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Experts question hose choice

Chief says smaller boosters were used only in secondary role at sofa store

The Post and Courier
Sunday, July 15, 2007

Charleston firefighters battling the June 18 blaze at the Sofa Super Store
used a variety of hoses, including small red booster hoses shown in these
photos taken on the night of the fire. The city maintains that booster hoses
were not used to fight the fire and were pulled only to cool down heated
equipment and to serve as life-lines to help firefighters find their way out
of the building. Many fire chiefs and fire experts say booster hoses have
been largely phased out of the fire service because they don't provide
enough water to protect firefighters or knock down larger blazes.

Tyrone Walker
The Post and Courier

Charleston firefighters battling the June 18 blaze at the Sofa Super Store used a variety of hoses, including small red booster hoses shown in these photos taken on the night of the fire. The city maintains that booster hoses were not used to fight the fire and were pulled only to cool down heated equipment and to serve as life-lines to help firefighters find their way out of the building. Many fire chiefs and fire experts say booster hoses have been largely phased out of the fire service because they don't provide enough water to protect firefighters or knock down larger blazes.

When photos and video footage of the June 18 Sofa Super Store fire beamed around the world, some firefighters and fire safety experts were troubled by what they saw: small red hoses snaking through the front door of the burning furniture store.

These rubber hoses, known as booster lines, were commonplace on fire trucks 20 years ago. They have since been phased out in many departments because they proved ineffective at fighting structure fires and can place firefighters at risk. Fire experts say the lines don't put out enough water to tackle a large blaze or protect firefighters from approaching flames. Their use for snuffing out garbage fires and other small tasks has earned them the nickname "trash lines."

The tradition-bound Charleston Fire Department, which lost nine firefighters in the sofa store blaze, still relies on boosters as its initial attack lines for a variety of fires. While many other departments have done away with these red lines altogether, the hard-charging Charleston department outfits its trucks to carry extra booster lines.

Charleston Fire Chief Rusty Thomas said booster lines allow firefighters to get water on a blaze quickly, and they cause less damage to property than larger hoses with heavier flow.

And he maintained that booster lines were not used to fight fire at the sofa store blaze; firefighters eager to chip in likely grabbed whatever hose they could find to spray water on the burning building after interior fire crews had evacuated, he said. Larger hoses were used as the initial and primary attack lines to battle the blaze, he said.

"I don't want nobody to think that the Charleston Fire Department put boosters on the Sofa Super Store to put fire out at the start of the fire," Thomas said. "We did not."

Several photos taken at the fire show firefighters using red booster lines to spray water on the burning building. Photos and video from the sofa store fire also show at least two booster lines winding into the building, and a third snaking toward the area where the fire started on the side of the store.

Thomas, who has said he assumed command of the scene when he arrived at the blaze, said he doesn't know when crews pulled the booster lines that night or why the lines were in the building. But he said he doubts that any of the red lines extended more than 15 feet into the store, and he insists none were used to fight the blaze inside.

Many photos also show firefighters battling the blaze with much larger hoses, which are standard on structure fires; but the mere presence of booster lines at the scene of such a large-scale commercial blaze baffled some in the firefighting profession.

David Grahl is a district chief with Dayton (Ohio) Fire Department, which is roughly the same size as Charleston's department. His department phased out booster lines more than 15 years ago, he said. He described them as "glorified garden hoses" and said he was shocked to see them at the scene of the fire.

"You wouldn't send soldiers into battle with BB guns. It puts the firefighters in danger because they have inadequate firepower at hand."

Grahl said he does not speak for his department; he offered his opinion based on his more than 30 years in the fire service.

Jamy Cote is a former Charleston firefighter with a two-year degree in fire science and more than 10 years' firefighting experience here and in other departments. He said he left the Charleston Fire Department last year after his suggestions for safety upgrades earned him a cold shoulder from colleagues. He said it would not have been unusual for firefighters to have made their initial attack on the sofa store with the smaller booster lines, particularly if the blaze was small when they arrived.

The booster "is usually the first to be pulled off the truck," he said. "Big fire, small fire, it's so ingrained to pull the booster."

Cote said Charleston firefighters have long favored the booster lines for their light weight and maneuverability. One firefighter can grab the line, dash into a building and get water quickly on a blaze, an approach that fits squarely with the department's aggressive style, he said.

He said his main concern with using booster lines is that firefighters can find themselves outgunned in a growing fire.

"It wasn't necessarily a horrible practice, but it has to be a smart one," Cote said. "If the fire is too hot, then you're not going to have enough water there to do anything."

Thomas said he leaves it up to his captains to decide when and whether it's appropriate to pull a booster line on a fire, and whether it should be used in combination with larger hoses. Booster lines remain valuable tools for quick attacks and are mainly used by the department to put out fires in cars, kitchens and, in some cases, bedrooms, he said.

"The booster has its place in the Charleston Fire Department, and it's up to our captains on the truck to pull whatever size hose they think is needed to put the fire out," Thomas said. "That's the way we do it."

Some fire departments don't even carry booster lines on their trucks, to avoid the possibility that they will be pulled in the wrong situation, placing firefighters in jeopardy. Departments that still carry them generally use booster lines for small tasks such as extinguishing grass fires, washing off a roadway after a car accident or smothering a trash fire, experts said.

Booster lines are pulled from reels and draw water from large tanks contained within the fire truck. Their nozzles are typically an inch in diameter and can spray 30 to 60 gallons of water per minute. Larger hoses, called attack lines, can spray 150 gallons per minute or more, which many fire safety experts say is the minimum needed for attacking a structure fire.

Using booster lines can be risky because they leave little room for error when matched against today's fires, which burn hotter because of an abundance of man-made combustible materials.

If firefighters are unable to quell a small fire using a booster line, the fire hose can quickly become powerless against a growing fire, allowing it to spread. Firefighters also need enough water to protect themselves from flames.

For just those reasons, the Mount Pleasant Fire Department stopped widespread use of booster lines 15 years ago, but keeps one around for the occasional grass fire. Isle of Palms firefighters stopped using booster lines in the 1980s, and the Greenville Fire Department followed suit a decade later. Savannah firefighters keep some booster lines on reserve trucks, but they are mainly used for washing off equipment or hosing off fluids.

Myrtle Beach Fire Chief Alvin Payne, a 30-year veteran of the fire service, isn't ready to abandon these small hoses. He said booster lines have their place, but he won't allow his firefighters to use them on a burning building. "We don't use them for structure fires. Whenever you are attacking a structure fire, you want to protect your personnel, and a booster line doesn't put out enough flow to protect personnel."

Fire experts have raised similar safety concerns. A 2001 journal article published by the National Fire Protection Association concluded that booster lines "offer little chance of extinguishment and often place firefighters in danger."

The paper's authors said arguments that booster lines might help preserve property because of their low water flow don't hold up to scrutiny. "A higher rate of flow, properly applied, results in quick extinguishment and less water damage. Conversely, water applied through small, inadequate attack lines results in more water, fire and smoke damage and often places firefighters and occupants in danger."

One of the paper's authors, Russ Sanders, is a former chief of the Louisville Fire Department in Kentucky and now works for the National Fire Protection Association, the organization that writes federal firefighting safety guidelines.

He is the co-author of "Structural Fire Fighting," a textbook published in 2000 that is widely used and cited in the fire service.

Sanders said he has no direct knowledge of the Charleston fire and spoke only in general terms about the use of booster lines in firefighting. "We don't feel it is ever appropriate to attack an interior structure fire with a booster line. They are too dangerous."

Still, Columbia Fire Chief Bradley Anderson said booster lines remain popular among some of his firefighters because of their utility. The department had been moving away from buying trucks with booster reels but has since gone back to ordering them because firefighters prefer them for dousing nuisance blazes.

"We use them for overhaul at the end of fires to put out hot spots," Anderson said. "We would not use them to attack a fire because of their low flow."

Reach Ron Menchaca at 937-5724 or Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or

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This article has  247 comment(s)

Posted by mac0cm4 on July 15, 2007 at 6:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As a firefighter, I've always been perturbed by CFD's preference to bring a booster line into a structure fire. To be honest, I was not surprised at all to see the booster lines running into the fire on Jun 18 2007. Booster lines are good for small fires, just like the article states however; they are clearly not designed for much else. The fire flow is clearly not enough to contain most blazes. IFSTA does not recommend the use of booster lines on fires, and apparently NFPA does not either. Hopefully, CFD will wake up and not let tradition interfere with protecting the lives of their personnel. Tradition doesn't cut it when lives are at risk.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 8 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is but the tip of the iceberg. First, in photographs that are not in wide circulation, booster lines are in the store and the reel is empty. If the reel carries over 200 feet of hose, and it does, and only a small amount is left on the ground, the rest is IN THE BUILDING.

Bravo to the two reporters who are starting to uncover the truth. It's about time someone began looking past the phony constructed facade. When will their editors stop them?

The booster line doesn't offer adequate thermal protection. It's a terrible choice and like so many other items, it's simply not up to date. All the shiny new equipment-it's littered with remnants of the past. 2.5 inch supply lines???? Booster lines? 1.5 lines???

The cult of class 1, which will be withdrawn not at the next review but the one following, once ISO learns (and they have) that the city does not use the mutual aid they purport to have in place. In other words, people on Daniel Island have 2 engines and one truck to cover them. The city tells residents that if something big happens they would call Mt. Pleasant. Check the records-they don't call anyone. Same goes for James Island, Johns Island and portions of West Ashley.

The worm has turned.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 8:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

By the way, a great picture isoalting the booster lines appears here:

I don't like the guy running it but he knows what he's talking about. The picture shows all of the boosters sitting on the ground with limp 2 1/2's sitting there. All that hose was withdrawn form the building, right?

Posted by lyfe1999 on July 15, 2007 at 9:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Whoa. When will Chief Rusty just give it up? The truth that is. Just admit that mistakes were made and that changes need to be made. The more you defend these outdated practices, and the more you deny what the evidence says its true the worst things are going to be for you, the fire department, and Charleston. What Does Mayor Joe have to say about it? Probably that he stands behind Chief Rusty 100%. Rusty after this year's election is over, and if Joe wins he is going to throw you to the wolves. You will be the fall guy buddy.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 10:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's hard to believe a saavy politican like Mayor Riley doesn't see the end result of this but perhaps he doesn't care about the future.

Posted by sclax on July 15, 2007 at 10:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all, great reporting the last 2 sundays.

the truth is now coming out to those outside of charleston ans SC and it hopefully does not put a black eye on this great area. Here is some more factual info for you out of towners.

-2 1" boosters reels on each engine(except 1 truck that was a demo) set at 30gpm per policy
-2 1.5" attack hoses set at 60gpm and 95gpm per exceptions.
-2.5 supply/attack hose set up for single reverse lay or attack with smoothbore nozzle. The night of the fire saw a couple smooth bores in service but never were any tips removed....1" tip = 210-220gpm.
-master stream deck guns not mounted on trucks and placed in compartments
-The dept recieved a free thermal imager this week.....not sure why....most dept members do not even know they have them and the one on scene june 18 was not used.
-100% polyester uniforms worn everyday till exceptions.
-Plain Nomex turnouts for firefighters and PBI for chiefs. Though you can wear your own.
-Nice looking trucks built with old style traditional glass water level indicator, no AC in trucks, tower ladders specially ordered with no pumps.
-very little support for extra training at state or national level
-no RIT training

The good
-accountability tags issued
-radio for each riding position
-4 FF assigned to every piece(minimium staffing 3)
-provide first respnoder service when called for through ems....AED's on all trucks
-time set aside every shift for fitness

Posted by jeffyoung007 on July 15, 2007 at 11:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I seriously doubt that booster lines were pulled for the initial interior attack at the sofa super store. I was not there but with what I have been told and read, upon entry into the store there were no lines advanced because they were just checking for fire extension. These were some very experienced firefighters that perished in that fire. I am confident that they advanced proper lines considering the fire load and rapid advance of the fire. You need to remember, there were eighteen firefighters in the building before the evacuation order was given; some probably did have booster lines because all other lines were already advanced.

As far as the booster lines being allowed to be used in bedroom fires and kitchen fires; you are asking for trouble. I personally have been overrun by a closet fire when I was ordered to take a booster in to fight it. Half of the residence ended up being lost because the fire had already spread into the bedroom by the time I got to it; I simply did not have the amount of water needed to overtake the fire.

Small diameter lines are convenient to have for trash fires, fluid on roadway, and overhaul operations. They should never be advanced into a structure for initial attack operations. If one feels they must have smaller lines on the apparatus, get some cotton forestry lines and do not keep them preconnected to the apparatus which will lessen the temptation to pull them in the wrong situation.

Like I said earlier, these were excellent firefighters lost in that blaze. I had worked with and fought fires along side of three of them in the past and I have no doubt they made the right choice when they chose their initial attack lines.

Posted by Florian on July 15, 2007 at 12:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

July 15, 2007

Most school students learn early that fire needs three elements to burn: fuel, oxygen and heat. I cringed when I saw video of the windows of the Sofa Super Store being broken out by a firefighter who, I am sure was following orders from incident command on the scene. Within a matter of minutes flames began roaring out the front of the building. Those nine were still in that building. The video indicates that the roof was intact at that point. Still later in the video while the front of the building is fully engulfed, we then hear the fire horns blasting a warning to get out of the building. A flashover takes only seconds to kill. I am sure those brave nine never heard those horns. I would think that a full investigation would determine the exact time lines of this fire incident.

The booster hose incident reported in today’s Post and Courier is still another element that indicates lack of adequate knowledge in fire fighting or lack of the use of that knowledge in fighting fires by the CFD. I have read and listened to Chief Thomas’ comments over the past four weeks and his statements are quite conflicting to say the least. He emphatically states that when the senior officer arrives at the scene, he (the senior officer) is automatically in charge. He further states that there is no formal exchange of command, everyone knows that the senior officer is in command. Yet, when the reporters for the above referenced article asked why booster line was drawn, he stated that the Captains make that decision. Fighting a fire at the scene is dangerous enough without trying to second guess who is making decisions and which orders should be followed.

Chief Thomas, a week after the fire, stated that one major change would be made in the CFD and that was that all new recruits would have to know all of the names of these brave nine men by heart. If they could not memorize them, he would not hire them. Well, Chief Thomas better begin looking for recruits with good memories because if he hasn’t learned OTHER LESSONS from this tragic loss, more firefighter’s lives will be lost in the future in the CFD, necessitating the memorization of more names. A good leader learns from his mistakes. A really good leader not only learns, but adapts to make his organization more effective.

