Connect with us:   Subscribe to the paper  |   View the mobile edition  |   Get daily e-mail news  |   Get mobile alerts  |   Share your photos  |   Report news  |   Place an ad  |   Contact us

Heat sensors weren't used in fatal fire

At least one thermal camera on hand at Sofa Super Store

The Post and Courier
Sunday, July 29, 2007

At least one thermal camera on hand at Sofa Super Store

This is what what firefighters can see using a thermal imaging camera. The yellow and red areas indicate extreme heat. The gauge on the right indicates the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. The devices can help firefighters search for hidden fires behind walls and ceilings and to locate downed firefighters.


This is what what firefighters can see using a thermal imaging camera. The yellow and red areas indicate extreme heat. The gauge on the right indicates the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. The devices can help firefighters search for hidden fires behind walls and ceilings and to locate downed firefighters.

While Charleston firefighters searched for hidden fire inside the Sofa Super Store last month, heat-sensing cameras that can see through walls and ceilings sat unused in city fire trucks, authorities said.

The Charleston Fire Department owns four thermal imaging cameras, and at least one was available at the scene of the June 18 blaze, Fire Chief Rusty Thomas said in an interview with The Post and Courier. He said he doesn't know why the devices weren't used that night.

It is unclear whether the cameras would have helped crews pinpoint the fire before it spun out of control and killed nine firefighters. But the devices, which cost $10,000 or more each, have become increasingly popular tools in the fire service for finding elusive blazes, spotting people trapped in burning buildings and other emergency tasks.

Thermal imaging cameras use infrared technology and a small video screen to help firefighters and rescue workers "see" through smoke, darkness, fog, dense vegetation and walls to find people and fire sources. The cameras weigh about five pounds each.

Charleston keeps a heat-sensing camera on each of its three ladder trucks so the captain on board will have one if needed, Thomas said. A spare thermal camera is on hand should one of the others stop working, he said.

"We keep them on the front seat of the ladder trucks, so that when they get off and he (the captain) needs the camera, it's right there," Thomas said.

One thermal imager was aboard a ladder truck that arrived at the store early on. Another ladder truck arrived later, but the fire was apparently well under way at that point, city officials said.

Thomas said fire crews did not take any cameras into Sofa Super Store that night. "I don't know why," he said.

Federal firefighter fatality reports routinely urge fire departments to use thermal imaging cameras to locate hidden fire and super-heated gases that can spontaneously ignite a room's flammable contents and trigger a flashover.

The Sofa Super Store building had a steel truss roof, a structure widely reviled in firefighting circles. The design's open-air cavities provide concealed spaces where fire can linger and grow undetected while the truss weakens to the point of collapse. Fire safety experts recommend that firefighters take extra precautions at fires involving steel trusses, such as inspecting concealed spaces before going into a building or using thermal imaging cameras to quickly to determine where the fire is.

Assistant Fire Chief Larry Garvin, one of the department's first commanders on the scene of the Sofa Super Store blaze, has said that he and other firefighters entered the building looking for fire. At the time, they thought the showroom was safe because they saw nothing except "a little smoke in the back ceiling tiles," he said.

Garvin said he made the decision to send firefighters inside in order to get a better angle on fighting the fire.

Some 16 firefighters were inside the store when the building exploded in fire several minutes later, sending a ball of flame roaring through the showroom. Nine didn't make it out.

Paul Grimwood served more than 35 years with fire departments in London and New York and is now an author and consultant on firefighting tactics. He said images and first-hand accounts from the furniture store fire suggest that a thermal imaging camera could have served "a vital role here in determining if the fire had spread into the ceiling void."

Grimwood said the commander conducting the first check inside the building should have used a camera to identify or rule out hidden fire before sending crews inside. "This should have been done initially by the (first commander on the scene) even before committing crews. ..."

Thermal imaging cameras are commonplace in most large fire departments. But fatality investigations regularly find that firefighters fail, at their peril, to use thermal imagers as part of an initial "size-up" to help locate fires in concealed spaces.

In one investigation into a 2003 fire at a Family Dollar store in Memphis, Tenn., that killed two city firefighters, federal investigators said firefighters should have used a thermal camera to locate growing heat hidden in the store's steel truss ceiling. "Ceilings and floors that have become dangerously weakened by fire damage and are threatening to collapse may be spotted with a thermal imaging camera," the report said.

The Memphis Fire Department's own internal review of the fire recommended that all of the city's engines be outfitted with thermal imaging cameras because "these devices could have made a difference in the outcome of this fire."

The military was among the first to use thermal imaging cameras, beginning in the 1950s. Fire departments began using them in the 1980s, but early models were cumbersome and their image quality was lacking.

At a recent firefighters convention in Myrtle Beach, several vendors displayed the latest thermal imaging technology. Some models feature Wi-Fi technology and can beam real-time images from inside a structure to a separate monitor outside. Such advances can give incident commanders, who are supposed to be positioned away from firefighting activities, a firsthand look at what firefighters are seeing inside.

The North Charleston Fire Department has Wi-Fi units among the 11 thermal imaging cameras it has purchased, one for each of the city's fire stations. Mount Pleasant firefighters have several units as well. The St. Andrews fire department, which helped battle the Sofa Super Store blaze, has two thermal imagers and is hoping to get more.

"It's a phenomenal tool," St. Andrews Fire Chief Mark Schrade said. "It's great for detecting heat and finding individuals."

Phillip Russell, who oversees training at the South Carolina Fire Academy in Columbia, said the firefighting school has been training recruits to use thermal imaging cameras since 1999.

With the devices becoming standard equipment at fire departments around the state, the academy recently purchased additional cameras and now has 15 for instructors and students to train with in classroom and practical firefighting exercises.

Among the lessons students are taught is to use the camera to "locate hot spots before you make entry," Russell said.

Some of the academy's newer models can even capture video to a media card that can then be analyzed on a laptop computer. Still, he said the cameras should not supplant training and instincts. "It is just a tool. It's not something that takes the place of firefighting."

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

Article tools

Latest local stories

Sponsored Links

Notice about comments: is pleased to offer readers the ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. does not edit user submitted statements and we cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "suggest removal" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website.
Full terms and conditions can be read here.


This article has  384 comment(s)

Posted by whokilled9 on July 29, 2007 at 8:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Rusty doesn't know why the thermal imaging cameras weren't used, that is a lie! Ask Rusty what kind of computer he has on his desk. The answer, "Computer? I don't need no computer! We didn't use computers in 1886 and I don't need one now. The only time the cameras are taken off the trucks is before monthly inspection to dust them off. If any captain used an imager before blindly attacking a fire, he would have a one on one with Rusty.
Look at the fire reports, see how many times the imagers have been used in the last five years.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 29, 2007 at 8:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

OK Mr. were in and out of the building three times before all hell broke loose. YOU tell us why the camera wasn't used? Is today's technology a little too much for you?! Seems like this would have been the perfect opportunity to use the camera, especially if there was "a little smoke in the back ceiling tiles."

And to Chief Thomas, the "I dont' know why" is not a good enough answer!

Perhaps you guys should stop giving interviews until the investigation is done. From where I sit, you just make matters worse by talking with the media. Maybe you should stop talking until the investigation is done. Seems to me like there will be plenty time for questions and answers then. Arghhhhh....this makes me so angry! I'm gonna have to stop reading the paper!

Posted by Harpo on July 29, 2007 at 8:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In all the time that's passed since the fire,
can it be true that the fire chief hasn't
asked this question and gotten an answer?
I actually consider "I don't know" to be a
far worse answer than "we just don't use
them". If Chief Thomas is technology-
challenged as has been implied, then what the
hell is he doing in charge of a 21st century
fire station? That "I don't know" answer
more than a month after this fire is

Were you gonna wait to ask why until your
very-late-in-the-game fire investigation?

Gotta agree with the above; stop giving
interviews, chief, you're just cooking your
own goose. First, the booster hoses, then
the lack of scene commander availability,
then this issue with non-use of critical
firefighting tools. The revelation that the
fire chief doesn't need a PC to do his very
complicated job is surprising and very
revealing. Computer? Humbug!

Maybe Rusty should retire to bedlam.

Posted by easy on July 29, 2007 at 9:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dum Dee Dum Dumb

Posted by trm2105 on July 29, 2007 at 9:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So the citizens of charleston have paid for equipment that wasn't used that could have prevent the loss of the nine. Way to go, chief.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 9:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

No, no, no...DON'T stop giving interviews, Chief...Let us hear how absolutely stupid your answers have been and continue to be...that way when the investigation is complete the public will know if it was smoothed over or paid off...Frankly, I would like to hear more out of the Mayor...seems he is sitting back, laying low...Hmmmmm

Let's hope the federal investigators read these interviews as well!

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 29, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You hit the nail on the head, Harpo. That's precisely the problem. The chief hasn't come into the 21st century yet. And from everything I've read he's way in over his head in his leadership abilities. It's the Peter Principle, he has been promoted to his own level of incompetence.

I am so broken hearted and enraged by the fact that it took this tragedy for all of this to come out publicly. It seems that anyone that doesn't have "chief" attached to his title somewhere has been too nervous to speak of these problems publicly and again, that falls on the shoulders of the "chiefs" of this department. Guess these "cheifs" never heard of the "open door policy" either. Apparently the firefighters that know the standards that have been set for safety nationwide couldn't speak up for fear of retribution from the chiefs. How sad.........

In the very beginning of this, I supported the chief....I have done a complete turnaround from my way of thinking in the early stages. Much of my thoughts on this now have come from statements directly out of the mouths of the Mr. Thomas and Mr. Garvin.

I'll be glad when these firefighters can talk freely with the investigators, if that is ever allowed to happen. In the meantime, guys/gals, be alert and stay safe!

Posted by Neponset on July 29, 2007 at 9:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ok, here is my thought. The roof was supported by a truss system and below this there was some sort of ceiling and the raging inferno was between the two. Most building of this sort use a suspended ceiling of a metal grid and removable ceiling tiles of some fiber material. In the absence of the high tech heat sensor, wouldn't it have been prudent for the commander to send in just a few men to push aside some of the ceiling tiles to check for hidden fires in the overhead, before commiting the full crew?

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 29, 2007 at 9:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hopefully the mayor is laying low contemplating how he's gonna get out of this one. If we wants to get re-elected I think he'll need to force the chief into retirement and bring in someone that IS in the 21st century. At the same time, I'm not a Riley supporter anymore either. Seems like there's a lot of protecting their own going on!

Posted by deputy216 on July 29, 2007 at 9:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I served in the law enforcement community for over 27 years,and being trained and keeping up with technology is a life saver for you and the people working with you.It is ashame to have had the camera on board and not used it.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 29, 2007 at 9:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is the mayor's email address. I hope many of you have already used it! Even more so, I hope the mayor knows how to read his own email! After all, it is 20th century technology!

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 10:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I guess the chief doesn't have e-mail, not having a computer and all. I guess his Rangers must keep him informed!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 10:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Pulling ceiling tiles is for wussy's, Right Chief?

Neponset, yes, this should have been done(except the Chief didn't adopt the safety standards from the Feds), however, using the thermal imaging camera would have made even that step unnecessary-which is on of the reasons why on all the other message boards the FF are spitting nails wishing the rest of the public would see.

When I first started watching these boards, I wasn't sure if Charleston had TIC's...seeing this has just outraged me even more. So, for those wondering, this means there is a warehouse, FULL of fuel ready to ignite, smoke, fire in the back of the building, a KNOWN roof risk(info learned from previous cities mistakes), a building that probably hasn't been walked or pre-planned in years by the FD, and a suspended ceiling...what happened next? A Chief OPENS the fire door in the back of the building that opens DIRECTLY out to the dock where the fire is! Hmmmmmm, but the city and the Chief hold no responsibility????? Don't forget the $10k hook up fees that made it impossible for the owner of this building to put in sprinklers...and then right after the fire the Mayor drops them???? Liability???? Let's not forget that voters...That's why Mayor is keeping quiet, the less he says the less you add together for voting day. Guess he has a good advisor.

Yeah Charleytowngirl, I was standing with the Rusty, too, in the beginning(not Garvin, I read the report of the door early-DUH??), but MAN...comeon-no training, no formal education, and no willingness to make a change in the face of a huge tragedy as this?????? Nah...

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 29, 2007 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Anyone have the chief's email address?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 10:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)


LOL Ain't the Internet a wonderful thing????? No one is beyond the grasp! Enjoy...

Posted by Neponset on July 29, 2007 at 10:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think you folks are right - Little Joe is a survivor and he will force out Rusty to save his own political skin, if things start going south. Who knows the history of Rustys promotion to fire chief.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 10:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh wow, that History lesson was several weeks back...Where's Bootlicked...he knows it...Boooooooooootttttlickkkkked...come out come out wherever you are...

Neponset, I will see if I can't find that in the archives...might not keep the extra pages

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

How it should be (and how my department operates)Every frontline fire vehicle carries a TIC, Pumpers Pump/Rescues, Quints, and Aerials, there is also one on the on duty senior officers vehicle.
These units are now quite compact and light, they come with a carribeaner, our SOG states it goes in EVERY fire, usually it is attached to the Nozzleman's Turnout coat.
After you do it for a while it becomes second nature.

Get with it Rusty, 4 Cameras in a City with 19 stations, ubelievable!

Posted by Ohhowthemightywillfall on July 29, 2007 at 10:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ok folks a lot has been said here about removing the Chief and your right because he's not in the 21st century, but you also have to get a Mayor thats in the 21st century or the process continues to be a canidate from inside that is brain washed with the I'm a Charleston City Firefighter mentality. The relevance here is your going to have to get a canidate who is educated and experienced and who posses vision and fore sight to be prepared for the 22nd century. Its not a shock to the firefighting community about the Thermal Imagers sitting on the trucks or the bottom of the line Turnout gear worn by Charleston city firefighters. If you ever really pay attention to the pictures notice the numerous sets of turnout gear the firefighters are wearing that they purchased for themselves because they know the issued gear is made for a small rural department that rarely sees a fire and has a small budget. Getting back to the Thermal Imagers even if they weren't used some basic Truck Company Functions like looking for fire extention and/or checking the roof for that matter could have made the difference. For those who don't know here's a simple lesson. Engine (Pumper Truck)there functions is too fight the fire. Truck Company( Ladder Truck) there function is to do forcible entry, search&rescue, ventilation if needed and last but not least salvage and overhaul ( covering up contents, and searching for hidden fire) for those that didn't know i hope that helps. Did you notice i didn't say fight the fire? I said all that to say this. Chief Thomas is quoted as saying he doesn't know why the Thermal Imagers were not used; The answer is a couple of things. 1. You don't train to use it. 2. They didn't need it in 1886 so you don't feel you need it now.3. Most of the time your folks assigned to the truck company are off somewhere on a booster line. Folks remember there are so many topics to cover here for what was lacking don't just get caught up on this one. The Nine Firefighters who died deserve more than that. Let the two Chief's continue to speak b/c i've heard it said numerous times " Its better to let one think your a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt". Well we now know just who the fools are. If you want to do something helpful call your council person and the mayor demand the Chiefs resignation. After he's gone demand a nationwide search for a Chief who is educated but experienced.If the mayor won't comply put a new one in office who cares about your safety.By Mayor Riley's statements and standing by a Chief who clearly has no clue is saying your safety isn't his number one concern. God Bless the Nine and there families.

Posted by poorboy on July 29, 2007 at 10:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh the plot thickens. You can pass this info to the lawyers of the families. This is great ammo....!
I wondered about this from the get go. I just assumed that City of Chas didn't have them?
WOW! Having them and not using them what's worst?

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 10:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The other thing I forgot to mention, even our reserve trucks carry them(TIC's).
We have a policy where if we have a large fire, off duty firefighters are called in to respond in the reserve vehicles, complete with full PPE and all the necessary equipment after that we use mutual aid.

It is ludicrous that off duty guys are working at a fire scene in inadequate clothing with inadequate equipment

Part of preplanning is not only knowing your target hazards but also preplanning what you are going to do in the eventuality of the "big one" where you know you will not have enough resources within your own municipality.

That means if you are counting on mutual aid you should have it preplanned that your IC systems are compatible as well as hose fittings etc.

Posted by vesta on July 29, 2007 at 10:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

nickiegarbiel: RIGHT ON! There is a saying attributed to several people: "It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove ALL DOUBT." I say, let the Chief keep on talking. The mayor, or his advisor, must know this quote by now, thus the silence. I am still reeling from Riley's set up of an "in house" investigation. Is it possible he wants to "look good" when (and if) he does fire the Chief?? In otherwords, BEFORE expert reports come out, the mayor realizes following his "in house review" that there must be changes (read: what can I do to restore the voting element in my favor???). How can the general public listen to this and not see the folly between statements made right after the fire "we are one of the top 36 fds in the nation, we wouldn't change anything" attitude to "we're going to have an internal investigation." Why do you have to investigate anything that is so near "perfect", Chief and Mayor Riley???

Posted by vesta on July 29, 2007 at 10:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So, Chief Thomas blames Garvin for NOT using the TIC. The next article I would like to see the P & C run is "who gave the order to have the windows broken out in the SSS and what effect did that (the quick addition of oxygen) have on the fire inside." Looking at the videos available, Chief Thomas is on the scene, but with the type (or lack) of Incident Command for the CFD, one never knows WHO is in charge, does one?

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 10:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It is very easy to forget them, this all goes back to basic training

There must be an SOG from the top TELLING the firefighters to take them in, then start doing it. Sure they might get forgotten once in a while but after a bit of discussion, training and useing it becomes second nature

Secondly the SOG must designate the responsibilty to a certain person just as it would be designated who carries in forcible entry tools or the hose line etc

It can be done!

