Resource Center


The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "wild fires" ...

  • Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation

    Investigative reporting by John Dougherty in Phoenix New Times demonstrated that multiple errors by the state of Arizona and the city of Prescott contributed to the deaths of 19 wild-lands firefighters in last summer's Yarnell Hill blaze. The revelations published in the Yarnell Hill fire articles came from information obtained through public-records requests and from well-placed sources. The original story discovered that a multitude of mistakes were made by state and local officials in fighting the fire, errors that contributed to the deaths of the 19 forest firemen at Yarnell Hill. The second story came after Prescott's wild-lands chief, in charge of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, alleged multiple misstatements of fact in the first story. This resulted in the correction of three errors, though no major finding of the original piece was proved wrong. (It should be noted that officials refused specific comment repeatedly before the original story was published, only coming forward later in an effort to dispute New Times' reporting.) The third story showed how a Forestry Division-commissioned report on the tragedy – which found that no official did anything wrong – was seriously flawed. Indeed, experts termed it a “coverup.” The fourth article examined an occupational-safety report supporting the paper's findings regarding state ineptitude at Yarnell Hill. The Forestry Division was fined more than $500,000 because of its flawed management of the fire, and lawsuits against the Forestry Division and Prescott's are in the works by families of the slain firefighters.

    Tags: wildfire; firefighters; fire; government; foia

    By John Dougherty

    Phoenix New Times


  • In the Line of Fire: Tough justice for bystanders hit by NYPD bullets

    When innocent bystanders were shot by New York police in front of the Empire State Building, many were surprised. Yet over the last two-plus decades, from 1990 to 2012, an examination of yearly police reports revealed that nearly 60 innocent bystanders were shot. Some were killed, while others suffered permanent injuries.These were people who were not mistakenly believed to be suspects, but simply innocent bystanders at the wrong place and wrong time. A CUNY News Service review, based on examining more than two decades of police reports, lawsuits, news accounts and interviews, shows that every year for the past 10 years at least one innocent bystander has been shot by the NYPD. Most of the time the victims are wounded. Some with permanent injuries. One bystander, a paraplegic teenager, was struck by a stray police bullet while sitting in his wheelchair. Further digging revealed the city makes no special effort to compensate victims -- indeed, the city in an untold number of cases fights making any compensation. The investigation shows that innocent bystanders who try to get city compensation have to file claims and lawsuits, and often face years of delay and mental anguish to go along with their physical pain. Payment vary greatly. The city often contests payments, and some victims get no money at all for their pains. Even victims in the same incident can get wildly different results -- in one case, one bystander got compensation, a second bystander who was severely wounded got no money. The majority of the shootings happen in the city’s poorer sections, particularly in northern Manhattan, from Harlem to Inwood. The shootings also happen mainly during daylight, underscoring questions about police training raised by victims.

    Tags: police; shootings; bystanders

    By Eric Horan; Martin Burch; Christine Steich; Ajai Raj

    219 Magazine


  • The Insurance Hoax

    The authors explored how the property insurance industry has changed over the last couple of decades and adopted a policy of consistently underpaying policyholders. The authors used internal documents from major insurance companies as well as first person sources to show how insurance agencies are handling claims in ways that pressure policyholders to accept low payments.

    Tags: insurance; business; wild fires; corporate greed; property insurance; insurance agency; fraud

    By David Dietz; Darrell Preston

    Bloomberg News (New York)


  • Gauging Fire Service

    The Record finds that California's fire service is largely unregulated and disregarded by residents until they have to dial 911. The reports showed that among San Joaquin County's 21 fire districts protecting nearly 200,000 people, budgets, training, equipment and performance vary wildly, from firefighters who do not know how to drive fire engines or refuse to wear federally required protective clothing to firefighters trained as paramedics.

    Tags: Schuyler S.J. County districts vary in training and response

    By Ann Schuyler

    Record (Stockton, Calif.)


  • Wild West Legacy: Ruger Gun Often Fires if Dropped, but Firm Sees No Need for Recall

    The Wall Street Journal reports that "more than 600 .. men, women and children (were) wounded in accidental firings reported to the company and linked to the same line of guns. Over 40 died; scores were severely wounded. The resulting lawsuits - hundreds of them - have dogged Ruger for decades.... Ruger stopped making the guns in 1972, but the lawsuits and accidents continued..."

    Tags: product liability business ethics lawsuits Consumer Product Safety Commission Strum; Luger & Co. recalls revolvers

    By Erik Larson

    Wall Street Journal (New York)