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Evesham Fire Officers Association FMBA Local 115, Inc.
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Whats Happening?

July 10, 2003
Animals unharmed after fire

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Blaze heavily damages basement of Evesham Veterinary Clinic
Courier-Post Staff


A dozen people and twice as many animals escaped injury Wednesday after a fire at the Evesham Veterinary Clinic on Route 73.

The blaze, primarily contained to the basement, broke out about 10:30 a.m. The cause is under investigation, fire inspector Dwight Mutschler said.

Dr. Jeff Bell said he was in an examining room when the building's fire alarm sounded. Bell then noticed smoke in the first-floor hallway and began evacuating animals.

All employees and animals in the hospital's care made it outside safely.

One cat, described as a pet of the clinic, remained missing Wednesday afternoon. But staff members said they saw the cat run outside during the commotion, Bell said.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control at 11:17 a.m., Evesham Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Ward said.

The clinic's basement - which sustained heavy damage, according to firefighters - was used primarily for storing supplies such as medicine and needles.

Four firefighters were slightly injured when needles punctured their firefighting gear. As a precaution, they were taken to Virtua-West Jersey Hospital, Marlton, for tetanus shots.

Two cats and two dogs hospitalized at the clinic in critical condition were transferred to other animal hospitals in Evesham and Voorhees.

Other animals evacuated in plastic and metal transport boxes were taken to an office in a corporate campus next to the clinic. Pet owners were directed there to retrieve their animals.

Fire companies from Evesham, Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill and Voorhees responded.


July 5, 2003
Glo. City mourns 1 year after fire

Friday, July 4, 2003

Special tribute paid to 3 firefighters, 3 young girls killed in blaze
Courier-Post Staff

The bagpipes went silent and the drums thumped a dirge-like beat as Gloucester City's fire department approached Broadway and Mercer.

The stone-faced firefighters stopped and turned their heads to face a bare plot at the intersection. But it wasn't the small memorial there that caught their attention. It's what wasn't there that provoked tears and distant stares.

It was here one year ago that firefighters responded about 1:30 a.m. to a call of people trapped in a burning duplex. Two residents at the home, Frank Slack and Katia Williamson, were found alive, but their three daughters, 5-year-old Alexandra and 3-year-old twins Claudia and Colletta, remained trapped inside. Eight firefighters were inside searching when the building collapsed about 2 a.m. After hours of rescue efforts, five firefighters were pulled out alive. Three, James Sylvester, John West and Thomas Stewart III, did not survive. Neither did the children.

Though the rubble at the site has been cleared and the bare earth decorated with flowers and brick, the pall of that tragedy still hangs over Gloucester City this holiday weekend.

"We're always going to remember them...

June 27, 2003
Home Safety Checklist

Is there at least one smoke detector fitted and working?

Check alarm regularly (once a month).

Ensure electrical system is in good condition. ie. no evidence of fuses blowing, lights flickering or brown scorch marks on the plugs or sockets.

Switch plugs off at the mains.

Ensure heaters are kept away from furniture and fittings.

Ensure gas and paraffin heaters are in a draught free, well ventilated area. Store gas and paraffin outside in a secure area.

Do you have a bedtime routine?- ie. Emptying ashtrays, unplugging electrical appliances, closing doors to rooms.

The Living Room

Is the guard around the fire with the fuel stored outside of it?

Do not dry clothes or keep aerosols too close to fire.

Is the chimney swept regularly?

The Bathroom
Make sure heaters are fixed out of reach of taps, high on a wall.

Portable electric appliances should not be taken into the bathroom.

The Kitchen

Keep towels and flexes clear of the cooker.
Make sure pan handles are turned in and clear of hot plates.
Use a timer alarm to assist in cooking.

Frying pans

Ensure that:
Never filled more than a third full with oil;
Never left unattended;
Make sure food is dry before putting in pan.
Never put food in if oil begins to give off smoke.

