HEADLINES
METRO WEST FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT






ST. LOUIS COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT INSPECTS FIRE HYDRANTS ANNUALLY FOR PERFORMANCE


Firefighters inspect fire hydrant performance. Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District

March 1, 2016 - Metro West Fire Protection District Facebook

ST. LOUIS, MO. - In a majority of the communities served by the Metro West Fire Protection District we are pleased to report that we have an EXCELLENT fire hydrant system provided to us through Missouri American Water. In the western areas of our district (west of 109) there are portions that require a "tanker response" when we are called to a structure, or brush fires. We would like to take a few minutes of your time to explain how something most of us take for granted is maintained and monitored for the critical moment when water is needed for fire suppression efforts.

A proactive approach - Company Officers are assigned several roles at Metro West. A Metro West Captain, who manages a crew of Firefighter/Paramedics on a daily basis, is also designated as the Metro West "Water Supply Officer". This Captain works with Missouri American Water when our crews find issues or a malfunctioning hydrant. He is responsible for maintaining records of annual inspections (also conducted by Metro West staff). This data captures information on the volume of water that can be expected from each of the over 2,800 hydrants in the district and is placed into our database on our mobile laptops that are used when responding to calls in our community. The information is incredibly useful to fire service personnel as they begin firefighting efforts.

Relationships - "Metro West has a STELLAR relationship with Missouri American Water who is the owner of the water system in our area" according to Deputy Chief Edward Beirne (Chief of Operations & Training). When issues arise with hydrants they are usually addressed within 1-2 days after notification. If they are going to be longer due to complications they notify Metro West immediately so that we can enact other plans.

Planning is key - Residents who reside outside the hydrant system, or, should a hydrant or area be without adequate water supply Metro West implements a "tanker response". This response adds tankers to respond in addition to the Ladders, Engines, and EMS Units that will be coming to rescue trapped victims and fight a fire. This response brings an average of 12,000 gallons of water that can provide over 2,500 gallons of continuous water supply per minute for firefighting efforts. This requires a well-orchestrated effort that our crews train on frequently.

Your part - As spring approaches and bushes, trees and grass begin growing Metro West would like to remind citizens and businesses within our jurisdiction to take a look at the fire hydrants and make sure they are visible from the street. Please contact us (636.458.2100) and Missouri American Water (1.866.430.0820) if you know of hydrants that are not working properly.

The men and women at Metro West care about the safety of those we protect. One of our critical tools is the water we access from fire hydrants. Thank you for helping us serve the community. Your Life ... Our Mission ...

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TEENS RESCUED FROM CLIFF AT CASTLEWOOD PARK


Two teenagers are safe tonight after being rescued at Castlewood State Park.

February 27, 2016 - KSDK Michelle London , KSDK

According to Michael D. Thiemann, Coordinator of Emergency Management for Metro West Fire Protection District, two teens were rescued at Castlewood Park earlier this afternoon.

The teens were trying to walk down and scale a cliff when they became trapped.

Both were 17-years-old, one male and one female.

Firefighters said this was a complicated rescue due to the steep and soft terrain.

Rescuers had to scale down the cliff on ropes to get the teens.

No injuries were reported.

More on KSDK story

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FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE HORSE FROM ICY POND


Horse rescued January 23, 2016 from icy pond in St. Louis County, Mo. (Facebook/Metro West FPD)

January 24, 2016 - KMOX

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - Fire crews used hammers and chain saws to rescue a horse that fell through the ice into a St. Louis County pond, Saturday night.

Metro West Fire Department crews got the call around seven PM that a horse was trapped in freezing-cold water off Manchester Road near north Rock Hill Road.

They cut a channel through the ice to get to the horse, then carried it back to its barn to recover.

On the department's Facebook page, firefighters say they had help from two local veterinarians and the Missouri Emergency Response Services team.

The horse's owner posted this message on the page, "Thank you for saving my young colt from that frozen pond. You guys got there and got the job done incredibly fast. Without you he never would have made it."

story updated at 2:05pm 1/24/2016

We're pleased to report that "Kid" the 19-month-old quarter-horse that was rescued from an icy-cold pond in Saint Louis County, Saturday night, is doing well.

Matt Coppin , a Metro West firefighter who took part in the rescue, visited the colt on Sunday, "They're still treating him with fluids and that, but he's up standing, eating, and doing everything he should. He's expected to make a full recovery."

