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3 Car MVA

posted Aug 24, 2012, 5:47 PM by Unknown user

By Joseph Martin
Friday, August 24, 2012 10:02 AM CDT
Joseph Martin/jmartin@cherokeescout.com
A Murphy High School student complained of neck soreness after two vehicles hit this school bus. She was taken to Murphy Medical Center for observation and was released.
    Ranger – Three vehicles, one a Cherokee County Schools bus, were involved in an accident just east of the intersection of U.S. 64 West and U.S. 19/129.

    A Murphy High School student who was in the back seat of the bus, where the two vehicles impacted, complained of a sore neck and was taken by ambulance to Murphy Medical Center in Peachtree for observation. One man had cuts and scrapes, but otherwise appeared fine.

    The driver of one of the three vehicles Austin Manuel of Orlando, Fla., was in his Smart Car and was slowing down for the bus as it extended its stop sign.
     "I stopped for the school bus, and this pickup came up and nailed me in the back. I got shoved into the school bus," he said.

    Manuel had no visible injuries. His father, Joe Manuel, had a gash on his head and leg, but refused treatment.

    "I didn't know it was coming," the elder Manuel said. "My son did the right thing. We actually spun around and hit the school bus in the back. Thank God for seat belts, huh?"

    As of Friday morning, the Manuels were fine. "We're doing well," Joe Manuel said.

    Cherokee County Schools public information officer Jeana Hardin said the bus was at a stop position. Stop lights were on, the door was open and stop sign extended. There were 15 students aboard.

    Superintendent Stephen Lane arrived on the scene. He identified the girl taken to Murphy Medical as a junior at Murphy High.

    Hardin said Friday morning the girl was doing fine. "We're very thankful no one was seriously injured," she said.

    Jason McCoy was pumping gas at the nearby Hot Spot gas station when he looked up and saw a red pickup hit the Smart Car. "I'm just glad everybody's all right," he said.

    Both the truck and Smart Car were heavily damaged. The pickup was upside down with debris scattered on the road and on the median. Children on the bus were holding the hands of parents through the windows. The bus showed little damage.

    Lane said that the bus driver, Jeff Owens, was not hurt, and he had returned to the middle school to provide a seating chart to the N.C. Highway Patrol. All the children were released to their parents.

    "We're just very fortunate no one was hurt," he said.

    Lane added that the bus would be repaired and return to service the next day. "It's a tribute to the quality that the state demands of our school buses," he said.

Mutual Aid Training

posted Aug 15, 2012, 9:48 PM by Unknown user

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 8:05 PM CDT
Photos by SCOTT WALLACE/swallace@cherokeescout.com 
Murphy assistant fire chief Phil Bowman radios to inspectors on the other end the flow readings from the gauge attached to the fire hydrant he just opened Thursday at one end of the Valley Village Shopping Center in Murphy. Sufficient flow is crucial to lowering fire insurance rates.
Davie Summey, rating inspector for the N.C. Department of Insurance, W.C. King, Cherokee County fire marshal, and Joe Mariano, assistant fire chief with the Ranger Volunteer Fire Department (from left), check residual water pressure in a hydrant at the opposite end of the shopping center.
    Murphy – The Murphy Volunteer Fire Department spent three years preparing to show its stuff during a four-day period before a state insurance office rating inspector with the goal of saving residents on insurance premiums.

    Davie Summey with the N.C. Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshal completed his intensive inspection Thursday.

    “There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into this,” Murphy Fire Chief Al Lovingood said. “We do two separate ratings – one for Murphy City limits, and one for Murphy Rural.”
     The Murphy Volunteer Fire Department actually is two departments in one. The Murphy Fire district is whatever is in the city limits. Murphy Rural is 99.65 road miles outside of the city limits: U.S. 64 West to Lakeside Plaza; Hanging Dog Road to about a half mile past Bates Creek Road; U.S. 64 East to the Bill Wells Bridge; U.S. 64 East Alternate, which includes the Wilscot Road centerline and everything to the left; and U.S. 19 to Old Peachtree Road. The Murphy Rural District also covers Cherokee Hills, including the Poorhouse Mountain development.

