Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "firemen" ...

  • Killed in the Line of Training

    Neal Smith had excelled at his first day in an elite firefighter training exercise. But on Day 2, trapped in a small space and weighed down by 75 pounds of gear, he became disoriented in the fog and collapsed on the second floor of the building he was making his way through. A trainer screamed at him to get up, but he couldn't. His internal temperature was 108 degrees; his brain was swelling. When Mayday was called it was too late. Rushed to a nearby hospital, the experienced firefighter died there later that day. Most people assume that all firefighters are trained by their own fire departments. But departments in small town Texas actually have been sending their personnel to the East Texas Firemen's and Fire Marshal's Association, a nonprofit trade group for volunteer firefighters. And unlike a governmental agency, there is no oversight of that group's methods or standards. As a subsequent investigation by the state fire marshal's office and by the National Institute of Safety and Health revealed the training camp was so poorly run that several other firefighters had dropped out (saying they didn't want to risk their lives), passed out or been taken to the hospital. Had safety procedures standard in most fire departments been in place – such as a simple tub of ice – Smith could have been saved at the training camp site.
  • 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.
  • Mentally ill janitor dies after being tasered, hog tied by police

    A janitor died after being tasered by police and had a placed a restricted oxygen mask with out an oxygen source, violating medical protocol. Surveillance footage showed the man had only been holding a soda bottle. The tapes also contradicted the report that the police chief gave.
  • As blazes get fewer, firefighters take on new emergency roles

    The National Fire Prevention Association was set to make a recommendation that could prompt fire departments to hire 30,000 more firemen nationwide, and 11 percent increase. Robert Johnson followed Mike Conroy, a firefighter in Kansas City, Mo., to see what a day in the life of today's firefighters is like. He found that the position has changed markedly over the past decades.
  • I Want To Be a Fireman

    A Philadelphia Magazine investigation reveals that "at least 130 of the city's 4,400 active and retired firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians have hepatitis C - a blood-borne, often fatal virus that attacks the liver." The report profiles six of the Philadelphia firefighters who believe that they have contracted the deadly disease on the job. The interviewees admit that they have often been involved in childbirths and "cases with a lot of bodily fluids." The story quotes one of the sick men who blames the fire department for not providing - until recently - the rescue workers with masks or gloves. It also describes how the city has denied the claims and has refused the medical expenses of the sick firemen..
  • The Perfect Fire

    Flynn tells the story of the six Worcester, Massachusetts firemen who were killed in a blaze at Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co.
  • Fire in St. Paul

    Star Tribune (Minneapolis) conducts a year-long investigation showing that a fire chief has contributed to a culture in which arson thrives. The chief has tolerated shoddy fire investigations and sllowed firemen to moonlight for a firm that has represented alleged arrsonists in fire insurance claims.