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Thread: New York State Assistant Fire Chief Suffers Heart Attack At Scene Of Fire

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    New York State Assistant Fire Chief Suffers Heart Attack At Scene Of Fire

    New York State Assistant Fire Chief Suffers Heart Attack At Scene Of Fire

    MIKE GOODWIN
    Courtesy of The Albany Times Union

    RENSSELAER -- A 59-year-old assistant fire chief suffered a near-fatal heart attack and a homeowner was badly burned during an early morning garage fire at the corner of Eighth and Ash streets, fire officials said.

    The fire, which broke out as a blizzard was dropping 11.5 inches of snow on the region, was caused by an exploding propane tank, Fire Chief James Van Voorst said.

    Assistant Fire Chief Michael Falkouski collapsed next to his car shortly after he arrived at the 2 a.m. blaze, Van Voorst said. "He was found lying on the ground by one of the neighbors," he said.

    Firefighters ran to Falkouski's aid and began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation while waiting for an ambulance crew to arrive.

    They waited a long time, Van Voorst said.

    There was no driver available for Rensselaer's volunteer ambulance corps, so the Fire Department had to wait for an ambulance from Nassau to arrive on a return trip from Albany to take Falkouski to Albany Memorial Hospital. "It took quite some time to get an ambulance," the chief said.

    Rensselaer and the volunteer ambulance unit pay paramedics to ride on the ambulance, but the rescue relies on volunteers to drive the vehicles. Fire officials were unsure why there was no driver available Sunday morning.

    Falkouski was listed in critical condition, authorities said.

    Meanwhile, firefighters said Jeff Williams was burned on his chest and arms when a propane tank he used on his catering cart exploded in the garage. Van Voorst said firefighters were unsure what Williams was doing in the garage or why the tank exploded.

    Williams was initially taken to Albany Med, but later transferred to Westchester Medical Center's burn unit.

    In addition to the flames and the snow, firefighters also had to contend with frozen hydrants that reportedly slowed initial efforts to extinguish the flames.

    The fire gutted the garage.

    "Mike is a great guy," Mayor Mark Pratt said of Falkouski, who he added had been with the department for decades. "He's truly a great asset to the city of Rensselaer and he's a great firefighter."

    http://128.121.15.172/content/articl...Id=46&id=38608

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    Falkouski, Micheal

    Age: 59
    Cause of Death: Stress/Overexertion
    Rank: Assistant Fire Chief
    Nature of Death: Heart Attack
    Classification: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 01/23/2005
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 02:30
    Activity Type: Incident Command
    Death Date: 01/23/2005
    Fixed Prop. Use: Residential

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Rensselaer Fire Department
    505 Broadway
    Rensselaer , New York 12144
    Chief: Chief Jan Vanvorst

    Initial Summary:
    Assistant Fire Chief Micheal Falkouski was stricken by an apparent heart attack as he arrived at a garage fire scene.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Contributions can be sent in memory of Micheal Falkouski, Rensselaer Fire Dept., 505 Broadway, Rensselaer, New York 12144

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2005

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    New York State Assistant Fire Chief Suffers Heart Attack At Scene Of Fire; Dies Shortly After


    Updated: 01-24-2005 12:16:45 PM
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    BRUCE A. SCRUTON
    Courtesy of The Albany Times Union

    RENSSELAER -- Assistant Fire Chief Micheal Falkouski died early today at Albany Memorial Hospital of an apparent heart attack, in what may be the first line-of-duty death in the history of the department, city fire officials said.

    Falkouski, 59, was stricken as he arrived at a fire scene just after 2:30 a.m. Sunday at the corner of Eighth and Ash streets, officials said, and a neighbor found the chief lying on the ground beside his car and other firefighters administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The fire department announced his death at 9:30 a.m.

    The fire, in a garage, also critically injured Jeff Williams, who apparently was working on a food cart at the time, fire officials said. He was burned on his chest and arms from exploding propane tank.

    He was taken to the Westchester Medical Center burn unit and was listed in critical condition.

    "I have been good friends with Mike Falkouski since we were kids,'' said Chief James VanVorst. ``He has been a pillar of the fire department for decades. This is a tremendous loss, not only for the fire department but for the entire community.''

    Falkouski joined the city's E.F. Hart Hose Company, as a volunteer in the early 1970s and transferred to Chemical & Hose Company, a decade later. He was appointed second assistant chief in 1998.

    Survivors include his wife, Susan, two children, Micheal Falkouski Jr., and Elizabeth and two grandchildren.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=39&id=38611

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