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Lapse in protection concerns some experts

The Post and Courier
Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some firefighters and fire safety experts say it's troubling that some department chiefs, identifiable by their white helmets, are not wearing full protective gear on the scene of the sofa store fire.

Tyrone Walker

Some firefighters and fire safety experts say it's troubling that some department chiefs, identifiable by their white helmets, are not wearing full protective gear on the scene of the sofa store fire.

Men in shorts and T-shirts pulling firehose. Firefighters wading through toxic smoke without air packs. Others, with open coats and no helmets, standing mere feet from a flaming, crumbling facade.

These were among the numerous instances in which Charleston firefighters placed themselves in unnecessary jeopardy at the June 18 fire at the Sofa Super Store, dozens of firefighters and fire safety experts say.

Charleston Fire Chief Rusty Thomas said Wednesday that everyone who entered the building to fight fire, including the nine men who died, was fully dressed in protective coats, pants, helmets, air masks and other gear. But he said he doesn't hold people outside burning buildings to the same standard because they are at less risk.

But federal workplace safety rules and nationally prescribed standards call for firefighters to dress in full protective gear whenever they set foot on the scene of a structural blaze.

"Anyone that's actively participating in the suppression of that fire, inside or outside, is subject to those standards," said David Diehl, a captain with the East Chicago Fire Department in Indiana and an OSHA compliance instructor for private industry. Not wearing full gear is dangerous and it can open the city and department to huge legal liabilities in court, he said.

While firefighting is an inherently dangerous profession, protective gear offers firefighters their best chance of avoiding serious burns, smoke inhalation or worse.

Photos and video footage from the sofa store fire have prompted questions and criticism from numerous firefighters and fire safety experts from around the country, in part because some images show the department chiefs not properly wearing safety equipment. These are aspects that state and federal investigators will look at as they examine the fire and the department's procedures and training.

Henry Howard, a retired fire chief who lives in Vallejo, Calif., has served on state and national fire safety committees. Howard said he was stunned to see images of some Charleston firefighters running around outside the blazing building with open coats, no helmets, eye protection or gloves.

"You see it over and over there, and it's a complete breakdown of the system. That is their first line of defense, it has to be there," Howard said. Safety standards "do not seem to be ingrained into that department's psyche."

The helmets, boots and jackets worn by firefighters are as much a part of the profession's iconic image as red fire engines and loyal Dalmations. Over the years, technological improvements have made this gear lighter, more durable and capable of withstanding greater heat. But the best equipment in the world can be worthless if it's not worn or not worn properly, experts say.

Photos show safety lapses

Newspaper photos culled from a variety of Charleston fires in recent years show a troubling trend.

In one taken at a fire earlier this year on James Island, a firefighter with no mask or coat clears away smoldering debris from the interior of a charred building. In another, taken at a 2002 fire at the Francis Marion Hotel, a firefighter with no helmet or air mask peers from the window of a smoke-filled hotel room. In a third, a battalion chief scales the roof of a burning home in 2002, his air pack left behind and his suspenders hanging down to his knees, where they could catch on something and cause him to become trapped.

Thomas examined these photos and others Wednesday and said he saw no cause for alarm. All of the firefighters pictured appeared to be properly outfitted for the task at hand, and none was fighting an active fire, he said. Thomas said he doesn't see a safety issue with loose suspenders as long as a firefighter's pants stay up.

Jay Lowry is a former Charleston firefighter and former city fire marshal. He left the department in 2000 for health reasons and is now a contributor to national firefighting journals and a member of national fire safety committees. Lowry also writes an Internet blog that covers the fire service and has been critical of the department's handling of the sofa store fire.

Lowry said he doesn't fault the department's rank-and-file firefighters because they are merely acting on their training and following orders. But he said the department's leadership has always had a cavalier attitude toward safety.

"When I was with the city, there were numerous times when firefighters, including myself, were not fully protected. It was our responsibility to wear it, but it's the chief officers' responsibility to enforce it," Lowry said. "The attitude was: This is the way we've done it since 1886. There was no pulling back and going back to get equipment because you would lose status among your peers."

Charleston is not alone. Repeated national firefighter fatality and injury studies have shown that fire departments across the country fail to follow safety mandates and recommendations. This stems from the profession's aggressive mentality and a strong adherence to tradition, fire safety experts said.

Lax safety at the sofa store fire?

Many firefighters on the scene of the sofa store fire were dressed in full gear, highlighting the fact that many others were not.

Off-duty firefighters scurried about the scene, carting hose and chipping in, while wearing shorts and T-shirts. A fire department employee, wearing nothing but a short-sleeve shirt and slacks, chopped a hole in the burning building while firefighters in full protective gear stood behind him with a hose. Another firefighter, wearing no jacket, gloves or air pack, climbed to the top of an aerial ladder truck while thick black smoke choked the air around him.

Paul Grimwood served more than 35 years with fire departments in London and New York and now writes books and journal articles on firefighting tactics. Like several experts who viewed photos from the sofa store fire, Grimwood said he was most troubled by the fact that department chiefs, identifiable by their white helmets, are among those without full protective gear.

"The few images I have seen suggest that several chiefs were complacent in their dressing of (protective equipment)," he said. "This does not set a good example to the firefighters or company commanders they oversee, and it certainly doesn't present a professional image to the public. I think it is a leadership issue."

Photos and videos from the sofa store blaze show the fire chief in various levels of protective dress. Thomas wears his protective coat open, suspenders hanging down, as he stands near the front door of the flaming store. Later, when the fire has been knocked down, he can be seen in a T-shirt.

Assistant Fire Chief Larry Garvin, who acted as an initial incident commander and entered the sofa store three times, wears street pants, no air pack and no gloves in photos.

Thomas said department rules required that anyone entering the burning building to fight fire be fully dressed in protective gear. But he said supervisors and firefighters outside the building didn't need that same level of protection. They were not as close to the flames and the billowing smoke was drifting up and away from them, he said.

Thomas said he didn't have a problem with off-duty firefighters pulling hose, pumping water or assisting with other ancillary tasks while wearing civilian clothes. "But they could not fight fire if they didn't have on protection."

Jeffrey Stull is president of International Personnel Protection in Austin, Texas, which advises the National Fire Protection Association on standards for protective equipment. He said firefighting gear is designed to work together as a shield, and any missing piece exposes firefighters to greater harm from smoke and heat.

Stull, who also takes part in federal firefighter fatality investigations to determine how protective equipment functioned, said firefighters sometimes fail to wear all of their gear because they think it hinders them.

But there's no excuse for not wearing gear, and it's up to department leaders to instill a culture of safety in the ranks and to lead by example, Stull said. He said he was commenting only on fire safety measures as a rule, not the Sofa Super Store fire.

Rich Duffy, a health and safety expert for the International Association of Fire Fighters, said he is concerned about the lack of air packs on the scene of the sofa store fire, which emitted a thick black cloud of dangerous gases from hundreds of pieces of burning furniture.

Burning sofas emit dangerous fumes because they contain polyurethane foam, a highly combustible material that some fire protection experts liken to solid gasoline.

"It's highly toxic. It certainly requires a breathing apparatus," Duffy said. "There is no justification for not having one on."

Thomas said he believes his department acts in a safe manner. Over the years, the department has adopted new equipment and techniques to reduce risks, such as equipping each firefighter with walkie-talkies and emergency alert devices. He said he is prepared to enact safety recommendations that might result from investigations into the sofa store fire.

"If we can do something to make ourselves safer, we will do it," he said.

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

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This article has  246 comment(s)

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 26, 2007 at 1:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This pic gets me, almost looks like this fellow has bare feet while advancing hose.

Posted by secwind7 on July 26, 2007 at 7:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Does our current fire chief have the nescessary skills to manage this very large dept, after reading this latest article in the post, it brings up some concerns.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 8:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Rusty should never open his mouth. There are hundreds of pictures laid out showing firefighters entering buildings when not in gear. He just set himself up big time.

Posted by bayview on July 26, 2007 at 8:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So far nothing found in the witch hunt would have saved those 9 lives. What caused the deaths? The fire. What caused the fire? Oh, we don't know that yet. a cigarette? an addition to the building without a permit? The only way to prevent the loss of a fire fighter's life at a fire is to prevent the fire. I'd trust my life and family to the chief any time, any day.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 8:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)


"Those" lives - they are my brothers. You aren't involved. If you were you would understand the mayor realizes something is wrong. Plus, if you had an ounce of understanding about the fire service, you'd realize that most City of Charleston firefighters KNOW this could have been avoided if we had leaders with education about tactics and building contruction methods.

Say hello to the Chief for me.

Posted by Re2 on July 26, 2007 at 9:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bayview, do you recall how long steel trusses are rated to withstand fire? Because last time I checked steel truss construction under normal fire conditions could be expected to fail within the first few minutes of burning, usually before the first engine arrived. But that wasnt avoidable was it??

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 9:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Amen Re2

Posted by jackie on July 26, 2007 at 9:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

i would like to know y chief garvin opened that fire door..that is what it is .a door to keep fire out..that is when the fire when into the main bldg....and in what stage was the fire on the loading dock before he opened that door and caused a backdraft....were any of the firement on the loading dock hurt at that time??? they already knew noone was in the main y so many firemen at the same time?? something is def wrong w/this picture...

Posted by chasff on July 26, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Before today I didn't want to comment. Now I must.The CFD needs change. I was in charge of an engine company on scene at the sofa super store and it was chaos. Orders were given that didn't make sense, we were placed in terrible positions and no one had a handle on how to fight this fire. It could have been 16 firefighters but seven came out. Oh and I'm not in the union, have never been in trouble, and am considered a good employee. None of it matters anymore. The truth is out.

Posted by carolinagal on July 26, 2007 at 9:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree bayview- stop trying to point fingers- Let the families heal already.

Posted by hawneena on July 26, 2007 at 9:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

chasff, thanks for your post. You were there and you know what went on. Too many people are making accusations that don't know squat about firefighting. God bless you and all the firefighters.

Posted by bigbrotheriswatching on July 26, 2007 at 10:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Riley pushed Greenburg into retirement, it's time he did the same to Rusty. Matter of fact he needs to do the same, gracefully.

Posted by randiroyal on July 26, 2007 at 10:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think all this mess about questioning the ability of the fire departments and their staff is ridiculous. Mighty funny how we yell "HELP!" from the ones "that don't know what they're doing" when the fire does start. Rusty Thomas is a wonderful man. He would never purposely put "his guys" at risk. Rusty truly loved each and every one of our heros. Rusty has one of the biggest families you will ever see. All of the firemen and women are his brothers and sisters.
We need to be questioning WHY the fire started and the blame needs to be placed accurately!!! Let's talk to the owner of the store or the building inspectors. We've heard Rusty's story now lets hear what the owner has to say.

Could you fill Rusty's shoes? Brothers died saving Brothers.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 10:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm on the job Randi Royal. We aren't a family because OF the chief. He has put us into too many bad situations. Unless you are on the job, you don't know. Further, being a good guy doesn't mean he knows what he's doing. He lost the respect of much of the department on 6/18/2007. Stick to watch you do for a living and let those of us who work there comment on whether someone is capable.

Posted by robert8096 on July 26, 2007 at 10:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

To all you firefighters out there, Please wear you gear and wear it properly. I would hate to read one more story where you or your fellow fighters loose their life.

I think the comments the chief made about the gear were dumb. Mayor Joe may want to think about having a come to Jesus meeting with him or think about replacing him. It is his job to make sure that his fighters are protected and trained. I would think since he cares so much for them that he would strictly enforce the gear wearing and be very vocal about the lack of training, but keep it in mind that it is your choice on whether you wear your gear or not.

Which is worse being fired or loosing your life because you followed bad orders?

You firefighters do a hell of a job and I highly respect you for that. Like I said above please wear your gear and tell them to kiss your A$$ if you feel that you are given an order that will put your life in jeopardy.

God bless you all.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 10:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here in the city a lot of us do wear our gear but it's not enforced. So a lot of guys don't.

Posted by Croft31 on July 26, 2007 at 10:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all, my heart goes out to my brothers, their families, and the brothers left to deal with the loss. Next, what we must realize is this doesnt only effect Charleston City Fire Department. This investigation is a must. Their will be a report, that if read and trained with, may prevent the loss of other brothers and sisters. This change isnt only needed in Charleston. There is a need for change across the state and the nation. Our 9 Brothers in Charleston paid the ultimate price. If we (Fire Fighters) learn from this and identify the changes needed, then those lives will not be lost in vain. Furthermore, The days of the "Good ole' Boy System", (This is the way we have always done it) are over. The way we've always done it is obviously not the best way if firefighters are dieing. This must be understood by the leaders in the state, to the Chief's of every department, to the firefighters working for those chief's.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 10:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

We are good old boy central.

Posted by SouthernLieutenant on July 26, 2007 at 11:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bayview, after reading your post, to tell you the truth, I had to step away from the computer and “cool down” slightly. Sometimes it takes presenting the situation in a way you may be able to identify with to understand what the “FD” community is experiencing. Let me give it a try, if you will.

Let say, you have a child who breaks his/her leg by tripping over a chair. You, as a good parent, take the injured child to the hospital. It is found through x-ray that the break was far worse than imagined and would require surgery to repair. The surgery is performed and everything appears “ok.” The next day your child develops a “fever” and it is found that there is an infection. Despite all valiant efforts by the hospital, your child dies. It is discovered the surgeon’s technique is not up with today’s standards and could be directly tied to the infection. When approached the surgeon say that there is nothing wrong with my technique; this is how I do it; I’m not going to change and I’ll do the same thing tomorrow if it happened again. As the child’s parent, what would you do in this situation? Would you bury your child and not talk about it anymore so you can start the healing process to get on with life. Or, are you going to make sure this does not happen to another patient? Even if you are not a parent, I feel that you would pick the latter.

Bayview, as a civilian, you look at the fire as an emergency. I, as a career firefighting professional, look at this as an incident. Because, if it is an emergency to the fire department, who do we call? The Sofa Store, as property, was a right-off upon the arrival of the first unit. The smoke exiting the building within the first couple of minutes told me that. I’m not going to bore you with a fire behavior class; however, a “little bit of smoke” coming from multiple openings of a large, open-spaced, building is a “bad thing.” The smoke has to fill up the “common area” before it starts to exit the building. CFD and St. Andrews FD laid it all out as career professionals with the rescue of the one trapped civilian. And, we all know that nine of my Brothers died to basically trying to save a building that was “done for” upon the arrival of the first unit.

Bayview, you may see this as witch-hunt. I look at the investigation as homage to the Nine and reducing the chances of letting this happen again. I would also like to thank you for your support of fire prevention/education.

