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Quick Takes

Fireground audio from mayday during fatal Randolph, NJ house fire: An elderly woman died and a firefighter was injured trying to get to her on the second floor in the fire late yesterday morning. According to DailyRecord.com’s Rob Jennings, “Randolph Fire Chief William Wagner said one firefighter suffered minor injuries after escaping a flashover on the second floor by tumbling head-first down a ladder to the ground.” Click here for the fireground audio (courtesy FireSceneAudio.com). There is more video here and here.

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Firing of top PGFD official has union president coming out swinging in message to members: If you are one of those who follows the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department closely you will want to read this. The ouster of Lt. Col. Victor Stagnaro (our sources say he was flat out fired, while Chief Eugene Jones says Stagnaro announced his intent to retire) has inspired a very direct message from Local 1619′s Andrew Pantelis to his members. It outlines rather complete dissatisfaction with the current department leadership. Here’s one quote: “… we now find it difficult to work in ‘good faith’ with an administration that clearly has no interest in respecting and upholding the rights that are guaranteed to the members that we serve”. The union president said it wasn’t meant as a press release when we asked him about it last night, but members and others sent a number of copies  our way. Click here to read the whole message.

That's Rebecca Knerr between Michelle Obama and Jill Biden. Her husband Joe returns from Haiti today with Virginia Task Force 1. An AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

That's Rebecca Knerr between Michelle Obama and Jill Biden. Her husband Joe returns from Haiti today with Virginia Task Force 1. An AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

Virginia Task Force 1 home today: Two weeks to the day after making their first of  16 rescues in Haiti, members of the first USAR team on the ground in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake are scheduled to return home. They should be back at the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department Training Academy late this afternoon. Last night, the wife of Capt. Joe Knerr, Rebecca (who is a former firefighter/paramedic in Fairfax County), was invited to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama during the State of the Union address. Click here for our interview with Joe Knerr last week from Haiti.

Also, click here for the latest rescue from Haiti. A 16-year-old girl pulled from the rubble 15 days after the earthquake

Washington City Paper's Darrow Montgomery's photo of ambulance and fire engine that caused so much controversy in the Nation's Capital.

Washington City Paper's Darrow Montgomery's photo of ambulance and fire engine that caused so much controversy in the Nation's Capital.

Not one, but two reports on DC’s ill-fated fire engine & ambulance donation to the Dominican Republic: Remember that contentious DC City Council hearing we showed you back in March of last year (I know, which one?) where Council member Phil Mendelson was trying to get to the bottom of a surplus fire engine and ambulance donation to the resort town of Sosua as he grilled Chief Dennis Rubin? (Click here, if you forgot.) The City Council has now issued two reports on the subject. Click here for the report by the Committe for Public Safety & the Judiciary and here for the report by the Committee for Government Operations & the Environment. Also, check out summaries by Mike DeBonis in the Washington City Paper and  Tim Craig in The Washington Post. And if that is not enough reading, just click here and scroll down to see all of our previous coverage on this one.

Truly a sad, sad, story: This is as tragic a set of circumstances that I have seen in a while. A New Jersey ambulance crew member returning from the hospital hears a fire call dispatched for his own home. His elderly father is inside the house. Even though Joseph Sims Jr.  isn’t apparently authorized to respond to that call, he does (how many of you wouldn’t?). While on the way, the ambulance collides with a car sending a woman to a trauma center. Sims’ father died in the house fire. Click here for more.

Another tragic story: Teenaged members of a volunteer fire department in Pennsylvania were apparently on the way to a department meeting and didn’t make it. Three bodies were found in the icy lake where their vehicle crashed. The Zelienople VFD is in mourning. Click here and here for coverage.

Must see video from the gas explosion in Belgium: The collapse of an apartment building hours after a gas explosion was caught on video. Click here to see it. But there is a lot more to the story, including the rescue of a young girl from the rubble. Firegeezer has the update.

Fireground audio from Buffalo third-alarm: Four buildings were destroyed in the fire yesterday morning. Click here for our coverage.

More from Singapore: Anyone who was intrigued by our video from a commercial fire in Singapore that we posted yesterday, will want to check this out. A long time reader, Deputy Chief P.J. Norwood from East Haven, Connecticut, spent some time teaching at the Singapore Civil Defense Force training academy and has some pictures on his Fire Engineering page.

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