(TN) Arrest in dog rescue outrages pet lovers


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Drizzt
April 18, 2003, 11:25 PM
Arrest in dog rescue outrages pet lovers

By SHEILA BURKE
Staff Writer


Firefighters and police defend actions as criticism mounts

Jarrod Martin was repeatedly told to back away from a roaring fire in his apartment building, but the sight of his dog jumping up and down against a glass door in a room filled with smoke was too much, he said.

The other side of the building was engulfed in flames and the fire was moving toward Bishop, his year-old pit bull.

''He was pressed up against the glass as it was,'' Martin said last night. ''The fire was coming right toward him.''

He said he had waited 30 minutes for firefighters to rescue his dog and decided he must either get the pet himself or Bishop would never make it out of the apartment alive.

Martin saved the dog from Wednesday's fire but found himself at odds with the police.

Now some local residents are outraged, and authorities are defensive about a decision by police to charge Martin.

VOICE YOUR OPINION: How should authorities react when a resident tries to enter a burning building to save a pet?

Martin, 26, was handcuffed, held by police and cited for the misdemeanors disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment after entering the burning building through a balcony and throwing the dog to safety, authorities said.

''I just don't know what the big deal is,'' said Old Hickory resident Josh Fisher, who called The Tennessean to express his outrage. ''I have four dogs, two cats and two birds, and you'd better believe I would get every one of them out if the place was on fire.''

Fisher, who attended Sylvan Park Elementary with Martin but hasn't seen him in at least 10 years, said he is upset by the way the man was treated by authorities.

Fire officials said Martin used a fireman's hook pole to break a glass door on his apartment balcony and reach inside the smoke-filled apartment for the dog. Martin said he used a barbell. The fire at Premier West Apartment complex, 6565 Premier Drive, started about 6:20 p.m. About 16 families lost their apartments in the blaze; the cause was still being investigated.

Martin put firefighters in danger by entering the building, diverting their attention from the blaze, and he could have caused a ''backdraft,'' a flash fire caused by a sudden rush of oxygen, said Assistant Chief Kim Lawson, spokeswoman for the Nashville Fire Department. Martin, noting that the other half of the building was on fire, disagreed.

Fire Department officials and Metro police held a joint news conference yesterday and defended their accusations amid a growing flurry of complaints. Lawson was asked what fire officials would have done if Martin had run to save his child from a burning building. ''That would be something that would be a split-second decision depending on the circumstances,'' she said. Lawson said it's the Fire Department's responsibility, not that of citizens, to rescue animals and people from burning buildings.

''We don't draw lines. We are here for lives, period. If any situation proves safe, we would go in for a child, a dog, a pet, when the situation was safe enough.''

Asked whether fire department policy dictates when to go in to rescue a person as opposed to an animal, Lawson said, ''We don't really have a point. We will always do a primary search for any life at all. Obviously, you've got to have some of the flames knocked down.'' Lawson added: ''We always go in and make a primary search on any area for any life at all. It's common to see pets taken out and given oxygen by our firefighters. We do the best we can.''

Firefighters had not entered the building when Martin rushed in, officials said. Lawson said the situation was too dangerous for anyone to enter the burning building at that time. ''The floors were collapsing, the fire was escalating and there was a lot of smoke coming from the building. I'm really sorry that this happened. We cannot have citizens or other people creating additional problems, which probably took a little bit of time. No, we do not wait to go in. We will go in and search and do the best we can with any life — human, animal, any life.''

In June, for example, Metro firefighters worked hard, even performing CPR — in saving the lives of 200 exotic birds trapped in a burning residence. They tried to evacuate the parrots quickly, performed a form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation on them and used oxygen masks. Fewer than 10 were saved, the rest dying of smoke inhalation.

The Tennessean received numerous letters and phone calls yesterday from angry readers who wondered why police would bother to handcuff Martin and treat him like a criminal. ''Shame on the police department for not taking pity on a man who was losing everything he owned to a fire and couldn't bear to part with his four-legged roommate!'' Melissa Hinton of Brentwood wrote. ''Shame on them for adding insult to injury.''

Nashvillian Bobby Braddock wrote: ''For years, I have been a contributor to police and firefighter organizations, but as an animal lover, I strongly protest the shabby treatment of this man who risked his life to save his dog. In my eyes, he is a hero.''

Several others, responding to a Tennessean online forum, defended the police actions, saying Martin endangered the lives of firefighters.

Police said Martin initially told an officer on the scene that he wanted to go back into his second-story apartment to save the dog. The officer denied his request but immediately told firefighters that a dog was in the unit, police said. Firefighters told the officer it was too hot to go in the building, but they would make a rescue attempt as soon as they could knock down the flames.

Martin ran toward the burning building, climbed to his second-story balcony, broke out a window and got the dog. Martin pushed his pet to safety and jumped off the balcony.

The charge of disorderly conduct carries a maximum sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a $50 fine. Reckless endangerment is punishable by up to 11 months, 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, according to state law.

http://www.tennessean.com/government/archives/03/04/31730843.shtml?Element_ID=31730843

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CZ-75
April 19, 2003, 12:33 AM
They could've played "Cookeville PD" and just shot the dog.