Posted by vesta on July 29, 2007 at 10:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

cvs: Which 'investigation'? The "in house" where all is whitewashed over and Riley comes out smelling like a rose? Or do you refer to the NIOSH and OSHA investigations and subsequent reports? Let's find out from the mayor how much this in house investigation is going to cost the taxpayers in order to improve HIS political popularity prior to November. Everything "at the top" seems to have lost sight of the loss of lives of those poor nine souls. How can some having the responsibility of THE chief at the scene say he doesn't know why the TIC wasn't used?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 11:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Sure, but if the guys went to get their gear and show up with it, the Chief would probably call them wussys...So over the years, they probably just got accustomed to showing up from wherever...not ok, but I'm sure that's the story...

I think every action and word that comes out of Rusty's mouth is going to feed into his own demise...While it would benefit the Mayor to ask Rusty to resign, politically speaking, he won't need to...Once the reports are final, I think we will all see the reality of just how deep the stupidity runs...He will have no choice but to go...when the men have no respect for him, he will have to leave.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 11:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is another symptom of the basic flawed philosophy of the CFD.
-They have TIC's, but they don't use them.
-They have PPE, but they are apparently optional.
-They have saws and other equip, but they are for pussies.
-They don't have the means of using a high volume masterstream attack,ie: small supply hose, no hard mounted deck guns.
-They don't use or train on a NIMS style(or any other) IC structure.
-They don't train, pre-plan, embrace new technologies, or learn from theirown or others mistakes.
-Rehab? It's for quitters!
-RIT? Add a z and you have a cracker!

Result: 9 of their brothers are gone!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 11:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sick huh? And the attorney on the other page says there is no negligence?????? He obviously doesn't work for Motley Rice

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 11:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey FF...I just heard something disturbing and wondered if you can vouch for it or not.

I was told that because Charleston doesn't accept Federal money that the OSHA standards don't have to be followed(they apparently have no jurisdiction)???

Is this true?

Posted by Neponset on July 29, 2007 at 12:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am just a lay person with no fire fighting experience, but with some knowledge of commercial building construction and an engineers mind for analyzing things. I think it is great that folks with fire fighting experience have joined this board and are making significant contributions. However I am having a little trouble with some of the acronyms etc used by you. I have figured out some like tic (heat sensing device) and turn out gear (protective apparel), but what is SOG or fire extentions? Keep hammering away at the cause of this disaster and I hope that your efforts will lead to "permenent corrective action which will prevent a repeat of this disaster".

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 12:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Standard Operating Guidelines or Procedures"

Posted by Ohhowthemightywillfall on July 29, 2007 at 12:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The bottom line here is that poor training, no advanced training, and lack of understanding technological advances have lead to the death of Nine Brothers,Daddy's,Husbands, Son's, Uncle's. Somebody tell me when enough is enough. I do not agree about waiting until the investigation is finished to get the Chief out because changes need to be made and need to be made now! It starts with the Chief being removed before the next Sofa Super Store. " NO THANK YOU,DON'T COME AGAIN, YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK, GOODBYE".

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 12:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

From a legal standpoint, I can see why they wait to relieve Rusty until the reports come back, HOWEVER..why is he not on administrative leave? Garvin too, for that matter...he may feel bad and never be the same but he was complicit in this too...I have nothing against these peopel personally, but in other areas of public service the people involved are placed on Admin leave with pay...what's the deal here?

Posted by Ohhowthemightywillfall on July 29, 2007 at 12:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickie! That is very much false S.C. is an OSHA state and even the City of Charleston is not exempt. This will be proven to them when all the facts are complied and reports and fines issued.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 12:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank goodness! I was worried they may have a rock to hide behind on that one. Thanks for the info

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 12:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Neponset: Fire extension is simply, the movement of fire through hidden spaces such as, walls, chaseways and in this case between the roof and a false ceiling. I all proability in this fire, the fire was in the ceiling BEHIND the crews. THis is a cardnial rule in firefighting: Never ever let the fire get behind you!!

I'm becoming convinced that the chiefs there learned all they needed to know by watching Backdraft!!

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 12:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Something I would personally like to see. When the fines and penalties come down, if the Feds would wave part of the $$ if Charleston would agree to use these funds to bring their Dept up to NFPA 1201 standards. At least some good would come from these penalties.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 12:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One of the OSHA links

TWO in TWO out

A deoartyment with 19 stations should be able to handle that

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 12:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Some more for you neponset
TIC Thermal Imaging Camera

LDH or Hi Vol Large Diameter Hose

RIT Rapid Intervention Team

ICS or IMS Incident Command or Management System

PPE Personal Protective Equipment

PAR Personnel Accountability Report

Accountability, a system to keep track of everyone on scene

SCBA Self Contained Breathing Apparatus

PPV Positive Pressure Ventilation

Command Post, an area where the Incident Commander can get a good view of the involved building, at least two sides. THIS IS WHERE RUSTY AND GARVIN SHOULD HAVE BEEN

Face to Face, This is how command should have been passed on when the more senior officer arrived

Broadcast This is when pertinent information is spoken over the radio for all on scene

This terminology is pretty well standard all over North America

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 12:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I agree...I was just going on what some of the FF online were saying about a FF lobbyist in Columbia having 2 in 2 out overturned...I can't remember the guys name...I'll look it up and see if I can find it..

What they were saying is that this guy lobbyied and got the 2 in 2 out overturned...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 12:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

His name is Bowie...

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 12:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When I mentioned manning reserve trucks, what should happen in a city as large as Charleston, when there is a large fire/occurrance, the reserve units(off DutyFF) and Mutual aid should be called in to backfill the stations. More on duty units should be sent to a call, as they are more familiar with working together
Basically the Mutual Aid guys should not be at the scene but covering the routine stuff.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 12:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)


That guy sounds like a beancounter, and an Idiot!! JMHO :-)

BTW: Ohio is NOT an OSHA state. our union went to Arbritration and WON to keep our 4 man staffing.

Posted by Harpo on July 29, 2007 at 12:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We received the TICs in the submarine force just
before I got out. All submariners received basic
firefighting training as a matter of course and
I remember a demonstration of one that showed
all the heat sources in our engine room with the
lighting turned off. You could see the turbines,
the reduction gears .. all the steam piping just
as clear as a bell, even in the dark. You could
see the COB walking down the passageway. Those
things are wonderful for seeing fires and people
through smoke and all the boats were issued them.

I resent having my money spent for these very
capable devices when they're not being used. I
also resent a fire chief who isn't aggressively
getting some answers to these hard questions on
DAY 2 after the fire.


I don't want to hear any more "dunnos" to these
questions .. get up to speed on this thing; it's
been over a month now and you need to find out.
In addition to "why" answers, I want to hear
some "what we're gonna do differently" answers
to these reporter's questions.

And get a laptop and learn how to use it, for
God's sake. They certainly pay you enough.

Posted by burton on July 29, 2007 at 12:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, the plot gets thicker every week! I've said this three times but will say it again: CHIEF, STOP GIVING INTERVIEWS! YOU ARE DIGGING A BIGGER HOLE OF INCOMPETENCE EVERYTIME YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH!

Voters of Charleston, this is your chance to get rid of King Riley and one of his subjects! Do it in memory of the Charleston 9 and their families! Do it for the remaining men and women of the CFD that put their lives on the line everyday! Charleston needs to bring in a more progressive chief and get rid of one of the longest serving mayors in the nation. Their arrogrance and stubborness will be their demise!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 1:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Beancounter? LOL cute...

Ohio isn't an OSHA state and your Dept. has all of those fantastic procedures in order????? Ha...imagine that a department with a safety policy...


Agreed! But let him talk!!! Keep talking Rusty...I want to make sure no one in this city ever has any doubt when you are told to hit the road. If we stifle him now, he may appear fine to some...the truth needs to be heard, and in case people don't hear it the first dozen times, let him hang himself a few more...

Posted by ssm on July 29, 2007 at 1:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Check out the legislation page of this site, it has the one on it that you've been asking about (common lang.)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 1:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)


My husband said the same thing..he's an ex-nuke off the Billfish. They had them(called NIFTI) on his boat too-one in every compartment, in fact, and when he went to Prototype as an instructor they trained with them there.

Geesh, Rusty, even the Navy uses them...

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 1:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes Rusty keep on making statements, there are plenty here with a firefighting background who will interpret to the lay persons and voters what you are saying.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 1:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think the military call this technology FLIR
I think that means Forward Looking Infra Red

I believe a lot of the Police choppers use this technology also

We once tried out a FLIR unit that fit on the brim of the firefighters helmet, but it proved to be to cumbersome in our business

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 1:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Thanks...looking at it now, but not seeing the 2 in 2 out..

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 1:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And another link for those laypersons that would like to read about Thermal Imaging Cameras in the Fire Service

Keep in mind this is only one brand, to see more just type in Thermal Imaging Camera in your browser

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 1:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Could be right on FLIR...he IS at work when I asked geek...LOL He is probably working on some project for NIFTI...I'll ask him again

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 1:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am not disputing NIFTI, just saying I have heard of FLIR being used with the Canadian Armed Forces.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 29, 2007 at 1:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We use the Evolution 5200 with the in truck charger and the optional caribeaner to attach it to your PPE

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 1:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I just found a new pic of the fire I hadn't seen before.
Go to: , click on the pic, then go to the bottom of that page and click on the PDF file. On the second page of that file there is a pic that appears to be from the gas station. There is still civilaians standing around and only 1 engine there so it appears to me to be early on in the event. Look at the heavy smoke already coming up from behind the store. This should have been the first red flag that this fire wasn't going to be just another routine fire. More proof IMO that the chiefs were way out of their league.
This is a great article too, very informative!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 1:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I looked up NIFTI on the Internet and got some neuroimaging machine,LOL I don't think it would be that, but since he contracts to the AF WHO KNOWS!!! giggle No biggie...if it is a military device, it might not be searchable online?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 2:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)


That one circulated early on for a brief was definitely early on...

Not sure if you had been at the scene before, but from what I remember, it is a fairly small space back there, with trees close by. The area it would have started in is very small. It's been years since I was back there, so I am going on memory..

I could be way off here but if the fire is in the back of the building, on the dock...and you send a crew into the back to hit it with fire-seemingly pushing the flames toward the building, wouldn't that make for a common sense analogy that the flames might sneak into the open space between the soffit-putting it inside?

I guess I still am unable to grasp WHY Garvin opened the door? they had an active line back there hitting it with water...meaning it wasn't why open the door? They, from their own accounts, had no charged line inside, so the theory of opening the door and using a two sided attack is why open the door? TO scratch your kahunas and watch????? I'm sure the fire was already in the ceiling by then, but why open the door?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 2:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I got it! NFTI-my typo...Naval Firefighting Thermal Imager

He WAS paying attention to me!! giggle

Posted by oldfric07 on July 29, 2007 at 2:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The report that will come out from the city will be very soft and reccomend some changes, but nothing drastic. NIOSH will also throw out a report that's critical. The lawsuits will bring in experts and open the lid.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 2:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The chief investigating himself seems to me the equivalant of the farmer putting the wolf on the committee to find out why there are chickens missing from the hen house!!!

Posted by gratefulbeholder on July 29, 2007 at 3:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh how easy it is for us to stab at the chief. We were not at the fire. I'd suggest we back away from this.

Posted by laddercfd on July 29, 2007 at 3:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was at the fire and was commanded by the chief. I'm not backing away. He set us up to fail. We don't use the thermal imagers and I WOULD KNOW THAT BECAUSE IM ON A LADDER. I came from a larger department and if it weren't for my training from there I'd have NO training. Don't tell me to back off. Two of my friends died among the nine firefighters. This chief is terrible.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 3:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well maybe........had the men been able to express safety concerns prior to the fire without fear of reprecussions or the chief been more proactive on safety, those 9 men might be home with their familes having a BBQ today.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 3:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Laddercfd: My condolences to you and all your brothers. Keep up the heat!! Take no prisoners in this. Let the deaths of those brave men create a change for the good!

Posted by lyfe1999 on July 29, 2007 at 3:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Fire the Chief, and Fire the Mayor, November 6th, This Year. You have the power Charleston. If you really want to make ot happen join the campaign of the guy running against him. It is going to take a grassroots movement. Joe's Deal Estate Group and Special Interests are going to raise $1.5 Million Dollars to get him re- elected, but dollars don't vote. People do.

Posted by vesta on July 29, 2007 at 3:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The firefighters’ comments reminded me of an interview with a navy man who was on the Indianapolis. The Indianapolis, if you will recall, was the ship that delivered the two nuclear bombs to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Indianapolis was, after they delivered the bombs, torpedoed and sunk. Most of the men survived but went into the water where they were at the mercy of the elements. Their mission was secret, so no one reported them missing for four days. In the meantime, sharks came into their area and began attacking and eating survivors in the water. The survivors would witness their buddies killed one by one. At the end of four days, help came and they were, one by one, pulled out of the water. The naval officer they interviewed said it was the scariest moment of his life. The interviewer asked, “You mean when the ship was sunk, or when the sharks came?” He answered neither one. He said it was waiting your turn at the end of those four days to be rescued and thinking that while you waited, with rescue at hand, you could die at the mercy of the sharks. These firefighters have to wait perhaps up to six months for SIGNIFICANT reports to be released and, even then, there is no promise that changes WILL be made. We HOPE that rescue is at hand for these firefighters, but they could die in the meantime, due to continued negligence and stupidity on the part of "leaders??" at the top level. Have the FF really been threatened if they voice their opinions??

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 3:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Chief doesn't need us to stab him..he is doing a FANTASTIC job himself...

1) If the Chief doesn't like what the public is saying about him, maybe he needs to explain things better.

2) If the Chief doesn't like the way the public feels about him he can step down, or retire.

3) If the Chief can't take the heat, he should have kept 16 men OUT of the fire instead of risking their lives for sofas. OR better yet, he should have trained them, provided them with better tactics and equipment, and then MADE them use it...then if men die, it is an accident, not negligence.

I'm still waiting to hear why Garvin opened the door???

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 3:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I have heard on several of the message boards from several of them stating that if they had requested training in the past they are ridiculed by Rusty in front of their peers, that they are ridiculed at the scenes of fires for requesting certain hoses or equipment, etc...

If they rock the boat too much they just don't advance, or are transferred to stations in undesirable locations. There is also a long history here of blacklisting between departments....that much I know for sure.

Posted by sudz on July 29, 2007 at 3:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes the changes are coming to thermal imaging cameras, I am familiar with a new helmet mounted camera from Morning Pride that is extemely lightweight and easy to use.

Posted by vesta on July 29, 2007 at 3:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickie: I had read that also on at least four other sites. This message board alone has 72 hits already and this article just came out today. I wondered if, in the past week, the "Chief" put a gag order on his ffs as far as comments about specific articles the P & C printed, etc. I was appalled to read that the ffs HAD to have a training officer present when they were interviewed by NIOSH and OSHA.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 4:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was on another FF website last evening and its message board was hot with CFF angry that they were told they can't speak to the media yet Rusty and Garvin can...Sounds to me like the internal investigation secured a seat in the Interviews for the Chief to listen in on. It is definitely an interview under duress for certain.

I wonder if these guys can call the investigating organizations on their off time to speak with them alone?

Posted by gratefulbeholder on July 29, 2007 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I suppose I spoke prematurely. I was greatly moved by the chief's eulogy of the brave 9, and my heart went out to him. I imagine he is suffering greatly. I don't know how he sleeps at night. I wouldn't be surprised to hear he commited suicide due to all the guilt and pressure he is under. I always place myself in the shoes of those who are attacked.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 4:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Send me an email with that site address. I'm sure big brother or one of his rangers is listening here. Oh that's right, he doesn't have a computer.

Posted by laddercfd on July 29, 2007 at 4:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The chief doesn't believe anything went wrong. Soon you will see some jerk from Firehouse amagazine that some of our buttwipes talked to in Baltimore taking our firefighters to task for speaking out against the chief. One of the bootlicks bragged that this Billy G would take care of people opposed to the chief.

That's how desperate our chief is he's looking for some guy named Billy G to step in. The thing is this Billy G guy was thrown off a department for sexual harassment and now he will comment on us?

I beg anyone reading this, no matter who you are, send the mayor another email asking him to make changes at least in training and incident command.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 29, 2007 at 5:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)


BillyG is a good guy. He may have talked to some of the golden boys but he would never support anything unsafe.

Help is coming. It may take 9 months to a year but help is on the way. The city reveiw will be nothing but later, when the outcry falls in again, the resulting look will reveal deep flaws.

I will write the mayor! And hopefully, if enough people do, he will see the wisdom.

Keep writing and take photographs, record calls and step up and speak out to people. Speak up and show people what's really going on.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 5:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Just because the Chief cries, doesn't meant he is crying FOR the men...I'm sure he feels badly, I'm sure he didn't intend for the men to die, but the fact may show that he IS responsible for the breakdown in command at the scene. That makes him liable for compensating the deaths of these men.

