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Thread: Missouri Firefighter Dies In Blaze

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    Missouri Firefighter Dies In Blaze

    Missouri Firefighter Dies In Blaze


    DENA SLOAN
    Courtesy of Joplin Globe

    DIAMOND, Mo.

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    One Missouri Firefighter Dead, Others Possibly Injured In Fire

    One Missouri Firefighter Dead, Others Possibly Injured In Fire



    Courtesy of KODE

    One firefighter is dead, and others may be injured after a fire breaks out about 2 p.m. Wednesday at Bronc Busters Restaurant and Lounge, on Highway 59 north of Diamond. The name of the firefighter who died in the fire has not been released. The cause of the fire has not been determined. Action 12's Mark Kinsley is on the scene, and will have a live report Wednesday at 5 and 6.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...8&sectionId=39

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    Missouri Blaze Leaves Grief In Its Wake

    Missouri Blaze Leaves Grief In Its Wake


    JEFF LEHR
    Courtesy of Joplin Globe

    CARTHAGE, Mo.

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    Missouri Fallen Firefighter's Death Prompts Community Outpouring

    Missouri Fallen Firefighter's Death Prompts Community Outpouring


    SUSAN REDDEN
    Courtesy of The Joplin Globe

    CARTHAGE, Mo.

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    Fierro, Steve

    Age: 40
    Cause of Death:
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death:
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 02/18/2004
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 13:52
    Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack
    Death Date: 02/18/2004
    Fixed Prop. Use: Store/Office

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Carthage Fire Department
    401 West Chestnut
    Carthage , Missouri 64836
    Chief: John Cooper

    Initial Summary:
    Pending Autopsy

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Pending


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2004

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    Brotherhood Draws Closer In Wake Of Missouri Firefighter's Death

    Brotherhood Draws Closer In Wake Of Missouri Firefighter's Death


    MICHELLE PIPPIN
    Courtesy of Neosho Daily News

    Not since Sept. 11, 2001, has southwest Missouri felt such an outpouring of pride and gratitude for the area's firefighters. With the recent loss of Carthage Firefighter Steve Fierro, killed in the line of duty just days ago, area residents are reminded of their civil servants.

    "It's a shame we don't fully appreciate these guys (firefighters) until something like this happens," said Diana Brockman, rural Neosho resident. "I don't think we, as a community, realize the perils of the job they do."

    The Brockmans have an earned appreciation for firefighters, having watched men from Neosho, Seneca and Redings Mill Fire Departments fight to save their home from a blaze four years ago.

    "I've seen these men go into our burning home," she said. "I realize that the most valued possessions I have -- a few photos salvaged from the blackened remains of our home -- are because these firefighters fought for them. These men are a special breed."

    But you can't tell them that.

    "We don't really look at ourselves as a special breed," said 26-year veteran Neosho firefighter John Edsell, 44. "Firefighters are dedicated, but we know this is more than just a job. We know when we kiss our family good-bye every morning, have that cup of coffee at the station and then jump in the truck to go on that call, anything could happen.

    "Sure, there are some scary situations that you get into as a firefighter that you do ask yourself, 'What am I doing here,'" admitted Edsell. "And especially when something like this happens (Steve Fierro's death). You have a lot of question. Like how and why, and what can I do to keep this from happening in the future? My biggest fear, as a lieutenant, is having to go knock on somebody's door and tell them someone's not coming home."

    So why do they do it?

    For 28-year-old Tim Duncan, who was a volunteer with the NFD for a year before taking full-time employment with the department a little over a year ago, it's about being a part of a community and making a difference.

    "It's the idea of being able to give back to the community," said Duncan. "We're actually able to help individuals who don't have the training that we do; whether it's being able to save people's belongings, or save people's lives; it's just a good feeling."

    For families like the Brockmans, they know the deep sense of community these firefighters feel; they know it first hand. Although firefighters couldn't save their home four years ago, they did save Christmas.

    "After they extinguished our house fire," recalled Diana, "they came to us and apologized for not being able to do more. I could not have imagined any possible way that they could have done more than they did that day, but they did do more.

    "Five days later, on my son's fourth birthday, Santa arrived a few days early, by way of a fire truck," she continued. "He brought a truckload of gifts, clothing and food for our family. These local fire departments, along with a number of volunteers, gathered donations, shopped and wrapped gifts so that my family would have a nice Christmas."

    Civil servants they may be, but Duncan insists, "It's not about being a hero. It's just about being able to help."

