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Agency to study sofa store fire

Fire Administration to start its own probe

The Post and Courier
Saturday, August 4, 2007

Fire Administration to start its own probe

The nation's premier firefighting authority plans to conduct an intensive case study of the Sofa Super Store blaze, joining a crowded field of agencies dissecting the June 18 inferno that killed nine Charleston firefighters.

The U.S. Fire Administration plans to compile a report about the West Ashley blaze to help fire departments across the nation avoid a similar tragedy. Those lessons eventually will be weaved into the curriculum at the National Fire Academy in Maryland, where some 8,000 students undergo firefighter training each year.

Ken Farmer, who oversees the fire administration's prevention and leadership section, will lead the case study team in Charleston.

"We are not trying to judge them or take any shots, we just want to get these

lessons learned back into the coursework," Farmer said. "Our goal is for no fire department to suffer this kind of loss."

Charlie Dickinson, deputy administrator of the organization, recently asked Mayor Joe Riley to grant the team permission to collect information on the blaze, the furniture store's history and various aspects of the city's fire and emergency services. Riley said he intends to honor that request in hopes that some good can come from Charleston's tragedy. "This is what we are committed to do," Riley said. "This is something we have a responsibility to do."

The blaze has been widely discussed in the fire service, and a number of state, local and federal agencies are probing everything from the fire's origin to the Charleston Fire Department's handling of the incident. Some investigations are expected to last six months to a year.

The U.S. Fire Administration has conducted case studies on some 160 fires over the past two decades. The primary consideration for deciding which fires to study is based on whether the work will identify significant "lessons learned."

Farmer said the team will focus on any "challenges" that the firefighters may have faced that night. They will examine the department's operating procedures and look at whether actions on the scene contributed to risks faced by firefighters.

Farmer said he already expects one factor — "how a fairly simple fire turned so ugly" — will emerge as a cautionary tale in the fire service for decades to come.

He said some of his group's work will overlap investigations by other federal agencies looking at the fire, but the different groups are accustomed to sharing information while recognizing that each has a unique role.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is working with state and local police to investigate the cause of the fire. The city has appointed a six-member team of experts, led by former Shreveport (La.) Fire Chief Gordon Routley, to the evaluate the fire department's practices and procedures. State labor investigators are reviewing workplace safety issues at the fire. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is examining what factors led to the firefighters' deaths.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, based in Gaithersburg, Md., also is analyzing the blaze to determine why the fire spread so rapidly, why the building quickly collapsed and whether sprinklers could have saved lives. National Institute experts will use a computer model to reconstruct the blaze in a simulation.

The agency has previously studied such catastrophes as the 2001 collapse of the World Trade Center towers and the 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island that killed 100 people during a concert by Great White.

"Obviously, this is a tragedy we'd like some answers to so we can do our best to prevent something like it in the future," agency spokesman Michael E. Newman said. "Losing nine firefighters in one event is fairly unprecedented. ... The situation literally begs us to do something and lend our expertise to the mix."

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This article has  150 comment(s)

Posted by oldfric07 on August 4, 2007 at 8:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

These guys are professionals.

Posted by Neponset on August 4, 2007 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Have any of you folks been to this academy? If so, perhaps you could tell us something about it.

Posted by easy on August 4, 2007 at 2:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey Neponset, where have you been ? Had your head buried in the sand out on James Island with Mayor Know It All and Chief Rusted. The U.S. Fire Administration and The National Fire Academy ? You have never heard of these people ?

Posted by Neponset on August 4, 2007 at 3:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all I do not live on Jim Island and second I don't understand your attack - I have been very supportive Charleston FF's in my posts. Sometimes a simple question will open people up and get discussion going.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 5, 2007 at 1:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bring them on! The more outside agencies they bring, the less influence the local intimidation tactics will work.

Hey easy..I know you are frustrated with this stuff, but honestly, the department as well as those of us advocating for the department in the public forum need all the people we can get to keep these stories coming. We can't afford to alienate anyone at this point, regardless of whose agency is coming to town. The more you teach the rest of us, the more voices you have at the firefighters disposal...


Posted by east3 on August 5, 2007 at 8:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The National Fire Acadamy is THE professional training center for the fire service - and not only is it FREE, but they reimburse travel expenses and provide FREE room and board on campus and the food is good and some (all?) classes end the week (or two) with a beer bash! All chief officers at least should attend command classes there. This is a no-brainer for any department. Also, it is a few miles from Gettysburg, a great attraction for the history buffs. Though it would require learning about firefighting from a book, something Chief Thomas says he's against.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 5, 2007 at 9:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks East3...and...those book thingies...they are kinda hard to carry around when image is important(grin).

Posted by oldfric07 on August 5, 2007 at 11:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Some city guys have been to the NFA. The problem is more of the leadership needs to go and then come back and train others.

Posted by OldChasFirefighter on August 5, 2007 at 2:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Once again oldfric, you are right in theory, but it is even more than learning and training. They would of had to embrace a totally different culture. One that goes against everthing that the administration has thought to be true all these years. All the tools and training in the world are useless unless you believe in it and use it.Remember, for many years they had a Fire Academy Instructor in their department, but never chose to take advantage of it.

Posted by CodeGeek on August 5, 2007 at 8:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

East 3, let me correct one slight error in your statement:

"but they reimburse travel expenses and provide FREE room and board on campus"

Students must buy a meal ticket for the duration of their stay (about $200 for all meals in two weeks), but historically the sponsoring fire department picks up the tab.

Courses, books, room and campus amenities are free, travel is reimbursed for one trip per year. Students can attend more than once per year, but are on their own (or department's dime) for multiple trips.

Posted by east3 on August 6, 2007 at 12:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Correct, Codegeek. The Department cost is the meal ticket. I had forgotten.

Yes indeed, OldChas, all the recommendations are for nought if they are not adopted and implemented and used at every fire. That is why it is very doubtful that real change can happen under the current leadership. Like thermal imaging and Apollo guns, both left on the trucks.

That is why every piece of hose needs to be replaced with 3", 5", 1.75" and 2" and the boosters removed and sold at auction. Many other things are a matter of doing them and doing them right and that is harder to change.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 6, 2007 at 1:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Just out of curiosity, what do you all ESTIMATE it might cost for CFD to come up to par? Hoses, training, uniforms, etc...

Posted by sclax on August 6, 2007 at 9:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

10,000 in hose for each engine(5",3", 2", 1.75")
9K per engine for MSA TIC on each unit(same as SCFA)
20K per engine for new SCBA's with intergrated pass(2007 NFPA)
5k for new nozzles and mercury quick attack monitor per engine(150gpm flow min)
10k for ladder company, PPV fans and saws(2 fans/3 saws)
2k per FF for new gear(not plain nomex)PBI w/leather boots
500 per FF for NFPA station wear(not 100% poly)
250k for FF training(SCFA, NFA, MFRI, outside trainer)
250k for training center upgrades to current standards

2-3 million is good number, another 2 mil to swap out the final 4 open cab(rear seats) pumpers to enclosed trucks and purchase heavy rescue.

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 6, 2007 at 10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Plus the cost(??) of converting all remaining engines from hose reels to crosslays. This includes replumbing the pump and installing a permanent deck gun. Still a small price to pay, but the time it would take to run all 16 remaining back through the factory for refit many be rather lengthy depending on the factory backlog.
I'd also suggest adding another ladder or two.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 6, 2007 at 11:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm...and all that on top of legal settlements...goes to show, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...would have been cheaper in the long run to be taking care of these issues over a period of time as opposed to doing a lot of it now...sad

Thanks for the numbers guys...

Posted by FF40212 on August 6, 2007 at 12:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I keep laughing at some of the recommendations some of you anonymous "experts" keep suggesting. A heavy rescue? Take the boosters off? Use 3" & 5"?

You people have no idea what you are talking about. You just think that "more has to be better". It isn't. I know, because I am doing it the way you are suggesting. What Charleston does works just fine for Charleston. Period.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 6, 2007 at 12:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Worked so well there are 9 dead firefighters...

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 6, 2007 at 12:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Works just fine", Right!!!! Can you say 9 dead?????

Posted by FF40212 on August 6, 2007 at 1:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Again, you have no idea how they actually died. Did they run out of air? Were they caught in the collapse? Were they lost? No one knows yet!

It amazes me how you all want to just jump on any bandwagon and start criticizing. Your knee jerk reaction recommendations make no sense. Why not wait for the reviews and reports?

This fire was catastrophic. No one (including the anonymous cowards who post on this site and the other one ran by a disgruntled former CFD member) had ever seen a fire in this sort of building, with this sort of fire load, move this fast and with this result.

It is a disgrace for you people to say things like what you just did nickiegarbeil and fyrmnjim. Louis Mulkey was no idiot. He knew what he was doing. I infuriates me that you would imply anything else.

Keep your armchair quarterbacking to yourselves from now on.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 6, 2007 at 1:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

WHY WERE THEY IN THE BUILDING AT ALL???????? No civilians, just sofas...was it worth their lives???????

Oh sure, we are waiting for reviews, but in the meantime, we make sure that people are seeing and hearing what is going on in the department...lack of equipment, fires fought by off duty FF, violations in lists as long as our arms...

NONE of them were idiots, but they OBEYED someone with less training than he should have...Rusty is his own worst enemy...and from the number of FF actually posting on these sites from WITHIN the CFD it speaks volumes to his lack of control now. Too bad they haven't mustered enough to get together on a vote of no confidence...

MY goal is to keep people reading these stories and watching the MB for people like you trying to cover the tracks of the mistakes made that night...Mulkey was from MY town...a teacher and coach in OUR school...and I am VERY pissed that ANY of the men had to die at the hands of someone ill qualified to handle a scene of this magnitude. You don't like what I am saying-TOUGH! I speak using my real name...not hiding behind a fake username. If you are so proud of your stance my friend, step up to the plate and let yourself be known..then let's see how many REAL CFF will have something informative to say about you. If you are indeed a FF, you should WANT to know what killed your brothers. Lemme guess, you are one of the handpicked fair-haired boys too? Careful hun, Rusty's apron strings are showing...

I assure anti Union as I may be, I will do everything I can in my power to make sure the Union becomes stronger than ever, to ensure the protection of the FF.

PS...they died from smoke inhalation and the reports. I read, do you?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 6, 2007 at 1:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

AND, here are TWO more words for you to digest....

CIVIL LITIGATION!!! Last 'man' standing is a rotten egg...Let's wait for THOSE reports, shall we?

Posted by FF40212 on August 6, 2007 at 2 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am not hiding (insert chuckle). You obviously are either not a Charleston FF or are new.

What equipment were they lacking? Every member that died that night was wearing full protective gear. What else could they have had that they weren't provided? There was 5" hose there, what difference did it make?

You want to insult Chief Thomas and the other Chiefs? What fires have you been IC on?

You asked why they were in the building? The call came in as a TRASH FIRE. Look at the initial pictures - there was nothing showing from the front! Why wouldn't they go in?

The part that really gets me is that you want to side with Louis and the other FFs, but then you take shots at their training? Their experience? You can't question the department and not be questioning the men! That is like these liberals who say "I support the troops, but not the war". It makes no sense! It is a way for you to justify yourself for your own concience.

You want to talk about training? Who is responsible for YOUR training? YOU are! It is funny how all of these people want to blame Chief Shriver and others. You are fully capable of signing up for classes at the SCFA and NFA. You just don't do it. A lot of guys in Charleston do, but the ones who are lazy and want everything handed to them are now the ones pointing the fingers saying these things.

To address your last point (again, your lack of experience is showing) - those were the official causes of deaths. Sure, I read that from the coroner's report. What I said though was HOW were they killed?

