Longview Arson Investigation

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Longview Arson Investigation

Post by N. LeBlanc on Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:27 pm

*Since it’s rather late at night, rather than driving around, we’re sitting in the REP truck, in a shopping mall parking lot. While we’re not doing much, I hear the tones on the Fire dispatch channel going out for a building fire. Since usually we make a lot of fire runs, we’re keeping a portable radio set to their dispatch channel, but building fires aren’t ours. I sit, munching every now and then on the bag of chips I had from earlier when I hear urgent traffic on the fire radio. I missed the initial confusion, but the chatter is a lot more, causing me to mentally perk up. When I hear the battalion chief come over the radio.*

Chief: “County Ops from Longview command, strike out a third alarm, a full third alarm. We’ve had a major explosion. We are requesting two additional rescue companies.”

*Since Fire only has one heavy rescue, either the second one has to come from Chatham, a neighboring town, or us. Since I have friends who are on the fire department, including my brother-in-law and Hale’s cousin, I look over.*

‘Hit it, let’s go!’

*Before we can even get toned out on our radios, I cut dispatch off.*

“SOD 7 to County Ops, we’re enroute to 2113 Longview for the fire assist.”

*I hear dispatch copy me as I crumple up the bag of chips, even though chips are still inside of it. I know that we’ll probably be dedicated to either triage or structural response since we don’t carry bunker gear, I know that we’re still needed. When we arrive, I key the mic.*

“Ops from SOD 7, we’re on the scene. Large three story brownstones, North building is collapsed.”

*I get out of the truck after we park it and I head over to the Battalion Chief.*

Me: ‘Chief, Lieutenant LeBlanc from EPPD. What can we do for you?’

Chief: ‘I dunno. I’ve got people trapped in a bunch of places. Call in your K-9s and get ready to do some digging.’

Me: ‘Got it, chief.’

*I head back to the truck and key the mic.*

Me: “SOD 7 to County Ops.”

Ops: “Go ahead 7.”

Me: “Ops, Fire’s battalion chief 13 just requested our K9s. They are reporting multiple firefighters are trapped in a building that is collapsed.”

Ops: “Copy 7. Be advised, we have K9s 3 and 6 enroute.”

Me: “Copy, thank you.”

*I look to my partner.*

‘We’re sending frickin’ cadaver dogs. Grab your USAR stuff and let’s roll.’

*I head to the rear of my side of the truck and grab my USAR gear. Basically, it's an orange vest with a water bladder. I grab my helmet and I figure that I’ll wait on the exothermic torch, but I’m not doubting that we’ll need it. I head back to the chief, now with my red hard hat and orange vest on.*

‘Chief, I’ve got you two dogs responding. Where do you need my people?’

*As I wait for a response from him, I hear the radio chatter come in pretty clearly.*

“Command from Engine 14, I’m trapped in the basement. Come and get me.”

*Almost without waiting for an order, I turn to my partner and point to the truck, signifying him to grab the K-12. When the chief does order us in, I take the K-12 and head inside. The building is mostly collapsed, causing me to have to vault over some rubble, while ducking through another set. When I get to the basement of the area, I notice that the basement extends a pretty good deal under the next building, but I’m not worried about that since we’re looking for someone trapped.*

‘Rescue, anyone here?!’

*I hear a faint cry, so I nod in the direction of it to my partner and head over.*

‘Hang on, we’re on our way.’

*As we get closer and closer to the basement section below the other building, I start calling out again. This time, there is no one there. I start looking around, and I notice that the area has clearly been the subject of a suspicious fire. The triangle patterns signify that the source of the ignition was next to a rack of paint lacquer, an explosive situation. Eventually, I find him, pinned below the stairs, but to get there, we need to start cutting. I turn to my partner.*

‘Call command and tell them we have a visual on their guy. Tell command we need an exothermic torch and rams.’