Posted by randiroyal on July 26, 2007 at 11:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Glad to hear that you are on it straightstream(I think?). Not quite sure if you read me correctly, but I'm not questioning Chief's ability. I do not think people should be bashing someone of his authority in public for a judgement call that could obviously go either way. He has a job and he does it to the best of his ability. If you don't like the way he does it, then don't work for him. If you think you can do better, well go ahead.
I don't know what's going to happen with this situation, but I do know that the political crap needs to stop and the truth needs to come out. And futhermore, unless you are the one making the life threatening decisions, I don't think anyone's opinion really matters much.
Also, I didn't say that the Chief made the family, I said that the brothers and sisters make the family and that Rusty is a big part of THAT family.

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

You know what really is getting out of hand? The non firefighters posting defenses on subjects they have little knowledge of. Someone just said on another thread we knew when we took this job we could die, and another compared it to a suicide mission? The department heads are responsible for training these IC's so that they dont get someone killed. By all means this could have been prevented. Southernlieutenant said it best. They were sent into a building that was done in form the moment they arrived and ultimately lost. Anyone in the service for a minute could look at that building and know it was a goner. Why didnt the IC see that? Someone needs to answer for needlessly taking nine men from their families.. We are not expendable, we are human just like everyone else. We lost nine, the fire service will eventually replace their positions, but their friends and family wont.. remember that..

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 11:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Randi - Rusty is NOT part of the family. Too many people here on the shifts despise him. The people who love him are people like you.

I AM QUEStioning my chiefs ability and so are chiefs and firefighters here and around the country. We've been doubting him for over a decade. Rusty is LOST on the fireground. Please stop telling me how he is-I work for him.

Posted by Chas on July 26, 2007 at 11:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Straightstream: What bad situations does Chief Thomas put you into not to be a family? If your station does not act or care for each other as a family it doesn't have anything to do with Chief Thomas. There are plenty of stations that are very family oriented. They cook and eat together as a family does. They have each others back off and on duty probably more than their own blood given family members. Who is to say that you are actually on the COC FD and was there as an on duty FF.

Posted by randiroyal on July 26, 2007 at 11:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all, you don't know who I am or what I do, so mind what you say. Second of all, if you truly question someone who is your leader, then what does that say about you?
I'm glad to know that all of these people can pass judgement. Who died and made you GOD?!!!!!!!!! If you have all the knowledge, then walk a mile in his shoes. Maybe you will be our next Chief, hope not,but lets see how you do?
All of these bashers need to stop crying, grow up and maybe just get a new job.

Posted by Croft31 on July 26, 2007 at 11:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Chas: If Straightstream dont mind I'd like to comment simply---- S.O.P.'s and S.O.G.'s? It was said on a T.V. interview. Something to the affect "I dont know if our SOG's Meet state and federal standards but their ours."

Posted by cfdcaptain on July 26, 2007 at 11:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm a CFD employee. The firefighters are brothers but straightstream is dead on about family. The chief isn't a part of our family and he hasn't been for a very long time. We know the mistakes, not just at this fire but at others. Chief has played with our lives. That is going to stop.

And Chas-I know straightstream. Who are you? Fact is I haven't agreed with much of his stuff but he knows the real deal.

Posted by jackie on July 26, 2007 at 11:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

y did chief garvin open that fire door..that is what it is for .to keep fire out..that is when the backdraft occured & entered the contained was the fire on the loading dock when he opened that door..and what happened to the firemen on the loading dock...

Posted by Chas on July 26, 2007 at 11:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with randiroyal. If you despise your Chief you need to be the one to resign and go to work for another fire department who stands outside and is scared to go in and do the you can to save lives or keeping the fire contained from spreading to other houses or buildings. If the Chief doesn't know what he is doing than why is it important to him that each shift goes out and drills or pre plans. The COCFD is not a department that sits or sleeps at the station all day waiting for a call.

Posted by cfdcaptain on July 26, 2007 at 11:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Of course you agree with Randi.But you are wrong. I'll be glad to come to the station to talk about it. shift?

Posted by Maria on July 26, 2007 at 12:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am not a firefighter, I am not involved in law enforcement- I am only a citizen of Charleston who witnessed this horrific event. Every single day when I read the paper, drive by the store, see a fire truck- my gut wrenches as it did that evening. There does need to be an investigation into the cause and the effect of what happened. Unfortunately, blame comes along with that action. I think that the CFD knows the difference between right and wrong- nobody need to tell them that. They know what the news agencies and the bystanders didn't see that night. They are the CFD- the brave individuals that lost, and risked their lives that day. I am sad to see everyone debating on what is right... what is wrong. To LEARN from this is so it does not happen again is the goal here, right? I think everyone needs to step back and gain focus on that again. Grief shows its face in many ways, everyone has dealt with it- firefighter or not- it is hard to deal with in many situations.

I commend these individuals for their bravery, their line of work, and the fact that I could have been in this building- and they would of been ther to save me. Learning is the key- God bless you all.

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

Randi, With all due respect....STFU!! There is no room for judgement calls in our profession. Judgement calls get firemen and civilians killed. IC's are supposed to use training and experience to control scenes, save lives and property and keep us safe, not take a guess at it. Fires are predictable with all of our knowledge of fire behavior, building construction, etc. From what I've seen and read so far about the fire, much of which have already been discussed here, there was no leadership whatsoever and because of that 9 brave men are no longer with us!!
Bootlicker, straightstream, and the rest of you, stay safe. Honor your 9 brothers by demanding answers and changes. Don't let this happen again. Jim Knox, Dayton L-136

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

There were huge mistakes. They Mayor realizes it. Now we have some guy called chas yapping about family. We are a family. We are a fire dept. We lost nine men due to poor leadership without adequate training. In nine months these same guys saying "Oh the chief is fine" will be saying "Oh we were right all aong. Huge mistakes. "

CFDCap: Thanks for speaking up. More guys are coming forward and talking.

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

"So far nothing found in the witch hunt would have saved those 9 lives."

Umm, 1) effective preplanning and use of the knowledge gained from those plans to implement your tactics, 2) effective Command and Control procedures implemented, enforced and followed, 3) Use of personal protective equipment, 4) An incident commander that established and worked from a command post instead of wandering around the building like a tourist, 4) Hitting extra alarms EARLY (they had lots of calls before arrival that this was a working fire) or even having the dispatchers add extra equipment when they think it might be neeeded (its not like Charleston FD is running a lot of calls and their guys are too busy), 5) BANNING off duty personnel that are not in the accountability system from coming on scene and working, 6) Effective training to the NFPA standards and enforcement of those standards, 7) Willingness to write off a building if necessary, 8) the absolute renounciation of the "never have your picture taken becuase it means you are outside the building" culture 9) Training to firefighter 1,2 and 3 standards, 10) Training fire officers to NPFA company commander standards 11) attending State and NFA fire schools, 12) establishemnt of a meaningful training program 13) establishment of an impartial means to test for advancement 14) I can go on...

And for the people that will attack my knowledge, I hold a Bachelors DEGREE in Fire Administration (and grad degree in emergency management) and was a firefighter paramedic for over a decade. I am unsure if there is ANYONE on Charleston FD with ANY college level training. Sure doesn't look like it. I have seen tiny all volunteer rural fire departments that have a better ICS system at workers.

And before anyone gets on the "Professional Firefighter" mantra, the BEST way to refer to the guys at Charleston FD is "PAID FIREFIGHTERS." Professional is a state of mind.

I still haven't seen the first instance of ANYONE saying that the fire department was compliant with the FEMA incident command requirements. These are MANDATORY. I know for a FACT that several local fire departments, the dispatchers and the local rescue squad all are certified. Did the Charleston FD do so? Take the classes (free from FEMA.Gov) in the Incident Command System and then tell me they were following the requirements...

having said all the above, let me emphasize that the Charleston FD is filled from top to bottom with heroic firefighters. I have NOTHING but respect for their courage and ABILITY to do the right thing. But they have to DO IT.

Posted by lyfe1999 on July 26, 2007 at 12:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

'Honor you 9 brothers by demanding answers and changes.' This is the best quote of the day. Demand answers and changes- it is the American way. Riley, and Rusty going into retirment- together. Now that's what I am talking about. But ofcourse that won't happen. Riley will turn on Rusty as soon as to many more damaging details come out about the fire department's handling of the fire. Rusty will be the scapegoat, but let me say Riley it is going to be too late. We see the both of you as peas in a pod.

Posted by Fire_Inspector on July 26, 2007 at 12:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Mayor Riley is a good man, but he has been in power too long. So he settled into place and puts up with his subordinates messing up because they are loyal to HIM.

1) Cheif Greenberg was sliding into wierdness long before he lost it on the freeway.

2) Rusty is still running the FD as a family owned business with all decisions being made by him.

Change may not ALWAYS be better, but stasis is always bad in the long run.

Posted by DoubleE on July 26, 2007 at 1:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The visible safety issues are a concern because firefighting is without a doubt a very dangerous profession; all the more reason to be fully prepared for disaster at any moment by wearing all the required protective gear when on the scene. However, the visible issues raise more underlying ones like how the administrative policies and practices that reinforce safety and continuous improvement are monitored for updating and enforced. Enforcement of safety can only come from leadership and their example; they must buy into total safety as the number one commitment for leadership. Our firefighters were quick to express support for their leaders after the sofa store tragedy so selling total safety should not be an issue but convincing leadership that it is important may be an impossible task. The mayor and chief too quickly endorsed the philosophy that all has been well since 1886, even after nine firefighters perished. A minor injury or near miss at a fire should cause the leadership to initiate an investigation with corrective action to preclude reoccurrence; a death should have given rise to an immediate call by the chief for an investigation and total review of all procedures including routine building inspections and communications to the firefighters. The need to morn and memorialize is important but the responsibility to simultaneously initialize an action plan, which may not be currently in place, that preserves the safety of our remaining firefighters is primary. If a similar incident to this had occurred in industry, I can assure you, the follow up would have been swift and far reaching. We should not expect less in our public sector. Leadership cannot fail to embrace change and improvement. We need a proactive approach to safety for our firefighters.

Posted by randiroyal on July 26, 2007 at 1:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

MIND WHO YOU TELL TO STFU!!!!!! GROW THE FU!!!!! Like I said earlier......if you're not happy with your leader, then what does that say about yourself. Have a great life in your miserable career.

Learn what the word "respect" means.

Posted by Re2 on July 26, 2007 at 1:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My My, such anger. I have not been happy with a chief in my time. I found a way to get rid of him. Now I work for a good one. Theres always more than one way out, sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper....

Posted by bigbrotheriswatching on July 26, 2007 at 1:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First off,
Let's not be disrespectful to the families of the fire fighters. If they feel the need to file suit, it is their AMERICAN right. If a court finds, or doesn't find in their favor, they will at least have had their opportunity to EXERCISE their rights as AMERICANS.

Thanks to the fire fighters on this site who are willing to share their experience and expertise. I am suprised how many question the fire fighters who are critical of the practices that were captured on film. The camera CAN'T lie!

When it is all said and done...and the smoke truly clears..

We can't operate a modern day department on values and beliefs, and practices from 1886!

We can't ignore national and international codes and reccomendations as if the fires in Charleston, SC are somewhat special and different from those elsewhere!

Riley says we recognize international building codes, what about fire codes???

How did Goldstein make an addition to his building without proper codes and permits only to have it discovered in the wake of this tragedy?

Now that the sprinkler fees are waived, what happened to all of those businesses who couldn't afford to comply with the amount of the fees in the first place and couldn't go into operation?

I always thought Joe was a Leprachaun, but I don't see any magic getting him out of this one!

Posted by Wilmot on July 26, 2007 at 1:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

randiroyal, you are obviously a relative or very close friend of Rusty's that is not in the F.D. I too would be upset if someone I was close to had two sides to them and I only knew the one side and people were badmouthing them. Please look at these comments objectively and take the emotion out of it or you will short circuit. The people that work for Rusty know the other side, and it ain't pretty. That side is spiteful and devious. Thats how unqualified people make it to the top. What if George washington had listened to the critics that told him, if you don't like it then leave it? Well we'd be all hailing the queen right now. If things aren't changed with the CFD then history will repeat itself.

Posted by Maria on July 26, 2007 at 1:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

All the fights, debates, and words exchanged are not going to fix this situation, or prove anything for that matter.

The only way to gain peace through this is to investigate... learn... and PREVENT.

There is no going back now. Just as someone notated "the truth will come out"- there is just no hiding from it. Don't waste your breath on the insults, debates, oraccusations. We can do something... by not letting this happen the way that it did that tragic day ever again.

Posted by ccso_retiree on July 26, 2007 at 1:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am a retired from CCSO and familiar with how the governmnents of this area operate.The only way to get rid of the good ole boy system which includes Riley and Rusty, is to make sure this investigation is done completely by honest,independent people and agencies.Several that died had more experience than those leading them, and something is seriously wrong with that. It never ceases to amaze me to hear Rusty speak of the greatness of these brave and loyal 9, however he did not see the need to promote these experienced great men to higher levels within the department. All firefighters are brave as are all police and ems workers, however police find themselves in danger 24/7.Everywhere they go they have a target on thier back. Once this tragedy happened I immediately felt for all the brave public servants who gave their lives in the line of duty in our state and around the country.Their families are not getting all the money these 9 families are getting, and trust me these 9 families are no more in need of money than any other employees family. National fundraising has'nt been done by people to help the families of others who have died recently.The children of police officers hurt or killed in the line of duty in this state get free college tuition for any state funded college, and I would hope that would also stand true for firefighters. Between the huge amount of money raised for these families, the monies they will get from the state and private law suits, these families will never want for anything financially. All the funds raised should be put in ONE UNIVERSAL fund to help all the families of employees killed in the line of duty.ALL the families not just the 9 of the latest tragedy. The sad part is we will all pay for the outcome of all the lawsuits because the wrong people will be sued. The city of Chas., Rusty and Riley are the only ones that should be sued because they are ultimately responsible. The SSS had a fire which was an accident,(as reported so far)the fire department responded which was thier job, and just because the wrong orders were given,the owners of the property and everyone else the lawyers of the families can think of will be sued which is really ridiculous.What is the reason for this more money?How absurd!We have many many retirees that got hurt on the job and are now disabled and having to pay most of thier retirement checks each month for health insurance coverage for thier injuries the rest of their life. Where is the concern and public support for these brave public servants?The tragedy of this fire is 9 men doing what they were hired and trained to do, followed bad orders whether it was against thier better judgement or not,and perished. Lets hope this never happens again and get rid of Riley and Rusty to make room for someone that does not belong to or believe in the good ole boy system and brings the much needed change to our city.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 2:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Amen brothers. This is a cover up but it won't last.