The Bedroom
Ensure low wattage bulbs are used.
Never cover lamps with materials for
lighting effects.
Ensure no smoking in bed
Electric Blankets:
Make sure they are serviced once a year
and are kept in good condition;
Store with as few folds as possible and nothing on top;
Do not use if there are any scorch marks on it;


June 26, 2003
Safe Celebration
How to Play it Safe Around Fireworks

Patriotism and pyrotechnics can be a dangerous mix when it comes to using illegal fireworks or legal ones improperly on the Fourth of July.

In 2002, hospital emergency rooms treated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries. This is down from 9,500 people in 2001, but still way too high for safety experts.

Sparklers, a popular choice for people of all ages, may seem harmless, but they are not, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The dazzling, hand-held fireworks actually burn at temperatures of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to cause third-degree burns. They were the top cause of injuries last year 50 percent higher than even firecrackers, CPSC officials say.

M-80's, a type of firework that has been banned under federal law since 1966, pack a bunch of power, and are dangerous, to boot, especially if someone is trying to light one and throw it. They can blow your hand, foot and fingers right off, the CPSC says.

In fact, loss of fingers and hands accounted for more than half of fireworks injuries. The burn rate of the fuse can vary from several seconds to just a few. Even if you think you have plenty of time to light one and toss, it, it could go off right in your hand. The even more powerful, and also illegal, M-1000 is equivalent to a quarter stick of dynamite.

Highly explosive M-80's, cherry bombs, and quarter sticks have been banned under Federal law since 1966.

Fire works are illegal in New Jersey, except when discharged by a licensed pyro-technic operator.

Contact your local Fire Marshal or Fire Official for more information.

Evesham Township residents can contact the Evesham Fire Marshal at

June 24, 2003
Evesham Fire-Rescue Loses Dedicated 15 year member

On June 21, 2003 Firefighter Charles "Chuck" Mc Gettigan of Evesham, NJ. passed away.
He is the beloved husband of Eleanor F. McGettigan (nee Furrer). Loving father of Elaine C. McGettigan of Burlington Twp, NJ, Barbara A. McGettigan of Evesham, NJ & Michael D. McGettigan of Fairfield, CT, son of Victoria McGettigan & brother of Rev. David McGettigan (Kathy). Also survived by many loving family members.

Mr. McGettigan is a 1957 graduate of Roman Catholic High School, Phila. For the past 12 years, he was the Community Service Officer for the Evesham Twp Police Dept. Prior to that he was employed with Cigna for 34 years. He was a Blue & Gold Information Officer for the United States Naval Academy for 14 years.

Chuck was an active member of the Evesham Fire Dept, a 15 yr volunteer firefighter with Station 225 where he currently served as President. Chuck was a friend to many and he always appreciated a joke or two.

He has been a member of St. Joan of Arc Church for the past 31 years.

June 21, 2003
Fire Commissioner Kenneth C. Hall set to retire

On Friday June 21, 2003 the members of the Evesham Fire Department honored Kenneth C. Hall for his 40 years in the Fire Service. Ken spent 28 of the years as a Evesham Fire Commissioner. Ken is a dedicated volunteer and his presense will be missed.

A presentation was made to Ken from Station's 1, 3, 5 and 9. Dave Knott presented Ken with a plaque and a 100 dollars worth of Disney Bucks from the members of the EFOA FMBA Local 115. Ken and his wife Anne will be retiring to Lake Wales, Florida for some well deserved rest and relaxation.

June 19, 2003

NJ Law Firm Seeks Firefighters and EMTs For Free Screening

An Illinois judge has ruled that firefighters', paramedics' and EMTs' hearing loss cases against the Federal Signal Company can proceed despite the Company's attempt to stop them. The New Jersey Law Offices of

BAGOLIE-FRIEDMAN is seeking active and retired firefighters, paramedics and EMTs for a free case screening.

Hundreds of firefighters and EMTs from New Jersey, Florida and around the country have filed hearing loss lawsuits against Federal signal. The claims seek money damages and allege that Federal Signal, who is the world's largest maker of fire engine sirens, has designed, manufactured and distributed

defective sirens that have caused hearing loss in firefighters. "The

sirens are too loud and the sound needlessly travels back into the rigs

and the Company should be held accountable for causing hearing loss in our nation's firefighters and EMTs" says Ricky Bagolie, co-founder of BAGOLIE-FRIEDMAN, the New Jersey workplace injury law firm handing these claims.

