Meet Austin Wuertz

Firefighter Austin Wuertz

Firefighter Austin Wuertz has been serving the Central County Fire & Rescue community since July 2017.

Why did you become a firefighter?

Coming from a customer service background, I wanted a career that would offer variety, have a positive impact on our community and offer the opportunity for a job that I would enjoy coming to do daily.  The opportunity to have a career where I can provide for my family, aid our fellow man, and enjoy what you do is truly a gift.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Growing up I played on numerous sports teams, and was fortunate to have influential coaches along with meeting some of my best friends along the way. The teamwork and camaraderie of our team at CCFR working together for a common goal of giving our citizens the best positive outcomes is my favorite part of the job. Every day is different and gives the opportunity of not having monotony, another factor of our job I appreciate.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends. My hobbies include outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, etc. I enjoy doing pretty much anything involving the water, boating, fishing, waterskiing. It doesn’t get any better than getting on a jet-ski anytime the opportunity presents. “Have you ever seen anyone have a bad time on a jet-ski?!”

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’m a diehard Mizzou Fan, and proud alumni. The football program is my favorite regarding sports, and I take advantage of any time I am able to go to a game.  I graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia in 2007 with a Bachelors of Business Administration – Management, and a Minor in Psychology.  Following graduation I worked in a variety of roles that emphasized in marketing and moreover customer service.  It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life regarding a career.  After talking for some time with a close family friend in the field I decided to take a leap of faith an pursue a career in firefighting.  The process in achieving this goal is the greatest accomplishment I have yet to achieve, and I am indebted many instructors, preceptors, fellow classmates, and mentors who helped me along the way.  The plan is to “Pay it Forward” to the citizens we serve in our community, and keep learning this trade on both the Fire and EMS side of our profession.

Paramedic experience?  I was fortunate to get to work with SCCAD on their transfer division, alongside the frontline medics that helped train me and countless others in their EMT & Paramedic ProgramsEveryday we respond to emergent and non emergent calls together with SCCAD and neighboring fire departments.

Describe a typical day at the firehouse.

We arrive to work and discuss with the outgoing crew any important information they have to relay.  Following we check our equipment, tools, and truck to make sure they are in working order ready to go. Additionally, check our schedule and find out if we have any specific training, classes, or community services to accomplish that day or the following on our rotation.  During some downtime we will get a workout and/or physical training in.  Just like at home with your family meals are an important time for our second family to get together and talk about things going on in one another’s lives, and to refuel.

What are two things about your job that people would surprise non-firefighters?

The community involvement inside and outside of the firehouse is one of our greatest assets.  Whether it be our Meals on Wheels Program, MDA involvement, MS Walk, BBQ’s, DASA disabled athletes association involvement, volleyball & bags tournaments, and various projects for our citizens including the building of ramps, pouring pads, and adding other safety features on days off to help better serve our citizens making sure they are safe.

CCFR Headquarters Moves To New, Centralized Location

Central County Fire & Rescue Headquarters

The SAFE-T bond issue provided funding to update four fire stations and the District’s headquarters. Until April 24, 2017, the District’s headquarters was housed at Fire Station #1 on Timberbrook Dr., which was built more than 25 years ago. Since then, the area’s population has grown by more than 25%; and the role of the fire service and the needs of our community have changed. There is now a stronger emphasis on emergency medical service, training, fire prevention, inspections and community fire education.

“When we reviewed the investment to update the current building to meet the needs of the District and to continue to serve as a fire station we found that it was less expensive to move to a new building,” says CCFR Board Director Bob Carpenter.

The District purchased the building at 1220 Cave Springs Blvd. It is across the street from Fire Station #4 and is centrally located within the District. “This location will be easier for many residents to get to when they need permits or other assistance from those at our headquarters. It will also be more efficient for our inspection team and District leaders who travel around our 72-square mile District,” says Carpenter.

The updated building will provide adequate space for the fire prevention bureau, which handles permits, inspections and public education, and the training division, updated wiring and technology, and a small command center where emergency responders from around the area can convene in the event of a large-scale emergency.

