A West Virginia man will spend up to six years
in the slammer for setting a fire last December, indirectly causing
the Line of Duty Death of a Firefighter who fell from the bridge as he was
attempting to locate the fire. Charles Darren Roberts, 37, was
sentenced today on two counts of arson and one misdemeanor count of
involuntary manslaughter in the death of Davis Creek (W. VA) Volunteer
Firefighter Joey King, who fell from the bridge. The six-year term, which
included five years for the counts of arson and a year for the involuntary
manslaughter, was the maximum sentence Roberts could have received by law. On
Dec. 3, Roberts ignited a cardboard box to catch a tire on fire, police said at
the time. The fire also ignited 160 railroad ties. Davis was looking
for the fire when he fell off the bridge.
In April, a grand jury indicted Roberts on charges of first-degree murder in
connection to King's death. In return for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed
to reduce the murder charge to involuntary manslaughter. Arietta King, one
of FF King's four sisters, said she originally wanted Roberts to spend the
rest of his life in prison. Roberts said he had no expectation that someone
would get killed the night he set the fire that initiated the chain reaction of
tragic events. "I know there's no 'sorry' can make up for what I
did," he said, later adding, "It's opened my eyes to a lot of
things." Ms. King softened her stance when Roberts pleaded
guilty in April, admitting that his actions caused her brother's death, she said.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI: UNION HEAD "WE SHOULD GET A
REFUND ON THIS CONSULTANTS STUDY"
A net decrease of 59 Grand Rapids FD
positions is recommended in a consultant’s report circulated this morning to
their City Commission. The ICMA (International City/County Management
Association) projects that the job cuts could save $6.7 million per year. Among the suggested changes:
=a "greater reliance" on quick-response vehicles, to be deployed in
place of fire apparatus, could save $2.2 million per year
=elimination of 3 medical-response units could save $2.5 million per year
=transition to a "demand-based" staffing could save
$1.9 million per year
The report also calls for more prevention, training and analysis staff, stating
that "if a small amount of resources can eliminate the need for a huge and
expensive fire response and the related risk of loss of property and life,
prevention is an investment well made.”
Fire Chief Laura Knapp said she's disappointed in the
"content and thoroughness" of the report, calling it "just
another tool that has been given to us in looking at our services and how we
transform.” Bill Smith, President of the Firefighters' union, was more blunt in
his appraisal of the recommendations.
"I think the city should be seeking a refund," he said. “I’m not
saying all their ideas are bad, but certainly there are others that we’re going
‘No way. This is not the way to run a fire service.’
“Their approach to it seemed like waving a wand. It appears to me they were
trying to hit a budget target" rather than improve service outcomes.
Grand Rapids already is planning to debut three quick-response vehicles later
this year. The consultant's report recommends adding two more QRVs, and using
all of them in place of fire apparatus.
The reports also suggests taking 3 medical-response units out of service,
limiting the fire department's emergency-medical response to incidents of
cardiac arrest and leaving other calls to private ambulance companies.
DETROIT FIREFIGHTER FILE SUIT ON STAFFING REDUCTIONS
DFD's Firefighter union sued the city today in an attempt to
halt its recent decision to reduce the department's staffing levels. They are
seeking a permanent injunction against city's "ill-advised decision"
to eliminate a number of fire companies on claims it violates city charter as
well as fire prevention ordinances and regulations.
The lawsuit comes after the city this summer declared it will eliminate and
"brown-out" approximately 30 fire companies. The move reduces the
number of fire trucks and equipment that can respond to a city fire alarm. The
"unexamined" city action will decrease the fire department's response
time and the ability of firefighters to "fight fires, protect themselves
and rescue people and property endangered by fires," the lawsuit
says."In our job seconds count. This isn't a simple job, it's about life
and death," said Dan McNamara, president of the firefighters' union.
"If this city is going to ever come back we need residents to feel
McNamara said in recent weeks the city has closed or "browned out"
half of its 60 fire companies.
"We're being decimated," he said. "We don't know where they are
going to stop."
The 139-square-mile city with an estimated population of more than 700,000 has
a current average response time of seven minutes, which is better than the
national average of eight minutes, according to the filing.
The lawsuit notes as recently as last week a disabled Detroit man perished in a
home fire along with his stepfather because a fire engine blocks from his home
had been "browned-out."
The pleading also lists other incidents where response times have suffered —
and in some cases doubled — due to the recent changes.
In 2001, there were more than 11,000 fires throughout the city — 5,000 of which
were flagged for arson investigations, the filing states. The city estimates
firefighters receive 30,000 calls and about 9,500 false alarms annually.
MORE from The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120828/METRO01/208280447#ixzz24tRF7GcE
UPDATE: EMS LINE OF DUTY DEATH IN NEW YORK
Paramedic David Restuccio, 58, who worked as a Paramedic for
Staten Island University Hospital (EMS ambulance assigned to the FDNY
9-1-1 system), died i the Line of Duty yesterday in a horrific crash last
night around 1900 hours, when a BMW SUV slammed into his ambulance, flipping it
and pinning him inside. The BMW driver, 20-year-old Benjamin Budzaku also
perished. PM Restuccio's fiance', EMS Dr. Lorraine Giordano, was the
longtime EMS medical director, and had more recently served as an EMS Physician
Budzaku's BMW SUV was going north on Hylan when it lost control and jumped the
median. The ambulance, which was transporting a patient from the Ocean Breeze
campus of Staten Island University Hospital to its Prince's Bay site, was going
south. The ambulance swerved out of the way but couldn't avoid the collision,
and the impact flipped the emergency vehicle on its side and launched Budzaku
from the BMW. Budzaku was pronounced dead on the scene, while Restuccio
remained trapped inside the totaled ambulance. He died of massive internal
injuries after being taken to the hospital.
Police are still investigating why Budzaku lost control, though one law
enforcement source said he was "definitely speeding" at the time of
Two others survived the crash -- the ambulance patient, Luis Rodriguez, 34, and
a second paramedic, Yusuke Yonehara, also 34. Rodriguez is in SIUH's intensive
care unit listed in fair condition, while Yonehara is listed in stable
Paramedic Restuccio retired as a Lieutenant for FDNY EMS to spend more
time with his children and grandchildren camping and skiing,
but wanted to keep active within EMS as well. Working for the North Shore
LIJ EMS system, on an FDNY EMS system response ambulance provided
him that opportunity.