    Of the 99.65 Murphy Rural road miles, only 38.6 or about 39 percent are within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, which means 61 percent of the area pays higher insurance rates with a 9 rating instead of a 6 rating, Lovingood said.

    “We want to provide insurance savings to 100 percent of the people,” he said.

Insurance savings

    The state insurance department rates fire districts from 1-10, with 1 being the best and 10 meaning no fire protection. The lower the rating, the less people pay for fire insurance. Paid fire departments in large, metropolitan areas usually have the best fire insurance ratings.

    Lovingood pointed out that 1997 was the last time Murphy underwent a fire insurance rating process. The town’s insurance rating then dropped from a Class 8, which it had been since the early 1900s, to a Class 7.

    After a rating process, the fire department receives a statement of improvements that need to be made. The improvements were made in 1998, and in 1999 the town’s rating dropped to a Class 6, which meant a large insurance savings for everyone with a home or business in Murphy.

    An example of what a lower fire insurance rating can mean for insurance premiums is a $221,000 home in Murphy with a Class 6 rating would pay $324 less per year in insurance than the same home in the part of Murphy Rural District that doesn’t get the Class 6 rating.

    “Our goal [in the rating process] is to save them on fire insurance and to provide better fire protection,” Lovingood said.

    Hiwassee Dam residents living within five miles of one of the two fire stations have seen a decrease in their fire insurance rates of from 18 to 24 percent as the result of an upgrade of the fire department’s rating by the state. The fire insurance rating was reduced from nine to seven as a results of inspections done last year.

    Residents living within 1,000 feet of a pressurized fire hydrant in the Murphy Rural District have a lower fire insurance rating. For example, Tar Heel subdivision residents pay insurance based on a Class 9 rating instead of a Class 6 because there are no fire hydrants. Everyone pays a fire tax in the Murphy Rural Fire District, Lovingood said.

    “We want to go to a single class grade, meaning everyone will get the same fire rating [in Murphy Rural District],” he said. “So we had to go back to the drawing board. The question is how can we supply adequate water to places like Tar Heel?”

Residents help

    The Murphy Volunteer Fire Department requested help from eight neighboring volunteer fire departments that agreed to provide automatic aid in case of fires. Historically, Murphy has received aid for residential fires from the Peachtree department and for a commercial fire from Peachtree and Ranger.

    The eight volunteer fire departments that will provide aid for Murphy are Bellview, Brasstown, Grape Creek, Hanging Dog, Martins Creek, Peachtree, Ranger and


    To get a lower rating for Murphy Rural, they must sustain 250 gallons of water per minute of flow anywhere in the Murphy Rural District.

    “On some of these subdivision roads, this can be difficult,” Lovingood said. “Mountainous roads present more problems. In Murphy Rural, six dry hydrants were installed on personal property. A dry hydrant is a six-inch PVC connection into a static water source or a flow stream.

    “Local property owners allowed us to install [dry hydrants], which resulted in a water point within a mile and a half of every structure,” Lovingood said.

    Four were installed in Tar Heel, one on Wilscot Road and one off Bates Creek Road. Assistant fire chief W.C. King said two dry hydrants use creeks and four ponds. King also is Cherokee County’s fire marshal.

Inspecting items

    Besides water sources, the rating process grades on communication such as 911 operation, emergency generators and even how the fire department is listed in the telephone book; and the fire department itself, which includes equipment, training and instance response.

    “We have 249 fire hydrants that have to be tested twice a year,” Lovingood said.

    “We have four fire trucks that must be tested annually, and all of our 14,175 feet of fire hoses must be tested


    Lovingood said that as far as he knows, the fire department is the only governmental agency that saves people far more than they pay in taxes.

    “While it will be 60-90 days until we receive the results, we are hopeful to once again receive an improved fire department rating that will result in lower insurance premiums,” Lovingood said. “We don’t have a goal to get to a certain class. Our goal is to do everything we can to get the best rating we can.”

