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Alcohol Involved In Fatal Oregon Firefighter Crash

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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    Update-October 26th

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - State officials were concerned about
    "drunk and disorderly" incidents involving crews from First
    Strike Environmental for more than a year before a fatal van crash
    killed eight firefighters, according to a published report.
    One state forestry official warned in an internal e-mail that
    the problems were so pervasive that the company needed an
    "attitude adjustment," The Oregonian reported Sunday.
    The questions about the company's performance, including an
    instance in which three employees fell asleep on a fire line during
    dangerous midday conditions, prompted brief suspensions of two
    crews in August 2002.
    State forestry officials acknowledge that they took no special
    steps to keep an eye on First Strike during this year's fire
    season, and some reports on the company reflected positive
    evaluations of crews.
    Eight firefighters died in a fiery head-on collision with a
    tractor-trailer on a blind curve on U.S. 20 near Vale on Aug. 24,
    and tests determined driver Mark Ransdell's blood alcohol was above
    the legal limit.
    Don Moritz, Oregon Department of Forestry contract services
    manager, said First Strike's 2002 problems should not have
    triggered any closer scrutiny from state officials in 2003.
    Companies should be allowed to "start fresh each year because
    they have new crews," Moritz said. "They do not start out with a
    black mark."
    Oregon officials say they are struggling to establish oversight
    of the burgeoning and highly profitable fire-fighting industry that
    hires thousands of people each year for arduous, physically
    demanding work.
    The state requires no background checks and each company has its
    own hiring standards.
    Of the 20 First Strike crew members assigned to fight the Idaho
    fire in August, eight had police records relating to alcohol or
    marijuana. Three had been convicted of possessing less than an
    ounce of marijuana and four had convictions for being minors in
    possession of alcohol.
    The crew's leader, Justin M. Krueger, whose father owns First
    Strike, has twice been convicted of driving under the influence of
    intoxicants, records show.
    Leslie Habetler, a company spokeswoman, said First Strike owner
    Bob Krueger had been aware of his employees' criminal records but
    was "not just going to throw people away because they've made
    mistakes in their lives."
    Until August, the company had operated for 17 years without a
    fatality because of proper training, support and supervision, she
    said.
    Owner Bob Krueger said the drug and alcohol issues faced by his
    company were no different from those in the industry and society in
    general.
    Harry Winston, the company's project manager, said First Strike
    had been diligent in establishing procedures for its employees and
    taking action when problems have arisen.
    "I have been around a lot of firefighting companies and I can
    tell you they have the same problems as everybody else," Winston
    said. "No one's immune from this."


    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    All I can say is !
    Last edited by NJFFSA16; 10-27-2003, 12:30 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    Criminal charges were filed Thursday afternoon against a Roseberg, Ore.-based contract firefighting firm in connection with a deadly van crash near here that claimed the lives of eight firefighters.

    First Strike Enviornmental faces 20 counts: 18 of reckless endangerment and 1 count each of reckless driving and driving under the influence, according to court papers filed in Malheur County Circuit Court.

    Mark Ransdell, the driver of the van carrying the firefighters, was legally drunk when the vehicle collided with a truck, said Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris.
    They escaped the perils of wildfire....then met the dangers of DUI head-on. They paid with their lives.

    Drinking and driving. 8 firefighters dead.

    But why are they charging the company? What purpose does it serve?
    Does this allow the families to file suit? Yet another litigation to follow.......

    Leave a comment:


  • captstanm1
    replied
    very very disturbing.....

    Leave a comment:


  • engine23ccvfd
    replied
    Very sad....if this doesnt drive home the "no alcohol in the station/forest" concept nothing will!

    Leave a comment:


  • NJFFSA16
    started a topic Alcohol Involved In Fatal Oregon Firefighter Crash

    Alcohol Involved In Fatal Oregon Firefighter Crash

    A toxicology report confirms alcohol was involved in the fatal crash that killed eight members of a contract firefighting crew in August.....Bentz said the final toxicology report - including the blood-alcohol levels of the firefighters - will not be released until the Malheur County District Attorney has decided whether to file charges in the case.


    I will, of course, await the final report before making any judgement.

    8 firefighters dead. For those of you that have a few and respond......think about it. 8 lives snuffed out in a heartbeat.

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