Major Fire Incident | London | 1

NORTH KENSINGTON, LONDON UK

A Major Incident. A Shocking Scene.

An 27-story apartment high-rise called the Lancaster Estate building was engulfed in flames from floor 2 all the way to the top floor close to 0100 hours BST on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 (about 8 hours ahead of West Coast time).

Burning this morning at 0630 hours BST on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. (Photo Credit: London Fire Brigade)

Resources Out in Force

The London Fire Brigade, along with mutual aid from North Kensington, Kensington, Hammersfield and Paddington fire personnel and command staff responded immediately.  Additional Departments also responded from surrounding communities for a total of 200 personnel and 40 engines.

A presser was released in there are 30+ injured and a large number of unaccounted people.  London Ambulance Services had transported about 30 patients to 5 different London hospitals.  They also deployed their HAZMAT unit and Trauma team along with 20 ambulances on the fire ground.

Unconfirmed Cause

Unconfirmed media reports are saying that there was a faulty fridge on floor 4 that caused the fire but the structure is still ablaze.  From our experience here in the States, we know for sure that Investigators will not be able access the building until the fire has been put out and cooled down.

Evacuations

Police have cordoned off 30 flats and evacuated its residents from their homes around the structure.  We are unsure if this is the collapse zone or if they are being proactive should the full structure integrity fail.

Exposures

In looking at live photo coverage, it appears this 27-story building has many exposures on all sides of the building.  In one image, it appears the fully engulfed tower may leaning.  We are hoping the fire will burn itself out and no collapse will occur.

More information to be posted soon.

Could This Have Been Prevented?

We are not firefighters nor are we even Fire Investigators for that matter but we, like many of you consider fire safety a priority in our lives – even teaching others about safety at home and work.  Here in the U.S., we are all about #SeeSomethingSaySomething that goes for anything criminal, dangerous or suspicious, including fire dangers and reporting them to the proper authorities.

It appears that the residents of the Grenfell Tower did just that – over and over again without any action by the landlord or its management representatives.

In this case, this fire was predicted – almost one year ago from a blog posting by the Grenfell Action Group, an organization that has been fighting back on slum housing issues and fire dangers lurking in the Grenfell Tower.  The group has been fighting against the Social Housing Agents Kensington and Chelsea TMO (KCTMO) who own and manage the building.

Red Flags

The Grenfell Action Group appears to be doing some pro-active work on fire prevention but at yet every turn, they have been hit head on with obstacles, excuses and inaction.  One haunting post is that they predicted this very fire back in 2016 and tried to get Management to hear them out.

With us living in the United States, there are many slum housing but this ranks pretty high on our list of being angry this has happened to these people who were innocent.  We can only assume that it was more for the money, then for the care of these residents, which we find disgusting and the whole world should stand up for what is right.

Regardless if this was an accident or intentional, it appears that the group’s multiple haunting echoes of fire danger lurking in their building has now come true and is obviously too late to change for the better.

Here are some  of their postings.  (We have reached out to reprint their story but they do not have any contact information on their Blog.)

Grenfell Tower Fire| https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/grenfell-tower-fire/ (June 14 2017)

Fire Prevention | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/kctmo-feeling-the-heat/ (March 14 2017)

Fire Dangers | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/ (Nov 20 2016)

Requests Ignored | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/why-are-we-waiting/ (June 10 2013)

Unknown Cause of Power Surges | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/grenfell-tower-from-bad-to-worse/ (May 29 2013)

Power Surges Cause Water Shutoff | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/more-trouble-at-grenfell-tower/ (May 28 2013)

Complaints Ignored | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/another-fire-safety-scandal/ (February 21 2013)

Blocking Emergency and Fire Access to the Building | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/more-on-fire-safety/ (June 30 2013)

Fire Safety Scandal  | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/fire-safety-scandal-at-lancaster-west/ (Jan 28 2013)

We know this topic of affordable housing rights runs deep and cannot understand why other think it is right to allow their residents to live this way.  We say it is shameful and undignified.

Though the cause may or may not be found, we know that from all of these fire safety requests left unanswered, there are more questions as to why or how this inferno could have been started or even prevented in the first place.

– Our prayers and thoughts go out to the Londoners no matter who you are, what race you are or what your worth is – we are here for you. – LR Swenson, Blogger/Writer/Editor

Updates

We will be providing additional updates as information is received. Thank you for joining us

(c) 2017 The NW Fire Blog

 

 

 

 

October 1st is National Fire Pup Day

INTRO

When you first think of this National Holiday you probably think of the black and white spotted dog best known as the Dalmatian that hangs out with the firefighters at the Station House.  There are so many breeds making great strides in saving lives, as well as making a difference in their communities we would like to recognize that includes  Fire and SAR dogs.

