Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Unacceptably Typical AFD Weekend

 Antonio's Pizza Saturday afternoon

Amherst Fire Department responded to Antonio's Pizza Saturday afternoon just after 1:00 PM for a minor electrical fire.  At the time Central and North station each had only two professional firefighters available, who quickly scrambled their response via Engines 1 & 2.

But had that fire occurred just 12 hours later, the extremely popular downtown eatery would have been jam packed with students AND the fire department would have been unable to muster much of a response.

Because at 12:55 AM Sunday morning a mutual aid ambulance from Northampton had to handle a call as AFD was dealing with four substance abuse cases, all within a half hour, all of which required transport to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital.    

What's it going to take to awaken town officials, another Station Nightclub incident?

Trigger Warning.  Extremely graphic:


keithw said...

Watching that footage or footage of the Kyle Dinkheller shooting is important for people who don't understand the scope of 1st responders/police work; not for everyone & certainly not for the faint of heart.

Matt said...

I had never seen that footage of the Station fire. I am moved to almost tears and I am not easily swayed by these kinds of things. That was undeniably one of the most frightening series of moments I've ever witnessed. Those first 3 minutes were absolutely terrifying. I can't imagine what it was like to live it. Or succumb to it.

We in Amherst should never put our own at such risk. The alcohol and drug problem will not abate - education and alternatives will only go so far. We need to staff up to meet the demand that is straining our force. Every person in town that has authority over how many AFD and other public safety personnel should be forced to watch this footage before rendering a decision, and I mean that earnestly.

Larry Kelley said...

This morning was the first time I saw it, although I've mentioned the Station Nightclub fire a few times in the recent past.

I will not sleep tonight.

Matt said...

Seriously. I just went for a walk to process what I just saw, but I'm filled with even more fear than before. I half-expected tragedy at every corner. Haunting stuff; not to be taken lightly. And also to be learned from.

Pay attention, Musante. The man behind the curtain of this footage is the Reaper himself. Best pay it forward and FUND these departments.

Larry Kelley said...

Now you know why I posted a "trigger warning" which is the first time I have done after 3,326 articles published.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why we don't have desperate fire department and EMT departments in this town. That way when there is a medical call the fire personnel are still sitting at the fire station ready to respond to a fire.

Larry Kelley said...

Certainly more efficient having them be equally capable of doing both EMT and fire but there's still only so much one cross-trained individual can do.

Former Town Manager Barry Del Castilho took things to the extreme when he first came to town in the early 1980s by suggesting Police and Fire/EMT should combine into one department.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's graphic and horrifying footage. But what does it have to do with the staffing levels of our police and fire departments?

The deaths in the Station fire had nothing to do with the emergency response. The fire department was on the scene very quickly, and they did everything they possibly could.

I'm not saying AFD isn't overstretched, but using the Station fire as a wakeup call is just shameless fear-mongering.

Larry Kelley said...

With all due respect asshat, the video graphically illustrates the importance of the first few minutes when fire starts to feed.

And if all your people are staffing ambulances enroute to Cooley Dickinson Hospital just who the hell is going to staff the fire engines?

The video is also a graphic reminder of what a difference sprinklers could have made.

Matt said...

I think you're missing the point, 4:11.

The Station video is a terrifying reminder of how catastrophic a fire is, and how devastating. It illustrates the need to MINIMIZE the loss of life and provide other critical functions in the event a fire does occur.

No, additional AFD staff won't prevent a fire from being started, but it WILL reduce the number of lives lost in an event of this magnitude.

When there are 300 people packed into McMurphys and a fire breaks out, would you be pissed off when your brother/sister/wife died because one more AFD could have reached out and saved her life but was too busy babysitting an ETOH?

Anonymous said...

Appalled. Let's say a fire like that kicks off somewhere in Amherst. First call maybe 30 seconds after ignition. FD likely wouldn't be on scene in that time, even if fully staffed and ready to roll. Keep tooting the horn. You're almost as good as Fox news! Joke.

Dr. Ed said...

"Former Town Manager Barry Del Castilho took things to the extreme when he first came to town in the early 1980s by suggesting Police and Fire/EMT should combine into one department."

NY Port Authority does it -- they call themselves "Guns & Hoses." And a lto of sWAT teams are now including a paramedic.

Just sayin....

Anonymous said...

Larry, I've never commented here before, but that Station video just shook me to my core.

Thank you for posting it.

I do agree that more staffing/funding(!) at APD and AFD would help prevent a similar situation here.

(I'm late in commenting because I was looking back to see if you'd covered a particular event.)

Larry Kelley said...

And keep in mind this past weekend was twice as bad as this one.