Coppin says it was a true team effort to get the horse out of the ice-covered water to shore, then react when the animal collapsed due to exhaustion, "We rolled him onto a nice big canvas tarp. It took about 15 firefighters to carry this one-thousand-pound horse up a snowy hill through the woods in the dark, and get him inside the warm barn where veterinarians were able to provide medical attention for him."

Coppin tells KMOX Metro West firefighters had just practiced ice rescue techniques Saturday morning at a park pond in Ballwin, "It was all fresh in our minds. All that equipment we had just touched, just used hours before. That kind of instant recall was invaluable."

More on KMOV story

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FIRE DISTRICTS IMPLEMENT PROGRAM WITH LIFE-SAVING POTENTIAL


Gillian Satkus and Brad Shelton from the Metro West Fire Protection District display a tote being used in connection with its Special needs Tracking and Awareness Response System.

November 17, 2015 - West Newsmagazine

Seconds often count in emergency medical situations, and two local fire protection districts are implementing a program to make sure time counts in favor of the patient.

The Monarch and Metro West fire protection districts have launched the Special needs Tracking and Awareness Response System (STARS) to help paramedics provide better care to individuals with special needs, from infancy to age 21. Other districts in the area also are considering STARS or are in the process of implementing it.

Every person entered into the program has a form that is kept in ambulances that the districts operate. The document describes the individual's medical history, medications, allergies, baseline vital signs, neurological status and common medical emergencies. Each person also is assigned a number that corresponds with his or her medical information form.

Should a medical emergency arise involving someone registered in the program, the caller gives the 911 dispatcher that number, which is relayed to the responding paramedic team.

Having the patient's medical information in advance can be vital, especially when that person's regular caregiver is not present. Some patients' situations also could serve to identify additional training needs for emergency crews, said Gillian Satkus, a Metro West firefighter/paramedic coordinating that district's STARS program.

Patients most likely to benefit are those with significant developmental delays, seizure disorders, cardiac history, cerebral shunts, tracheostomies and other atypical diseases or syndromes. Metro West is working with Rockwood, Parkway and private schools in the district and through its social media and website to publicize the program's availability.

Satkus said she will make an appointment to visit a person's home to explain how the program works. Interested parents also may visit Metro West's headquarters office at 17065 Manchester Road.

Monarch also invites persons to visit its headquarters at 13725 Olive Blvd. to sign up for the program or contact the district's headquarters at (314) 514-0900 to arrange for a home visit by a paramedic who can help with the registration process.

Program information is included in Monarch's latest newsletter, distributed to residences throughout the district.

Both districts offer the opportunity for any child with special needs, who may have anxiety about an ambulance, to tour the vehicle and see the equipment it carries.

Neither district now has specific data on the number of individuals with special needs that the program ultimately will reach.

"The only thing we know for sure is that there are more (people requiring this service) out there than we now know about," said Brad Shelton, Metro West battalion chief and chief medical officer. "That's another reason why this program is so important."

Metro West serves all or portions of Ballwin, Chesterfield, Clarkson Valley, Ellisville, Wildwood, Winchester and unincorporated St. Louis County. Monarch's service area includes all or portions of Chesterfield, Clarkson Valley, Ballwin, Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights, Wildwood and unincorporated St. Louis County.

More on West Newsmagazine story

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PROMOTION TO BATTALION CHIEF


Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District

September 25, 2015 - Metro West Fire Protection District

Metro West would like to announce the promotion of Michael Digman, who has served the organization as Captain / Paramedic and "C Shift" Battalion Training Officer to the rank of Battalion Chief / Shift Commander.

While serving in his previous roles, Battalion Chief Digman was instrumental in the organization. A few of his accomplishments thus far have been:

- Captain in charge of one of Metro West's busiest Stations assigned to Engine / Rescue Company 3344.

- Served as one of three Training Officers, leader & instructor in Metro West's Training Division

- Led the redesign of the Personal Protective Equipment

- He is the author of the Metro West "Standards of Cover" and maintains all the statistical analysis for Metro West's International Accreditation

- He has been extremely involved in the community education, injury prevention and emergency management programs

- Member of Missouri Task Force 1

- And many other accomplishments and skills...

Battalion Chief Digman's assignment will be forthcoming. Please join us in congratulating him on this WELL DESERVED accomplishment!

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WEST COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS OFFERED RARE TRAINING OPPORTUNITY


Photo by KMOX

August 22, 2015 - KMOX Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

ELLISVILLE MO. - Firefighters from several area districts this week are getting to practice at the site of an actual commercial structure - an opportunity that only comes along about once a decade.