These brave men are already with their Heavenly Father. May God give comfort to the families left behind in this tragedy.

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 12:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Chief just didn't want to damage anything with too much water.Too bad Tommy wasn't in charge they would have had to call for a flood evacuation for all of West Ashley.Get in there with dem boosters den we'll bust dem dere windows and den ya'll can see some fire. Give us all a brake and save us from any more embarrassment. If you can't hack it get your jacket, isn't that what you like to tell the firemen chief?

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 12:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I worked with more than 3 of them but the initial lines were pulled for a small fire. Ergo, small fire, no water damage!

Plus no ppe for a large amount of people.

Posted by bourbo17 on July 15, 2007 at 2:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all, if boosters were not effective, the CFD would lose houses instead of saving them- usually with only a room or two destroyed- instead of wasting valuable seconds upon arrival pulling larger hoses. The houses in the city are too close together to delay and pull larger hoses which are not needed. The "facts" that some outsiders (who are slamming the CFD) think they know are skewed and not applicable to real world fire fighting. you can write all the papers and books on fire fighting, but when it comes down to it, you need water on the fire fast.
-The boosters are all set at 40 gpm and can be set at 60 gpm if needed
-the stack-tip nozzels with 1" tip shoots 256 gpm -not 210-220
-everyone knows what the thermal imager is -and why would you use it initially in a structure fire?
-CFD firemen don't have to be in uniform until 11 pm everyday
-If the CFD needs mutual aid (very seldom)they ask for it

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 2:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are correct saying they work on small fires . I used them a lot, but we are talking about the sofa superstore.All fires start off small, but the houses close together comment seems to tell me you don't realize downtown is a very small part of the city( Daniel's Island,Johns Island,James Island,West Ashley).

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 2:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Houses are close together in major cities on the eastern seaboard-Boston, New York, Baltimore-yet they get QUICK water onto fire using an 1 3/4 line. Further, if the booster once or twice that's great. But the one time it doesn't you do MORE water damage by having to come behind a 40gpm nozzle with an 1 1/5 set on 60 or 95.

Real world firefighting is all around and works in every other place. Real world firefighting involves more than a patch saying 1. It means being able to save lives first, including the lives of firefighters, then stabilizing an incident and then conserving property.

Real world firefighting means wearing your gear with the coat buttoned, suspenders up, flash hood on and SCBA on. It involves sector commands and accountability where the Incident Commander can check the status of everyone on the scene. Morever, real world firefighting understands that firefighters are at risk but that once the victim ius removed it becomes necessary to protect firefighters because insurance pays off the large stores. Real world firefighting is dirty, grimy, straightforward, and utilizes training that teaches firefighters about the signs of rollover, black fire, flashover and line placement.

Real world firefighting uses the mistakes of others to learn so that when you enter a large commercial structure with a drop ceiling you remove a tile and stick a thermal imager up there to see if it detects heat or put a firefighter on an attic ladder to see if he can smell opr see smoke.

It seems your definition of real world firefighting is in fact a perpetuation of a local custom or tradition and doesn't apply. It's akin to a pilot stating that his airline doesn't require seatbelts because nothing ever goes wrong. If that's real world for you the changes coming will shock you.

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 2:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think a lot of the guys with the CFD are not ready for whats coming. A lot have come up under this system and have pretty much been brainwashed. We also have a lot of guys that will welcome and embrace the changes as they will be much prouder to be in a real world dept. with a real world fire Chief class one iso rating or not.They will be much better in a first class fire dept..

Posted by johnltumminia on July 15, 2007 at 3:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There was a time in this nations history when guns were taken off fighter planes because the geniouses in washington beleived that all future wars would be fought with rockets. Ask the flyboys during the 60's and 70's if that was a good idea. The booster is another tool to help attack fires. It gives the Captain and crew another option to battle a flame and to bring what they deem to be appropriate. The 2.5 inch line also allows for flexibility of attack while battling flames. It can be used for supply and attack while still keeping avenues of approach or egress for other apparatus and crews open. In regards to mutual aid the city has used it on numerous occasions; Jackson Davenport is one of many. N. Chas, Mt.Pleasant, St. Andrews and Isle of Plams are all guilty of not using it and therefore should refrain from criticism. Remember RB's at shem creek, Hospital, Motel and Church in N. Chas, apartment fire in St. Andrews. No one questioned the city when Isle of Palms was saved by our department. Has anyone asked the question as to if maybe the fact that with so many department arriving on scene if that may have caused some confusion?, What department broke the windows?, what departments lines were on the ground that weren't charged?. There are several agencies here that are paid to investigate this so lets let them do there job. There is no great conspiracy, the city's tactics have never been a guarded secret. In as far as the Captains making the decision on scene when arriving, well I'm sure a person dying of smoke inhalation will understand that the men outside should wait for the Chief to arrive to make that call. Simply put, just wait for the investigation to conclude before we lay blame especially from those outside the fire fighting world as well as other departments in the area. I'm not trying to attack our fellow departments I just wish you wouldn't attack mine. To get back to the subject on hand the booster is a great tool and should remain on the trucks.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 3:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The mutual aid arguement is absurd. The city goes through Mt. Pleasant to get to Daniel Island. They drive by St. Johns to get to calls. They drive by James Island Stations who are closer. The city doesn't use automatic aide. Surely you are aware of this?

As for St. Andrews, years ago an apartment building burned down because the City went past a st. andrews station that was right in front of the building. Supposedly that was worked out but then it happened over and again.

As for booster lines, once again, you seem to avoid the critical issue. There is no room for error with a booster. Why use something that is antiquated? Are you out of buckets?

The whole facade over the ISO Class 1, the fire chief, and the questions that are being asked locally by your own members, not in the union, points to the fact that you can't view it objectively. Of course in your mind it works because if you disagreed you wouldn't trust your own moves.

Defending the booster is a Maginot Line defense; it's impossible to defend.

As to windows and hoselines be careful. Video captured audio and if someone giving the orders was....well, you'll see.

Oh and your analogy doesn't fit.


Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 3:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh, not to mention that the Johns Island Executive Airport is protected by one pumper located way over on Bohicket. Does it have a foam tank? Don't answer.

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 4:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Two five gallon buckets still the norm? I was at Jackson Davenport, saved the IOP but still has nothing to do with nine firefeghters losing thier lives. You have that many years already? If the inch and a half wasn't working the only other hoses pulled should have been two and a halfs.Water extinguisher would have put it out when it was still a small flame.I definitely know this criticism is quite embarrassing but definitely warranted.Brace yourself John there is a lot more coming. Stay safe John and may those nine brothers keep watch over you. The CFD with recommendations, a lot of changes, and thier agressiveness will be much better after its all said and done.

Posted by fireman13 on July 15, 2007 at 5:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Booster lines? Being a 20 yr fire veteran and as a Fire Service Instructor for 10yrs. I cannot believe that they were even taken off any peice of equipment on a fire of this magnitude in a building of this size. I have been reading many reports from this paper and other sources about this fire. I am truly heart broken over the loss of my nine brothers. And the things that I have read about the tactics and the politics that are in use there in that city, it disgusts me. I feel it is only a matter of time before we are mourning the loss of more if things don't change now. Your chief is living in archaic times and doesn't seem likely to accept any changes to move toward a safer future. And your mayor is blindly supporting him. There was a time when building were built to with stand a lot of stress. The same kind of stress that a fire puts on it. But now buildings are built with lighter weight materials. Cheaper materials and less trained laborers. Due to these factors and others fires burn hotter and faster and structures fail. And if firefighters and fire departments don't adapt to these changes, firefighters get killed. It has happened in cities all over this country, not just yours. But if you make the necessary changes now maybe it won't happen again. The incident commander ( I.C.)cannot perform his duties from inside a burning structure. Situations change rapidly, to fast for a man inside involved in extinguishment of the fire to see. And if the change is occuring in a different area of the structure then he will never see it. The I.C. has to have a view over the whole structure not just the little part inside where he might be at fighting fire. That is why he assigns a person to be interior command to report back any changes on the inside that he may need to know. I am not teaching a class here on fire tactics if anyone wants to discuss this email me I will be happy to discuss it. I would love to hear from either the chief or the mayor.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 5:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This building was constructed over 50 years ago, underwent modifications, and in the end proved to be fatal. Any building can fail because all buildings observe the law of gravity.

That said, there are building we are aware of that are dangerous whenever there's any fire load-a truss is one of those. It's not new, nor is it a secret. FREE information from here is available for everyone:

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 6:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is the port city paper building still downtown? Hopefully it doesn't go up before Rusty is gone. With the lack of experience left in the dept. it could be another tragedy. Don't get me wrong there are some that no what they are doing. A lot of good firemen with great skills have quit,retired, or have gone out on disabilities. The young smart guys don't stay because of the lack of money, the politics, and overall they leave for better more up-to-date depts. MOJO said Rusty started the rookie class. Well he had to because he can't keep anyone because of his good ol' boy b.s..

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 6:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Mojo taking up for Rusty ,it's crazy what making Chief will do to the way you view Rusty.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 6:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That's a fact bootlicked.

Sadly the people who can't see it are those most affected. Wait until civil suits are brought and see how many backpedal.

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 6:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I would like to be a fly on the wall when the investigaters interview Rusty and Ricky. Is Dale and Crazy Eddie and Robbie still the training crew? It would be great to sit back and listen to that crew explain thier skills. The skills that they train all of the Rookies. I bet when they are going through Rookie class they think wow it shouldn't be hard to get one of these guys jobs. Then they start and after a year or two reality sets in and they realize that they will never be able to lower themselves to be a bootlick. Really would like to be in court and look them all in the eye and smile. After its done I bet they will never eat "Rice" again.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 7:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's sad that a tragedy had to occur before people started to notice the issues, of which many more will surface.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 7:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

who's mojo?

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 8:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The chief that said if you take a poll of the firemen that thier approval rate of Rusty would be astronomical.

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 8:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Boosters used as lifelines what a hell of a concept they might be on to something. I wonder who came up with that one. Thin nylon rope would be cheaper and wouldn't be as bulky and wouldn't take water away from your master streams.To cool equipment,what the pumps,should't overheat as long as water was running through them.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 8:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I didn't see that quote. He's obviously an idiot.

The whole booster as lifeline is an invention by one of the bat chiefs. They are flailing because they know that people, the public, are being exposed to what we knew all along. The CFD is smoke and mirrors at the command levels. The chief officers can't fake their way out of this.

Something tells me they are creating new uses and excuses at 46 and one half Wentworth Street.

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 9:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's the caption under the picture at the top of the screen. I missed it at first too.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 9:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I actually meant MOJO's quote. I can tell you for a fact that Rusty wouldn't win a popularity contest right now. He might among the chiefs and his small cadre of rangers but the department is upset.

Posted by bootlicked on July 15, 2007 at 9:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The chief shaped the dept article.

Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 10:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by straightstream on July 15, 2007 at 10:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm going to email that link to everyone.

Posted by bourbo17 on July 16, 2007 at 12:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

To "Straightstream" and "bootlicked":
You two obviously are past city employees for either showing up late to work for 3 shifts in a row or a disgruntled local fireman in the area really ready to get your rocks off on account of the city. The two of you really have a diversified quorum going on here. Maybe if you supported your local bros. instead of bashing them, they would give your dept. (wherever you are b/c you know where we are) respect. As for the water extinguisher and airport comment, both of you would know-- if you were actually employed by the city you are bashing-- that we rarely use water extinguishers and there is 500 gallons of foam waiting on that Busch League airport to go up. Don't be jerks guys.

Posted by bootlicked on July 16, 2007 at 12:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You got me. You must be a ranger. For your information your idol Rusty has yelled my name many a time at a fire when he needed someone he could count on when there was a job needing professional attention. I never used a water etinguisher but always had them on the trucks I rode, drove, or Captained. Never written up for anything. You might even read my name on that plack at the top of the stairs that you probably climb to go get your rocks off. Maybe I am disgruntled if you know your job and not just the cfd way you just might learn there are a bunch of disgruntled employees. Learn your job and learn it well and I'm not talking about the cfd way get yourself a fire science degree then get you many years of experience and then and only then you might be with me not against me. I have not once downed the whole dept. There are many a fine men on the job but if you would like to put yourself in the categorie of those that I ridicule that is your problem. If your not a ranger I apologize I am with you not against you I would like to see everyone make it home after their shift. You are not one of those duty-to-die idiots are you? If so get out now it will be safer for everyone so someone like me don't have to come risk my butt trying to recue you.

Posted by bootlicked on July 16, 2007 at 1:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Must have not been on the job long bourbon it'll come with time.

Posted by straightstream on July 16, 2007 at 7:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bourbo 17:

You missed on all your observations. I'm closer than you think. As for 17 and 500 gallons of foam, how close is that 1 pumper to the airport? How fast will 500 gallons disappear and where is the backup supply coming from? How many firefighters out of the 12 stationed there are certified as Airport firefighters?

Wake up. The difference between bashing and caring is significant. I care because it's my department but the status quo is dangerous. Booster lines, no enforcement against those who don't wear bodyguards, lack of tactics, ZERO training; it all adds up to future problems because god knows we just lost nine brothers. How many more until the Mayor wakes up?

Posted by east3 on July 16, 2007 at 8:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's good to hear from firefighters inside the CFD. It is too bad that the "leadership" dismisses every critic as a disgruntled former employee. I have 32 years on a department the same size as CFD, though we protect about 50% more resident population. The homes are mostly older and close together. I myself live in a historic district. I have the equivalent job to a CFD BC and am Incident Command at any fire in my district. As there are only two districts, we protect about 80,000 people. I came up through the ranks through competitive promotional testing. I know aggressive interior firefighting, that's what we do. My last project was revising our tactics amnual. We have a four man minimum. We attack with 1-3/4", backup w/2" w/a straight tip, supply with 5"(and a 3" on the big ones.) All our engines and ladders are 1500gpm pumps. All engines have piped-in deck guns and carry Blitzfires or Apollo guns. We deploy the same number of firefighters and officers and chiefs - about 60 per day, that CFD does. [We also staff 7 paramedic EMS units.] We assign a Safety Officer and an Accountability Officer, we conduct PAR, and we assign a RIT. We put out most fires, even multiple rooms, within a few minutes of arrival. The first crew attacks without waiting for backup or orders.
There is simply no excuse for a chief to risk the lives of his firefighters simply from deliberate ignorance and bull-headedness. Your firefighters are iron men. I have nothing but respect for their courage, but those nine should not have died. Baltimore killed a rookie in training recently and within two weeks the Training Chief was fired. CFD needs a housecleaning, even if it just one man. A new chief who believes in change, if supported, or at least left alone by the Mayor and council, could bring the CFD ahead a generation in firefighting in about a week. A few years would be needed to get things right. Only a fool thinks that all his critics are fools.
David Grahl, Dayton, OH

Posted by straightstream on July 16, 2007 at 9:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Bravo. You are correct. The difference between Baltimore and Charleston is this: Our Mayor will not remove the chief until he is re-elected. Politics trumps safety in this city and it always has.