To me, this was a terrible accident. I knew Louis and 5 of the other guys. Every single one of them knew the risks of the job. I have been on fires with all 6 of them. There is no way you, or anyone else, can convince me that they were on a suicide mission on orders from any chief. No matter how hard you try, this was an accident. For you to blame 1 person is irresponsible and illogical. Those men knew what they were doing. You evidently have some sort of agenda or vendetta to grind. That is truly sad for you, but these men deserve better. You should be ashamed......

Posted by FF40212 on August 6, 2007 at 2:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Civil litigation? OK, now I know you are grasping at straws. Are you that desperate? Do you want people to listen to you that badly?

This is sad.

Oh yeah, I meant to ask how posting on a website is going to help in the devious "coverup" of all the facts? Come on, silly kid.....................

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 6, 2007 at 2:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Quote: This fire was catastrophic. No one (including the anonymous cowards who post on this site and the other one ran by a disgruntled former CFD member) had ever seen a fire in this sort of building, with this sort of fire load, move this fast and with this result.

Have YOU ever been in a fire like this??

Um, yes I have actually, a few times, an example: in 99. Tire warehouse, full defensive, lots of fire load there wouldn't you say?? Maximized our water supply using our 3" & 5" (couldn't do that with a 2 1/2"). Big fire=big water. used the rest of our 3", siamesed, to run the portable Apollos. Guess what, no injuries.

As for Mulkey, I never said anything negative about him, he was following orders, which came from an idiot who apparently learned all he needed to know about firefighting tactics from watching backdraft, but he made a cardinal mistake in tactics, he let the fire get behind him and that mistake cost him his life.

But, this is all in the past. What we're doing here is discussing how to prevent it from occuring again in the future, in CFD and other depts as well.

Oh, I'll admit, I'm just an expert from experience, 18 yrs worth, but the mistakes here are obvious and clear. A firefighter, like a soldier, can never succeed without competent leadership and equipment. It's obvious, both were absent that day.

Narrow minded thinking is the primary cause of death for these nine men.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 6, 2007 at 3:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First off, I am NOT a FF,I happen to be a Pre-Law student,a mother of 5, a sister of a FF, daughter of a retired police Sergeant, Cousin of another FF, Former Navy Corpsman, AND most importantly, a remember, the ones that PAY Rusty, the Mayor, and the rest of the guys. Let me say you have just made my life 1000 times easier, making a point to the rest of the community the idiocy in charge of the CFD. You probably should read the other stories and accompanying MB posts as you might get some precious training yourself. No doubt when the truth comes to light in full swing, then the entire community will see that their training requirements were not fulfilled. Yes, men are responsible for getting their training, HOWEVER, as the Chief, he has the ultimate responsibility to DEMAND they get it(and from FF accounts, he was against the training).The Chief also has a responsibility to ensure his department is running within OSHA, NFPA 1201, FEMA, IFSTA, and NIMS guidelines. They aren’t. In the IFSTA training manual, the third chapter is on building construction, this is how important this agency rates construction and hazards. Basic firefighting skills should have told Chief Garvin to check ABOVE the ceiling tiles, either poking them or using one of the valuable dust collectors they call a TIC. NONE of these men should have been allowed or sent into this building. Yes, I said ALLOWED. If the Chief wants to be Chief, then he needs to learn WHEN to pull his men back and err on the side of safety. St. Andrews FF reported that their Chief called a general Mayday, his guys came home, Garvin overruled his Mayday for CFF, and they did not. Accident? No, negligence. I understand firefighters want to fight fires, but there is a time and a place for safety, and it was then. The Gas station was not in danger, the fire was being handled from the rear…Effectively? No, it had already gone into the ceiling, they just didn’t know it, because there was a failure in the command system. It doesn’t take a firefighter, or even a genius to see the failures. There were no civilians in the building by the time Charleston committed a team. As for my view on the Chief, I began as one of his supporters, preaching about waiting for results, but in the wake of so much information coming from the CFF, my view has changed drastically, and men like you only serve to reinforce that. There is no time to wait for the reports to be final. The next big fire could happen today. How many more men are you willing to sacrifice? Frankly, I am glad you deemed my comments necessary to comment back. Your attention to them brings more attention to this MB, and even more attention to our cause. Thank you, and come again.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 6, 2007 at 3:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As for my civil litigation comment. Let me explain some of the important issues of law.

1) While men have to take into consideration their job and the related dangers that go with it, there is a DUTY on the part of their Chiefs, training officers, etc. to ensure they are given the highest quality "tools" (training, equipment, LEADERSHIP, etc) for them to complete their tasks effectively and efficiently, and as safely as possible.

2) By Rusty's own words, HE and Garvin made the calls(which he then changed to be his Captains, when he began to catch so much flack). By their own admission, they took on that DUTY to provide the men on scene with 'educated' calls.

That did not occur, and in failing to serve that duty, they have placed themselves as part of the City establishment in line for civil lawsuits, and rightly so.

Plain and simple, I am sure Rusty is a nice man. Friendly, probably can even be funny...BUT, the fact remains he is ultimately responsible for the loss of these men. He missed a CRITICAL piece of evidence. A HUGE crack in the facade of the building, venting smoke. This gaping crack was a sign that this buildings roof was compromised BEFORE those men were committed to the interior of that building, and BEFORE HE ordered the windows vented(which is another safety no no).

You may try to convince yourself that I am ignorant, or unqualified, but the reality is, I do my homework BEFORE I speak.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 6, 2007 at 3:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I would suggest you see the document provided on another page by East3, complete with pictures and arrows(for those who have a problem with anything other than picture books). I'll see if I can muster that up for you again. This time, pay attention to the BIG CRACK BILLOWING SMOKE.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 6, 2007 at 3:53 p.m. (Suggest removal);..

Posted on Thermal Imaging Cameras, in case this link doesn't work.

Posted by CodeGeek on August 6, 2007 at 9:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

For those looking to learn more about the United States Fire Administration, the National Fire Academy and the courses they offer on- and off-campus (including online):

Posted by FF40212 on August 6, 2007 at 10:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie - for someone who isn't a firefighter, you have been "coached" extremely well. I have to give you that. The funny thing is, you have all of these ideas about a fire that you admittedly didn't go in.

FYI: There is a copy of the IFSTA manual in every Charleston firehouse. Why can't members read it themselves? Who put it there? Sorry to use your own words against you, dear, but you asked for that one.

As for your assertion about the TICs and their "lack of use" - Mark Kelsey was Acting Captain on the first ladder to get there (Ladder 5). My understanding is that he didn't take the camera in. Maybe you can throw some more mud on him for not taking it in with him?

Again, this call was received as a trash fire. Once they got there, the fire was still small. Why wouldn't they go in? Why would you poke ceiling tiles in the front of a builing with no smoke inside the showroom for a reported fire in the rear? Please explain that one again......

Fyrmnjim - I have been to many large scale incidents. Several in Charleston (Allied Terminals, the Port, Jackson Davenport, 348 King - this one had 3 fatalites, etc. along with multiple incidents w/ my current FD). I can honestly say I would have probably done the same things that Louis and those guys did. They thought they could take the fire or else they wouldn't have been in there. They thought that people were still in there or else they wouldn't have been in there. I don't know how else to say it.

I have been in fires with Mulkey, Benke, Drayton, Kelsey, Baity, and Hutchinson. Actually inside with them. I can tell you first hand that they were experienced firefighters. If they had thought for 1 second that they were in danger they would have gotten out, or reported it over their radios (every member of the CFD has an issued portable radio - something my 100% union department does not have). Instead, there were only 2 reported maydays. After they went out, CFD commanders ordered radio silence. So, nickie's theory that CFD ignored a mayday that SAFD issued is not only false, but ridiculous.

Bottom line here folks - you are jumping to conclusions. You are buying into snake oil theories being put out by disgruntled members (and former members) who want nothing less than the removal of the Chief and others for PERSONAL REASONS. I am more than happy to give you some inside information on some of the "fine" "upstanding" folks that are hiding behind these screen names on here and posting. Just e-mail me privately and I will be glad to share.

In the meantime, please don't be so quick to pass judgement or jump to conclusions based on half-truths. Wait for the correct information from the investigations. But then again, that would involve using a little common sense now wouldn't it?????

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 12:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

First off,I do my own homework,I am not guided by anyone.I am not a Union fan, so I am hardly a plant for the Union. You can find me simply enough in the S'ville phone book,I am a real person,with very serious concerns regarding WHY these men died.If that makes me ignorant or funny to you,it's ok,I assure you,I will sleep well tonight,knowing that my best intention is to ensure that the truth comes out, and that people will see what goes on in that fire department,as well as look at others nationally.As I said before,I was supportive of the same things you are preaching about-wait and see.Go back and read my posts.
1)Entering a building with a drop ceiling-instant possibility of a hiding place for fire. Also, if they aren’t sure of the construction of said building (Rusty said he didn’t know if his men knew it or not, and “stuff like that”), good way to find out.
2)According to St. A. FF, THEY were first on scene and removed the trapped victim from the rear of the building. Could be misinformation? Sure, competition is great apparently. This left Garvin and the men to walk the interior of the building looking for signs of fire-blind eye, or use of TIC and tile poke? Might be indicated here since you are looking for hidden fire-I believe I recall Garvin mentioning that.
3)Garvin was on scene and in charge of that scene originally. Garvin opened the door, by his own words, no one else’s. It was then that they had to commit a team to fight the blaze coming in-I am sure it was already in the ceiling by way of the roof on the dock. Probably came in under the awning. Expert opinion? Nope, common sense as to how fire works, path of least resistance, etc. I could get a little more technical based on physics, but why bore you?
4)The ignored Mayday call was not MY theory, but then again, you didn’t bother to read the context of all of our messages.
I am also aware that when the initial cave in occurred, no one seemed to know who was in the building(This was a face to face verbal from a FF on scene-diff. dept). I understand that confusion is common on scene for a few minutes when things of this nature occur, but there was REPORTED confusion for several hours in an attempt to discover who was inside. Two men keyed their mics, we don’t need to post that part again;I DO lose sleep over that.IF men inside the department lied to us,it would indeed be a sad thing. I believe in these men, and fear their safety. If that makes me ignorant, so be it, but they are in my mind everyday. If you read posts I made here as well as other FF site, you will see I asked for verification to just about everything-if I missed something it was in a rush (admittedly) to absorb all I could so I could find a way to help. Shame on me for sure. So, if you have names, go for it. Send it all in a private message, just click on my name. I told you before I want the truth, but I want it as the whole truth, not a skewed view of egotistical truth for political gain.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 12:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have also seen the video clips, the police tapes have been released, as well as photos of the scene, including, but not limited to the stress fracture in the facade...THAT is enough to see that things were not handled properly. No real need to listening to other FF's on that one, other than a professional opinion or occasional translation from someone out of state. No reason for vendettas from his end. Address that stress fracture for me, please. The time line is clear on that one. Trucks on scene, windows still intact. Explain it away if possible.

Posted by Wilmot on August 7, 2007 at 6:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

firefighter40212, at tour current FD that you left CFD to go to, do they have progressive training? Also it's obvious you get your info second hand just like these people that you are arguing with. The only difference is they are looking at their info objectively and yours is clouded with emotion. My information came first hand because I was there. By the way, which Ranger gave you all your info, I know you didn't read it in the IFSTA manual.

Posted by Wilmot on August 7, 2007 at 6:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie, check for e-mail through P&C.

Posted by Wilmot on August 7, 2007 at 6:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

By the way ff40212, please don't use any of the 9's names in association with their actions on the 18th. It's disrespectful, and really, you just don't hold the rate anymore to make those kind of comments(having resigned from here and all.) Do your fellow union members in Kentucky or whereever you are, listen to your garbage or do they see through you too?