All I'm wondering is how hard would it've been to send a fireman up on a ladder to break the patio door and grab the dog. Obviously a civilian did it and suffered no harm.

KFD147
April 19, 2003, 01:58 AM
What people don't realize is that once the fire dept. is called it is no longer thier place. It is in control of the fire dept. and the incident commander is responsible for anybody and everything on that scene. Your house on fire is not yours anymore once 911 is called and untill we put out the flames or it ends up a new parking lot.:D and pending a cause and origin investgation. This gentleman was worried about his dog, he had every right to be. Most people consider their animals like members of their family. The main thing he did wrong was to take it upon himself to rescue his dog. Now the firefighters have to worry about an person going into a building, not wearing any protective gear or breathing apparatus, that is engulfed at one end and then breaking a window at the other giving it more air to continue the combustion process making things burn faster and hotter. Fire can't burn without oxygen and when it is deprived for along time, then gets a sudden new source it becomes violent and tends to explode towards that direction. If this had happened while he was rescueing his dog, both of them would have been toast and the public outcry would have been why couldn't you control this from happening. It says that he saw the flames coming towards the dog, but later states that he did not think it would cause a backdraft because the other side of the building was on fire.:scrutiny: Everything at a fire is done with team work and the incident commander knowing where the firefighers are and what they are doing. If you get people like this that don't think about what they are doing and get in the way, it makes our job harder. If this was a child, it would have been different. Our main goals are our safety and human lives first, and property second. Dogs are considered property.:( That is the way it is. Can you tell a firefighter's spouse that he and his partner died when the second story that he was on colapsed while he was looking for somebody's dog to rescue!


Jason:cool: :fire:

Preacherman
April 19, 2003, 02:03 AM
Jason, you make good points. However, consider the relationship between a dog and his owner. I certainly regard my pets as family, and would probably have done what this guy did if I saw it as the only way I could save my "friend". Sure, it wasn't a good, rational idea, but then rationality isn't uppermost in one's mind at a time like that, is it?

I think the incident could have been better handled if the FD and/or local cops had let it go, without charging the guy. I'm afraid the charges are what has pushed this one "over the top", and I think they will regret doing this. It would have been sufficient to have a quiet word with the guy next day, saying roughly what you said in your post. I think he would have accepted it, and perhaps even apologized for causing a ruckus. However, now that it's in the criminal courts, I think it's going to snowball, and cause problems no matter how it turns out.

KFD147
April 19, 2003, 02:16 AM
That's true. I don't think he should have been arrested either, maybe a citation, but not arrested. On the other hand this also leads me to think that there is a little more to the story than that is written. Firefighters and Police don't usually have somebody arrested for things like that unless the gentleman's attitude got out of control. It looks like the media is a little one sided again with their reporting. I would have called the guy an idiot and then explained to him when he was in a more rational mind that the world did not revolve around him.:D


Jason:cool:

Engsetter
April 19, 2003, 02:37 AM
I don't care if it is Wrong, Illegal, No longer my place because the fire department is called??? Whatever!!! I would have done exactly the same thing this fellow did for his dog. To be arrested and handcuffed for disorderly conduct or Reckless endangerment after saving my dog would be my pleasure. To watch the authorities not do anything for 30 minutes while my dog is trying to get out would just burn my britches. This would definitely end up before a full jury. What tyranny, they can take their jurisdiction and shove it in my opinion.

LOL now that I have told you how I honestly feel. I must say, I do understand the dangers firemen deal with. But since it seems the firemen were not willing to risk their lives for a dog while the owner watched. They should then allow the owner to take the risk, seems fair to me!!!

LiquidTension
April 19, 2003, 02:43 AM
If this untrained, unprotected guy could get the dog without injury, it seems like the FD assessed the situation very poorly indeed. The police and fire department are using the letter of the law to punish a guy that did their job better than they could. I bet that if it had been a house in the middle of nowhere he wouldn't have been charged because there would be nobody around to see the FD getting shown up by a random guy.

I have nothing but respect for firefighters and police - except when they do BS like THIS.

Pendragon
April 19, 2003, 04:26 AM
Personally, I like animals, but people who act like they are people drive me INSANE.

Yet, I support their right to be insane in that way. If you consider your dog part of your family, it is no more reasonable to expect you will stand by and watch your doggie burn that you would watch your child burn - if you tried to stop me going after my son, I would do anything up to shooting you to keep you from stopping me.

That said, the risk assumed is mine - I could not go on living knowing I had watched my child burn and stood by because Sparky told me to.

If that is how you feel about your dog, then, like I said, you are beyond help - but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Perhaps the duress defense?

Hmm.