They're using a former car dealership at the southwest corner of Manchester and Clarkson as a training ground before it's torn down to make way for new development.

Metro West deputy fire chief Edward Beirne says normally firefighters have to train in a burn tower or other facility on their own back lot.

"They tend to be remembered," he says of those facilities. "You can only set the building up so many different ways before your firefighters and your paramedics start to remember the entry patterns."

That's why they jumped at the chance to train inside the shuttered dealership."Commercial property - the market's so hot for it, when you get a property, it's usually re-purposed right away," Beirne says.

As for what will happen to the site once firefighters are done smashing its walls, cutting holes in its roof, and generally destroying the place - it will become a convenience store and gas station."This portion (of the property) was sold off, and QuikTrip bought it for a 'superstore' they're going to build here," Beirne says. "They're going to start tearing this building down next week or the week after."

The same property was the focus of much heated debate when it was proposed as the site for a Walmart store, an idea that eventually fell through over a disagreement about whether TIF money should be used on the project.

More on KMOX story

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FIREHOUSE SUBS DONATES DIVE TEAM EQUIPMENT TO FIRE DISTRICT


Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District

August 19, 2015 - BALLWIN, MO. - Metro West is incredibly grateful to Firehouse Subs and their Public Safety Foundation for the generous donation of $43,275 to purchase equipment for our Dive Rescue Team.

At the event Chief Mike Krause said, "These donated funds have enabled our organization to reduce response times and increase survivability for those in peril during a drowning situation. The equipment has outfitted nine divers with a full complement of personal protection equipment for dive rescue operations in all conditions. Our Dive Rescue Team not only responds to our community, but throughout the State of Missouri to assist with rescue and recovery efforts."

We at Metro West are extremely thankful to the Ballwin Firehouse Subs store, Mr. Pogemiller, Mr. Marquart, and Mr. Domico for their dedication to the community by helping local emergency service providers.

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FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE DUCKLINGS FROM SEWER


Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District

June 24, 2015 - Metro West Fire Protection District

ELLISVILLE, MO. - Metro West Firefighters were called to assist Ellisville Police with a rescue of several small ducks trapped in a storm water runoff area. All of the ducks were safely removed.

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FIREFIGHTER PROMOTION


Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District

May 22, 2015 - Metro West Fire Protection District

BALLWIN, MO. - Metro West announces the official promotion of Daniel Whatley to the rank of Lieutenant / Paramedic. Lieutenant Whatley took his oath and was pinned Tiesday evening at the Metro West Board Meeting.

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CHANGE IN COMMAND AT METRO-WEST

April 21, 2015 - Information provided by Metro West Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - This past week has brought many changes at the Metro West Fire Protection District. Last week, the Board of Directors accepted the retirement for Chief of Fire & EMS Services, Vince Loyal who retired after 36 years of service.

G. Michael Krause (photo) (a lifelong West St. Louis County resident) was appointed by the Board of Directors to fill the vacancy effective immediately. The subsequent command staff changes will be announced later this week. "As we move into the next generation of leadership the primary focus, goals, and strategy for service delivery that Metro West has been successfully providing for many years will not change. He will be charged with focusing on all areas of our service delivery, all of which are critical. I have all the confidence in Chief Krause's abilities and believe that he will far exceed our expectations" said Chairman of the Board of Directors Tim Flora.

G. Michael Krause, was born and raised in Ballwin, attended Holy Infant Catholic School and is a graduate of Lafayette High School. He is well prepared for the position. He is a Fire, Rescue & EMS Instructor. He holds many certifications and has hundreds of hours of training in administration, management, leadership and tactical operations. Chief Krause has an education based approach and places a high emphasis on training and skills. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy, & Texas A&M University attending specific training to become a highly qualified incident commander for large-scale catastrophic disaster response.

Chief Krause is a fourth generation firefighter. He started at Metro West in 1990. Since then, he has served as a Firefighter / Paramedic, Engineer, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Training Officer, Battalion Chief, and most recently as the Deputy Chief of Operations & Training. "Creating the best opportunities for our staff to excel in service delivery to the community that we serve, developing a safety focused environment through our leaders, all the while embracing & leveraging all areas of our organization will remain my primary vision as the Chief of Fire & EMS Services. I am continually amazed at the talents that we have at Metro West and will work with all divisions who together provide the community with outstanding services" said Chief Krause after his appointment.