Posted by randiroyal on July 26, 2007 at 2:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As a matter of fact, I have never even met Rusty but I was and still am a very close friend of one of the "fallen" and his family. I don't question what actually goes on behind the scenes, my orginal comment obviously wasn't really read. I just think that adults should be just that and not bad mouth others and their decisions. Besides, complaining to the media isn't going make the changes that you so desire.

Posted by vesta on July 26, 2007 at 2:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To Chas and randiroyal: if you would follow the posts on this and other sites, you would understand that the CFD fire personnel have not been given adequate training or gear. There are many more rural areas of this state where fire personnel are both EMT/Paramedics AND trained firemen. These fire personnel (CFD) have families/homes in Charleston. They don't make a heck of a lot of money. They can't just turn in their resignations and find work elsewhere if THEY ARE NOT ADEQUATELY TRAINED. Thanks to your brilliant mayor, city council and fire chief, no one seemed to think it was prudent/wise/cost effective to give proper gear, enforce regulations (or even have them) and adequately train these people who are willing to sacrifice their lives.

Posted by burton on July 26, 2007 at 2:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It amazes me the comments that have come out of the Chief's mouth. Is he that arrogrant and stubborn. "I see nothing wrong with a firefighter fighting a fire with his suspenders hanging off his shoulders?" This proves how many of the people that are in leadership positions don't have a clue.

I teach motorcycle classes and some of our worse riders are those that have been riding for 20 or 30 years. They have just been lucky but then that one event comes along that highlights their bad riding habits over the years and unfortunately they lose their life or get seriously injured. I think this same culture was established at the CFD since the Chief took over.

Wow, the lawsuits are going to come hot and heavy once the State and ATF reports come out. I'm glad to see the firefighters coming out and commenting. You are brave souls for doing so. The good old boy system must be stopped in Charleston. The Chief and King Riley must go! I don't live in the City of Charleston, but why do you keep electing King Riley? He is more stubborn than the Chief and it's his way or no way! Isn't 30+ years enough of this guy? God bless the Charleston 9 and their families. Hopefully, leadership change will come and this tragic event will never happen again. I predict that the Chief will resign over this when it's said and done. I would hope King Riley too but I don't see that one happening!

Posted by vesta on July 26, 2007 at 2:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When the NIOSH report comes out and the next review by ISO, I would bet even money Charleston won't be a "1". At that point, insurance rates will go up for residences and businesses. If I was in industry and looking for a place to set up a new plant, etc., I certainly would not pick a city where a tragedy such as this occurred. If a fire broke out in my plant, building, etc. I would not want to be sued by my employees trapped in my building, fire fighters who were seriously injured or killed in the line of duty because the mayor, city council or fire chief didn't think it was necessary to provide adequate training and gear to the fire department and further saw no need to enforce standard regulations followed by a great number of other fire departments in less urban areas than Charleston. It is time for change. Charleston may feel it cannot afford it, but we cannot afford to have one more fireman die in the line of duty due to negligence from higher ups.

Posted by Fire_Inspector on July 26, 2007 at 3 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Even the firefighting magazines are jumping in and saying there should be a change! Booster lines at a structure fire?

Listen to this and the majority of radio traffic is concerning the darn traffic barricades... And the ICS is pitiful. All kinds of people just rambling on about stuff that is unimportant.

20 plus minutes into the incident and STILL no Incidnet Command Announcement. Never heard anyone call the collapse either. And Car 1 (Rusty) WAS on the scene and still no call covering who was in command. Never heard a call for extra alarms either...

Posted by robert8096 on July 26, 2007 at 3:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No lawsuit needed here just your vote to change things. If one falls then the other is soon to follow.

Great comments by DoubleE and ccso_retiree.

Let's not forget all the people including our military who place their lives on the line everyday so we can sleep easier. Also let’s not forget all the ones who paid the ultimate price. I for one do not have a problem seeing my tax dollars help the families of these fallen heroes.

It would be better than paying some of those good for nothing politicians in Federal, State and Local government. Let’s not forget the tax dollars that pay for the healthcare for illegal aliens.

I will use my vote to help change these things.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 3:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There needs to be a hard look at the negligence issue. A very HARD look.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 3:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by Wilmot on July 26, 2007 at 3:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

vesta, If you are a citizen with nothing to lose if you drop your anonimity, please send this comment or one like it to the P&C letters to the editor. I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you.

Posted by levans on July 26, 2007 at 3:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Disclaimer: I’m not with the CCFD, I do not know any of the Fallen or anyone
else currently on the force. I’ve met Chief once and found him to be a kind
person but know nothing of him personally. I have nothing against him. I
am not a fan of Mayor Riley, nor have I been for a long time. This
experience has put paid on that opinion. I’ve never seen more insincere
double-talk in my life.

Having said that, I was a volunteer at the fire that night and it was not
the first fire I’d volunteered at. It was, unfortunately, the worst. My
inexperienced point of view was that the scene was chaos even before Chief
arrived. When he did, the chaos seemed to grow, not necessarily because of
his presence, but because of the change in leadership.

I saw, and heard, first hand the frustration of many or our fire fighters
and other emergency workers. Conflicting commands, constantly changing
roles, differing techniques of the various teams present, and… the safety
issues. They were mentioned by some people in uniform even then. I can’t
judge due to my lack of knowledge, but I can trust what I heard and saw.

My opinion is that any lapses that occurred that night are not a direct
result of the 6/18 fire, rather the lapses are a symptom of leadership and
education within the fire department. As an emergency volunteer, I KNOW
that we are all trained, brainwashed even, to see to OUR safety first. It’s
the number one rule in emergency rescue. It’s noble to want to help your
Brother first, but that’s not the way it should be. All safety precautions
should have taken place first.

Another article today discusses an investigation launched by the City,
headed by the very two people who are at the center of the controversy (and
that is now what it is). I think this arrangement will cause more harm than
good to the families of the Fallen, the CCFD, and the City. Not only will
there always be suspicion regarding the findings of facts in the case, but
any facts that are left unshared could turn out to be something wholly
beneficial in future fires and other emergencies.

My recommendation to Mayor Riley is to have Council, not himself, hire a
separate, private firm or organization conduct the investigation and report
back all findings, uncensored, to the Council and public. From that we can
not only cure our curiosity of all that transpired, good and bad, but we can
learn from it, train from it, and share the experience and findings with
other fire fighters across the country.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 3:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

good call Levans.

Posted by Re2 on July 26, 2007 at 3:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

whatever became of bootlicked?

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 3:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by Wilmot on July 26, 2007 at 3:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

whar does that mean Matlock?

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 3:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by Wilmot on July 26, 2007 at 3:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That was real nice Matlock. I'll definitely be paying alot of attention to your comments from now on.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 3:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 4:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by Ihatelosers on July 26, 2007 at 4:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have read the articles in the paper and some of the comments on this and other sites and I have never heard so much jumping to conclusions without knowledge. SLED, ATF, OSHA and SSS's insurance company and others are all still investigating the fire, it's cause and our departments tactics at that fire. With all the manpower they are giving this investigation, none of them have published a finished report yet but somehow many of you know all of the answers.

A lot of the things being brought up have don't seem to have much to do with this fire but sound like people with a chip on their shoulder against the fire service in general or the City of Charleston and Chief Thomas in particular. Why not wait until the investigations are complete then you can comment in a way that sounds more rational and less like axe grinding.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 4:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 4:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by bootlicked on July 26, 2007 at 4:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Still here just laughing at your ignorance.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 4:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When you have used and watched the same tactics since 1991 it's not jumping to conclusions. It is a simple, straightforward look at why our department is staring at another year and a half of lawsuits and investigations.

The chief answers for his department. If he weren't into managing every aspect of what we do he'd have wiggle room but he is responsible for tactics, training and, more telling, his own comments which reveal an ignorance all their own.

When NIOSH comes out the proof will be in writing but even they won't discuss certain items. That's for a board of inquiry.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 26, 2007 at 5:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey bootlicked, notice MATLOCK is "YELLING"

Posted by DOUBLED on July 26, 2007 at 5:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am a volunteer fireman in SC and have kept up with what is going on in regards to the Sofa Super Store. I have never posted here before and will never post again. I just happen to be browsing here before the 5 o'clock hour and felt a need to comment.
I am not sure what good taking jabs at each other on this page is supposed to accomplish. It appears that there are several cowardly comments that are being hurled out with no basis other than an individuals opinion. If you have sopmething to say to chief Thomas then go to him. He is the Chief for a reason and unfornunately the only wrong doing that he has done is not taught a few of you a lesson in respect. We all know about opinions- they are like a$$holes.. everyone has one. Which brings me to what i really need to say. Straightstream, do you feel better at night because you actually believe that by putting down others makes you look better. The focus doesn't need be on you or the other a$$es on this page(you know who you are). The focus needs to be on the famlies of the 9.GOD BLESS
Get a clue guys.

Posted by engineercfd on July 26, 2007 at 5:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The fire that night was brutal. We arrived and everything was a mess. Supply lines, firefighters running around, Rusty screaming. We had zero accountability. No one knew how many guys were missing for a while. There were no checks like other departments. What are they called Par checks or something like that.

This wasn’t my first big fire but it was the uncontrolled fire I’ve been at. Only two chiefs seemed to know what was going on and both of them seemed to get their orders reversed too often. They were leading. My chief, a man I’ve loved for a long time, lost it. he does it at fires because he is so excitable.

I don’t know about incident command. We just pull up and go in and pump the truck. Ventilation is foreign to me and I’ve never cared because this was the way we do it. Now, seeing how we looked and knowing we didn’t take basic precautions, I’m sick over it. The only thing that went well that night was leaving.

Departments in Charleston – mt pleasant, st johns, st Andrews, iopalms. All have chiefs with education. They may not be pretty but they are doing something right.

For all of you who are defending rusty remember you are dishonoring Earl, Mike, and each of the 9. Inside your mind you know how the scene was. And its like that at every fire.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by DOUBLED on July 26, 2007 at 5:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't see it as dishonoring anyone. The dishonoring is in the hands of you who are creating a division among your fellow firefigters. OH. engineercfd, when did you become a psychic?

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by engineercfd on July 26, 2007 at 5:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Matlock or whatever - Feel like coming down and telling me I'm not an engineer? If you were looking at ip's it woukld clearly show where I'm coming from.

Posted by engineercfd on July 26, 2007 at 5:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

He's just trying to stop people from commenting. That won't work.

Posted by engineercfd on July 26, 2007 at 5:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)


The fire that night was brutal. We arrived and everything was a mess. Supply lines, firefighters running around, Rusty screaming. We had zero accountability. No one knew how many guys were missing for a while. There were no checks like other departments. What are they called Par checks or something like that.

This wasn’t my first big fire but it was the uncontrolled fire I’ve been at. Only two chiefs seemed to know what was going on and both of them seemed to get their orders reversed too often. They were leading. My chief, a man I’ve loved for a long time, lost it. he does it at fires because he is so excitable.

I don’t know about incident command. We just pull up and go in and pump the truck. Ventilation is foreign to me and I’ve never cared because this was the way we do it. Now, seeing how we looked and knowing we didn’t take basic precautions, I’m sick over it. The only thing that went well that night was leaving.

Departments in Charleston – mt pleasant, st johns, st Andrews, iopalms. All have chiefs with education. They may not be pretty but they are doing something right.

For all of you who are defending rusty remember you are dishonoring Earl, Mike, and each of the 9. Inside your mind you know how the scene was. And its like that at every fire.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by engineercfd on July 26, 2007 at 5:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That's funny Matlock. You just proved your own ignorance. Thansk for rising to the bait.


Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by engineercfd on July 26, 2007 at 5:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Please do because you are now accusing the paper of collusion. That's a serious charge you are making and also means the city fire chief is complicit.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by engineercfd on July 26, 2007 at 5:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Have forwarded your comments to the editor of the paper and the city spokeswoman. Your IP is logged so now you can explain to them how they are colluding.

Posted by engineercfd on July 26, 2007 at 5:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

just got a response. Thanks Matlock!

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by engineercfd on July 26, 2007 at 5:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Collusion would be if the paper and city were working together to reveal idenitities. If I were you, I'd look it up again. Oh, btw, good try with the id's delivered to headquarters since no one in the department calls it HQ.


Posted by engineercfd on July 26, 2007 at 5:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow is right because you are blowing hot air. You just made it worse.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 5:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Leave it alone engineercfd. I sent you a message about who he is-just read it and you'll see exactly where he is coming from.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 5:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Matlock - Slow down - you used no instead of know. C'mon Seymour - slow down.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 5:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 5:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's not the PC - it's the P&C. Why are you attacking us when we were all very close to the nine guys who died. Is this the way a Rusty supporter honors the memory of our nine brothers. You actions, and the fact you support Rusty, go a long way in showing the public how defenders of the Chief behave.

Posted by vesta on July 26, 2007 at 6 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So, the mayor is calling for a "review" board, to be headed by him, Chief Thomas and Police Chief Greg Mullen. Why the sudden change, Mayor Riley? I thought, back in June, you and Chief Thomas were of one accord--the CFD was perfect--isn't that why you have a "1" ISO rating??? "The city plans to bring in four to six consultants, culled from a 'very distinguished' group of fire service veterans" (read: those who will say we did nothing wrong). So, let me get this straight. The tax payers are going to (1) pay for a number of lawsuits resulting from the city not wanting to pay for proper training and equipment (2) pay to make a memorial site out of the SSS location (gee, I'd love for my kids to play in a park on a site where nine brave men lost their lives because of negligence) (3) pay for four to six experts who will NOT say that it was mass chaos that fateful evening. Gosh, it sounds like the tax payers ARE GOING TO PAY for a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided. If this "review board"'s report is totally different from NIOSH's facts, who will we then believe??? You don't go into a room where you have left a cat alone with a canary,find the canary missing, and ask the cat to investigate the situation. Internal investigation BAD.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 6:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This guy matlock is NOT one of our firefighters here in the City. He's someone using this to disresepct the memory of men who perished doing their jobs.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 6:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Excellent point vesta.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 6:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 6:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Many of us were ON SCENE, far closer than you. We lost OUR brothers and since two were VERY CLOSE to me I think I have better idea of what they would have WANTED since we talked about these issues while off duty or when we got together. Don't presume to tell me not to speak for my brothers. If you want to defend a chief you don't work for please continue on BUT KNOW THIS. YOU aren't honoring my brothers, you are butting in on an issue you have nothing to do with.

Please keep your id a secret because every brother on the job I can reach is going to know about you and one somewhere, be it St andrews, NCFD, or someone else will know you guys. So leave it ALONE. You've admitted you weren't THERE! You aren't in the CFD. BUTT out.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 6:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 6:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No way you were there before two of us!!! As for time, please, when I was hired Rusty was an engineer. As for the comments about Phil why are you bashing him? Is he not a brother? Oh, and bet on this, if you are cfd you screwed up royally. You better stay on here 24/7 and if one peep gets out about who you are it's going straight to city hall because you suggested the city was obtaining records. Watch how fast you get tossed for that comment. You better hope one of your pals there doesn't decide to come clean about what you are doing.