Posted by aconcernedcitizen on August 7, 2007 at 9:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's really interesting that any one that says anything postitive about the Charleston FD, Chief Thomas, Chief Garvin, etc. are trying to shut down debate, are department plants or "rangers". If they use the names of the 9 fallen firefighters it's disrespectful. Anything negative said about the above however is "bring out the truth". The detactors of the department and the tacticts at the SSS fire are allowed to throw around the names of 9 fallen firefighters with reckless abandon and it's not disrespectful in the least. Sounds like a double standard to me.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 10:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, he never said anything positive about the Chief. He commented on the tactics of the CFD, which have already been shown to be inadequate. I returned a comment to him that if their tactics were sufficient, as he stated, we would not have 9 dead firefighters.

If you get the chance to read other stories and their posts, you will see that there have been many many men and women come forward with information regarding their lacking training, poor quality uniforms, etc. Never in any way did I disrespect the nine fallen firefighters, nor will I ever. But you will see in many places that other people, inside and out, will come on here to strong arm or intimidate people into silence.

The reason for the "plants" or "ranger" comments are that on other pages, people were coming online and throwing out names along with threats to take those names to Rusty for punishment for coming on the MB with information._hence the name 'plant'. As for the name Ranger..that apparently refers to a person kissing behind so much as well as willing to cut others throats to get to the top...that was also established on another page.

Oh...and he hasn't sent the names-yet...

Double standards? Yes, of course...that's what makes this a debate...two sides.

Posted by aconcernedcitizen on August 7, 2007 at 10:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I've been following this 7:35pm on the 18th of June. I come from a fire service family as well (Grew up in fire stations and know just about every on in a 300+ person department. Was originally going to join the FD here but for health related reason I could not). Not in Charleston but another large city in the Carolina's. I've been follow all the articles and messages one the P&C site, along with serial other sites. I don't necessarily agree with all of the "Charleston Way" either, and for the record I believe that the chief does a huge disservice to his A/Cs and B/Cs by micromanaging their fire scenes and not giving them command experience. I've just notices since the beginning that the debate is very one sided and that the debate could be more even. Everyone needs to be able to express his or her point of view.

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 10:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie - you have posted 3 times since the last time I was able to get on here. I have a life, so sorry I couldn't just jump up and reply when posted. I will reply to any e-mail sent as soon as I can.

You asked several questions in your post from 12:06AM. You are incorrect in a couple of places (SAFD didn't arrive first, etc.), but those points are moot anyways.

I am not laughing at any part of this situation. I just don't understand how you all can question these men and what they did. THEY WERE THERE. They were professional firefighters with YEARS AND YEARS of experience. You also want to question the leadership of Chief Thomas and Chief Garvin. These men have men incident commanders for years, on major incidents, and have always performed well under pressure.

Again, this was an accident. A terrible accident. There is no way 9 guys went in there blindly on orders from a deranged chief officer (what you are saying they did).

You want to critique every move of that day? Go right ahead. However, you are doing so on information from the newspaper and from anonymous, faceless, and people in hiding on this (and other) websites. To me, that is not credible. Why not wait for the official reports?

One more question though - if you live in Summerville, why are you concerned about the fire department in Charleston again?

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 10:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wilmot - you are what I will now refer to as a "roach". What I mean by that is that you are one of the faceless cowards who has information from current or past experience with the CFD, and evidently a grudge you are looking to get even for.

You can call people "rangers", "plants", "bootlicks", whatever you wish. But which is worse - those names or you being a coward.

I worked with 6 of the 9 men who were lost that day. I coached football with Louis, he was my relief at Engine 15. Benke was my Captain at Engine 9. I ribbed Kelsey dozens of times when we would beat him in his district (he was on E8 then). I was sent to E15 when they swapped Earl and I (he went to E16 in my place). Hutchinson cut my hair when I was detailed to E10 for about 6 months. So, I think since I know them personally, I can say with certainty that I miss them all.

Any question you have about here I will be glad to answer. Thier training is different, but the state of KY is no where near as orgainzed with regards to their state training as SC. I know you will find that hard to believe, but this department does many things in the same ways - they train mainly in house.

From now on, I would like to encourage you to sign your name. I figure any man who can't say what he really wants to say isn't much of a man, now is he? What are you made of? Hang on, you are posting under the first name of a former Charleston Chief who is deceased. You got hypocrite.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, in theory, it just doesn't work. In a debate, the two sides argue over points that they believe are truth. The things that make this debate so volatile is that the nepotism in this department goes back further than people can even imagine. This particular debate is one sided, or slanted, merely because there is mounting evidence to support it, and very little evidence to the contrary. I would welcome evidence to show otherwise, as this would mean these men died in a horrific accident and not at the hands of micromanagement, lack of training, etc. See where I am coming from? It isn't that we aim to strong arm the MB, it is that the evidence that is presented, thus far, supports what these men are coming forth and saying. There are serious failures in this department, and probably at departments dotting the country, if we examine them closely, but the fact is that IF this system was adequate, these men would not have died in such a large number.

THAT point is what I have been trying to make. The identical fire in Memphis also investigated immediately, not waiting for citizens to scream foul, and they found that their training and procedures were lacking as well. THAT is the goal here, for this department to find, acknowledge, and FIX their failures. I honestly can't see how that will happen under the current leadership, unless he has an epiphany in the night showing him "the err of his ways".

If it appears that we are bullying, I apologize, however, when people come here to tout support for the current practices, then disclose they don't even work here anymore, then I have a big problem with that. There have been a lot of lies and fabrications spouted since this fire, but I don't believe any of them were from the men..Just my opinion.

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 11:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

OK, I am going to try to post inline with what you just posted, nickie.

Nepotism exsists in the department I am in right now. The Chief's brother here is also a Captain. His wife was formerly a paramedic. This is a department with over 800 members and is a 100% union (IAFF) and all members are hired by civil service testing.

Training. You keep bringing this up. ALL members of the CFD (and every department) are trained using the South Carolina Fire Academy's firefighting courses (when I took them they were the 1111, 1121, 1131. I think the numbers are different now). So, if EVERY firefighter in the state is trained the same, how are you going to be critical of only Charleston's training?

Earlier you questioned the station uniforms of the CFD. My department wears the EXACT same pants. Please, quote 3 incidents in Charleston where members were injured because of these uniforms (hint: you won't find any because it hasn't happened).

In the end, concernedcitizen is right - the only people talking on here have been people criticizing. Again, these people consist of disgruntled employees (and former employees) and members of the general public (such as yourself) who have NEVER BEEN IN ANY FIRE who are believing the nonsense that first group is spreading.

Good luck with your law schooling and parenting - evidently the fire service isn't going to be a second option, nickie.....

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 11:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

aconcernedcitizen - I should know better than to argue with these people. I know I am not going to get anywhere.

I am just sick and tired of seeing mud thrown on this department, it's administration, and the memories of these good men. People can say what they want, but when they question the actions (or inactions) of that day, they are questioning EVERY member that was there. To me, this is not the place to do that. Let the people who have been appointed do that.

This site (and others) are basically the equivalent of writing on the bathroom wall in junior high. You can say what you want without fear of reprisal. You can deny you said it, but at the same time feel like you got your message out. To me, that is not an honorable way to express yourself.

The "roaches" will come back out soon. They will do their best to criticize me, personally, and that is fine. I am native South Carolinian. I moved to Kentucky as a family decision. I miss Charleston and the CFD every day. I wish I never would have left. I hurts not to be there now.

They know me, but will they come out of their own hiding to make their points from now on? Judging by some of them, I seriously doubt it...........

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 11:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

First, I did live in Charleston, I recently moved to S'ville. My son played for Louis at SHS. My daughter was one of his students. I also volunteer with the football program and met Louis myself through that avenue. I know a Captain on CFD from High School. I also know several other guys down there as some of them started in S'ville and moved to the City, and others I know through family members.I met Benke taking a pre-school class I assisted with to the Dept. for a tour. Met Rusty that day too. I met Kelsey at Ashley River at a picnic they had with my sister. Met Christine there as well. This is a small community, as I am sure you would remember, and therefore, you will be hard pressed to find someone without a connection to these men. But all of that is a moot point, I suppose, because you will find fault with everything anyone opposing has to say.I suppose I could ask you the same thing..Why, if you are in Ky, are you so concerned with the image of this Chief and the things people are posting here? You are slinging bashes at us, just as you claim we are toward the administration of this city and department. You criticize Wilmot for using his screen name, yet, you go by a number? Seems I am the only one in this particular instance using her real name, now aren't I?I am not BLAMING these 9 men for their deaths. I have said and continue to say the ENTIRE system of how they fight fires is inadequate. The only reason people haven't died before is luck and maybe an angel or two. I DO know people on the department who speak face to face, not under a screen name.

I never called the Chief deranged-you really need to learn to read with logic and not emotion, it makes you look like an ass. LOOK at the photos. That gaping crack with billowing smoke was evident on the front of that building when Rusty got there. HIS car with HIS wife in it, is sitting right in front of it!! THAT is a sign of roof compromise-not basic FF? Then call it PHYSICS. The windows were intact, those men had just gone in by that point, and would have been easily pulled back. Naked eye evidence. Have you even looked at that report? THAT in and of itself is all I needed to see. The technical information I verify with qualified experts from various departments and agencies. And yes, I still have some skepticism, but it is more that the facts will be skewed or swept under the rugs completely.

As far as I am concerned, YOU offered the names and reasons for why the FF have come out against their Chief. If YOU want to send them to me, then do so. You can figure out how to send a PM if it is that important to you, but from here on out, you are welcome to criticize my methods all you like. I will not change them for you. In all of my letters, emails, postings, I ask that they look into allegations. I never said it is all true. If that is irresponsible, oh well...can't please them all. Fact is there IS awareness, and that is a good thing.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 12:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is a list for you:

Bickleseagrave: Canada Fire Service.

Fyrmnjim: Dayton Fire Department

EAST3: District Chief Dayton Fire Department.

I post these as I know their credentials, verified them PERSONALLY, and have listened to them, over various pages. They were also joined by various other men and women across the country questioning the same things as we are in this particular page.

My SISTER went to that Fire Academy as well. The MAJORITY of her training was done in station once she got here. THAT is the problem. A couple of weeks in a fire academy and that makes men experts? No. It's the training they are to receive in station. IS it happening? I HAVE BEEN asking and to each question I asked, people said NO. If you knew differently, WHY didn't YOU come forward sooner? Hmmm?

The uniform issue is that the men are not apparently not required to wear them-meaning, if they go to a fire, and forget their gloves, do they get reprimanded? Not from what I have heard. Truth or not? The Chief runs around, as well as other men, with suspenders around their ankles...proper wearing? NO. Men on the outside fighting fires with no air packs...following guidelines? Nope...and there ARE pictures floating around from other fire scenes. I have seen them. And yes, FF here have complained that their uniforms are lower quality than that of the Chief's...Whining? Maybe. THOSE are only SOME of the issues here. And THOSE issues aren't what got the men killed..but it is evidence that the Chief is laxed in policy. PS. There was one with minor burns on his hands that night-no gloves.

Again, I point to the stress fracture that was evident PRIOR to these men being committed to this fire to the point they could no longer come out. Explain it away for me, Sir. Seriously. Why commit men to a fire, where no civilian life is in danger when the truss roof system is already compromised? PLEASE explain it away.