The citizens of Daniel Island are protected by two city pumpers and a ladder truck. However there is a high school on the island. The city will say, "We will just call Mt. Pleasant." Ask Mount Pleasant how often they've been called to help the city on Daniel Island. The high dollar homes on Daniel Island, the businesses like Mikasa with it's massive wharehouse-they are gone if a fire occurs.

There is too much personal pride and ego at play in Charleston. EVERYONE associated with the department knew something was going to happen-at least those firefighters who understand tactics - and we attempted to get the mayor and city council involved but they did nothing. Now the city will be pulled through the mud for the next 2 years because no one will let up. This isn't going away. Training records, qualifications, courses attened for the chief officers-all will be brought out. In the end what looks bad will look worse.

Posted by straightstream on July 16, 2007 at 12:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Brad Franco at WCBD is getting a mountain of false information and he's putting it out for consumption. Boosters weren't used for suppression? And since the nozzle is open the rumor that a pumper lost water may be true.

The guy at just posted a new pic. That booster is wide open and hardly any water is flowing.

Posted by Deckgun on July 16, 2007 at 2:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have watched several amatuer videos, news broadcasts, and read several other reports and stories about the lose of 9 fire brothers. Though there was without a doubt mistakes made. Everyone can be an armchair quarterback (or in this case an armchair chief).
There is one thing that is certain. This was one of those situations where larger would have been better. This was a commercial/industrial building with a warehouse layout and design with a very very heavy fuel load. I don't care what fire is showing. With smoke showing and heavy smoke at that on arrival, an 1 3/4" line wasn't even enough. Though for most residential fires that is enough hose it doesn't offer enough gpm from a safety standpoint for something other than a room and contents fire. At a minimum a 2" attack line should have been advanced first with an immediate drop of LDH from the hydrant for a commercial warehouse with heavy smoke showing. If CFD doesn't utilize LDH, at a minimum, 2-3" supply lines should have been put in place on the first in truck.

Posted by straightstream on July 16, 2007 at 4:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The fire wasn't heavy on arrival.

That said a larger handline was warranted because of the size of the structure and it's fire load. As for 5 inch hose the chief doesn't believe in it.

Supply lines are still 2.5 inches!!!!!!!! That's right. 2.5 inch supply lines. All the money for all those trucks and the hose isn't up to modern standards. Oh-and the 2.5 isn't split. You can't drop two lines at once.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 16, 2007 at 8:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote bourbo17 "-everyone knows what the thermal imager is -and why would you use it initially in a structure fire?"

Are you kidding, these are one of the biggest innovations in the fire service in the last century. Why would you use it initially, how about to see where the fire is! If the personnel had used one of these in the furniture store they would have seen the heat buildup right "through" the suspended ceiling. There are no flammables above the ceiling, steel trusses and air, it was the smoke that flashed over, this happens at 1204 degrees F. That would have been very obvious had someone aimed a thermal imaging camera at the ceiling.
We are on our third generation TIC, every truck be it pump and aerial has one on it. The nozzleman clips it to his turnout coat with a caribeaner. Is Charleston really that far behind the times, they are a city, what's going on?
Booster lines have also been taken off almost all modern firefighting vehicles. Usually a 100' 1 1/2" or 1 3/4" trash line is in a compartment on the front bumper for nuisance fires.
Structural firefighting is accomplished these days by using very convenient crosslays,which are very quick to deploy if you practice.
Let's get with the times Chief Rusty

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 16, 2007 at 8:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Question for those of you in the know, bootlicked, straightstream. It seems just from pictures and write-ups that there are a lot of old school methods and equipment used. I haven't used cotton jacketed hose for at least 15 years, does your chief believe in PPV (positive pressure ventilation)or still using the electric super-vacs? Not related to the sofa store fire but one of the biggest innovations in the modern day fire service. One thermal imaging camera you got for free, unbelievable.

Posted by straightstream on July 16, 2007 at 9:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The TIC is considered fluff by the city. In short, they don't like anything they may advance the department. That's why the mayor and council sign off on expensive custom pumpers that lack the latest equipment. 2.5 supply hose 30 sections, 1.5 with 5 on each side except in two companies and two booster reels of 1 inch line. That's it. It worked for the horses it will work for the chief.

No ppv because everyone is so great. Bunker gear-how many people do you think got suspended for not wearing scba and helmets? A battalion chief was walking around without his helmet but he's jughead so he can do it.

The real morons in all of this are the city fathers. They refuse to see what 99.9999999 % of the american fire service see's and they should all be held accountable.

Posted by bootlicked on July 16, 2007 at 11:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

PPV yeah right you have to be able use old school ventilation first. They hardly ever call for anyone to ventilate or when they do well you saw. If they do use the truck to ventilate then they also get them to flow water down the hole and push all the heat right back down on the poor men inside.

Posted by easy on July 17, 2007 at 7:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So here we go one more time. Why can't you get it ? It is all about tradition and the way we, or should I say the way Chief Rusted has us doing things here. A booster line has been the attack line of choice forever. GET IT. Many more issues than just this one. Keep digging deeper, you will be amazed at what you unearth.

Posted by sclax on July 17, 2007 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal) have to be kidding. If ISO did not require some of the items on the trucks then they would not even be there.

While on the ventilation topic.....1 vent saw on each ladder truck....1, one, uno. Vertical ventilation is unheard of. The "opening up" of the roll up door in the rear by the guy with the ax is one of the cities mechanics if i am correct. But remember the good in everything....the truck companies will throw a bunch of ladders.

In regards to equipment carried on the apparatus. The ISO rating was done 10 years ago and their have been changes to the equipment required list since then....also I do not think the trucks would meet the NFPA 1901 equipment list requirements as they are different in some areas.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 17, 2007 at 10:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote johnltumminia "Has anyone asked the question as to if maybe the fact that with so many department arriving on scene if that may have caused some confusion?, What department broke the windows?, what departments lines were on the ground that weren't charged?. "

Is this not the reason the NIMS system has been put in place by the Federal government, so everyone arriving at a fire scene, especially a large one with mutual aid can be on the same page? There wouldn't be so much confusion if there is an Incident Commander that each unit checks in with as they arrived. These units would then be assigned a task by the IC and he would be aware of everything going on at the scene!

Posted by RetiredFDandTaxpayer on July 17, 2007 at 12:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I would like to comment as a retired member of Fire Rescue, as well as a City of Charleston Taxpayer. My heart has been very heavy since the fire at Sofa Superstore. As I look at all the coverage, both print as well as television, I continually see mistakes in every picture or image shown. The booster lines were pulled and in use inside the building at the time of collapse. The statement drummed up by CFD that they were being used as rescue egress lines to escape the building is baloney. I have seen more booster lines pulled to fight working fires as the intial attack line by CFD than I can count. What is it going to take to wake up Mayor Riley, City Council and the Board of Fire Masters to prevent another tragedy like has just happened? Change starts at the top. You have a Fire Cheif that has said in print and on TV that he does not need Federal Mandates or rules in "his" department and has basically thumbed his nose at the Federal Government. I'm sure that the Fed's will remember that when the fines come down from OSHA. Cheif Thomas also needs to remember that CFD is not "his" Fire Department, but belongs to The City Of Charleston and the Taxpayers that pay the taxes to support it. This taxpayer says it is time to join the 21st century. Get rid of the booster lines, get rid of the polyester uniforms, get 1 3/4" or better attack lines with 200 gpm nozzles(SM 20 or 30), get rid of the 2 1/2" and load 1200ft of 5" supply line and 350ft of 3" with fog nozzles. Next thing is to start(real soon) following the Federal Mandates that you have been ignoring. Get your Dept. NIMS Certified and create an Accountability System. Get all on duty personnel equipped with walkies. Make it MANDATORY for full dress out in the HOT ZONE, Helments, Nomex, Bunker Pants and Jacket and NFPA approved footwear and gloves. This includes all personnel on the ladder trucks that seem to think their uniform above a working fire on a ladder is a helment, t-shirt and work pants. Any off duty personnel that come to a scene have all above mentioned gear on with their accountability tag in hand or stay out of the hot zone. And last, but not least, start using the SCFA for training instead of doing it in house. The SCFA is there and has the most current and up to date training available in S.C.

Posted by CodeGeek on July 17, 2007 at 5:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

1. Look closely at the newspaper's first morning-after aerial photogrpah and you'll see two booster lines running off the engine into the building.

2. Any truth to the rumors that none of the victims was wearing SCBA?

Posted by straightstream on July 17, 2007 at 6:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)


1. Yeah I've seen it.

2. That's a rumor not fact. What we are discussing are facts or at least informed opinions about why this occured. Don't mention the victims. You didn't know them. You haven't earned the right to question what THEY were doing. They followed orders and they were trained to do what they did. This entire tragedy is a top down fiasco. Don't try to shift blame to the men who died!

Posted by straightstream on July 17, 2007 at 6:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with you retired FF.

here's our biggest problem - no one would listen to any of us. The local media had no interest. When nine brave souls died even then local television coverage has been nil on what went wrong. The reporter guy from channel 2 has family on the job so he's just throwing out bs - no one trsuts franko fromchannel 2.

The P & C is looking at it but you know that will end soon because of their close ties to the Mayor. Luckily national media are interested including several news shows. We will see.

Bottom line is the Chief has to go. With him should be the Assistant Chief, 2 BC, and the training chief. Then a person from the outside, with no ties, needs to come in and set us up with IC, safety, and adequate equipment meant for the 21 st century. In addition the Bat Chiefs who were without all of their PPE and who went in should be demoted back to Captain. That's Jughead.

It's not difficult to see what happened here. WE NEED NEW leadership, educated, with management experience!!!.

Posted by THISMUSTSTOP on July 17, 2007 at 6:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OSHA is useless b/c it is SC OSHA. I met with one SC OSHA rep. for 30-45 min. His last case was (his own words)'a logging accident.' I then met with three NIOSH reps for almost 4 hours! All these guys investigate is firefighter LODD's. These guys knew what questions to ask. They knew about the fire service and all of the terminology.

I don't see much coming from our SC OSHA boys. SC OSHA reps could have seen these same violations that everyone sees on the front page of the Post & Courier after every big fire. Does SC OSHA not get the newspaper? This poor SC OSHA guy was out of his league. He seemed to be just going through the motions of an investigation.

If I had spoken with the NIOSH guys first, the SC OSHA guy wouldn't have gotten but about 5 min. out of me. NIOSH's only confusion seemed to come from the fact that the firefighters who rescued the employee from the building and protected the houses in the back of the warehouse were never dispatched to the fire, THEY FOLLOWED SMOKE!!!

Posted by straightstream on July 17, 2007 at 7:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)


The SC OSHA guy is clueless PLUS the state is not going to come down hard on the City of Charleston. There are almost $100,000 dollars worth of fines on the scene and if Federal OSHA were in charge instead of the state, the city would be in deep kimchee.

As to your latter point, I don't think the we called you at all. Or when we did you guys had been at the scene for a while. The city will go anywhere for mutual aid but the Chief loathes having to ask "The Kiddy Boys" from the surrounding departments to come in-he would do it for the Mayor's inspection or at Jackson Davenport but how many times did we scream past a St. Andrews, St. Johns, or Mt. Pleasant fire Station on the way somewhere else! Those logs will come out civilly. Then people will see how their property on James, Johns, and Daniel Island as well as West Ashley is protected through mutual aid that isn't used!!!!!

If the city dispatcher, upon receipt of the call for the sofa super store, had been instructed to contact St. Andrews, those guys would have been able to arrive faster than the 2nd due city engine!!! larger lines, with larger supply lines, would have been pulled.

Posted by straightstream on July 17, 2007 at 7:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

look at our supply line compared to st. andrews.

Posted by straightstream on July 17, 2007 at 7:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One more from that guys website: Our fearless leader and a batty chief not wearing his helmet yet the firefighters can get suspended for it.

Posted by aconcernedcitizen on July 17, 2007 at 9:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It seems that someone from the P&C either has an ax to grind with the Charleston Fire Department, or is trying to make a name for themselves for sensationalizing this tragedy. Looks like some of the anti-Rusty rangers (who are just as bad as the Rusty rangers that they so desperately despise) found a picture of a booster hose pulled off of apparatus, and flowing water outside of the building and started feeding the information to the newspaper. Looks like the paper bought the story of the anti-rangers hook line and sinker. I really don’t believe the veteran firefighters would have attempted to attack a structure fire of any magnitude with a booster line, when 1.5” and 2.5” attack lines were available to them. But the anti-Rusty rangers don’t want to listen to reason, they just want to use any “mistake” they can find to advance their cause. They’re any number of reasons that booster lines could have been pulled. I will list some of the more reasonable ones below.

1. It has been reported that the fire started as a trash can fire on the loading dock. Is it possible that the booster was pulled to fight this fire?

2. The department has stated that they we pulled for use as life lines. While it may not be the best choice for a life line it would definitely work in a pinch.

3. As the fire progressed, especially after the roof collapse firefighters may have been grabbing any available line in order to get the “wet stuff on the red stuff”, if the booster was available and no other lines were handy, might as well pick it up and put down some water until a better line can be established.

Posted by straightstream on July 17, 2007 at 9:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)


The P&C has an obligation to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of nine brave men. As for the rest of your comments:

Have you looked at an archive of photographs from CFD fire over the past decade. Boosters are on the ground or in the window of more than a few!. In fact, most show boosters on the ground.

As a firefighter responding to ANY call you have an obligation to think worst case scenario. IF a trash fire is burning near a building with a high fire load you have to take a simple precaution and pull the correct line!

Booster lines working in a pinch is one thing but utiliizied to fight a structure fire is ridiculous. As for the life line comment either you are a reporter from channle 2 Brad, or you don't understand the fire service NOR the CFD.

Boosters were being used PRIOR to the roof collapse and grabbing "any line" isn't safe. You put big water on big fire. Using your logic a water extinguisher would have been great but you fail to understand that the water from the booster line won't have an effect-it has no reach nor quenching power once the fire is burning as hot as it was-inadvertently you also bring up the possibility that people pulled lines willy nilly with no orders from company officers. That's real bright of you.