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METRO WEST FIRE CHIEF RETIRES

April 14, 2015 - KSDK By Brandie Piper

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The chief of the Metro West Fire Protection District and EMS Services has officially retired after 36 years of service.

Vince Loyal, 57, served 12 years as the chief, and started his career with the district in 1978 as a firefighter/paramedic. He was appointed chief in 2003.

"I've had the good fortune to work with outstanding elected officials and the highly skilled fire officers and paramedics during my career. I think that what has made me successful as Chief is that I never lost sight of the fact that the most important members of our department are those that arrive in the middle of the night to answer the public's call for help. I am most proud or our outstanding safety and training record. I leave the District in very capable hands. Our ability to cultivate outstanding leadership internally is a testament to the quality people we've been able to attract to Metro West," said Loyal.

The district's board of directors has appointed Deputy Chief of Operations and Training G. Michael Krause to fill the position of chief.

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FAMILY OF 3 ESCAPES BALLWIN HOUSE FIRE

April 13, 2015 - KTVI BY CHRIS REGNIER

BALLWIN, MO. - A Ballwin family is forced out of their home in the middle of the night after fire engulfs part of their house.

"The firefighters upon their arrival, they had a heavy volume of fire on the exterior of the structure. It was certainly a major fire at that point," said Metro West Fire Protection District spokesperson Mike Thiemann about the fire at a ranch home on Holshire Way in Ballwin.

Firefighters from four departments rushed to the home when the call came in just after 2:00 a.m.

It took crews nearly a half hour to get the fire under control.

The flames did significant damage to the back of the home.

Investigators believe a hybrid car which was parked just outside the garage caused the fire.

Investigators say there was some sort of electrical problem in the charging system.

"Basically the electrical system always has current going through it whether it be static or not. Something happened to where it malfunctioned, caught the car on fire," said Thiemann.

Neighbors heard explosions; possibly from the tires, the airbag, or even the battery.

John Kemp heard them two blocks away.

"Turned on the TV, was watching TV and next thing I knew I heard a big boom. I thought my furnace blew up. And I got up, looked around, everything was fine, next thing I knew I heard another explosion," Kemp said.

Crews spent hours boarding up the home.

A man, his wife, and their two young daughters-ages three and five-were all inside when the fire started.

They all got out ok after the husband smelled smoke and the smoke alarms went off.

"The mother and father did an extraordinary job as parents getting the children out in a safe area. So we're very proud and happy that they're all safe," Thiemann said.

Authorities say the fire was purely accidental and there is nothing suspicious.

They also tell us they don't think the car problem that happened in this case is indicative of a larger issue with hybrid cars.

There were no injuries reported in the fire.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC

April 6, 2015 - Metro-West Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The Metro West Fire Protection District is currently accepting applications for the position of Firefighter/Paramedic.

Applications will be accepted Monday March 23 through Thursday April 30th at 4pm.


CLICK HERE TO BEGIN PROCESS

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METRO WEST CHIEF'S PARTICIPATING IN CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK


Left to right, Deputy Chief John Bradley, Battalion Chief Rod Cook, Sister Rosario, Assistant Chief Ed Beirne. Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District

January 28, 2015 - Metro West Fire Protection District

Metro West Chief's participating in Catholic Schools week at Holy Infant School in Ballwin. Sister Rosario proudly displaying her previously awarded "Honorary Chief" helmet she received for 50 Years of service as an educator at Holy Infant.

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FIRE DISTRICT PROMOTION


Photo by Metro West Fire Protection District

December 23, 2014 - Metro West Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - In December of 2014 Metro West proudly promoted Jim Moss to the rank of Lieutenant / Paramedic. Lt. Moss has worked hard shaping his career both at Metro West and through external efforts as a trainer and educator in the Fire and EMS profession.

Please join us in congratulating Lieutenant Moss on this achievement.

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FIRST RESPONDERS TRAIN FOR MEDIA RELATIONS DURING DISASTERS

November 20, 2014 - KPLR BY DAN GRAY

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Firefighters and emergency medical personnel are trained to respond to disasters and save lives. But often times they have to face the media while trying to do their jobs and get information out to the public.

Tuesday News 11's Dan Gray was invited to exclusively participate in a media training exercise with the Metro West Fire Protection District.