WYO
April 19, 2003, 06:00 AM
I remember being on a scene one Christmas Eve where the husband/father went back in to rescue the pet after the family had evacuated the burning building. He was carried back out in a body bag, and the family had an agonizing wait until the coroner showed up and broke the news. Merry Christmas. So, if I tell someone not to attempt to go back into a burning building, I have that in mind, in addition to the dangers posed to firefighters attempting a rescue of the "rescuer" and the potential that the ventilation will change the dyanmics of the fire and endanger the firefighters already in the building. Depending on the circumstances and the charge(s), an arrest could be required by law or policy.

general
April 19, 2003, 06:24 AM
I have pets... so....
I say if someone (somedog?somecat?) you love is in danger of dying - do all you can to save them. I sure can see the FD's reluctance to risk a human on it - but if it's your own a** your risking...well I say I'd have to do it.
BTW - hasn't this peticular PD/FD heard of the old adage "All's well that ends well"? High stress situations make some people do very dangerous stuff.
He should get off.

tyme
April 19, 2003, 06:33 AM
Wny not let people go back inside and simply refuse to rescue them if they get into trouble? Are people too stupid to be able to make rational decisions about entering a burning building?

Matt1911
April 19, 2003, 08:08 AM
I have 2 kids,and 6 dogs...
I understand the firemans point of view,still,i would have done the same thing.Non "dog-people"just can't understand.
Some one said they can't understand treating dogs like people,thats not it.Other than my kids,there are very few people i'd risk my a** for..............

El Tejon
April 19, 2003, 08:17 AM
I can't believe this Johnny would put an animal, a dog, geez, over his fellow human beings. Based on the responses maybe this is yet another "cultural thang" that this Yankee doesn't get. Sounds like he needs a jury of PETA and THR members.:D

TheeBadOne
April 19, 2003, 08:38 AM
Why not let people go back inside and simply refuse to rescue them if they get into trouble?
Can you believe this? :rolleyes:

KFD147
April 19, 2003, 09:29 AM
Why not let people go back inside and simply refuse to rescue them if they get into trouble?

If we let everybody do this you would have a body count like that of the RI night club fire at every other fire, but instead of people dying to get out they get tunnel vision trying to search for and save Rover and the next thing he knows is he can't see due to the smoke. He starts to breath in toxic gases in a panic, because now he can't find Rover or the door and it is getting extremely hot very fast. Then he passes out from lack of fresh air, whether he gets burned up or not he is about to die from lack of oxygen to the brain right beside Rover.

I think that the man got all caught up in himself from rescuing his dog and when the FD/PD went to tell him he was wrong he had a few choice words for them during an adrenaline rush. It's like cussing at a cop when he has pulled you over for a violation. If you are nice you might get off with a warning. If you cuss at him you will get a ticket and he will start to look for other violations also.:cuss:


Thanks
Jason:cool:

MeekandMild
April 19, 2003, 10:03 AM
Jason,

I can understand your perspective. But I would think the fire department entirely discharged its responsibility to this guy when it warned him. He should have been allowed to climb up there at his own risk and rescue the dog without hassle.

I think he has a potential lawsuit against the FD for harrassment and I know a really good Tennessee lawyer who may well end up with the case and a few hundred thousand dollars of the city money.

I also think the charges against him are too harsh. I could see charging (but not convicting) him of disorderly conduct, but the reckles endangerment charge sounds like hype to me. He endangered no one but himself. To misquote RA Heinlein, any citizen should be allowed to go to hell in his own way.

My two centavos worth. It is a dangerous world out there.

Selfdfenz
April 19, 2003, 11:22 AM
Tennessee

"The Dog and Dog-Owner Friendly State."

It gets my goat to hear public servants whining about how endless dangerous their jobs are for this and that reason. Or because this or that can happen given this or that set of circumstances.

If such is the case, stop whining and get another job. I know being in a FD or a member of LE is dangerous.

I've had more than one means of employment that stunk. I left'em.

Construction work is hard and dangerous. I'm not sure a hardhat would be justified grinding his foreman's face in the dirt becasue that hardhat might accidently nailgun his hand or have a scaffold board bust one of his toes. I can't accept some of the jack booted thuggery that seems to be more and more SOP out of LE, and now it appears some FDs, because some "policy" is broken.



S-:fire:

45-auto
April 19, 2003, 12:06 PM
I see it this way:

The guy is free to go after his dog, simply because it's a free country.

But the fire department has no liability whatsoever if he does so.

When he's gone after his dog and brought it out O.K., it's really stupid to arrest him. No harm, no foul.

Plus the cops and everybody else have got to stop protecting people from their own stupidity. It makes for tyranny and thwarts (temporarily) evolutionary progress.

El Tejon
April 19, 2003, 12:23 PM
45, I believe the question is whether one is free to endanger others. Just because you exist, does not give you the "right" to do whatever you wish at the expense of another's life and limb.

Of course, we may see what the jury thinks about this duress defense.

DJJ
April 19, 2003, 12:49 PM
The proper response to the charges should simply be, "Tell it to the jury."

F4GIB
April 19, 2003, 01:27 PM
Police said Martin initially told an officer on the scene that he wanted to go back into his second-story apartment to save the dog. The officer denied his request but immediately told firefighters that a dog was in the unit, police said. Firefighters told the officer it was too hot to go in the building, but they would make a rescue attempt as soon as they could knock down the flames.