    Murphy has two fire stations, the main station on Hiawassee Street and a substation at Natural Springs.

    In 1999, when they were last graded, the department needed three major resources, which it has acquired. One was the substation, which was built in 2000. Another was an aerial device, and a ladder truck was acquired in 2005. The third was a third engine, which was donated by the N.C. Forest Service. Murphy simply had to equip it.

    “I could not be more proud of what our volunteers did along with the automatic aid departments. They put forth a lot of effort and time,” Lovingood said.

Other agencies provide aid

    People have commented on the camaraderie displayed by the automatic aid departments working to help Murphy, he said. For example, Ranger Volunteer Fire Department had a competition among themselves to see how fast they could get to a hydrant and hook up and be ready from 200 feet away. They were able to do this drill in 45 seconds.

    The Martins Creek Volunteer Fire Department had a friendly competition to see how fast they could hook up to a dry hydrant. They turned it into a training exercise and did it in one minute, 21 seconds.

    “They performed flawlessly when it came to their specific assignments,” Lovingood said. “I hope they will also try to do this rating. They helped us and now it is our turn to help them. We did as good as we can possibly do.

    “We are cautiously optimistic that we are going to improve.”

    “To get into this lower rating, it is a tremendous undertaking,” King said.

    “We are excited about the opportunity to save people some money,” Lovingood added.

2 Car MVA 2 Fatality

posted Aug 15, 2012, 9:29 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Aug 24, 2012, 5:48 PM ]

Monday, August 13, 2012 12:09 PM CDT
    Ranger  – Two N.C. Department of Transportation workers were killed shortly after 2 p.m. Friday on N.C. 60 when a vehicle reportedly ran into them.

    The victims have been identified as Dannie Burrell and Tony Wright, N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Kenny Hyde said Saturday morning.

    A black Ford Escape with a North Carolina handicap tag and heavily damaged front end was on the side of the road after the accident Friday afternoon. The vehicle also appeared to have run into the rear side of a DOT dump truck. The accident occurred more than a half-mile south of Cook Bridge Road, just south of Adams Lane.
     The driver of the Escape –  Richard Woodbury Roberts, 65, of Murphy – was transported by ambulance to Ranger Elementary/Middle School where a helicopter flew him to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he was listed in stable condition Saturday morning, Hyde said.

    Roberts was no longer in the hospital Tuesday morning, according to a spokesperson for Erlanger Medical Center. Hyde said Tuesday that Roberts was released from the hospital Sunday. He believes Roberts sustained leg and arm injuries.

     DOT employee Shane Garland said a six-man road crew was working on the east shoulder of the wide, five-lane highway, where they were repairing a washout. None of the four who survived were injured.

    Burrell and Wright were standing behind a DOT dump truck when Roberts’ vehicle ran off the right side of the road, then struck them and the dump truck, Hyde said.

    The road was dry and is not normally congested. There were no apparent skidmarks near the accident scene, although debris from the

Ford Escape was scattered about 75 feet along the


    A dog was being taken care of by rescue personnel. The medium-size dog had been in the Ford Escape at the time of the crash, according to rescue personnel.

 Hyde and N.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. Chris Wood were investigating the cause, of the accident. Although Hyde would not speculate on the cause, he did say charges are pending against Roberts.

    Hyde said a toxicology test has been sent off for testing, and a state vehicle reconstruction team was on the scene. A toxicology test is required to be taken in any accident involving a fatality. A decision on charges against Roberts will not be made until the reconstruction team completes its work and the results of a toxicology test are completed.

    “They were two good men and this is terribly unfortunate that this happened to two of the hardest workers we had,” said Wesley Grindstaff, district engineer for DOT.

    “They were good people and respected and liked by everyone. A lot of people, in DOT are hurting because they are gone. They can’t be replaced, and they will be missed.”

    Burrell had worked with the DOT since 2003 and Wright since 1994, according to a DOT spokesperson.