Posted by THISMUSTSTOP on July 26, 2007 at 6:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote from randiroyal;
"...but I was and still am a very close friend of one of the "fallen" and his family... I just think that adults should be just that and not bad mouth others and their decisions. Besides, complaining to the media isn't going make the changes that you so desire."

As a family friend, you may want to search for the truth so that others will not have to suffer the same loss. This is the way to truly honor those lost. Let their deaths save others. Don't fear change, embrace it!

If the people in-the-know don't complain and question, then who will? Rusty has heard these concerns for years and has done nothing about it. This is really the last step we can take. Most of my comments on here have been through tear filled eyes from sadness, frustration and extreme anger. I'm frustrated beyond my ability to understand or comprehend the extent of my frustration.

Randiroyal, enlighten us on what we should be doing. These investigative agencies
mentioned have let us down for years (NIOSH is the only one that I haven’t seen in action before, but they have no enforcement ability anyway), so please don’t insult us by asking that we wait. Moreover, waiting will only serve the Mayor because memories will fade and his Rusted Fire Department Head (‘Fire Chief’ has too much respect associated with it to be Rusted’s title) will slip through the cracks allowing ignorance to remain the standard for years to come.

Posted by garyscary on July 26, 2007 at 6:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

straightstream, I know who it is. Give you a call around 9.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 26, 2007 at 6:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sraightstream or other CFD help me out. Is the information correct that the men were found in 4 separate locations(4 crews) and that 7 others made it out post flashover? Thanks, Jim.

Posted by CONCERNED_NEIGHBOR on July 26, 2007 at 6:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I Am now living in SC, where I have made several freinds with in the FIre Service so when I say what I am about to say i mean it from the bottom of my heart. I joined the Fire Department when I was 15 (Now 38) in the north east and have been through many fire schools and fought many fires. As the SSS fire happened I was watching the news with my Father a 20 yr veteran of the FDNY and he was shocked to see a firefighter breaking the front windows out. He said there was no fire or smoke in the front of the store until the firefighter broke the windows. Well now that I have read this BLOG I see why, he was breaking the windows. Because another firefighter opened a door he Wasn't supposed to open. WOW, what happend to pre-plans, did they stop using them or has RUSTY not required them. Yea we all can say what we want, but the nine are lost. Its a shame though, because they were very smart people that were lead the wrong way. Has far as this panel investigating the fire; Riley and Rusty doesn't need to be on it, it needs to be a totally outside entity. Bring in the professionals. Before this Fire I would have loved to join the City of Charleston Fire Department. But I dont think so anymore. Firefighters keep your heads up and do whats in your heart. I lost 4 very close freinds on 9/11, so I ve been there. PLease know that we are behind you. This isn't a political issue, Rusty but its time to go and let these young educated guys run the department.

Posted by THISMUSTSTOP on July 26, 2007 at 6:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

p.s. I can't wait for the day when Fire Department Head Rusted will be known as "RETIRED!"

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 6:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gary: Don't sweat it. I know who they aren't and that's a brother.

THISMUSTSTOP: Excellent post in response to Randi.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 26, 2007 at 7:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Boys and girls....enough is enough already! Instead of using this forum to express your concerns, anger, to talk about mistakes that were made, mistakes that weren't made, your loyalty to the chief, blah, blah, blah, why don't you quit hiding behind screen names, band together and go to the chief or the mayor or the review board or whoever it takes to discuss these concerns? If the majority of you work for the City of Charleston Fire Department do you really think that your comments here are doing anyone any good? Do you think that anyone is going to listen to concerns of employees that hide behind a screen name? Why don't you band together, discuss your concerns and present them in a way that someone will listen. Anger and bashing each other isn't going to help. You aren't going to be taken seriously hiding behind a screen name. If you are worried about retribution from the what....there are laws to protect employees from harrassment and I don't think the City would like the prospect of MORE lawsuits over this fire.

From what I see, this tragic incident has divided a brotherhood instead of bringing it together. I think the 9 that lost their lives would be saddened by this. I can't imagine how the families must feel if they read all of this.

Will there be lawsuits out of this? You can probably count on it. So be it. But the only way to keep it from happening again is to voice your concerns. If I worked for an employer that I thought made me MORE at risk due to lacking of leadership/training, I'd seek employment elsewhere.

No need to try to find out my identity by my IP address. I have nothing to hide.
Lisa Curry

Posted by pa0401 on July 26, 2007 at 7:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am sick and tired of Thomas making so many excuses. No one is pointing fingers but he needs to see the need for change with the department. His tactics are outdated and he is making excuses everywhere. He may be a great man as some of you say, but great dont cut the mustard when lives are at stake. I would love to hear him admit to that fact that change needs to occur.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 7:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Lisa: Thank you for your comment. In many ways you are correct. however, for the next few months, we can't reveal our names.

It hasn't divided the brotherhood. It's shown the distinction between the brotherhood and a cult of personality that always existed. This has been an issue for over a decade. The fire on June 18 just brought it to the surface with some guys who had never spoken out.

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 26, 2007 at 7:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 7:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey, you left out a bunch of people. Including me.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 7:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

pa0401: Agreed. He may admit to it if given no choice by the Mayor. Otherwise, no way.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 7:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When 3" hose arrives, don't be surprised.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 7:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 7:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I changed my mind gary-call me.

Posted by tharris55 on July 26, 2007 at 8:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

These families are greedy no question. I now feel betrayed and stolen from. I gave money to they fund because I thought It would be going to education and housing costs. Its funny that they waited until after the fund raising was over to announce the lawsuit. I think they should give all donations back. I want my hard earned $200 back. I worked hard for it and I do not feel comfortable giving it to greedy people who want to profit from their loved ones death, I find that sick. Also most didn't have any insurance or will. What about the children who's father died in Iraq or in a horrible accident. The children of the firefighters will not have to worry about money for a long time because of the kindness of people like me. If they deserve alot of money then so do all the other children who are fatherless. And I would just like to point out that the people suing are black. Maybe they have always been victims of something? That is my opinion and no one can take that away

Posted by JC on July 26, 2007 at 8:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I hope I'm on this jury. I doubt if these two money grubbing familes are going to get much sympathy in a court room. This was a traggic accident. Things catch on fire and firefights go and do what firefighters do knowing the danger they put their lives in. It's in their blood as evidenced by those firefighters in shorts who stopped to see what assistance they could give even something as little as help hold a hose - they weren't in the building for heavens sake. I would think that The Post and Courier would have more respect for our City and our firefighters than trying to sensational this tragedy. Are you trying to drum up public opinion for the trial down the road so you can sensationalize that too?

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 8:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 9:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Matlock: When has he said he's welcoming change? After the deaths of nine of my brothers? You come on here and incite people to knock our brothers. That's a burden to carry Matlock. So Rusty's supporters, like Matlock, are encouraging people to knock those who gave money. Matlock-you will be ratted out. It happens to everyone.

As for lawsuits, it won't be two families. In the long run the city will find itself facing multiple lawsuits for various reasons ALL of which could have been prevented had the Chief of the department implemented up to date training and tactics during his tenure. Plus, don't forget the chief had ample time to make rudimentary changes and refused. It's all documented. The people on here defending him are his little group of people who will find themselves on the outside when the new chief is appointed. Therefore they are willing to pull out all the stops. Just like Matlcok.

Posted by straightstream on July 26, 2007 at 9:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm off to Baltimore for the expo. Plenty to talk about with our brothers.

Posted by SamKentov on July 26, 2007 at 9:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

JC, the post that you made was an insult to the Firefighter community. Have you also suggested to Geico that they start a new campaign with the theme "It so easy even a fireman can do it!" Next time save your $200, we've got you more than covered. I didn't know life can be so expendable.

And, about the lawsuit good for them. It appears as though this is the only way justice will prevail in Chucktown.


Posted by oldfric07 on July 26, 2007 at 9:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Just as one would expect there is a tremendous amount of emotion wrapped up in the public discussions of the death of nine brave firefighters. On the one hand it's all too easy to back the fire chief. He's a friendly person with an outgoing personality. On the other hand, as has been mentioned on multiple occasions, his ego is frangible and he lacks situational awareness. Couple these with a lack of education, failure to follow accepted standards, and operational tactics given up in the 1970's, and a disaster is upon the city.

Make no mistake - the chief is in a bind. By his own admission he doesn't care how other people do things. However the people who care are:

1. Firefighters
2. Lawyers
3. Legislators
4. Insurance Executives
5. Politicians

Now as a single entity any of these can be formidable. As an aggregate they are more than formidable. You can't overcome them. You'll keep your job for a while and then be allowed to forcibly retire. It's a difficult situation.

The Chief really though he was doing what was best. He believes in his methods. Ergo, he is a believer. There's nothing inherently negative about it as long as the believer is:

1. Is up to date.
2. Declares at the outset of a tragedy that all avenues will be explored.
3. Doesn't come across as arrogant.
4. Keeps the investigatory bodies happy by cooperating.

Ouch. That's going to leave a mark.

I agree with some on here who've said enough bashing has occurred. The problem is nine men died and that never goes away. People will have to go because it's a rule in politics and public life. No one understands this more than Mayor Riley. He's a shrewd politician and though his early statements were clumsy, rest assured he knows and understands what will happen down the road. It might not happen in the next month, or it could, but people will have to answer for the tragedy. Trust me-not just Chief Thomas.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 26, 2007 at 9:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

though should be thought.

Posted by vesta on July 26, 2007 at 9:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To JC and THarris55: First of all, there isn't a price on any human life. The families of these nine men DID NOT ASK for money to be raised for them. Is it possible that the city pushed this fund raiser in hopes the families might feel "compensated" and NOT sue over gross negligence?? I am sure, THarris55 that every one of those nine families would gladly give back your "hard earned" $200 if they could have their father/husband/son back.

Posted by SamKentov on July 26, 2007 at 9:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oldfric07, very well put.

Vesta, you appear to have a you-know-what load of common sense.


Posted by THISMUSTSTOP on July 26, 2007 at 9:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In my opinion when the City gets you killed b/c of outdated tactics, (at best)substandard training, poor leadership and the resistance to common sense: sue the hell out of 'em!

All of the other heros that you speak of should get lots of benefits. Guess what? Firefighters don't get some of the benefits that police officers get for LODD's. I don't know why, but they don't. No college paid for the children.

Tharris55, when I'm on the side of the road collecting for the children, please don't put your hard earned money in my boot.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 26, 2007 at 10:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Reading back over the comments it seems as though the inflammatroy comments were made simply to give the appearance that because we are discussing the issue people are thinking twice about giving. It's a ploy to enrage people.

Posted by THISMUSTSTOP on July 26, 2007 at 10:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It worked b/c I'm pissed. I think I'm just too simple minded. Just a common man really. S.C. public edukashun and all.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 26, 2007 at 10:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually I'm pissed as well. The comment I wrote was simply a way for me to avoid flinging a chair through the patio door.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 10:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by oldfric07 on July 26, 2007 at 10:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually Matlock is onto something. If the mayor departs the fire chief will also depart. The problem is we finally have a competent police chief and seeing him leave would be a blow.

The Mayor is not leaving. He will be re-elected with 60 percent of the vote. No one defeats Joe Riley in Charleston.

Joe Riley is a pragmatist. If he see's a loss of support, or if he learns he's been mislead about the fire department, he will act swiftly. Either way the fire chief will go because Charleston lives on reputation economically and any bad press is terrible press. With the lawsuits to follow and other investigations to be launched, the attention on Charleston will have an impact.

Further, other than the local review, other investigations will be highly critical of the department. The chief will be the center of interest. It's too much to overcome.

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 10:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by bickleseagrave on July 26, 2007 at 11:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, just taking a look at some of the multi media stuff, one TV station video shows the police, mayor and Chief Rusty discussing the upcoming inquiry, The Chief is still saying there is nothing that could have been done differently that night that would have changed the outcome!

Another TV station is advertising T shirts for sale with proceeds going to buy equipment for the Fire Department. How many shirts do you have to sell to buy 4 or 5 inch supply lines for all the rigs. Charleston is how big of a City, 19 Fire stations?

Posted by MATLOCK on July 26, 2007 at 11:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Posted by masmith53 on July 27, 2007 at 1:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the families of the nine firefighters and to the fire personnel who are left behind to grieve and to come to terms with what took place on June 18th. You are all in my prayers, and I think of you every day. I will never forget those taken and those left behind.

I have some questions that I would like answered only by someone with the CFD that was on duty at the fire.

1) How many people were actually taken from the burning building that either worked in the store or were shopping there?
2) I've read that Deputy Chief Garvin says that he went in and out of the building a few times. Did the firefighters do the same?
3) Were there any smoke alarms in the store?
4) Now, I'd like to know why, if there are so many personnel of the CFD dissatisfied with Chief Thomas, did it take a tragedy of this magnitude for you to begin speaking up? I realize that you can't just walk off the job, but there is power in numbers. Why didn't you band together, and voice your concerns?

Firefighters battle fires. That makes them warriors, as such. My greatest concern about all of the negative remarks, some of which are directed at the firefighters themselves, is that they don't feel alienated by the citizens of Charleston or anywhere else for that matter. What keeps playing over in my mind is the way that the soldiers were treated when they came home from Viet Nam. I pray that no firefighter that went to that fire to do his job ever has to be subject to that kind of treatment.

In closing, to you Matlock, the site gives you an option to preview your comment. I'd like to suggest that you utilize that option along with the help of a dictionary. Another word of advice to you...practice what you preach!

Mary Ann Smith

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 27, 2007 at 5:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Appears T shirt stuff is true
proceeds to Charleston Fire Department Equipment Fund

It is a radio station, not tv though

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 27, 2007 at 6:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Damn MATLOCK!! Looks like you do not know what you are talking about! Or is it "no"?!

Posted by oldfric07 on July 27, 2007 at 7:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

To answer the question of why didn't more people step up prior to the tragedy it's not unusual in any field. People will come forward after an image comes crashing down.

As to the comment that heat can't be brought on Rusty you are obviously not paying attention. Chief Thomas is getting and will continue to get a small dose of heat. He may seem invincible to some firefighters but lawyers and politicians will eat him up. In addition some of his closest associates are talking.

This doesn't go away. It sticks because we haven't seen the level of heat being brought yet. Give it a month and the real heat begins.

Matlock if you think Straighstream was outed you are incorrect. It's not Phil or any name yet mentioned on here. Keep trying though because he's one of the "Close" ones.