You are right, you won't change our views, nor will we stop talking...YOU have the option not to comment in return. Freedom of Speech is a wonderful actually goes both ways. We don't have to agree. I respect your opinion, haven't called you names, haven't attempted to degrade you, your knowledge, or anything of the sort. Can you say the same? Nope

Posted by east3 on August 7, 2007 at 1:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

40212 - I have seen no one post negative comments toward any of the fallen firefighters. They did as they were trained and as they had done for years and as they were ordered, or not ordered, to do. I am David Grahl, a district chief from Ohio - I was quoted in the booster line story. I have a district that covers half of an urban center of 160,000 and am IC for all fires in my district. I have a total of 32 years in all ranks.

As a chief myself, I will tell you I have never before been critical of another fire chief publicly about a fire. I have taken an interest in this disaster since I saw raw video on the NBC 2 website. The first thing I saw was an engine on a hydrant pumping into a single 2.5" line at a major fire (this was after collapse). The scene was chaos, even AC Garvin described it as chaos.

But this was avoidable.What has been said about trusses and large buildings, etc. can all be found in Fireground Tactics, by Emanuel Fried, from 1972. This is not new information. On p278 he said, “Fires in such large open areas gain great headway, rapidly creating large drafts. These in turn help fan the fire to even greater proportions. The entire area is subjected to the effects of heat, smoke and gases. Firemen trying to move in from the front may have to travel over 150 feet to reach the seat of the fire. In most cases, they are driven back by a tremendous pall of heat and smoke.” Sounds like he was there.

We study tactics from books (despite Chief Thomas dismissing them) and training, such as the NFA, in addition to experience, because you are right – most of us will not see fires like this – maybe once in a career. We need to know what to expect and do before we get the experience. Firefighters cannot afford to have chiefs rely solely on OJT.

There was a significant smoke column visible from the engine houses. A large trash fire on a roofed dock adjacent to two large heavily-loaded structures is NOT a trash fire – it is a well-involved structure fire with two major exposures. AC Garvin, by his own statements, never properly sized up the significance or hazard of this fire. He called it a shopping stroll!. If the FFs did not check the ceiling void, I assume it is not standard CFD practice to check ceiling voids. Even you ask why you would do that. Because you have a working structure fire on the other side of the wall. The chief should have ordered the void checked. Do not take the extra horn if you don’t want the responsibility.

You raise so many issues, they cannot all be addressed in a single post. I have no personal axe to grind with the CFD. The FF deserve better leadership and a better system and better hose and equipment. Virtually every aspect of the CFD is below any national standard.

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 1:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie nickie nickie...... hmmm where should I start. You poor thing......

First off, I am not hiding. My screen name is the zip code to the area that my firehouse serves. The FF is for "firefighter". Not so secretive, eh? Trust me, trust me, once the "roaches" realize I am posting here (I tried to talk to 1 on another site and was censored - here they can't control me arguing back) they will be calling me by name (which is fine - remember, I am not the one who finds the need to hide).

Now, as for your most recent post. Again, you don't let details of facts get in your way. FYI: The Chief of the CFD drives a Tahoe, not a car. Maybe you need to re-examine some photos yourself. Mrs. Carol was not sitting in any car in any photo in front of any building. She would have been in an SUV. Sorry, honey. You got that one wrong (once again).

As for my personal reasons for posting, and I have been asked several times over the last 2 days now this same question, I am tired of there being 1 side out there. The only people posting are ones who want to blame. I, on my own accord, am going to answer any of the "roaches" that get on here from now on. People have been tracking them and we know who several of them are. Several have told on themselves through information that they have posted by being "baited", unknowingly.

As for you my dear, I don't take any of this personally, so I suggest you do the same. You ARE entitled to your opinion. The part you seem to be getting confused on are facts that you are getting from people who have no actual knowledge of the CFD. I have that. I know these people. I was one of them.


Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 1:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)


These men do not deserve to be openly criticized on this site or any other. They deserve a full and independent investation by objective professionals. NOT by disgruntled former employees, NOT by lawyers-in-training, and NOT by any firefighter from another obsure department.

Like I said, some of the folks on here are not good sources of information. Be careful who you listen to.

As for the insults, you must be mistaking my comments. If you consider yourself a "roach", that is up to you. I gave you credit for either doing research or by getting information from someone. At least you have posted your name.

Take care..........

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 1:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

east3 - first of all, thanks for your comment. I certainly respect your rank and experience.

If you look at photos on, you will see the front of the building with minimal smoke coming from the front. Upon the arrival of E11 E10 L5 & B4, there was no "significant smoke column visible from the engine houses" as you suggest. Just to clarify that.

Now, you and several others have referred to this lack of checking a void. It has been said that they should have "poked holes in the tiles", etc. How do you know this wasn't done? Who is saying it wasn't?

When I was with CFD (and here now in KY), the second man in behind the nozzle always carried a pike pole. Mainly, it was to pull ceilings directly above the fire once it was knocked down. Now, was this done on that day? I have no first hand information on that. But here is the thing - NEITHER DO YOU!!!!!

Your assertion that 2.5" hose is inadequate is personal opinion. Before I step in too deep, let me explain that I work for a department that uses 5" hose. I have seen how effective it can be. I will agree that 5" hose on a large commercial fire is nice. However, it is up to each department to mandate its own equipment. That is just how Charleston does it. From the photos I saw (numerous 2.5" stack tips, 3 aerials in operation, portable monitors, etc.) I don't see what your point is. How was there a water problem with all those flowing?

Maybe I am just as guilty here of what I have accused a couple of you all of doing. I am going off of information from men who were there. FFs in Charleston who were on the scene, who fought the fire, who sufferred this loss, and are still serving the city today. I know what they believe happened. Perhaps I am not relaying that to you all in the proper way.

Regardless, Chief Rusty Thomas is a good and honest man. He has worked tirelessly for this community and for the members of his department. He has suffered DAILY since this happened. This is my PERSONAL opinion. He is not the vilan that some of you folks are making him out to be, no matter how hard you try.....

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 2:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Aren't you from one of those "obsure/obscure" departments now? What exactly makes you any different then the rest of us now? You know the men, so do some of us. So what...Here is another example of that double standard that was thrown out this morning...I guess that makes us equal in the full sense of the word now doesn't it.

And I was referring to your condescending tone toward me (kid, dear, etc)and your name calling toward Wilmot and others.

BTW, I have SEEN Rusty in that car, or one similar to it...Since you are in Kentucky, I guess that means you weren't there either, huh? Where is YOUR source then?

I have not EVER criticized the nine men, then or now, nor will I ever. I am criticizing the firefighting POLICIES and those who insist on running them beyond their usefulness. YOU have a habit of turning words around in an attempt to make a point. Not only is it irresponsible, but unprofessional as well. See? One more point we are matched on.

Your zip code is not an identifying factor to me. If you want to have intelligent conversation, give your name. You insist on it from the other men. YOUR quote is interesting: "People have been tracking them and WE know who several of them are". You are nothing more than the "establishment". No better than the men you criticize. So I guess that makes you the pot calling the kettle black, now doesn't it?

You still haven't sent the names, so why not post them here? NOR have you addressed the stress fracture...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 2:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I believe it was in one of the stories regarding the ceiling tiles. Garvin or Rusty perhaps, gave the information. It has been awhile, but regardless, it was discussed in another forum.

No one is saying Rusty is a criminal, in fact, in another forum I said he never intended for these men to be hurt of worse, to die. But the fact remain, when the dust settles and the results of investigations come in, HE is ultimately responsible for the outcome of this tragedy.

And you admittedly are also relying on information from other people "who were there". Did I not say the same thing? I am relying on people from other departments that were there, as well as investigating on my own, and listening to anonymous FF here. I believe I also said, in other forums, that a National Standard of Firefighting needs to be implemented standardizing the procedures and policies across the country and MANDATING them(making them law).

So, as follow up to my past post to you...what is YOUR cut in turning names over?

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 2:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ms. Nickie (is that better) - I WORKED for the Charleston fire department from 1996 until 2002. I left there to come here. I have close, personal friends who work for the CFD. Louis Mulkey and I were in a wedding a couple of years ago. Louis and I were together as camp counselors at a camp for burned children for 5 years straight. We both coach football. While I am no longer a member of that department, I have FIRST HAND knowledge of it. I still keep up with what happens in it (incidents, promotions, etc.) and it's members. You can say "I know people there" still.

I stayed with a Charleston FF (actually a Captain) for a week to attend the funeral services. On the night of June 18th, I was notified by Charleston FFs that I "needed to come home" because of what had happened. I left Kentucky at 10:00PM and drove all night. I arrived there around 6:00AM on the 19th.

Now, you "knowing" Louis is not the same as me "knowing" Louis. I have been in fires with Louis. I have spent days and nights with Louis. You know him (by your own admission) in passing through him being your child's substitute teacher and through youth football. Now, that is not to undermine your feelings for the loss of Louis. I am simply demonstrating what you asked me to.

As for Wilmot, she told me not to use the names of any of the 9 men who were killed. All the while, she is using the screen name of former Chief Wilmot Guthke. That is completely disrespectful to Chief Guthke and she is using the name to taunt "rangers" or whatever he choses to call people who don't agree with his negativity.

I tried to explain this earlier, you ARE criticizing Louis and the other men who died when you say they weren't trained properly. Who was in charge of training at Engine #15 on B-shift? Captain Louis Mulkey was. How can you not be insulting him, plus his experience as a firefighter and an officer, when you make your posts? You are like the liberals and thier "I support the troops and not the war" crap. Soldiers fight wars. That is what they do. You can't say you don't support what a soldier is doing, but you support him or her!

Like I have said, to you, it doesn't matter my name. I am telling you (and I can't believe they haven't gotten on here yet) the roaches will be hollering at me anytime now. I am posting under my e-mail address. Everything about me is right there. I am not hiding. They will know. You will see.....

Lastly, there are tons of photos of the fire. What "stress fracture" picture are you referring to. And if this is where you want to go with this, I can take those same photos and explain some things to you too. Afterall, I have been going into fires for a living for over 16 years - what do you do again?

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 2:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ms. Nickie - you keep asking about the names. We will talk about that in private.

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 2:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

P.S. Find the story, copy it and post it for us...... Especially the part where it says they did NOT check the ceiling or the area above the fire.......

I will be waiting......

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 3:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are right...I didn't KNOW Louis, like you know him. Never claimed to be his best friend. I am an angry citizen at this point, with a limited knowledge of the fire service. Never disputed that fact, never tried to hide it.

As for the training, there are MANY men in charge of training at their stations, but it doesn't mean that it is the most up to date. Now, before you scream like a girl at me for insulting the honor of Louis Mulkey or any of the other men, they did their jobs and trained their men the way THEY were trained. Good or bad, Right or wrong, it is what it is. Who is ultimately responsible? The Chief is, by virtue of it being his job.

Second, as a VETERAN, I CAN say I support the individuals in the military, and not support the Administration and its decisions(I do support Afghanistan-not Iraq). YOU are the one wrong on that one. The President sends them to war(along with Congress), the soldiers don't CHOOSE to go for some arrogant vendetta against his Daddy's old nemesis...THAT is for another message board. Oh, and I am not a liberal either...I prefer to claim that I am a liberal conservative...that is not the issue here, however...