Martin ran toward the burning building, climbed to his second-story balcony, broke out a window and got the dog. Martin pushed his pet to safety and jumped off the balcony.

Is Nashville one of those "modern" fire departments that don't carry/use ground ladders? Or were they just too fixated on the front door to remember that ladders go to balconies, which lead to doors, thru which the rescue can be effected without needing to enter the building? Someone wasn't thinking.

In my decade as a firefighter, we made dozens of "rescues" by opening doors and letting pets run out. No muss, no fuss, no risk, just common sense. Obviously, it as NOT "too hot" on the balcony.

444
April 19, 2003, 01:51 PM
As a professional firefighter, and a dog owner and lover, I can see boths sides of the argument. But being a realist, the situation boils down to the same thing it does in every aspect of our lives; Lawyers. The reason firefighters can not allow you to enter your home when it is on fire is because if you get hurt, they will get sued. Once you call them, they are on the hook to the lawyers. For example, had this guy gotten hurt, it would have been said that he didn't realize the danger involved and the firefighters did, so they should have stopped him, and the fire department usually has pretty deep pockets that make the leeches, woops, I mean lawyers salivate. In the real world there is no such thing as telling this guy; Hey, it isn't safe but if you want to go in there it is up to you. Once we are there, it is our responsibilty to ensure life safety.
Every emergency response involves certain decisions that involve a risk to reward ratio. How aggressively you attack a fire is predicated against the danger invovled. In this case, it appears that the fire department had gone defensive. In other words the incident commander decided that it was unsafe to risk human life in an attempt to save a building that was already too far gone to save. The fact that floors were collapsing obviously tells me that the structural integrety of the building has been compromised. First of all, obviously if the floors are collapsing, then it isn't safe to stand on them and this includes the floors in this citizens apartment. Secondly if the floors are collapsing we have lost an integral part of the support structure of the building and, the rest of the support structure has been exposed to the same heat and fire as the floors.
As far as a backdraft, it could happen. Just because a part of the apartment building is not currently involved in fire doesn't mean that it can't flash over or cause a backdraft. Since this was an individual apartment, the chances are that the front door was closed. When you have fire, what is actually burning is not the material itself, but gases being given off by the heated material. This is called pyrolysis. Sustained combustion also requres four items to be present. Heat, oxygen, fuel, and an uninhibited chemical chain reaction (pyrolysis). Without all four of those items, you cannot have sustained combustion. Inside this apartment, you could very easily have sufficent heat to cause everything in the apartment to be heated beyond it's ignition temperature, yet have no flames. For example because the mixture is too rich (just like a carburator). But, if oxygen in sufficent quantities are introduced into the equation, the room charged with superheated fire gases and fuel could litterally explode (backdraft)).
As to whether or not I would attempt to rescue the dog would depend on the circumstances. It is very possible that every man at the fire scene was actively engaged in fire fighting and they didn't have anyone to pull off of their duties to rescue a dog. The story doesn't give us enough information. For all we know every available man was rescuing humans from other apartments. I feel sure that in an apartment complex, with a fully involved building, many men would be evacuating the surrounding buildings in addition to fire fighting. For all we know there are fire casualties and men not involved in the actual fire fighting operation were working to save their lives. If I was standing there with nothing else to do, and I saw a dog pressed up against the glass door at a balcony that wasn't currently involved in fire, I would ask the incident commander or my division commander if I could attempt a ladder rescue. However a ladder rescue is not without risk even without a fire. Have you ever tried to carry a dog down a ladder ? What if the firefighter fell off the ladder and was paralized ? What if this pit bull attacked the fire fighter trying to make a rescue ? Who answers for the cost to the tax payer for these injuries ? Who explains to this guy's wife and kids what happened ? How does the firefighter pay his bills if he is disabled recueing this dog ? If it was a human ? I wouldn't have to ask. That incident commander is responsible for every life at that fire scene. To you, this may be the single biggest event of your life and everything you hold dear may hang in the balance. To the firefighter, this is something he does every day, and he wants to live to do it tomorrow and most important of all he wants to go home at the end of that shift. Would I put my life up against that of a dog ? No. If I thought the risk to reward ratio was in my favor, I would take some risk to do it. Our first priority at any incident is our own safety. This isn't all selfish. One of the first rules in emergency response is; Don't make the problem worse. On the scene of an incident you can provide a postive outcome or you can make the problem worse. By sending a company into a seriously compromised building to rescue a dog, you are putting much more at risk than if you didn't. If that company gets cut off or lost in the building you now have to effect a rescue effort putting more lives at risk. You also now have to change your goal from firefighting to a resuce operation which could significantly increase the spread of fire due to manpower shortages which would put more people and property at risk. We have strict guidelines about when we can enter a burning building. One of those guidelines is that we will not enter a building unless there is a rapid intervention (RIT) team standing outside the door with tools and a charged hoseline to rescue US if the SHTF. The one exception to this rule is if we have a known life safety issue. Then all bets are off. You will find firefighters taking every chance no matter how big to rescue that person or persons almost regardless of the risk involved. I think the attempted rescues at the World Trade Center speak for themselvesf and the three hundred odd firefighters who never made it out alive speak for themselves. I don't know what you do for a living, but every month I get a newspaper put out by our union, the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) and the last page of every issue lists the members who lost their lives in the line of duty. I counted the numbers this month, but I can't remember the number. Each one of those guys died in an effort to rescue life or property of the general public. Every day we receive E-Mails from our department listing line of line of duty deaths and their circumstances.
There is no bigger dog lover in the world than I am. I have a reputation far and wide as being a dog lover. I have a dog calender hanging on the wall at the station. But it would break my heart to know that one of those guys listed every month died trying to save a dog from a hopeless situation.