"This is a chance to see if your hearing loss is related to the noise from the sirens with no fee and no obligation, we will let you know if there is a claim" said Bagolie, who has lectured to hundreds of firefighters regarding their legal rights. Locally, BAGOLIE-FRIEDMAN is affiliated with the independent Law Offices of Rosenblum, Oliver and Alman in Hollywood. Their main office is located at 587 Summit Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306 and these claims are open to all firefighters and EMTs, regardless of where they work or live. Travel to New Jersey is not necessary.

The consultation is free and their is no fee if there is no recovery.

June 16, 2003
Courier-Post Staff

The mother of three young girls killed in last year's July 4 fire here has filed a motion in Superior Court to reserve the right to sue several boroughs and departments involved in fighting the fire.

Because the 90-day deadline for notification has passed, Katia Williamson would need court approval to proceed with any lawsuit.

Williamson and partner Frank Slack escaped the fire in a North Broadway duplex that killed their three daughters: Alexandra Slack, 5, and twins Claudia and Colletta Slack, 3.

Three firefighters - Mount Ephraim Fire Chief James Sylvester, Camden County Deputy Marshal John West and Gloucester City firefighter Thomas Stewart III - also died.

In the filing, Williamson said a state investigation prompted her to act.

On May 28, the Courier-Post reported the investigation's findings, which suggest poor communications, inadequate training and a meltdown of the command structure may have played a role in the tragedy.

Williamson, who suffered burns and smoke inhalation injuries, says in the notice she has not "fully recovered." Slack was not injured. Neither could be reached for comment.

Gloucester City Mayor Robert Gorman was dismayed to learn Williamson might sue. "I think it's ridiculous that they would even consider trying to sue the people who tried to save their lives," he said.

Stephen M. Tatonetti of DuBois, Sheehan, Hamilton & Levin of Camden filed the tort claim June 5.

Defendants named in the claim are Gloucester City, its fire department and Fire Chief William Glassman; the county firefighter academy; Camden City and its fire department; and the boroughs of Mount Ephraim and Brooklawn and their fire departments.

June 16, 2003

State gives county $100,000 to fund 'first responder' agencies

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Staff Writer

TRENTON -- The state is distributing $8.8 million in federal grant funds to county "first responder" agencies for emergency equipment, with Salem County Emergency Management receiving about $100,000 of those funds.

"It's an ongoing grant from the Department of Justice to counties and local first responders for new equipment," said Carl Wentzell, deputy coordinator of Emergency Management in the county, of the grant.

June 16, 2003
2 Students Charged In Seton Hall Fire

On Thursday, LePore and his roommate at Boland Hall, Sean Ryan, were being held at the Essex County jail with bail set at $2 million. They were charged with starting the Jan. 19, 2000, fire that killed three classmates and injured more than 50 others.

LePore, of Florham Park, and Ryan, of Livingston, were charged with 62 counts by an Essex County grand jury. Additionally, LePore's parents and sister were charged with trying to cover up his involvement. The indictment recounts alleged conversations among the family members, including the father coaching his daughter to lie, and the mother instructing her son to "stand united" with another suspect to avoid prosecution.

The accused men, both 22, grew up together in Florham Park and were sharing a room at the 600-bed freshman dormitory on the South Orange campus. They were arrested Wednesday and held on felony murder and manslaughter charges. Police said LePore resisted arrest, putting his car in reverse and trying to run down the officer who approached him at an East Hanover apartment complex. Ryan was arrested without incident.

They both face a minimum of 30 years in prison if convicted of felony murder, the most serious charge.

Prosecutors say a poster was set ablaze, igniting a couch in a third-floor student lounge where the students were hanging out about 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2000. The fire spread to two other couches, producing thick, toxic smoke, said Jeffrey Cartwright, director of the arson task force of the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

The students who died were John Giunta, Frank Caltabilota and Aaron Karol. All were 19. They received posthumous degrees when their class graduated last month.

