Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Chantry Flat Fire
Originally uploaded by *Flora
(Sierra Madre, CA) A Los Angeles County Fire Department FireHawk helicopter drops water on a brush fire near Arcadia, California. In Northern California near Santa Cruz the Trabing Fire is now reported to 90 percent contained as of Saturday morning. The blaze, which broke out just before 2 p.m. Friday has burned about 630 acres in a 1,000-acre perimeter.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Mississippi River Flood: Clarksville Missouri 6.17.2008
Originally uploaded by Notley
Clarksville, Missouri (June 17, 2008) -- Like they did in 1993, the residents of Clarksville have turned out to assist one another in building sandbag walls to hold back the rising Mississippi. But weather forecasters are predicting the C-ville will encounter a more significant event than in 1993.
As flood waters move closer to St. Louis and join with the Missouri and Illinois Rivers, they enter the gauntlet which is St. Louis' Levee system. The levees bottleneck the river, backing waters into low lying communities north of the city.
Photos courtesy: Notley Hawkins
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
by: Lou Angeli
photos by: Andrea Booher (FEMA)
St. Louis, MO (June 17, 2008) -- The swollen Mississippi River is expected to crest late this week in St. Louis and nearby communities. But record or near-record river levels are already being reached along the Mississippi north of the St. Louis area, where residents fill sandbags and seek higher ground as slowly rising water brings new worries to already soaked communities.
Just 15 years ago, there was a similar scenario, one that became known as the Great Flood of 1993. During that disaster the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers reached biblical flood proportions, with researchers referring to it as the 500 year flood.
Has 500 years already passed?
St. Louis, MO -- (June, 1993) After 2 months of unending Spring rains, Old Man River finally rebels. Runoff from storms in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois forces the Mississippi well over its banks. The same river that left behind fertile valleys after hundreds of previous floods, reclaims the land with savage fury. Along the Mississippi River in St. Louis, the waters are so high, that they nearly reach the base of the Gateway arch, 5 stories above flood stage.
If a "blowout" were to take place, it would take at least 100 emergency personnel to make rescues and safely evacuate the area. I glanced over at the standby emergency team -- a 4-man engine company, 2-person medic unit, 2 deputy sheriffs, and a retired Salvation Army captain. I shook my head, and never allowed that thought to enter my mind again.
But the floodwaters just kept rising and rising, and the wall couldn't be built strong enough or fast enough. Leaks developed, and the super saturated ground prevented volunteers from working safely. Finally, during the last week of July, the town's Fire Chief gave the order to abandon the effort
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
The more serious arson jobs end up as “working fires,” complete with heavy black smoke, red hot flames and fire police closing down highways. It’s the type of response that requires more personnel and more equipment, making the fireground a very busy place. Word on the web is that there’s plenty of action in tiny Delaware, so much so that fire buffs from as far away as New England have been setting up weekend photo junkets to the First State.
In a recent News-Journal article, reporter Terri Sanginiti writes, "In Delaware, an arson is committed just about every day, statistics show. The state has averaged 364 arson investigations in each of the past five years, including 328 in 2007." Kudos to the state's fire investigators who have one of the nation's highest conviction rates on a a crime that is the most difficult to prove.
A Serious Danger to Firefighters
More serious arson blazes aren’t your run of the mill room and contents job. Fire-setters use flammable liquids and tri-nasty chemicals to create a blaze so intense, that it destroys as much property as possible, while at the same time wiping away any evidence of foul play. Inside the structure the fire cooks until it reveals itself to the outside world.
By the time someone spots the flames and dials 9-1-1, the arson fire has had a head start and may have reached the fully developed stage. The room of origin heats quickly as fingers of flame roll across the ceiling, reach out into adjoining rooms and upward into the attic. As companies begin to arrive and go to work, frontline crews face a firefighter’s greatest fear – Flashover.
That’s what happened yesterday (06/03/08) to firefighters responding to a house fire in Hamilton Park, an area which borders Wilmington’s Southbridge section and is protected by Holloway Terrace Fire Company. A county police officer on routine patrol reported a house fire with “smoke conditions,” and dispatchers relayed her conservative size-up to first responding Engine 205.
As the operator brought the E-One to a stop at New Castle Avenue to take a wrap around the hydrant, dark, billowing smoke was venting through every crack and crevice in the 70 year old balloon construction home some 100 yards down the street. The first-in officer radioed heavy smoke and fire, a report that prompted other responding apparatus operators to forget about $5 per gallon diesel prices, push the pedal to the floor and lay on the air horn at intersections.
With the fire now venting through the roof, two hoseteams made entry. But the incredible build up of BTU’s ignored their 175 gallon per minute streams and spit the flames back into their faces. Rather than risk his crews on a vacant home, the Incident Commander issued the order to evacuate the structure, and the operation smoothly transitioned to an exterior attack.
And that’s the problem with arson fires. When companies arrive, there’s no way to distinguish between a torch job and a “legitimate” house fire, the kind with trapped occupants. Regardless of how the fire initiated, during those first minutes firefighters must risk their lives to conduct a thorough search. The burning building is cleared only when the incident commander is convinced that there is no life safety issue.
Some experts suggest that the number of arson fires will increase in coming years because of the current economic situation and pending recession. As homeowners face foreclosures and SUV owners are stuck with the $600 per month payments on their monster H2 Hummers, a crazy few will attempt to collect on insurance policies by taking match to their property.
Freakin’ arsonists – why can’t they be more considerate and go that extra step? Hang a sign on the mailbox which says, “Arson Fire – No Need To Search.” In my mind, because of the danger to firefighting crews, every arson charge should come with a bonus "attempted murder" indictment.
And for the fire buffs who’ve been making the rounds, Delaware’s volunteer firefighters are some of the best trained in the country, so photograph their good side.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Studio Lot Fire Station
Originally uploaded by NRJ IMAGERY
Station 51 is located on the lot of Universal Studios. Interiors for the 70's series "Emergency" were filmed on the Universal lot, but station exteriors were filmed at Station 127 in Wilmington near Los Angeles Harbor.