    Help save lives maybe, but why must they go into burning buildings for no other reason than to save the building and its contents, like the Brockmans' home; or like Steve Fierro and countless other firefighters who entered Bronc Busters Restaurant north of Diamond on Wednesday? Fierro lost his life, not trying to save another human life, rather to save as much of a building as he possibly could. One has to wonder if there are times the ends don't justify the means; times the prices paid far exceed what might have been saved.

    "There are times we realize it's a hopeless cause, but we try to prevent that hopelessness as much as possible," said Edsell. "Part of this job is not only saving lives, but also saving people's property. We realize that people have worked hard for what they've got. It doesn't matter if they're rich or poor, if they live in a $300,000 home, or a young couple's humble home, they've worked hard for it. People's memories are in their homes. Everything they own; everything they cherish.

    "Like with Bronc Busters this week, we consider that somebody's livelihood," continued Edsell. "If that building goes up in flames, there will be people out of work; people who can't support their families. That's our job. That's what the taxpayers pay us to do."

    If having a sense of community is what motivates firefighters to do what they do, it is perhaps the sense of brotherhood that keeps them doing it.

    "I guess Sept. 11 had a little bit to do with why I became a firefighter," said Duncan, "to be a part of the brotherhood. That's what it really is with firefighters. It's a brotherhood. It's like a second family. I would do anything for these guys, and they would for me."

    It is perhaps that brotherhood that makes the death of Steve Fierro so difficult for so many. Fierro got his start as a firefighter in Neosho more than a dozen years ago, serving a couple of years with the department before going to Carthage. Many within the NFD were close to him; many more worked with him, met him, knew of him and it seems everyone respected him tremendously.

    "I did work with Steve," said Edsell. "He was one of those guys that if you met him once, you would consider him a friend, and he would consider you the same. Everybody's going through something different right now with the loss of Steve. Even if people didn't know him, they feel the loss. We've lost a brother and lost a friend. It hurts."

    For Duncan, who said he's never had the good fortune of knowing Steve, for his brothers who did, those with a great sense of loss, he feels their pain.

    "You want to be there for them," he said. "You want to help them through it. And it does make you think back to the situations you've been in, or look forward on those you may be in. We do this job, every third day, in 24-hour shifts, and anything can happen. We're not invincible.

    "It makes me think of being safer, but it doesn't make me want to stop," admitted Duncan, despite the obvious dangers.

    Even for Edsell, who admits he's just six years away from retirement, and has come to think of a day without an emergency call as a good day, the job itself still calls his name.

    "If I can throw on a smoke pack, go into a fiery building, and kick it in the seat of the pants, I can walk out and feel a sense of accomplishments," Edsell said. "Firefighting is really a calling."

    If firefighting is, in fact, a calling, it is one that never ends. As a number of area fire departments fought the blaze at Bronc Busters Wednesday, at the same time, just across town, the Seneca Fire Department was fighting one of dozens of area grass fires this past week. This fire however, threatened the Brockmans' newly rebuilt house, burning more than half of their 17 acres, and many more of their neighbor's. This time, firefighters were able to save the homes.

    "Our local firefighters put themselves in harm's way often to protect us and our properties," said Diana Brockman. "I personally feel a deep sense of gratitude toward them. My heart goes out to the family of Steve Fierro. Although I didn't know him, I know the kind of man he must have been, and I appreciate his service to our communities as one of our local heroes, the firefighters."

    Memorial services for Steve Fierro are being held in the morning, Monday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m., at the Ozark Christian College (OCC) multipurpose building, at 1111 N. Main St., in Joplin. Burial will be at the Park Cemetery in Carthage.

    Memorial contributions can be made to the Steve Fierro Memorial Children's Fund, c/o The Bank of Joplin, 3434 East 7th Street, Joplin, 64801.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...5&sectionId=39

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    Missouri's Fallen Hero Honored

    Missouri's Fallen Hero Honored


    DENNIS W. SOWERS
    Courtesy of The Carthage Press

    It was the last call for Firefighter A4.

    Carthage Firefighter Steve Fierro, who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty last Wednesday, was mourned, remembered and celebrated Monday morning for what he meant to family, friends and the community of firefighters.

    Hundreds shared their grief and tears at his funeral service at Ozark Christian College and followed a procession of dozens of area fire trucks to his burial at Park Cemetery.

    "We lost a good one," a Carl Junction firefighter said to a fellow firefighter at the cemetery.

    Battalion Chief Ron Hitchcock told those gathered at the cemetery that Fierro died doing what he and other firefighters love to do.