    Burrell, 66, of Marble, worked in the maintenance department for the DOT. He worked with the chain crew at Murphy High School football games, according to his obituary notice from Townson-Rose Funeral Home. Funeral services were held Tuesday at Townson-Rose Funeral Home Chapel in Murphy with the Rev. Darren Shuler officiating. Burial was in Peachtree Memorial Baptist Church Cemetery. Masonic rites were given by Marble Springs Masonic Lodge No. 439.

    Wright, 60, of Murphy, was a DOT supervisor of road construction. A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. today at the Townson-Rose Funeral Home Chapel in Murphy. A eulogy will be given by his son, the Rev. Matthew Wright. A private burial will be held later in the Scroggs family cemeter

Ranger Flea Market Fire

posted Aug 15, 2012, 9:27 PM by Unknown user

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 3:39 PM CDT
SCOTT WALLACE/swallace@cherokeescout.com
Murphy volunteer firefighters spray water down on a fire that destroyed an auction house and a specialty lumber business Wednesday at the Ranger Flea Market.
     Ranger – A building in the middle of Ranger Flea Market burned to the ground Wednesday afternoon.

    Joey Nasworthy, who owns a produce stand at the market behind Ranger Convenience Store, said he was leaving and saw black smoke pouring out of the building.

    "Smoke ignited Styrofoam on the roof, and the fire went through the whole roof at once," he said. "No one was inside."
     A free-standing building in the center of a U-shaped series of connected buildings caught fire. Most of the free standing building that burnt to the ground had been used as an auction house.

    Nasworthy said a fire started at the produce stand in another section of the Ranger Flea Market, but firefighters quickly put it out and prevented the fire from destroying the remaining Ranger Flea Market buildings, Ranger Convenience Store on one side and Foster's Flea Market on the other. Decker's Flea Market is across U.S. 19/129 from the other two flea markets.

    Foster's Flea Market was destroyed in a fire on July 30. It has since been rebuilt.

    Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corp. workers cut electrical wires loose from poles serving the market. After the fire was extinguished by several volunteer fire departments, all that was left were charred poles and remains of chairs. Smoke poured from the rubble, but no one was injured.

    Jeff Kiska said the origin of the fire must have been electrical. He sold lumber out of one side of the auction house, but he had moved most of his lumber out of the building.

    "It seems like the fire started in the auction house," he said. "I ran in and got my iPod. I didn't have time to grab my chainsaw because the flames were coming over the roof. I have never seen anything burn so fast."

    Ranger Volunteer Fire Department Chief Frank Mariano said when he arrived, the building was fully involved. Firefighters knocked out the fire quickly and kept it from spreading. He doesn't know the cause yet.

    Responding to the fire were the Bellview, Hiwassee Dam, Murphy, Ranger and Wolf Creek volunteer fire departments along with the Union County (Ga.) Volunteer Fire Department. The Cherokee County Rescue Squad and Cherokee County Emergency Medical Service also responded.

Commercial Structure Fire

posted Aug 23, 2011, 2:27 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Aug 23, 2011, 2:32 PM ]

On Saturday July 30 at 02:07 hrs Ranger VFD along with Murphy and Bellview VFD were dispatched to a reported structure fire at 100 Blairsville HWY.

Upon arrival crews found a 44,000 sq.ft. structure well off and the fire moving very fast. The initial alarm brought 5 engines, 1 ladder, and 4 tankers. The closest hydrant was only capable of flowing 620 gpm and Chief Frank Mariano quickly realized that this was insufficient and requested 5 more departments bringing another 4 engines and 10 tankers. Two fill sites were established, one at a hydrant at the Georgia state line and another fill site at Ranger Fire Department using Nottley River as a source and two engines to fill tankers at a combined 1220 gpm.

The structure was originally constructed as an open air flea market using lightweight trusses and had a metal roof. Since its original construction several additions had been added along with walls to make it a fully enclosed building. There were a wide variety of vendors that had shops setup there that sold everything from clothes and books to guns and ammunition. Due to the construction and fire load interior operations were not allowed. At approximately 04:00 the entire structure was on the ground.