It is obvious that through reading his comments and hearing him speak that he does not intend to change voluntarily....what does that say for his sorrow over the men?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 5:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I am sure someone has already said this, but DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT...fires, calls, conversations, dates, times, safe

Posted by engineercfdeast on July 29, 2007 at 6:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let me echo laddercfd. Nothing is going to change until the mayor is convinced we are not as good as our image. Dont take it wrong-we will out firefighter anyone but there's much more than that going on. If we are pointed in a direction we want to know that the person pointing knows his job. Some of our chiefs are social promotions and lack the training of some our younger guys.
After arriving at the fire my captain and I talked about how screwed up it was because we had no orders. There is no staging, no water supply officer-we ran over some of the large diameter hose. Please if you are reading take the time to write to the mayor. We are not supposed to talk or there would easily be 50 of us talking about what really happened. The indecision was awful. I dont know what else to do. I cant sleep and cant get any help from the chiefs on changing things and my captain, a good captian, is just angry at garvin and Rusty.. Who will help us and when Mayor Riley. Shouldnt rusty be on paid leave?.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 6:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I asked the same thing...Why isn't Rusty AND Garvin on paid leave?

I can't fathom what you all are going through, but know that people in the public are listening to you and writing letters and using the skills we have to help you all. Unfortunately, I don't live in Charleston County anymore, so I can't vote there, assured, I am forwarding these sites on to all of my friends in Charleston so they know what the truth is.

Take the opportunity within these pages to let off the steam and tell what you know so that those voters, and those of us working through legislative means are prepared to fight them for you.

In times of need, we, as citizens, rely on the rescue efforts of our public safety you need us, and speaking for myself, I will do ALL I can to help you through the means available to me. I spread the word whenever I can to whomever will listen. YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS...We want answers and accountability for our friends and loved ones.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 7:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Sent that link, did you find it?


I hit ya back, did you get it?

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 7:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes I did nicki, thanks, it was one i've already been on, just wanted to make sure i wasn't missing one though.

Check out this site : This is from a DC (one of my DC's) who knows how to read a fire and hazards. Great work EAST3!!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 7:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I didn't think I could cry was as plain as the nose on their faces, Jim...

Thanks for the link....

Posted by wonderdog on July 29, 2007 at 7:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If a police officer fires his weapon or is involved in another use of force, he is placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Why doesn't the fire department have a similar procedure involving serious incidents?

Every time the Post Courier prints an article, you can bet Motley Rice is cutting it out and putting it in their files. Ironic: their storage facility in another town burned last week, after hours. Fortunately, none of their employees were present. There were no sprinkler systems in that building - just like SSS, the facility was built prior to passage of laws requiring them. Bad timing for Motley Rice, but no one will bring it up.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 8:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They have all their files backed up in a couple of other locations...they are too big and too bright(AND very wealthy) not to have back ups...

Funny that you mention that..when I saw the article I kind of chuckled a bit...not for their loss, but my overwhelming urge to find a conspiracy overcame me...

I am sure it was just a fire though (no conspiracy).

The sprinklers are interesting as well...I mean, just a week or so ago the valiant mayor cut the fees for tapping in...maybe if the fees didn't exist in the first place two fires could have had very different endings.

Posted by bigpappapump77 on July 29, 2007 at 8:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A firefighter or a cop can always count on the league of Monday Morning Quarter Backs! Until the Post & Courier and others who comment walk on water, no one should be casting the first stone...unless of course, you are "perfect".

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 8:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

casting stones or not...they may not have INTENDED to harm anyone, but their lack of care in protecting and training them contributed, in some part to be determined by investigations, and those actions need to held accountable. Perfection or lack thereof is not what is important...if these men had only been injured, he is still accountable for their injuries if rules are violated...if the men had come home fine, he is STILL accountable for violations of rules...THAT'S his JOB...No one expects him to be PERFECT, just well trained, safety conscious, and ACCOUNTABLE for his actions.

As the general public and taxpayers, we have the right to know AND comment on these well as hold concern for the men and women (some of whom I am related to)and their safety. People who choose to ignore the issues and pretend they don't effect them are fooling themselves. If you live in this county, YOU are directly affected by these violations and the practices of this Chief and Mayor...Risk is yours, but if you choose to ignore your rights and responsibilities, that's your problem...but there is the idea that "if you don't 'vote', you can't complain" when the results bite you in the a$$.

We post what we feel and see, you don't have to read them. Freedom of speech...

Posted by Re2 on July 29, 2007 at 8:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If only those who walked on water were allowed to cast stones we would still be answering to the queen..

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 29, 2007 at 8:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

For all of you you guys that are in the "KNOW", Jim Bowie was not the one that petitioned to have the 2 in 2 out rule changed. It was the Fire Chiefs Association.

Most of this state is vollies and they stated that they could not meet the criteria to conform to the 2 in 2 out. Bowie and the Firefighters Assocation were fighting it.

They lost. He is only a lobbyist.

Anyone who has proof that he did, please show us. I know for a fact that he did not do this. Anyone else that says different is mis-informed or is lying.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 8:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Monday morning's something for ya. 9 men are dead. If it weren't for the p&c and others on this forum, the chief and mayor would've convinced John Q Public that these were tradgic, unavoidable deaths and the chief did everything right. around, check out some of links from people and groups whose buisness it is to actually put out fires. Everyone needs to see just what our job entails and how much risk thse men in Charleston are due to incompetent leadership. I love what I do. I am well trained, well equiped, and have some great supervisors. Yet, if I were working in Charleston right now I don't know if I could stay there working for a bunch of good-ole-boys who obviously don't know the first thing about tactics, training, or progress and would most likely get me killed too!

My hat's off to the men of the CFD. I hope the citizens come to realize just how bad things things are for you (and themselves too)and demand changes.

Posted by FunandGames on July 29, 2007 at 8:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It has been suggested that Rusty and Garvin be placed on admin leave until the investigations are over. If we did that, who would run the department in the meantime?

How would that affect the fact that Ladder 1 has been shut down since 6/18, Daniel Island has no aerial ladder protecting them, Battalion 4 has been shut down on certain days and almost none of the companies who have 4 firefighters assigned are operating with those 4. They are working with only 3, another serious safety compromise.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 8:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why are these apparatus o/s? Staffing?

Another question, when you guys respond off duty to help at fires, are you paid o/t?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 8:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)


That is why I asked for can search my other posts...I asked this several times, and also asked if it might be because the volunteer stations don't always have enough men to operate that way...My mention of his name here is because that name was brought on another site and I was asking for clarification.

Posted by wonderdog on July 29, 2007 at 9 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Surely there is some chain of command, just like there is in the police department.

I support the police officers and firemen and believe we owe a debt of gratitude to these men and women. I also believe they deserve the very best leadership available. I like Rusty Thomas, but I think that the families of those who died deserve answers. I hope those in charge learn from their mistakes.

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 29, 2007 at 9:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No problems nickie! The IAFF and several other people have been posting this bad info and I figured it was time to say something.

Jim Bowie fought to have the law stay as it is through out the US, but they lost that fight.

Maybe some more good will come out of this fire and this will change. Sadly the 2 in 1 out rule was not followed at this fire either, as if that would have changed the outcome.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 9:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)


You are telling us that no one else can lead the department? No other Chiefs are in the line up? You are right that it is a serious safety compromise, but does that mean they sit in their position of authority, that may well have gotten these men killed, during an investigation? They have access to the inside information being told about them, they can control most of what is said about the incident, and this is less risk to the future of FF in Charleston then putting them on Admin. leave?

Asking seriously, no insults meant.

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 29, 2007 at 9:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

>>You are telling us that no one else can lead the department? No other Chiefs are in the line up?<<

They are all fruit from the same poisoned tree. They need someone completely fresh and from the outside with no political issues from around town.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 29, 2007 at 9:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think Riley will put him on administrative leave sometime in the future if the public demands it or if he thinks it will cost him the election. Riley wants to remain mayor of this city more than anything, I think it will happen sooner than later. Sh** trickles down. It always does...

Posted by vesta on July 29, 2007 at 9:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

fyrmnjim: That is an excellent site. For others, this is a portion of tactical review of the SSS fire from "Avoid horizontal ventilation as far and as long as possible, particularly where crews are working inside - at this incident several large store-front windows were taken from the exterior by firefighters, after crews were committed inside." Which brings up the question of the windows being broken out. Who ordered that?

Posted by Pluffmuddy on July 29, 2007 at 9:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Funandgames, It appears to me that any out-of-touch 'average' joe (as in NOT Riley) could have NOT offered sound leadership in the same way we're realizing it WASN'T provided in this fire. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that there are quite a number of intelligent, forward-thinking, capable men in the FD right now who are more than up to the task. The status quo/good-ol'-boy system is being exposed day by day as firefighters and others "in the know" are coming forward with their observations. To assume that procedures suitable for the 19th century are still acceptable today is insane, and both Chief and Mayor are obviously out of touch with reality in the 21st.

I've withheld comment until now because I know there's lots of 'laundry' to be aired amongst the firefighters (and you're providing some great insight, by the way), but NickiG, you've been the spur in my boot...If there's anyone who doesn't realize that an elected, administrative official has ultimate responsibility for the actions / inactions of those under their control, then that person has a poor concept of how life works in the good ol' USA. You are so right in pointing out that Responsibility (elected position) equals Accountability, period. Hey, anyone can provide knee-jerk-based 'leadership'... (well, almost...I'm still steaming about those unused TICs) Where's the pro-active LEADERSHIP??? Yeah, those guys who are supposed to instill vision and enthusiasm in the troops??? Yes, Mayor and Chief, I'm thinking specifically about YOU.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 9:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sure they are all spawns of the leadership, but are they are irresponsible in the aftermath? At least until new blood can come in...

With that in mind...stay safe...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 9:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)


If he DIDN'T lobby to overturn the 2 in 2 out, WHY would someone say he did? Especially the Union if he is trying to help? That doesn't add up...

Just questioning

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 9:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Is that spur in your boot a good thing or a bad thing? :-) I operate on the premise that the squeaky wheel gets the oil first....and my family can be affected by this in their own departments...I take it personally..

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 29, 2007 at 9:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As I stated before, have any of those people provide proof that he did it. If they can then I will gladly admit I am wrong.

The "info" went out in Shaitbergers email to his minions about the memorial service sucking. He stated in there that Bowie was the cause of this because he was the leader of the SC Volunteer FF's Association.

At the time the 2/2 rule was being passed, Mr. Bowie was only a lobbyist. Bobby Colvin was the director of the SC Firemens Association. That was "another" mistake the IAFF made.

They do not like Jim Bowie and they tagged him with several labels, the 2/2 rule being one of them.

I challenge Perotta or any of the other SC IAFF members, or National IAFF members to provide proof that Bowie did this.

It is easy to say someone did something and hide behind the smokescreen. It is hard to prove it when they know it is a lie.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 9:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That's where I read it now that you mention it..I commented on another page that I felt it was in bad taste for the Union Prez to make comments about being angry that pipe companies were turned away ...timing was my issue with it mostly...

I am not very familiar with the Union, as I am not necessarily a supporter of them in general, so I don't understand all of the inner workings of the who hates whom and why...

Thanks for pointing that out and I will keep researching...

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 29, 2007 at 9:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

>I am not very familiar with the Union, as I am not necessarily a supporter of them in general, so I don't understand all of the inner workings of the who hates whom and why...<

Be glad you are not involved. It takes years off of your life from the tension!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 9:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As opposed to general service in the FD???? ;-)

My A$$ is still writhing in pain from the lashing I got on my Union opinions...I'm not touching that one with a ten foot pole again!

Don't bite me guys!! Truce...

Posted by Pluffmuddy on July 29, 2007 at 9:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

NickieG, it's a very good thing...It's given me just the right amount of desire to see that things are done the way they should be done...whatever it takes. (With elections on the way, I'd better get busy!) From Leadership all the way to the one who's doing his/her best to carry out their jobs in a professional manner, there's just no excuse in this day and age, not to be up-to-date with cutting-age procedures. That's not to say that everything on the horizon is necessarily good, but it certainly gives us plenty to work with. The leadership in this FD has chosen to ignore highly beneficial progress in the fire-fighting industry, and there's just no place for that kind of mindset in this town. If you're curious, I'm a local. I've seen much more of Little Joe and his troupe than I'd have wished...his skewed legacy continues... arrrrghhhh....

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 10:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Whew....I wasn't sure if I had gotten my a$$ handed to me again or if I was in the right this time! lol

My goal is to stir as much crap as I can so people will be forced to learn the real issues and take notice...I have family in the fire service locally, and if something happened like this to my sister, or woud be a BAD day in the low country...My children and I knew Mulkey from Summerville's personal for me...not as close as some, but close enough to push me beyond livid...I am not a local, I am from Ohio originally, but I have lived here collectively for about 9 or 10 years(leaving for Navy duty briefly).

I saw the good ole boy system from the time I was young when I lived with my Uncle(NCh. FF) isn't any different's who you know and who you.....

It is time we stand up and demand that this kind of attitude goes and is replaced by real training, professionalism, and upgrades that can save lives, not just give the FF a change to get rocks off ATTACKING a fire...(no offense guys).

I was very young and hardly aware of my surroundings in politics back then, but do you remember the Bourne days in N. Chas? Does this seem remotely like that to you? Might just be my memory...

Thanks for the compliment...welcome to the band

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 10:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nicki, This was all i could find right now. I'll start digging in the SC legislature sites later.

You all can say what you want about unions, but our local here in Dayton provides a very good check and balance system with city and state officals whose first concern is $$ over safety. SC is very anti labor and that makes locals like CFD 51 very weak. If they had the legal backing, they might have been able to demand the city adopt some of the new standards and training(through arbritration) that could have prevented this tragedy.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 10:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Thanks for the site...I'll check them out...

Nooooooooo....not Union bashing, I swear...but I do agree that if they had legal backing in this state they might have been able to prevent some of this from happening...

DISCLAIMER...I AM NOT UNION BASHING(anymore)... ;-)Union members, please do not email me hate letters or post them here...

Posted by Pluffmuddy on July 29, 2007 at 10:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, NickiG, you're right in realizing that the best defense against the Good ol' Boy system is knowledge. Typically, the system works best when there are plenty of unthinking, greedy followers who think they've found a Sugar Daddy to keep them. After years of living under the megalomania of Bourne, Riley, and Summey, it's no surprise to find kinks in their systems... Despite the fact that there indeed are many fine leaders in the ranks, it's tough to make changes when leadership is mostly about image. I think it's interesting to note that political party is not necessarily an indicator. Their idea of progress is a larger budget, NOT necessarily a better way of life for the citizens. The spending on IMAGE around here is unreal...well, Little Joe, how's the SSS catastrophe look in the background of your portrait?
(Why is it that I just can't help taking shots at the Mayor? I do highly respect authority, but maybe the tarnish is making it hard to see the shimmer of the crown...)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 10:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Well, that left me at the same spot I was I thought working with a room full of women was bad...yikes

Thanks for the site...I'll keep looking... :-)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 10:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Thanks again...Let's keep working at this for sure...

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 10:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Some other things our union does:
-Protects members from unjust harrassment and terminations.
-Helps set standards for hiring and promotions and makes the city adhere to those standards(it doesn't matter if we can play ball or not).
-Negotiates better pay and benefits(it appears our pay is nearly double that of CFD)for its members.
-Takes action both legally and politcally with issues concering us and our safety.

I'm not a big fan of Schaitberger, I think his political ambitions cause him to grandstand a bit, but the mission statement of the IAFF is sound.

I don't know much about his Bowie guy. But, personally, the fact that he's a Rudy ranger(sorry) tells me he's an idiot.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 29, 2007 at 10:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Working in room full of firemen is definately worse than a room full of women. Our maturity level is usually around that of a 6 year old. :-P

Posted by oldfric07 on July 29, 2007 at 11:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One would expect Grant to take up for Jim Bowie. After all he runs the ad netwrok for Bowies state support of Rudy G.

However, in the context of this discussion, Jim Bowie is the same as when he had a brief career on the Charleston Fire Department; he's a political hack. His name brings snorts from the Fire Chiefs in this area and the midlands.

There will be some new developments this week. Keep reading and sending thos eemails to the mayor.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 11:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

BEFORE anyone screams, please hear me out completely...I AM NOT A RUSTY SUPPORTER!!!I promised myself I wouldn't bash the Union(again)...and I won't...however, my problem with them is just what you has become a stage for political games and depending on the local Union office, the men are the least of their concern (generally speaking).What happened with Schaitberger and the memorial was pretty bad.They do great charity work, they work hard, in some jurisdictions to get better working conditions for the men, and they have made tremendous progress in legislation for safer protocols, BUT,they are still developing into politicians nonetheless.If the men are the most important thing to the Union, then make it stay that way.I despise Rudy...and even moreso since 9/11. Grandstanding on the backs of the dead is NOT cutting it with me;considering HE dropped the ball with their communication equipment, uniforms, training, etc.Kill them, then pose for them mentality.Not my President.Here my issue is that in SC the Union is seemingly too weak to help the actual guys in the trenches, so why pay the dues? Does it get them closer to bringing in a stronger Union?Not until we get collective bargaining,not until we have binding arbitration.So what do the dues in SC benefit? My eye is on the guys busting their a$$e$ and paying their hard earned wages to a service that doesn't have the capability to provide for them.Another issue I have is that when you create a WE v THEY situation by excluding some people from the Union, you have already declared war at the negotiating table.Dayton is the exception, Jim,not the rule.I wish, but it isn't.If you create a Union of all the members of the FD you collectively stand together against the cities that employ you and demand higher funding, pay and equipment-TOGETHER.To me, it seems common sense that this might end the creation of the Riley/Thomas dictatorship.Am I making sense at all? I guess I don't understand the 'natural' rift with brass and FF...they are all on the same team fighting the "demon"(fire),so why are they seemingly always at odds? To me the common ground is the Union-the way it is set up,conducted, the way it is flashed as a threat. The Union/ASSOCIATION should be just that-a UNION of the FF of all ranks and file to work together to gain the needed resources they deserve, not division of ranks.(con't)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 11:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am repeating a comment made by a Union CFF asking where Yow was now.I was asking myself that same question in the last two weeks.They made an initial statement,and then silence.Maybe they have to, I don't know,but the appearance just goes to prove the weakness in SC, and also the lack of benefit to these poor men left holding the rest of the bag.If the Union is what FFs want, then how can we make it MORE effective? Can the general public do something to help them implement the Union in a stronger standing? As it is,as much as I disagree with the idea of Unions, these men have nothing and no one to protect them right now.Men have been killed,and no one can do a damned thing about it but sit and wait for the next tragedy.WHERE the HELL is their UNION? They are being subjected to taunting, to threats, to unsafe working conditions, now that they are 9, maybe more, men down.WHO is here to help them NOW???, not when a politician is willing to put the campaign on hold and pay attention...Sorry...these politicians, including Schaitberger and Bowie, need to shut the hell up about stupid stuff and come to the aid of these men left hanging out to dry;if that means Union reps drive into the stations and stand there waiting for the next fire,then go to the scene and encourage these men that someone is watching on their behalf, then do it-that's the Unions job, to PROTECT them while they are alive, not wait for them to be dead and worry about details later...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 11:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OldFric...that's not taunt us with the carrot then hide it? ;-)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 29, 2007 at 11:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

PS..and the Union really made me mad when they fight to maintain the job for a chick that came to work and slept for three hours on her shift at the factory(obviously different Union)....Slackers get the same protection as the hard working folks

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 30, 2007 at 5:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You got me Fric! You know who I am!

uh no, try again!