As to Rusty Rangers here's a fact: They are firmly entrenched in the departmental hierarchy and we just lost nine men and safety practices are nil-training is nil. If that means an Anti-Rusty group exists-good. It will serve to bring attention to this issue. Peoples lives are at stake. Is yours????????

Posted by aconcernedcitizen on July 17, 2007 at 9:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have heard the rumor about the SCBA that the below comment references , and I don’t know that it’s true, and I don’t know that it’s false, but to dismiss it out of hand and to insinuate that no matter what the facts may finally bear out that “This entire tragedy is a top down fiasco.” is just as closed minded and backward as any tactictics and equipment that you say are prevalent in the Charleston Fire Department. This is not placing blame on the fallen, just trying understand the circumstances. However, if they weren’t wearing their SCBAs that was their choice, I’m sure no one ordered them not to wear them, and veteran firefighters all know the danger of a smoke filled building. If the rumor is true, and I don’t know that it is they made an individual decision regarding their individual safety.

Posted by straightstream
1. Yeah I've seen it.
2. That's a rumor not fact. What we are discussing are facts or at least informed opinions about why this occured. Don't mention the victims. You didn't know them. You haven't earned the right to question what THEY were doing. They followed orders and they were trained to do what they did. This entire tragedy is a top down fiasco. Don't try to shift blame to the men who died!

Posted by bootlicked on July 17, 2007 at 10:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dear concernedcitizen booster wasn't long enough to reach loading dock from front of store. Rusty stated that they were not used for initial attack. That said if the 1.5 or 2 inch wasn' working the only other thing to do is go bigger like mabye a larger tip on stacktip nozzle more gpm, or the deluge gun in the compartment on trucks. With that said if you are needing more gallons for master streams you definitely wouldn't let every tom, dick, and harry pull booster. Trucks can only flow so many gpms(gallons per minute) this would take precious gallons away from your master streams. And when it comes to experience you can be on dept. for ten years and not be in company that gets many fires and lose your cool when you see one of this magnitude just like a regular concerned citizen. Your after the roof collapse comment doesn't make sense that is definitely the time to use big water not garden hoses. Lifelines with 1inch rubber hoses not wise. Just puts more lives in danger. If mistakes are being made it is the Chiefs job to correct them not add to them.

Posted by straightstream on July 17, 2007 at 10:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)


It is a top down fiasco. If people aren't wearing equipment that means the chief officers aren't dsiciplining them. Look at the Chief of Department or the various BC's on scene, then look at the firefighters. Discipline starts at the top and works its way down. This is not being discussed in a vaacum-fire officers nationwide are expressing SHOCK at what occured and how the department was managed on scene. You won't hear it but eventually it will be mainstream. This isn't going away no matter how many pieces channel 2 runs.

If a Chief of Department doesn't enforce the rules about PPE then he is at fault. He has created a culture of lax safety. When someone dies in the line of duty they have given the ultimate sacrifice. What's left is to look at the situation, compare it to other fires within the department as well as others outside of the department and make changes.

This IS every fire in the city but this one fire took the lives of nine men who were following the examples set by the leadership of the department. As one Fire Chief from a major department stated to a few people a week ago, if this were in a city of any significant size the chief would be on leave until this was sorted out.

Rusty is a high school graduate running a mid major fire department. He has not sought opporunities to enhance his education with respect to the fire service. He's less qualified than 2 of his battalion chiefs.

As for SCBA and who was wearing it-let's start with the chief officers who, by definition, entered areas wherein topxic gases existed, and were not wearing full PPE.

You sir are making the case against the chief. Surely you need to be writing something uplifting. One things certain-all of the people who are supporting Rusty-when the reports come out or if a firefighter is injured in the interim, you'll wear the shame for the rest of your life. And make no mistake, NIOSH is going to write a report that will stun the fire service.

Posted by OldFric on July 17, 2007 at 11:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why are people knocking the fire chief?

Here's handy list:

1. He's the person responsible for operations.
2. He is responsible for the level of training each firefighter, company officer, and chief level officer receives.
3. If departmental members do not wear their protective equipment, he is responsible for punishing them.
4. He writes the (limited) SOP's.
5. He is the Captian of the ship; the buck stops here; pick one for he is responsible.

Chief Thomas has a frangible ego. Thus he micromanages every aspect of the department. There's no portion of the Charleston Fire Department that he doesn't personally oversee. Mistrust of his subordinates is the principal reason he's at most fires. It's not a boyhood curiosity-it's an unhealthy management practice.

Years ago Chief Thomas put out an order stating all members were to wear PPE at fire scenes. Shortly after issuing it he suspended two members of engine 8 for failure to wear said equipment at a fire on Rutledge Avenue-Hardison and Murray. Afterward it was as though the order had never been written. This is evident in the thousands of pictures printed over the years. No helmet, scba-no problem.

At this tragic fire the phographs and video are damning evidence of a failure to enforce his own rules. Equally appalling is the license his chief officers take with respect to their gear despite their proximity to toxic atmospheres. Firefighters are either half dressed or impropoerly dressed with the exception of a handful. This is a large scale departmental failure that rests on the chief's shoulders.

Each member is responsible for safety. No one is forced to doff gear but they ARE required to wear it. Their responsibility is firm and fixed. Yet, if they fail to wear their gear it is the fire chief's responsibility to admonish at a level that drives the point home clearly. Sadly if this were to take place the Fire Chief would also be suspended. What about his rules? Doesn't he enforce them? Perhaps selectively. One things is certain-PPE was avoided.

Since the chief develops his "personal" tactics for his department he is responsible when they don't work. Booster lines are called trash lines for a reason. Their flow is insufficient. Furthermore this is no secret. The fire service moved away from those line over a decade ago.

IF the fire started as a trash fire I agree with the other person who stated the responsibility is to pull a line EQUAL to the potential fire load - not what's burning but CAN BURN. You can't chase fire. You either knock it down or you spread it.

Posted by OldFric on July 17, 2007 at 11:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The chief is, in my opinion, attached to tactics and equipment long ago abandoned. The taxpayers of the City of Charleston have been hoodwinked. Perhaps the mayor has been hoodwinked as well. He hears about class 1, the trucks are new, the men dress well-it's enough for him.

Nine firefighters-nine city employees-died due to readily apparent mistakes. It's the obligation of the mayor and taxpayers to insure this doesn't occur again. What other city department could lose 9 people and the head of the department face nothing but support? Sanitation? No. Poilce? No. Imagine nine police officers die due to not wearing their vests. The Chief would be out quickly. That's not going to happen because the new police chief is up to the task-he is a professional.

I think it shows the Mayors contempt for the fire department. He cares so little that he is sticking with the person he chose over candidates with superior qualifications.

In the end what matters is the firefighters and citizens. Any city firefighter could have been in that building because of the misguided tactics of the chief. Frankly, you could be in one tonight or tomorrow. Most know this but are too stunned to have thought it over. That will change.

In short I agree with a prominent fire chief who saw fires of unimaginable horror in over 40 years of service in one of the busier departments in the world; he said "This fire will serve as a guide for other chief officers, to teach them what not to do."

What a sad commentary from other professionals.

Posted by bootlicked on July 17, 2007 at 11:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Clearly you must be another disgruntled employee because you are smarter than the Chief and speak the truth. Keep it up. Love and admire all of my disgruntled heroes and brothers.

Posted by THISMUSTSTOP on July 18, 2007 at 12:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In 19 hours it will be one month since the Sofa Super Store Fire and the Chief still has a job. What a shame.

Posted by bourbo17 on July 18, 2007 at 2:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The comments concerning bunker gear worn by the heroes is completely unsubstantiated--from someone who was on the ground (me)---- they all were fully protected.

Posted by straightstream on July 18, 2007 at 7:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

bourbo17: Are you sure you want to stick by that statement? Because, to be fair, photographs suggest otherwise. This guy put this up this morning and when the resports come out, I think you'll be shown to be incorrect:

Posted by CodeGeek on July 18, 2007 at 9:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)


I was not questioning anyone's performance or integrity, just trying to determine if the story about SCBA is fact or fiction.

Posted by FunandGames on July 18, 2007 at 9:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, well, finally we start to see some of the real issues.

The head of the department is less qualified than 2 Batt Chiefs? More than that. If you only count paper, you'd find that at least 3 Batt Chiefs have more formal training and education that any of the administration above them. This says nothing of the NUMEROUS Captains, Engineers, Asst. Engineers and Firefighters who took the time to learn more about their trade and to better themselves. Not to mention all of the people who have come and gone through that department with advanced firefighting training, certificates and college degrees.

Here's a question, the City pays extra for college degrees, what did they get in return from those fire department employees who had them? Did the administration do anything to use those educated employees and to put their training to good use?

I would suggest that the department head doesn't have to be the best educated, if he or she is able to make use of those that are.

To the concerned citizen who questions anything done on the scene. If you weren't there and if you don't have facts, you need to keep your mouth shut. Asking what-ifs and starting or spreading rumors serve no purpose. Get some proof, then you can talk. NIOSH will reveal in their report who was wearing PPE. If you want to attack the fact that there were employees whose pictures were taken without gear, I have no argument. If you are responding to rumors, go find some facts first.

I think Bourbo's last comment was regarding some of the 9, not the one's outside. The pictures clearly support the fact that those outside had incomplete gear. To my knowledge, there has been no factual information released indicating that any of the 9 did anything outside of the SOG book.

Posted by FunandGames on July 18, 2007 at 9:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Old Fric says the citizens are hoodwinked. Yup, I think you got that right. The department head is a very likeable person, he has done all the right things over his career to promote his popularity. You have to admire his energy. Imagine where we would be if that same energy went into making the CFD a modern fire department?

The Mayor could tell the citizens just about anything and they would believe him. It will take indisputable, factual evidence that is widely dispersed to prove him wrong. He's also a skilled politician and will quickly redirect the blame.

The PPE issue is an easy one, but it really isn't the biggest problem in the fire department. Let's work on the big issue first and the little ones will take care of themselves.

As for NIOSH, yeah they will write a good report, but really, who is going to read it besides other firefighters? Hopefully the P/C writers who are doing a good job of exposing the truth will still be around. Since NIOSH doesn't have any teeth, they can't fine anybody and they can't require any change. The report will be good for other departments to learn from but until we in Charleston learn to accept ciritcism and recommendations from outside then the NIOSH report won't really be of much use.

SC-OSHA is more qualified to write fines for bad electrical outlets in the firehouse than they are to investigate a fire of this magnitude. Why doesn't some state politician get Federal OSHA involved?

To the guys in polyester, keep reading what our brothers from across the country are saying. They have an unbiased perspective with revelance to local and CFD politics. Do your own research, don't rely on what you are spoon fed.

Never forget our 9 brothers and how easily it could have been more.

Posted by straightstream on July 18, 2007 at 9:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The PPE issue is clearly and visibly a part of the systemic failure with the department. It serves to show the citizens of Charleston something they can understand; namely, if you fight fire do so with all of the equipment that is required.

This NIOSH report WILL be different than those past. The level of interest in the media is extraordinary even if locally the tv clowns have written the story off. If the P & C doesn't continue to run with it, there's another paper that would love to expose the entire charade and win yet another award for investigative journalism. They are watching everything read to pounce. I happen to "know" a person there.

Further there is interest nationwide and this will be the first NISOH report to be published in major dailies in full. If the chief hadn't balked at first, perhaps this would not have occured but now-it's certain.

This Mayor needs to act quickly or his political acumen will not be able to overcome the storm brewing.

Posted by bootlicked on July 18, 2007 at 11:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think it is time for the union to picket his house again.

Posted by Florian on July 18, 2007 at 12:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The heroes are NOT JUST the 9 brave souls whose lives were lost….they are all of you fire/rescue personnel who put your lives on the line every day in every fire, every accident, etc. Most people fail to realize this until something tragic happens like this fire on June 18. All of you have stressed that having those at the top who know what they are doing is vital (1) to extinguish the fire as quickly as possible with as little damage as possible, or save those lives at an accident scene, but more importantly (2) to leave that fire or other incident ALIVE. The mayor is a politician…..he is most concerned about his political career. He has poor advisors who would let him speak out not knowing important information about fire fighting; however, look at who he is relying on to provide that information: the individual he and city council hired as chief. I am not a part of CFD but can only deduce from reading comments of those who are, that training, leadership and morale are NOT important to this department. I pray that changes WILL be made so that you are not written about as deceased heroes in future Post and Courier editions, whatever that takes.

Posted by straightstream on July 18, 2007 at 3:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

From Old Fric @

Here's a short glossary of words that enable idiots (people) to understand the Charleston Fire Department. Keep it handy:

Booster - a 1 inch hose line, red in color, useless in application.

Rusty - A tall man with the presence of General Patton and the fire acumen of General Motors.

Bootlick - A curious ground dwelling person, often devoid of sight, or insight. Subsists on crumbs of the detritus left by the chief of department. Usually advance rapidly because they are either from Summerville, where consulting contracts used to go out, or because they are family members. In the food chain they are worms helpers.

Eastside - East of the Ashley River where the major bootlicks are often stationed.

Westside - A few bootlicks.

James Island - Exile

Johns Island - Exile plus no protection

Daniel Island - fire department equivalent of Siberia.

Mutual Aid - A system whereby Charleston goes anywhere to help others fight fires but reluctantly calls in other departments unless there's no choice.

Other Departments - Felt by some to be lower than whale dung and commonly laughed at by senior officers, most of whom can't spell mutual.

Engineer - A fire apparatus operator trained to utilize one 2.5 supply line while pumping out to several handlines. If he is experienced, he will realize gpm is of secondary importance in the department and will later realize larger supply lines make sense. Then he will be ridiculed by Rusty's Rangers.

Ventilation - Rarely performed because the department doesn't understand the process.

PPE - Something worn by other departments.

Rusty's Rangers - A select group of people with no honor.

Car 1 - The Chief of Department and ALWAYS the incident commander though no system is in place.

Posted by straightstream on July 18, 2007 at 6:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why are people so surprised about us not being able to flow big water? Isn't it apparent?

Posted by midatlanticFF on July 18, 2007 at 9:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have been following this since the beginning I am heart broken over the loss of the 9 brothers of CFD. I am a BC in Charge of Training for a midatlantic department. I had the opportunity to meet and have dinner with Chief Thomas and met Mayor Riley 10 years ago during a trip to Charleston. After reading all of the postings I must say that I was in the words of an earlier posting (hoodwinked). I thought the world of him and got the impression is firefighters thought he walked on water. (How wrong it appears that I was!) I was surprised to read that he was only a high school graduate. All Fire Chiefs that I know possess a Bachelor Degree as a minimum. I do have question if some one can answer. What initial training does CFD employee receive and how long does it last?