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WILDWOOD HOME DESTROYED IN FIRE MONDAY NIGHT

September 1, 2014 - KMOV

WILDWOOD - A family has lost their home after a fire broke out and destroyed their house on Cherry Hills Meadow Drive in Wildwood, Missouri.

"The house is a complete loss," said John Bradley of the Metro West Fire District. "It will be boarded up because the fire spread essentially from the back of the house all the way up through the first and second floors, through the attic, and basically lost the entire roof."

Four people, including two children, were inside the home during the fire, but we able to get out unharmed. However, one firefighter was taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion and is expected to fully recover.

The Red Cross also issued a statement saying they offered assistance to the family. The family declined assistance, but did accept comfort kits of toiletries.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

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FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC PROMOTED TO CAPTAIN

August 20, 2014 - Metro West Fire Protection District

BALLWIN - Scott Hulsey was promoted to the position of Captain, Paramedic by Chief Loyal and the Board of Directors at the Tuesday night board meeting.

Captain Hulsey has over 17 years of experience with Metro West and 20+ years in the Fire Service. Scott is a member of Missouri Task Force 1, Urban Search and Rescue Strike Team 3, he is highly skilled in technical rescue, training, and fire suppression. He will begin his new assignment as the Captain in charge of Station 5 on C Shift.

Congratulations to Scott Hulsey.

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FIREFIGHTERS TAKE YOUNG CANCER PATIENT TO FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

August 14, 2014 - Metro-West Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS - For Alex Wangerin who has been battling cancer school was a place he was looking forward too. His recent battle with cancer took him away from his entire 4th grade year while he underwent treatments in hospitals across the country.

Today, Metro West firefighters took Alex to school like the hero he is. He became the officer on Ladder Company 3332.

Captain Alex was able to ride his truck from home to school where his classmates, Teacher, Principals, the Rockwood School District's new Superintendent Dr. Eric Knost and more Metro West Firefighters were there to welcome them as they arrived on the scene at Pond Elementary School.

Please join us as we congratulate our hero for winning his hard fought battle with cancer.

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METRO WEST CAPTAIN RETIRES

August 9, 2014 - Metro-West Fire Protection District

Congratulations to Captain Chris VonGruben of the Metro West Fire Protection District who will be retired after his tour of duty today (August 9, 2014).

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FIRE CAUSED EXTENSIVE DAMAGE TO HOUSE IN BALLWIN

August 6, 2014 - Metro-West Fire Protection District

BALLWIN, MO. - Metro West on the scene of a working fire in Ballwin. The home had extensive damage to the second floor. The young man who was home at the time did exactly what he was taught when he heard the smoke alarms by getting his family pet and going outside to call 9-1-1.

Assisting with this fire were Monarch, West County and Valley Park Fire Protection Districts as well as Ballwin Police.

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EMERGENCY RESPONDERS PREPARE FOR SEVERE WEATHER

April 3, 2014 - KTVI

ELLISVILLE - Local emergency management operations brought in additional staff in anticipation of the severe weather Thursday. Metro West Fire Protection District in Ellisville activated its emergency operations center in the basement of a fire house. Central County Emergency 9-1-1 Dispatch switched to an 'incident command' protocol to be prepared to handle multiple emergency calls in a short period of time.

Both agencies want to be proactive. Lessons learned from the tornado in Joplin and several recent ones in the St. Louis area including the tornado that struck Lambert Airport have helped managers change procedures and increase efficiency.

Michael Turner, Executive Director of Central County Dispatch credited the increased accuracy of meteorologists who are able to better predict the weather. 'We knew yesterday this was going to happen,' Turner said. 'Years ago we knew it might rain or storm, but now they are getting very efficient at knowing what storms are going to come and what the storms are going to be.'

Metro West Fire District staff has been monitoring the rainfall over the past few days and anticipated there would be a need for some high water rescues. Thursday afternoon commanders reached out to nursing homes and senior living complexes to be sure emergency plans were in place.

Metro West Deputy Chief John Bradley calls the approach 'leaning forward.' 'It`s a newer model for us. We want to deliver the service we`ve promised to our citizens.' The operations command center provides department leaders with weather radar, a constant update of emergency calls and staffing levels. They have the latest in communication equipment and all the department's facilities have generators to provide back-up power.

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FIRE DISTRICT TAKES DELIVERY OF NEW EMS UNIT

February 14, 2014 - Metro West Fire District

BALLWIN - Metro West's new Advanced Life Support Paramedic Unit will soon go into service. It has the newest life saving equipment for our crews to ensure that when you or a family member needs pre-hospital emergency care we are capable and ready to come through with our mission "Your Life, Our Mission"

Thanks retired Chief Jim Silvernail for the photo.