    "This is what we do," Hitchcock said. "This is our chosen profession."

    "Steve died doing what he dearly loved doing," said Minister Lynn Ragsdale during the service in the Multi-Purpose Building at Ozark Christian College. "Where there's smoke, there's fire. Where's there's fire, there's Steve."

    Ragsdale said there are so few people in life who get to do what they love doing and Fierro was one of those lucky ones. He also said Fierro was a hero long before last Wednesday when he died in a structure fire north of Diamond.

    "Does it not seem a month or a year since last Wednesday?" Ragsdale asked.

    Ragsdale reminded his audience that bad things happen to good people and that life sometimes is not fair.

    "No one wants to be here," he said. "We all want to be here today.

    "No no in this place would be anywhere else today, to be here for Steve."

    Ragsdale also explained that Fierro's Christian faith did matter and that there was a mansion waiting for the fallen firefighter. That he was going to a "much better place."

    "Steve was loved," Ragsdale said. "I loved Steve. I haven't met a person that didn't love Steve. Steve had that smile to lighten your load."

    Ragsdale gave a few final words of encouragement at Park Cemetery.

    "Cling to those memories and enjoy them," he told Fierro's family.

    At the graveside service the traditional ringing of the bell - in three groups of three - rang out as those present said goodbye.

    Hitchcock said the sound marked the end of Fierro's tour of duty.

    The ceremony also included the playing of "Taps" and a fly-over by the two air ambulances that serve out of the Joplin hospitals.

    Besides many family and friends, firefighters and law enforcement from throughout the area and beyond demonstrated the impact of Fierro and the community of firefighters. Fire trucks from Aurora and Logan/Rogersville, Southern Stone County and Neosho, Monett and Miami, Baxter Springs, Ozark and Nixa were just some of the many that came to the funeral and lined the 17-mile procession back to the cemetery, not far from where Fierro did his job.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...1&sectionId=39

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    Device Under Question In Missouri Firefighter's Death

    Device Under Question In Missouri Firefighter's Death


    TED KADAU JR.
    Courtesy of The Morning Sun

    A device which might have saved the life of a Carthage, Mo., firefighter - had it been activated - is standard issue for members of the Pittsburg Fire Department.

    Carthage firefighter Steve Fierro was killed during a blaze on Feb. 18 at the Bronc Busters Restaurant and Lounge north of Diamond, Mo. According to press reports after the tragedy, Fierro's firefighting coat was equipped with a personal alarm system, or PAS, but he reportedly had not turned the device on.

    The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is reportedly examining Fierro's death.

    Pittsburg Fire Chief Don Elmer said a PAS is a small device which is either worn on a firefighter's clothing or is attached to his air pack. If the firefighter does not move for longer than 30 seconds, the PAS will sound an alarm that alerts other firefighters that the firefighter is down.

    The devices also emit a shrill alarm which can help fellow firefighters find a firefighter in a smoky room.

    "Basically, it is a motion detector. If you get caught where you can't move, it is an alarm that goes off that will catch somebody's attention," Elmer said.

    Elmer said the Pittsburg Fire Department has used the alarm systems for several years but employs both older and newer types of the device.

    "The newer ones we have are built into our air packs," he said. He said the newer PAC models are attached to a rip cord which is then attached to the jump seat in a fire truck. When a firefighter grabs his air pack, the PAS is automatically turned on.

    "Some of the older ones are the old manual type that you have to turn on," he said.

    And, one of the older models appears to be the type of PAS Fierro was wearing at the time of his death. There has reportedly been discussion as to whether Fierro was also wearing a newer model of the PAS built into his air pack.

    Elmer said, however, that Pittsburg firefighters only wear one PAS device.

    "We have some of the new and some of the old that we use," he said.

    Elmer said he's unsure whether the PAS devices have actually saved a Pittsburg firefighter's life.

    "I don't think we have had a situation where it has actually saved a life, but we may just be lucky," he said. "But, we have not had a situation where we've had to go back in and rescue a firefighter."

    Elmer said the PAS is just one of the safety devices firefighters use to help locate each other - and other people - during a fire. The department has three thermal imaging units that allow firefighters to locate sources of heat - including people and hot spots - during a fire.

    "They let you see through the smoke and locate the fire and let you find your way around," Elmer said.

    Fierro was also wearing a thermal imaging camera at the time of his death, but according to news reports, the cord for the camera had become tangled around a bar stool found near his body. However, officials said the stool was nothing that would have prevented Fierro from moving.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...4&sectionId=39

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