*As I fire up the K-12, I know that I’ll kill the blade with the rebar, but it is the only way that I have to get to the downed guy. Eventually, guys from squad 47 show up, carrying their torch, so we continue to cut through the stuff. I hear the guy calling out for another one of his guys, but the two can’t reach. After about twenty minutes of cutting, eventually we reach the first guy and put him on the stokes basket to pull him out of the situation that he’s in right now. I cast a glance in the direction that he was, and I see another motionless guy. The PASS alarm is chirping away, telling us that he hasn’t been able to move for fifteen seconds, a cause for concern, but we’re in a situation that we shouldn’t necessarily be in. I start to key my mic to notify command, but with all of the debris, there is no way that I can contact anyone. We start making out way back up. After a pretty tedious path, we eventually free ourselves from the building. I head over to the chief and inform him of the situation before I head back to the light and air unit so that we can hit rehab before we continue searching the building. I key my mic on the way as I’m taking off my hard hat.*

“County Ops from SOD 7, go ahead and send SOD 8 to us and notify arson. We have a suspicious fire at this location.”

*As we wrap it up, I see guys with Engine 14 helmet shields carrying out the guy that we say. I leave my helmet off and drop to a knee like everyone else out of respect for the deceased. Once he’s in the flag draped ambulance, I stand back up and look back to my partner.*

‘Looks like it’s a murder investigation now.’

*I head back to our truck and sit down on the hood as we wait for another assignment, if there should be one.*

_________________
Lieutenant Nicholas "Boss" LeBlanc
EPPD SOD (Officer In Charge)/ESU OIC
Certifications: Tactical Team leader, USAR team leader, Sniper, Tactical Medic, Paramedic, Aerial Crew Chief, Repelling certified, Coxswain
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Re: Longview Arson Investigation

Post by H. LeBlanc on Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:15 am

*After just starting my shift, I sigh when I hear the call for us to respond to a case.*

‘All right, well, so much for starting slow.’

*I perk up in the seat as I get ready to head over to the scene.  I put the car in drive as we pull out of the office and head to the case.  I put the lights on, but I neglect the siren because we really aren't going to an emergency.  After several minutes, we hit an area that is teeming with red lights.  I weave my way around around a few of the units before we find a good parking space behind an ambulance.  I shut the car off and wait for Church to call it in over the radio as I get out.  I grab my raid jacket from the back of the car and put it on, just so I’m not wandering around with nothing to distinguish me from a detective, other than the ballistic vest.  I start walking toward the building, looking for someone who can tell me what happened.  I see Nick and his partner sitting on the hood of the REP truck, so I figure that the rescue and the recovery phase is over, and now it’s fully up to us.  As I walk down the street, I see two of the fire department’s arson investigator units, so I figure that they are already down there.  As we get closer to the scene, I see a flag draped ambulance pulling away from the scene, which basically tells all of us why major crimes is present.  I rise from my knee and walk over to the guys with the white bunker coats.  I hear that they are not really talking, so I figure that I might as well just interject.*

‘Chiefs?  I’m detective LeBlanc, can I have a moment of your time?’

*One of the chiefs turns around and starts to walk with me toward the building.*

Chef: ‘Well, it was just a normal fire.  The building back there was burning in the back, and it was threatening to spread into this building, so I called for a second alarm and they went in to stop the exposure.  Eventually, there was a collapse, and I start getting mayday calls, so I called for the TRT task force to rescue our guys, but one of them didn’t make it out.’

Me: ‘Chief, I apologize and I offer my condolences.  If you don’t mind me asking, can we gain access into the building?’

Chief: ‘Yeah sure, OFI is already inside.  They’re working in the basement right now.  Just be aware, there are a lot of sharp objects and rubble, so watch your step.’

Me: ‘No problem, chief. Can I get your name for my report?’

Chief: 'Chief Eric Finley.'

Me: 'Thank you chief.'