Metro West Fire District Facebook




EARLY MORNING FIRE LEAVES COUPLE WITHOUT HOME IN BALLWIN

February 7, 2014 - KTVI

BALLWIN - There was a rude awakening for a couple in Ballwin, Missouri, when fire ripped through their home, leaving them out in the cold.

The fire started around 2:00am Friday.

Smoke plumes could be seen when our crews arrived at the home in the 200 block of Newtown Place.

Firefighters say it started in the garage, but quickly spread to the rest of the home.

The couple who owns the home was inside when the fire started, but made it out safely. They are getting help from the Red Cross.

Firefighters got the fire under control just before 3:00am Friday. The Metro West Fire Department handled the fire.

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BALLWIN, METRO WEST FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT TO PARTNER ON FASTER RESPONSE TIMES

January 31, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network

BALLWIN - The city of Ballwin has agreed to allow the Metro West Fire Protection District to install, operate and maintain a priority control signal system for the traffic light at the New Ballwin and Reinke roads intersection to help speed the district's response to fire and emergency medical calls.

In a nutshell, the agreement allows certain Metro West vehicles to be equipped with devices that signal the traffic light to turn green in their favor as they approach the intersection.

According to Robert Jones, city attorney, the agreement is a common sense approach designed to get first responders where they are needed as quickly as possible while safeguarding other motorists and pedestrians.

A review of the document shows steps and precautions, that most people might not think about, which are built into how the system is implemented and actually works. For example:

- Only fire trucks, EMS vehicles and battalion chief vehicles will be equipped with priority control preemption emitters. Vehicles assigned to the fire chief, assistant chief, fire marshal and other vehicles will not be equipped with the devices.

- Before a priority control preemption emitter is installed on any approved responder vehicle, the fire district must deliver the device to the city's maintenance facility, where it's programmed with an identification code unique to that vehicle. Metro West must provide a full description, including the make, model, license or unit number and vehicle identification number, along with a digital photo or the car or truck.

- All information about vehicles with the emitters must be submitted to the city annually.

- Details about any replacement vehicle must be provided when it goes into service.

- The emitter must be hard-wired so that it operates only when the vehicle's flashing lights are on. An automatic shutoff must be attached to the parking brake or gear selector.

- Metro West must install a special card in the traffic light controller cabinet to record and identify the identification codes used to preempt the traffic signal.

- Metro West is responsible for all costs of obtaining, installing and maintaining all equipment that's part of the priority control system. And, all plans related to the project must receive city approval.

- Because the priority control system could cause unexpected effects on traffic, Metro West also must provide the city with a current insurance certificate with required liability limits.

The six-page agreement also contains a variety of other provisions designed to safeguard the system's operation and deal with possible instances of misuse and non-compliance.

Metro West has similar agreements with the Missouri Department of Transportation or St. Louis County for traffic signals at a number of other locations. Included are lights on Manchester, Clarkson and Clayton roads.

The equipment Metro West uses is provided by St. Paul, Minn.-based General Traffic Technologies under the brand name Opticom. The company claims some 70,000 installations in more than 2,500 communities.

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FIREFIGHTERS ADVISE TO STAY OFF THE ICE

January 07, 2014 - Metro-West Fire District

With ponds and lakes freezing, firefighters issues a warning to stay off the ice. Please remind your children.




METRO WEST EMS/FPD CANCELS OWNERSHIP IN DISPATCHING SERVICE

December 31, 2013 - Newsmagazine Network

WEST COUNTY - Actions by three local fire chiefs' Ernie Rhodes of West County EMS and Fire Protection District, Ken Black of Creve Coeur Fire Protection District and Steve Ohlswanger of Maryland Heights Fire Protection District - are being cited as the reason for a recent resolution by the Metro West Fire Protection District Board to remove the district as one of the owner-operators of Central County Emergency 911.

On Dec. 17, the Metro West board unanimously voted to move forward with becoming a contract entity.

Board Chairman Tim Flora noted in a press statement that "the Metro West board (also) voted unanimously to give CCE 911 a six-month notice (as required) to terminate the back-up site lease agreement" between the fire district and the dispatch center, "and for the CCE 911back-up site to be removed from our facility."

According to the resolution, the chiefs attendance at a St. Louis County Emergency Communications Commission meeting early in December was one of the factors that spurred the Metro West board decision.