In addition to felony murder and reckless manslaughter, Ryan and LePore were charged with arson and 53 counts of aggravated assault in connection with those who were injured.





June 11, 2003

Home fire escape planning and practice

Fire can grow and spread through your home very quickly. It's important that you be prepared to react as soon as the smoke alarm sounds.

Facts & Figures

Only a small number of families (25%) have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan to ensure they could escape quickly and safely.*

In 2001, there were 3,110 home fire deaths in the United States.**

Safety Tips
These tips can help you put together and practice an effective home fire escape plan.

Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Draw a floor plan of your home showing two ways out of each room, including windows. Don't forget to mark the location of each smoke alarm.

Test all smoke alarms (Listed by a qualified testing laboratory) monthly to ensure that they work. Replace batteries as needed.
Make sure that everyone understands the escape plan and recognizes the sound of the smoke alarm. Are the escape routes clear?

Can doors and windows be opened easily?
If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have quick- release mechanisms on the inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Quick-release mechanisms won't compromise your security but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.

Practice the escape plan at least twice a year, making sure that everyone is involved  from kids to grandparents. Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.

Contact Evesham Fire-Rescue's Fire Prevention Division at 856-983-2750 or your local Fire Dept. for more information on how to set up your home escape plan.

June 11, 2003
Most firefighter deaths occur away from the fire

But no matter where it happens, heart attack remains the leading killer

May 20, 2003  Fires are not the main killer of firefighters. Heart attacks and motor-vehicle crashes cause more on-duty firefighter deaths than smoke, heat, flames or collapsing buildings, according to an analysis of firefighter deaths in 2002 by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).

A total of 97 firefighters died on the job in 2002, roughly the same number as in each of the previous nine years, excluding the 340 deaths at the World Trade Center in 2001. But in eight of the last 10 years, fewer than half those deaths occurred within the building or land area where the fire was burning, known as the "fire ground."

The majority of the 51 firefighter deaths occurred traveling to or from an emergency, during training activities, during non-emergency duties (such as administration or equipment maintenance) and during non-fire emergencies (such as medical calls or motor-vehicle crashes).

On the fire ground and off, heart attacks are the leading killer of firefighters. In 2002, 37 on-duty firefighters died of heart attacks, 13 on the fire ground, eight while traveling to or from a fire or other emergency, seven while engaged in normal administrative activities, six at non-fire emergencies, two during training activities, and one while cleaning up after a tornado. In addition, two firefighters had strokes during training activities and one suffered an aneurysm at a medical call.

Motor vehicles were another major cause of death, claiming 29 lives. Twenty-two firefighters were killed in crashes and seven were struck by vehicles, all while on duty. In the most catastrophic incident, five firefighters were killed and six injured when a 15-person passenger van overturned on its way to a wildland fire.

June 10, 2003
Scooter, Bike and Pedestrian Safety

Scooters, bikes, in-line skates and skateboards are associated with numerous injuries yearly.

Wear a comfortable, properly fitted helmet bearing the label of an independent testing lab. Be sure that the helmet sits level on top of the head not rocking in any direction and always fasten the safety strap.
Be sure that safety gear (wrist, elbow and kneepads) fits properly and does not interfere with the rider's movement, vision or hearing. Wrist pads are not recommended for scooter riders as they may affect their ability to maneuver.
Ride scooters and bikes only on smooth, paved surfaces and only ride during daylight hours.
Learn the proper hand signals and use them when you turn or stop.
Come to a complete stop before entering driveways, paths or sidewalks, then look left, right and left again for bikes, cars or pedestrians heading your way. Teach crossing safety to children by example

June 10, 2003
Safe Grilling

Never use a propane barbecue grill on a balcony, terrace or roof. It is both dangerous and illegal. In addition, New Jersey law forbids any grill to be utilized on the balconies of an apartment, townhouse or condominium.

Parties looking to barbecue in commercial establishments, street festivals, or in other non-residential areas should check with the local fire department regarding any special requirement or permits. In Evesham Township, you may contact the Office of the Fire Marshal at: 856-983-2750.

