Overdoses, DUIs, stolen drugs: Florida’s third-biggest fire rescue department has a problem

  A Tampa Bay Times investigation found that one Florida county fire department had 47 drug- and alcohol-related incidents involving employees since 2010. These incidents included a 911 dispatcher who overdosed during a call, a paramedic stealing morphine off a truck and another paramedic who died of an overdose.   

After an officer’s death, families wait — and wait — for government benefits

After a police officer or firefighter dies in the line of duty, their family mourns them, their communities memorialize them — and federal death benefits are supposed to reach their family within 90 days.  For hundreds of families, that 90-day wait can stretch into months and sometimes years, according to a nationwide investigation by the…

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Houston Fire Department lacked rescue equipment needed during flooding

A senior Houston Fire Department captain wrote there were not enough life jackets or rescue boats available to first responders during the massive Memorial Day flood that swamped the city. KPRC-TV obtained 230 pages of internal fire department records related to the Houston Fire Department’s response to the historic flood, which left eight people dead. …

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Phoenix Fire Department has ties with insurer

KPNX-TV continues their series “Raked Over the Coals” involving the Phoenix Fire Department. This time, they uncovered a customary practice by Farmers Insurance involving an arson case. Their investigation exposes Farmers “Unwritten Rule.” The insurance company withholds reports that are favorable to their insured if they’re facing criminal prosecution. Exculpatory evidence that could potentially prove…

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Slow response times, inadequate training and political feuds plague several Pennsylvania fire departments

A series of reports by WTAE-TV investigative reporter Paul Van Osdol has exposed numerous problems with several fire departments across Pennsylvania, including issues that could potentially put the public at risk. In Western Pennsylvania, for example, it took some departments more than 14 minutes to respond to structure fires, which is over the minimum federal…

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Family members beat the odds in winning prized firefighting jobs

The Los Angeles Times uncovered a pattern of nepotism within the L.A. County Fire Department. The newspaper found that nearly 7 percent of the 2,750 firefighters are the sons of department veterans. Taking into account others such as brothers and nephews, relatives account for 13 percent of the staff, the investigation found. The report also…

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Extra Extra Monday: Injury-leave program, secret service fumbles, the cost of rape

Blacks disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession in Pinellas, Hillsborough counties | Tampa Bay Times Black people in Pinellas and Hillsborough are at least six times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white people. It’s not because of who smokes pot and who doesn’t. Racial disparities in pot possession arrests is not a new…

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3 Phoenix arson investigators put on paid leave after investigation

Three members of the Phoenix Fire Department’s once highly touted arson squad have been put on leave following a series of reports by 12 News (Phoenix-NBC).  Capt. Sam Richardson and Capt. Fred Andes and unit director Jack Ballentine were placed on paid administrative leave a day after the Arizona Department of Public Safety reported it…

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Yarnell Hill Fire: System failed to alert hundreds to evacuate

Emergency evacuation calls during the Yarnell Hill Fire were delayed 21 minutes as dispatchers struggled to overcome technological problems, new records obtained by The Arizona Republic and 12 News show. Even then, only 79 calls went through, meaning hundreds of households in Yarnell and Peeples Valley were never notified, the records show. The new information…

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