Posted by easy on July 27, 2007 at 9:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And if you don't flush it, sooner or later the BULL SH!T just keeps getting more piled up and the smell keeps getting worse. Mayor Know it ALL and Chief Rusted, need to be flushed before they kill someone else. Now, as for the ASS. Cheif you need the handle pulled on you as well.

Posted by chief800 on July 27, 2007 at 10:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mayor Riley numerous years ago you made a change in the fire department by asking Chief Guthke to retire because of how the FD handled the Albright-Wilson explosion. We did not comply back then as Chief Thomas is not complying now with the standards and modern day firefighting strategies and tactics. No firefighters died back then and the city received a fine from OSHA. So why is it that 9 firefighters have died and you have stuck by someone that has failed to acknowledge modern day firefighting practices and procedures and most of all failing to understand that he is way out of his league being a Fire Chief in a city the size of Charleston.

As the fire service in SC and in the US knows that them being a Class 1 rated FD is such a joke. Who created that they are certified? ISO is not a certification!!! Mayor you probably do not read these but there needs to be a rapid change in the leadership of the FD. You have done many good things in your time as Mayor but now is the time to step up to the plate and make changes in the FD immediately.

Posted by FIRSTDUE432 on July 27, 2007 at 11:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

To all the COC guys (and only COC guys): What kind of training program does your department have? I've been by one of your stations while on vacation and seen guys training. We had a chief that stopped us from training a few years ago because of the cost of fuel. Give me a break. That's just the cost of doing business. Now I'm proud to say that chief has been forced into retirement and we now have the greatest chief we could ask for. We now have some sort of training drill weekly. We now have a RIT agreement with surrounding departments and train with them every couple of months. We are too small to handle RIT effectivly on our own. I am glad to say that we have leadership that realized this and did something about it. I can say that I too have worked for a chief that I didn't have any confidence in. It was just a blessing that he didn't respond to calls! God bless you guys.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 11:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)


I think I misunderstand your intent for attempting to out the real identities of the CFF on here. What could you possibly gain? Your tactics seem vengeful and frankly disgraceful. If I have somehow missed your intention, I apologize...otherwise I am ashamed of you.

I do have to laugh, though...I mean, IF the city IS collecting names of these guys and plan to do anything against them, I would LOVE to be a member of the legal firm taking on those suits to follow. I would think that IF you are outing these guys to purposefully hurt their careers, then you could probably be named as well. It is always best to be careful how you do things and your motivations for those actions...there is always an attorney out there with fangs, ready and willing to drain the life out of someone silly enough to give them cause.

This forum was intended for ALL people to SHARE thoughts, and until YOU came here, that was occurring-sometimes heated, sometimes not. BUT it was all done with one intent, to ensure that no other FF ever has to die in this fashion again and to SHARE grief. It is the right of all of us to come here and voice our opinions, right or wrong, and do so either using our real names (as I do) or using an alias (as you do). For someone outing others, why are you so blanketed in secrecy? Are you afraid those men you are working so diligently to out might not cover your ASS in the next big one? There are names for people who go around outing the opinions of others just for a piece of 'something, something, something' from the big dogs.

It's a pretty sad day when people can't speak their minds for fear of retribution. I may not have agreed with what some of these guys said, mainly HOW they said it, BUT...they have the RIGHT to do so with or without using their names.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 11:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all, I respect the opinions of everyone here..but I have to say this much: For those of you worried about the application of your "hard earned" donations, I am appalled at you. You should be ashamed. The 'measly' monies collected have to be split 9 ways...9 ways, not, take out taxes, cuz Georgie won't let those slide, I'm sure...and the amount dwindles. Now, do these families get to keep their insurance benefits? If not, there's more money, and lots of it, because premiums are higher when you aren't getting them through an organization, and factor in that these families could have had a loved one working, earning potentially for the next 20 to 30 years. How much are we down to now?????? HOW do you put a price on a human life??????? You can't. Your hard earned $200 is split 9 ways...that equals about $22!!! Not even enough to cover the cost of one of Pasco Florida's Polo shirts! Let me tell you, if one of my FF family members is killed in the line of duty, I implore you to KEEP your $ fact, I can further tell you where to put it...

These families have a RIGHT to sue. They haven't said they are, the rumor is that they are contemplating it...and it is probably dependent on the outcome of the investigations. Trust me, it doesn't come out of the Mayor's pocket, nor Rusty's, they have insurance for that...and if a lax in policy and procedure is what contributed to the deaths of these men, then they deserve to get their butts lambasted. If this is what it takes for things to change, for policies to be updated, for people to become aware of realities in public service agencies, then so be it.

I am sure if you seriously want your $22 back, the city would be glad to oblige you in that...just don't try to claim it on your taxes...

Good grief.

Posted by vgirl on July 27, 2007 at 12:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I had to leave Charleston 3 years ago and move to Atlanta, and trust me I hate it here and want to move back. My heart, and my mom and dad are in Charleston. When I heard of this fire I immediately thought of my high school sweetheart who is a a city fireman and was horrifed to find out he was there, but thankfully he made it out. I came home recently and the first thing my dad did was bring me by the site and talk to me about that night and the funeral and how sad everything was. He really admires you guys, he was a fireman in the service. Most of you know him as the the man on the bike. But you know I have followed all of the happenings and have tried to keep my self pretty unbiased, knowing how "the good ol' boy" system works and in the back of my mind I was wondering. After reading all of this I see it is still alive and well.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 27, 2007 at 12:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There is no information being delivered to the city regarding the identities of anyone. That was a ploy by someone to stop people from bashing each other. However, instead of doing that it has caused a lot of anger towards the fire department because some members now believe it was true and are very angry at the Chief. It's not true.

What people fail to realize is the widespread coverage. News agencies, fire departments and the government is watching. Each day, rather than there being a reduction in interest, it grows.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 1:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)


This kind of thing only angers me towards the "system". I can see why guys in the FD would think it is true, because it appears to be a common thing in this department(I remember it from years ago). I am bouncing from page to page reading this stuff and seeing that some of the FF are even afraid to give the truth in testimony to OSHA and other investigators...What does this means for the true outcome of the investigation? Could it possibly turn out in favor of those that could really be responsible?????

I just hope this "ploy" doesn't end up harming people on the next fire scene...Be safe you guys!

Posted by dfiredawg on July 27, 2007 at 2:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well first of all to my brothers on the job in Charleston, I’m sorry for the loss. Next I don’t know how many of you read the secret list but it has been a very deadly couple of months. Just in the last week alone there have been 9 or 10 LODD’s in the US and Canada. We may try to prevent these terrible incidents but they do happen. It is a shame that a lot of them can be prevented. I just hope that once the investigation is over we find out these deaths in your city could have been prevented. Now I was not there and only know what I read so I will not judge the actions or comment on things I read unless it is something that bothers me like this article.
Now onto my comment about this article. As for opening up a coat, or taking your helmet off, I do it and I don’t see anything wrong with it so long as you are outside. So long as you put it all on before you go back in no big deal. As for off duty guys wearing shorts, and slacks, I don’t carry gear in my pickup and I have stopped in at fires and accidents many times before to help out. I see it as part of the job. Now I wouldn’t go too close to the building but I’d move lines or run a pump. It frees up someone who had gear to do the more dangerous parts of the job. For examples of this let me refer you to 9-11, and the station nightclub fire in RI. Plenty of guys off duty in both who just happened to be there and helped out. (I saw a picture of an off duty firefighter at the Station fire on crutches and some very old retired brothers at 9-11. none had gear.)
Well stay safe brothers and sisters. There have been way too many LODD reports lately.

Posted by vesta on July 27, 2007 at 2:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nine brave men will never be with their families and friends again. I wonder if, at the end of all of this (OSHA and NIOSH reports, lawsuits, “review boards”, memorials), someone will add up what this cost the tax payers of the City of Charleston. Then, I wonder if someone who “knows” something about fire departments, training, equipment, etc. could tell us how much training, equipment and hiring of upper level staff who have some common sense and education that amount of money COULD have bought BEFORE these nine men had to die in such a tragic situation. These firefighters on various sites are ANGRY but more importantly, they are very nervous that IF and UNTIL something PRODUCTIVE (not ‘in house’ reviews) is done to correct this situation, one or more of them could be the next fire casualty statistic. A politician is one who cares only about his own career. A statesman would never put his country, state, county or city or its residents in jeopardy for his own benefit. To the citizens of Charleston who read this site, get down on your knees tonight and thank God that these firefighters are still on duty (in spite of the fact that they have lost total respect for their leader and many of their department heads) and still willing to sacrifice their lives to save you. In the morning, call or write your politicians who run this city and ask them to use some foresight THIS TIME.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 3:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

AMEN vesta!!!

Posted by oldfric07 on July 27, 2007 at 4:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The constant is that firefighters, no matter how badly treated, always come to the aid of the citizens. In this case, more citizens are realizing they need to step up and write the Mayor.

Posted by Re2 on July 27, 2007 at 5:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So now according to bootlicked I am ignorant?

Posted by straightstream on July 27, 2007 at 5:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Checking in from Baltimore. Interesting talk with a NCFD guy.

A word to the wise - the fat guy from North Charleston is pimping out people. He's pimping out union and non-union in Charleston and the North Chucktown boys. Straight from their guys.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 27, 2007 at 5:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

straightstream, No offense but that's a very nebulous thing to say. First many people are bigboned, not fat. Further, what does a guy from the NCFD have to do with this discussion? Zero.

If it's who I think you are talking about I doubt it. He and I disagree on everything under the sun but he's no pimp.

Let's discuss the Charleston issue.


Expect the charleston panel to wrap up quickly. They need to get something out. There will be cosmetic (literally) changes but little of substance.

Posted by vesta on July 27, 2007 at 6:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

oldfric07: "Cosmetic" as in getting rid of the rust?

Posted by oldfric07 on July 27, 2007 at 6:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Vesta: No. As in uniforms.

Posted by bootlicked on July 27, 2007 at 7 p.m. (Suggest removal)

RE2 was talking about maylock

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 7:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That guy(Matlock, that is) must have crawled back under the porch to scratch his yellow belly, Boot...

Posted by NYer on July 27, 2007 at 7:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What bothers me a lot about this and other line of duty one seems to mention that this in an inherently dangerous profession...we are placed into many situations that we have very little control over and yet, are expected to be successful. Some of these places are and have collapsed under their own weight, without the introduction of fire or weather based challenges....and now, if the entire firefighting force that showed there had been wearing PPE this community may not have lost 9 guys. The people that write these guidelines have never faced obstacles of this nature before, only been involved in rule-writing, if it were one of my own I would be there in shorts doin whatever I could to show support that is needed by the remainder of the dept.

Posted by Re2 on July 27, 2007 at 7:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I see now.. NYer I agree about helping out, I have done it before off duty. Theres nothing wrong with it so long as you follow the proper channels.. And it didnt cause the problem it was part of it.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 27, 2007 at 7:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's a question for City of Charleston Fire Dept. members only, please.....
Have any of you been asked questions by the organizations investigating the fire? And if so, were you able to speak freely? Were you able to speak anonymously? Just wondering if the people that were at that fire scene were questioned about the events of that night or were the questions asked only of the chief and those that are second or third in command? Have you been warned or advised not to speak to anyone by the Chief or other top ranking staff?

With so many things wrong with the entire picture it would seem that the men who work at the department or were there would be asked their view on things.....

Oldfric07: Are you the same Oldfric that had a blog recently? If so, what happened? I'm not able to access your blog anymore and I found it very enlightning.

Posted by NYer on July 27, 2007 at 7:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The haphazard wearing of gear even by chief officers did not contribute to the death of those 9 FFs. A roof system that barely carried its own weight, then lost support due to fire, killed those 9 guys. Do the rule-writers really think that if every ff on that scene including officers, had full gear properly worn, God would have spared even one of those nine guys ?

Posted by Re2 on July 27, 2007 at 8:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have tried to make the same point in earlier forums..

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 8:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't think anyone commenting on their haphazard wearing of their gear is what caused deaths...I took it to be that it is a laxed system altogether in that the Chief doesn't make them follow safety rules, nor does he follow them himself. The ENTIRE practice of fighting fires is what they seem to be saying is the cause of these fires, from the top down...The calls made, the chaos at the scene, is an entire picture that they are working to get out to the public, not that the open coats and lack of pants were the cause.

While the roof is a substantial part of the loss of life, I think they are stating that it is the way Rusty runs the ship that is haphazardly. If tiles had been pulled, fire would have been seen, if trapped victims were out, why were there guys inside? Things of that nature...not just the roof and not just the uniforms.

Just my thoughts, guys, if I misrepresented your meaning to the reasoning behind your comments throughout this page, let me know...

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 27, 2007 at 8:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

From what I've gathered in reading all these articles and posts, I don't think people think that it was the "haphazard wearing of gear" that may have caused the 9 to lose their life. I gather it is a combination of many more was improper use of equipment, lack of a sprinkler system, but much more than that, lack of education in the fire profession, lack of training and a huge lack of leadership by more people than just the chief.

And please firefighters and citizens, don't send me hate mail....I'm not bashing firemen in anyway shape or form, but they can only be as good as the people that lead them, train them and educate them in their chosen profession. I have the utmost respect for firefighters, having been married to one for over 12 years. I know all about the low pay and the risk you face everytime that alarm goes off. Trust me, I stayed up many nights when my husband was at a call both as a paid firefighter and a volunteer.

I think ALL fire departments must have educated fire people from the top down! Does that mean firefighters MUST have a college degree? No, that is not what I am saying. But they must be constantly trained and educated about fire related issues to stay on top of their game. If you have a leader at the top that does not stress education and training and keep up with CURRENT standards then that leader is not doing his job.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 27, 2007 at 8:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickiegarbeil: Great minds think alike :)

Posted by NYer on July 27, 2007 at 8:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Unfortunately from everything I have read on this, it has been a process of pointing fingers and done by people that were not there....they seem to think these 9 men died due to the command structure of this dept. When an attitude of that nature is taken, it seems to lessen the value of the lives of those nine men and their families, with their FD included.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 27, 2007 at 8:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't feel anything that has been posted here "lessens the value of the lives of those nine men and their families..." In fact, the value of their lives and the loss to their families is immeasurable. This community has been through alot in the last month and many of us feel the pain of these families and their brothers/sisters in the department. It has touched us in our hearts and this community has dug down deep to give to these families, not only in monetary ways but in just showing support for the families and the fire department.

However, these families, these firefighters and this community deserve the truth about what caused this tragic loss and many of the posts on this forum were made by people that have the inside knowledge of the workings of the City of Charleston Fire Dept.

