Here are some details about (and to honor) the West Webster Shooting that took 2 Firefighters, the Keokuk Fire that took 3 Firefighters and the Halifax explosion-taking 9 Firefighters-where interestingly, the Boston FD responded.
===WEST WEBSTER SHOOTING TAKES 2 FIREFIGHTERS
Today (Sunday) marks five years since Firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka, 19 and Michael Chiapperini, 43 were shot and killed in an ambush attack in West Webster, New York.
It was a fire call, on Christmas eve, for a car fire, the sort of routine job that all of us turn out for regularly. But this time-once again in our history-it was a trap….there was a house and a car burning on arrival and they did what any Firefighter would do-go to work. What was initially un-size-up-able was a waiting psycho killer, who had positioned his cowardly self as a sniper on a berm above the unknowing Firefighters.
Before they could begin to hit the fire, the Firefighters were met by blasts of gunfire. Four were hit by the bullets, and two were murdered. Radio traffic demonstrates amazing heroism by surviving WW FF’s (see below).
The 2 Firefighters killed in the Line of Duty were Michael J. Chiapperini, 43, a local Police Lieutenant, and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19, a 911 Dispatcher for Monroe County. The two wounded Firefighters, Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter fortunately survived (see below).
WHEN a Firefighter dies in the Line of Duty-the least any of us can do is to learn from what happened-and while this incident was as unpredictable as any-what Mike Chiapperini, and Tomasz Kaczowka did, along with the WWFD Officers and members, thru their sacrifice, is greatly heighten the awareness and education for Firefighters everywhere on the potential-and preparedness training related to “active shooter” incidents. As we approach another year anniversary, we remember the friends and families of the late Mike Chiapperini, Tomasz Kaczowka, their family, friends and the officers and members of the West Webster FD. RIP.
HERE is an “on demand” webinar related to ACTIVE SHOOTER incidents, featuring a West Webster Fire Officer: http://info.lexipol.com/fire-active-shooter-sl
Below is the incredible radio traffic from that incident.
LISTEN as the injured Firefighters, Joseph Hofstetter, who is also a career Firefighter with the Rochester FD, and Theodore Scardino, are incredibly in control on the radio, despite their serious wounds, as they provide updates, protecting other FF’s, EMT’s and Police Officers-saving more lives.
===KEOKUK, IOWA 3 FIREFIGHTERS & 3 KIDS KILLED IN DUPLEX FIRE
December 22, 1999. Keokuk Assistant Fire Chief Dave McNally, 48, Firefighter Jason Bitting, 29, and Firefighter Nate Tuck, 39 were killed while attempting the rescue of 3 trapped kids in that fire-who also perished. The 3 Firefighters left 8 kids of their own behind. The Firefighters died when a flashover occurred while the 3 were doing their search. The fire started in the kitchen of an old wooden two-story b/f home that had been converted into apartments. Staffing is a major issue in Keokuk, and that morning, 4 of the 5 total (+ the Chief) on duty firefighters arrived on scene with heavy smoke showing, and upon hearing the mother screaming that her children were trapped inside, they immediately and understandably went in after them. When “Mom” screams that her kids are inside-we go in.
The 3 were inside, (the Asst Chief and 2 FF/pump operators) a Lt. was on the hydrant-couldn’t see the building and one Firefighter was on side “A”… starting to pack up, to back the interior members up. The Chief made the terribly difficult decision to leave the scene for 3 minutes to personally transport a non-breathing rescued child–there were no other resources available… none. The hospital was a minute away. When he returned, the flashover had already occurred with only the Lt. and the one Firefighter left outside. A/C Dave McNally, FF Jason Bitting, and FF Nate Tuck perished in that duplex. R.I.P.
Here is an excellent report on the fire:
NIOSH REPORT: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200004.html
KFD Link: http://www.cityofkeokuk.org/kfd.html
One of the best quotes I have ever heard came from KFD’s Chief Mark Wessell, Ret,, is a good friend who has shown true leadership in taking the KFD forward-I don’t know anyone who doesn’t agree with that. Since that fire, Mark and I have become pretty close and I am continually in awe over how he has made it clear that his FD will (and has) change. Mark makes it clear that as horrible as this was-he did whatever he had to, to make sure it never happens again. To all of us, he made a statement that sums it up… “Always remember that we as firefighters are there to help people with a problem, while also doing ALL that we can to never become PART of that problem”
===HALIFAX FIRE KILLS 9 FIREFIGHTERS AND 2,000 CIVILIANS…AND BOSTON RESPONDED!
We consider ourselves pretty aware and educated on most tragic events taking the lives of Firefighters-but we were not aware of this event-but certainly are now and want to share this with you.
On December 6, 1917, the Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives. causing a large explosion that devastated the Richmond district of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Approximately 2,000 people were killed including 9 Firefighters) by the blast, debris, fires or collapsed buildings. Nearly all structures within a half-mile radius, including the community of Richmond, were obliterated. A pressure wave snapped trees, bent iron rails, demolished buildings, grounded vessels (including Imo, which was washed ashore by the ensuing tsunami), The tsunami created by the blast wiped out the entire community of the Mi’kmaq First Nation who had lived in the Tufts Cove area for generations. 25,000 people in total were left homeless.
This incident is still the largest single loss of Firefighters in Canadian history. The Halifax Fire Department lost approximately 25% of the department that day including Fire Chief Edward Condon, Deputy Chief William Brunt, Capt. William Broderick and Capt. Michael Maltus, along with hosemen John Spruin, Walter Hennessey, Frank Killeen and John Duggan all who died in the Line of Duty at or near the site of the explosion as they headed down to the fire at Pier 6.
Hoseman Frank Leahy died later as a result of his injuries.
Boston dispatched a trainload of doctors, nurses and Firefighters almost immediately, upon first word of the tragedy. After the explosion, waves of emergency responders also came from New York, Montreal, Toronto, and elsewhere. But it was Boston’s responders who took many of the worst cases, performing surgeries and tending to the many blinded by the flying debris in the explosion.
HERE ARE SOME EXCELLENT VIDEOS ABOUT THE EXPLOSION:
A & E DOCUMENTARY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFg8ANIlOBw
THE HALIFAX EXPLOSION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2GkA14zKz0
MARITIME DOCUMENTARY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_M_4nRhxYQ
ACTUAL FOOTAGE FOLLOWING THE EXPLOSION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r19dyIvPhE
EXPLOSION RE-CREATION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSuX9RvLq54
Lots to learn-lots to share.