At that meeting, the chiefs reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of service CCE was providing and said their departments wanted to receive dispatch services from the St. Louis County Emergency Communications Center now under construction in Ohlendorf West Park in Ballwin. Presumably, such a move would not occur until the end of 2014 when the new county center comes online, however, if and when such a move occurs, it would mean a substantial drop in CCE's revenue stream.

Additionally, the resolution charges that the chiefs' actions caused the commission to table a grant request to reimburse CCE for costs associated with the dispatch center's recent expansion adding to concerns over CCE's financial stability.

Despite concerns, ECC Director David Barney said the grant application was tabled because it failed to show the savings necessary to justify the money requested. He noted that the dispatch center may be eligible for a grant later, depending on how future decisions tie in with what CCE has done in its expansion moves. The commission can reimburse 70 percent of the amount another agency spends for communications equipment and capabilities if those outlays save money the ECC otherwise would have spent for the same purpose.

CCE has spent well over $1 million in preparing to handle the additional volume of 911 emergency and establishing communication links with the increased number of fire and emergency medical operations it now serves. CCE also paid a consulting firm $10,000 to prepare the grant request.

Those expenditures were made before CCE began receiving tax levy proceeds from former South County Fire Alarm and North Central Fire Alarm participants, now CCE clients, and emergency medical operations. To cover those costs, the dispatch center had to use funds from its reserves and a bank line of credit.

Also planning to withdraw immediately as a CCE owner is Meramec Ambulance District - instead choosing to contract services as a user only in order to save enough money to balance its 2014 budget.

Under the current system, CCE's user-owners levy a tax on real estate and personal property of 5 cents per $100 assessed valuation and pass those revenues through to the dispatch center to finance its operations. Users are charged a lower rate of 3.5 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

Taken as a whole, the situations pose serious financial and governance issues.

If three of its user-owners withdraw from CCE, while two others change their status, it is possible that CCE would be left with one current director - namely Jane Cunningham, representing the Monarch Fire Protection District.

Much of CCE's current challenges stem from decisions made and actions taken in regard to the dispatch center's expansion.

One of those decisions - to hire Coleen Dealey, of Staunton, Ill., as a consultant to advise CCE on how best to handle its expansion efforts - has resulted in accusations of inappropriate business dealings between Dealey and West County fire chief Rhodes; a June 2013 request by Rhodes that CCE Executive Director Michael Turner "be relieved of oversight of CCE IT (information technology);" a subsequent investigation by former St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Calvin, now associated with the Spencer Fain Britt & Browne law firm; a separate investigation by Flora, who in addition to serving on the Metro West and CCE boards is the president of Mid-West Protective Service; and concern over consulting charges that exceed the contracted amount.

As previously reported in West Newsmagazine, Dealey was recommended to the CCE board by Rhodes, who had worked with Dealey on major project in St. Charles. Not mentioned at the time was that Rhodes and Dealey also had formed a currently-operating company to develop disaster management software. While Rhodes did not have a vote in hiring Dealey, several board members, including Cunningham and Flora, felt strongly that their business partnership should have been disclosed at the time of the recommendation.

In June of 2013, Rhodes sent an email to members of the CCE Operating Committee (made up of chiefs from CCE owner districts) detailing a concern he had regarding CCE's computer network mapping and configuration abilities during the dispatch center's first service expansion and his discussion of this problem with Turner. He noted that a variety of issues prevented the proper transmission of data to and from first responders during a period "greater than 24 hours."

"Based on the facts, I recommend in the strongest terms that Director Turner be relieved of oversight of CCE IT as well as the current network re-addressing project," Rhodes wrote.

He recommended that Turner be replaced by "either Colleen Dealey or a fire chief to be determined for IT."

Turner's interpretation of that same conversation caused him to provide a written statement regarding the incident to the CCE board and to file a hostile work environment/harassment complaint against Rhodes.

A subsequent review by Calvin of that incident and charges of inappropriate business dealings involving Rhodes and Dealey found no basis for either complaint. However, Flora and Cunningham maintain that the investigation was not as thorough as it should have been. Both have suggested that Turner is being targeted and they are not alone in that assessment.

In a Dec. 23 letter to CCE directors on behalf of Michael Turner, CCE's executive director, St. Louis attorney Chet Pleban asked that the board "immediately take all necessary and appropriate action to stop any and all further retaliation and discrimination" aimed at Turner.