TheeBadOne
April 19, 2003, 01:53 PM
As a professional firefighter, and a dog owner and lover, I can see boths sides of the argument. But being a realist, the situation boils down to the same thing it does in every aspect of our lives; Lawyers. The reason firefighters can not allow you to enter your home when it is on fire is because if they get hurt, you will get sued. Once you call them, they are on the hook to the lawyers. For example, had this guy gotten hurt, it would have been said that he didn't realize the danger involved and the firefighters did so they should have stopped him and the fire department usually has pretty deep pockets that make the leeches, woops, I mean lawyers salivate. In the real world there is no such thing as telling this guy; Hey, it isn't safe but if you want to go in there it is up to you. Once we are there, it is our responsibilty to ensure life safety.
Exactly, well said.

Greg L
April 19, 2003, 02:13 PM
He said he had waited 30 minutes for firefighters to rescue his dog and decided he must either get the pet himself or Bishop would never make it out of the apartment alive.

Granted his sense of time probably was distorted (911 logs should show how long the fire was going), but it seems to me that the fire couldn't have been that big if the dog survived 30 minutes inside. OTOH if it wasn't that big why did it take 30 minutes to put it out to the point where the dog could have been rescued.

It probably would have been much easier all around to (as was mentioned) put a ladder up to the balcony, let the dog out, and either drop him off the balcony or carry him back down (the FD has lots of heavy gear on so even if the dog was biting in panic it probably wouldn't break the skin (besides, if he tried to bite you on the ladder, then you drop him :D )), give to dog back to the homeowner, and shoot any of the lawyers who are standing around making a fuss.

Greg

444
April 19, 2003, 02:17 PM
Oh, and I would also be willing to bet my next paycheck that there was more to this than the story lets on. On my department we have somewhere around 700 suppression personel and each one had a different personality. Same goes for the police department only they have more guys than we do. BUT, I very seriously doubt that this guy would have been arrested just for climbing a balcony to save his dog by any one of them. Some of them get carried away with their own authority, but all have better things to do and bigger fish to fry.
I can see the handcuffs however because this guy has proven that he is not making rational decisions. He very well might have wanted to save his baseball card collection next and went right back into the building if not restrained. He has already proven that less aggressive means of controlling his behavior dont' work.

CZ-75
April 19, 2003, 02:35 PM
Personally, I like animals, but people who act like they are people drive me INSANE.

No dog has ever cheated me, stolen from me, or lied to me. I think they're better than most people I've met and will treat them as such. In fact, I bought my first gun because of my fear of people, not some animal.

If that is how you feel about your dog, then, like I said, you are beyond help....

I sure as hell am. :D

boing
April 19, 2003, 08:33 PM
Question: If the dog is jumping up against the window trying to get out, does that indicate sufficient lack of oxygen in the room to create a backdraft potential when the glass door is broken?

Break the door...dog runs out. Too hot? Throw a rock...? :scrutiny:

I wonder where the guy was when he became aware of the fire, and why he didn't grab his dog before evacuating. Already trapped outside? In another part of the building? Did he panic and run, only to think of his dog after he was sure he was safe?

CW-op
April 19, 2003, 09:15 PM
My hat is off to this man who thinks the life of his dog has great value. I have 4 Border Collies, and 1 or 2 of them are with me almost all the time. Should a similiar situation develop here, I would hope I had the courage to do as this fellow did. The FD and PD can call him foolish, as many here have, but I'll bet that dog was loyal to him, and deserved loyalty in return. Say what you will, that was his house and his dog, and to arrest him for his actions, regardless of the risk, shows extreme arrogance. Were I him, I'd have already secured the services of a very good attorney.

444
April 19, 2003, 10:17 PM
-... -.-

He can secure a good attorney, but he won't win.

You are confusing arrogance with what is required by law. He wasn't arrested because he burst the ego of someone, he was arrested because he put everyone there in a very bad legal situation. If there was any arrogance, it was his. Had he been hurt or trapped, the firefighters would have had to rescue him and risk the same fate themselves. Or for that matter, his breaking that window could have killed other firefighers had the room flashed over or backdrafted. He was selfish to the extreme and endangered not only himself, but everyone there.