Let's apply this to firefighting shall we? Louis Mulkey did a lot of things the "Louis Mulkey" way.(smile)...thats what made him so hilarious in my opinion. And from what I saw on the field, yes, he is also second guessing the Chief, saying things like "I would have done it this way".."or I made that call"...I also know, from a long line of family members in the fire service, that FF love to fight fires. They stand there chomping at the bit waiting for the word to rush in with their hoses to combat the demon. But let's be realistic..not every fire is the kind of fire you can go in to. I believe, and many others, that THIS was one of those fires. Angry? yep, you betcha. There are nine families without their loved ones today, because SOMEONE failed to pay close enough attention to the signs on the walls...You don't have to LIKE me, or my opinion, but I DO deserve some respect for standing up for what I believe in. For standing up for men that claim they can't stand up for themselves. Kind of what YOU seem to be doing, only it isn't quite clear WHO you are defending at this point. Is it Rusty? Garvin? The fallen brothers? If it is Rusty and Garvin, I think they are well equipped to defend themselves. I actually DO feel sorry for Garvin..Most of the men on here have said he is a mess since this thing...They don't say that about Rusty, and I haven't seen a lot of reaction from him to the contrary. Now, I will grant you, he may grieve in peace, and that is his right, but responsibility for a scene is HIS. He wanted the horn, now he has to wear it...good AND bad.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 4:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am looking into the tile thing..Not sure where I remember it from...

I remember asking if the tiles had been pulled after a story came up where Rusty commented on not knowing whether or not his guys knew there was a truss system in that fire or not. If you remember which story it was, I would be glad to dig through the hours and hours of posts. Admittedly, he said he didn't know if the men knew it or not.

Now, you can call it what you want but if they didn't know, we can infer two things from that information:

1) A pre-plan of that building had not been done in quite a while-they didn't know the dock COVER existed either, and

2) The men did not pull tiles, revealing that truss system and any fire/smoke, etc that would have been lingering here.

Again, I said this is a SYSTEM failure. Over the years it APPEARS that CFD has become complacent in several areas already hashed out and discussed on several forums, and it is in need of investigating and reviewing the findings and MAKING CHANGE where needed.

If those observations make me a bad person, or whatever you may think of me, so be it. Most people don't even care that you guys exist until they need you. That isn't the case with me.

The fact that I got your attention is pleasing enough. You have provided nothing technical to dispute any of the allegations waged by any of the men on these posts. Dispute it with fact, and I will listen. At this point, you appear to be only looking for a fight, and since none of your "roaches" will play with you either, you go to the next in line. It's ok, I have VERY thick skin.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 4:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

PS...the stress fracture on the facade of the building. As you stand at the front, you see the words Sofa Super Store. To the right of that is a long vertical crack with smoke billowing out of it. Below that, a CFD car-supposedly the one the Chief was driving that night.

Notice the smoke, then, use the link provided earlier. That is a group of photos of the scene provided in a single document by East3. The aerial photo will show you the entire scene, point of origin, and the very beam NEXT to that point of origin. The steel truss ran the entire length of that building, from the crack in the facade to the rear of the building.

Posted by CodeGeek on August 7, 2007 at 4:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Calling something a "stress fracture" requires the insight, equipment and training of a competent structural engineer.

It's very likely that was an expansion joint where the original Piggly Wiggly and the newer part of the building were joined.

I appreciate and respect your passion, but your arguments lose some of their clout when you make statements like this one that aren't justified in facts.

Posted by jifdeng3 on August 7, 2007 at 5:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just want to throw a couple things out there. First, I am a 11 year firefighter, and a Captain at my department, so I have been around. I was with North Charleston FD for a couple of those years and and even though I am with a small dept now, I have seen big fire. I am in the unfortunate position of having to work with the city in my area. Their firefighters are yahoos who go into building in an unorganized, and unsafe way. We had a fire about six weeks before the sofa super store fire. Another captain from my department and I made initial entry and were conducting a left handed search when the City FD showed up. There were 8 firefighters that came barging into the house, including a battalion chief with only a jacket and helmet, and began doing their own thing including spraying water at smoke, ripping down ceilings that did not need to be pulled, and essesently mucking up the whole scene. Our battalion chief pulled us out of the fire and told us to pack up as he could no longer retain control of the scene. When I met him in the yard I was appaled to hear that the same city chief that was running through the house with no air pack told our chief he did not know what he ws doing because he was in command from outside the building. Come on!!! Is this professional? None of their guys checked in, or even asked what they could do. I made the comment that they are going to get someone killed. They'll get the wrong fire in the wrong building and it will be over. To have it happen so soon scares me. I do not fault the men. I fault the leadership. They refuse to give up tradition, and abide by NFPA. Tradition kills firemen!!! Bottom line. Its time for the city to stand up and make some changes.

Posted by jifdeng3 on August 7, 2007 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Second Comment. My station listend to the radio traffic from that night, we had St. Andrews, and City 1, and City 2 on three seperate radios. First and foremost, the mayday was not ignored as has been suggested. However, the problem was that normal raido traffic continued on the station following the mayday call and it became a clutered mess. When a mayday is called, a dispatcher should clear the channel with a tone and an announcement of the mayday and that only emergency traffic will be transmitted. It was quite sad that the first PAR (personnel accountability report) was not called until almost 2200 nearly 2.5 hours AFTER the first mayday. Second, I wanted to address the water supply issue. From radio traffic, they WERE having supply problems. There were flow issues, and many of the ladder pipes did not even know what engine was pumpng to them. It was an utter mess. They were simply not prepared to deal with this fire, and with a department that money to be top notch there is simply no excuse for it. Call me an armchair quarterback for all I care. EVERY firefighter with any iota of experence that is not brainwashed by the city knew this was going to happen someday. IT NEEDS TO CHANGE!!!!

Posted by oldfric07 on August 7, 2007 at 5:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The FF 40212 is a boy named Todd Bass. He's a fireman in Louisville. He has already sent someone anonymous email calling 'em names. He was at the city with us for a bit and is devoted to the Fire Chief. He still loves Charleston and Rusty but he's off the mark here. The guys who went in said they didn't poke a tile. So he's trying to do damage control.

he's also an IAFF member but is doing his best to make our local look bad. That has something to do with his relationship with the local President here. Our local president likes him. But other brothers don't like him because he's a brown noser and is now taking a stance opposite of what our union is taking.

His mayor prolly ain't to happy he's stirring stuff up but he's got a right to. Our mayor want be happy either cuz he has restarted a discussion here that was going dormant. So lets see how it goes.

Plus he has an in at the newspaper cause his wife used to be a photographer there.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 5:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Correct, stress fracture is NOT the proper term for this crack. The principle and manner I explained however, is.

The fire, we can assume heated to a temperature greater than 1000 degrees. From the location of the fire, we can also assume that the fire began to "melt", weaken, stress, whatever you want to call it, the steel truss that ran the entire length of the building. In the process the smoke followed the paths of least resistance, and came out the crack in the front. The end result of the weakened trusses was its eventual collapse.

I never claimed to be an engineer, but I do have the ability to think logically through some of the things I have seen and read.

I also know I have passed that building many times before the fire, and never saw the crack before that picture. Could I have missed it? Quite possibly. I honestly don't believe so.

The facts were there, sir, I just gave it the wrong name...the actuality of it is, however, that the smoke coming from that crack most likely fed through the ceiling and escaped there. Either way, it was a sign that there was a problem structurally. That truss didn't attach directly to that facade, as I am sure you are aware, but it did go through the ceiling just below it. That is evident from the lines left on the aerial view of the building after the collapse.

I apologize for horning in on your territory. Some people here are experts, some are not. I would be the latter, but I can see see the gist of the information.

Thank you for correcting me.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 5:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you for the clarification on the Mayday call. I appreciate the correction.

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 6:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

jifd3 - While I do appreciate some of your comments, I must remind you of the stellar job your current department did at the Clam Farm out on Folly Road (with no assistance, mind you). I was there that day. Please, can we talk about that one? Plus, I have a ton of other fires from your former Chief's tenure that did not go well (Riverland Terrace, the road there by the movie theater, etc.) Please, please, please, let's talk about the JIFD!

oldfric07 - thanks, you made that easier than I thought. I like how you had to change the way you write from what you normally do. Thankfully, I have your old posts to compare to. Anyone else care to look?

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 6:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie - i told you so. The thing about roaches is, all you have to do is turn the light on and they leave.....

Let the games begin......

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 6:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

P.S. oldfric07 - I meant to tell you when you were talking about the mayor up here in louisville, do me a favor and remind him that we haven't had a contract for a little over 2 and a half years. Of course, given that we just won another ruling for our backpay for $60 Million, he probably won't be too happy about you bringing that up.

But then again, you and I have already talked, haven't we? (wink wink)

Posted by oldfric07 on August 7, 2007 at 7:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Save your winking for that girl on Folly Beach. Remember. No? ;)

Oh, as for Louisville, you don't have as much support as you think. Of course it's much better if you believe you do because that will keep you posting here. Please, bring more.

This is what Chief Thomas and the Mayor need. A former yes man for the Chief to get this entire debate stirred up again. Call Rusty and ask him. It was finally getting quiet.

You are a rube.

Posted by oldcap on August 7, 2007 at 7:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The firefighter from Kentucky is way off. The Captians in charge of training are to train accroding to what is taught to them by the departments own training offcer. When everything comes to pass, the suits are settled, the chief replaced, this city will understand the true cost of lives.
As for Louis, it's offensive to hear his name used by a former firefighter with the CFD. You aren't here, you didn't retire. So what if you drove all night? What about those of us who never left. As for Wilmot, that's not a girl, it's man and a firefighter. You know him. He knows you.
Now you put the blame on one of the nine men who died. You are a scumbag and tonight your comment will be posted everywhere.

Posted by bickleseagrave on August 7, 2007 at 7:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

FF40212 maybe you should start looking at the pics, look at the smoke coming from the facade, one pump here with a booster line, what the heck. You don't need to be an expert to see what's going on here, all you need is an IC standing back looking at the whole pic. BTW I have been in the fire service about three times as long as you, just in case you want to ask.

Posted by bickleseagrave on August 7, 2007 at 7:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Again for you FF40212, maybe if the Chief driving the Crown Vic had stood back he would have seen the smoke from the facade. What do you think, fire at the rear, smoke showing from the front facade, good possibility there is smoke above the ceiling, what do you think. Maybe again if the Chief had a command post instead of going inside he would of seen this.

BTW Nickie, keep up the good work, let's not let this get swept under the rug.

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

FF40212: Just in case you have not read these direct quotes from Chief Thomas I encourage you to visit the website below. Even the lay person can see there is something wrong with the leadership in the CFD.

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

And by the way, like Oldfric said, thanks for stirring it up again. I love to watch Nickie in action! T'was getting a little boring before you showed up!

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 7, 2007 at 8:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, go to work for the day and look what happens.

So many things wrong here to address and so little space.
Size-up, IC, tactics, discipline, water supply.

FF40212: Look at these pics and tell me what you think.; , what does the consistency of this smoke pointed out by the arrows tell you? Note the shifting wind patterns in regards to the other smoke.

Look at page 3:
First pic, this is early in event (parked civilian car in NW corner of bldg). Does this look like a trash fire? Crews had entered w/ a booster. Civies mulling around by the bldg UNDER the overhang.

Second pic, view from NW, fire had already vented through roof in main showroom. Note front windows are still intact.
This fire was obviously in the ceiling before crews arrived.

(more later)

Posted by aconcernedcitizen on August 7, 2007 at 8:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Questions for those in the Charleston fire department.

What are the specs for your engines? Manufacturer, pump capacity, booster tank capacity, size and amount of hose carried, and other equipment carried.

What are the specs for your aerial ladders? Manufacturer, length of ladders, what equipment is carried? Any quints in service? What is the usual assignment for a truck company on arrival at a working fire?

Does the first in engine usually catch their own hydrants and on working structure, or does the 2nd due engine establish water supply? I assume that the department is establishing a water supply, is that correct.


Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 10:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

oldfric07 (or just friction loss from your days on charleston burning?) - not sure about any girls on folly. Other than when my wife and I went out there after attending Louis' memorial service. Oh, I get it. You are trying to imply that I was up to no good....I get it. Sorry to disappoint you, slim....

oldcap - You are just like aconcernedcitizen was saying - its ok for folks who are critical of the incident and the administration to name names, but if someone doesn't agree with you that makes them less qualified to talk about their relationship with the fallen. You are what I was talking about when I referred to as a roach. If you were indeed a Captain with the CFD, I say you must not have been much of one. Show yourself. Tell everyone who you are. Sign your name to your bold words.....

bickleseagrave - I have no need to visit the site you referenced. From what I have seen, it is not credible.

fyrmnjim - you do an excellent job of second guessing and armchair quarterbacking that fire, including the nice graphics. How easy it is, now, to sit back and question.....

I am telling you, Louis was smart enough to know what he should and shouldn't go in. You people are saying that he threw away all reason and just went in because he was told to? That is ridiculous!

You all need to wait on the reports - from the real experts. You are not honoring the men who were lost.

Besides, nothing you or I write on this site will change anything anyways......

Posted by jifdeng3 on August 7, 2007 at 10:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

FF40212, You are right, as we did have some problems with the old chief, however, with the help of our current chief we have been working very hard to come up to where we need to be over the last five years. We had to do some painful looking at where we were lacking and put time, and committment into changing that. This is what the Charleston needs to do. I have some very dear friends with them, and beleive me, most of them realize the need to change, they understand that booster line is not safe for fighting fire in modern buildings with the fire load that man made materials have. This is where the leadership needs to put down "the way we have done it since 1882" attitude and progress up to modern standards. As far as the resturant (not clam farm, check your info) fire goes, lets see, upon our arrival the building was 100 percent involved, it was at the end of a 3'500 foot single lane dirt road, so yeah its not going to be saved. Tough sh*t but the fact remains that nobody went inside, no body got hurt, and above all else nobody was killed. I fail to see why you cannot have a objective look at the comments that people post here. Most, as I do, do not want to see any more brothers killed for absolutly nothing. It sone thing to die trying to rescue a person, but unacceptable to die for a La-Z-Boy. The fact still remains this... They rescued the only trapped victim, good job, but at that point the construction of the building must be taken into account and the men pulled out. Lightweight truss fails in 5-8 minutes under direct flame impingement. No firefighters should be in there after that point. Period. Sure I was not there, and that seems to be you only selling point. This fire NEEDS to be broken down piece by piece, questions need to be answered, and policy changed. Like I said before, I do not fault the men in the fire, I fault years of flawed fire department policy. They were doing as they knew and were trained.

Posted by oldcap on August 7, 2007 at 10:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr. Bass,

When the committee is through with us, and they will rip us a new ass, I'd love for you to come pay a visit. Next time feel free to send me a message here, I'm always on, and we can talk about my performance as a Captain. For now though, don't disrespect the men you pretend to care about. The families don't need it and neither do the rest of us who hung around instead of running off to another state. You left. You aren't CFD. You can hang around with guys all you want. But it doesn't remove the fact that you are in Kentucky and weren't here that night. We were. Quit mocking the memory of those who perished and attacking people who stayed on this job rather than leaving. You left.

For everyone else, the Mayor is going to make big changes. One board member has already spoken out about Charleston.

Posted by oldcap on August 7, 2007 at 10:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)


You are 100% correct. The men want the changes. They realize we are way behind. The ony ones who don't are those who like a person better than the total department. Rusty isn't the CFD. He's just another guy who has had his time and his legacy is secure forever.

Though you weren't there JIFD, you were in the area, ready to respond. There are people coming on here from Kentucky who used to be members trying to convince people they know what goes on daily. Your here brother while he's off in Kentucky. Thanks for protecting our area and responding with us.

Posted by CodeGeek on August 7, 2007 at 10:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickie said:

"the steel truss that ran the entire length of the building."

The fact is the trusses were perpendicular to the CMU wall you describe. The original Piggly Wiggly was lightweight steel truss with center columns and girders supporting the opposite ends of the trusses (away from the CMU). The two additions were rigid steel frame covered in lightweight sheet metal.

Thre were no trusses "that ran the entire length of the building."

Posted by oldcap on August 7, 2007 at 10:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)


That's the exact construction. When the official time line is released folks will be amazed at how much longer people were inside. We didn't arrive, run in and have a collapse. It took time and that time was precious as were the lives of our men.
The IC is responsible for the overall operation including pulling crews out of buildings that are weakened through age and heat or direct flame.The Chief of any department is responsible for the way operations and training occur.

Posted by CodeGeek on August 7, 2007 at 10:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I'm a retired fire marshal who always thought my primary constituents were my fellow men and women on the job.

My heart goes out to all of you there, and I hope in some way there will be some good that comes out of this for all of us.

God bless.

Posted by THISMUSTSTOP on August 7, 2007 at 10:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Todd...just stop!

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 7, 2007 at 10:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

FF40212: If my husband, brother, friend or other relative had died that horrible night, I would want to know the truth about what happened. That is what people are searching for here, is the truth. Yes, it will come out in the reports, but some has already been shared here by people who were there that night and by others in the fire service. It has given the lay person a glimpse into what has been going on in that department and quite frankly, I fear for the other firefighters in this department. It has given us cause to read more about fire fighting tactics and safety issues as posted on MANY professional firefighting websites. Many of these articles are written so that the lay person can understand what is safe and what is not. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. I hope these investigations will help to make the City of Charleston Fire Department the best that it can possibly be. I know from personal experience that there are many dedicated people in this department. The people, given the right tools, WILL make this the best department it can be. And NO ONE has said one bad thing about these 9 men. It all goes back to the leadership and training, or lack thereof in this dept. Who does that responsibility fall to? You guessed it....the man in charge!

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 11:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

jifd3 - I forgot about Bowen's Island. What I WAS referring to is the old clam farm there before the first bridge on the way to Folly Beach. It was a small fire, E4 got there with their 2 man crew and didn't go in. They fought the fire from the outside. It ended up burning the whole building down. I was there with the FBFD. I think that was like 1995 or 1996. The fire burned that business into bankruptcy.

Oldcap - You are kind of hitting on what I am trying to say - lets wait for the experts (the real ones) to finish their objective observations about the incident and the department. The rest of this nonsense is just that.

I do find it odd that I am the only "non-CFD member" who isn't qualified to speak about the incident. I guess since I don't agree with you, that means I should shut up? Heck, there is a former member who appears to be dedicating his whole life to tearing down the CFD. What about that guy?

I moved to KY for my family. I am here still because of my dedication to my family. I miss Charleston. I really do. The loss of those guys (especially Louis) hurts. I could care less what a coward like you thinks, but if you are going to post on here under cover, you aren't someone I would have wanted to serve with. All of the Captains I ever had were man enough to say what they had to say in person or to someone's face. Maybe you were raised different? Maybe you just don't have the courage??? Just remember the next time you DO see me - you hid. I didn't......

Posted by FF40212 on August 7, 2007 at 11:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Stop? Why me stop?

The 9 men who died deserve better than this. The members who are still serving today (the honorable ones, not the roaches) deserve better than this.

I will agree, I am probably dumb arguing with people who severely lack integrity, but I will digress.......

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 11:10 p.m. (Suggest removal) that I am finished with my popcorn...Those aren't roaches Mr. Bass, those are my cavalry...Glad to see you all back folks. Hi Charleytowngirl!

Code Geek, I have no doubt you are correct that ONE truss did not run the entire length of the building. There was some sort of steel beam or maybe even concrete block construction(I will simplify it so you have nothing to pick over) running down the side(old exterior wall? I don't remember when it was a Piggly Wiggly). It was still the PROBABLE point of entry of the fire, and the most likely route of the fire. Does that satisfy the explanation? The POINT I am trying to make is that if you see the view from the air, the line of the collapse goes directly to the front of the building and EXACTLY where the front facade showed the crack and billowing smoke. How exactly is my lack of engineering terminology nullifying the description I provide? Exterior wall thingy(better?), fire from side dock, point of entry to the interior, steel weakened by heat and fire, collapse...pure and simple...even a dumba$$ civilian can figure it out, just happen to not be able to professionally articulate it as you could, perhaps? Cost of this tragedy? Priceless lives.

So...what is it again that I am WRONG about? terminology? OK...I'll crack open a book or two in the next two days and get on that.

I do have to give you credit for knowing the exact construction of the building when it is QUESTIONABLE whether or not the Chief did, or his poor men, for that matter.

Thank you again for the corrections, I AM still learning...but I figured you could get the picture regardless, I was incorrect.

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

NO ONE deserves to have the truth come out more than the 9 men and their families. And the truth will come out and you will feel really dumb then...........

Posted by CodeGeek on August 7, 2007 at 11:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Relax, I'm trying to help you out here. As I said in the earlier post, I admire your passion.

These "corrections" are intended to help your credibility as all of you continue to search for answers.

Posted by jifdeng3 on August 7, 2007 at 11:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

FF40212, That was before my time at the Island, so I cannot really say anything. I actually did not even know it burned. Hmmm, Guess I'll ask around.

Oldcap, Thanks for your kind words. I was on duty that night and were were all ready to go. We had staffed an extra engine, and were just waiting on the call. I wish all of you well in the coming months and years.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 11:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Code Geek,

Oh...duh? LOL Sorry I snapped at you...I was already on the defensive so I guess I missed the intent of your post. I do want to say it accurately so please give it to me plain and simple...I'm taking notes.

Once again, I am terribly sorry for my temper tantrum. :-)

Thanks for helping me...Also sent you a pm...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 7, 2007 at 11:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Amen Charleytowngirl...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 12:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Old Cap,

Thank you for the link to the article on Firefighterhourly. I find his comment thus far very interesting and UNBELIEVABLY thrilling. I feel somewhat a sense of relief for you guys now...Changes will come, might take some time to implement, but sounds like they are on the way.

Thank you for sharing information and for being a firefighter(Capt). :-)

Posted by CodeGeek on August 8, 2007 at 7:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)


You'll have to help me here, I don't have any indication of a PM. Where can I retrieve it?

BTW, what is "MB" for us old-timers?

Posted by FF40212 on August 8, 2007 at 9:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie - if that is what you call your "cavalry" then you can have them. A very small group of nameless, faceless cowards coming to your rescue? People who spew and spew, but aren't man enough to sign their names?

Thanks for the laugh though...........

Posted by east3 on August 8, 2007 at 9:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

To respond to a few specific points –

On arrival, there was no visible smoke at the front of the store, but “From the moment Engine 11 pulled out of the station house, the guys could see the smoke rising” (P&C) and photos taken shortly after E10, 11 and L5 arrived certainly show a column of smoke from the loading dock.

Was the void checked? From the P&C story “Local, federal guidelines in conflict”:
“Garvin said he walked through the store's showroom looking for fire but saw only a small puff of smoke near the ceiling tiles at the rear of the building… which he thought was wafting in from the fire outside the building. He said that when he went in the next two times, the conditions seemed to get worse. hindsight he wonders whether the fire might have already been burning, hidden above the ceiling tiles, when he first went into the building looking for flames.”

Since I am the one who has pushed the crack in the parapet wall theory – yes, at the seam where the old PW was added on to - let me be the one to comment – Nickie is doing his best. Yes, the trusses run parallel to the façade supported by beams –or girders – running from the front to the back of the showroom. You can see that in the aerial photo of the collapsed roof. At the back end, directly in line with this beam, was the seat of the fire on the loading dock. When steel heats to 900-1100 degrees it elongates and can push outwards on the walls prior to failure. The NIST will use computer modeling to test whether this is what happened. Earlier pictures show a clean smooth façade. There is a picture in which the seam is visible and light smoke is pushing out of it. Then there is the picture I noticed that shows a visible separation developing, wider at the top of the parapet wall and extending below the overhang and part way down the front wall of the store with more smoke, still light but very visible.