FIRE PUP FACTS

Dalmatians started out their careers in the role of aiding horse-drawn carriages (firefighting apparatus) by running in front of them to clear the pathway leading both firefighters and horses to fires.  Some references even say that when they ran in front of the apparatus, they barked as if they were “sounding the alarm” notifying people a fire response was coming down their streets.

Because of the Dalmatians breed traits, dogs were easily able to jump from the horse-drawn era to fire trucks with strengths in guarding apparatus and later becoming firehouse mascots.  They were said to be easily trained and were heavily relied upon due to their biggest trait of being great guard dogs and watching over apparatus at fires.

Today, Dalmatians are still the same iconic breed of firehouses everywhere but there are other breeds in the Fire Service that have committed Heroic actions that we are including on this Special Day.

STORIES ABOUT FIRE DOGS

We have gleaned information from various sources about dogs saving lives and here is a small compilation:

Jake, Fire Pup Rescued Twice

Hanahan Fire Department (SC) Firefighter Lindler saw smoke coming from a neighbor’s yard and just did what was natural  in responding to the scene with equipment. Seeing that a shed was on fire, the dog’s owners screamed out their 3-week old pup was inside the building.  Firefighter Lindler rescued the pup from the burning shed and could see this poor fella had  burns over 75-percent of his body.

He was taken to a vet for immediate care but would be later given up by his owners because they were unable to pay the vet bills. The Firefighter who would follow-up at a later point on the pup’s condition would learn about this terrible news. His heart sank but it seemed only natural to adopt him and naming him Jake.  He had been rescued twice in his short life.

Jake quickly recovered when he was brought to the fire house and was loved on by his new adopted family.  He has turned from rescued pup to Fire Prevention Dog.  His owner is thinking he would make a great Arson Detection Dog.  He has been featured in a recent Humane Society calendar and has his own Facebook Page.

Learn more below.

Read about how Jake is helping kids and may even get a shot at becoming an Arson Detection Dog.  He is amazing and you will love his story as much as we have.

Jake is now a “Public Figure” as listed on his Facebook page here –> > https://www.facebook.com/JaketheFirePibble/.

Read his full story and see pictures (warning: may be disturbing to some)  Woman’s Day (UK news) > http://www.womansworld.com/posts/this-little-pup-was-rescued-from-a-fire-but-it-s-what-he-does-today-that-will-really-melt-your-heart-93651

Bretagne, the last surviving Fire SAR Dog of 9/11

Bretagne, a Golden Retriever was age two when she was deployed for her first mission as a newly certified FEMA SAR Dog to the 9/11 WTC disaster looking for survivors then remains. For 10 days, she worked tirelessly with her handler, Denise Corliss.  She also logged in hours at Hurricane Katrina, Rita and Ivan. Bretagne had many great  years of service. She passed away in 2016 just shy of her 17th birthday. She received a highly decorated memorial by those who loved her.

Read her story here –> https://www.rt.com/usa/345736-911-rescue-dog-dies/

Tilley, Rescue Pup turns Firehouse Pup

A Fire Station sticking with tradition of having a dog presence at their Fire Station changed it up one day when two firefighters from the Cass County Fire District No. 1/New Waverly Fire Department went across the street to pick up a new dog.  Firefighter Kyle Anderson and their Department’s Fire Chief, Rex Danely (a self-proclaimed K9 lover) rescued a pup from the Humane Society and brought the dog back.  His primary duties are to offer a calm presence, accept treats and lots of petting from kids who come to see him regularly.  The Chief felt they needed a “canine” presence.  They have never looked back and Tilley has helped many along the way returning the favor many times over.

Check out their story here –> http://www.firerescue1.com/fire-department-management/articles/124516018-Firehouse-dog-Mans-best-friend-finds-home-at-station/

The London Dogs

Sherlock, Murphy and Rosco (retired) are trained by the best in the London Fire Brigade (UK) as arson detection dogs.  Their keen sense of smell is what helps them find fire causes.

Check out their stories here –> http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/meet-london-fire-brigades-firefighting-10318441

FIRE PUPS DOING AMAZING THINGS

Fire Pups are trained in many aspects of helping others.  Here are some of the amazing these dogs do in the Fire Service.