Let's use a different situation to try to illustrate this point. Let's say a woman was in a bank and a robbery took place. The police arrived and the robbers barricaded themselves in the bank and held all the customers hostage. The police cordon off the area to avoid any innocent bystanders and gockers from being hurt. The robbers tell the police on the phone that if anyone tries to enter the bank, they will start executing hostages.
Joe Citizen sees the new coverage of the robbery and realizes that his wife is inside the bank and is one of the hostages. He rushes down to the bank, runs through the police barricades into the bank and manages to rescue his wife without either one of them being hurt.
You have to admire the guts of the guy. You have to admire his love and devotion to his wife. You could also spit on the police for trying to prevent this from happening. You could also backstab the police because if he could do it, why couldnt they ?
And if making these assumptions you seem to have forgotten that the robbers might now start executing the other prisioners because of this guys actions. They might now be unable to negotiate with the robbers. A cop might run forward and attempt to ensure the couple's safety only to be gunned down by the robbers. He may have successfully rescued his wife at the price of endangering the lives of everyone else involved. ......................................
They wern't trying to prevent anyone from entering the scene because of their own ego, they were trying to protect the public which is what you hired them to do. And when they do their job, they only get the typical armchair commando quarterbacking.

Try another one on for size, would you allow your children to take the risks that you might ? If you are honest the answer is no. Why ? Because they don't have the knowlege and experience you do. They can't appreciate the situation for what it is. And most importantly, it is your job to protect your children. If your child suceeded in escaping your grasp and did something extremly dangerous, I hope you wouldn't reward them afterwards just because it had a good outcome.

--... ...--

TheeBadOne
April 19, 2003, 10:58 PM
They wern't trying to prevent anyone from entering the scene because of their own ego, they were trying to protect the public which is what you hired them to do. And when they do their job, they only get the typical armchair commando quarterbacking.
Damn credible post

Ed Brunner
April 19, 2003, 11:11 PM
Would he have been arrested if he had returned to get his laptop or his child?,

Jeeper
April 19, 2003, 11:18 PM
I dont know if how much of what I saw on the news was true but it sounded like the ferocity of the fire was unknown to the firefighters. The guy that saved the dog told the press that the firefighters said his building was never in danger in the begining. They said that the fire would never reach his apartment. Then he sat and watched for 30 minutes while they couldnt control it and then it was too late. I guess if they would have let him go into his aparment in the first place when the fire wasnt even near it then it wouldnt have been an issue. It sounded like the fire got out of their control.

I pretty much agree with the other dog owners on this site. There is little you could do to stop me from going in and rescuing my dogs. It is the same if I saw someone beating my dogs. I remember watching one of those 20/20 shows where a dog owner walked into the back of his vets office after hearing a yelp and saw the vet punching his dog. I can tell you right now that if it was me I would have been hauled off to jail for beating that vet till I was drug off of him. I understand that it is not a fair risk to firefighters but I know that there is little I wouldnt do to save my dogs.

444
April 19, 2003, 11:25 PM
"The guy that saved the dog told the press that the firefighters said his building was never in danger in the begining. "

Well at least they went to a totally unbiasted source with the credentials to offer his expert opinion on the matter.

If his apartment was never in any danger, then why did he have to rescue his dog ?

Ed, who can say what happened or what could have happened, but at the risk of repeating myself, I am sure there is more to the story than the "news" story relates. And, the whole, unvarnished truth wouldn't be as dramatic or sell as much copy as their version. Based on having been at thousands of incidents similar to this including one this morning on the way home from work, I would guess that his behavior would have resulted in his being arrested no matter what he went in for.

Jeeper
April 19, 2003, 11:36 PM
444

He said at the beginning that his building was not in danger. Then when it turned out that was wrong it was too late.

Like I said, it was his version of the facts. I doubt it was completely accurate but it is A version.

I do have a question for those firefighters among us.

From the video I saw it looked like the police and others were just basically standing right below this guys balconey. If the fire was bad enough for his activity to create a problem wouldnt they be in danger by standing that close anyway? Could the fire be bad in his apartment with them standing 10 feet away? Obviously, I have no idea but it seemed strange to me.

444
April 19, 2003, 11:44 PM
Yes
The rule of thumb is that if you are concerned with building collapse, you want to be 1 1/2 times the building height away.



You know, I am defending these guys totally on the information I was given taking that information and processing it by what I know and my personal experience. Who knows what happened. Some departments are more aggressive than others. Some departments go defensive immediately and refuse to accept any danger. Some people simply don't know what they are doing. I don't know what the case is here, since I wasn't there and never worked there. But the inital story seems very clear to me and on the surface it sounds dramatic. But again, without constantly harping on the fact that I do this for a living, I can read between the lines and imagine what was going on. People doing stuff that is unsafe, people doing stuff that you don't want them to do, people who think they know more than you do................... happen on every other alarm. If you interviewed them, I am sure they would say you are an incompetent jerk. But the reality of the situation is that they don't know what they are doing and have no idea what is going on. They are simply in the way and can make an already bad situation worse. I am sure they think they are heros and are doing society a big favor, but have no concept of the big picture.

Lord Grey Boots
April 20, 2003, 01:19 AM
There seems to be something missing from the discussion.

Since when does calling 911 transfer liability to the police or fire department?