Trying to find out the truth of what happened does not lessen the lives of those men. NOTHING will lessen the lives of those 9 men. But finding out the truth may SAVE 9 more men in the future.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 27, 2007 at 8:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The idea of showing up and helping at a fire in street clothes is unacceptable. We use a two tag system red & green with accountability boards and accountability officers. To start with a working fire scene is cordoned off with yellow tape, no matter how large. If you are on scene on the fire side of the tape you must have tags. If you are not a regular fire department employee and you are on scene (Hydro, gas worker Etc), you will write your name on a green accountability tag and give it to the accountability officer. Everyone in the hot zone is accounted for.

The red tags are used when one is on air, this is announced and the time is marked on accountability board, when you come out you pick up your tag. PARS are also called on a regular basis, for those civilians here, this is a Personnel accountability report. I am from Canada, our Provincial dept of labour has been monitoring calls and watching our actions for safety, no ppe, you may get a fine.
This is all part of an Incident Command system, you must have both COMMAND & CONTROL to have the safest scene possible.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 27, 2007 at 8:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all the finger pointing started from people on the scene. There were a significant number of firefighters, chief, Captians, Engineers who discussed the tactics of the fire. Wearing gear is one aspect as it relates to an overall view of safety but it's not what killed the nine men.

Second - If anyone believes that this fire will only be discussed in a quiet corner they are sadly mistaken. This fire produced video, photographs, and more importantly the words of the Chief officers and others on scene in both on the record and off the record interviews. When the reports come out the people on here syaing "this had nothing to do with that" are going to look rather silly.

Third - The entire notion that select group of firefighters speaks the truth because they travel to Baltimore or New York is absurd. The union spoke out on this and the IAFF is heavily involved in trying to get the truth out. Protecting our own works but not at the expense of nine others.

The command structure of the department shoulders the burden. When the reports are out, the lawsuits have opened records and firefighters have given depositions with no training officer present to sit in and it all comes together, then those that perished will have had their say..

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 8:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Not at all...I think what lessens the department is the fact that 9 men died and it MAY have been past postings on other blogs, people who WERE there said the same thing. What lessens a department is hearing that these guys being interviewed are afraid of retribution, and are afraid to tell the WHOLE story. What lessens a department is finding out that ISO ratings mean squat after they are talked up by the mayor and the Chief as some sort of equivalent of certification., that training is laxed placing these men and women further in danger than usual...The fact that these guys have things to say and can only do so in a forum under a blanket of aliases lessens the value of the department.

And NY FF felt some of the same things when they were ill prepared over and over again, esp in 9/11. Ask them their view of Guiliani.

The value of those 9 lives were disregarded(if what the FFs say is true)by the very same people that sent them in under those conditions. Don't forget 16 were in there...9 happened to die...that means there ARE inside witnesses. Let's hope they aren't strong-armed into silence.

I think you might get a better understanding of the mood in which these guys speak if you go through the archives of all the stories posted regarding this tragedy. The initial posts were of grief stricken men and women in utter shock, now they are just mad as hell wanting answers to why change is not implemented in the local arena, leading to the deaths of 9 men.

As citizens we all have the right to post our opinions, so do they...letting them speak gives us the insight to where and how out $ are being utilized, and gives these men and women a forum for their grief and anger...We don't have to read it if we don't want to..

Word to the wise...just don't mention the Union(been there, done that)...giggle

I consider this opportunity to hear them speak as a special inside opinion to things many of us already saw and wondered about. It would have been much nicer had we not had to have this forum at all. :-)

Posted by oldfric07 on July 27, 2007 at 9 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A dozen people close to the chief are out trying to convince others that nothing happened prior to the collapse. The timeframe they use will be CORRECTED officially. Then lets see that same dozen explain it all away.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 9:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's more of a shame that public finger pointing didn't occur sooner, BEFORE the fire..maybe we all wouldn't be here?

I agree that not having gear, not having it on correctly, etc. is unacceptable, but in the spirit of the issue, and I could be wrong, when this thing hit big and the word went out that guys were trapped, people rushed to the scene ASAP to try to do anything they could to help find their brothers. Right or wrong...a guy in shorts(and I thought he was from the car dealership) pulling lines through the parking lot, while not the best of things, might have freed up a guy in full gear to take up another line? Now, once they got more fully equipped guys on scene(and gals, sorry ladies), the "less dressed" should have been moved back. Which leads me to this question...When did the pics and tapes get taken? Early in the scene? Were guys fighting those fires the entire night like that? or were they replaced with well dressed FF?

This fire should NOT be hidden from public view and scrutiny-that's what gets more people killed. If you guys can't get the brass to listen to you, they certainly will listen to us, since we vote for them. If you can't speak for yourselves, then it is OUR responsibility as citizens and taxpayers to speak for you.

We are going to see a lot of shake ups in the next few weeks and months. People are getting jumpy that the guy next to them is snitching to the brass, and rumors will fly from other departments. Keep it together's all going to work out.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 27, 2007 at 9:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

NYer, I'm not sure what your getting at. These men died due to the command structure, or lack of. The fire itself followed predictable patterns of fire behavior. Had the commanders been well versed in building construction and modern firefighting tactics, they'd have known that a steel truss roof hidden by a suspended ceiling would be very prone to quick collapse if the fire gets into this space and would have suspended interior operations. These mens deaths were very unnecessary and very preventable. Their famillies and brothers at the CFD have a legitimate right to be angry and upset.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 27, 2007 at 9:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

NYer: As we say in Charleston, you must be from "off"
Do you live in this community? Have you been reading the articles and the posts? Your view on what you think people are saying on this forum seem to be a little "skewed" and I think we are having a hard time understanding you. Nothing person, friend, just wondering.........

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 27, 2007 at 9:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

should have written, "nothing PERSONAL, friend.....

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 27, 2007 at 9:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nick, I'm kinda getting a picture of what the attitude is towards the union. Up north here (ohio), we have a strong IAFF local that does act as one voice. They keep the heat on the chief and the city to make sure our safety is paramount. We have gone to court and won many issues pertaining to safety. Most notably keping four man staffing. My hope is that my brothers down there are able to stand together and demand changes so that this tragedy will NEVER occur again.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 27, 2007 at 9:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In Charleston the Union is despised by the leadership and the Mayor. The IAFF are agitators according to the city.

People from up north running around with the golden boy bootlicks in Baltimore would be shocked to learn most of them, including the Assistant Chief, feel as though the union members are beyond contmpt. Of course that would be hotly denied.

People here know. No one cares about whether a firefighter is trained in the use of an SCBA in an emergency mayday situation but you better not say IAFF to any of the Chief's boys.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 9:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

LOL...I am originally from Toledo! Should have figured you were a Yankee! LOL I was just up there last week...Where are you???

As you may have seen in previous postings, I am not what you would call a Union-fan. Long story for another day..BUT, with that said...I am not a brass-fan either...

The problem with things "down here" is that tradition speaks louder than ALL aspects of the South, not just the Fire service. Public servants here don't stand a chance in hell, because of it. The Union doesn't have a strong enough voice(OMG-did I just defend the Union??? :-)), and there is no light at the end of the tunnel for that anytime soon. The reality is that while we wish these guys could stand up and shout FOUL, they would most likely lose their jobs. This is a right to work state, very unlike Ohio, and they can fire you here for no reason at all...these guys HAVE no protection at all. I have lived down here for many years, and let me say, while it is a beautiful place, 'Toto, this isn't 'Kansas' anymore!' This are done VERY differently here.

As for these guys standing together..I wish I could say they will, but I think the department is split right down the middle for the moment until some results from the investigation come back some some others head for the hills...Those on the side that you see a lot of here are tired of the crap, those on the other side are probably equally as tired, but too afraid to speak out..Welcome to Charleston, Jim...

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

Quote nickiegarbiel "Word to the wise...just don't mention the Union(been there, done that)...giggle"

I am a proud member of the IAFF and I can't believe what I am hearing here. The administration has everyone hoodwinked. I have been reading about some of the wages and benefits there, unbelievable. It is hard to compare things in different geographical areas, home prices etc.
But let's compare apples to apples, Chief Rusty makes somewhat over 100 grand so does my Chief. Here is the difference, from what I see Charleston senior firefighters make about 1/4 his wage, in our area the senior firefighters make about 2/3 of the Chief's wage. What's with the discrepancy, no wonder he want's to keep the IAFF out.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 27, 2007 at 10:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

On another note, Union wise, we have a Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee,(Management & Union Members)It is bound by government legislation. For instance if we were forced to use a 2 1/2 supply line and we felt it was unsafe we would take it to the Health & Safety Committee, research would be done and the problem would be corrected (There is definitely info out there that a 2 1/2 supply line will not adequately supply a 1500gpm pumper).
We have just gone through this process with Diesel emissions in the stations, the management, through the committee has been mandated to put in a proper exhaust extraction system to make the stations safer. You can not get these things done without some backing!

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 27, 2007 at 10:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It is also law that we can not be punished or have any repercussions for bringing items to the table at the OH&S meetings. It is also law that there are a certain number of meetings per year.
Maybe the P&C should look into what mechanism this fire department has to make the work place safer!

Posted by ssm on July 27, 2007 at 10:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey Nickie- just wanted to let you know that while you were away last week, HR980 passed in the House. It's on to the Senate which reconvenes in January. Then Pres Bush has to sign it. So write your senators-emergency personnel in this state need bargaining rights.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 10:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)


My opinion of the Union isn't because I am friendly with Rusry and his's just an overall viewpoint, nothing more or less...My comment was with regards to a discussion I had many blogs ago with Bootlicked, regarding my opinion of said Unions. It was a joke, nothing more, nothing less. Boot would get it, if you missed it...I support the FF, plain and simple, Union or no...

I have no doubt why Rusty and the upper crust would like to keep the Union out...and of course it is money and reasons are not even close, except that I felt the money the men pay to Unions can be better saved in their own accounts.

The South has been typically behind(no offense, Southerners), and wages are just the tip of the iceberg. Here things are done with the "good ole boy" system. It isn't WHAT you know, it's WHO you know and how much butt you are willing to kiss. It seems that the higher the title, the bigger the wage, be it the Chief of the FD, the PD, or the Superintendent of the school system. They earn big, spend big, and have little regard for the men and women (although I did like Reuben)...

I think he wants to keep the IAFF out because of the accountability limited view of the Union here is that it is probably likened to a pesky fly, moreso than accountability..The South has kept the Unions weak, to keep the rest of the citizens ignorant...

Ha...almost sounds like I was defending the Union again...goodness what is this coming too? :-)

I don't want you to misunderstand my Union comment was an inside joke played for those who heard it the first time...the local IAFF guys and I agreed to disagree on my opinion...:-)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 10:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Good to hear it passed..what about spelling out policy and procedure?????

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 10:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I am glad you guys feel better protected by your representation in the Union, but like I said earlier, this is a right to work state...termination for no reason...I don't even think the implementation of a stronger Union could help them with that one..

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 10:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Just out of curiosity...What leverage does the Union have up there? You can't strike, right? Is there binding arbitration?
I mean what MAKES the administrations negotiate with the Union up there?

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 27, 2007 at 10:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I sensed there was something inside going onhere that is ok.I have been in the Iaff for almost 30 years and there is a lot to be said for collective bargaining. Let me tell you the amount I pay in Union dues is a paltry sum compared to the gains that have been made over the years. In our jurisdiction we are deemed an essential service, no strikes.
We either settle or go to binding arbitration. We enjoy fantastic benefits medical, dental, prescriptions, life insurance, sick benefits, long term disability, plus much more.
These benefits have been negotiated over the years, sometimes amicably sometimes arbitrated. But let me tell you the benefits certainly outweigh the amount we pay for union dues. When it comes to arbitration, once someone in the area gains something the arbitrator will usually award it, that way we are constantly moving ahead.
Having an organization such as the IAFF backing you really helps. I am not an executive member either just one of the rank and file. I am looking forward to retiring in a year or two with a pension I can easily live on as well as half decent benefits, thanks again to collective bargaining!
Take a read through the IAFF website sometime, there have been many municipalities that have tried to walk all over their firefighters and having the backing of a Brotherhood has saved the day.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 27, 2007 at 11:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We have member of the arbitration board representing the firefighters, the municipality has a member representing them. A case is presented to the main arbitrator and he makes a final decision and by law it is BINDING. We have lost a couple of small benefits over the years, firefighters don't always win but as a whole things get better every contract

The big thing is that if there is a trend toward adopting a certain item in a geographical region usually everyone will eventually get it

The big item in our area at the moment is retention/recognition pay, sort of a seniority pay as you will. 3 percent (above 1st class rate) if you have been on 10 years, 6 percent if you have been on 17 years and 9 percent if you have been on 25 years. Once the first couple of departments were awarded this in their contracts pretty well anyone who goes to arbitration has been awarded this. Great for my pension figures!

Posted by oldfric07 on July 27, 2007 at 11:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Tactical decisions can't be blamed on the IAFF. Those stem from a complete lack of training for the Chief Officer.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 11:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wasn't going there I stated earlier in past posts, my view is that the brass AND the Union share responsibility in the deaths..the brass for calling stupid shots on scene, and the Union for knowing the brass was unsafe and not standing hard enough to fight for change...simple as the Union isn't responsible for calling the on scene shots, but they DO have an obligation to ensure the safety of the men they represent...make sense?

With that said, and I have no intention of rehashing this argument again, I need to look it up but I believe that SC does not have binding arbitration...related to the right to work state status...complete bunk...but as I said before...Welcome to the South... you all allow brass in your Unions? Just's a theory... :-)

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 27, 2007 at 11:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Incident Command & Control, you are right, nothing to do with the IAFF everything to do with the Chief and the other senior officers. From what I read South Carolina along with most other states and the Federal government have all adopted an Incident Command System, who cares if it is the same as the one we use.
This is a perfect example where the Chief should not have been using his own personal version. There were other departments involved at this incident, everyone needed to be using a similar system. That is the whole idea behind NIMS from what I understand.
The larger the Incident the more important it is that a system has been adopted whereby mutual aid coming in can communicate and understand the Incident Commander.

Posted by ssm on July 27, 2007 at 11:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When HR 980 becomes law, right to work status of States that still are will become a mute point for emergency personnel.

Boot-it's time to pay up on that cup of coffee you owe N, I think the tide is turning.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 27, 2007 at 11:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote nickiegarbiel " you all allow brass in your Unions? Just's a theory... :-)"

In a nutshell, no It is in every departments collective agreement who is in and who is out, I believe it is mandated by the government how many can be excluded.

Usually Chief's and Deputies are out, as well as some administrative people

Some that may be in or out are Platoon Chief's, Chief Fire Prevention Officers, Chief Training Officers again it depends on how mmany are allowed to be excluded.

Captains on down are usually always in the union

We have 7 Stations in a municipality of 150,000 I could be wrong but I believe they are only allowed to exclude 5 or maybe 6 from the union.
It is also mandated that you belong to the IAFF to work as a firefighter in our city.