Two master streams were utilized first while the ladder was being positioned and setup. Once the ladder was setup and the tanker shuttles were going the ladder was able to flow between 1200 and 1500 gpm till around 07:00hrs when it was determined that the ladder was no longer needed. Flow was reduced to around 500 gpm using one master stream to continue to cool several propane tanks.

Two other engines used master streams to cool 4 250 gallon propane tanks on opposite sides of the structure. The engine on the south side was supplied by the tanker shuttle from the Georgia line while the west engine was supplied with tankers from the fill site at RVFD.

During overhaul operations, crews found 15 20lb propane cylinders and 4 250 gallon propane tanks.

The SBI assisted the Fire Marshall's office in the investigation in which no cause could be determined.

Crews remained on scene for most of the day Saturday and Sunday controlling flare ups and hitting hot spots.

Ranger VFD would like to thank Murphy VFD, Bellview VFD, Hiwassee Dam VFD, Wolfe Creek VFD, Culberson VFD, Peachtree VFD, Union County Fire Department, Cherokee County Rescue Squad, Cherokee County EMS, Cherokee County Sheriff Office, NC State Highway Patrol, NCDOT, and American Red Cross for their assistance with this incident

LODD City of Asheville Nc

posted Jul 28, 2011, 7:24 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 28, 2011, 7:42 PM ]


We send our sincerest condolences to the City of Asheville today and to the family of Captain Jeff Bowen.

From the City of Asheville

A 13-year veteran of the Asheville Fire Department was fatally injured today while responding to a four-alarm fire in an office building.

At about 12:30 p.m., fire crews responded to a call at 445 Biltmore Ave., which houses medical offices near the Mission Hospital campus.

Capt. Jeff Bowen, 37, went into cardiac arrest after succumbing to intense smoke and heat. Bowen has been with the department since 1998. He lived with his wife Stacy in Alexander. They have three children.

Seven other firefighters were transported to Mission for treatment of heat exposure and other injuries. One other firefighter, Jay Bettencourt, was transported to a burn center in August, Ga., for treatment. He was in stable condition at the time of the transport.

Fire Chief Scott Burnette spoke about the pain of losing Capt. Bowen.

“We are devastated by the loss of our brother Jeff,” he said. “He dedicated himself to protecting the people of Asheville, and this is a terrible tragedy for our city, for all of us in the Asheville Fire Department, and most importantly, for his wife Stacy. We are praying for her, and offer our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved him as we did.”

“Jeff was a hero whose sacrifice will be forever honored.”

Mayor Terry Bellamy has ordered that flags at all city buildings be flown at half-staff until further notice.

“I am deeply saddened by the death of Capt. Bowen, who today made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” she said. “This is a tragic reminder of the daily risks the heroic men and women of the fire department face each day, for our safety.

“My fellow council members and I send our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones and to his colleagues in the Asheville Fire Department, who are mourning this terrible loss.”

The building where the fire occurred is owned by Biltmore Condominium Associates. It broke out on the top floors, and more than 200 people were evacuated.

No civilian injuries were reported, and Mission Hospital was not impacted.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The city has not experienced a four-alarm fire in at least the last 30 years. Some 60 Asheville firefighters ultimately responded to the call. They were assisted by fire crews from departments in Buncombe County, as well as Asheville police.

= = =

ASHEVILLE - One Asheville firefighter has died after a fire in a medical building near Mission Hospital.  Eight other firefighters were taken to the hospital, many suffering from heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

Fire crews were called to the building at 445 Biltmore Avenue just after noon, Thursday.  Flames could be seen shooting from windows on the fifth floor of the building, which houses private medical practices and clinics.  Dozens of employees, patients, and visitors were evacuated.

Around 13:30 hours, a “Mayday” call went out over fire radio and there were reports of “firefighters down”.  A few minutes later, commanders ordered all crews out of the building so they could account for everyone.  Firefighters then attacked the fire from the exterior, shooting water into the windows.  The fire was extinguished just before 15:00 hours.