I thought the law was very explicit on this, in that there is no such liability for failure to respond to a 911 call.

If the police or fire department can't be held liable for failing to respond to a 911 call, then they don't assume any liability just because a 911 call has been made.

Isn't this well established in federal and state law, and in common law?

444
April 20, 2003, 01:49 AM
I am no lawyer. I don't know if we are required by law to respond to every 911 call or not. I however do know that we do resopnd to every 911 call. Within the last week I know for a fact that units from our department responded to calls of a woman that didn't understand how to put the foot rest down on her reclining chair and another person who had a leaking dishwasher. I have personally responded to adjust someone's thermostat. I have responded on literally thousands upon thousands of calls reported as someone drunk.
I also don't know if we are responsible for these people's well being, but I am fairly certain that we are. I am sure that you have read and heard of ridiculous lawsuits of all kinds in which someone received an obscene amount of money for not having any common sense or worse. Now if juries award people these judgements, doesn't it seem logical to you that if we stand there and allow someone to enter a hazardous environment and lawyer knows that he can make money off of it, that he will go after it ? I don't know if you realize it or not, but you can be sued for anything. And, you have to defend yourself no matter how groundless the charges are. This costs so much money that very often, lawsuits are settled out of court even though there is no guilt, just because it is cheaper than defending yourself in an open and shut case.
I have read what you say on the internet, posted by other people who I have no reason to believe know anything more about the law than I do. I don't believe it.
Let's forget about legalities, let's talk about human compassion and profesionalism. Our job is two fold; life safety and property conservation. That is what we are paid to do. We are paid to do that by you. The people as a whole obviously believe that these services are essential to our society. Believe it or not, the vast majority of the people I work with take this very, very seriously. I don't know about other government agencies, but I regularly hear conversations among our employees at the lowest levels discussing personal conduct, and any breech of the public trust. That may sound corney to you, but I can assure you, that it is for real.

Now let's take your question a step further. What if we are not required to respond to 911 calls but only do so because we were bored and needed some fresh air. What obligation do we have after we respond and arrive on scene ? I believe the legal term is "duty to act".

Whether you agree with it or not, we are expected to protect people from themselves. It is reality. In this example, you see a man who is bent on injuring himself. It is our job to prevent it. He is not making rational decisions. For all we know he is stoned, suicidal, or he may even be hypoxic from smoke inhalation.

TheeBadOne
April 21, 2003, 11:24 AM
I saw some video this morning. It only started when the man flopped up onto the enclosed balcony and then broke the window letting his dog out, but there were big time flames around at that time.

Also, on a seperate not, when he appeared on TV, he was recognized and it was revealed he had a DOZEN arrest warrants.

KFD147
April 21, 2003, 12:20 PM
I knew there was more to the story than meets the eye. That's what happens when you make yourself a focal point of attention to the authorities. They tend to check you out. Just look what happen to the gentleman that tape the police slaping and slamming that kid handcuffed after he tried to grab the cop's nads. He did a interview for TV and the next thing you now he is in the news being arrested for prior warrants.:p Firefighters aren't Nazis, we just want you to be safe from your own ingnorance or stupidity.:eek:


Jason:cool:

444
April 21, 2003, 12:26 PM
Who would have thunk it ? This blew my whole concept of reality. I have always believed everything the news media said without question. Now I find out that the man wasn't arrested and handcuffed because he rescued his dog, but instead was a wanted man. And here I thought is was just a rational, logical man who was only concerned with rescuing his dog and was instead being persecuted by a bunch of nazis.
Oh well, live and learn.

Chris Rhines
April 21, 2003, 12:58 PM
Firefighters aren't Nazis, we just want you to be safe from your own ingnorance or stupidity. Wonderful. That's just exactly what we need, a bunch of guys out there 'protecting' me from my ignorance, whether I want protection or not.

You'll have to forgive me if my thanks are not forthcoming.

- Chris

444
April 21, 2003, 01:06 PM
I hear people say stuff like that all the time.
Until they get themselves in a jam.

Chris Rhines
April 21, 2003, 01:51 PM
I've been in jams before. I'm sure that I'll be in jams in the future. If I need help getting out of a jam, I'll ask for it, thank you very much. If I don't need help, and some group of well-intentioned meddlers insists on helping anyhow, don't expect me to welcome them with open arms and a big smile.

My original statement stands.

- Chris

KFD147
April 21, 2003, 02:20 PM
We only come to help when needed. If you ask for help we will be there. Sometimes you can't ask and still need help. Hopefully we will be there then also. I understand that you don't want meddlers in your biz. We are not going to kidnap you if you don't do as we say. You have rights. And after we explain the consequences to you and you still don't want our help. As we say in FD/EMS " Sign here! Press hard 3 copies! Bye and take care.":banghead: We are released from liability and you are free to your own ignorance and stupidity, provided that you are in a sober and non-homicidal/ suicidal mind frame.:D I deal with this all the time, so your point of view is nothing new. But thanks for the refresher while I am on vacation.:D Just kidding.