Posted by Neponset on July 30, 2007 at 7:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This board is about the Charleston 9 and what changes need to be made to prevent a repeat of this tragedy and is not a forum for union activist - leave union issues at the door when you enter this or similar forums.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 30, 2007 at 8:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm sorry if I'm coming across as a union activist. Your right this is no place for bickering about this, but the weakness of local 51 and Rustys apparent disdain for them is yet another symptom of the illness in the CFD that led to those mens deaths. THere is no system of checks and balance in your city. The chief is free to reign as he sees fit. Promote, hire, and fire at his discretion irregardless of qualifications or cause. Ignore federal mandates and standards. All with the blessing of the mayor. My point is, had these men had a union with some teeth, they could have demanded changes in procedures which may have made this entire forum unnecessary because these deaths may have been prevented.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Agreed to both you and Jim...I am also not a Union activist or anti-Union...but I agree with Jim that had the Union been or allowed to have been stronger, these men might have been protected from the mistakes that were made at that fire. This wasn't the first fire that these procedure were used, and since the fire those same procedures are STILL being used-nothing about that fire and those deaths.

That is my point with my comments-not to encourage, or discourage Union membership. The entire point of my post was that IF the Union can't protect these men, WHO will? What can we, as citizens do to protect them in the absence of an organization that currently can. If my post came off as anything other than that, I apologize. Same to you Jim.

Posted by charlestonnight on July 30, 2007 at 9:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Why are Ladder 1 and Battalion 4 shut down ? and other companies are working with only 3 ?

Posted by oldfric07 on July 30, 2007 at 9:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Uber: No more tries. Your "Buddy" exposed you.


Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 30, 2007 at 9:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Damn him! I try to keep my secret and my "buddy" outs me!

Oh no! :)

Posted by Neponset on July 30, 2007 at 10:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have read the book "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair, which outlined the terrible working conditions in the meat packing industry of the late 19th century, but have also worked in a roofing mill which had a union and most of the workers were members. My experience in that mill was not positive. All the union members carried their little union book and were a little too quick to file a grievence or to make make things difficult for their nonunion work mates - too much negativity and not enough productivity. I agree that "good workers" need some protection from bad employers - but there needs to be balance.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 10:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In this situation, these men just need protection...What can WE, as citizens, do to help them UNTIL the investigation wields answers, and actions are taken against those liable? There are CFF on this site hiding behind screen names, fearful for their livelihood. Others trying to oust them to shut them up. They can't speak in the investigations for fear of reprisals, and the issues go unchanged.

What can WE do to help NOW?

Posted by vesta on July 30, 2007 at 10:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

ONE of the major problems with CFD is that we have a mayor and city council hiring a fire chief. Obviously, from the mayor's comments immediately after this tragedy, Riley knows NOTHING about the fire department, IC, equipment, training, etc. He has admitted this himself by now convening a "review" of what happened and including himself, the chief in charge of the department at the time of this disaster (like he knows what happened---if he did, none of this should/would have happened), the police chief (give me a break--he is an excellent police chief, but would he want Rusty reviewing his department in a LODD??), and 4-6 "hired" consultants. Sounds like the Three Stooges + 4. This would be humorous except, all this stems from the deaths of NINE brave firefighters, whose deaths could and should have been averted by having a chief with training, foresight. Having a college education doesn't necessarily make you the brightest bulb in the lamp; there are many people without that degree who have a lot of common sense--Rusty IS NOT one of them and I am starting to believe that with all the mayor's education, his bulb is dimming. Protect the remaining firemen NOW (not 6 months from now) with a saturation of training and a chief and staff who know what they are doing (not who YOU THINK know what they are doing, MAYOR).

Posted by concernedamerican on July 30, 2007 at 10:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It is a terrible loss that 9 heroes died. But we need to fix the problem and quit bashing those that were there and did what they may have thought was right. We don't know how we would have acted in this situation. I don't think suing everytime something goes wrong to pad someones pocket is the correct way. Maybe after interviews of all firefighters that were on the scene then a determination of what to do with the man in charge. It is easy for us to sit back and place blame. We need to stand by those that lost family and friends and help them to get through this horrible time. Don't spread anger and hate.

Posted by vesta on July 30, 2007 at 11:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Concernedamerican: On this and other sites, many of the firefighters stated that when they gave their statements to investigative agencies, their training officer was present. How freely do you think they spoke??? If you had a serious issue with your boss and headquarters came down to investigate that issue, would you want your boss present when your talked to headquarters, knowing that headquarters would leave afterward and your boss would STILL be in charge. These firefighters are left in the SAME situation--no training, little proper equipment and STILL working for the same guy. HELLO!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 11:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)


The Fire Chief is supposed to be the MOST trained individual on the scene. His job is to ensure that the fire can be fought with the highest regard to safety and efficiency. THAT IS HIS JOB. He is not supposed to be an average Joe, like the regular citizen's. He is supposed to be highly TRAINED and act on that training, not use his gut to make a decision. Police officers are held to the same standard. We TRAIN them in an academy, we train them during their employment. These men carry guns-would you want them to use their gut alone, or their training?

The Chief is supposed to ultimately look out for the best interests of his men-if they are all dead from lack of training and snap decisions, then we don't need a Chief anymore, do we? These men died from a combination of errors committed, NOT just at this fire, but for decades of living by status quo.

This forum is an opportunity for those remaining men and women to express their concerns and frustrations about how things are done and not done in the department so that WE, the citizens and taxpayers, are INFORMED. Don't take their words for it-DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. I IMPLORE YOU. Read the documentation provided in links to these pages. Read the expert opinions of firefighters from other cities and states and countries. There is a wealth of educational information here waiting for you to take it and DO something with it.

This forum is intended to help us find ways TOGETHER to fix the problems. They aren't bashing, they are telling you their stories. Listen, then ACT. The best thing to honor these men is to work as a community to not just raise money, but to ensure that these fallen brothers' comrades don't meet the same fate.

Posted by Neponset on July 30, 2007 at 11:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

My concern is that this "fire storm" of posts will not be seen by the voting public. The internet and forums are new and not enough folks participate or read them. We all agree that Rusty needs to go - how can we make the public aware of this fact? Does anyone know how to fire up the media? What is Little Joes Email address again?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 11:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Take the opportunity to email all of your friends and family, both local and out of state. Ask them to forward the email you send on to them. I just sent one this morning to 100 of my friends and family asking them to view the posts, the stories, the firefighting websites, etc. I also provided them with links to documents and such provided on this site. Word of mouth.It's the best way.

Posted by chasffa on July 30, 2007 at 12:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here are facts:

We don't use Incident Command

There is zero Rapid Intervention Team training

We don't have SCBA confidence courses

Our hosebeds are set up for situations set in the late 1980's.

Our ladder company officers are not taught ladder company functions. They receive zero training on ladder company operations.

We have never trained on truss roofs or anything situation specific.

Write to the Mayor and his people:

To get the word out we have been talking at my station about getting together with some private citizens and just visiting the mayor at 80 broad.

The CFD needs your help.

Posted by Neponset on July 30, 2007 at 12:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My next concern is that the N&C will drop this story, which is the platform for the posts on this story, and all the good posts will be lost to cyberspace. Lets move over to the forum and continue.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 30, 2007 at 12:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Concernedamerican, actually the "Fire Chief" is not always or even usually the most "trained" person in firefighting in a larger department. Most Fire Services in this day and age are multi million dollar operations and the Chief is the administrator. Usually there will then be Deputies or Assistants who would be in charge of suppression, fire prevention or other areas of expertise. Normally a Platoon, District or Battalion Chief would be in charge of a fire with the Chief or Deputies coming in if required.

Bottom Line is Rusty is the King of all "Micro Managers" he has his finger in every pot from fires to hiring.
Today the Chief of a large City Department is normally holds a university degree in Municipal Management or an equivalent in administration.

"Span of Control" again, one person can not run the show, even the administration of a Fire Department should be a team, making decisions as a unit. The Deputies and Senior Line Officers should be the firefighting experts and should have the proper education and experience in what they do.

The days of one person trying to do everything has gone, this business is too complex!

Does Rusty even second guess how the Captain runs his crew in the station, I will bet if you asked he does!

The Chief, although he thinks he is, is NOT one of the boys.

Posted by concernedamerican on July 30, 2007 at 12:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think we can all figure out a plan to come together and fix the problems without becoming bitter and nasty. I think there has been enough heartache without adding insult to injury. We need to come together and help formulate a plan to make sure that this does not have happen again. Placing blame does nothing. Once blame has been placed does not bring back those that were killed. The Mayor and those in place are responsible for making sure that the firefighters have the training they need. If they are not doing the job they are supposed to then we need someone else in office. I just hate to see things turn into something ugly.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 30, 2007 at 12:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sorry Nickie, actually you made the Chief being the most trained statement. Credit where credit is due!

Posted by vesta on July 30, 2007 at 12:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

concernedamerican: The problem is time. The mayor doesn't come up for election for several more months; the chief has his position, apparently, unless one of the reports points a really damning finger at him individually, and those reports will probably not come out until December. The firefighters, if you will read their posts, DO NOT HAVE the proper training, or equipment and do not feel they have the proper leadership. CFD FFs have felt this way FOR A LONG TIME. Bury your head in the sand and hope "we can all just get along" and a tragedy like 6-18 WILL happen again. Something NEEDS to be done soon and an "in house review" just doesn't cut it, fella. The mayor , chief, and top brass are clueless.

Posted by concernedamerican on July 30, 2007 at 12:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't want to bury any heads in the sand just want to fix the problem.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 30, 2007 at 12:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was in the Fire Service in the 70's when operations were conducted the way Charleston is doing business.Booster lines, 2 1/2" supply lines, No TIC's, Bunkers, PPE as a couple of examples.

Bottom line

This is 2007, the fire service has change immensely over the years, technology, education, even what we do!
Not just fire any more, but also medicals, extrication, high angle rescue, confined space rescue, hazmat, terrorism, water rescue, Usar.

Charleston needs to come up to speed with today's Fire Service, whatever it takes.
I would bet there are hundreds of other Charlestons out there, and hopefully the loss of our brothers is not in vain and more departments move up to today's standards, especially with safety.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 1:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Apologies...that is not what I intended for it to sound like...What I was trying to convey is that whomever is the commander on the scene has to have a very educated understanding of how fire works, how buildings react. He has to see everything BEFORE it occurs, so he can make the best calls for the safety of his men and John Q Public. Make sense?

Thanks for the correction...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 1:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Then tell us what we can do...I am writing letters...friends, family, Congressmen, State Governor, Labor Board(not even sure if they are applicable, but I am writing regardless). What can we do in the immediate time, barring showing up in force like a 'Cindy Sheehan' style sit in at every fire scene, and holler reminder to all the men on scene to button their coats and put on their gear properly...Not thinking THAT would go over well, and might even wind up in jail over it.

You direct me of a good avenue and I will hit it hard. That's a promise.

CHASFFA: When and where? Keep us abreast and maybe some of us will also participate.

Posted by vesta on July 30, 2007 at 1:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickie: You have family in the fire service as do many who post on this site if they are not already ffs. What you are doing is about all any of us can do at this point. The P & C is helping by printing articles that educate the general public who are not aware of what should be done at a fire scene. For example, most people would not know what a TIC is. I wonder if the mayor would have time to read a comprehensive report regarding what modern fire departments do in the way of training, the equipment, IC, etc. The role of the chief as bicklesgreave properly points out is more of an administrator (not just hiring, but planning a proper budget with the money provided so that he has his men trained as well as can be afforded by their area) than an "on the scene hysteric". Does Riley know the specific role of each of those "big red trucks"? Does he know how they should be equipped? Does he know what SHOULD happen at a fire scene to keep everyone safe? Do the council members know any of this information? If their job is to hire the chief, they ought to be aware of this and a lot more. That is what the tax payers pay for and it is the mayor and city council's responsibility as public officials. Keep up the letter writing, nickie!

Posted by Neponset on July 30, 2007 at 1:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As I said above, this article will become old news and will soon be dropped, to continue all this good commenting, I have set up a place/subject or what ever where this forum can continue. Go to the forum section and under "free for all" click on "A, Fire Fighters lost, but not forgoten" to continue this great discussion.

Posted by LI58 on July 30, 2007 at 2:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)


By the time that Motley-Rice gets through with the CFD, the city is going to have to pay out some big bucks. Where will all this money come from?

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 30, 2007 at 3:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The city is only liable for $250,000. The State picks up the rest.

Now civil court, that is a whole different animal.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 30, 2007 at 3:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

250k is the max but not in civil court.

But civil suits will result in taxpayers footing a large bill. Further, because the state covers the rest after the 250k it's a lot easier to get reps looking at this city probe. Plus, there are people on the hill looking at this probe and yet another is possibly forming this month.

Posted by east3 on July 30, 2007 at 3:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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

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


Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on July 30, 2007 at 4:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

>250k is the max but not in civil court.<

Hence me saying "Now civil court, that is a whole different animal."

Just ask OJ! Civil court is a B$%&^H!

Posted by chasffa on July 30, 2007 at 5:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If guys want to talk the best way is through FireFighter Hourly. He can put you in touch with the right people and he has protected all of us.

This was how I contacted him:

Posted by chasffa on July 30, 2007 at 5:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Look everyone who cares: Write the LLR an email and the mayor.

Posted by brotherhood on July 30, 2007 at 6:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

only a few of know some of what you are talking about, the remainder of you need to understand this is not the movies.yes, the cameras are on the ladder trucks and they can be used by the captains if so desired to be used. all of you need to remember, especially the ones that dont know anything about the fire service, these guys had over 130 years experience and knowledge. those captains know what to look for in a burning building and you can bet they were looking for hidden fire. ALL of you need to also remember that they were looking for trapped emplyees of the store. NO the cheif may not have a computer but does that say that he is a bad person? NO! is anyone perfect? NO. could things have went better? YES. would that have kept nine of my freinds alive? who knows. those guys went to do their job and to make every attempt to save human lives from certain death. this was their job and they knew their jobs quite well. as far as the training goes...its very tough and everyday, not just when we feel like it but everyday we train for the real thing. everything from the small stuff to the big stuff. the simple fact is that sometimes things go extremely wrong, the only ones who know exactly what happened in that fire are the brave men who died. to all the so called fire experts from new york, los angelas and where ever..can you honestly sit there and type all this crap toward one man whom you have never met? for that matter have you looked at your own department and your own companies to see if they could handle something like this? all you cheifs and captains and leiutenants that think you are god for some reason cannot say that you have never put your men in extremely bad situations before, and if you sit there and tell yourself "no" then you are full of crap!!! the simple fact is that you were lucky that this did not happen to you!!!!! i dont ever want to see this happen again to anyone but everybody wants to play monday morning quarterback and not stand by the cheif. im not saying lets not change, we definatly need change in policies and procedures but we have a good cheif and a good department. i just wish that people would remember that and wait for the final investigations to come out before slammimg us in the dirt!!

Posted by vesta on July 30, 2007 at 6:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No one is "slamming you in the dirt". ALL of us, based on your brother's and sister's comments (and yes, some of them WERE THERE) are more than a little concerned that the firefighters remaining at CFD are in jeopardy of meeting the same fate as the Charleston Nine, because the ChIEf has said they wouldn't change anything after that tragic fire. It is not NORMAL for 9 ffs to lose their lives in a fire....something(s) went wrong. We know from your brother's and sister's comments that they have NOT had adequate training. We know from their comments that the scene was chaotic to say the least. We know from interviews and newspaper articles that they had equipment they didn't use and they had equipment they should NOT have used. The mentality of "The Chief is great, long live the Chief" is moronic. If he doesn't change some serious elements in his department, there will be NO ONE left to answer the tones when they are dropped.

Posted by chasffa on July 30, 2007 at 6:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I'm one of your brothers, was on scene and lost freinds. You are misguided in a terrible way owing to the fact that you think that our chief is not at fault here.