*I turn around and look to Church as we get ready to head down.*

‘Command said that the fire was in the other building and it was getting ready to spread into this one, so they sent people into this building to stop it.  Eventually, there was a collapse and people fell into the basement where they got trapped.  OFI is already inside, so if you don’t mine, can I take the lead on this one?  I know a lot of these OFI guys.’
*I wait for Church’s response as we head into the building.  I see major blocks of rubble, so I decide that the nitrile gloves aren’t necessarily the best choice here, so I reach into my back pocket and grab a pair of extrication gloves since they are thicker and they won’t tear like the thin plastic ones will.  I pull those on and start vaulting over the rubble, trying to be slow and methodical so that we don’t miss anything or destroy any evidence that might be lying around.*

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Re: Longview Arson Investigation

Post by N. LeBlanc on Mon Dec 07, 2015 5:44 pm

*As I'm sitting on the hood, I decide that I'm tired of sitting down, so I move my feet from the ram bar and slide down onto the pavement. I walk over to the truck and I grab my drink when I hear dispatch asking if someone has an emergency.*

'Jon. c'mere.'

*As I listen to the radio, I hear the cop call out a 10-13 and that he believes his life is in danger. I whistle to Church and grab my vest from the truck's back seat. I sling it over my neck and adjust the sides as I get into the truck. I mark us responding and see what further information that I can get from dispatch. I grab my helmet and switch my baseball cap out with it. Once everything is set up, I know that we're getting close to the scene. I break the lock on my thigh holster for my handgun and then I break the gun lock. I grab a check my magazines in my vest and then grab the 416 from the rack. I grab another magazine and slam it home before I rack a round. As we round the corner, I open my door and grab the mic.*

"SOD 7 to County Ops, we're at the scene, do you have a location on the officer in danger?"

*I look to my right at the parking lot and see a patrol car with its burns on, so I know the officer has to be close to us. I ready my weapon as we see an embankment in front of us. Church appears to hesitate for a minute.*

'Hit it.'

*We head up the embankment, with the heavy suspension on the truck absorbing the punishment of the parking barrier as we jump it. As we get to the top of the embankment, I see a hulking guy without a shirt on and an officer hitting him rapidly, so I figure that the fight is about over. As we slowly proceed over, I see the officer clock the suspect in the clavicle with his asp, so I'm expecting him to be in a lot of pain and on the ground. However, the suspect gets up and again charges the officer, this time with his clavicle sticking out of the skin.*

'Yeah, I'm gonna call drugs on that one.'

*As we pull up, I grab the mic.*

"SOD 7 to Ops, we're at the location. Continue in all responding units. Officers are involved in an altercation with a subject, possibly under the influence."

*I get out of the car and decide to leave the rifle on the seat of the truck. I close the lock on my thigh holster and then break the lock on my holster. I deploy that instead and look to make sure that Church is following me. I make sure that he has the spotlight on the suspect so that he cannot see us as we approach. I continue to aim center-mass with my tazer as we begin to identify ourselves.*

'POLICE! STOP NOW! PUT YOUR HANDS UP!'

*When he refuses to comply, he tackles the cop and begins to get ready to beat his face in. I immediately fire my tazer at him, and it impacts him just a few inches below center mass. The suspect suddenly stops attacking the officer and turns his attention to me. I again call for him to surrender, but he stands up, rips the electrodes from his skin, and begins to come at me. The now bloody and very angry suspect is heading right for me and I have no way to defend myself other than to buy time until the other officers can find a way to end the situation. I prepare myself for the following onslaught by grabbing my asp and extending it to full length. Instead of the normal one-handed slash, I grip it with two hands and hold it over my right shoulder, intending to go yard on his face.*

_________________
Lieutenant Nicholas "Boss" LeBlanc
EPPD SOD (Officer In Charge)/ESU OIC
Certifications: Tactical Team leader, USAR team leader, Sniper, Tactical Medic, Paramedic, Aerial Crew Chief, Repelling certified, Coxswain
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