Thursday, February 17, 2011
Carmel on the Case: Getting Burned
Two high ranking members of the Broward County Fire Rescue Department have been disciplined the action comes after an investigation into the purchase of a million dollar fire hose at Port Everglades. Problems with the hose system were first exposed by 7 News, and now Carmel Cafiero is On the Case with the latest.
WSVN -- It's the worst case scenario for a facility like Port Everglades, a fire in one of the massive fuel storage tanks. That's why the port agreed to buy this state of the art fire hose system but it hasn't worked and now an investigation into that purchase has resulted in the suspension of BSO Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Kelli Allen. According to BSO, the suspension is based on policy violations including: "official reports and truthfulness in BSO matters".
Carmel Cafiero: "The Broward Sheriff's Office will not discuss Kelli Allen's suspension or release any other information. It says that's because the Internal Affairs Investigation is still open and active."
The same applies to assistant Chief Timothy Keefe who was also involved in the hose purchase investigation.
He has been reassigned based on a policy violation of "authority commensurate with responsibility".
When 7 News first exposed problems with the hose system, it had failed three tests it didn't shoot a water and foam mixture far enough. Crucial to putting out a tank fire.
Carmel Cafiero: "If there was a fire today could you use what we have spent a million dollars on?"
Chief Joseph Lello: "No."
Then fire chief Joseph Lello said the port wasn't properly protected so the enormous system was tested a fourth time. 7 News was there as the twelve inch hose was rolled out on a windy night
Assistant Chief John Schildknecht: "I think we'll shoot eight thousand gallons a minute, 450 feet three per cent foam solution."
The assistant chief had high hopes that this time the system would pass the test but it did not.
Assistant Chief John Schildknecht: "OK this sucks."
Again the water and foam did not reach the target, but wind may have been a factor.
Assistant Chief John Schildknecht: "We knew we were going to have some issues with the wind direction and speed."
The system's manufacturer said in a real fire the hose would not have been placed, so that it was shooting into the wind.
Frank Bateman: "The equipment was sold with the understanding that the reach that we specified, we could accomplish, was done in still air conditions."
But Port Everglades has notified the manufacturer that the county will not accept the system. However, the Port is giving the company one more chance to make the hose work and there's a lot riding on that test.
The port has already paid 1.1 million dollars with another 144 thousand yet to be paid.