Posted by bootlicked on July 18, 2007 at 9:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You have to play baseball for the Citadel, be a relative, or know one of his cronies from Summerville. You were definitely hoodwinked. Him and Riley are B.S. artists.

Posted by bootlicked on July 18, 2007 at 9:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey you didn't happen to work for the I.S.O. at the time did you?

Posted by midatlanticFF on July 18, 2007 at 10:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was in Charleston for a Fire Commisioners conference and CFD rolled out the red carpet in Class 1 way if you know what I mean. I really enjoyed myself and actually admired the Chief and the time, as he was tell me that his grandfather and father were members of the CFD.

Posted by bootlicked on July 18, 2007 at 10:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

His father ran the dept. from the mechanics shop while rusty was the actual chief. That's how his brother Tommy was promoted over alot of men with more experience and more education. Reminds me of old Hank Williams It's a Family Tradition. His daddy wasn't even at the memorial. Think he's mad because Rusty must have started thinking for himself after dad retired. Or not thinking. Regardless noone cared to see him anyway. Too bad we had to see rusty and riley. Take care and train em' right.

Posted by bootlicked on July 18, 2007 at 11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Do you have mechanics with the rank of Chief?

Posted by midatlanticFF on July 18, 2007 at 11:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It seems that all departments at least have that family thing going. However education is stressed in the department that I'm in and it would not go over well if a family member was promoted with less experience and education than another qualfied person. I'm still interested in how after getting hired does a firefighter get trained in CFD?

Posted by ssm on July 18, 2007 at 11:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

2 week 1152 Structural firefighting class prior to being hired in as a ff.

Posted by midatlanticFF on July 19, 2007 at 6:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I know that their are departments such as Detroit who do the same thing. They figure that their busy enough that they can team a recruit up with a seasoned firefighter and they will get enough action. This is foreign to me because I'm the Training Chief for my department and our trainees spend 6 month at the training academy and the same is true with other department in my area. Most last between 4-6 months. 2 months of our six is spent on Firefighting the rest is EMT-B, Vechicle Rescue, Confined Space, Haz Mat Operations and lastly they spend a week on just Firefighter Survival & Rescue. The state requires 102 hours of Firefighter Level 1 training however most department far exceed the minimum and approach 250 to 300 hours. I read early where someone had commented about the state of SC becoming more involved in CFD training. Sounds political, however we are talking firefighter lives here, we as a profession have to make the politicians undertand that they can't put a price on our lives.

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 8:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The lack of training is unlike any I've seen anywhere.

Posted by easy on July 19, 2007 at 9:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If you look at all of the comments on all of the articles posted, then you can see that there is much discontent in the CFD, and anyone form the outside can too. As for Mayor know it ALL. You need to get gone as well.

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 9:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

yeah discontent has been present since 1991. People tried to bring it out only to be admonsihed by bootlickers and others, even from other fire departmnts.

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 9:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

These photos say a lot.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 19, 2007 at 1:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There are probably many more Chiefs and politicians in North America with the mindset of Chief Rusty and Mayor Joe. The proper outcome of this investigation with the appropriate repercussions such as dismissal will go along way to open the eyes of those that do not want to accept change and believe in doing things the old way. Hopefully the outcomes will help to prevent any further tragedies such as this. It is too bad that grievious events have to happen to get things fixed.The Charleston 9 made the ultimate sacrifice, hopefully it will not be in vain.

Posted by Florian on July 19, 2007 at 1:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

With reference to bickleseagrave's comment above, I am concerned that WHEN this report comes out, a great deal of time will have passed, memories faded and the report will be "glossed over", allowing "standard procedure" at CFD to continue. Did anyone since 1991 (when grievances were addressed) keep a log/diary, journal, etc. of the suggestions or concerns that were made? If they did and these suggestions and/or concerns could have prevented this tragedy, that would put this incident in an entirely different light.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 19, 2007 at 2:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The stories in the news may slow down a bit, but I would be willing to bet that the Post & Courier will be on top of things when the NIOSH report is tabled. There are so many forums, blogs and Firefighter websites that this will never be swept under the table. Hackensack Ford happened in 1989 and is still used as a teaching tool today!

Posted by NIMS800Chief on July 19, 2007 at 5:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Herein lies the problem. Again...time honored traditions that have been eliminated 20 years ago. Even when we had booster lines on the engines, we used them for trash, brush, and engine fires on vehicles. Never were we allowed to use them in a structure fire...not even room and contents. And what's with the guy strolling in a hazardous area in shorts and polo? The guy in the white hat is certainly not doing his job and this photo tells it all. CFD must drop the time honored traditions of lax policies and step up to the plate. Chief Thomas and command staff, the nation is watching you and we are not pleased with what we have seen. You can say back off! Butt out! Leave us alone! But you can no longer ignore what is yet to come. Be prepared to defend yourself because what I and many fire chiefs are seeing will be a long road trying to defend time honored hazardous policies. The investigations will reveal some very serious issues of safety and dangerous policy practices. Make no mistake. If you are going to survive this, you need to get with the national program standards and listen to those current and past employees you yourself, as a fire chief, eschewed who wanted safer changes. Booster lines in a building fire? How can you intelligently defend this and expect the investigators and attorney's to accept this? Get your butts in gear and get to the National Fire Academy and your State Fire Academy, enroll in the state of the art command courses required by National Incident Management System (NIMS) and YOUR STATE LAWS! Now there's danger in losing a prestigeous Class 1. As a fire chief of a large department if you keep telling the press that CFD will not change, then Charleston will pay a hefty price in litigations abound defending the rediculous implementation maintenance of outated, antiquated, and dangerous time honored traditional policies.

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 6:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This city is going to take a huge hit via lawsuits. Our department has lost confidence in the chief and some of his chief officers. This isn't a local story-it's everywhere.

The Charleston Fire Department is no longer capable of boasting about anything. While it was fun to make jokes about Isle of Palms, North Charleston and St. Andrews - in the end I'd rather have Ann Graham as our chief. She fights for her firefighters. St. Andrews rescued the victim despite what Big Larry Garvin is yapping about to anyone who'll listen, including the barber on Johns Island.

What the CFD has discovered is that for the last decade we haven't lead-we've fallen behind. We look good but that's no reward.

Posted by bootlicked on July 19, 2007 at 6:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Mayor is showing his support for one thing Rusty. He should support the guys who could be called to his house tonight. I wouldn't vote for him if he was running against Kwadjo. If his house caught on fire tonight I would definitely follow CFD policies and only go the speed limit which is what 20 or 25mph. The same goes for Rusty. Even though he nor his cronies ever follow this policy that they use to hold the drivers accountible if they were to wreck a truck. Like he did when he drove because he drives like he runs a fire scene , dangerously.

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 7:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Rusty is dangerous and so is Robert. Both believe in their own way of doing things. Robert is the future Rusty. Neither should be allowed to command a fire scene. In any other department, both would be pariahs.

Posted by bootlicked on July 19, 2007 at 7:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Robby has always been a joke now he is a Chief. In any other dept. they wouldn't even make it through the fire academy or rookie classes unless it was Summerville.Is David still Robby's best buddy. Suprised he isn't a Chief yet. You remember when they used to chop wood for Russell?

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 7:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They used to clear fields for Rusty on their off days - Robert, Joey, Jimmy, - Shockingly were promoted to Batallion hief over senior officers. Of course there is no test for Bat Cheif - a straight interview only.

The Sofa Super Store fire had Rusty, his brother Tommy (promoted over 14 senior captains), Robert who was promoted over 12 senior captains.

Oh and let's see-wayne was promoted to BC and his father was an assistant chief while Roberts dad was also an assitant goes on and on. Thus, no change ever takes place.

Posted by bootlicked on July 19, 2007 at 7:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah the only way for a Chief of color to get promoted is for one to retire.( C.Allen,Hazel,Ackerman) I guess the Batt. Chiefs are only aloud one family member at a time just like the Chiefs of another color or David would be one too, but not the Thomases because they are all fire gods.

Posted by bootlicked on July 19, 2007 at 7:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wayne would make a much better Chief than Mojo.

Posted by bootlicked on July 19, 2007 at 7:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What happend to all of the Rusty supporters? Seems like they are starting to see the truth.

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 8:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who's going to wake Wayne up and tell him he's been promoted?

The supporters are here but how can they defend what is seen NATIONALLY as a fiasco. The only plausible way to defend Rusty is in the past tense. He will never command our respect again because the hubris is exposed.

Posted by SamKentov on July 19, 2007 at 8:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey Bourbo17! I think the best thing that you can do, if you are on the job at CFD, is retire. It is individuals like you that get firefighters killed. I've been in the fire service for two decades and have dealt with idiots like you my whole career. In fact, do the fire service a favor and leave.

(BTW, Don't even try to question my ability, I put my helmet crust against yours anyday. I've punched-low with the best of them.)

Posted by bootlicked on July 19, 2007 at 8:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bourbon probably ,as scary as it is ,would have probably been a Chief one day. I think after Rusty is gone alot of those idiots aren't intelligent enough to embrace change and will hopefully find a new career. I bet he could get a job at the sofa superstore.

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 8:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The funny thing is how widespread the discontent is but the media and the Mayor are ignorant of it.

Posted by easy on July 19, 2007 at 8:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Myrtle Beach fire Chief is backwards as well

Posted by bootlicked on July 19, 2007 at 8:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Like I said it is time to picket his house or city hall again. I think now is the time for change begining with the Mayor.

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 8:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You can't change the mayor. And frankly I don't care about him as long as he makes the right moves to get us help. But he won't unless he's forced to do so. We could picket his house again but he wouldn't care.

We need to focus on the leadership of the department. They are responsible for the deaths of 6-18-07. One wonders if civil suits will be brought against the city as well as individuals. Check that-be ready for them.

Posted by bootlicked on July 19, 2007 at 8:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think it would bring more attention to the whole tragic situation.You are correct with the change needed in the leadership. I heard a batt chief make the comment I could definitely get the job as a new firefighter because not only do I remember the nine I remember the ones that got them killed.

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 8:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually there was a young assistant chief indicted for a training burn that went wrong in New York State. I think his name was Alan Baird. He didn't follow guidelines and was out of his depth.

That would never happen here but it gives civil attorneys something to look at and anyone else who may feel as though they haven't been trained to the proper level.

Posted by east3 on July 19, 2007 at 10:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Am I corect in perceiving from the other comments:

1. It is common practice for off-duty personnel to come to CFD fires and pitch in without PPE as volunteers?

2. It is common for hose lines to be stuck down ventilations holes, if there is a hole?

3. Use of vent fans (PPV) is rare?

4. It is not uncommon for a hoseline to be stuck in a window during an interior attack?

5. Do the ladders have captains? or just the engines?

6. If there is a defensive operation are the apollo guns ever used, or just aerials and handlines?

Posted by straightstream on July 19, 2007 at 10:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

1. Yes

2. Yes

3. Non-existent

4. True

5. Yes-though the captains are very young.

6. Hand-held 2.5 inch lines and the aerial but without the maximum flow.

Posted by Re2 on July 19, 2007 at 11:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Booster lines as first line in on a house fire? Whats the reason behind that one? Most departments around me including my own have done away with booster lines completely. I would rather take a few minutes to roll up an inch and three quarter on a trash fire than have someone use a booster as interior line on a structure. Thats is completely insane. And Bootlicked your words make sense looking at the pictures. There are a lot of "Day workers" wearing the latest trend in PPE, while I see line men wearing rags. Wow..

Posted by bourbo17 on July 20, 2007 at 12:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Samkentov and Bootlicked:
I respect your individual opinions as unique and sometimes widespread--do not tell me to retire--mind your own if you are not a member of the dept. please. It really takes a lot of balls(ya right) to call someone out over a P&C article blog Samkentov. Take your two decades and move back to the municipality you worked with to ensure your safety if you are uneasy as you seem.

Posted by straightstream on July 20, 2007 at 9:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

We still have people not wearing coats and helmets man. Right off the crosstown this morning.

Posted by straightstream on July 20, 2007 at 10:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I checked out Jay's website and saw a picture I've not seen around the station. It shows some of our guys attacking without our compliment of equipment.

Can someone else write State OSHA and tell them to come back and review the photographs again??? I've sent an email.
Type in South Carolina OSHA.

Here are the photos:

Posted by bootlicked on July 20, 2007 at 11:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bourbon I recommend that you "mind your own business" which so happens to be the fire sevice. That don't worry about the way we do it just got six of my buddies killed. I will mind your business along with thousands of others minding your business until something changes. All that some of you are doing is helping us prove our points. Thanks for your help. Widespread mentality among the Rusty rangers. That is why our fire scenes resemble a widesread panic show instead of a bunch of professionals saving lives and property.

Posted by straightstream on July 20, 2007 at 11:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Tens of thousands of firefighters are now shocked. Most aren't from this area or are playing games with the Rangers who went to the convention (Robert) but the eyes of our brothers around the country are seeing what it's really like here.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 20, 2007 at 12:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote Straightstream "I checked out Jay's website and saw a picture I've not seen around the station. It shows some of our guys attacking without our compliment of equipment."

Seems they are being led by example. White hat there with no turnout coat, suspenders hanging down and no SCBA.

Is that some sort of a fad in the south, the suspenders hanging down, seems to be in a lot of pics, mostly white hats ;-)

Posted by straightstream on July 20, 2007 at 12:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's a fad but came from a northern city. Some of the bootlickers copy everything about it.

Posted by east3 on July 20, 2007 at 3:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ok. Thanks for those answers, however terrible they are in terms of tactics. I have more...

1 Are the ACs are on platoon shift or 40-hours?

2 Sounds like they and the Chief take command at every fire so the BCs don't get enough command experience?

3 Counting on all fingers, how many current chiefs do you think have been to the NFA for IC classes?

4 I see the ACs have districts. Do the ACs help run the department or is it a one man headquarters?

I hope these questions are not too boring to those of you who think everything there is fine and that the rest of the fire service is just stupid. I guess you think this disaster was just a piece of bad luck.

Other than the fact that you guys are obviously braver and tougher than all hell, I can't think off hand of a single standard or current professional practice that CFD adheres to.

Unfortunatly these practices put every CFD firefighter at risk every day - unecessary and inexcusable risk. Your chief will be lucky if no prosecutor decides his willful disregard of all standard practices rises to the level of criminal negligence. Even so the civil lawsuits will be ugly.

