WHAT’S THE SOLUTION? While not at all referring specifically to these recent events as the facts are still not out… FD’s need tough (and ENFORCED) backing (and safety related) policies that require TRAINING and an EFFORT by all crew members that they are followed-policies with clear & severe consequences… and most importantly, a tough FIRE OFFICER that isn’t afraid to STRICTLY enforce the IMPORTANT rules-the ones that prevent us from getting hurt or killed.
Also be sure to check out: www.respondersafety.com as well as www.emergencyvehicleresponse.com)
COURTESY OF THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, August 26, 2004
A veteran Beaver County volunteer firefighter was killed and another injured Wednesday when the new firetruck they were photographing backed over them in the driveway to the fire hall. David Vinisky, 49, a member of the Raccoon Township Volunteer Fire Department, died in the accident that occurred about 6:15 p.m. at the fire hall along Patterson Road, about 10 miles west of Aliquippa. Firefighter James Davidson, 52, was released following treatment for cuts and bruises at Aliquippa Community Hospital, township police Sgt. Michael R. Anderson said. The two men were standing behind the fire truck, taking pictures of the vehicle, when the accident occurred, deputy Beaver County Coroner Wayne Tatalovich Jr. said. Vinisky was found face down in the gravel behind the truck with the camera nearby, witnesses said. Anderson did not release the name of the firefighter who was driving the truck. He said the firefighter voluntarily submitted to routine drug and alcohol tests. “It was just a freak accident,” Tatalovich said. Neither Tatalovich nor Anderson could explain how the accident occurred. Anderson said the firetruck emits a steady, beeping warning signal when it is moving in reverse. The fire department recently purchased the vehicle, which is still in the process of being equipped, Anderson said. “I don’t think it has even been to a fire yet,” he said. There were conflicting reports about whether the firetruck was in the driveway to be washed or if firefighters were installing some new equipment. Anderson described Vinisky, Davidson and the individual who was driving the truck as veteran firefighters who have been with the department for at least 15 years. Vinisky’s father, Robert, is a life member of the department, Raccoon firefighter Duane Kunzmann said. “I just left (Vinisky’s) parents,” Tatalovich said last night. “They were telling me how much he loved the department. I guess he spent a lot of his time volunteering.” Anderson said Vinisky “was very well known, very well liked and very well respected.” Kunzmann called Vinisky “a super person, one of our best firefighters.” Vinisky had a reputation of being very proficient while driving firetrucks to answer alarms. “He really knew how to operate a truck,” Kunzmann said. “You never had any worries with him behind the wheel.” Kunzmann said Vinisky had a good sense of humor and a reputation for honesty. “If he made you a promise, you knew he would keep his promise,” said Kunzmann, who was not among the approximately half-dozen firefighters at the rural department when the accident occurred. Many of the firefighters who gathered at the fire hall following the accident did not want to talk. “They’re pretty much in shock,” Anderson said. “I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” Kunzmann said. Firefighters and emergency medical personnel from nearby Potter Township rushed over to the fire hall when news of the accident was broadcast over the fire radio, but nothing could be done to help Vinisky. Tatalovich said the fireman suffered serious head injuries but that no ruling on a cause of death will be made until an autopsy scheduled today. It was the second fatal accident involving a volunteer fire department in the region in a week. A 10-year-old Coraopolis girl was killed and another girl injured Aug. 19 when they were struck by a firehose dangling from a firetruck responding to an alarm. “It’s disturbing, very disturbing, especially so soon after the accident in Coraopolis with the little girls,” said Sue Nash, one of the Potter firefighters who tried to help Vinisky.