If you were at the fire you would know the way he ran around. We went in when we didn't need to because the pd had already said all people were evacuated. Chief Larry knew it because he was following around them two boys from St. Andrews.

As for 107 years of experience our brave brothers were in fighting a fire. Yeah a fire. But none of us were trained to pop one of those ceiling tiles-that's why we depend on the chief and he doesn't know and neither did Chief Larry.

We are good hell we are great but not at this modern stuff. We need a change and you know it and so does anyone with any sense. I like Rusty but he let us down and now look at our chiefs. Half are against him. Wake up bro.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 7:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)


IF, and I say that as a BIG IF, you are actually a firefighter, it has only led me to worry even more about the men working in the CFD. Give those of us not in the fire service some credit for being educated, intelligent human beings. Your lack of professional terminology and your zeal to use big words(sarcasm) leads me to believe you are not in the fire service at all. IF you are, your comment on training is pure bunk. I DO have family in the local fire service AND they have friends on the Charleston Fire Department. I HAVE KNOWN from the time I was a young teenager growing up here what the reputation of the Charleston Fire Department is. There are also countless ACTUAL members of the CFD on this message board who dispute EVERY ounce you have written. Are you trying to convince the intelligent public that YOU are the only one who is telling the truth? WRONG PAL...

I will give you that Rusty might be nice in public, he makes a great eulogy, he spoke with much emotion....blah blah blah. NONE of that matters because regardless of his intent, or lack of intent to harm anyone, HIS tactics, HIS practices, HIS lack of training for the men contributed to their deaths. THAT makes him liable-BUT not alone. There are more names in the mix that I am sure will come out.

IF, and I am still saying IF, you are a Fire Fighter, I have one message for you: If my home were to catch fire tonight-YOU STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM IT! Let the guys who KNOW what they are doing come in and fight it. You should be ashamed for coming here trying to close up a forum that brings the truth to the public. One day, IF you are a firefighter, WE may have to bring one for you if things don't change.

YOU want me to believe you are a firefighter-let's hear the lingo pal...WHAT training? WHAT certifications do you hold? WHAT exercises do you run daily that are so hard? Bring it on...'cuz' when you are finished, I have a feeling the real men in the fire hats will be sitting here ready to tell us you are full of yourself. You WANT to be a firefighter, son? When you are able to tie your shoes, you come back and play nice.

The FFs from the other cities chiming in, HAVE fought fires such as these, that is WHY THEY COMMENT. MAYBE if Rusty, and the rest of the brass had READ THE LODD reports from around the country, they would have been able to look at that MASSIVE stress fracture in the front facade(you can look that up, if you need to) and SEE that the signs were already in motion for that roof to cave in. Just having equipment to use on the truck isn't good enough, you can't run a department of men afraid of your wrath when they do use it.

IF you are a firefighter, let me remind you WHO YOU WORK FOR...TAXPAYERS!!! Don't try to shush me. I take orders from no one.

Posted by Wilmot on July 30, 2007 at 7:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Brotherhood, hell with all of that a55 kissing you should have used your real name!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 7:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Vesta and Chasffa,

You are way more kind than I am on that one-I apologize to the two of you for my thrashing, but as many guys from the department that have been on here, I am NOT in the slightest convinced he is even a firefighter.

If he is, Lord have mercy...

Stay safe.

Posted by chasffa on July 30, 2007 at 7:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

look to everyone on here - we, meaning those of us on the department, want help from any citizen reading. We can't get it any other way. State osha is going to let everything ride because they are good ole boys and not professional. We need a federal probe or we need the mayor flooded with requests that he demand formal ICS, academy training from the state. And we all thank you for all you do. Don't listen to someone like brohood.

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 7:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A camera was offered to rusty and he turned it down i have 2 decades on this job and i don't know where your at but i don't see any of this training your talking about. its little and the same stuff over and over. we need new advanced training. i like rusty to he's a likable guy but he can't fix whats broke. i was under guthkie ang can tell you that the morale is the worst its ever been. its the job of the experts to play monday morning qb or else we would'nt have the nfpa regulations we have now.we blame bush for whats wrong in the war even though theres things he does'nt have control over. this is know different rusty is at the top so he's the one who has to takes the heat.the real blame should go to the mayor and they should both go. i say this with love in my heart for all my brothers

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 30, 2007 at 7:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)


No one is trying to hurt this fire department. We ALL want this fire department to be the BEST, to live up to it's ISO Class 1 rating.

We want things to be safer for those men and women that work in ANY fire department and for those men/women to be safe when they risk their lives to save ours! I don't want to have to explain to my son that his father died because of lack of leadership or 21st century training in this fire department. And yes, my ex husband does work for this fire department and very well could have been one of those that died that night!

But when it comes down to it, things have got to change from the top down. If it that means the chief has to answer to the problems and leave/resign/get fired, then so be it.

You are right, I may not understand some of the terms used in this profession, but I am intelligent enough to read and listen to what people who DO know are writing and saying about this fire. And I am by no means saying that there aren't PLENTY of good men and women in the department. But again, I will say, you are only as good as the training and leadership that you have and from everything I've read in the P&C and on different websites dedicated to the duty of firefighting, things are not right in the City of Charleston right now and have not been for years.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 30, 2007 at 7:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)


No one is trained to poke one of those ceiling tiles to check for fire? This is just incredible and I am sitting here with my mouth wide open!

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 7:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Its not going to stop at the state osha the feds are going to come in for that very reason. It will take time but the truth or at least something much closer than what we got will come out.

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 7:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

yes we are thats all basic stuff so you can close it up

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 30, 2007 at 7:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When is the report from these investigations supposed to come out? Not the one Charleston (Chief, Mayor) is launching, but the one that NIOSH worked on?

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 7:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

months maybe longer

Posted by Wilmot on July 30, 2007 at 7:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To all those out there who are our reaal bosses(taxpaying citizens), thank you for hanging in there and helping! It means alot to those of us who are beside ourself with anger and frustration. This guy brotherhood is probably brainwashed or really new. I have always liked Rusty too. And I'm really disappointed that he hasn't stepped up to the challenge so far to admit that things went terribly wrong for many reasons and started making the needed changes. I don't need an investigation to tell me what they are and I don't think the chief really does either. Thanks again to all of you including fire service experts here, they know who they are. Keep it up, we need you.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 30, 2007 at 7:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

close it up? Do you mean check as in after the fire has been put out to see if it's still hiding above the ceiling tiles? Didn't I read in one article that someone could have used some sort of a poker to check the ceiling tiles when they saw smoke coming out of them? Was that not done?

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 7:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree. Im also tired of ruty telling lies everytime he puts stuff in the paper.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 30, 2007 at 7:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was a "Rusty Supporter" in the immediate days following this fire, but I swear, the more that man talks is what changed my way of thinking.

I think the purpose of most of us making comments and asking questions are intended to help and I'm glad to hear that you think it might. We DO support you and want you to stay safe!

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 7:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It was a joke i ment you can close up your mouth (LoL). We are trained in doin that to the ceiling tiles. I was there and it was done they knew the fire was up there it just got behind them to fast. Garvin should have ordered them out but pride got in the way. A ST. Andrews fire ch. called for everyony to evacuate but garvin said you dont tell city guys what to do where gonna put this fire out so they stayed not garvin though and st. andrews men got out. this is not here say this came straight from garvins mouth! Now you can open yours again

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 30, 2007 at 7:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bite me! :) Jeez....YOU must be my exhusband!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 7:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I apologize that the post I wrote sounded like I was iron fisting the FD as a boss. I really despise when people try to hide the truths from the public. The more I hear you guys(and gals) tell your accounts of that night and the accounts of the lack of training, I am more and more angry. I write letters, emails, make phone calls, etc. because I want to ensure that you all are taken care of. I grieve for the families and friends of these men-my family knew one as well. But they will be ok. When the dust settles, they are taken care of by us, the community, their own friend and family network, and their own strengths(and they are VERY strong). You guys are the ones left behind. The ones that have to keep moving, keep fighting fires, and keep making the same status quo "mistakes", risking your lives further than it needs to be.

I know what Mulkey's last words were that night-and I cry so much hoping that NONE of your families ever have to hear words like that from you.

Rest easy knowing that we are not just idle Internet bloggers. We ARE working to get the attention of MUCH bigger fish than what handle investigations here.

Stay safe

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 7:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

it was a joke you dont have to get so mad. sounds like you need to get bit.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 30, 2007 at 7:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

please, I'm not mad.....

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 7:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What happened to the Rookie there that night? Did he stay on the Dept.? I would love to hear his version sometime...

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 7:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One of the rookies went out of town and may not return. He's taking it real bad.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 7:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Careful you rated PG-13 here! LOL ;-)

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 30, 2007 at 7:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

PG13....just like the beloved exhusband.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 7:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

the truth,

Wow...what a shame. Someone please explain to me why there is someone saying that trucks are shut down? Obviously manpower-but what areas would they cover? Is the situation at the point that the city is very unprotected?

What is the view of the Captains regarding this mass interest? Are they compelling people not to speak as well? I know we have heard some of them in here as well as other forums.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 7:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Rolling On the Floor Laughing My A$$ Off!!!

You poor dear!

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 8:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

the trucks are ladder trucks no pumpers. Im one of those captains and some are speaking out but no one in charge wants to listen to us. the others care more about future positions than anything else. thats a tragedy but all you cfd people outh there know its true.

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 8:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

please read my earlier blog to charleytowngirl everyone to know what happend inside that night.thats the story that needs to get out. why does all these people get a pass on not having on gear i have friends that where suspended for that same thing

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 8:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I have sent you an email-please respond when you can...


Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 8:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just read what you said to brotherhood. I hate to give you the bad news but he sounds just like one of the ones i spoke about earlier. I have no doubt he's a cfd ff. and a narcissist in the truest form. But a brother and we still will protect each other in the battle no matter how are views are about the job thats one of the things i love about this job

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 30, 2007 at 8:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I heard from someone via email that there was apparatus out of service because Rusty knows if a fire comes in he will get all the help he needs from the off-duty personell. I also heard that these men who respond do not get o/t or compensation for this. It's a great little money saver for the city but they are in violation of Dept of Labor FLSA laws see: FLSA (section 3(s)(1)(C)).

You cannot be a volunteer for the dept in which you are employed full time.

This needs to be explored too.

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 8:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I did'nt get it try again.

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 8:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No pumpers are put out of service just ladder trucks. You heard right they do come back and do not get paid but they don't want to. Its mostly just to be seen by rusty and help with promotion later on.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 9 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I understand...OH BOY!!! Good luck with that. Then again...I said this about Rusty and I say it again...let them speak loud and clear-the more they do, the more the public realizes the truth...

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 30, 2007 at 9:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If this didn't come from such a tragic event, it would be hysterical how this man operates. Un-F--king believable!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 9:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Resent...let me know if you get it...

Posted by chasffa on July 30, 2007 at 9:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Today we had a call on St. Phillip Street. Chief Thomas had to come on the radio even though we had our assistant chief and two BC's onscene/enroute. He loves to micromanage.

The night of the fire we were working a handline and a newish guy told me he hadn't been trained for this and he's right. Now he's very bitter because he was sure we would get extra training afterward. He was wrong.

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 9:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You guys don't know the half of it nor the public. But got to go now. I have to hang pictures for the chief (my wife)hope i helped with info

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 9:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Hail to the Chief(the wife)...take care, thanks for the info.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 30, 2007 at 9:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

exactly what is the function of the ladder co in Charleston? Is one disp on every fire? What are your fireground assignments?

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 30, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote thetruth "Garvin should have ordered them out but pride got in the way. A ST. Andrews fire ch. called for everyony to evacuate but garvin said you dont tell city guys what to do where gonna put this fire out so they stayed not garvin though and st. andrews men got out. this is not here say this came straight from garvins mouth! "

This is huge, this MUST NOT get pushed under the carpet.
A power struggle and pride may have cost these fellows their lives, unbelievable.

This can not be taken lightly, if a Chief or anyone for that matter that sees a life threatening situation calls for an evacuation, it should be done, no questions asked.

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 9:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One is sent to every fire they primamily do ventalation search an rescue they also are the ones that carry the thermal cameras, but can't if there shut down for lack of man power this happens all the time. OK im really going this time. still did'nt get the email nickie

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 9:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Interesting...maybe the reporters are still looking up answers to what I asked?

Boys, if you are still reading BOTH of my emails, SEND at least ONE of them on... :-)

Give it some time, maybe it will come in a little bit....not to rush...

Posted by Wilmot on July 30, 2007 at 9:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thetruth, The truckies I see at fires just pull more hoselines. Never witnessed a hole being cut on a roof in my CFD career.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 30, 2007 at 9:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks truth, now go do as she says, or else!!!!

Posted by chasffa on July 30, 2007 at 9:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I drive a ladder when there's a detail. We usually get stuck on a line on my shift. Ladder work is not emphasized.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 10:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Guys, I just saw this on another page...I think you should see this...

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

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

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


Posted by charleytowngirl on July 30, 2007 at 10:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I've been re-reading some of the earlier stories published in the P&C. Here is some earlier information from one of the stories and quotes by Chief Thomas.

In the P&C 6-22-07 Headline "Steel Trusses like those in the Sofa Super Store can mask growing fires"
...The Charleston Fire Department did a pre-planning visit to the store in April 2006. Firefighters mapped the building's layout, noted that the building lacked sprinklers and that it contained furniture. They also recorded how many exits it had. The department's report does not indicate that the building had a steel truss design. One of the firefighters who did that inspection was the chief who was in charge when the firefighters went into the sofa store......(Garvin)

Charleston Fire Chief Rusty Thomas said Friday that his department has fought plenty of fires in buildings with steel trusses. However, he said, "As far as if they knew it was steel truss construction and stuff like that, I don't know if any of my guys knew it or not."

Note: In another article, Thomas said there was a copy of the inspection report on the truck that was closest to the store that would be the first one to respond to the store and a copy was at his office as well. Is that true?

Odd that Garvin was present at the inspection and did not note the steel truss design!

More to come.....Garvin contradicts himself in several one he says he opened the rear another he says the door blew in and he couldn't shut it.

I apparently missed some of these things on my initial read throught of the articles. Perhaps the rest of you caught them, but in case you didn't you might want to re-read some of them too. Lots of minor inconsistencies in comparison to the big obvious ones!

Posted by oldfric07 on July 30, 2007 at 10:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The thermal imagers are but a symptom of systemic failure in CFD. This is nothing new. It’s been this way but much like the old Soviet Union, form the outside, all seemed well.

The Chief of Department is personable, outgoing and convinced the Mayor a Class 1 ISO rating proved the department was among the best. However, this couldn’t make up for the lack of Incident Command, training, nepotism, and promotions based on loyalty rather than performance.

When the chief’s younger brother made Battalion Chief his interview consisted of his older brother (the chief), his father (Was then the Supervising Engineer) and 1 other chief. He jumped 20 senior Captains to get that position.

There are zero requirements for being a chief officer except loyalty. When that occurs it’s not a question of if something will happen but when. The big problem now is NOTHING has changed.

The Mayor has to reappoint the Fire Chief every January. The firefighters can’t wait that long. If you think the thermal imagers not being used are bad there’s much worse coming. It will be expensive to repair the department, especially in light of the massive failure recently.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 10:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We are being encouraged to write letters to the editor to get the word out. I have begun one, but would like it reviewed by one of you CFD guys..AND Jim..What is the best, PRIVATE way to do that? Obviously I don't want you to post email addresses on here, so...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 10:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Better yet. If ANY of you wish for your own letter to the editor to be sent, I will gladly express that it is coming from a CFF and place it in my name to protect your identities. Does that appeal to anyone?

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 30, 2007 at 10:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

just sent you a pm

Posted by Wilmot on July 30, 2007 at 10:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie, judging by your postings you've got the touch, just let'er rip.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 10:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks Wilmot...Just want to make sure I get the facts straight...Guess I won't do so bad once I make it through Law School, eh? :-)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 10:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Got it Jim, thanks a bunch! and I agree totally...

The offer still stands for you guys in CFD. I will do what I can where I can...

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 30, 2007 at 10:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You do have the gift of gab Nicki!!! :-)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 10:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Geesh...I don't know if I want to be remembered THAT way Jim...being a thorn in the side of those that want to slide this under the rug is certainly my forte though..

"Gift of gab" that a good thing???? ;-)

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 30, 2007 at 10:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You'll make a very good lawyer.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 11:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

LOL...You MUST have been trained well...a neutral compliment...good job! :-)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 11:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You've got mail, Jim

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

I'd like to let everyone know something that has been bothering me since I read it a couple of days ago. Someone posted that CFD rookies spend a total of 2 weeks in drill school. I'd just like to give you all a glimpse of what our rookies do.

All of Daytons new hires are already State certified level 2 (professional) firefighters. They spend 10 weeks in drill school. 10 weeks of learning OUR tactics, practicing OUR procedures, and testing. Every time they go to the training tower, they march, in formation. They have PT. If they FU, they do more PT. They learn engine ops, truck ops, rescue ops. They go through a course called 'save your own'(we all do). Towards the end, duty crews are rotated through during their 'night fires'. It doesn't stop there.

Once in the district and assigned to house, the "cub", studies, drills, takes tests, for 6 more months. On scenes, he's watched over, instructed, encouraged, and praised. At the end of those 8 months, he is begin learning!!!!

CFD needs to adopt the philosophy of: Learn, practice, apply, adapt, learn some more, practice some more, apply, adapt..........