It is very hard for the union to back your members when the employees are divided to start with, every one should present a united front. I can tell you from our department that when our union had a crisis with management years ago the IAFF was there with support, not only people, money in the form of interest free and forgiveable loans, whatever we needed!

Thanks to Union lobbying most of our Country now enjoys presumptive legislation, this means that if a firefighter has been on the job for a certain number of years and dies from any number of specified cancers, it will be considered a LODD with all of the benefits. If a FF dies of a heart attack within 24 hrs of finishing a shift it is also considered LODD. This was achieved not only by the united front shown by the IAFF but by many family members also lobbying.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 11:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I am in full agreement that it should be an uniform ICS nationally...I said this before...I was only asking if there is brass in your Unions to see if the negotiations go easier WITH them as opposed to AGAINST's just a theory.

I have a feeling, just from a common sense perspective that the confusion on the scene was, IN PART, probably caused by the fact that other stations from other cities do not use the same ideology as Rusty. So when he is screaming like a banshee on scene, the rest of the departments were freaking out in dismay...just a thought...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 27, 2007 at 11:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)


OK...let me see if I get are saying when this bill passes into law, the cities, counties, etc. will not be able to fire a FF or other emergency employee for bringing issues to light? In other words, you are saying that this bill will eliminate the right to work status for these types of jobs?

I so did not get that from what I read...(to be continued..I need to re-read it again)

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 28, 2007 at 12:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You are right on, the terminology may be different there but the concept is the same. We call it sectoring, but a large scene should be broken up into manageable areas. A lot of departments use the A, B, C,D sides of the fire building or possibly front, rear, interior, whatever your region uses. This has to do with span and control.
The IC(Chief can not possibly direct every firefighter on the scene) If the Chief was at a Command post watching the whole picture the Rear(for example) sector officer would have told him that the rescue had been accomplished.
The IC should only be communicating with the sector officers and they with him. The sector officer will detail the tasks to those he is commanding. The chief should never ever be giving a firefighter on the scene a direct order only through his sector officer. An example of this may have been the breaking of the windows
Now there may be those that disagree with my terminology but it's all about the concept, that is span of control
The Chief should have been standing back and only communicating with a few specified officers. Incoming out of town units should have been detailed to a specified sector or even to a staging area until they could be deployed properly instead of rushing in. Hopefully you can understand how everyone in a region should be using a common system and also have a radio system where they can communicate with each other. Let me tell you it can be done sucessfully we have complete compatibility with all municipalities around us, common radio frequencies, all fittings the same and the same IC system. We use both auto aid concepts as well as mutual aid for large occurrances.

Posted by ssm on July 28, 2007 at 12:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's a brief summary of HR 980:

Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007 - Provides collective bargaining rights for public safety officers employed by states or local governments.
Directs the Federal Labor Relations Authority (Authority) to determine whether state law provides specified rights and responsibilities for public safety officers, including: (1) granting public safety employees the right to form and join a labor organization which excludes management and supervisory employees, and which is, or seeks to be, recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent for such employees; and (2) requiring public safety employers to recognize and agree to bargain with the employees' labor organization.
Requires the Authority to issue regulations establishing rights and responsibilities for public safety employers and employees in states that do not substantially provide for such public safety employee rights and responsibilities. Directs the Authority , in such cases, to: (1) determine the appropriateness of units for labor organization representation; (2) supervise or conduct elections to determine whether a labor organization has been selected as an exclusive representative by a voting majority of the employees in an appropriate unit; (3) resolve issues relating to the duty to bargain in good faith; (4) conduct hearings and resolve complaints of unfair labor practices; and (5) resolve exceptions to arbitrator's awards. Grants a public safety employer, employee, or labor organization the right to seek enforcement of such Authority regulations and authority through appropriate state courts.
Prohibits public safety employers, employees, and labor organizations from engaging in lockouts or strikes.
Provides that existing collective bargaining units and agreements shall not be invalidated by this Act.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 12:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Wow, everyone HAS to be a member of the Union???? I am, however, impressed by the benefits of the FF in your area, and the considerations for LODD's.

Let me ask you this, since this is my biggest champion in this issue...IS there a national group of standards and practices. If you go from your city to a city across the country(still in Canada) are the practices and procedures the same across the board and is it legislated that they be?

Again, just questions...working on making a point...

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 28, 2007 at 12:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote nickie "OK...let me see if I get are saying when this bill passes into law, the cities, counties, etc. will not be able to fire a FF or other emergency employee for bringing issues to light? In other words, you are saying that this bill will eliminate the right to work status for these types of jobs?"

we also have that only we call it the right to refuse, of course Firefighters, police and a couple of other groups are exempted but for actual firefighting only. For example a ff could not say I am not going into rescue someone in a basement that is on fire, that's realistic
On the other hand if my driver suspects that there is a problem with the brakes on the truck, he has the right to refuse to drive it, it would be taken out of service and replaced, this is but one example but by law there could be no repercussions to this person for refusing to drive. I would imagine that if I told my crew to take a booster line into a structure fire when there was an 1 1/2 there, they could refuse and they could not be punished or fired. Our Occupational Health & Safety Act has a lot of teeth.

Sounds like your new act will be quite similar in nature and a major step forward.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 12:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bickle...ABSOLUTELY!!!! FINALLY!!!! THAT is precisely what I was trying to express to the guys here. THAT is what I wanted to see in HR 980, Mr Yow....I am jumping up and down here...hard to type!!!

There should be a common language, a common practice and everyone, I mean EVERYONE-all departments-should be able to cross those county or state lines and know how things will operate. HA...I could give you a big hug right now!!!

Mr. Yow, I know the summary, I read that...I also read the entire HR 980 bill..without having a long drawn out discussion with you regarding this..and we can if you wish...I think you believe this bill does more than it is written to other words...don't count your chickens yet...

Now, on a further note to Mr. Yow and any other Union-eer...PLEASE read Bickleseagrave's post to me above regarding how procedures are in Canada...THAT is what I am asking when I say, is there a legislated standard of policy and procedure in this country, in this state, etc. that MANDATES that all departments fight fires the same, carry our procedures the same...same lingo, etc..?

Thanks Bick...I needed that! Now, I will buy YOU coffee!!!

Posted by ssm on July 28, 2007 at 12:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Just for the record, I'm not Mr. Yow. But, I'm glad you're jumping up and down.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 28, 2007 at 12:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickie, I would say that there is a National set of Standards, sort of a guideline but I believe the real fine tuning is Province to Province. As I said our Provincial Health & Safety Act pretty well protects us. In my Province our Fire Marshall's Office through it's College sets up a curricullum to be followed so every firefighter will get consistent training.
We have a Standard for every position from Firefighter to Chief. Personally I just completed the Company Officer Standard.One of the biggest topics in the Company Officer Standard is the IC system, so eventually every officer in the province, paid or volly will get the same training.
There is some leeway of course some may label the sides of a building as A,B,C,D some may use front rear, right and Left. You can see what I am saying, it wouldn't be difficult to understand even if there are a couple of minor changes. Let me tell you one thing. Command is never passed on without a verbal or face to face update and the change of command is ALWAYS announced over the radio so all can hear and understand.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 12:31 a.m. (Suggest removal), Canada seems to have it good..LOL Even if they do mandate that you join the Union! giggle

The problem in this country with the idea of "similar in nature" is that some hotshot bureaucrat will find loophole after loophole preventing the benefits of this bill, replacing it with a lame duck....much like we are experiencing now...

The Union has the ability with this bill, however, to strengthen itself immensely. Here is what I would suggest...

as if they care what I think of course :-):

Use this bill to give the Union the power to create a standard Canada's, for instance.. for instance, larger fires or potential fires require larger hoses..a no brainer for most of us...apparently not mandate that buildings over a certain sq ft utilize 5"(an example) hoses only...warehouses full of combustible materials, such as sofas are fought a certain way, providing civilian lives are not at stake...I am being general here for lack of word space on each post, but you get my drift...

It is a potential tool that can enable organizations (the Union) to force antiquated departments into the modern practices....the key will be that the Union can't get confident when this bill passes and sit back relishing in the has to push harder than ever...ESPEC. in the South where stubborness is common.

Did that make any sense?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 12:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

SSM..LOL oops...I could have sworn I posted with you before on another page and you signed it Yow...forgive me...

I even worried my husband...I was jumping on the sofa like that crackhead Tom Cruise....LOL

Now I need to look that old post up.. :-)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 12:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)


I agree, passage of command should ALWAYS be face to face and verbal...that's the way we did it in the Navy as well...its common sense, especially on a large fire scene as this one. How could the men in the back of the building, as well as the inside guys, know who is in charge? Maybe the guys inside were waiting on Garvin to come back in? I' speculating on that, but the idea is that they were seeing him come in and out and knowing he is in charge at that time, then all of a sudden he isn't coming in anymore...then you have different departments, used to operating totally just doesn't make sense to step back, coordinate, then send out "group representatives" to inform the 'battle lines'...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 12:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)


HAHAHA...called you Yow on that site must have missed it...Sorry again...

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 28, 2007 at 12:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't know if you can mandate that kind of stuff, like specifics regarding fighting fires. Now our numbers are different, when I started, our top pumps, pumped 840 imperial gallons per minute(1000 us gal), we did lay a 2 1/2 line then, but our SOG said that the next truck in lays a second 2 1/2, then we got 3" hose and that was sufficient for an 840. Then came along bigger pumps we are now using 1250 imp gal(1500 us gal) guess what we need bigger hose to supply these trucks. We use 4" which is sufficient
Charleston is using Booster lines and 1 1/2" lines, we went from 1 1/2" attack lines to 1 3/4" attack lines.
I have been a career firfighter since 1975, we have embraced every change in technology since I started, I will hand it to our department for keepng up to date. Incident Command took a while to develop but it has reduced the chaos and freelancing on a scene signifficantly.
To name a few Charleston should have a Thermal Camera on every Truck, A Positive Pressure Ventilation Fan, they should have RIT, Accountability system, Rehab at every major scene, complete with medics monitoring the firefighters. These are all standard in the fire service today!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 12:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bick...I meant to say it doesn't make sense NOT to step back and coordinate...I think it's time to hang up my keyboard for the night, I am starting to make typos... :-)

Cya in the mornin guys!!!

Boot....WHERE"S MY COFFEEE?????? :-)

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 28, 2007 at 12:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Do you have Tim Horton's down there'lol

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 12:54 a.m. (Suggest removal) for the road before I hit the hay...I agree in a perfect world we should absolutely have all of these things...but in this country, we have to analyze and over analyze things, create red tape, send it through the bureaucracy a few times to be debated by men and women who can't even agree how to tie their shoes...

I think that certain things can be when to vent fires, pulling tiles down in all suspended ceiling structures to look for fire..etc...either that, or create standards in schools, and make the teachings mandatory...but then you still have to make it so the brass is forced not to overrule that...this is prime example...

If these guys receive training at the fire academy that tells them that safe practice is to pull tiles from the suspended ceiling, then the Chief shouldn't be able to over rule is a matter of safety...replacing a few damaged tiles for a false alarm are certainly cheaper than burying 9 men...right?

Night Bick...catch you all tomorrow

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 12:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Tim Horton's???? HAHAHAHA...nope can't say we do...but we always have my favorite place, STARBUCK'S!!! I'll buy...

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 28, 2007 at 6:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Nicki, not sure if you know about todays technology, but there is a piece of equipment called a Thermal Imaging Camera or TIC. They will show even the smallest temperature difference.
There was probably actually nothing to burn above the ceiling, but the smoke will ignite explosively(flashover) when the heat and gases reach just over 1200 degrees F
Someone walking in a TIC and pointing it at the ceiling would have noticed the tremendous difference in temperature above the ceiling right through the tiles, without even removing a tile.
They have been around a while, there is no excuse for there not to be one of these devices on each vehicle in this day and age.
Most departments in our area do, even the smaller volunteer areas.
Charleston is a fairly large City with 19 Stations, there should be no excuse, they should have at least had one on the Batt Chief's car to use!

We do have Starbucks here BTW

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 28, 2007 at 9:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Nicki, I'm in Dayton, Thanks for the welcome, Charleston is truly a great city, been there a few times on Holiday. Beautiful history and buildings, but they are just brick and mortar, I would trade my memories of those buildings for those men in an instant. It's sad that these men died for sofas. Bickle is right there is no excuse for not having TIC's. We started out with 6 about 10 yrs ago and they were so effective that we now have one on each apparatus and use them at every fire. It's the chief's job to know what the fire is doing and take appropriate measures to ensure his mens safety.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 9:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Yes, I am aware of the TIC. I am not sure why it wasn't used either...other than I am sure it isn't considered traditional. There is a large aire of arrogance here that the city is the best...and while I agree there are many men down there that are fantastic firefighters, they are only allowed to be as good as their command allows them to be.

I got the impression, and I am speaking from a distant viewpoint at the moment, because I wasn't there (and what I heard came second hand from someone in a neighboring department on duty that night), but my impression of the events was that when they got there it was small and seemingly controllable. However, it went all wrong in just a matter of about 30 minutes...I think that has been pretty well summed up by comments we have read on here as well...there is more to it, but not for this forum...if you know what I mean?

I think the sad truth is that this entire situation is due in part to a complete arrogance. I have also heard that there is very little, if any, pre-plan, and obviously not on this building, or the code violations would have been caught...this is a city-wide failure...from the mayors office, to the code office, to the Chief and his approach and handling of this situation, right down to FF being afraid to say No to the Chief(because they haven't enough protection legally)...

These are great people, personally, I'm sure, but professionally the collective ball was dropped.

And for those who may not understand my post...I am in NO WAY bashing the line FF...they do exactly what they are told, when they are told to do it, because to disobey that order would be their job and subsequent blacklisting...

Actually after I have my first cup o Joe, I might have a little less critical response, but what the this thing up early... :-)

Starbuck's it is...of course whenever I am in Detroit, there IS a Tom Horton's in Farmington Hills...Meet ya there!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 10:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Then you probably know our friend that was killed in LOD several years ago...Capt. Pat Yahle...he and his wife and my parents were best friends...we miss him greatly...(I actually used to live in St. Mary's just before I moved down here...about 45 minutes North of Dayton on 75...)

You are right...the sofas are hardly worth 9 lives, and I am sure the owner feels the same...

Just out of curiosity, to any of the CFF, are there any in the City? What is their cost?

I think there will be a final release of the investigation to reflect what we have all been speculating on, but what's more important is that the attitude and behavior have been ALLOWED to occur...the city is complacent in this, and therefore just as liable.

I'm sure these internal issues are in a lot of departments across the country, not sure of the extent, but it's human nature to have issues like this...

Good you meet you Jim!