June 10, 2003

In an effort to avoid some of the problems associated with propane bottle overfilling, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is encouraging consumers to purchase new tanks with ?overfill prevention devices. This device is fitted inside of the propane tank and makes it physically impossible to overfill the tank. The newly designed tanks are already available at many propane dealers and can be identified by their distinctive three-lobe valve handle.

As of April 1, 2002, older six lobe handle type cylinders that are not equipped with overfill protection devices, will be eliminated. Should you obtain one of the newer style tanks it is important to never attempt to mechanically operate or force the overfill protection device. If the propane is not flowing from the tank don't force it. Make sure the tank isn't leaking and return it to the merchant where you had it filled.

We want everyone to have a fun filled summer time, but we want it to be a safe one too. Please be careful in all that you do and do not hesitate to call upon us if you have a question about your barbecue or any other fire or life safety issue. (courtesy EFD)



June 10, 2003
Gloucester City Cited for Unsafe Fire Ground Procedures

June 3, 2003 -- Gloucester City, N.J. has been hit with a number of violations relating to the burning and subsequent collapse of an apartment house in which three fire fighters and three young girls died on July 4, 2002.

If the city does not make significant strides to correct the problems, the department could face fines of up to $7,000 per day for each violation.

The New Jersey Department of Labor cited the Gloucester City Fire Department with command violations including the failure to establish a Rapid Intervention Team, as dictated by the NFPA 1561 Standard. The incident commander also failed to meet the NFPA standard by neglecting to expand the command structure as additional personnel and units joined the fire fighting effort. It was also noted that there was no system established to manage reserve personnel and equipment.

?This is a prime example of why it is so important to follow the National Fire Protection Association standards for safe fireground procedures, said Tom Canzanella, President of the Professional Fire Fighters Association of New Jersey. ?It is the fire fighters job to protect the citizens, but it is the city?s job to do everything they can to protect its fire fighters.

Violations were also given because two of the fire fighters were not wearing their Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS), which alert other responders if a fire fighter gets lost or trapped. One of the fire fighters had left his in his car.

The IAFF maintains that the best solution to this issue is to fully integrate PASS devices with the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus. Since most SCBAs in use do not incorporate the device, the company officer must ensure that members of his or her crew have put on and activated their PASS devices.


June 6, 2003
The Evesham Fire Officers Association voted May 1, 2003 to join the NJ Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association.

On May 27, 2003 a meeting was held to elect the first executive board of EFOA FMBA Local 115.

Those elected were:

David Knott, President/Shop Steward
John Behnke, Vice-President/Exec. Delegate
Matt Hempel, Secretary/Treasurer


The Evesham Fire Officer's Association FMBA Local 115, INC. was incorporated June 2, 2003


July 16, 2003

The EFOA/FMBA Local 115, Inc. voted in favor to permit a courtesy class of membership to Evesham Career Chief Officers.  

 Evesham re-elects incumbents

Monday, February 23, 2004

Interest varies greatly in fire district elections

Courier-Post Staff

Voter turnout in the traditionally low-drawing fire district elections ran the gamut over the weekend, with more than 900 votes cast in Evesham and only two cast in one Haddon Township district.

Voters in Evesham, where the most contentious race in the tri-county area took place, re-elected incumbent commissioners Clayton Brunges and Robert Costello to three-year seats. Nila Paul, a paramedic with Virtua Health Systems, was elected to a one-year term.

Before Saturday's election, two slates of candidates had become roiled in controversy over the future of the fire district.

The Evesham Township Professional Firefighters union supported Paul and two other commission candidates - Michael Tasch and Mark Scian, both of whom work full time for the Cherry Hill Fire Department.

The union's involvement caused a stir among volunteers, some of whom believed the professional firefighters wanted to drive them out and create a 24-hour professional fire service. Union candidates said they wanted to look out for taxpayers but ensure efficient response times.

District firefighter rolls will remain part paid and part volunteer, Brunges said Sunday. But both will work to improve response times.

"We do have some speed bumps to be addressed, but that is being taken care of," he said.


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