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 11:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I got a letter going to pc filled with this an a lot more. I can help with yours if you want.

olefric sounds like an old capt. i use to know. Don't forget the mayor is also rustys godfather, thats right and little tommy was promoted to captain for his 21st b/day. Like i said you guys don't know the half of it. Be watching the paper though b/c its gonna come out soon.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 11:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's true????

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 11:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

thats true. However they are already state certified when they come to us. But are training is nothing like yours.

Posted by thetruth on July 30, 2007 at 11:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

is what true?

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 30, 2007 at 11:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nicki, Very eloquent yet forceful. Something I'd expect from a Buckeye!!!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 11:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What I asked you in email...what, is it past your bedtime and you suffer from memory loss? geesh :-)

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 30, 2007 at 11:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)



I would like to get that to Truth...any ideas?

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 12:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

thetruth, I am also referring to a quote from chasffa: "The night of the fire we were working a handline and a newish guy told me he hadn't been trained for this and he's right. Now he's very bitter because he was sure we would get extra training afterward. He was wrong."

There is no excuse for this. Especially with lives on the line.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 31, 2007 at 12:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

ok, it's starting to seem a little AOL'ish on this message board with the personal comments back and forth. I think this one has run it's course. This should be a message board about the topic. We all have email or instant messenger for personal comments. Especially if we want our comments to be heard by the "Powers that be". It was great reading everyone's comments. It certainly gave me some insight into what goes on in this department and other departments in the country.
Thanks for the insight ya'll. Let me know if there is anything specifically that I can do to help. Until then, you guys in the department stay safe!

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 12:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

thetruth, i sent you a pm with my email add. I'll forward nickis letter to you.

Posted by FunandGames on July 31, 2007 at 12:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Brotherhood was on here a while ago and was severely chastised and his authenticity was questioned.

Nickie, I hope I never piss you off! Brotherhood is most certainly a CFD FF. I have no idea who he is but I know the type of person and FF, there are quite a few in the CFD.

Brotherhood, I respect your loyalty, and your opinion. But, PLEASE, educate yourself. Learn how the rest of the country operates a fire department, then decide which way you would rather do it.

You said you were open to change, I hope that you will do everything you can to start that as soon as possible. It can start from the bottom up. You don't have to wait to be told what to do. Grab a trade journal (Firehouse, Fire Engineering), visit some of the educational websites (not the blogs, though they do have some info too). This is stuff you can do for free.

Nickie, you asked about the truck being shut down. Ladder 1 is on Daniel Island. It's been shut down due to staffing since 6/18. The department doesn't allow overtime so if a shift is short a person or two, they just do without. Instead of riding with 4 on a rig, they ride with 3, then 2, then none. Ever hear of "Two men and a truck"? Ask around the country about minimum staffing. 3 is considered BARE minimum. For a paid department the size of Charleston, most would probably expect 4 on each Engine and would hope for 4 on each Ladder. We don't have a heavy rescue yet, but 4 minium on that. BTW, a Heavy Rescue's primary mission is the rescue of trapped firefighters.

A ladder, or truck, is supposed to rescue victims, force entry, and ventilate. A typical first arriving truck in Charleston is very likely to pull a hand line to attack the fire, this is another example of doing things the "Charleston" way.

It has been asked who would be in charge of the CFD if Rusty was placed on admin leave. There is a chain of command, Larry Garvin would be one of the next in line. The other 2 would be the other Assistant Chief's, both have an equal amount of training as Larry Garvin, except one is also the fire investigator. What purpose would this serve except to further reduce the amount of firefighters available on any given day to cover the shift?

I understand the anger at Rusty and Larry, I just question the purpose and benefit of putting them on leave.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 31, 2007 at 7:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)


The benefit of them being put on admin leave is twofold:

1. Both were in charge of the June 18, 2007 fire. As such, after nine deaths and until a review is conducted, it would be wise to take them away from their day to day duties.

2. It sends the message that chiefs are accountable for their actions. This is a powerful message.

As for the person who would run the department you have to give someone the opportunity. It doesn't have to be an Assistant Chief. Either way admin leave is required.

Posted by charlestoncaptain on July 31, 2007 at 8:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Good Morning,

I'm a Captain with the city. The decision to write in this space was very difficult. Everyone faces grief in their own way. I knew all nine guys and the next morning, after we left the scene I was hurt and angry.

For years we have tried to alert the mayor and the local news agencies to the dangers that exist in our department. By we I don't mean the union. I'm not in it but will be soon.

We means a large number of us who saw we were in trouble. New apparatus and documents saying we train mean nothing. What matters is what you do on a call. We all do what we can but it's fighting a losing battle because we are put into situations by our chiefs, most of whom don't understand firefighting in a way a chief officer should understand it. But they aren't the only problem.

There is a small group of men who show up off duty, unpaid, and totally destroy fireground operations. I know because I used to be one and it helped me make Captain. Now I see why older Captain in years past hated people who came back. There is no way to control the scene. We have no checks on personnel during fires. At least none that are standard.

Chief Thomas likes me. He considers me a good guy and writing this is hard. I am training my guys like crazy but it isn't enough. Something else will happen because we are not using any safety precautions. Our chiefs are in over their heads. We can fight fire the old way but the prospect of losing more firefighters is a grim reality. We haven't changed and we won't. Sadly this means we will see more injuries and deaths before someone outside steps in to change our culture.

Posted by ssm on July 31, 2007 at 9:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Keep the faith brother, more people have your backs than you know.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 9:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow cap, Thanks for coming forward and enlightening us more. I know you are taking a risk coming forward, even in anonymity. As you can see here you have a lot of support from your citizens which you serve and also from your fellow brothers both in the CFD and around the world. The loudest voice in this issue should/will come from you, the rank and file firefighters and officers. Maybe then the city leaders will hear and vote for change.

My condolances for your loss and my never ending support for you and your brothers. Jim, DaytonFD

Posted by Harpo on July 31, 2007 at 9:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The defensive tone of Brotherhood's post is
typical of those from others who really,
really screw up badly. The tired old "hey,
nobody's perfect. We all make mistakes"
whine just doesn't cut it. That's not a
"pursuit of excellence" response; that's
a mediocre response.

This most excellent collection of posts
point out a host of failures from a lack
of on-scene central command, from
incomplete building inspection data,
outdated equipment, insufficient training,
stagnant leadership and smug incumbent
attitudes from the top down.

The posts from knowledgeable firefighters
herein describe, for the most part, a
good-ol'-boy management structure, an
overwhelming desire to cut costs in
training and salary, obsolescent equipment
and techniques, and most importantly an
effort to whitewash it all with a very
late dog&pony investigation of the fire
to be conducted by the boys.

Not all the points being made may be
true and accurate, but just look ..
JUST LOOK at the overall theme here.

One should note that most of these posts
are being made by fireman WITHOUT their
training officers present. I bless the
Post and Courier for providing this
venue for direct uncensored public
access to the guys in the trenches.
This is a true public service; it's
immeasurably helpful and I note that
the newspaper has extended this most
valuable thread beyond the normal

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 9:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So true Harpo. Also, the fact that Brotherhood has just made this 1 post, and has not responded to any of the counter-points makes me think this was posted as just some sort of spin control.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 9:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)



And Jim, THAT (your spin control comment) is what made me comment as I did in the pm.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 10:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)


No need to worry about my wrath, you have already proven your IQ is well above my trigger point. I apologize for losing it on one of your own. These days, after reading the posts and the stories and some things given to me offline, I am WAY beyond tolerant of idiocy. There is no excuse for this mess. No excuse for offline trucks..Im quoting Rusty from the memorial(PARAHRASED, and taken out of context, of course) who said that he would have no problem filling those jobs...Now, He did not say that in a mean or arogant tone, I grant him that, but...Those 9 jobs are NOT being filled, and from what I have heard, MORE men are leaving.

I knew about Daniel Island before...but I bet the residents of the Island don't know...The frightening part is that many of these people are sleeping easy thinking all is well in the Low Country...mmm mmm mmm.

When you ask the purpose and benefit of placing Rusty and Garvin on leave pending the investigation, I 100% agree with's the MESSAGE that is as important as the side effect of moral boosting. Leaving these men in place shows the line guys that nothing is going to change for their benefit. That Rsuty and Garvin are 'above the law', so to speak. They are untouchables at this point. THAT is also a powerful message. It bashes already low moral even further, increasing the danger to them and who knows who else. Look, I didn't ask that question to cause further hardship to the department and the guys left behind. It is the practice the Nation over to place someone being investigated on Admin leave. If we want change in this department and this "culture", we have to start somewhere to break the chain. There is always someone to fill a seat in the upper ranks...even if it is temporary...but there are PLENTY of intelligent, qualified men that can step up to the plate...Maybe even you? We are willing to go to bat for you guys, but the suggestions we have are all we have. Barring us calling for their Admin leave papers, what else are we supposed to demand? Change will come, but will it be too late otherwise?

Posted by Neponset on July 31, 2007 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have noted posts on other forums which try to discourage commenting on a subject or to discredit the victim and perhaps they where hired to do this. In the comments on the story about the sail boat that was run down by a tour boat, one post said something to the effect that he wished the sail boat captain had been tested for drugs etc. In the forum on the Al Parish thing one post suggested that the people making comments could be sued for liable. Don't let the bas--ds scare you off. Keep posting. As I have said above, I have set up a section or what ever in the forum section of this website where you can comment when this article is dropped as old news.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 10:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think there probably are some capable BC's in the CFD who can manage the day-to-day operations. From what I've read so far, there seems to be quite a few officers both BC and Capt that highly competent and capable.

east3 stated in an earlier article that these chiefs are not allowed to develop their command skills because they are continually relieved at a scene by those few senior chiefs that seem to be the root of the problem.

It looks like there are a great many men in your dept with the skills and gonads to lead. They just can't seem to get out from under Rustys thumb.

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 10:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Neponset I registered on the forum yesterday, i have not been approved. How do i conact the forum admin?

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


Correct. No one need worry about being sued for their comments. If they are true that is-you can't call someone a 'child molester' for instance if it isn't true...the personal comments are opinions, and you can have any opinion you want.

I looked for your forum section yesterday and couldn't find it...directions again, plz?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 10:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Found the Forums, I also had to register, and am waiting for the Administrator approval.

Posted by Neponset on July 31, 2007 at 10:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

With respect to the forum, looks like someone has done a cut and paste of all the comments up thru 7/30 so that they will not be lost. Note: the forum is different and required a separate registration/login. My experience is that I was not able to use the same user name for both commenting on new articles amd the forum. My user name on the forum is rick.

Posted by Neponset on July 31, 2007 at 11:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

When I read the comment about suing for liable, I called the guy who heads up internet stuff at N&C and asked him about it and he basically said it would take a court order to pry loose identity of a post. His name is Paul Crawford at

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 11:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Good job...I hope the guys see that post and realize they are safe to talk more...

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 12:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

charlestoncaptain, I also an a Captain in a mid sized city and I can see where you are coming from.
I am a member of the IAFF, I am just a rank and file member, not on the executive and not an advocate. Like everyone else I grumble the odd time about the dues. The descriptions of the issues I am hearing in these posts has more than convinced me that we are very well off thanks to our association
A couple of examples:
We freely negotiated a manning clause, 4 on a pump or quint, 2 on an aerial and 2 on a rescue. If we are short on manpower overtime personnel are called in.
Yes a vehicle can be taken off the road if we can not get the personnel to come in, in over 30 years I have never seen it happen. I personally worked Christmas Day one year so a truck would not come off the road.
Anytime anyone comes in for any reason it is overtime, time or money at time and one half, paid from 3 hours minimum.
The promotional policy is in the contract, in black and white, no favouritism, no nepotism. Our City Human Resources Department is involved in any promotions above Captain.
This goes on and on with sick benefits, vacations etc.

Now this has evolved over the years for sure. Although we would never strike as it is in our constitution and a moral issue with any firefighter. Our geovernment has deemed firefighters to be an essential service, this means BINDING ARBITRATION. This is also true for grievances, inappropriate punishments, or treatment.These also go to binding arbitration if necessary.
You would probably have to lobby your State goverment to enact an essential service bill and binding arbitration to have some teeth in the system.

I know some are intimidated by Schaitburger and the IAFF but in reality most of the dealings are with our Local, we then call on our Provincial(State for you) and finally if necessary the big guns at the International. Let me tell you, they are there when you need them, money, legal advice, expert advice whatever you need.

There is strength in numbers, your department finally got their first collective agreement, you should start by getting everyone in your department on the same team.

Obviously every one has had the wool pulled over their eyes, Ya think the chief wants a union, no way when he can do whatever he wishes.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 12:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Continued..........guess I went over 3000 words

The South Carolina Firemen's Association is a joke, It's for vollies, I looked at the website, over 3/4 of the executive has 5 stripes on their sleeve. As professionals you should belong to the SOUTH CAROLINA PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION if there is one, if not, start one.

I really feel for you guys,hopefully you can get out of this mess. You are all great firefighters, can't say the same for administration

If what they are saying about Garvin is true, telling his men to stay inside when another experienced officer asked for evacuation, he should also be gone. Even the idea of that has put a knot in my stomach.

As one Captain to another, believe me you have a lot of support from firefighters everywhere!

Posted by Neponset on July 31, 2007 at 12:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ok, we all agree that Rusty has to go, but there is not a chance that we can also get rid of Little Joe. I think that the only way we can get Joes attention is to avalance him with Emails - I am not talking about hundreds but thousands - get organized and get every man, women etc to Email him him and demand the removal of rusty!

Posted by charlestoncaptain on July 31, 2007 at 12:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The protection on Danile Island is sub-par. We don't have automatic aid with Mount Pleasant. If we CALL Mount Pleasant they will always come but if the high school on Daniel Island is on fire, Bishop England, often there won't be an aerial avaliable because the city hasn't been staffing the NEW aerial on Daniel Island. Ask Rusty about that and Notify parents who send their kids to Bishop England.

I work West Ashley but we don't automatically send St. Andrews even though they can beat us to a lot of places. Our chief belittles the men over at St. Andrews in front of us and them. Our dispatchers are different, St. Andrews carries larger hose and we run right past them into a dangerous situation without thinking twice.

James Island is even worse. If private citizens would request, under the Freedom of Information act, a copy of the fire department budget, look at the amount spent on training.

If firefighters from around the country are reading this send emails to everyone you know asking them to come look at us or visit the Firefighter Hourly site. A lot of guys are talking to him.

Just now the assistant chief on duty, Chief Garvin, called all the battalion chiefs to the chief's office at 1:30 pm for a big pow -wow.This will be a crack down on those of us speaking out.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 12:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't sweat it yet...they don't know how you are so they can't crack down on anyone per say...MAYBE we will be lucky enough that it is just them announcing their retirements or their Admin. leave?

Stay cool, keep talking...we need the info to pass on

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 12:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

circle the wagons boys. DON'T give in!!!! Those 9 men deserve more than this

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 12:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

you deserve more than this!! It WILL happen again unless things change. Next time it may be you.

Posted by charlestoncaptain on July 31, 2007 at 12:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually it's not about us!

It is some sort of announcement going out department wide. Probably a new memo.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 31, 2007 at 12:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

1. Just send your comments to me or someone else and we will post them for you. No problem!

2. It's more likely the meeting is to send out a new directive.

Stay cool. It's making a difference.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 12:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ditto OldFric!

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 12:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

me too. I'm here in Dayton. I don't think rusty could find it with a GPS. Attn any rangers out there, I'd love to hear from you too!!

Posted by Neponset on July 31, 2007 at 1:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have seen the word "ranger", what does it mean?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 1:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Right at Wright Patt. Blvd...Left at...Then left again...


Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 1:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My guess it ties in with "bootlick"

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 1:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How so Bickle?

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 1:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's the nick the CFDer's have given Chief Thomas's little suck-ups.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 1:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Not the person "Bootlicked" but the action, I am eluding to exactly what fyrmnjim has stated above me. There are a lot more names for these people besides suck ups and bootlicks ;-)

Posted by easy on July 31, 2007 at 1:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Just in case anyone has forgotten..... The CHIEF, would still do the same thing today, if it were the same fire all over again..... You all need to stop and think about what he has said... Do you want to take that chance, with the people who are makeing the tactical decisions, when it comes to your life ?????

Posted by oldfric07 on July 31, 2007 at 1:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I want to live a life of danger

I want to be a Rusty Ranger

Respond to his wishes every day

So promotions come my way

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 1:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just noticed on a pic in another forum that the facade was cracking very early on. Parked right in front of that crack is a Chief's Crown Vic. Should have been the 3 air horn evacuation signal at that point at least!

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 1:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

good point easy

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 1:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And you sing that to what tune oldfric, ;-)

Posted by charlestoncaptain on July 31, 2007 at 1:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Brothers around the country:

We don't use ICS, we don't have safety officers, we don't have rescue unit despite our size, we don't use formal IC, and we have zero support for training.

Please spread the word to our brothers around the country.

Posted by vesta on July 31, 2007 at 1:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You've got it charlestoncaptain. E-mails as well as letters. Tell us about your training and be specific if you can. What courses, who teaches them, etc. We know about ICS from the fire scene, but I did not know about the rescue unit. When the wall collapsed at the CofC yesterday, did they tone out a fire department?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 1:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)


That might be the photo link sent in by a Dayton guy...Interesting eh? I'll go one further...the Chief's WIFE is in the car!

Now look at the smoke billowing out of those cracks...BEFORE the windows were broken out..EARLY on in the fire...Let's keep adding it all up people...

The stories are getting further and further time between them...we NEED to keep this in the forefront of people's minds.