Dealey's contract with CCE was terminated on Aug. 28. However, on Sept. 26, an audit performed by CCE's accountant/audit principal disclosed an overpayment of $54,570 to Dealey for the contract period of Dec. 17, 2012 through June 17, 2013.

Dealey denies the complaint, saying the hours she worked, which exceeded the limit set in her contract, were approved by either Turner or then CCE board chairman Matt Miller. Miller, who was West County's representative on the CCE board, has since resigned from both boards and has been replaced by David Cobb.

Dealey still has not received a final check for her services. CCE has withheld payment pending Dealey's signature on an agreement not to take any future legal action against CCE and its directors. Thus far, Dealey has refused to do that.

For his part, Turner said he has received no major complaints about CCE's quality of service since the problem last June.

"Sure, there have been some issues that have come up - not a lot, just a few. Those that have come up are a normal part of what one could expect with the kind of expansion we've gone through. Even with those few problems, 99.9 percent of the emergency calls we've received have been handled perfectly," he said.

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FIREFIGHTERS ON SCENE AT 2 ALARM HOUSE FIRE IN WILDWOOD

December 24, 2013 - KMOV

WILDWOOD - Firefighters are on scene, working to put out a massive two alarm house fire in Wildwood.Monarch Fire District, as well as Metro West Fire, are on the scene working to put the flames out.

Officials with Monarch Fire District tell News 4 that the fire is consuming a home in the 2700 block of Wynncrest Manor Drive in Wildwood, Mo.

At this time, no injuries have been reported. No other details have been made available.

Stay tuned to News 4 and KMOV.com as details emerge.

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GOOD SAMARITANS HONORED BY THE METRO WEST FIRE DEPARTMENT

December 17, 2013 - KSDK

WILDWOOD - Two good Samaritans got a big thank you for saving another man's life.

The Metro West Fire Department honored Doug Roberts and Jim Bledsoe with citizen lifesaving awards Tuesday night.

Patrick Adams suffered a major heart attack while working out at the Wildwood Family YMCA baack in September. Roberts and Bledsoe called 911, started CPR and shocked Adams with an AED before help arrived. Adams was at Tuesday's ceremony to thank the men for all they did to help him.

"I can't do enough for these guys like I said earlier," he said. "If I win the Mega Millions ticket, these guys are going to be pretty happy fellas for sure."

Adams and his wife also honored Roberts and Bledsoe by giving the Wildwood YMCA a second AED.

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Firefighter: Lifesaver Awards 2013

May 10, 2013 - Sponsored by Ekon Benefits

What started as a routine training exercise for the Metro West Fire Protection District to rescue a firefighter in trouble, took a turn for the worse. It became more than just a drill when Captain/Paramedic Mike Digman noticed that his fellow fireman had collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest. Digman and his fellow firemen hurried to get Firefighter/Paramedic Daniel Wright to the ambulance in the firehouse, as quickly as possible. Captain/Paramedic Brad Shelton took over from there and performed CPR on the way to the hospital. Relying on their training and unwavering courage in the face of an unlikely situation, they helped save their fellow fireman's life.




Wildwood Home Struck by Lightning

April 18, 2013 - Eureka-Wildwood Patch

WILDWOOD -This is a scene from the house fire at 1602 Wolf Trail Road in Wildwood, started early Thursday morning by a lightning strike.Credit Metro West Fire Protection District. All residents safely evacuated the house.

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Metro West Fire Board of Director Resigns

April 10, 2013 - Eureka-Wildwood Patch

WEST ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Metro West Fire Protection District board of directors convened a special meeting Tuesday evening to accept the resignation of director Mike Noonan. He resigned due to relocating out-of-state to pursue an employment opportunity, stated a fire district spokesperson.

Noonan was a Wildwood resident elected to the board during April 2011

Prior to that election, Noonan served the fire district from 2001 through 2003 by filling a vacancy. In March of 2010, he once again stepped forward to serve Metro West citizens when a vacancy was created by the death of Board Chairman Bob Reboulet. He was a senior manager for St. Louis-based Express Scripts.

Noonan's vacancy and unexpired term was filled by the remaining board members, who appointed Mark Macinski to fill the post, according to a district news release. Macinski is a Wildwood resident.

Macinski was sworn in Tuesday evening, and began serving immediately as the board�s secretary.

Tim Flora will continue chairing the board, and Ralph Starck is serving as vice-chairman/treasurer.

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