefighter Dies after Completing Smoke Diver Training

Atascocita volunteer captain succumbed to heat-related injuries after advanced SCBA training
CINDY GEORGE, Houston Chronicle Published Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Atascocita volunteer firefighter has died from heat-related injuries sustained during weekend training in Beaumont that also hurt a Georgia fireman.

Capt. Neal W. Smith, 46, passed out Sunday at the conclusion of a "smoke diver" session at the Beaumont Emergency Services Training Complex. He was rushed to Christus Hospital - St. Elizabeth.

He died Monday of heat exhaustion, according to Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department spokesman Anthony Turner.

Beaumont's KBMT (Channel 12) reported on its website Monday that Smith and 34-year-old Otis Alford were injured in separate, unrelated events, according to Dennis Gifford with the East Texas Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association. Both firefighters received immediate treatment by paramedics on standby for the intense training.

Alford was near recovery at a hospital Monday morning, according to the television station. He was not listed as a St. Elizabeth patient late Monday.

Turner said he did not have details about what went wrong in the training or how Smith was overcome by heat.

FRM/FFN on Rehab:
The Importance of Rehab (Talifarro)
Tips for Effective Fireground Rehab (Robertson)

The training, offered by the East Texas Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association, is an advanced survival course designed to help firefighters and their crews emerge from interior structural infernos alive, according to the course website. The two-day session is described as "extremely challenging, intensely physical and will take the student to his/her limit. Because of the difficulties some may experience, paramedics are on hand to monitor students before, during, and after each exercise."

Gifford said symptoms of heat illness can emerge quickly.

"We as firefighters have to become more aware and put our pride away and be willing to understand we are human," Gifford told the station. "We just need to become more in touch with our physical capabilities."

Smith, who was Station 1 captain, had been with the department for five years and previously served on the Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department's board of directors.

"He was the hardest working guy I ever met," said friend and fellow firefighter David DeMartino, adding that Sunday's exercise was another example of Smith going the extra mile in all aspects of his life. "He had gone to better himself as a firefighter."

Smith was a district manager with the Zale Corporation. He leaves a wife and two elementary-school-age children, department officials said.

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Capt. Neal W. Smith, 46, passed out on Sunday at the conclusion of a "smoke diver" session in Beaumont. (Houston Chronicle photo)


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