  • Search and Rescue (Disaster)
  • Arson Detection
  • Fire Prevention
  • Calm Presence during Fire Incident
  • Firehouse Presence

This post is dedicated to all Fire and SAR Dogs everywhere.  We Salute You!

HAPPY NATIONAL FIRE PUP DAY!

#NationalFirePupDay

(c) 2016 The #NWFireBlog

Public Safety-Minded Readers Come Together Globally

Washington State | Did you know that we are more than just your “average” online publication?  Did you know we have readers that reach around the Globe?  We are a little spoiled with you all helping us be successful in every way, shape and form.  We have had many “accomplishments” we’d like to share with you and thank you for helping us get there.

You all are the BEST friends/family/followers that one could have.  You are just that SPECIAL to us and we refuse to give you up.

US National Guard's Blackhawk during the Snag Canyon Fire in 2013 [Credit LR Swenson]

US National Guard’s Blackhawk during the Snag Canyon Fire in 2013 [Credit LR Swenson]

We have had the Honor and pleasure to share more than just “Public Safety” news while we have reported on several “in-depth” stories right with you via on scene [at a safe distance, of course] or listening to scanner feed, covering the “live breaking” event unfold tweeting [@nwfireblog] what’s happening, etc.

We have even interviewed a Bellevue Firefighter, Michael Lombardo aka “Lombardo”, a Latino musician, a huge rising star out of the Florida area. [Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/LombardoMusic?fref=ts]  on July 7, 2012.  See our story at —> https://thenwfireblog.com/2012/06/07/hero-of-the-week-the-michael-lombardo-story/

Bellevue Fire’s Michael Lombardo. (Photo by Julian Garcia. Artwork by Arturh Mars)

We were the first “news” media covering the events happening on the #OsoSlide in Washington State in 2014, talking to those looking for their loved ones and tweeting about the story, resources and who was involved.

We were able to get out into the field but due to many Emergency 1stResponders converging on the area, we didn’t want to be intrusive or getting in their way.  We also wanted to respect people’s dignity deciding to let the world in on what was happening as resources worked together to orchestrate the many rescues and successes.  There was a lot going on in the first few hours of the incident.  It turned out to be a very long and emotionally draining event.  Many Heroes were born that day, though we know they were only doing what they were “called” to do.  We appreciate every single one of them.

Resources Pull Together for Oso Washington Slide event in 2014. [Credit: LR Swenson]

Resources Pull Together for Oso Washington Slide event in 2014. [Credit: LR Swenson]

In addition to blogging, another LOVE is to take #FireImages of those in action, watching the skill of a pilot picking up water buckets, landing or taking off in flight.  It is the thrill of Firefighting overall. [You’ve probably seen a lot of our images on our Blog and on our @nwfireblog Twitter page]

We LOVE everything about that encases firefighting, your tireless efforts, dedication, the mechanics and those that support you.  With that being said, we also appreciate the men and women whom are involved in the EMS, Law Enforcement and as 1stResponders and can’t thank you enough for what you all do.

We know and we hear those voices in our heads, “We’re not Heroes, but just doing our jobs.” Yeah, we know….

With our addiction to #FireImages, we often go to the “Eastern” part of our Home Base state of Washington to photograph aircraft that may be waiting for the “call”, deployed or off duty sitting on the helipad.  The photo below was from the Snag Canyon Wildfire that was not only stubborn, but a very hot one.  Rotor 8 was one of many “air support” resources on that fire amongst others.

Rotor 8 sits on the Helipad ready to deploy at the Snag Canyon Fire . [Credit:  LR Swenson]

Rotor 8 sits on the Helipad ready to deploy at the Snag Canyon Fire . [Credit: LR Swenson]

Back in our volunteer days [2005-2012], we provided REHAB to firefighters [providing fluids and snacks to return crews back to a “ready” to deploy status for many in the Seattle, Bellevue, Northshore and Shoreline Departments [volunteer group interfaced with FD’s].  Then and now, we were/are like kids in a candy store jumping at the chance to “photograph” firefighters in action.  It will never tire us and we hope you enjoy them, as much as we do.

Bellevue [WA] Firefighters During a Garage Fire in Newcastle  [Credit:  LR Swenson]

Bellevue [WA] Firefighters During a Garage Fire in Newcastle in 2012. [Credit: LR Swenson]

We are kind of like some of you, in how we think about the Public Safety realm.  A lot.  While vacationing in Ocean Shores, Washington, we found people playing in the dangerous “sneaker” waves while they were quite high that weekend. An alert had been sent out by area Weather Service and the Fire Department but it was clear as day when no one was paying any attention to the bright red sign. [can’t miss it]

01

Warning Sign at End of Road on to the Beach [Credit: LR Swenson]

We were dreading the moment of being “forced” to watch a child or an adult being dragged out into the angry seas.  They were lucky that day.