The identity of the firefighter who died has not been released.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Asheville Fire Department’s Capt. Jeffrey Bowen, a 13-year veteran of the department, died today, July 28, after battling a blaze at 445 Biltmore Ave. Another firefighter, Jay Bettencourt, was taken to Augusta, Ga., for treatment. According to information released at a 5 p.m. press conference, the building was older and not required to have a sprinkler system.

The exact age of the building, and the exact circumstances behind the fire have not yet been released. Bettencourt and Bowen were working as a team, searching for people in the building, when Bowen called out “mayday” over the radio. Six other firefighters were also injured, and treated at Mission Hospital. Captain Bowen was 37 years old and leaves behind a wife and three children.

The last time an Asheville firefighter died in the line of duty was 1982.

Transcript from radio traffic up to the third alarm dispatch.

Asheville Fire Department

E2, E1, L1, SQ1
Fire Alarm Activation
445 Biltmore Avenue X-St Brooklet.
On F2

Engine 2 on scene, working fire, heavy smoke, flames showing, rear of building. Working fire top floor. Start 2nd Alarm. 
E201 Command

FM10, Car3, R3, BC1, E6
Working Fire Dispatch

(Dispatch of Second Alarm companies over-ridden by fireground traffic)

Chief 4 on scene.

Chief 4 has Command.

Engine 10 to Station 6.

Evacuation Bus requested.

BC1 on scene.

Air Truck requested.

Command announces Third Alarm is coming.

Third Alarm Dispatched
E8, E10, Q5, BC2

Engine 9 to Station 1.
Engine 4 to Station 5.

FM10 on scene.

Medic 1 Bus on scene.

Source: WLOS.com

Source: www.firenews.net

2011 Open House

posted Apr 25, 2011, 5:12 PM by Unknown user

Ranger Fire Department invites all community members to our 2011 Open House. It will be held Saturday May 14, 2011 from 10 am to 2 pm. Free lunch will be provided along with fire truck and equipment demonstrations. Please come and join us celebrating 37 years of community service.

Benefit Dinner For Larry McNabb

posted Mar 28, 2011, 12:54 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 28, 2011, 12:55 PM ]

Attached is information on an upcoming benefit for Larry McNabb, a
long-time member of the Cherokee County Rescue Squad and former Chief of
the Hiwassee Dam Fire Department. Larry has been active in the community
his entire life in many capacities including a community and church
leader, a local farmer and  businessman, a school board member, and fire
& rescue responder, board member, and chief officer.

The benefit will be held at the Hiwassee Dam School on Saturday, April
2 beginning at 4:30 pm.

Ranger VFD Responds to 3 MVA's Due to Ice

posted Jan 11, 2011, 7:36 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 15, 2011, 7:54 PM ]

On the morning of January 6 RVFD along with Cherokee County EMS responded to 3 MVAs. Two were along HWY 64 and one was on HWY 19/129. The two wrecks on 64 had no injuries were cleared quickly. The third wreck on 19/129 proved to be a challenge to get the patient up the slippery hill. This patient was taken to Erlanger in Chattanooga, Tn. Ranger VFD responded 1853 and 1871 along with 8 personnel.



2011 Fontana Fire School

posted Dec 8, 2010, 11:56 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 11, 2011, 8:36 PM ]

Tri-County Community College is proud to announce the 2011 Fontana Fire
& Rescue College. This year, there are several new classes in fire and
rescue disciplines. Of special interest for personnel who are officers
or wish to be leaders within their department, courses like:

  • Chief 101
  • Live Burn Awareness/NFPA 1403 Requirements
  • One Bugle, Two Bugles, Three Bugles, or More
  • Firefighter 101/Swede Flashover Simulator (NFPA 1403 Required)
  • Arson Detection for the First Responder
  • Clandestine Drug Labs

The Fontana Fire & Rescue College will be held at Fontana Village in
Graham County February 18-20. The school brochure with course
descriptions and other pertinent information, registration form, and
concurrent enrollment form for students between 16 and 18 years of age
is located at following link:

For more information contact Joe Mariano. All forms need to be submitted to Joe by Monday January 17.

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