Thanks
Jason:cool:

LawDog
April 21, 2003, 02:23 PM
I don't think it's so much protecting a person against their own stupidity, as it is protecting that person's neighbors against the stupidity.

Your house/shop/apartment/field burns to cinders because you want to handle it yourself - well, I guess you can look at it as a sort of Darwinism.

The fire spreads from your house/shop/apartment/field and burns somebody elses house/shop/aparment/field, then your right to have your fire ignored ends.

It is true that the Supreme Court has ruled that firefighters and peace officers are covered from liability if they don't respond to a 911 call, however once firefighters and police respond to the scene that safety net goes away.

If the firefighters had responded to the scene, but failed to act, then they can be held responsible in civil court.

Depraved indifference is the term generally cited.

LawDog

444
April 21, 2003, 02:40 PM
From an EMS standpoint, if a person is alert and oriented to person, place, and time and refuses treatment, we can't treat them. Taking someone who is alert to a hospital against their will is kidnapping. We advise them that they are making a bad decison (if they are) and that they can feel free to call us back if the choose at a later time. We have them sign that they are refusing treatment and transport and we leave. If they refuse to sign, we note that and have two witnesses sign.
This also is not unusual. The most dramatic one of these I ever had was a man who collapsed at a slot machine. The business called us and when we arrived the man was back up, playing the machine. He was very pale and had no radial pulse, however he was fully alert. He refused treatment. I finally got him to agree to let us evaluate him and told him that if he didn't want to be treated, that was his right. I hooked an ECG monitor up to him and he was in V-Tach. I explained to him that this was a life threatening dysrythmia and he would not survive if left untreated. He still refused. So, instead of having him sign a refusal, I just sat down for a couple minutes until he collapsed in cardiac arrest and then treated him, successfully. This is called "implied consent". Since the person is unconscious we can assume that a rational person who could appreciate what was wrong with them would consent to threatment if they were able to make that decision. Some people just dont have any sense and you can't reason with them.
I had another incident where we were in a casino on another call when security came over and told us there was a man down. We walked over and found a man lying on the floor unconscious. I felt for a pulse and found none, obviously he was also not breathing. I ripped open his shirt and attached an ECG monitor to his chest. He was in V-Fib. I defibrilated him twice at 200 joules and proceeded to attach the monitor to the patient electrodes for continuous monitoring. While I was doing this, security started CPR and my partner started to endotracheally intubate the patient at which time the patient became fully conscious and told us that he didn't need any help. The defibrillation had restored a normal heart beat and his brain was now being perfused with oxygen. His first impulse was to assume that he had everything under control. It takes all kinds I guess. We took this guy to the hospital against his will, he was rushed to surgery for a multiple bypass surgery. The guy later contacted us and thanked us for saving his life. Once he found out what had really happend, and had some facts to work with, he realized that he was wrong.

As far as fire, Lawdog has it right. You don't have any choice in the matter.

pax
April 21, 2003, 03:45 PM
Chris,

If the guy wanted to risk his own life to save his dog, that's his lookout. His life, his choice.

However, if the guy wants to risk other people's lives to save his dog, that's something else entirely. By letting oxygen into the building, it is as if he pointed a loaded weapon at people on scene. It's not suprising that those thus threatened would react.

Trust you see the distinction.

pax

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. -- Andy Rooney

444
April 21, 2003, 03:59 PM
Just another one of my quick comments:
In a high rise fire or other large building, one of the first assignments is to secure the heating and air conditioning systems so that we can control air flow in the building. As a rookie you are taught to never break a window in a high rise fire unless ordered to do so for a couple reasons, one of which is that it will disrupt the normal airflow in the building.
When we do school fire drills, one man is assigned to go with someone from building maintanience who then is required to demonstrate that he knows how to shut down the heating and airconditioning systems in the building. Points are deducted from the school's score for leaving doors and windows open when exiting the building.
We actually use positive pressure ventilation in fire attack to control the spread of fire and to create a less hostile environment inside the building. A gasoline powered fan is placed in the doorway which presureizes the building. A window is broken out as close to the fire as possible. The fire will be drawn from the area of higher pressure to lower pressure by the fan which will prevent it from spreading to the unburned areas of the house. This is an adaptation of the time honored technique of vertical ventilation where a hole is cut through the roof as close as possible to the fire to vent fire gases from the structure and also to attempt to control the spread of fire.

The control of airflow at a fire is an important aspect of fire fighting and is not taken lightly.

boing
April 22, 2003, 03:40 AM
Thanks for the lessons. I think it's pretty fascinating stuff. :)

:fire: <--- Oooo...fire... :D

Steel
April 22, 2003, 10:28 AM
If this untrained, unprotected guy could get the dog without injury, it seems like the FD assessed the situation very poorly indeed

amen.

Brave man, cowardly or slow firemen.
Man is hero. Firemen posible are goofs.
Cop is definitely an idiot.

LawDog
April 22, 2003, 12:43 PM
http://www.tennessean.com/local/archives/03/04/31707511.shtml

Man not arrested, received written ticket.
Man has criminal record of assaultive offenses.
Swear word edited out of post.
Thread closed.

LawDog

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