Watch out for your brothers. Protect each other. CAPTAINS - STOP PULLING THE RED LINES - RUSTY SAYS IT'S YOUR CALL.


Posted by east3 on July 20, 2007 at 4:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have been inspired by my own rhetoric.

Your lives are being endangered. As an American citizen you have the right to defend yourself.

Start taLking to your buddies, especially Captains and start doing things right on your own.




(Do you have many rekindles?)










Excuse me, I didn't mean to shout.

Posted by straightstream on July 20, 2007 at 4:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

1. AC's work 24-48

2. Exactly.

3. At most 2

4. AC's run their respective shifts but they respond as the first chief in the downtown area south of Broad Street. The AC can also respond to any call he likes but it rarely does any good. They are terrified of making the wrong decision.

Posted by bootlicked on July 20, 2007 at 9:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Look up article called Fire vehicles back at station and tell me your thoughts. I'm wonder where the money really went.This is what these brave men and women have to worry about while working. Five hundred dollars was probably over half of his check. Then there is another article about Earl Drayton and Rusty is quoted as saying Earl has 32 years on the job most guys don't stay 32 days. I wonder why.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 9:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

That's common bootlicked.

Do you know they had the training officer sitting in on the OSHA interviews with us. guys were terrified to tell the truth because if you did-bam-straight back to car 1

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 10:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If you wreck a Chiefs car do you have to pay? A garbage truck? A police vehicle? I figured that they would do that because they know most Of the guys are job scared, more afraid of the Chief than they are of a fire in a steel truss building with a heavy fire load. Don't be scared to tell the truth.Now is the time to let the truth flow like a St. Andrews supply line.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 10:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm sure the lawyers will like to know how the interviews are being conducted. Most companies ,with equipment that cost twice as much as a fire truck ,send you for a drug screen and then a post accident reveiw to see how this could be avoided then the insurance takes care of the rest. I remember when you could wreck a vehicle to make captain.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 10:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I hate to say it but this isn't a common practice in the real world straightstream.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 1 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No I meant common in Charleston! LOL

Everywhere else is common for the fire service. All these young pups are lost here at the cfd. they believed so much in the cult like figure of chief thomas and Robert-and now, at least the 5 or 6 i'm seeing every few days, despise both of them. A captain eastside, long known as a big fan can't swallow the bs anymore. He's speaking out.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 1:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

fyi-just saw this:

We are so far behind the rest of the nation, it's frightening. If you are a resident, contact the mayor! Most of you are not getting the protection you are paying for-in fact the only people WELL protected live south of Calhoun.

The Chemical Plants in the neck-and the neighborhood being developed-has one pumper where it used to have two. The truck doesn't have large foam capability-it has some but if you are living north of Grove Street-you are screwed.

West ashley has 4 significant holes in protection. James island is abysmal with the closest ladder truck coming from James Island. Johns Island residents in the city - hang it up. Daniel Island is a disaster waiting to happen. Ask the mayor if the City of Charleston pumpers carry the same size hose as mt. pleasant-answer: NO! But the city say's they'll ask Mount P for help-really? We have had fires on Cainhoy road and the 3rd engine had to come from downtown and west ashley.

Bishop england is woefully underprotected but it's only a high school, right?

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 2:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah and the poor citizens that think the superstore sight needs to be another fire station don't even know that there are not enough firemen to man the ones we already have. If they only knew. Most of the time they have only three men to a engine. More tax money gone that could actually help in this problem most don't even realize is a problem. Lawsuits will help use up more of our taxes. Let's waste more tax monies on a prime piece of commercial real estate on Savannah Hwy instead of what we need to spend it on, more well trained firemen, more technology, and better equipment. This is actually the way those nine brave men need to be remembered. Riley will probably call the sight Thomas park.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 2:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If the pumpers or ladders responding to those far away places are in accordance with city policy of only going the posted speed limit how long does it take? Could you imagine if the P.D. had to abide by this policy?

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 2:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As a driver I never drove the posted speed limit responding to a call because I knew every second is precious, ,small fires spread and get bigger a heart attack victim is closer to death, and most importantly the citizens that we are protecting aren't getting what they pay for protection.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 3:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The fact is we are spread too thin, allow off duty people to just jump in wherever, use tactics not used since the late 70's and are led by a man out of his league.

People in Charleston just don't understand the truth because

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 3:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(got cut off)

The citizens of Charleston WANT to believe everything the Mayor says and he may well believe all is okay. However, for the mayor to lose nine employees and stand up and say we are a model is an insult. He and the Chief NEEDED to say they were going to do whatever it took to change so the department could move forward.

More and more firefighters are becoming angry.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 4:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh, they are just disgruntled heroes.Can't hack it get your jacket.Just kidding. In honor of our fallen brothers stand tall and expose the truth, we will all be safer for it.

Posted by CodeGeek on July 21, 2007 at 4:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bootlicked said:

"As a driver I never drove the posted speed limit responding to a call because I knew every second is precious, ,small fires spread and get bigger a heart attack victim is closer to death, and most importantly the citizens that we are protecting aren't getting what they pay for protection."

I'm going to incur some wrath here, but that's part of the problem. The citizens pay for you to show up safely and ready to work, not to speed through town and risk an additional accident. All the studies that have been done on apparatus response times show that the delay by following the speed limit and stopping at stop signs and intersections is insignificant in the big picture.

East 3 said:

I would like to see some proof that having full PPE and SCBA ready to go when you "come off the apparatus" really makes a difference. People donning PPE and BAs probably aren't wearing there seatbels at some time while the apparatus is moving, and that's asking for a second disaster.

Sure, put your PPE on before you get on the apparatus, but don your BA after you get to the scene: you're supposed to be able to do it in 60 seconds or less, and that gives the officer time to do a proper size-up, establish command and relay a report to the rest of the alarm assignment.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 4:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was not saying in no way that I ever drove wrecklessly. I always slowed or stopped for lights and stop signs. I would open her up when we were on the highway or no traffic was present. Safety first always. It is all about using your head I never sped blindlessly through crowded streets.You are right it is our job to get there as quickly and safely as possible .

Posted by canary on July 21, 2007 at 4:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am a former member of the Charleston Fire Department.I am also from Summerville(never was a crony).I went to the CFD from the Summerville Fire Dept.I must admit back then (mid 90's)I was younger and baffled by Chief Rusty's B.S. After being hired I was in engine co.9,and I was shocked.The Fire Dept. I just resigned from already used 5" hose,mounted SCBA,1 3/4" hose for ANY type of structure fire,A/C in newer apparataus,ect.
Anyway,during one of my first few shifts there was a fire downtown(I cannot recall exactly where).However I do recall what it sounded like over the radio.
Chief Rusty screaming like a banshee every 5 seconds or so. It sounded like he was in a panic and that is contagous and dangerous.
I remember my Captain's words as all of this screaming was going over the radio. My Captain was well respected and had almost 30 years in the CFD at the time and he said to me "He (meaning Chief Rusty) is going to get somebody killed oneday."
I will swear on a Bible to that story.
So those of you reading the comments of bootlicked and straightstream, they are not off base but right on target.
I'm just sorry my Captain was right

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 4:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Scba's are mounted in the jumpseats and should be on your back when you exit truck on fire call even if you have to take a couple of seconds before you roll or after you get there.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 4:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I always was told and thought the same thing. We would go inside a working fire and while extinghishing it we would be mocking him by hollering at each other and laughing. Its not that funny now that you look back can't believe he went this long without making those words true.

Posted by canary on July 21, 2007 at 5:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I know.I remember doing the same thing.I remember being detailed to drive #15.We caught a fire with 6 and truck 4 and 15's acting Captain pulled the 1 1/2".WE did not get reprimanded but were made fun of for not pulling the booster. This included Car 2. The Charleston Fire Department's prehistoric way of thinking comes from the top down.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 5:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Canary I know that Captain well. He is a great man and one hell of a firefighter. If its the same one he even had a Rusty ranger song.

Posted by canary on July 21, 2007 at 5:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That's the one. We used to sing it while doing ladder drills.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 5:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

He is one hell of a father figure. He doing well.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 5:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I know the captain as well. He's a card. He was also correct.

Earlier I was at one of the stations visiting my good friend when he and the Captain said that they have instructed their family members to refuse any help from the city if something occurs in the future. They are to contact an attorney they have already named to take action because they have documented the deficiencies. The reason it shocked me is that one guy has been a Rusty Ranger for a long time and used to do free work for papa russell.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 6:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I want to live a life of danger
I want to be a Rusty Ranger

Sad how a song like that points out the difficulties in the department.

Where's a story on our training or the 71 instnaces of people not wearing all their gear? I had high hopes with the P&C but come on-show the citizens or the Observer is going to trump you because they are talking with guys.

Posted by canary on July 21, 2007 at 6:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'll give you another instance.I was detailed to drive Truck 4 after the new truck came in.Spent my last year or so there,but thats another story.We were at a house fire at St. Phillips St. near the crosstown.We broke a window in a gable 2 1/2 stories up for "ventilation".then a nozzle (booster) was being passed up the ladder for me to stick in the hole I just opened for "ventilation".I said my mask was not working and I needed to come down for another one.There was no way I was doingthat!There were two companies inside working!By the way, that order came from Car #1,Chief Rusty.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 7:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I was on the roof of a house on Cooper Street. It had been vacant for years but two of us were sent to the roof to open it. Then Car 1 ordered the "new at that time" truck 4 to open up and it nearly washed me and the other guy off.

We were angry but after coming down the 24 ft. extension ladder the training officer summoned us to advance a booster into the rear of the structure. The aerial is up, the roof is open, and we to advance a 1" booster in - I said no. He looked at me and walked off. We went around front to hear Rusty telling the dispatcher the fire was out.

We almost lost guys at Jackson Davenport by doing some of the dumbest things in the history of firefighting. Of course I have a million of these after a long career but the dumbest have been since 1991 when RBT took over.

Posted by canary on July 21, 2007 at 7:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

All I can say is I hope somebody,somewhere is asking the right questions,talking to the guys,and no willing to let this tragety slip through the cracks.I miss all the guys I worked with there and pray something good comes out of all this.I believe when its all said and done the leadership in the Charleston Fire Department will be exposed for what they are: incompetent and liable for the deaths of those brave men."They were doing what they were trained to do." said Chief Rusty.Exactly, and who trained them?

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 8:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OSHA didn't ask the right questions because it's State. NIOSH is going to take them to task and so will the civil lawsuits.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 9:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

An informal poll of 20 firefighters found 17 wanting the chief to leave and 3 saying he should be fired.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 10:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think it could happen sooner than ya'll think. Hopefully his cronies will follow suit.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 10:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

bootlicked-I hope you are right. We need new leadership and a long time to fix ourselves.

Posted by Wilmot on July 21, 2007 at 11:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The least Rusty could do when he is telling the taxpayers and the families of the Charleston 9 a bald faced lie is speak proper english i.e. I dont want nobody to think a booster was pulled to fight the fire. Rusty for God's sake get a spokesperson, you may still be able to save your job. Well, probably not but at least you won't make yourself look like a blithering idiot in front of the entire community.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 11:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The spokesperson would have to keep using the phrase "no comment" to keep any of the Thomases from looking like idiots.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 11:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I remember guys just biting their lips when he was talking about our brothers. The fact remains he was in charge of the fire, all of the training, and every other facet of the department because he is a micro manager. Even our chiefs fail to speak up.

This led to the deaths of nine brothers. i don't care about union versus non-union but man we are hurting. We need a chief.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 11:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The we won't forget these guys phrase just killed me. How in the hell can anyone forget? Seems like he had already forgotten when he said we would do it the same. They didn't do it for the money. Well, chief we are a paid professional dept. no matter how you run it. To the guys that come back to fires stop now. Make them call you back.It is up to the men and women of this department to stop the madness in honor of the fallen.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 11:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Did you hear the training chief (what a funny name) was supposed to have had a sticker on his truck saying "Rehab is for quitters"- basically mocking the other departments in the area? I never look at his vehicle so I don't know. I saw it in comments somewhere.

Posted by bootlicked on July 21, 2007 at 11:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

He is probably talking about the rehab Wally should have went to. I bet his vehicle has a/c. He doesn't even know what rehab means. I heard they tell the new guys that if your in the paper or on the news you aren't doing your job. What does that say for Robbie? He might be right though because I've seen him and Rusty in the paper lately.

Posted by straightstream on July 21, 2007 at 11:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Exactly. The rank and file don't respect those three - the three R's - robbie, Rusty and Ricky. Each is a loose cannon and put people at risk. Now people see through the bs-at least guys on the job do. All these rah rah speeches aren't working like they used to work.

Posted by straightstream on July 22, 2007 at 12:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How about the shop? private work in a public facility? a mechanic on film trying to open a door because the vent saw had the wrong blade on it at the sofa superstore? All those k-12's sitting outside because our ladders don't carry enough equipment.

Posted by bootlicked on July 22, 2007 at 12:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You mean the mechanics that can have the rank of CHIEF also can rehab in their vehicles if they get overheated changing oil or something.

Posted by straightstream on July 22, 2007 at 12:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes they can rehab. The reason being they shrimp with the chief.

Reminds me of Chief Cardwell who used to be a bat chief with charleston. He took pictures of Rusty's old man painting tommy's (Also a Thomas and a bat chief now) blue truck black using the city shop. No one messed with Cardwell after that. This department is like Cooter Junction Fire Department.

Posted by bootlicked on July 22, 2007 at 12:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I wonder how much stuff the old man hoarded after hugo. You know all of the chainsaws and generators that were supposed to have been sent for the firemen if they needed it like the food that was sent and the Chiefs got first dibbs.(Just hearsay but very believable)

Posted by bootlicked on July 22, 2007 at 12:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Could you imagine having to stand when the mechanic came into 11 to eat for free?

Posted by straightstream on July 22, 2007 at 9:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I never stood for him. He was the lone exception among the chiefs. No one called me on it but it wasn't going to happen.

Rumor has it some exciting info is coming out this week. Looks like a major daily newspaper is writing a huge piece on the fire, the mistakes, and the culture. 'bout time.

Posted by bootlicked on July 22, 2007 at 9:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Expose them for what they are as captain Fuzz used to call them simpletans.

Posted by bootlicked on July 22, 2007 at 9:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So have they changed the training schedule any? Or is it still how to tie a pike pole and air pack. With my many years on the job never had to use this mostly useless info. Have they incorporated building construction into drills? How about how to read smoke? How about a drill that explains why St.Andrews can flow more water? I actually believe most of this is over the three R's heads. Oh yeah boiling point of water is more important. Most middle school kids know this.

