Sunday, March 12, 2017

Suburban Craziness

The information shared below was taken from local media reports and some anecdotal knowledge heard around the time of the incident. The pics are mine, they are the only part of the story that I can vouch for their accuracy. 

This went down a few weeks ago, a couple of miles from my house. It all started around 11 PM, with the cops stopping to check out a car that was parked on the street and occupied by several people. Somehow, it ended up with a dead guy and a house being burned to the ground. 

I didn't hear the original call, but apparently, when the cop made contact with the occupants of the car, one guy took off.  At some point during the foot chase, the suspect reportedly produced a gun and popped a round or two off at the officer. The cop returned fire and supposedly hit the suspect in the foot.

At that point, it apparently became easier to track the suspect, as he left a trail of bloody footprints to the house where he opted to hole up. Once the cops determined where the suspect was, they attempted to contact the occupants of the house, who were reported to be uncooperative. A stand-off ensued. I read somewhere that the occupants of the house eventually came out, leaving the suspect as the only one left inside. 
The suspects girlfriend said that the suspect had called her during the standoff and had admitted to carrying a gun, but denied pulling or shooting it.

A fire department unit was dispatched to stand-by during the barricade event. An engine was there all night, a BC may have been there as well. There were reports of shots being heard during this time, coming from the house. The cops deployed a robot into the house, it is unknown what it saw. They also deployed some type of projectiles into the house, whether they were a noxious gas or a distraction devices, I do not know. 
I do know that shortly after I got up at around 0645 or so, the house was on fire and a full structure response was requested. I knew the cops were all over the place and that the fire dept. would not be able to get anything done for a while, so I wisely decided to avoid the place. 
After I was made aware that the situation had stabilized somewhat, I drove down and took some pics. These were taken after 0830, the roof had fallen in on most of the house. I was a little surprised at the PPE that the firefighters were wearing, it was yet another thing that I thought I'd never see.

 Ballistic body armor, Kevlar helmets and 1 1/2s. Quite the outfit. I knew the units had upgraded their body armor in response to active shooter events, but I never considered that they might be used during a fire.

The PD metro unit maintained a good perimeter around the house while I was there. At this point, the FD crews were just containing the fire to the structure of origin. The PD had originally been on these hose lines, but as the risk level appeared to lower, they were taken over by the FD. That the PD was initially on the nozzles caused some heartburn in some of the FD administration. I am sure it will be discussed at a future staff meeting.

Before allowing our crews to make entry and extinguish the fire, the PD along with a rep from the FD checked the perimeter of the house to ensure the suspect was no longer a threat. Once this was determined, the FD was allowed to go to work.

Units were there for quite a while, overhauling the fire. The FD investigators worked on cause and origin, the PD homicide detectives did their crime scene processing.

The suspect was found deceased in the rear of the house. To my knowledge, the cause of death has not been released. The cause of the fire hasn't been released, nor have the results of the initial investigation. By the time all of that becomes public, interest in the incident will have abated and it will likely not make the news.

As a side-note, I had been in that house several times over the years. My wife's uncle built it and lived in it for around fifty years. His passing and his wife's declining health forced it's sale a few years ago. My wife's aunt has not been told of it's demise. My wife and my brother-in-law were more than a little bummed, as were the cousins who were raised in it.

Crazy shit in crazy times.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, March 6, 2017

Close to Home

It is rare that I am able to photograph a fire scene while the suppression activity is in it's early phase. So rare, that most of my photos are of the overhaul phase of operations. That's OK, overhaul can be interesting as well, if shot properly. Yesterday, a structure fire broke out pretty close to my house. As a result, I actually arrived before any of the units. 

I parked around the corner, as I didn't want to:
A - park the Schmoemobile in the way of arriving units.
B - get blocked in by the multitude of apparatus that were soon to be on scene.

I actually took a few actions before I started shooting, so my first shots were taken about the time the first line was pulled off of the rig. Things moved pretty fast from there.

Single story, single family dwelling with the attached garage heavily involved. A good hydrant located directly across the street. E2, E10, T2, T3, S2 and Batt2 are the initial units dispatched. A crusty/rusty retired fire captain/photog arrives first and advises the BC of initial size-up. E12 is requested by the BC as an additional resource. 

E2 arrives and begins to deploy lines

A couple of cars in the driveway added to the mix
Something you don't see every day.

Two metro packs on the ground, both off of E2
Two of the cars were heavily damaged

This was just as water was being applied.

Water on, visibility off for me.

Meanwhile, back at the hydrant.

Truckies being truckies.

The flames are gone, but the work is not.

I like this shot, good balance of people and apparatus.

The investigators arrive and begin their work.
A family was displaced, at least four people, including at least one child. Though the fire was held mainly to the garage,  I'm guessing that some damage occurred to the living space. When the rush of combat is withheld from the equation, fires do suck - especially for the victims.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tragedy in Riverside

A twin engine Cessna 310 crashed shortly after take-off from our local airport a few days ago. It
struck two houses before coming to rest in a third home. Five people were on board, three were killed and two were critically injured.  Miraculously, no one on the ground was hurt, though two houses were destroyed.
As usual, I got there after the main fire was knocked down. Knockdown was no easy feat, as the plane appeared to be well fueled at the time of the crash. Speaking with friends who were on the first alarm, it was utter chaos when they arrived. Two fully involved homes, huge traffic issues and live rescues presented themselves to the first-in engine. 
There's plenty of video of it out there, some of it is spectacular. I spent two or three hours there and shot about 200 photos. I kept about 75 or so and submitted them to the department. They selected 15 and posted them on Facebook. The photos below are those. To get the best viewing experience, click on the image to enlarge.

The IC and the first-in Captain.

The Fire Chief, Police Chief, Rep from 
AMRand one of our BCs having a
 con-fab. This was a big deal.

A couple of guys working on a car that was in one
of the demolished homes. It, too had a bit of fuel in it.

They ended up using a rotary saw to cut away some
of the steel garage door keeping them from getting
to the car. Sparks were not an issue, the fuel was 
already on fire.

More fun with the car.

A couple of hours in, this guy needed
a quick break. He is a friend of mine
and is no slacker. I'll bet he had gone 
through five bottles or so by then.

There was bad ugliness in that room.
I am grateful I didn't have to see

He had to see it.

Boy, did they go through bottles.

The ICP. The guy in the white hat is the other BC,
My brother without a lid is the IC. The poor bastard
in the blue shirt is on light duty and is basically
the BC's errand boy until he heals up.

What goes down, must be loaded
up. There was a mile of hose on the
ground, a lot of it off of E5 - the
first-in engine.
Ray-Ray, our lead investigator. I remember when
he was new. It makes me feel old.

The huddle. Always a must-shoot for me.

Three hours in, eating subs. I think 
these were the guys who pulled one
of the victims out of the bedroom.
I'll say it, heroes in my book.

God bless these guys. CERT team
members who brought out some
Chief's being chiefly.

Chief's being even more chiefly.

After a bit, it was determined that
any further disruption of the crash 
would be detrimental to the invest-
igation, so the hose-lines were pulled 

The department had units out there for another day at least, along with the media, FAA, NTSB, and several other agencies. I stayed home and mowed my lawn. I was real proud of the actions taken by the "Kinda Big FPD" on this day, they did a great job under trying circumstances.

Thanks for reading,