Anyone who has heard me here will know I am not usually plugging anything but truth. OK, the truth is that you guys have NO protection-we see it, and unless YOU CFF come forward with stories and facts of issues inside, the citizens are lame ducks. We can write, we can make noise, but WE can't force anything. If we march or gather, they will arrest us...and I worry converging on the Mayor's office will bring the same result. The roots run deep. You all need to band together and get the word out TOGETHER...what are they going to do? Fire you all???? Not realistic, that would leave the city TOTALLY defenseless...because from the sounds of it, the 9 spots are STILL open and more opened AFTER...they are already undermanned.

You know my view on the Union...and I am never going to hear the end of this one, but maybe it is time to join for your own safety and protection. If you are all members, happy or not, they can help some in protecting you.

Just my thoughts. I am still writing letters...Letter to the editor will go out today.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 31, 2007 at 2:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)


The incident yesterday was toned out and the firefighters did an excellent job. The Assistant Chief yesterday is very well trained and methodical. They performed well at the collapse.

However, a heavy rescue puts 4 to 5 people on the scene, all of whom have excellent training in rescues instead of having to bring several engines and ladders just to get enough people to do the job.

The Captain can fill you in on training.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 2:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote Nickie "Now look at the smoke billowing out of those cracks...BEFORE the windows were broken out..EARLY on in the fire...Let's keep adding it all up people..."

Nickie, very interesting, I purposely didn't mention the smoke puffing from the crack, just wanted to see if anyone noticed.
Isn,t that interesting a lay person picked up on it, you not even being a firefighter yet a Battalion Chief.

Maybe it wasn't there when he did his three trips in.
Perfect example why the Incident Commander should be standing back watching the whole scene.

Posted by charlestoncaptain on July 31, 2007 at 2:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That smoke was describe perfectly over at fireman hourly

As for training once we a re on the job it is the same old thing everyday. Ropes, ladders, etc. We don't practice anything that relates to tactics or construction.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 2:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

CharlestonCaptain and Bickle...

Right ChasCapt...Can't take the credit on that one...Jim and others pointed it out...I got it from the link Jim sent out from the other site...One of his guys created a "report". I have sent that photo on to other lay people...the reactions are....speechless...

I agree that on his three trips in Garvin would have missed it, but RUSTY didn't go in...excuses?

Letter to the editor just went out...let me know if anyone sees it...we will see how far into the paper the hooks go.

Posted by ssm on July 31, 2007 at 2:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote Nickiegarbeil:"You know my view on the Union...and I am never going to hear the end of this one, but maybe it is time to join for your own safety and protection. If you are all members, happy or not, they can help some in protecting you."

Did you really say that? Love ya!

Local 61 meets next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 2:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Great...and the hurricane begins... ;-) Imagine that...

Posted by bravestcfd on July 31, 2007 at 3:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This was never my intention. Writing about that awful night is difficult. Trying to move on is tough but you have to do it. One of the brothers killed was one of my best friends. He was a good guy.

Today I read an editorial by a retired FDNY firefighter who said wait until the reports come out. That’s easy for him to say because he isn’t running calls here. He’s sitting in the comfort of his house. He used to work for the county and every one of us thought he was a clown. This proves it.

I love my job and the people around me. My Captain is great and we train on stuff we aren’t required to because we know the city training program is a joke. All of us know it. We have for years.

That night I showed up to help. No one knew who was missing. At one point the Chief got us into a circle and asked who was missing. That was our accountability check. It made me angry and now it just makes me sick. This patch that say’s Class 1 means nothing to me anymore. The 9 who died could have been joined by 7 more. It was close. Another 10 minutes and 25 would have been in there.

I’m joining the association (union) because at least it seems like they took a stand. Four of my good friends are doing the same. Enough is enough. We are a polished diamond that’s pure coal underneath. I see it now but I didn’t before. My wife wants me to leave but I can't.

Posted by vesta on July 31, 2007 at 3:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

charlestoncaptain: So, other than your basic firefighting courses, everything else is "on the job" training??

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 3:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I am so sorry you have to read the post of the retired NYFF. I saw it too and chose not to comment. He obviously didn't read the pages and pages of posts made by the actual firefighters from inside CFD, or he wouldn't have been so worried about explaining the 'definition' of expert-he would have been mad as hell like the rest of us.

Keep the information coming, the more people know, the more it helps your cause. Good luck, and my greatest admiration and sympathy goes out to you and your brothers.

Posted by vesta on July 31, 2007 at 3:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My thoughts were, after I read it, well, there is an "expert" the mayor will hire for his in-house review. Disgusting.

Posted by FunandGames on July 31, 2007 at 3:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickie, Fric,
I'm playing a bit of a devil's advocate here, if you will excuse that term.

Placing RBT and LG on paid leave would send a clear message. How long would that leave last? Until NIOSH publishes? I'd like a vacation that long.

My point is that if the city took that step, the Acting Chief of the Dept would likely be one of the remaining A/Cs. Neither of which is any more qualified than RBT.

If they did take that step, and moved an A/C into the driver's seat, would there be any change? I would argue that the department would continue on cruise control.

As crazy as it might sound, I think the best short-term outcome is for RBT to start making some changes now. It is painfully obvious to the rest of us some of the things that could be done in the short term, ICS, Accountability, RIT, Staffing... Read the posts and the blogs.

The thing that's even more crazy is that a lot of those things could be done at ZERO or minimal cost to the city. It's just training and procedure, oh, and a major attitude adjustment. The problem is that it creates an avenue for the blame game that is coming. The reality is that the blame game will be played regardless, so why not just make the changes anyway?

Posted by Harpo on July 31, 2007 at 3:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Did the chief really say that? .. that he would
do it all the same way if he had to do it again?
I hadn't read that statement.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 3:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Ohhhhhh...Devil's Advocate! I LOVE that seat! :-)I can certainly see where you are coming from, but the REAL point is making sure the changes begin, and leaving RBT and LG in the "driver's seats" so to speak isn't working thus far. The Chief has made it clear nothing is going to change...not voluntarily...and my OPINION is that Mayor Riley is too weak to push the issue and force changes. Even if he did, it would be done grudgingly-would it be effective training at all?

The message that this won't be tolerated will resonate to all of the men in line to take the seats when they are placed on leave. I think you would see a very large attitude change, even in the men who followed most closely to Rusty. They will want to KEEP their seats while he is on 'vacation'. theory, who is to say they won't come in and run the show like professionals do, JUST to get their recognition from the Mayor...maybe a permanent seat? These men want to ride high, they get their by "kissing up to" Rusty. Once they are in that seat for a taste of the glory, maybe they are more likely to turn on him? Not in a bad way, but to allow the truth to come out once and for all from the higher ups.

IF the status quo goes on, you know the outcome. You have all said it already. More men WILL die. Not IF, but WHEN. Isn't averting that worth a little bit more discomfort while the ranks are switched around a bit?

Rusty is already telling you and the public that he will NOT give you change. He sees no reason for it. He sees no fault in the calls made, the lack of training, the lack of all of those things mentioned. If we were dealing with the mind of a rational man, this tragedy MIGHT not have occurred..

I would have suggested UN-paid leave, but I am not that mean.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 4:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I have a question for you...Are civilians welcome at a meeting?

Posted by vesta on July 31, 2007 at 4:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To quote FunandGames: "The thing that's even more crazy is that a lot of those things could be done at ZERO or minimal cost to the city. It's just training and procedure, oh, and a major attitude adjustment." ONE of the problems with the Chief and his cronies is that they think that GOOD training IS "ZERO or minimal cost". GOOD training isn't lagging behind the captain, the training officer, the battalion chiefs and watching what goes on or listening to fire stories at night about how other ffs handled a particular fire. IT IS LEARNING NEW CONCEPTS (as in "booster lines are antiquated for today's big fires"), LEARNING ABOUT NEW EQUIPMENT, LEARNING FROM TRAGIC FIRES (SUCH AS SSS). Like nickie said, if the Chief doesn't think that is important (to learn from your mistakes), you are right back where you were.

Posted by FunandGames on July 31, 2007 at 4:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

On the L61 meeting... If there is something you would like to say or do, you may request to speak to the body. This is normally done before regular business is conducted, and permission has been granted in the past. Go to the website, I would suggest that you try to get in touch with Roger or Brian, the President and VP of the local to make your request.

I see your point regarding admin leave.

Posted by oldfric07 on July 31, 2007 at 4:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Contact the Mayor to voice your opinion.

Joseph P. Riley, Jr Mayor


Posted by Neponset on July 31, 2007 at 4:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Amen, we need to move on and do something that will effect change - start the avalanche.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 5:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe we should go to the Union meeting, express our concerns and see what we can do to set in motion some of these needs?

Posted by Wilmot on July 31, 2007 at 5:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie, your welcome to come to the meetings but you'd just be preaching to the choir.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 5:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote bravestcfd "
That night I showed up to help. No one knew who was missing. At one point the Chief got us into a circle and asked who was missing. "

Not pointing the finger at you bravest, but your chief sounds like a kindergarten teacher here. Accountability has been around for a while. Accountability may not have been the problem here but it is a big part of the "Command & Control" at the scene.

Here is a sample SOG for accountability, it is probably pretty close to the majority in use today.

Unfortunately to have it work, everyone from the top down must participate, so bravest I feel for you guys as you are up against a brick wall with your current administration.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 5:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why Wilmot? Are they not welcoming support for this sort of thing? I'm not sure where you are coming from.

Posted by charlestoncaptain on July 31, 2007 at 5:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One of our chiefs (Schofield) and engine 8 are over on Isle of Palms. So either there is training going on or a more robust mutual aid agreement is in the works. Remember how Rusty tried to get Chief Graham in trouble after the big night at fritz's house? Rusty told the Senator that fire wouldn't have happened if 2 1/2 supply lines were used.

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 31, 2007 at 6:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Last night I sent an email to Ron Menchaca, one of the P&C writers that have been writing these stories. He replied to my email and said they would love to talk to some of you guys ANONYMOUSLY. All you have to do is contact him. If you'd like a copy of the email let me know...I can send it to you through your screen name used here (I think) I'll try anyway. Otherwise, all you have to do is click on the link to his email at the top of the story.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 6:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Good idea...I also sent an email pushing the issue of bringing more information to the forefront. Kudos!

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 8:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Since this is a column about Thermal Imaging Cameras, here is a positive story, note the part where it says you can look right through the ceiling to see the heat.

Posted by vesta on July 31, 2007 at 8:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bickleseagrave: Good article! I have seen a TIC in action and they also are used by rescue and law enforcement.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 8:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

For sure we carry one on EVERY piece of frontline apparatus.
We have used them at car wrecks to find victims in the long grass etc, sometimes the police will ask for help if a driver has tried to flee the scene and hide.
They also work great for grow op houses, they really show up with the heat they generate.

Posted by vesta on July 31, 2007 at 9 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think one of the most frightening things for fire/rescue is to go to the scene of an accident on an interstate with steep embankment in the middle of the night and find the adults in the car either deceased or unable to communicate and then you begin to wonder if there were children who might have been thrown from the vehicle down that embankment into the darkness....the TICs are worth what they cost. How fortunate your funding agency/government sees fit to outfit you in this manner.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 9:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Just like Charleston needs to do, you have to start somewhere, we had one on our on duty Chiefs vehicle and then budgeted for them over the next few years until we had them on the whole fleet.

Now when we buy a new vehicle we spec the vehicle with this equipment. Charleston would have better spent the money they put into booster reels into having TIC's installed on the rigs when they were new.

These devices are are also invaluable for overhaul, the insurance companies love them, there is no need to pull down a whole wall to find a spot fire. I know that some insurance companies have subsidized Fire Departments in the purchase of these units.

Posted by vesta on July 31, 2007 at 9:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Speaking of subsidizing, grant writing is yet another topic to address. There are many less rural fire departments or fire/rescue that have individuals whose job it is to write grants to obtain equipment. Of course, you need to train ffs to use this new equipment once you get it. Just think of what the Charleston City Fire Department could be like if they were just brought out of the "dark ages."

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 31, 2007 at 10:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I composed an email with a personal message from myself and used many of the comments from this post in the body of the email....a simple matter of cut and try to bring this to the attention of as many people as I could. I have emailed it to everyone in my personal address book. I also emailed it to as to many email addresses I could get off the website of my local fire department. Who knows more firefighters than another fire department! Hopefully more people will tune in and read the comments themselves or forward the email to other firefighter brother/sisters. I'm at a loss...don't know what else to do to try to help other than spread the word. And I have a BIG mouth! No comments to that are necessary, please!!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 10:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I emailed one of the authors as well..not happy with the response. I found it a bit condescending...dismissing the comments on this board as questionable since they are from anonymous posters....I'm mad

Bickle, did you get my pm earlier? I sent two this afternoon, both returned, I got one from you this evening and I didn't hear back, so I assume you got it.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 10:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I e-mailed BillyG at firefighterclosecalls to ask him why he did not seem to be posting information regarding what happened in Charleston

Strange, he is always preaching safety stuff and he has barely mentioned this incident. He has pictures and write ups about unsafe practices across the country. I have seen quite a number of pics that are quite similar to what he has posted regarding other departments.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 10:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Haven't received any pm's try your e-mail now


Posted by charleytowngirl on July 31, 2007 at 10:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, Nickie, that surprises me. The reply I got was not like that at all. Which one did you write to?

Maybe his response was possibly his way of saying that they can't take the comments seriously unless they can meet anonymously one on one with some of these firefighters that know the real deal. That's what they are really trying to do.

Their doing a good job at reporting, I guess it's up to everyone that wants to get the word out to email all of our friends and point them in the direction of this board. Maybe some new ideas will come in on how best to stir things up so more people will take notice!

Posted by charleytowngirl on July 31, 2007 at 10:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)


The website you posted earlier has some of the earlier video shot at the fire scene. After reading many of the comments posted here, what is going on at the fire scene makes much better sense when I watched them again tonight. Sadly, it was even more upsetting than the first time I watched them immediately after the fire. Thanks for sharing that has a ton of stuff on it about Charleston

Posted by FireBoss on July 31, 2007 at 10:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nickiegarbeil and charleytowngirl,

Dont worry, there are thousands of us firefighters watching these posts.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 10:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You should register and start a thread or topic at, its a good site with over 160,000 members

They have a pretty comprehensive firefighting forum

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 10:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

for all those not familiar with NIOSH, check out his site and go down and look at some of the reports. If they do just as good a job in c-town it should shed some light on this whole fiasco.
I just got home so i'll try to respond to all the emails i rec'd.

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

Went to the site. It appears that the reports take 6 months to 2 years to be released from the time of the fatality/fatalities. Is that normal for reports to be released?

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 11:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

well considering the complexity of this case, it may take sometime to sort out. But, i think everyone would agree that even if it takes sometime to do, these men deserve no less than a complete thorough report.

Posted by bickleseagrave on July 31, 2007 at 11:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes but hopefully things will change before then, there could be the equivalent of another Sofa Superstore tomorrow!

Posted by vesta on July 31, 2007 at 11:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Definitely! I agree. The brave nine ffs' families deserve that comprehensive report also. While I realize this takes time, the question that keeps coming back to us all is "What can be done now to protect the ffs at the CFD?"

Posted by fyrmnjim on July 31, 2007 at 11:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, if he refuses to make any changes to protect his men, then he needs to be handed his hat and shown the door.

How can the citizens expect to be protected and/or saved when the firemen aren't protected themselves.

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


Ron Menchaca...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on July 31, 2007 at 11:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sorry guys, I had to catch up on homework...I hate algebra!

I'm catching up, I will answer everyone when I catch my breath.

Posted by vesta on August 1, 2007 at 12:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This site has a lot of the video (not just of the fire, but also the memorial service), but also has some of the original articles and videos of both the Chief and Mayor Riley and their comments from the beginning.

Posted by oldfric07 on August 1, 2007 at 8:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

We had talked earlier about acting as conduits for firefighters and posting their messages on here. The best course is for firefighters to contact one of the reporters directly. FYI, it's the only way a reporter can use any type of material.

Posted by FunandGames on August 1, 2007 at 8:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Does anyone have any idea yet why #8 and Chief Wayne were on IOP yesterday?

Posted by FireBoss on August 1, 2007 at 9:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I normally dont comment on blogs but I do want to make a statement here.

I have been a career firefighter for 35 years, I have been a Chief Officer for 25 years, as a basic firefighter in the late 70's my department worked a hotel fire that killed 10 civians and injuried 90. Gentlemen, changes are coming, and they will be like "Lucifers Hammer" when they arrive. Heads will roll and blood will flow down the hallways, I can grant you that.

As a result of my experiences on that fire I can say that we did an evaluation of our tactics, strategy, training , and equipment. Although the fire was ruled as arson we decided that improvements must be made to ourselves and to those we protect, including our own.

The rank and file firefighters are the ones who will help in this change, especially the progressive ones, ( you know who you are) Do not waiver in your duties to see that change is enacted.

Posted by bickleseagrave on August 1, 2007 at 11:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I work for a very progressive department, one thing we do is get all the participating firefighters together after EVERY working fire to conduct a critique. This is to review what has happened good or bad. If it's good there's a pat on the back for everyone. If something has gone wrong then it is discussed as what we need to do in the future to correct the situation. NO BLAME LAID!
A written copy and the recommendations are placed on our electronic network so everyone on the department can see the outcome.

I wonder if there has ever been a department critique of the SSS fire to see where things went wrong and to discuss ways to correct them in the future?