Posted by bootlicked on July 22, 2007 at 10:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm sure you have heard a fire scene called organized chaos, well the city under the Thomases has always been unorganized chaos.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 22, 2007 at 11:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote straightstream "Rumor has it some exciting info is coming out this week. Looks like a major daily newspaper is writing a huge piece on the fire, the mistakes, and the culture. 'bout time."

Make sure you post the link for the rest of us that are following this, thanks.

I guess chaos meaning:
C Chief
H Has
A Arrived
O On
S Scene

That one has been around the fire service for years

Posted by straightstream on July 22, 2007 at 11:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

We get zero applicable training. It's all the same stuff. We need rescue the rescuer, IC, SCBA confidence courses, tactical decision making. You get the picture.

Today a few of us were comparing Chief Thomas to other chiefs in other departments-he doesn't have ANY educational credentials.

Re: Water - St. Andrews, James Island-all move water much better than we do. We can't pump our maximums!!!! How sad is that? It's like someone taking a Jetliner, pretty and new, and sticking the prop of a biplane on it.


Posted by Wilmot on July 22, 2007 at 11:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There is one of the 3 R's that would ordinarily probably be a good candidate for chief of department, O'D. He is trained believe it or not. He has his own ideas about how the fd should be run etc. The problem with him is that he has sold his soul and has shed every ounce of dignity that he may have ever had. And all right in front of our very eyes. Do you think he'll get any respect or support from the men. I doubt it.

Posted by vesta on July 22, 2007 at 11:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There are a great many facts posted in these comments that explain a great deal to the public. A glaring statement is that you had to have a training officer present with you during your interviews by OSHA. The fact that you would be in fear of losing your job based on your testimony, I think, would be a violation of freedom of speech. If the P & C doesn't pick up on some of this, maybe the Charlotte Observer will: A sad commentary:not being able to vent valid complaints to the proper place because of fear of losing your job or having harsh conditions imposed on you. This is America?

Posted by Wilmot on July 22, 2007 at 11:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Straightstream, if you've ever gone to the Myrtle Beach convention and seen all the new technology on fire apparatus, i.e, large compartments , A/C's, scene lighting, PPV, flashlights, you will see that we have never even come close to meeting our potential. The pumpers downtown are spec'd out the same as the most rural pumper we have, E-20. We have no tanker out there, no brush truck, 2.5 inch supply line, and they wonder why we had such a big cluster at the fire on B-shift where 19 and 6 had to relay water. If Rusty ever did go and a new chief was brought on, they would end up firing him in the first year because of all the money it would take us just to resemble a department of the late 1900's.

Posted by Wilmot on July 22, 2007 at 12:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Vesta, Rusty has always had SC OSHA in his pocket. This isn't the first time they've been down. Everyone just loves Rusty. Everyone just loved Hitler at first too. I know that's a far reach of a comparison but a very similar one.

Posted by bootlicked on July 22, 2007 at 12:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I know you can't strike but a sick-out seems a necessary evil if nothing is done by Riley soon. Start looking for another Chief or Chiefs for that matter .Please don't force Charleston's bravest to show their loss of respect for their leadership.The time is now to do something Joe!!!!!!! If you don't do something you also could be held accountable.Please don't make the Irish come out in us!!!!

Posted by vesta on July 22, 2007 at 1:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wilmot: Actually, Hitler practiced his speeches in front of a mirror for hours/days and at least sounded intelligent. No, it isn't a far reaching comparison. Are OSHA records public (as in previous reports, etc. they have made to CFD)?

Posted by bootlicked on July 22, 2007 at 1:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just watched a news segment from channel 2 asking Rusty what he has learned from the fire in the past month. He hasn't learned anything. He just said we'll never forgett. Well Rusty the stickers on the trucks haven't bettered the CFD one bit. In your case you better hope that everyone does forget.What a complete and total incompetent idiot.

Posted by Wilmot on July 22, 2007 at 1:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One problem with the public in regards to the fire service. No one realy cares about us until their stuff is burning. I know it has changed alot since the 18th but it wont last and it's terribly sad that fathers and sons had to die uselessly for that to happen. If you'd like to find out and post publicly the last OSHA/CFD encounters please encourage a journalist to look into the last few years worth. I'm sure they're public.

Posted by straightstream on July 22, 2007 at 1:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Observer has interest as does a major daily hoping to talk about firefighter safety and using Charleston as the before example.

State OSHA is worthless. No big news will come from them though federal OSHA will receive a boatload of complaints about how the interviews were carried out and the qualifications of the person on scene. Of course the state is the state so it will be swept under the rug.

NIOSH, the coming civil lawsuits, a citizens board forming to ask for open books on the fire department, and a coalition of fire chiefs appalled by this incident will keep the heat up.

Let's just pray we don't lose firefighters and civilians while we wait on the Mayor to act.

Posted by straightstream on July 22, 2007 at 2:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This makes me sweat. I feel the same way - read the last comment at the bottom of the page by EngineCaptainCharleston:

Posted by bootlicked on July 22, 2007 at 3:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wonder who the battallion chief was they should just print his name. Imagine if there was no such thing as fire then we wouldn't have to know anything. Unbelievable, no actually very believable on the CFD.

Posted by straightstream on July 22, 2007 at 3:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Remember when we had to buy the portable guns just so we could attinthe class2 at the time? We put them in a compartment and were told, leave them alone.

Posted by Wilmot on July 22, 2007 at 4:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was at the sofa super store fire. I thought of grabbing E-11's deluge gun but when I looked at his compound guage it was right on 0 psi. I just snapped up my gear and sat on a 2.5 with a bunch of other guys.

Posted by straightstream on July 22, 2007 at 6:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wilmot- that's because he had 2.5 inch supply lines. You can't move water. Plus, that kid goofed up.

Posted by Wilmot on July 22, 2007 at 8:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thats a heavy burden to lay on somebody that does not have the right tools for the job. I'm not sure anybody out there wouldn't be goofing up under those circumstances.

Posted by straightstream on July 22, 2007 at 8:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It is a heavy burden but one he has to shoulder. There's no doubt he didn't have all of the equipment (ldh) necessary but most of our guys would have handled it.

I'll be the first to admit that guys other than the chief also screwed up.

The Chief is a cult of personality but other people still have to do their jobs.

Obviously it helps if a guy has all the tools but many of us have pumped at fires with as many or more lines in the last 25 years.

Posted by east3 on July 22, 2007 at 9:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Having added up a few things, I see one major problem is that there is no PLAN B, no defensive mode of operation - no LHD, not enough water, no deck guns, deluge guns not used (and not enough water), ladders with no pumps, (so you need a ladder and two engines and tripled supply lines for one adequate ladder pipe stream)and there is no command structure, BCs aren't left in overall command so they never learn to command - the ACs and Rusty supercede them - and no sectoring is used, so there is no way to effectively organize a large operation - or even a safe small one.

For a fire like that, you should be asking the water department for more water, not the engineers.

Don't even start pointing fingers at each other. As a chief I feel this tragedy was the responsibilty of the chiefs - from training to equipment, lack of knowledge, failure to fulfill their sworn duty and moral obligations to their firefighters.

One of my favorite quotes from Apocalypse Now:
Col.Kurtz: Are my methods unsound?
Capt.Willard: I don't see any method at all, sir.

Hope there can be positive change. I'd retire and come down there and clean house right now but I don't think I'll be on the Mayor's Christmas card list this year.

Stay together and stay safe, watch your brother's back and pull the "big" 1-1/2.

Posted by Wilmot on July 22, 2007 at 10:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Straightstream- would you be the first to admit it if you screwed up? If so would you have changed anything you did at the fire? East3 said it right, the last thing we need to be doing is bashing each other. We have bigger fish to fry. God bless the Charleston 9.

Posted by straightstream on July 22, 2007 at 11:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not frying fish. My concern is for the safety of our men. Would I admit a mistake? I've done it often enough.

There's no question this is a topdown failure. The chief is responsible for the poor state of our department. We look good but we have no substance. We need new chief officers to focus on the deficiencies we have known all along but were exhibited painfully on 18 June.

I've been on the job for a long time and I can say now that we are less safe than we were 2 decades ago because so much has changed and we haven't. Sure-small changes but not the important ones. Our brothers died in a fire. This fire was mismanaged.And some of the chief's boys screwed up. We know it and they know it.

Posted by straightstream on July 23, 2007 at 12:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

One day closer to justice for nine men.

Posted by charlestonnight on July 23, 2007 at 9:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey bootlicked or straightstream

Who was the CFD firemen that smashed storefront windows (see Jeff Pundt video “the start of the fire”)? Was he a newly hired rookie?

Posted by straightstream on July 23, 2007 at 10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

hey charlestonnight:

Who is on audio ordering them to do it? Could it be Chief Thomas saying "Give 'em some air"? Oh yeah!

Posted by charlestonnight on July 23, 2007 at 10:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes Chief Thomas is on audio ordering them to do it.But were they rookie CFD firemen ? They should have known better not to smashed storefront windows out .Sad to say 10 to 1 that what caused the flash over that killed the Charleston #9 Washington DC Fire Dept say Big fire = Big hose & Little fire = small hose = Words To Live By

Posted by straightstream on July 23, 2007 at 10:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

When you are given an order by the IC you perform it. He has the big picture - not the subordinates. That's why it's vital for their to be a stationary Incident Commander. At this fire there was no command post.

Firefighters don't know who's been sent in-they don't know what is going on in the rear. They have a very small picture of the big scene.

That's why this is a top-down failure. The officers in charge let their men down. they gave them orders that were at best terrible.

Posted by straightstream on July 23, 2007 at 11:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh-and your 10-1 comment is absurd. This was a truss roof with fire in the void. Nine men inside of a furniture store wherein the structure is widely known throughout the fire service to collapse?

Get real.

Posted by straightstream on July 23, 2007 at 11:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)


You still in Westport?

Posted by easy on July 23, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Long Live Mayor Know it ALL and Chief Rusted. They have for all these years. The only people that stand a chance to get changes made are the voting citizens of Chas. And maybe just maybe the families of the (9) in a class action law suit, for wrongful death. Based on the actions or in actions along with the policies of the CFD. Someone should already have a copy of the SOGs , SOPs and General Orders that were in place the night of the fire. All of you that are still at CFD and want changes to be made, need to get out to your families and friends. Tell them what is going on, and you are tired of it. Vote out Mayor Knor It All, and his little buddy, THE BEST I HAVE EVER SEEN IN COMMAND, might just have to go along with him. As Gilligan is always saying SKIPPERRRRRRRRRRRRRR.........

Posted by bootlicked on July 23, 2007 at 11:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If I understand the 10 - 1 comment correctly yes the windows being broken caused the flashover that killed the nine men. IF the roof had been vented this would not have happened. If the men had more water with a vented roof it would have been just another day at work.Many mistakes were made.

Posted by straightstream on July 23, 2007 at 12:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The windows being broken didn't help but the tactical decision to fight the fire in the manner employed led to the deaths.

Posted by charlestonnight on July 23, 2007 at 2:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Please don’t be upset with me I just trying to say if a windows being broken can cause the flashover that kill firemen.

Posted by THISMUSTSTOP on July 23, 2007 at 3:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is one of the biggest problems with the Charleston Fire Department:

In 1992 I tried to get an application for the Charleston Police Department. I graduated from H.S. yet they wouldn't even give me an application b/c I didn't have a 4 year degree. How do you get a job if you can't even get an application? I guess you don't.

Posted by straightstream on July 23, 2007 at 3:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Good point. How does one become the Chief of a department without some educational background?

Posted by THISMUSTSTOP on July 23, 2007 at 4:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Six months before Thomas took over, an explosion killed nine people and injured 30 at the Albright & Wilson chemical plant..."

Look at the irony here:
On June 17th. Albright & Wilson set the wheels in motion that made Rusty the Chief, then on June 18th. Sofa Super Store set the wheels in motion to end Rusty being the Chief.

You jumped all over the Albright & Wilson explosion didn't you? Playing all the right cards. Ironic isn't it? Karma is a B*TCH!

So maybe we only have to deal with Rusty until January '08.

Posted by straightstream on July 23, 2007 at 5:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow! That's a sharp memory-he and his dad ran Guthke as fast as they could. Guthkie was hit with numerous OSHA violations and if Rusty is, one can see the possibilities of him being forced to retire.

Posted by bootlicked on July 23, 2007 at 7:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I can't believe it took him fifteen years to get someone killed. I guess that is why we are called the holy city.

Posted by bootlicked on July 23, 2007 at 8:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Food for thought: with the way Rusty always had all of the same guys on the special teams (usar,map,hazmat) could you imagine if something bad were to happen at a chemical spill or ship fire noone else would have the training. Take a look at the 2000 annual and don't all of the special teams pictures look the same. With a couple of exceptions most are bootlicks. Oh, and the one man arson team. What happens if he has another heart attack(no more arson investigation) Only a handful of rangers get the special training and they are most all incompetent brownnosers. Big class 1 on the front of the annual what a joke. Rusty you are responsible!!!! I know you're too dumb to realize but you are definitely the one who caused the death of the nine men with every aspect of they way you shaped the dept.!!!!!!!!!!!! Apples don't fall far from the tree. I bet daddy is proud of you now although he doesn't talk about you much just Tommy.Maybe, your still on the outs because of the bringing the new truck back incedent. Ya'll are all a joke.

Posted by straightstream on July 23, 2007 at 9:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This department is a laughingstock now. It's not the way we wanted it. This is the result of one man being given too much without any qualifications.

Look at the fire. There is no scene control. Off duty and civilian are everywhere. There aren't enough scba's for everyone that shows up. It's all too much.

If a hospital or school ever goes up we will lose more than our firefighters. Citizens don't have to listen to us about anything but know this: We were certain a tragedy would take place on our department because we are reckless. Think about that and try to look past the new trucks and the friendly manner of the chief.

Would you want a nice guy without qualifications to work on your kidneys? No. Why pay taxes for a service that wastes money-because when the changes are required it will take a fortune to conver the apparatus and get the men trained to the neccessary level.

Posted by oldcap on July 23, 2007 at 10:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have spent 18 + years fighting fires in Charleston. I really had no issue with the chief personally prior to the fire on June 18th. He has always treated me well though issues arose over the way the department fails to do any meaningful training and we lack the equipment of a modern department..

After June 18 the personality of the chief no longer mattered. All of my men are furious. What has to happen to us to wake up the mayor? This chief is dangerous.

You'll be told morale is fine but it's not. They will say changes are taking place-where? Nothing changed and that saddens me.