Posted by dfiredawg on July 28, 2007 at 11:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

OK for the record the following is a collection of LODD’s from the last 7 days. Yes people it is a dangerous job we do here and we do die. We are brothers and sisters here and all of us have opinions. Lets honor our dead and not fight amongst ourselves. May God bless them all and the ones they leave behind.

Illinois FF STRUCK LODD: It is with deep regret that we advise you that a
Greyhound bus killed a southern Illinois firefighter along Interstate 57
last night. Authorities say the Sesser firefighter died at the scene of the
wreck at about 0420 Friday morning.
Several firefighters were injured while operating at a 12,000 square
foot house fire in Indian Hill (Ohio) tonight around 1900 hours.
Reports are that a fire related explosion inside the home, injuring
six firefighters, burning at least one of them seriously
An Ohio firefighter fell off his fire apparatus, inside the fire
house, hit his head on the concrete floor and was killed. Firefighter
Jon Trainer, 38, of Mechanicsburg, slipped and fell off the top of the
rig about 2100 hours last night, while he was packing hose used at a
house fire earlier in the evening.
A helicopter working the Elk Complex fire suppression efforts crashed near
Norcross Campground in California yesterday morning. The pilot, who did not
survive, was the only person onboard at the time. U.S. Forest Service
reports that the Bell 205 helicopter crashed at around 1015 hours Monday.
A Canadian forest Firefighter is dead after a weekend helicopter
crash northeast of Fort McMurray, Canada.
Police haven't released the Firefighters name but he was from Quebec.
Four other FF's received non life-threatening injuries in the crash on
We regret to advise you that 2 Contra Costa County FPD (California)
Firefighters were killed this morning as they heroically entered a dwelling
trying to rescue two elderly residents who also died in that fire. The 2
members who gave their lives in the line of duty were Fire Captain Matt C.
Burton, 34, a resident of Concord CA and Fire Engineer Scott P. Desmond,
37, a resident of Brentwood CA.
OHIO EMS LODD: 3 Members of Antwerp EMS were reported to have been
killed this evening along with two patients after their EMS unit was
struck broadside by a commercial vehicle. This reportedly happened in
Crane Township in Paulding County, Ohio. The EMS unit immediately
caught fire and all 5 were killed.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 12:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I must have missed something...I don't think anyone here is fighting...Just an adult exchange of thoughts and ideas...and I would bet that a lot of us frequent the pages of and actually DO read through the LODD's thinking of each one of them. In fact just a couple of days after our 9 died...NY FF were still here.. when a young FF named Daniel Pujdak that was killed in the line of duty when he fell from an aerial ladder bringing heavy equipment down. I sought out some of the NYFF and expressed my sincere sympathy to them as well...I was pretty amazed they were here for us when one of their own died the day before...

Thanks for reminding us with the info. Much appreciated, but it is through honest open communication that other's lives might be saved from a similar fate. You are correct that it is a dangerous job, but that doesn't excuse stupidity on the part of officials(If that is what the reports say-I'm still holding out my complete opinion).

Posted by dfiredawg on July 28, 2007 at 12:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes one of FDNY’s brothers did die and it was the day before the memorial and his Capt. Who was at that job still came down to the memorial service and flew back that night. I know a lot of the guys from the FDNY job very well. I was on my last day of vacation the night of the fire down there and did happen to see it. I left Charleston the next day to head back north and was back for the memorial and a couple funerals.
I think the bigger meaning of what I wrote is we need to be careful of what is written here and like you hold off on any public thoughts until the official report is in. (The one done by outside agencies not the internal one.)
Stay safe out there everyone.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 1:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Agreed. :-)

I think someone else posted it pretty well in another page, that the inside investigation will most likely be a face saving effort by the city to say, we made a mistake, now let's make it better...after the fact, but it is par for the course in most departments...

I think the emotions are still raw...a lot of us were personally touched by this tragedy and now that the tears are getting fewer and fewer, the anger is getting higher and higher...I know mine is at least...I am sure my sentiments are echoed.

Take care

Posted by oldfric07 on July 28, 2007 at 3:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I've been to memorials over the last 18 years. Waiting for official reports is fine unless the department has procedures that are outdated. In this case the city has no formal written incident command system to study or look at-thus it's important to move NOW to make sure nothing happens while we are waiting for reports.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 28, 2007 at 3:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with you dawg that everyone needs to wait til the investigatons are finished. But, you have to admit that there are issues that need to be addressed immediately in the name of safety. Most notably fireground accountability and those damn hoses. Take those boosters and donate them to the parks dept to water flowers, that's all the good they are really for. Also get some 4" or 5" supply lines.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 28, 2007 at 3:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nicki, I'm sorry that I never knew Pat(he was a Lt BTW), he died a few years before I came on. I still see Steve around sometimes. He retired a few years ago. Here's a nice site on Pat if you haven't seen it.
Take care

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 5:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are absolutely correct...he was a Lt....Like I said, I was a little younger..Capt. Lt...they all looked the same to me back then...LOL and I never saw him in uniform, always outside of work...They had a screw-tail bulldog named Rocky...loved to attack the silver Coor's beer cartons...hilarious.

My parents went to college with his I know her a lot better...she was, the last time I heard, a Dayton Police Officer...might be retired now, since my dad is(from City of Sidney)...they had close to the same amount of time in. I was at their wedding...Mom was in it...(nice dresses(80's style),LOL) My parents were with his wife and family during the planning of the funeral and during the funeral itself...I begged not to go..I don't do bagpipes well at all. That next year my mom went with his wife to the National FF Memorial...

I assume Steve is a brother...he had a half a dozen siblings, I couldn't keep them all straight(Good Irish Catholic family, LOL)

I will definitely check out the site. Thanks a lot...Huh...I had almost forgotten some of that stuff.. :-) Do me a favor...If you get the chance and see his brother again, ask him to pass a hug on to Pat's wife for me...I haven't talked to her in YEARS...

Posted by oldfric07 on July 28, 2007 at 5:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 5:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, DFD has a very nice site, Jim...Pics of calls and all..Impressive.

The I-75 trap looked wicked bad..How did that turn out with the driver?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 7:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Wow...nuff said...

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 28, 2007 at 7:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

For those that are reading this that are not firefighters, take a look at the Dayton site that fyrmnjim posted. Just by looking at the pics you can see the training and SOG's showing through. Specifically the 600 Lexington fire, you will see:
-At least 1 1/2" attack lines
- Large diameter hose(yellow) as a supply line
- Large volumes of water being delivered with the deck gun
- All firefighters in PPE

What you won't see
- 2 1/2" cotton jacketed supply lines
- Booster reel lines laid out
- Water hardly coming out of hose lines and aerial streams
- Half dressed firefighters on scene

The videos and pictures at the SSS fire definitely paint a picture. The pictures and videos taken at this fire will be totally conclusive as evidence to those conducting the investigation, and I believe everything will be corroborated by witnesses.
Maybe someone from Dayton should be on Rusty's investigation committee, it seems they have been well trained in operations and safety.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 8:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I actually said the same thing when I first looked at Dayton's pics, but being a non-FF I figured it was best said coming from one of you guys...

Let's hope the good ole boy system doesn't reach into the investigation as well...

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

Thank for the Kudos, both of you, I'll pass it on. Your right Bickle, We have 2-1 3/4" attack lines and 1-2" on each engine. We have 5" supply and also 3" to maximize our supply when needed. We have individual fitted facepeices and regulators for SCBA. Our 5 ladders all have 1500 pumps too and 2 attack lines and water tanks.

Not that we don't have our problems too, we have plenty. Most of it comes down to money, or lack there of. But, we have a strong union and a safety oriented leadership, for the most part.

If you want someone from Dayton to come down there, check out EAST3. He posted here on recently and was quoted in one of the articles last week. He's very good BC and would come down there and kick some a$$.

Nicki, I don't remember what happened to that truck driver. It was my day off and a couple of years ago. Hell, I sometimes can't remember what happened last week. :-(

Posted by Fire_Inspector on July 28, 2007 at 11:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So the problems with CFD are?

1) Boosters. Only for grass fire. GOOD firedepartments mostly don't even have the darn things anymore. Just use a small "trash line."

2) ICS is the LAW. FEMA mandates its use. Even the rinky dinky VFDs use it. CFD?

3) Supply LInes. 2.5" hose is 30 years out of date. I know plenty of comparable cities to CFD that have swithced over to 5" long ago. Given the hurricane and earthquake risk here...

4) Training. Basically it appears they just lie about it.

5) Hiring and promotion appears to be at will by the chied. There is no 'impartial" procedure.

6) PPE isn't used much

7) I saw a bunch of different helmet styles at the fire. Does CFD let the firemen buy and use substandard helmets at will (for example the leather ones?).

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 11:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I asked a question on one of the other pages, but didn't get a response...What is the story with the guy in Columbia(can't remember his name at the moment), reversing the 2 in 2 out to be 2 in 1 out? Is there a correlation there possibly with volunteer FD that may be operating well under manpower?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 28, 2007 at 11:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

East3 has posted quite a bit on here...he must be sleeping now, haven't heard from him in a while...He's another Buckeye?

Posted by east3 on July 29, 2007 at 5:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't think I am on the Mayor's Christmas card list. I did write to him and the city council and got a nibble but from who has to be my secret. But I recommend writing to the city council asking for action. There is one member there with a conscience who is debating whether to take action. I would be happy to serve the CFD however I could. I think Chief Thomas and I could have some lively discussions. He might get tired of me quoting out of books 'n stuff. Considering my last project was revising our tactics manual I know a little about ICS. We have been using it for about 25 years. We have a daily minimum of 57 fire supression personnel on duty - almost the same as CFD, but we have four-man minimum so we have fewer crews - and protect a population about 50% larger (due to budget cuts). My opinion is that our SOPs make every Dayton firefighter more efficient and effective - and safer - than a CFD firefighter - because you are not given the tools of the trade that are readily available. The conditions you work under are really unbelievable to us. As I have said to others before, you are definitiely all iron men. How those guys stayed in that store is beyond me. But there is no excuse for what happened. There are multiple reasons they should not have been in there and once they were, should have been pulled out far sooner. Lack of a command system, lack of tactical knowledge, possibly even lack of common sense on the part of the chief officers is in my mind responsible. The PPE issue as Nickie said points to lack of fireground discipline and organization. (Our guys come off the apparatus in full PPE with SCBA even for investigations - ready to go to work.) Even Garvin said it was chaos. Yelling is not part of Command Presence. OUr Canadian friend has described well a lot of things that apply south of the border. National guidelines? - NFPA 1701 and NIMS to start. One reason for a uniform command system is Hurricanes.

Your brothers and sisters will not forget you. For the worst reasons, you are now part of firefighting history. Perhaps a turnaround there can be another better part of history.

Posted by ssm on July 29, 2007 at 5:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

East3 move over to here:

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 7:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey Buckeye..good to see you are still reading away...

Posted by east3 on July 30, 2007 at 3:56 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. 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.


Posted by asrock73 on August 4, 2007 at 8:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Fire_Inspector on July 26, 2007 at 3 p.m, you stated "Listen to this and the majority of radio traffic is concerning the darn traffic barricades... And the ICS is pitiful. All kinds of people just rambling on about stuff that is unimportant.

20 plus minutes into the incident and STILL no Incidnet Command Announcement. Never heard anyone call the collapse either. And Car 1 (Rusty) WAS on the scene and still no call covering who was in command. Never heard a call for extra alarms either..."

If you listen close to the radio traffic that is not the fire department, that is the City Police channel, thats why you hear so much about barriers and nothing of the fire itself. (not being a smart butt about it just pointing it out)

I am a local firefighter here in the charleston area, I have heard many a story of the problems with other departments, all departments have issues to deal with internally, is a public forum really a place to hang out your departments dirty laundry? If the investigation is done right, there will be results from it. We are all professional firefighters both paid and volunteer, but arguing over who is to blame in the public makes everyone look bad and unprofessional.

Posted by lexco4529 on August 6, 2007 at 6:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The ponit at hand is preventing this from happening again. If the Chief, the Mayor or anyone else from the city of Charleston does not want to address the "concerns" shown in the photos I suggest all My Brothers that belong to the City of Charleston Fire Department call for thier removal. The deaths of these brothers may or may not have been avoidable. But we all can certainly make changes to try and avaoid losing any more fire fighters in Charleston or anywhere else. Any of you making comments that are not Fire Fighters, thank you for your support and comments, my only concern is please do not let emotions make your comments. Use educated and informed commen sense when commenting. We in the Fire and EMS services are bonded together very tightly and right wrong or indifferent we will always protect our own.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 9, 2007 at 8:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think as angry as we "civilians" are, we are beyond emotional posting for the most part. However, let it be known that there is a very large attempt at quieting this story from those people who have aligned themselves with Rusty, his tactics and his policies and his perceived arrogance. THAT invokes anger. Most of us will not be bullied(I have been on the receiving end) into closing down our attempts to keep this story in the forefront of the public view. It is indeed a shame that people air the "dirty laundry" of the department, and much of that is attributed to the "rangers v. the real guys" in their attempt to discredit the truths coming from within...I assure you, the laundry is the least of the worries for CFD. As a civilian, supportive of big change in the department, I actually find myself pushing harder to support those men outside the "chosen few" within Rusty's reign. My respect for them, the conditions in which they have to work, and the wonderful job they do on a daily basis shows a strength from within that can only be attributed to the men themselves being of upstanding quality. As I recently found out, through various anonymous phone calls, and multiple emails, those of us pushing this issue into the forefront have an overwhelming support from people unable to come forward themselves for various reasons. Their encouragement only serves to make my push stronger.

The known facts of this case, cost nine men their lives, doing what they believed in. THAT makes us ALL emotional. CFD is not the only department, nor will the nepotism go away overnight, but civilians are aware of the system failures, we take the opportunity to spread the word, and complacency will eventually come to an end and the powers that be will have to follow suit with the view of the public.

Thank you ALL for what you do.

Posted by huntress87 on August 10, 2007 at 4:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Having one i love inside the dept who is not AMONG the CHOSEN few, and I see what he has to deal with on a daily basis, is unfair. hard on them to loose the men they worked with and cared about.

Most have found outlets for their anger and pain.. some are still working on it and others, yet sit with it festering. Granted he hates that I read every thing, because he knows the pain never heals.. from the loss. Praying and needing the changes so desperately. When the tapes finally come to light. People will have no choice but to change!!!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 10, 2007 at 4:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Please pass my thoughts of hope and concern for your loved one. I am holding out hope that you are right and that change will be forced.

Take care

Posted by bootlicked on August 11, 2007 at 7:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I knew before long that I wouldn't be the minority anymore. Thanks to everyone civillian or not for your concerns keep it up. From what I've been told many men on the dept. are finally starting to stand up for themselves.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 16, 2007 at 1:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I surely hope so Bootlicked

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