Posted by vesta on August 1, 2007 at noon (Suggest removal)

bickle: I am guessing the answer is no, since (1) the ffs are under such pressure not to speak out about the SSS fire and (2) since the chief thinks everything in his department has always gone well. When I went back and read some of those comments that both the Chief and Mayor had said immediately after the fire on the sites I referenced above, it upset me. Very closed minded group. That is what would make me think they don't critique their own fires.

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 1, 2007 at 1:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We all make mistakes, every one of us. There are mistakes on every fire we go to. THat was is a critique is for. To learn and improve.

Those that don't learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them!

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 1, 2007 at 1:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Apparently some of us make mistakes in grammar too!!! :-(

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 1, 2007 at 7:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ron Menchacha was the one that I emailed too....Maybe he is getting lots of emails from people here. Oldfric07 is right, there probably isn't much more they can do without talking to the people (FF) that were there or work in the department. But the P&C writers have done an EXCELLENT job so far of bringing the story to the public. Just look how many responses this last story got. Unless they are able to hear first hand from the men/women on the job I'm sure their hands are tied. I'm sure the writers know the real story, they reported on so much of it so far, but first hand eye witness accounts would work best to bring out the real truth of the danger these guys are in.

I just read an article quoting Chief (shortly after the fire) that he would NEVER RESIGN! Unbelievable........

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 1, 2007 at 8:31 p.m. (Suggest removal) has a list of quotes from Chief Thomas since the fire. Check it out.

Posted by bootlicked on August 1, 2007 at 8:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you Nickie for your support. The truth will come out ,Rusty will be gone, and the CFD will be a much better fire department.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 1, 2007 at 9:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I'm sure you are right..and yes, the guys now have to find the strength to come forward to talk. And YES, they absolutely have done a great job bringing this to the public.

Thanks Bootlicked...WHERE'S my coffee????????? ;-)

Posted by OldChasFirefighter on August 1, 2007 at 9:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I had the honor to serve in the City of Charleston Fire Department many years ago. I worked with Rusty before he was even a Captain. I worked with 3 of the firefighters that lost their lives. Two were schoolmates and one was a very good childhood friend. I lost a part of my history in that fire.
There is no excuse for what happened that day, but I know there is alot of thigs leading up to that day.
What happened that day was put into motion years before those men were even born.
That script was written even before Chief Guthke was in charge.
Many of us felt that Rusty was the "Chosen One" yeares ago, Guthke might have been Chief, but no one in the department had more power than Rusty's father.
The sad thing to me is that Rusty's life was scripted so long ago. All he was doing is living the script.
I had hoped that when Rusty took over that he would be able to break out and change the script, but alas, the script was stronger that him. Because of this there are 9 men who are not with their families tonight.
There is no excuse for what happened that day. Rusty took over a department that was behind, unfortunately, he was not the man to lead the department into the future.
I feel sorry for the men in the department, even when I was there, if you guestioned anything you were branded a troublemaker by the people in power. Imagine this, If you had a SC Fire Academy Instructor in your department, wouldn't you use his knowledge to help your department? Well it was not done,
I hope and pray that the men in the department will be able to survive this.
I do think that changes will come, it will take time to break this script, please remember that not only is the fire department behind, but that city hall and the powers to be have a hand in this also.
I think that it will take time to make real changes that will help the department. This is actually a complicated situation. You can't change 50 plus years of script overnight, I wish that we could. Even if the chief was gone, there is so much work to do, all of the upper people in the department have been a part of this script for a long time. I hope that someone with knowledge of behavioral science is brought in to help the department. It is more than just getting rid of the chief, it is changing alot more poeple around and alot of things, while balancing the rest of the picture. The healing of the men and gaining their trust and respect.
I will get off of my soapbox now. But while I know that emotions are running high, let us not let them cloud the view of what all of us would like to see, and what is in the best long term interest of the men and the department.

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 1, 2007 at 9:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well said, OldChasFirefighter.

Posted by OldChasFirefighter on August 1, 2007 at 9:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

thank you Charleytowngirl, are you connected to the fireservice?

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 1, 2007 at 10:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ex husband is in the fire service......I'm here as concerned citizen and I went to high school with one of the fallen.

Posted by ssm on August 1, 2007 at 10:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just noticed that Local 61 is currently re-doing their website. There is a mini poll on the front page now asking people to vote on whether or not they believe the results of the City's internal review will be fair.

Posted by oldfric07 on August 1, 2007 at 10:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who can defend this man?

Posted by FunandGames on August 1, 2007 at 10:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

VERY Well put sir. You're spot on with those observations. I just hope that the P&C will continue to do such an excellent job of keeping this tragedy on the front pages and informing readers of how the fire service really works.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 1, 2007 at 11:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Wow...very well put. Honestly, I don't know alot of the names before Rusty...How was his father so powerful?

Were his father and Guthke friends? Just trying to get an idea of why the roots run so deep and so strong.

Thanks for your years of service and thank you for explaining it so very well.

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 7:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Rusty's dad was the chief mechanic when the mechanic shop was located at old engine 1 behind city hall. He got to know the young mayor then. Over the years the elder Thomas convinced the Mayor that he was saving the city money even though he failed to properly mainatin the apparatus fleet.

A mechanic ended up with the rank of assistant chief, Thus, it was decided long ago that upon Guthkies departure Rusty would be the new fire chief. Kay Lewis, then the Personnel Director, and the mayor made sure Rusty was the choice despite an "open" job hunt.

Now the mayor and chief thomas must hang together or they will surely hang apart.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 2, 2007 at 9:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

OldFric, found something that made me speechless...

Posted by vgirl on August 2, 2007 at 10:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

very speechless...

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 11:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There are lots of items behind the scenes. In fact, there's so much it would certainly cause people to wonder how the fire department is able to function.

Of course the city dismisses it's critics as out of touch. When those critics are employed by the city, work their daily, and see the mess how does that make them out of touch. In five or six months the whole house of cards will come down.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 2, 2007 at 11:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How do you see the 'house of cards' affecting the ability of the FD to provide protection to the city? I don't mean that critically, but I think it is important that people see the big picture and not just think that it doesn't affect them.

Posted by bickleseagrave on August 2, 2007 at 12:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I would bet there is a ton of great talent in the dapartment that has been supressed over the years!

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 1:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The men and women from Captain down and several of the chief officers can work very weel togther to build a modern department. Right now fire protection is less healthy than it would be were changes to be introduced rapidly.

The firefighters are made of iron-they will do what is asked of them. What's needed is someone who appreciates their sacrifice and forms them into a group that has the tools to work with and make themselves more effective.

Posted by bickleseagrave on August 2, 2007 at 1:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I hear the Investigation Committee will be announced by the Mayor at 2pm today!

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 1:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes. The names were leaked out by a senior CFD member. Even the senior people around Rusty don't keep their mouth shut.

Posted by CFP_700 on August 2, 2007 at 2:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's where to go and review the information who will be on the Investigation Panel:

Click "Honoring the Charleston 9" (top headline)

Direct link to story:

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 2:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Or go here to get the non-company line. The above site is using an out of state person to write about it.

Posted by oldcap on August 2, 2007 at 2:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

CFP-700 are you promoting the work of a man who was run off two jobs. Read this about the lad who wrote your story at SCONFIRE:

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 2, 2007 at 3:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

your right oldfric, having a Rudy banner on top of the page at sconfire loses all credibility for that site IMO.

On the other hand, i'm rather encouraged by these selections. They seem to have ties with NFPA, the NFA, and other credible organizations. I don't think they'll risk their reputation on a shoddy report, especially with 2 other big investigatons taking place.

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 3:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Agreed. Chief Thomas will face people with a lot of experience. Plus, they will shoot straight as long as the Mayor stays out of it. The team leader is known for his devotion to firefighter safety.

Posted by vesta on August 2, 2007 at 3:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

oldfric07: Read the SCONFIRE site. My question is are the mayor, the chief and the police chief still part of this committee, or will they just be answering the questions of the committee?

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 3:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They wil answer questions and have input.

This is interesting about the head of the panel.

Posted by oldschoolFF on August 2, 2007 at 5:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

this may be an old question. why doesnt the CFD use ldh? thank you.

Posted by easy on August 2, 2007 at 5:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Where is that guy ? You Know, That Guy. The guy that should be on and head up the panel. He knowes everything, you know him, Bruniccinni

Posted by Wilmot on August 2, 2007 at 6:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

to answer your question oldschoolff, when I first started the CFD in the mid 90's I asked that same question. The response was that if we used it we would block the narrow city streets so that other engines and ladder trucks could not get to the fire. I can think of several ways to get around this problem.

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 6:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)


That is an absurd reason not to use LDH as you know. What Chief Thomas WILL answer is why he doesn't have it set up West Ashley.

As for Brunancini, this panel gives the city some wiggle room. The head of the panel will be supportive of anyone opposed to unions. Yet, since the very top names weren't chosen this will allow another panel to come in at a later time.

That said this panel will find what they see to be ludicrous. Too mamny mistakes despite the whiny pleadings from people who support the status quo.

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 2, 2007 at 7:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why would they need any LDH?? When you only use a couple of boosters and maybe an occasional 1 3/4, why would you need any more than 400 gpm?? (Sarcasm applied)

As for the panel, about six months from now, people will begin resigning. Either R & R because things aren't going well for them or some of the 'experts' because Rusty is trying to stonewall the inv or candy-coat it.

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 7:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This will get ugly Jim. I'll predict it right now.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 2, 2007 at 8:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oldfric,and whomever else wants to weigh in...

How do you see this panel? Do you feel confident with their choices? Do you think they will hold the city and the infamous trio accountable to provide the truth? What does this mean for the men they are going to interview? They will have to "testify" in front of Rusty...what is your educated guess?

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 8:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

1. It's a competent panel. The head of it has issues with unions which may align him with Chief Thomas. However, he knows any whitewash would ruin his repuation.

2. Mostly Confident

3. No. The City will be framed as having acted with the best intentions. As for the trio, IMO there's no way they survive an impartial review.

4. The men will be asked basic questions. The fire officers in charge and the training officer will face the tough questions.

5. The city is running the review so they can have someone present.

The reason an independent body is needed is to show everyone there is nothing to hide.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 2, 2007 at 9:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

so, the real issues won't even be an issue of the interviews?

Posted by oldfric07 on August 2, 2007 at 9:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well yes some of the issues will be raised but not in the way one would expect. There will be enough to make a few changes and as I said, I can't imagine a fire chief or training chief surviving this type of review. However, in the end it's the Mayors call....on this panel.

Posted by vesta on August 2, 2007 at 9:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie: Doesn't sound like it, does it? The ffs testify in front of their bosses, then they will probably not be in the room when the fire officers in charge and the training officer are questioned. All due respect to the panel members, but they will only see and hear what the city wants them to (see olffric07's 5 above).

Posted by Wilmot on August 2, 2007 at 9:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

vesta, if you haven't already, take a look at the cincinatti fire panel report on . The Charleston panel will more than likely be conducted in a similar manner. Just the amount of recommendations by the experts after basic questions answered truthfully and discovering all the facts of the response to the SSS fire will be mindboggling.

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 2, 2007 at 10:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The cincy report is a very good one. we studied it a few years ago. I'm curious and i'll try to find out how much of the recommendations were implimented.

Something to consider, Even after the recommendations are made, it will take some time to impliment them and lets face reality, it will be expensive and may have to be phased in over a few years. The equipment anyways.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 2, 2007 at 10:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)


That is a fantastic report, but I am a bit skeptical that the internal report will be that good...I have the feeling it will be seriously hampered by the trio...and maybe, as Jim thought, it will end up being just the trio...once they anger the experts..

Posted by vesta on August 2, 2007 at 10:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The difference in Cincinnati and Charleston is that the Cincinnati fire department is the entity that requested the report to be done. Maybe I am reading this wrong, but I don't believe the Mayor will give up his political power to save a fire chief, regardless of who that chief's father was. Is it possible that this panel is going to help the mayor take care of business? Had the mayor fired the chief right after the fire, it would have been political death for him, especially after his initial comments supporting the chief. To wait until January when the chief's contract is up could be more negligent deaths for ffs and, again, political death for the mayor. To wait until NIOSH comes out with their report may also be political death for him. What do you all think?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 2, 2007 at 10:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't foresee the Mayor having anyone to run against him as of yet...does he(haven't looked it up)? He seems to be untouchable...In that respect, I don't see how supporting the Chief matters...he might change his mind if he finds a few foes are in the mix...

Posted by vesta on August 2, 2007 at 11:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie; there is someone who has announced he is running against Mayor Riley, but allowing for the lateness of the hour, I cannot remember his name. The mayor might be untouchable election wise, but I am sure (and believe me I am not an avid supporter of him), he wants to leave a better legacy than having nine brave fire fighters die during his term in office, and the explanation is hey it was just an accident.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 2, 2007 at 11:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not sure I believe he cares....sadly

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 3, 2007 at 1:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

City of Charleston in violation of Federal Labor Laws.
(See: hours worked and moonlighting sections).
This is a synopsis from a Law firm in NY, but this is also applicable in SC.
This is not an option for either the city or employees. This is Federal Law!

Posted by bootlicked on August 3, 2007 at 2:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I cannot beleive Rusty is still here. What fire background does the police chief have? This just shows how out of touch the mayor is. They haven't cared about the flsa before so why would they now. They would rather face lawsuits instead of abide by any federal regulations or guidelines. Remember our overtime lawsuit.I really hope these experts tell the mayor the truth, like Rusty would be better of as a janitor or something that doesn't require much skill or learning. God bless the nine and all of you that are starting to see the truth and have the firefighters in your daily thoughts and prayers.

Posted by oldfric07 on August 3, 2007 at 2:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are right Boot - they don't care,

Posted by oldfric07 on August 3, 2007 at 6:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Posted by oldfric07 on August 5, 2007 at 11:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

brother hurt yesterday in training? Was it a heat stroke while training?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 5, 2007 at 12:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Where'd you see that Fric?

Posted by oldfric07 on August 7, 2007 at 10:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Heard about it from a firefighter.

Also hear about car 2 not wearing an air pack over on daneil island but no way to confirm it.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 12:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you...please check your pm, I sent you an email.

Posted by FunandGames on August 9, 2007 at 10:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I've been laying low as of late. Some posts have been so infuriating that I didn't want to write while I was angry. It's better to take some time and come back when I can be more objective.

I think the reason why people post anonymously is that they know that rockiing the boat will get them an unwanted transfer or may hold up their next promotion. I don't think that makes them a coward. I would much rather have someone speak what is really on his mind, without worrying about how it might cost him or his family.

I'm glad to see the discussion continue.

Posted by NIMS800Chief on August 9, 2007 at 4:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Been awhile and laid back once Billy G's message came out for us to stop Monday morning quarterbbacking until the experts arrive and investigate. For those who read some of the blog, Billy G operates's secret list and is a stellar chief from Ohio. The guy does know his stuff and I know him as a distinguished collegue. He wrote for all firefighters up to 5 bugle chiefs to back away, stop giving our 2 cents and let the investigation find the facts. Well...after reading some of the newer stories and in particular the non-use of the TIC, I once again have to get off that chair and sound off.

This by the way does not impugne the bravery Charleston firefighters have and you guys and gals are definitely what I would love on my team. However, like a few other departments, CFD needs real up-to-date cutting edge policies (getting away from the fire chief's adage of the "good ole' days when I was riding shotgun on a horse drawn steamer pumper attitide")and how to apply the use of the TIC at fires such as Super Sofa without conviction. Would the TIC saved lives? Well...that will remain to be seen in the investigation process.

Now I am saying, CFD has great equipment, well staffed personnel under NFPA 1710 standards, brave as can be and aggressive go-getters but....with 1886 style SOGs. OK...3 shift assistant chiefs, 14 shift battalion chiefs, numerous shift captains and one fire chief, one captain, and one secretary on days managing the day to day operations. They can surely go to the fire chief and get these updated right? Nope. I was told by a few CFD folks and CFD IAFF local members who will forever remain anonymnous, for the reasons stated by other CFD folks on this site, that the fire chief and chief officer staff would view them as trouble makers and that "Chief Thomas will decide what is improved and what is not." Once again that 1886 mentality and firehorse days came to mind and that in itself is unacceptable for a fire chief in 2007!

Mayor Riley and Chief Thomas will soon see the wrath and sting of what an investigation will call for. The team of investigators are well known and are objective and independent from influence. The truth will be told and it will be told not by me, but from the IAFC independant investigation team, OSHA, NIST, IAFF, et al. I expect that CFD, with their heart and soul ready to honor those 9 bravest brothers-in-arms who gave their lives valiantly, will improve greatly with much needed training and procedures that are adopted and adhered to as promulgated under South Carolina State Law to comply to all NIMS requirements instead of some shoddy homemade version of what an out of touch fire chief promulgates.

CFD...use your equipment and be safe! You all are in my thoughts and prayers so this will never happen again!

Posted by oldcap on August 9, 2007 at 5:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Billy is the same guy run off two departments because of sexual harassment? So you hold back because he say's so.

As to your other comments I agree with you.

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 9, 2007 at 7:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

NIMS800CHIEF: What's a "Secret List" for us lay people out here?

(Requires free registration.)

Password: (Forgotten your password?)


Search Charleston.Net Archives for Latest News

Charleston.Net Customer Care | Subscribe to Paper, Register for email news updates, manage your online account, place a classified ad, or contact us logo

Copyright � 1997 - 2008 the Evening Post Publishing Co.

Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of service, Privacy policy and our Parental consent form. (Updated 2/9/2007)