I wanted no part in the union and none of my guys messed with it. Now we are all going to join and out of the remaning 8 people on the other shifts, six are also going to join. It's happening department wide. Two men who have always been close to Chief thomas are openly saying the next chief needs to be from outside. You don't know how rare it is to hear part of the chief's in crowd speak openly against him. One chief officer, maybe the closest to him, has been mentioned by guys as the next guy. He's discussed it with his buddies, one of whom is fed up.

We need protection and the mayor and councli doesn't care.

Posted by kprin on July 23, 2007 at 10:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well here we go.This is addressed to all the current or past cfd employees that I believe to be disgusting individuals.Yes you bootlick and your are not just a disgusting disgrace to the cfd, but you are also a stand on the soap box of our nine dead brothers and friends under this pretense you want to be the champion spokesperson that saves all future firefighters the same are nothing more than the stop sign or traffic light put up at an intersection after a fatal wreck. if you believed so strongly about all you write you would have stood up and be heard a long time ago. but we can't expect that from a coward who, even after such a devestating incident, still hides behind a screenname,bashing all aspects of the dept. and its heads.picket in front of central station for your nine brothers,you cowards, stand up and be heard the right way.and don't even try to call me a ranger because i'm sure you know me, and i fell from grace a long time ago when i put 15 into the back of 4.i know you and your cowardly self can not believe that any of these nine brothers would want to see an obviously uneducated person air the laundry of this dept. that has nothing to do with this the subject, hats off to you tumminia for not hiding behind a screename.and now you all know who i am, if you have anything else to say to me about what i have written you need to come to bootlick central here at station six and say it like a man, face to face. the same way you should be saying all these things about our teams and chiefs.i promise you i will never look at this forum was a first for me and i have been moved to disgust by cowardly bravado floating on top the memory of my coworkers and good friend. cannon st. kevin prin!!!!if anyone wishes to debate the finer points of firefighting or administrive ops or absolutley anything you know where to find me, or you could post comments about my intelligence or anything else that i will never read just like the cowards you all are.peace, love, BMA.

Posted by bootlicked on July 23, 2007 at 10:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Morale hasn't been good for a long time . We used to joke about different ones going postal. The union is a wise choice. There you have a voice and there is power in numbers.

Posted by bootlicked on July 23, 2007 at 11:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Kevin Prin? What are your thoughts on the issue at hand? Who's the coward? Who's uneducated? I hope M. Davis is your Capt.What do you think of Rusty? Come on coward tell the truth.

Posted by straightstream on July 23, 2007 at 11:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Note how no one debates the facts.

Fact: Nine men died in a fire because of extraordinary incompetence on the part of the Chief.

Fact: The training officer can't train because he isn't qualified.

Fact: OSHA standards and modern practices are broken on a daily basis.

Fact: Morale in the department is at an all time low.

Fact: Lawsuits will cost taxpayers a fortune because civil lawsuits will uncover a department with a false front.

Fact: We buy new apparatus at ridiculous prices and fail to equip them to do the job.

Fact: Our fire chief is being mocked. The video of our performance is being used in other departments to stress what goes wrong when there is no incident command, no accountability, no sector commands, no one to manage the water supply, hoses that are anicent, ladder trucks that don't come close to flwoing the gpm their tips are rated for and 2 dozen other items.

Fact: Charleston residents are paying far too much for what they receive. We PAID far too much for in blood to allow this to continue.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 24, 2007 at 10:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote straightstream "Fact: Our fire chief is being mocked. The video of our performance is being used in other departments to stress what goes wrong when there is no incident command, no accountability, no sector commands, no one to manage the water supply, hoses that are anicent, ladder trucks that don't come close to flwoing the gpm their tips are rated for and 2 dozen other items.

You are correct with this statement straightstream, experiences are the best training tool. As an officer I regularly check the closecalls website and incorporate what happens in the stories into regular training. With the internet, I am sure Mr Pundt's video has become a part of training around the world as well as a lot of the other pics and videos. You can see the whole picture, there are no excuses, the white hat is there at the front door, improperly dressed, certainly not doing the IC thing as he should. That picture I saw the other day tops eveything, the fellow in bare feet pulling a line, unbelievable.
I am sure no one blames our brothers for what happened, this was a systemic failure and the brunt of the blame lays on the shoulders of administration.
Who cares if someone gives their real name, what purpose would it serve except maybe to get them some repercussions, it is more important that this is kept in the open until change is made and Charleston FD can get on par with today's firefighting standards. The most important thing here is the safety of all our firefighting brothers, including you Mr. Prin. Are you really happy with the way your department is run, 2 1/2 supply lines, booster reels, little used PPV or TIC's, no rehab, RIT, Accountability. Your department needs to come up to today's standards and with a Chief that denies there is even a problem it is not going to happen, you better get a new one, SOON!

Posted by straightstream on July 24, 2007 at 3:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The bottom line is to learn. The chief won't learn because he doesn't want to learn.

Posted by Wilmot on July 24, 2007 at 8:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, well, well. Another guy using his real name. Mr. Prin who used to be employed by Horry county F.D. He was a big antagonist up there, always trying to buck the system. But that didn't work did it Kev? So, move somewhere else and make a new name for yourself. You asked yourself, What aproach should I take at my new home? Wait I know, I'll be a total buttlick and be liked by the administration instead of hated for trying to change things for the better. Bad choice Kevin, now the only people who want you in their little circle is the guys who don't spend 24 hrs with you at the station. Your really going to make alot of friends now Kevin. And the falling out of graces satatement, if you ever fell out of graces you'd be riding the back of E-20 right now. Sure do wish my Daddy was a FDNY fireman.

Posted by straightstream on July 24, 2007 at 8:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The mayor is waiting out the storm but it's just gathering speed. here come the outsiders.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 24, 2007 at 8:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe outsiders regarding Charleston, but brothers in the fire service! :-)

Posted by bootlicked on July 24, 2007 at 9:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I never met the boy(kevin Prin). Don't think that I missed much. Speaking of disgusting, he has a daddy that works on NYFD and is this much of an idiot when it comes to the fire service. I don't believe before his post noone had even once mentioned him. They mentioned the fire and the shortcomings of the chief and his cronies. Sounds to me he is trying to get in his good graces again. Oh I guess I did mention him if he is the one who wrecked the truck, but I took up for him. Well better hurry and get back in the little circle of idiots that Rusty surrounds himself with because his days are numbered. He hasn't even been around long enough to understand what I'm talking about in my many posts. Prin what do you think needs to change about the CFD? Come on dazzle us with your wisdom. Do you think Rusty deserves respect? I bet he is like Robby and is jealous that he isn't the one getting all of the attention.

Posted by straightstream on July 24, 2007 at 9:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I mean outsiders as far as people looking into what happened which I think is a great move. We need outside scrutiny.

Posted by Re2 on July 24, 2007 at 10:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well I think outside attention is what you are going to get. You need it. I see so many departments that run like you guys have described the CFD. I all to often hear the comment in the fire service "Its all in who you know". Thats crap. You get hired or promoted because you are a bootlicker, and some guy who has made an effort to educate himself and learn the job remains a plugman because he is too vocal. I wont mention any names But I can think of a large department here in Alabama where I was shocked to find out that the Lieutenants and some of the captains held nothing more than a firefighter certification and a medic license. Thats why guys are getting killed. I read an article last week in Firehouse that said, firemen arent finding new ways to die, its the same ones that have been killing us for years. The number one is lack of training. And as for the outside attention, correct me if I am wrong, but according to NFPA booster lines arent sufficient flow for car fires much less a house or warehouse. And if it is SOP to use them maybe that should be brought to their attention.

Posted by straightstream on July 24, 2007 at 10:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who thinks Robert is making a move for the job? Though he's thick he's more qualified than the current chief. If they are smart they'll bring in someone from outside because we need it.

Posted by Wilmot on July 24, 2007 at 10:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What are you kidding? He's driving around in the old Tahoe. Why? Yes he's more trained, he's more apt to adopt proper tecniques and buy better equipment. But, he's got no dignity, he has been nothing but a Smithers(the Simpsons) since day 1. If the Thomas's had run my grandfather out of his job position( head mechanic) I wouldn't give them the time of day. Instead, he's been a disgusting yes man from the time Batt. chief R. Thomas became car 1. And straightstream, they're not smart, they're corrupt, otherwise we'd be leading the country in training and equipment instead of teaching people what not to do.

Posted by straightstream on July 24, 2007 at 11:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was being sarcastic. I knew Mr. Connie, the grandfather. Good man. If he knew how jughead turned out, he'd be livid.

My point is that there is a lot of backstabbing going on right now. Two bats think Rusty is as good as gone and they are playing it to move themselves into contention.

The assistants are worthless. None of them would ever ascend though one is a guy I enjo being around.

Posted by Wilmot on July 25, 2007 at 12:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Lewis Mulkey, Brad Baity, Mike Benke, Billy Hutchinson, Earl Drayton, Mark Kelsey, Micheal French, Melvin Champaign, Brandon Thompson. GONE BUT NOT FORGOTEN.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 25, 2007 at 8:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes Wilmot, never forget them, HONOR them. The best way to honor them now though is to LEARN from them. Ask tough questions, DEMAND ANSWERS. Find out what went wrong, leadership, equipment, training (or lack there of). DEMAND CHANGES. If the problems that allowed these brave men to die are not corrected, then they really did die in vain!

Posted by easy on July 25, 2007 at 1:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Myrtle Beach Fire Chief Alvin Payne says. In the article. Well now, just go back a few years and ask some of the other old timers about Fire Chief Alvin Payne's real thoughts on booster lines and when you used them. Might get a different story, than the one he gave the newspaper.
Alvin, Alvin he the man, if he can't do it, sorry I forget, he can, just ask him, he'll tell you.

Posted by straightstream on July 25, 2007 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Where's the union? People expect the IAFF to do something and Yow is doing nothing. Where is Yow?

Posted by straightstream on July 25, 2007 at 5:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And at least Payne can say they don't do it now. We are still stuck being expected to pull a booster.

Posted by Re2 on July 25, 2007 at 5:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Has anyone been reading the news about the captain from Florida who was reprimanded for leaving his 20 dollar T-shirt at the memorial? How sad.. And furthermore, the comments of the one person who said we were doing nothing more than stealing tax payers t shirts by leaving them there.

Posted by straightstream on July 25, 2007 at 6:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Where's Rusty? Who is reading the paper to him?

Posted by BamaAnn23 on July 25, 2007 at 6:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe some firefighters did grab these hoses because they were trying to put out the fire with any means possible.....Unless I was there on the scene and knew they were the 1st defense and not just a desperate attempt of a firefighter to save his buddies, I sure will not critize the actions of any firefighter........

Posted by straightstream on July 25, 2007 at 6:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

wrong link.

Posted by straightstream on July 25, 2007 at 6:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So Bama you weren't- we were. And we are critical.

Posted by straightstream on July 25, 2007 at 8:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That's what I can throw my weight behind!

Posted by Re2 on July 25, 2007 at 8:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Posted by straightstream on July 25, 2007 at 9:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We have nine brothers dead and clowns are arguing over a shirt.

Back to the issue at hand.

What's got to me the last few days are the faces of the young guys. They don't know what to do. Talking with one at the Waffle House he just felt we'd been betrayed. He's correct.

Posted by Re2 on July 25, 2007 at 9:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

straightstream, I hope you dont consider me to be one of those "clowns". I just thought that the friends of these nine men should see that..

Posted by straightstream on July 25, 2007 at 9:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm saying it's ridiculous to argue over a shirt. We appreciate everything everyone has done but we have issues to deal with here. Why post it on this thread where we are trying to discuss issues that matter to those of us doing the job.

Posted by straightstream on July 25, 2007 at 9:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Back to the young guys - they seem lost-well more so than normal.

Hell everyone looks a bit lost.

Posted by vesta on July 25, 2007 at 10:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Fire personnel are NOT paid enough to do what they are normally supposed to do: put their lives on the line each and every day to save property and lives. If you asked an ordinary citizen to don all of the proper gear of a fireman, they would probably become claustrophic. Now, ask them, with the weight of that gear to run into a burning building, and they would turn and run in the opposite direction. The Chief has made much of personally hiring all of the fire personnel who work for him, but I haven’t heard him once, since June 18, taking the responsibility (1) for NOT properly training these individuals, (2) for NOT making certain they are provided with the proper equipment and (3) for conducting a chaotic Incident Command on June 18 that resulted in nine tragic deaths. It is time to heed your own words, Chief, and “stand tall” and admit that mistakes were made at the top and have been for some time. BEFORE any reports come out, Mayor Riley (or Governor Sanford if the mayor will not) would be politically and morally wise to conduct his own investigation into the CFD and this incident. Let all fire personnel speak freely without worry of losing their jobs.

Posted by Re2 on July 25, 2007 at 10:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is it true that CFD orders trucks without pre-piped deluge guns in order to make room for additional hose reels?

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 9:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 1:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey guys, Been reading and catching up on all these different message boards(went out of town for a week on family emergency). Thought I lost you all there for a bit...Thanks SSM for letting em know where everyone was hanging out.

Unbelievable...all I can say for now on this page...unbelievable...I certainly hope SOMEONE is listening who can make a difference.

Boot..when you buying coffee? :-) Ahh heck...I know what you guys make, I'll buy...(grin) Don't worry I won't tell the City who you are...sounds more like they run the place like a Communist government instead of a democratic one...I'm scared and I am usually fearless...Rusty has OSHA too?????

Are you guys telling the truth about all of this stuff or just embellishing a bit for the fishing story effect?? Seriously...not kidding...I'm really seeing a much larger picture and am......speechless.

Straightstream...I'll buy yours too!

Posted by east3 on July 30, 2007 at 4:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Any CFD FF or officer willing to risk speaking anonymously, but face to face with a reporter about the fire or about the department, use this site to contact me by email and I will reply with more information. If there are more than one, and you know each other, maybe one guy can do this. I will post this on other threads too, as I do not see some of the regular contributors here. I am not there but would be a go between if I can. They want to hear from you. This guy has stood up for you in the paper. For my part, I went on the record on the booster lines and am working with one member of council in hopes he will come out publicly. I was credited with finding the photo showing the collapse warning of the front wall cracking open. May be an upcoming P&C story. If you want some union protection I may have some union contacts too, though I don't know how much they can do there. The IAFF has sued before to get people their jobs back for retributive firings.

Consider this a plea from those who want to help. The post by engineercfd about the fire scene was heartwrenching. It should be on Anderson Cooper 360. I'll try them again too.


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