The previous weekend, there was such call where Firefighters were forced to look for a child swept away.  As you can imagine, the results were deadly.  A story was written on the dangers of “Sneaker Waves”.  Check it out here —> https://thenwfireblog.com/2014/10/13/the-infamous-sneaker-waves-that-scream-never-turn-your-back-on-us/

A "potential" Victim stands in a sneaker wave on an Ocean Shores, Washington beach in 2014. [Credit:  LR Swenson]

A “potential” Victim stands in a sneaker wave on an Ocean Shores, Washington beach in 2014. [Credit: LR Swenson]

Readers just like you come from all walks of life and around the Globe.  Here is a list of visitors who stopped by today. We appreciate every single one of y’all!

  • USA
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • UK
  • Ecuador
  • Chile
  • Brazil
  • Ukraine

Again, we thank you for hanging with us and being so engaged.  We’d appreciate it if you could share our blog with your friends, family, colleagues and those who are interested in the Public Safety profession.

“We are all ‘About Public Safety news, happenings, events from the NW and Beyond’.”

We are hoping in the very near future we’ll be able to create and implement our new website, consolidating all of our Social Media platforms bringing you the same great news, events, happenings and other funness.

We look forward to sharing more Public Safety related stories, career / training and event opportunities with you in the very near future.  As always, hope you have a #Safe day!

Here’s our #QuoteOfTheDay, “Keep your eyes on the Stars and your Feet on the Ground.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.  “We GOT This, Eleanor.”

[c] 2015 The NW Fire Blog

London Hospitals, EMS Face Serious Challenges

North London, UK | Hospital bosses had to declare an ‘internal emergency’ and turn away ambulances from a packed A&E unit – weeks after they closed a nearby emergency department.

Doctors at Barnet Hospital in North London had to shut their doors to ambulance patients on January 31 this year – only to do the same thing again just two days later.

According to a leaked letter, ‘capacity issues’ in the hospital’s A&E forced ambulances to be sent elsewhere.

Struggle: Doctors at Barnet Hospital were forced to declare an 'internal emergency' shutting their doors to ambulances after being swamped by patients

Struggle: Doctors at Barnet Hospital were forced to declare an ‘internal emergency’ shutting their doors to ambulances after being swamped by patients

The two incidents follow the controversial closure last December of Chase Farm Hospital’s A&E six miles away, which has heaped pressure on nearby hospitals.

Last night, a spokesman for Barnet And Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust denied the diversions were caused by the A&E downgrade, adding: ‘The Trust experienced high numbers of attendances and ambulance arrivals to A&E on 31 January.

‘As a consequence of this, and in line with NHS England policy, Barnet Hospital declared an internal emergency and… non-urgent ambulances were diverted.’

She added that diverts, as they are known, were not unusual and that there were 19 in total across England that weekend.

But angry campaigners claim the A&E closure is ‘putting lives at risk’, while local MP Nick de Bois said that hospital managers had serious questions to answer.

Dozens of A&Es across the country are under threat, as the Government and some doctors argue that the NHS cannot afford to have an emergency unit in every hospital.

Critics have warned of the knock-on effects of the closures, which can force seriously ill patients to travel further to receive treatment – and then face more delays once they get there.

Downgrade: Chase Farm Hospital's A&E was controversially closed. It is six miles from Barnet Hospital, heaping pressure on the North London trust's emergency department

Downgrade: Chase Farm Hospital’s A&E was controversially closed. It is six miles from Barnet Hospital, heaping pressure on the North London trust’s emergency department

Paramedics say the Chase Farm closure has led to a dramatic increase in ‘stacking’ at North London hospitals, where ambulances have to queue to drop off patients.

‘I have always said the downgrade was the wrong decision, because the demands of the local population would lead to problems at other A&Es.

Official NHS statistics bear this out, showing the number of ambulances waiting for more than 30 minutes outside one hospital has risen seven-fold.

‘I have always said the downgrade was the wrong decision, because the demands of the local population would lead to problems at other A&Es’

– Nick de Bois, Tory MP for Enfield North

Last week, NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson said that ‘centralised, large units… work best’ and warned that the NHS could not afford to keep smaller departments open.