This indicates, based on tactical teaching going back over thirty years, that the beam may be elongating and pushing against the front wall. It also indicates the void is charged with smoke from the rear to the front. This was the first section to collapse. Going back one step, it was also the first area to flashover, all of which is consistent with known behavior of lightweight steel trusses in fire. This could have served as a clear warning sign to an IC or SO or RIT stationed at the front of the building who knew what to look for. But as we keep saying, they should not have been sent in there in the first place to try to save that building and it was the responsibility of the IC to know that and get them out.

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 8, 2007 at 9:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

FF40212: And YOU were "man" enough to sign your name BEFORE someone "outed" you?!?!? Nice one.....

Posted by aconcernedcitizen on August 8, 2007 at 9:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have something to say to everyone that thinks all fires should be fought out of “the book”. I have knowledge of a department that has three shifts. Each shift operates mostly independently of the other two. I will compare two of the shifts below.

One of these shifts does things their own way, company officers have wide latitude to make decision and do things their way and the B/Cs back the captain’s decisions. This shift does lots of training in the stations based on real scenarios that have happened, PT on a regular basis (has been doing it for years, way before it became fashionable); initial attack on fires is quick and effective. They value tradition as well, but in many ways they are very progressive. The one thing that is not tolerated is micromanagement; all officers and firefighters are taught to think outside of the box. They save lots of lives and have the lowest average fire loss of all three shifts. They have very few FF injuries and with the exception of 1 injury from over 10 years ago they have all been minor. If you critiqued their actions compared to “they way things should be” they wouldn’t fair well in reference to the textbook ways on most fire.

Contrast with another shift at the same department. They do everything “by the book”. Company officers are expected make their “decisions” based on what the book tells them to do given a scenario. The B/Cs micromanage everything the captains do, in order to make sure that follow the book recommendations. This shift does lots of training in the stations all based on what the books say and what is fashionable for the day. They recently started daily PT (only because fashionable) they consider themselves to be very progressive, and tradition is only for the “unenlightened”. They have the highest average fire loss of all three shifts, and they don’t save near the number of lives as the comparison shift. They have had serious FF injuries and a LODD at a warehouse fire. The LODD was many years ago, but the mentality of the shift is still the same. If you critiqued their actions compared to “they way things should be” they would look great, and everything would appear A-OK.

Doing everything by the book isn’t going to make things better, doing everything the way it used to be done isn’t either. Let the officers make the decisions that need to be made, and the firefighters fight fire and save lives. What is needed is training on things that matter, training people to think on their own.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 9:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)


MD=Message Board. PM= private message

Posted by aconcernedcitizen on August 8, 2007 at 10:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In defense of FF40212 not posting his name before he was “outed”, a quick Google search of his screen name turns up his real name quickly. Don't think his was hiding.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 10:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr. Bass,

Since you began on this MB, you have contributed NOTHING but cheap shots and name calling. Repeatedly, I have asked for real information to dispute what we have all been contemplating over the last several weeks since the fire. You have provided nothing but cheap jabs and innuendo. The sign of a pathetic interest in serving no one and nothing in the wake of this fire.

It is a tragedy that 9 men died. What makes it a bigger tragedy is that people will come out of the woodwork and attempt to cover over events of that night and hush people that are demanding answers. I seriously could care less what your motivations are, but it is clear you are an angry man. You should be, your friends are gone and people want to cover the facts up...

Nothing you have provided here has contradicted ANYTHING we have posted, so it is you whose credibility is shot.

As for my bet I will keep them. They are interested in the truth of that night, not worrying about whether or not Rusty will keep them on board, or hire them back at some point. They don't hide behind fake names, I know who they are...And so do you(with the exception of one or two civilians...then again, it doesn't matter if you know them at all...

PS...Posters- he offered names of the "roaches" in an earlier post. I requested those names, both online here as well as in a PM..He provided that tells you his motivation.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 10:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)


I think the point really was that HE knew who the CFF are that are posting here....WE don't really need to. Outside FF also posted their names in other areas of the P&C stories. The "threat" in his earlier post indicated he merely wants to provide those names to the Chief in a so called independent investigation that is SAID to be going on in the department in an attempt to reprimand men and women from coming on here to post their takes on the events. Those are strong-arm tactics, and could be considered illegal, provided the department acts on those names. IF that investigation is real.

There has been no gag order placed on the men and women of that department or any other local department, so with that being said, people can speak as they see fit. The issue with Mr. Bass and his criticism of people with screen names, is that not one of his posts is marked Todd Bass, or even TB, or Todd, Or Bass...nothing. He is honestly no different than anyone else posting here under an assumed alias.

In his quest for whatever it is he is trying to accomplish, he renewed the zeal in this nearly moot message board. He accomplished everything we had been working to try to bring back in the forefront. I guess that makes him the best tool for the opposition, now doesn't it? A job well done!

Look, we are ALL in agreement that the end results will come from the investigations. No doubt some of us will be right, partially right, or completely wrong...Time will tell, but in the meantime, we, as citizens, firefighters, and the like have the right to question the authority in our towns and cities. Some of us happen to feel that this fire tragedy was completely preventable, and for that reason, we are asking for truth. This forum of posts is a way for citizens like me, you and various others, to get a BETTER understanding of the fire service, fire itself, and the policies and procedures they utilize. If, in the meantime, we come to our own conclusions, then it is what it is.

I respect your opinions, regardless of whether or not we agree. I would respect his, if he chose different tactics to voice them.

Posted by FF40212 on August 8, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie - Wow. Where should I start? I didn't realize you were the one running this board?

However, and I want to be very clear here, I will explain my purpose for being here.


In multiple posts I have suggested that we all wait for the real experts who have been appointed to examine this incident to finish their findings and publish them. Not current or former FFs, not FFs in other departments (including myself now), not wannabe firefighters (such as YOURself), and not regular citizens.

I don't care what you think you are entitled to. I don't care that you are a taxpayer (in SUMMERVILLE, not Charleston). It doesn't matter. What matters is that the men and women of the CFD get through this without having the good names of those 9 men slandered anymore than they already have. Their training has been criticized. Their experience has been questioned. Their decisions on how they fought that fire have been continually demeaned. I know, I know, it isn't the guys, its the Chiefs. Of course, it has to be! Right? Otherwise, your poor little concience couldn't stand it!

On top of that, the families of these men have seen and heard the critics out here and I am sure that has not helped in their grieving process. Heck, the funerals were barely over and there were already message boards and press conferences!

Here is the thing - N-O-T-H-I-N-G you or I write on any internet site is going to change this. It isn't going to cover up any part of any investigation. I am not apart of any establishment. I have no agenda other than to shine a light on the small handful of people who have done their best to throw mud. These people, and I know several of them and their personal backgrounds (shady to say the least) are NOT credible. You have no idea the reputations of these people. Believe me, they are not respected in the firefighting community - hence the reason they are hiding.

Bottom line here, you have every right to your opinion. You do not understand firefighting though. You can't. You aren't a firefighter. Please, from now on leave the firefighting questions to people who do the job......sorry.

Posted by FF40212 on August 8, 2007 at 11:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

nickie - you are killing me here. Do you not read well? I have no connection with any investigation. How many times do I have to say this?

Like I told you, the roaches would know who I was. I have had the same e-mail address for over 6 years now. They knew as soon as they saw it who I was. That was what I explained to you - you either weren't a member of CFD or you were new (I was right, again).

Here is the thing, and I feel like a broken record here, you have no idea who you are talking to in your "cavalry". You THINK you can trust them, but believe me they have histories in the fire service (some of them) that they know they don't want put on here.

Some will go to extreme lengths to hide. It is really kind of fun to watch. I like it when they are outed. I really like it when they are "baited" in conversations that they have no idea will get sent back to folks and then tell on themselves on these sites by posting the "baited" information. Like I said, turn on the lights and roaches run!

I will agree (again) that I am stupid for getting on here. I should have just kept on ignoring this. However, Louis Mulkey means a lot to me (along with the other 5 I knew, personally) and I feel like he doesn't deserve to have his career, legacy, and memory tarnished by these people. If they are who you chose to associate yourself with, then have fun going down with that ship.......

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 8, 2007 at 12:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

FF40212: Why don't you shed some light as you see it on how the men/women in the CFD are trained so that we will know your perspective on this issue.

So far we've heard from people that were there and people that weren't there, but have years of experience (as you do). With your years of experience, would you consider yourself an expert on the matters that people are questioning here (tactics and policies)? Do you think that the training you received when you were with the CFD was adequate? Were you given training on a regular basis or did they just teach you the way they have been doing it for years? Do you agree with the comments that the chief and the asst chief have made as far as how command is assumed at a fire scene? Do you think that this fire dept does not need to change it's tactics and policies to prevent this from ever happening again? Do you think that since they have done it this way since the beginning that that it's the "right way?" Aren't there better tried and true methods out there to keep you guys safe? Do you agree that there is much to be learned from this tragic incident from departments all over the country? Do you agree that everyone deserves to know the truth of what happened here? Do you agree that many different publications on 21st century training and tactics might be better utilized and that is is time for a change in the way things are done in the CFD? Do you believe in freedom of speech? Do you think that name calling helps your own credibility? Just asking......

Posted by bickleseagrave on August 8, 2007 at 1:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

FF40212, thanks for getting this thread moving again!!
You are saying the pics on the Firefighter Hourly site are not credible. A picture is a picture, what are you talking about.
Take a look at East3's post about 10-12 up, he has described the problems here perfectly

"Command and Control", had the first arriving senior officer assumed command and set up a command post, he may have seen some of the situations developing including the smoke from the crack in the facade.

The pictures showed CHAOS, firefighters in street clothes, partial turnout gear, and what's your opinion of all the large windows being taken out with personnel inside, or was that video not credible either.

No one here has ever said they don't support the CFD firefighters. Most have the problem with the Chief's attitude that nothing was done wrong and he doesn't need to change.

I do not understand why you are supporting the administration so adamantly, "Bootlicker" is not in my vocabulary, but from what I understand it is someone who will do anything for the administration? Hmmmm!

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 1:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First off, Mr. Bass, the general public has the right to question everything under the Freedom of Information Act. If you don't like it, tough sh**. I am beyond tired of your bantering at people, you childish innuendos regarding peoples reputations, and the like. NO ONE has EVER criticized these men. YOU insist on attempting to turn our words into a crusade for YOUR benefit with the powers that be. I don't control this message board, YOU are the one attacking people here...

You are like a fly my friend, you eat sh** and bother people.

I refuse to get into a pissing contest with anyone whose only motivation is to argue-plain and simple. Address me if you will from here on out, they will go unanswered. Your comments are redundant and meaningless to the rest of us.

If the ships go down, we will absolutely see who the last man(or woman) standing is, now won't we? If it is me,then I am the one responsible for my own demise aren't I? Not you. And I read VERY well-YOU said "We" know who they are..."

You do for Lois what you see fit, and I will do as I see fit. Capiche?

Posted by oldcap on August 8, 2007 at 2:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bass was discussed. He has angered a lot of people, including ones who support Rusty. My main gripe is the blame he is putting on Louis and our other eight brothers. He's attacking everyone really except someone who might agree with him. He's not a charleston firefighter. In fact it sounds like he is trying to further embarass us or make the rest of us look bad.

Suddenly now he is trying to change his tune and focus on other people.

Don't debate him. Let him post what he wants because he's in deep with most of us on the job. Just dont respond to him.

Posted by fyrmnjim on August 8, 2007 at 2:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ff40212, unbelievable!
Quote:You do not understand firefighting though. You can't. You aren't a firefighter. Please, from now on leave the firefighting questions to people who do the job......sorry.

