On Saint Patrick's Day, Ladder 28 broke down and had to be taken to the maintenance and repair facility over on Southampton Street. Usually, the Boston Fire Department has plenty of spare ladders to send to the firehouses that need them...but as Murphy's Law would have it, they too were having problems.
Boston Fire Department
Suffolk County DA Dan Conley announced today he's done with his investigation into the fatal fire that killed Boston firefighters Warren Payne and Paul Cahill and that he found nothing criminal.
In addition, I have authorized the release of the contents of our entire investigative file, including autopsy and toxicology results, to Boston Fire Commissioner Roderick J. Fraser, Jr. and the Boston Fire Department's Board of Inquiry should they wish to review it in the course of their own investigation.
Wayne Abron of Dorchester pleaded innocent this morning in Roxbury District Court to two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, one count of assault and battery on his girlfriend, and single counts of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office.
Abron allegedly went after police officers trying to keep him from attacking his girlfriend on Howard Avenue early Sunday, according to prosecutors and the Globe.
The Herald reports he had one outstanding restraining order against him, by another woman.
Nothing like a little fear, surprise and the comfy chair to liven up the contract talks. But how come the firefighters local isn't warning Charlestown about how Tom Menino wants to incinerate them in a blinding ball of LNG death flame?
Dear Boston Herald: You're getting carried away with this "jakes" thing. Jakes, jakes, jakes. Jakes on a rake. Jakes in a quake. Jakes with a snake. Jakes eat a steak. Jakes eat a snake. Yeah, it fits in a headline, but land's sake!
Click on through for a rockem-sockem loosey-goosey summary of the media coverage of this story, which was varied to say the least. Will the grand but lightweight Globe take the short-but-sweet prize for best writeup? Or will the rough, battle-hardened Herald take the Globe to the cleaners? What about the
litter transit pulp papers? How do the Kings of Swooshing Animations and Lead-Ins fare?
First up, at 194 words: Maria Cramer, from The Globe:
The Globe reports a Boston firefighter, in uniform and in a department vehicle, was arrested in Dorchester this afternoon on drug-possession charges after police spotted him smoking what appeared to be marijuana.
The arrest comes one day after the Boston firefighters union stormed out of contract talks that have largely stalemated over the issue of mandatory drug and alcohol testing.
State civil service officials will scrap the results of a Boston firefighter promotional exam after an investigation of cheating allegations showed that numerous firefighters talked during the test, brought cellphones into the testing room, and took unusually frequent trips to the men's room, say two public officials briefed on the probe results. ...
It's interesting to compare the second-day coverage of the report on the dead firefighters - and see how the Herald is taking the lead on the story.
Box 4-281 Report is the Board of Inquiry report into the deaths of firefighters Paul Cahill and Warren Payne at the Tai Ho restaurant in West Roxbury on Aug. 29, 2007 (It's a 9M file, so it might take awhile to download; if you have trouble, I've put a copy here).
It contains a detailed timeline of the night, background on the building and firefighting equipment and photos from the night of the fire. And it concludes the fire was caused and worsened by the restaurant's failure to adequately clean accumulated grease out of ducts and that initial efforts to fight the fire (which firefighters did not realize was as bad as it was) helped contribute to "an intense fireball" that helped disorient Cahill, Payne and other firefighters by providing a sudden infusion of oxygen to the fire.
... The substandard construction, installation and maintenance of the kitchen hood, duct and exhaust system, along with the degradation of the duct work were the underlying factors involved in this fatal fire incident. ...
The board does not actually say the two firefighters were not impaired by either alcohol or drugs, but that:
... The Board of Inquiry could find no factual indications supporting that alcohol/drug impairment contributed to or caused these two firefighters to become disoriented or inhibited their ability to perform the firefighting duties assigned to them at the fatal fire incident. ...
Just when I'd given up hope, he files a column that is not only about Boston, but, indeed, makes an actual point (that Maureen Feeney is in the palm of the firefighters' union).
The only nit: Walker stating, as a fact, that firefighter Warren Payne "died on duty last year with cocaine in his system." It might wind up being true, but the union still says it's unsubtantiated.
If the union really thinks Tom Menino's contract positions will make firefighters quit, it needs to show exactly how many firefighters really are prepared to quit right now, Jonathan Kamens writes.
Michele McPhee couldn't stay away from the written word, it seems. She's signed on with Boston Magazine's Boston Daily and her first post today is a fun one, unless your name is Tom Menino:
Just ask the Hayhurst family, which can now continue its tradition of sending sons into the Boston Fire Department despite bottom-of-the-class test scores, thanks to some meddling by the state senate president, who, last we checked, doesn't actually live in Boston. Oops, we see Tom Menino and the Boston City Council also worked to get the Hayhursts preferential treatment.
TJIC is none too pleased:
Dave Alpert was walking by the fire station at Boylston and Hereford yesterday:
... As I was walking past the first garage door, there were some important looking firefighters standing there, talking, making announcements. Just then a torrent of water flew out of the second floor window, entirely drenching one of the guys standing below. Lucky for me, I only got SOAKED! ...
Sure, they were on the way to somewhere in a hurry, but when the driver of one of two fire trucks saw the young boy at the corner, he stuck his arm out the window and waved:
... It made a little boy's morning. I'm proud to have that crew out there saving lives. ...
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