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The Secret List

The Secret List is an independent newsletter produced since 1998 by Chief Billy Goldfeder in an effort to bring forward the issues involving injury and death to us...often issues that are ignored, quickly forgotten or just not talked about.

TSL is e-mailed at no charge and produced as time allows. With the attitude that in order for us to survive the dangers of the job, they must learn how we have had "Close Calls" and even been injured or killed, TSL brings forward issues in an effort to enforce that philosophy-and get us to refocus on "what's important."

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Fatal Firefighter Response Crash (The Secret List)

Saturday, April 19, 2014  All,

Thursday morning in Comstock Township, Michigan, near Kalamazoo, a woman was killed in a crash - when her vehicle was involved in that crash with a truck driven by a Firefighter responding to a fire call. The Firefighter was in his own personal vehicle. Read the circumstances below.

The woman drove into the path of that Firefighter who was responding to another crash that occurred minutes earlier. The woman has been identified as Audrey Jean Kurka.

Kurka, 51, of Comstock Township, was waiting in traffic in the passing lane of northbound Sprinkle Road when she attempted a U-turn and pulled her 2010 Nissan Cube into the middle turn lane at around 0830 hours. Her car was struck on the driver’s side by a northbound 2005 GMC Sierra pickup truck -driven by Comstock volunteer Firefighter Shaun Hughes, 32.    

Hughes, who had the emergency lights and siren on his truck activated, was responding to a report of a head-on crash when Kurka turned in front of him.

Hughes was initially traveling in the passing lane of northbound Sprinkle but then moved over to the middle turn lane because of the traffic backup. The point of impact between Hughes’ truck and Kurka’s car was near the “westernmost stripe” of the middle turn lane.

“Hughes didn’t have time for evasive action,” the local undersheriff said.

Hughes, who was not seriously injured in the crash, was taken from the scene to the hospital in a private vehicle--Kurka was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators did not yet know how fast Hughes was going. That determination will be made as part of the continuing investigation and crash reconstruction. 

Another grim reminder of the high risks of emergency response-to us and those on the road, regardless of the circumstances. More to follow.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 4-19-14/0715 hours





West, Texas-1 Year Ago, 3 Different Fire Apparatus Crashes (The Secret List)

Thursday, April 17, 2014  Hey,

Yesterday, the two fire apparatus had their lights and sirens running when they collided in Monterey Park, sending one into a restaurant. the apparatus -- one from Monterey Park, the other from Alhambra -- were responding to a house fire around 1500 hours.
A total of15 people, including 6 Firefighters, were hurt. One person, a civilian who was inside Lu's Dumpling House, was critically injured and 1 Firefighter suffered moderate injuries; the other injuries were minor.

The Alhambra ladder truck was traveling south and the Monterey Park engine was heading east-and it was the Monterey Park engine that came to rest inside the restaurant.

The California Highway Patrol's major accident team will lead the investigation into the crash. Officials said everything from the speed of the trucks to radio traffic would be reviewed.

IN SOUTH CAROLINA last evening, Interstate 85 northbound was closed for two hours after two wrecks blocked all lanes at the 29 mile marker near Williamston.
Piercetown Fire Department’s Rescue 13 vehicle was struck and two injuries were reported at the scene, just south of Welcome Road. Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said one injured person was flown and another, an unidentified woman, taken by ambulance to Greenville Memorial Hospital, but there were no fatalities.

AND IN ALABAMA, an Athens Fire Department engine operating at a wreck was struck by a motorist on I- 65 northbound near Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road, Fire Chief Tony Kirk said firefighters had responded to a wreck in the median when a motorist driving by the wreck site hit the fire truck. No one was injured but the apparatus had to be towed.


REMEMBERING WEST, TEXAS: (Newly released video)

Today we take time to remember those killed in the Line of Duty in West, Texas, one year ago today.


We Remember:

Morris Bridges Jr., 41, a fire sprinkler technician for Action Fire Pro in Waxahachie and a member of West Volunteer Fire Department.
Perry Calvin, 37, a student at Hill College Fire Academy and a member of Mertens and Navarro Mills volunteer fire departments.
Jerry Chapman, 26, a member of Abbott Volunteer Fire Department and in training to become an emergency medical technician.
Cody Dragoo, 50, a foreman at West Fertilizer Co. and a member of West Volunteer Fire Department.
Kenneth “Luckey” Harris Jr., 52, a Dallas Fire-Rescue captain and owner of Harris Home Inspections and Construction.
Adolph Lander, 96, a resident of West Rest Haven Nursing Home who died the day after the explosion. His death is attributed to trauma from the blast.
Jimmy Matus, 52, owner of Westex Welding and a member of West Volunteer Fire Department.
Judith Monroe, 65, a native of Sinton, Texas, moved to West in 2001. She was in the apartment complex adjacent to the West Fertilizer Co. plant when it exploded.
Joey Pustejovsky Jr., 29, secretary for the city of West and a volunteer firefighter. His parents and son have spearheaded a project to rebuild the town park complete with a memorial to those lost in the blast.
Cyrus Reed, 29, a member of Abbott Volunteer Fire Department. He was completing his last night of EMT basic training when he went to assist at the plant fire.
Mariano C. Saldivar, 57, a native of Mexico, lived in an apartment complex adjacent to the fertilizer plant. Saldivar retired to West after working for years in the warehousing industry in California.
Kevin Sanders, 33, a member of Bruceville-Eddy Volunteer Fire Department, was taking an EMT class when he went to assist at the plant fire.
Doug Snokhous, 50, a Central Texas Iron Works employee and a member of West Volunteer Fire Department.
Robert Snokhous, 48, a Central Texas Iron Works employee and a member of West Volunteer Fire Department.
William “Buck” Uptmor Jr., 45, owner of fence-building company Uptmor Welding and Construction.


Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 4-17-14-0900 Hours





Fire Apparatus Crash-Serious (The Secret List)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014  Hey,

At least 6 people were critically hurt (some reports are up to 10) after two apparatus collided with each other, struck pedestrians and then crashed into a building in Monterey Park (Calif) just a little while ago.
Initial reports are that the Alhambra apparatus collided with a Monterey Park apparatus engine, sending the apparatus into a restaurant on the corner.
6 people were transported to L.A. County USC Medical Center in critical condition. Further injuries were expected to be reported. No details yet as far as Firefighter injuries.

We posted a picture on our home page. Much more to follow. KTIYP's.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass it On.


The Secret List 4-16-2014 1830 hours





CHILD DROWNING-Watch This Video (The Secret List)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014  Hey,

A number of years ago, when we were living and working in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, I was intimately involved in a child-drowning prevention program. I was blown away at the number of responses we made to these types of calls and how, in many respects, little to nothing was being done from an educational and prevention standpoint.

We developed a great program that continues today-one that measurably recued the incidents, with a very strong focus on drowning prevention for kids. The main focus was "eyes always on kids" a well as the establishment of physical barriers to water/pool etc where it would be an absolute hassle for an adult to reach--with the theory that if it was tough for an adult (several locks, hatches, doors etc) it would be impossible for a kid. Today, technology, alarms and motion detectors help the effort of responsible adults helping prevent drowning's of little kids.

Of the many resources we used to educate people on how quickly a child can end up in water, nothing (other than being on a scene) I had seen (until now) could have the impact of this video:


- a security camera "witnesses" a child that ends up in the water. Please watch, share, copy, post and pass this on.
Trust me. This video does it.



With warmer weather coming, now is the time to blast this stuff all over your town via whatever means you have. While we may "love" responding to calls, this is the kind of run no firefighter or medic ever wants to turn out on.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 4/16/14-1300 Hours 


as well as @billygoldfeder (on Twitter)







Single Family Dwelling Fire: Remembering Kyle Wilson (The Secret List)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 


As you are hopefully aware, Technician (Firefighter) Kyle Wilson of the Prince William County (VA) Department of Fire & Rescue was killed in the Line of Duty when he horrifically but heroically gave his life at a single family dwelling fire on April 16, 2007. Tomorrow is the anniversary of his Line of Duty death.

PLEASE take time to check out the links below that include video access, slides, photos and graphs to help you-and your crew understand this fire.


Technician Kyle Robert Wilson was 24-years old when he joined the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue on January 23, 2006. 

He died in the line of duty on April 16, 2007 while performing search and rescue operations at a house fire on Marsh Overlook Drive. On that day, Technician Wilson was part of the firefighter staffing on Tower 512 which responded to the house fire that was dispatched at 0603 hours. The Prince William County area was under a high wind advisory as a nor’eastern storm moved through the area. Sustained winds of 25 mph with gusts up to 48 mph were prevalent in the area at the time of the fire dispatch to Marsh Overlook Drive. 

Initial arriving units reported heavy fire on the exterior of two sides of the single family house and crews suspected that the occupants were still inside the house sleeping because of the early morning hour. A search of the upstairs bedroom commenced for the possible victims. 

A rapid and catastrophic change of fire and smoke conditions occurred in the interior of the house within minutes of Tower 512’s crew entering the structure. Technician Wilson became trapped and was unable to locate an immediate exit out of the hostile environment. Mayday radio transmissions were made by crews and by Technician Kyle Wilson of the life-threatening situation. Valiant and repeated rescue attempts to locate and remove Technician Wilson were made by the firefighting crews during extreme fire, heat and smoke conditions. 

Firefighters were forced from the structure as the house began to collapse on them and intense fire, heat and smoke conditions developed. Technician Wilson succumbed to the fire and the cause of death was reported by the medical examiner to be thermal and inhalation injuries.

We take time out to remember the loss---and provide the below links to learn about the fire, an excellent way to honor his life for all FF's.






Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 4-15-2014 / 2100 hrs

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