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Dekalb County fire fatality after FD doesn't investigate

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by trifecta, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. trifecta

    trifecta

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    http://www.firehouse.com/topics/top-headlines/probe-reveals-ga-ffs-never-checked-house-fire-later-claimed-woman

    http://www.cbsatlanta.com/news/22367003/detail.html

    Probe Reveals Ga. FFs Never Checked House

    A woman died after responders failed to see signs of fire and left the scene.


    Story by
    - cbsatlanta.com

    Posted: Fri, 01/29/2010 - 04:19
    Updated: Fri, 01/29/2010 - 12:40
    For photo gallery and investigative report, see links below.
    DUNWOODY, Ga. --

    DeKalb County authorities have released the findings of an internal investigation, which found that four firefighters failed to fully investigate Ann Bartlett's 911 call that her house was on fire.
    Bartlett, 74, was found dead five hours later in the garage of her burned-out home.
    Her family told CBS Atlanta's Renee Starzyk that they want an apology from firefighters.
    CBS Atlanta obtained a copy of Bartlett's 911 call. After listening to it, News Director Steve Schwaid said he feels it is not necessary for our viewers to hear the last woman's final moments. The family also requested that CBS Atlanta not play it, and the station is honoring their request.
    Bartlett's family members said Bartlett used an oxygen concentrator to help her breathe. According to DeKalb County records, she called 911 at about 1 a.m. on Sunday and told the dispatcher she had accidentally set her house on fire with the "thing for my nose." She gave her address and the line went dead.
    Records show the dispatcher immediately sent seven emergency vehicles to the home. When the first three trucks arrived, firefighters saw no signs of a fire and left. An internal investigation found that against department protocol, none of the firefighters established command of the incident, and not a single firefighter as much as walked up the driveway to investigate.
    Only two firefighters even got out of their vehicles, and that was to spot the truck as it backed up to leave.
    Five hours later, when neighbors saw the flames, it was too late. Four firefighters are now on paid administrative leave: Sell Caldwell, Tony Motes, William Greene and Lesley Clark.
    CBS Atlanta tried to question both DeKalb County's Fire Chief David Foster and the county's public safety director William Z. Miller about the case. Neither would agree to an interview. They referred our questions to county spokeswoman Sheila Edwards.
    CBS Atlanta's Rebekka Schramm asked Edwards, "How can we trust firefighters who don't even investigate a fire?"
    Edwards answered, "Well, I understand your concern, Rebekka, but again, that's why the CEO demanded that the public safety director and the fire chief do a investigation immediately."
    Schramm said, "Our question is whether these guys should face criminal charges?"
    "I'm not in a position where I can ascertain that situation," said Edwards.
    DeKalb County District Attorney Gwen Keyes Flemming issued a statement saying that county police investigators are looking into whether a crime was committed. She said she will review their findings and then determine how to proceed.
    CBS Atlanta's Michelle Marsh asked State Fire Commissioner John Oxendine tough questions about the state's protocol for firefighters responding to a fire call.
    Oxendine said, "At the bare minimum they would have to do a thorough perimeter check."
    Oxendine said if a firefighter didn't leave his fire truck, that would be considered a violation of the training standards.
    He also plans to launch an inquiry into the case to ensure DeKalb firefighters are being properly trained.
    A spokesperson for DeKalb County said proper training is not the issue. She said some of the firefighters involved were retrained as recently as last month.


    Copyright 2010 by cbsatlanta.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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  2. cmslone

    cmslone

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  3. trifecta

    trifecta

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    For sure. If the story is even close to accurate, that is as bad as it gets.
     
  4. cmslone

    cmslone

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    Yeah, I think GA is a right to work state, so they are probably losing their jobs ASAP.
     
  5. Tvov

    Tvov

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    They screwed up big time.
     
  6. ditchdoc24

    ditchdoc24

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    Yep, they announced the firing today of 3 of the 4 people mentioned in this article plus another Batt Chief not previously mentioned.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-firefighters-fired-criminal-286964.html

    I actually precepted BJ Paige and Sell Caldwell when they were doing clinicals in paramedic class. Both were good guys.
     
  7. ditchdoc24

    ditchdoc24

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    Well, the Chief finally gave it up. The interim Chief is another friend of mine. Eddie Obrien was a Captain at my station on A shift while I was working B shift. He's a good guy but the question is just how much of the headquarters kool-aid he drank while he was up there? I also know his brother who is the Assistant Chief for a smaller neighboring department.

    http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22408251/index.html
     
  8. 1985 4Runner

    1985 4Runner Agitator

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    Wow.

    Complacency kills.
     
  9. Fireman1291

    Fireman1291 Firefighter/EMT

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    This is a black-eye no dept needs nor do firefighters need to be looked at as undependable. They must not be up running calls at 1am all the time and were complaicent and lazy. Hell we run 16calls a shift Fire/Ems and we would NEVER do that. Speechless...
     
  10. DGreno

    DGreno FF/Paramedic Silver Member

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    Did the complainant not call back in the 5 hours between when crews left and the neighbor called it back in? Sounds a little strange.
     
  11. Tvov

    Tvov

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    ?? The 911 call was a disconnect basically in mid-sentence if I read the story correctly. The woman was probably inhaling smoke from the fire at the time and may have passed out.