But Kate Wilkinson, of the Save Chase Farm campaign group, said: ‘This has become a very dangerous situation where there are not sufficient front-line services to deal with demand. It’s putting lives at risk. There needs to be some serious and honest discussions with the decision makers, who need to admit there is a lack of services.’

Last month, this newspaper revealed how two-year old Hashir Naveed died  after his desperate mother took him to Chase Farm at 3am – only to discover that its A&E department had recently been closed down.

Two weeks later managers declared an ‘internal major incident due to capacity issues in Emergency’ at Barnet Hospital with ‘ambulances queuing’, according to a letter to GPs.

East of England Ambulance Service was asked ‘to ensure that alternative hospitals are utilised’ and GPs were told not to send in patients ‘where possible’.

Stacking: The closure of Chase Farm's A&E has also heaped pressure on North Middlesex University Hospital, where 34 extra ambulances have flocked to the trust every day since the closure

Stacking: The closure of Chase Farm’s A&E has also heaped pressure on North Middlesex University Hospital, where 34 extra ambulances have flocked to the trust every day since the closure

The crisis in Barnet’s A&E on January 31 was triggered by there being ‘no beds available’ for admitted patients to move into, wrote Jacqui Bunce, associate director of East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Two days later a similar thing happened and ambulances had to be sent elsewhere.

Last winter, when Chase Farm A&E was still open, ambulances never had to be diverted from either hospital.

NHS statistics also show that since Chase Farm A&E closed on December 9, ambulances have had to wait outside Barnet Hospital for more than 30 minutes on 236 occasions.

Over the same two-month period  last winter, that happened only 167 times – and then the figures related to ambulances outside both hospitals, not just Barnet.

However, the increase in stacking outside North Middlesex Hospital has been far more startling.

Since Chase Farm A&E closed, ambulances have had to wait over 30 minutes on 941 separate occasions – or 14 times a day. During the same two-month period last winter, this only happened 132 times – or twice a day.

Dangerous situation: Nick de Bois, Tory MP for Enfield North, said: 'Before Chase Farm A&E closed we were repeatedly told that capacity at Barnet would not be an issue. These early indications suggest that clearly they cannot. I have always said the downgrade was the wrong decision'

Dangerous situation: Nick de Bois, Tory MP for Enfield North, said: ‘Before Chase Farm A&E closed we were repeatedly told that capacity at Barnet would not be an issue. These early indications suggest that clearly they cannot. I have always said the downgrade was the wrong decision’

North Middlesex board minutes show concern over the issue with the hospital receiving 34 extra ambulances a day since the closure, ‘compared to an expectation of 29’.

This has led to ‘some clustering of ambulances which has caused some pressures on the flow of patients in to and through hospital’, wrote director Martin Armstrong.

Ambulance crews are meant to hand over patients within 15 minutes of arriving but performance on this is ‘significantly below target’.

A North Middlesex spokesman said that, as a result of the changes that included the Chase Farm downgrade, it was expected the hospital would see an extra 26,000 patients a year.

Nick de Bois, Tory MP for Enfield North, said: ‘Before Chase Farm A&E closed we were repeatedly told that capacity at Barnet would not be an issue and they would be able to cope. These early indications suggest that clearly they cannot.

‘I have always said the downgrade was the wrong decision, because the demands of the local population would lead to problems at other A&Es.

‘When you have got ambulances stacking up outside the doors of North Mid to that extent, it does beg the question: Why are we downgrading other emergency departments?’

Two-thirds oppose plans for new NHS database that will see confidential medical records sold to private firms

Two-thirds of the public oppose plans for a new NHS database that will see details from confidential medical records being sold to companies, a poll has found.

Within weeks, GPs will be forced to hand over medical records, including sensitive information such as mental health diagnoses, to build the database.

Last month it emerged that four in ten doctors intended to opt their own records out of the care.data project.

Now an online poll of 1,161 adults  by YouGov has found widespread opposition among the public.
When asked if they would ‘support or oppose’ proposals to allow firms  to access the database in exchange  for a fee, 65 per cent said they  were against the idea.

Retired GP Dr Ron Singe said: ‘The Government needs to explain who is going to get access to this data, for what purpose and for how much.’

Martin Caldwell, of pressure group SumOfUs.org, which commissioned the poll, said: ‘The consequences for ordinary people could be huge.

‘It’s not hard to imagine the value  of this information to the likes  of insurance companies, banks  or marketing firms.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2560270/Hospital-declares-internal-emergency-turns-away-ambulances-swamped-following-A-E-closure.html#ixzz2tQvNLnyP

2014 The NW Fire Blog