You actually buy into all this American hero bullsh*t, don't you. This job is not rocket science. It's a little physics, a little engineering, a lot of common sense, and experience. That phrase reminds me of some others; The few, the proud,......., and It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand. Silly isn't it?

As for Nicki, I think she's grasping things rather well(for a rookie). I think she realizes that this job is nothing like Backdraft, Ladder 49, or Rescue me, on the inside. Stick her in a flashover sim and she'd be up to speed on with most of our esteemed brothers and sisters. She apparently has more common sense than most people on here.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 2:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You're right Cap...I'm on it...Thanks again

Posted by bickleseagrave on August 8, 2007 at 2:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You could be on my crew anytime Nickie, lol

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 2:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Awwww, thanks guys...Can I have pink boots??? And that "hat thingy" can I get a pink one there too?

However, I think I can only handle a booster line..any idea where I can get one? ;-)

Posted by bootlicked on August 8, 2007 at 2:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Todd I remember you were asking a lot of questions at Art's Bar and Grill about why don't they have any kind of sytem to account for the men inside and why they didn't use the TIC. You are still kissing Rusty's @$$ and you're hundreds of miles away. What a shame!!!!!

Posted by bootlicked on August 8, 2007 at 2:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickie you can see why the dept. is so screwed up it is full of Todd Basses.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 3:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I absolutely see what you all are up's ok..He has pissed off a LOT of CFF...I have been fielding emails all day from people telling us we are on the right track and to keep going....I have no intention of quitting.

Stay safe out there...and Pull the big hoses ;-)

Posted by oldcap on August 8, 2007 at 4:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Bass WAS in the CFD. He isn't anymore.


I've got the same thing. Lots of guys were just lurking but his comments set them off in a bad way. He did the impossible because he reopened the debate on here and it was all but gone. Some boys long thought to be Rusty's boys are disgusted. Like I said just talk around him. He will post back about this and that but he's made his bed.

Posted by oldcap on August 8, 2007 at 5:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bootlicked -Didn't mean to correct you-you already know about him.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 5:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No problem Cap...I've got his number...Flies are dealt with using flyswatters...or bug tape...I hope more of those lurking guys come out of the woodwork and speak...even if it is to me...Their identities are safe with me...

As for the re-opening the are right! Happens to be that he was the best ammunition for the opposition..The other site with the family member stories shut him down too...they totally rolled all over him...Of course, THAT page is WAY worse than this one...there is a nasty, vile, woman over there that sounds a lot like Bass..Does he have a twin? Wife maybe?

Some seriously vile people in this community...Whew...I'll stick with you guys any day...

Posted by FF40212 on August 8, 2007 at 6:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(laughing) so let me get this straight - people who are in hiding are mad at me? Should I be worried? That is classic.....

bootlicked - not sure if I was actually talking to you or not that day (I believe were there a couple of times actually). I did ask if L5's TIC was taken in because someone had mentioned that to me. I know what Charleston's accountability system consists of - in fact, I still have my I.D. card downstairs (I used it many times when I came back to calls - remember?).

fyrmnjim - no I do not have any images of myself as any hero. I do my job. I look out for the guys in my company and my department. I train (on my own initiative sometimes, outside of my current department) as often as possible to stay up on current techniques and procedures. And I am loyal (something that several folks on here are severely lacking).

Again (for at least the 10th time now) - my agenda is this - FOR PEOPLE TO WAIT FOR THE OBJECTIVE REPORTS TO COME OUT. I don't understand why this is such an issue. My opinion is that people with grudges are the ones posting these things. To me, they are not objective. To me, if they aren't willing to sign their names, they aren't worth any effort in reading what they write. Why can't they stand by their words? They can get on here and insult me because I am out in the open, all the while they sit and hide. It baffles me how some of you all are defending that kind of action......

Posted by FF40212 on August 8, 2007 at 6:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

oldcap - I meant to take issue with your comment about me somehow "blaming Louis".

I am not sure what you are trying to get at, but I was told today by another former member of the CFD that my comments had been taken that way.

I am DEFENDING Louis. I know how Louis fought fires - I did it with him dozens and dozens of times! He and the other men deserve better than this. They deserve to have the facts from the MULTIPLE investigations that are going on come out and be presented - unbiased and professionally.

If anyone is trying to place blame prematurely, I can't believe it isn't obvious what small group that would consist of. But then again, we aren't talking about a group of people with backbones.

Sign your name........

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 6:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey guys,

Does anyone remember which page that FF on scene posted the timeline? I had a thought, wanted to see if logic fits or not..

Can one of you guys tell me which regulations are mandatory for firefighting? SC accepts federal funding, so I am wanting to compare what we know already...Jim, do you have any of that? Cap?

Stupid flies...

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 8, 2007 at 6:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

FF40212: Why were you asking if L5's TIC was taken in? Why don't you just "Wait for the objective reports to come out"? It's ok for you to question, but not ok for others to question? Who's the hyprocrite now?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 6:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey you need the flyswatter? ;-)

Darn things are thick today...Oh btw..that other page is vile, eh? Yikes.....chick went after Ana too...what a nut..

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 8, 2007 at 6:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I saw sad. Starting to get that way with some in here, eh? By the way, isn't saying that there is nepotism in your fire department sort of an insult to your chief?

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 7:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually I do believe it is....Hmmmm...the NERVE of some people...

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 8, 2007 at 7:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

criticizing his chief, the chief's brother and the chief's wife spouting about nepotism? All in the same sentence! Oh the shame of it all! Bass might not be able to sit down for a week when his a** gets chewed over that comment! Way to keep winning friends and gaining credibility there, buddy!

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on August 8, 2007 at 7:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It is more than 3000 characters. I can email it if you want?

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


The timeline?

Posted by charleytowngirl on August 8, 2007 at 8:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickie: If you want the time line as provided by the CFD, go to the main page for the coverage of the fire, look all the way to the right and scroll down until you see graphics/interactives. I don't recall seeing one posted by a ff, but I could be wrong......

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 9:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No, I know there was a time line from a FF....I just can't remember which page or which site...I'll keep looking...Thanks

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on August 8, 2007 at 9:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes... the timeline. I have it if you like. I think you are talking about the first hand account timeline?

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on August 8, 2007 at 9:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickie, Check your email.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 10:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, the first hand account..THANK YOU!!! Going to the email now...

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 8, 2007 at 10:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I think there is another the comment section on one of the stories...maybe one of the FF sites?

I remember there being a conversation going on, this other poster got angry and posted this response of the time line as he remembered it...I just can't find it...

Thanks so very much again for your help.

Posted by UberBlitzkrieg on August 9, 2007 at 7:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

No problem. That is the only one that I knew of. This one came from the comment section on one of the blogs.

Posted by oldcap on August 9, 2007 at 9:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The timeline we have is according to audio. It's far different than the one in the P&C.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 9, 2007 at 11:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

OK, I'm confused...Which one do I have? Do I have the P&C time line, or the audio time line? Which audio is this (police audio, fire?)

Thanks Uber...I have so much information coming in I am losing my place...I need to organize it better...

Posted by FunandGames on August 9, 2007 at 1:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

On the timelines you all are referring to. What is the source of the times? The most accurate way to determine a good timeline is through the audio tapes which should be released very soon, but as far as I know are still under lock and key.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 9, 2007 at 1:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree...which is why I am questioning. I haven't listened to the police traffic in some time, so I can't remember everything that was on there.

Posted by oldcap on August 9, 2007 at 2:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

People record scanner transmissions all the time. The audio is out there.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 9, 2007 at 4:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Cool, thanks for the transmission...if anyone has that in written format please contact me...

Thanks for the clarification Cap.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 9, 2007 at 6:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Goodness, I must be tired....Sorry Cap, I meant thanks for the EXPLANATION, and if anyone has that transmission in written format, please contact me...time to take a nap, I guess. :-)

Posted by east3 on August 9, 2007 at 11:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I urge any CFD family members or Charleston citizens who want to see change to email your city council. The addresses are in the city website and copy in the mayor and the clerk (some council members don't list email). They need to hear from you, granted you may only hear back from one of them.I am told the agitation had a lot to do with the mayor appointing the city's panel instead of investigating it himself with his self-appointed little committee. The city's panel will be able to make specific recommendations whereas the others focus on general recommendations that can be applied to any department. SCOSHA could find specific fault but apparently noone expects much from them. The mayor and council need to know they will be held to account to implement the recommendations. If there is money to buy and build on the SSS site, there is money (better spent) on what the firefighters really need. New hose, equipment, safety gear, training, etc. would be a better memorial and honor the fallen by saving CFD FF lives in the future. That is what this is about, not pointing fingers, etc. But the concern with particular individuals is whether they are fit professionally to lead this kind of cultural change when they are most responsible for perpetuating the old ways. The next chief needs to BELIEVE.

Posted by ssm on August 9, 2007 at 11:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are spot on East 3! City Council was staying hands off of this trajedy until you and others began contacting them.

They've been nudged but need a collective shove, so keep it up.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 10, 2007 at 1:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Great job East3! Will get on the emails immediately.

Posted by oldfric07 on August 10, 2007 at 12:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Audio releasing today

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 10, 2007 at 3:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Interesting comments in the letter to the editor yesterday...Sounded like his rangers on damage control out to save his honor BEFORE the audio comes out...

Just so everyone knows, I have written TWO letters to the editor and NONE of them posted...guess we know who the editor is rooting for?

If at first you don't succeed try try again...

Posted by FunandGames on August 10, 2007 at 8:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nickie, which comments?

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

To All,
Today has been a Very rough day. I have heard the recording of the voice of my relative who has passed away in that tragic event. Not able to sleep, I've been sitting up crying and feel like those tapes played on the news is like knives opening an old wound. More than anything, I feel for my Aunt and Uncle who lost a Bright Beaming of Light in their lives. Also, an older brother, my Cousin who now stands solo. Also, a family, so close, we embrace and seek out comfort for some peace.
I have read alls' postings, it is warming to see that people really do care. I respect alls' opinions. Need I to remind, no final conclusions have been made of this event. Never the less, it won't bring back the constant smile of a person that I would see since birth.
I pray that God will keep on guiding us in this journey and also for you who mourn as we do.
In His name.

Posted by nickiegarbeil on August 11, 2007 at 9:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

LMM Family,

I pray with you that all who seek comfort find it. Please know that regardless of what our individual views of this event are, we are solid in the support of all of the families. You have such an amazing supportive family, truly blessed.

God bless you, and know my arms hug you all daily.

Nickie Garbeil

Posted by GaFF1012 on August 13, 2007 at 11:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As a firefighter myself there on things on this wall that make me angry. There are many factors that led to the death of these nine brave men. But for the people who are saying stuff like why did they go in and what were they thinking, you need to stop and think of what kind of guys they were. A fire fighter is not just someone who stops and thinks that looks bad, i should probably not go in there. The stop and say there might be someone in there who needs my help. At at the begining of the fire, it was not showing heavy fire envolvment based on pictures that i have seen and what i have read. And I might be wrong, but from what i have seen and read it did not. Any firefighter would have made entry into to check if there were people inside. Thats just how a firefighter thinks. They knew what they were getting into when they signed up to be a firefighter. No one person can be blamed for their deaths. Accidents happen. When roof systems like that collaps they give very little warning. They just go. If they were still uncertain if there were people inside, i would have to say that i would still be searching the structure till someone gave an all clear. So stop blaming this on one person and realize that even if they knew that the roof was going to come down and then knew people were still inside that someone those guys would have still gone in to help them. Just keep that in mind as you go around blaming people.

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