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Quick Takes: December 10, 2010

 A fascinating video: A delivery man spotted a small apartment fire yesterday in Racine, Wisconsin. Being a good citizen he went inside and started alerting neighbors by banging on doors. Good for him. But as we know, it isn’t just good enough to do that in the modern times we live in. The incident would not have officially occurred if there wasn’t video of the man’s actions. Thankfully that video exists. It is courtesy of the same delivery man. He provides narration,  and a couple shots of himself in action. He who is soon joined by a police officer who beats the fire department to the scene.  Long ago I predicted, that with all of the cameras and the need to shoot everything, we would soon have a rescue where both the rescuer and rescuee were taking video. We are not there yet. But I think we have officially taken a step closer to reaching my goal.

Strut alert: If you missed it, with the help of Firefighter Close Calls, we have posted raw dashcam video of a vehicle fire this summer in Austin, Texas. It shows a number of small explosions, including struts becoming flying missiles. Click here for the video.

I don’t like Dave Slater: Who can blame him? But that’s one of the many comments sent in about my position on the video of the trooper from Connecticut’s confrontation with a news photographer. I am clearly in a losing battle, but I am going down fighting as I almost single-handedly try to be the protector of our Constitution and way of life. And when I say losing, I’m losing big time. The vast majority of the people writing in think whether a citizen or the press can roll video at an emergency scene is not (or should not be) protected under our First Amendment, but instead is a decision we have handed over to the government in the form of first responders. That scares me for so many reasons. But I answer each one who writes in with a variety of arguments about why that’s not a good idea. I also point out that even though you may believe that’s how it works, the law of the land as determined by the people who formed our government, says otherwise. Maybe what amazes me more is that a news photographer, who is standing with the public and not up close to the working first responders at a fatal crash, is made out to the devil. All you see on his raw, unedited video is a burning car, with the body already gone. Many of the writers indicate the press should not roll video at any scene where someone has died. I know I am an insensitive, biased, former reporter jerk for thinking that our freedoms in this country overrides what offends people. There’s a lot more to what many think are really stupid arguments by me. Read it for youself.

But here’s why I really like this First Amendment thing: It allows us all to openly have our say on forums like these blogs. Glenn Usdin is doing just that with his new site, FireTruckBlog.com. He looks at a controversy going on right now in and around Lancaster, Pennsylvania that has cropped up big time because the city’s only two ladder trucks are down and out. It’s pitting career firefighters and against volunteers and has the mayor threatening to sue the union claiming the IAFF is messing up mutul aid agreements. Check out Glenn’s thoughts that include having a Plan B for apparatus replacement. Also, if you are new to FireTruckBlog.com here is a run down of some of the interesting stuff posted so far

Hazmat unit strikes pedestrians: Firegeezer is on top of this tragic story from Columbia, South Carolina where on of two pedestrians struck has died.

Firefighter in two states and suspected arsonist in both: Both Pennsylvania and West Virginia authorities have neen investigating a volunteer firefighter for possibly setting fires. Charges have already been brought in Pennsylvania. Read the details.

Montgomery County, Maryland firefighter breaks leg while hitting hydrant: The Washington Post reports the lay-out man during an electrical fire in Silver Spring found his leg wrapped in the hose. Here’s a few details.

Both Prince George’s County & Montgomery County being defensive: We have raw video from a pair of recent well-involved Maryland house fires. One is from PGFD in Bowie courtesy of Tom Yeatman. The other is in Potomac from MCFRS.

More fire videos for you: Dayton, Kentucky found five frozen hydrants as firefighter tried to handle two homes burning. Click here. Helmet-cam video from West Plains, Missouri. Click here. Hackensack, New Jersey two-alarm house fire. Click here.

Republican filibuster blocks 9-11 health bill: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls it “a devastating indictment of Washington politics, a tragic example of partisan politics trumping patriotism.” Senate republicans blocked the 9-11 health bill in its first key senate vote by “sticking to a party pledge to block anything until the tax deal extending the Bush-era cuts for the wealthy passes”. Here are the details from the New York Daily news.

Tombstone volunteer jumps into action as his own home burns: An interesting story from Arizona about a disabled volunteer firefighter and a fire that destroyed his apartment & his pickup truck. But he went to work trying to keep the fire from spreading. Here it is.

Bomb house goes down: It was the largest amount of certain homemade explosives ever found in one spot. The house was burned to the ground yesterday. The raw video is above. Click here for the background on the story from Escondido, California.

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