The move will also open up space at Fire Station #1 to meet the needs of today’s firefighters with updated bunk rooms, training space, and exercise facilities. In addition, there will be an expanded community room available to residents and local organizations.

Construction on Fire Station #1 is planned to begin this spring. The replacement of Fire Station #5 (2934 Ehlmann Rd.) and updates to Fire Station #3 (511 Willott Rd.) and Fire Station #6 (1151 Jungs Station Rd.) are also planned.

Metal Halide Lamps Recalled

Hallide bulb recall

Philips Lighting has expanded its recall of its metal halide lamps.

This item — sold for high-ceiling industrial, commercial and resident use — was first recalled in May 2016; the recall has been expanded to include approximately 256,000 new units due to fire and laceration hazards. The company has received 12 new reports of lamps shattering, including one incident involving a fire.

Click here for the full recall.

 

Bogey Hills Country Club On-Scene Fire Investigation Complete, Arson Not The Cause

Bogey Hills Country Club On-Scene Fire Investigation Complete, Arson Not The Cause

Analysis Of Evidence, Specific Origin And Cause Findings Report In Progress

With the assistance of the National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office and the St. Charles County Police Department, Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) investigators have concluded the on-scene phase of the investigation of the Bogey Hills Country Club fire.

“The thorough investigation of a fire of this size would not have been possible without the assistance and teamwork demonstrated by ATF, the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office and the St. Charles County Police Department,” says CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown. “This was a tragic event for our entire community, and we truly appreciate their willingness to step in and help.”

On Thursday, Feb. 16, at approximately 11:55 p.m., CCFR and surrounding fire departments responded to a three-alarm blaze that destroyed the historic Bogey Hills Country Club at 1120 Country Club Road in St. Charles County, Missouri.

The entire investigation team has spent nearly a week extensively examining the scene, conducting interviews and reviewing hours of video footage shot by witnesses and firefighters to determine the origin and cause of the fire. The investigation is not complete, but the team has been able to rule out arson as a potential cause. A final report detailing the specific origin and cause findings will be available at the conclusion of the investigation.
###
About Central County Fire & Rescue
The Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) District is one of the largest fire districts in Missouri, covering 72-square miles of St. Charles County, MO and a population of 90,000. A team of 82 firefighter/EMTs, fire inspectors and operational staff work together to keep the St. Peters and St. Charles, MO community safe. This well trained team operates six fire stations, seven days a week. A three member, citizen-elected Board of Directors, leads the District.

Bogey Hills Country Club Fire Investigation

Bogey Hills Fire

On Thursday, Feb. 16 a fire ripped through Bogey Hills Country Club, resulting in one of the largest fire losses our District has seen. At nearly 40,000 square feet or almost an acre of space reduced to rubble, investigating the burned building to learn the cause of the fire is a massive undertaking.

The night of the fire, while responders began extinguishing the fire, CCFR’s team of investigators began talking to witnesses and assessing the scene to determine the cause. Once the emergency response was complete, they began the process of preserving the scene, evaluating the situation, and collecting and documenting evidence.

The leadership of CCFR quickly realized that their team of investigators would need assistance to handle the large fire scene. At this point, investigators from the Missouri Division of Fire Safety and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were called in to help.

The Missouri Division of Fire Safety and the National Response Team (NRT) of the ATF both offer trained investigators to assist fire districts in large-scale scenarios such as the Bogey Hills Country Club fire. They also provide access to state of the art investigation resources and technology that the District does not have.

“Ultimately, our goal is to learn the cause of the fire so we can learn from this loss to the community,” explains CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown. “By using the resources of the state and national experts we have a better chance of learning the why behind this fire.”

The State of Missouri’s Division of Fire Safety Fire investigators, are Missouri POST licensed law enforcement officers and are on call and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These investigators have thousands of hours of training not only in fire and explosion investigation techniques but also in crime scene investigation, evidence collection, interviewing, fraud investigation and other aspects of criminal investigation.

The NRT teams from the ATF are each composed of veteran special agents who have extensive post blast and fire origin and cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; accelerant detection canines and electrical engineers. The teams work alongside state and local officers in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the bombing/arson. Further complementing the teams’ efforts are a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States to provide logistical support.

To learn more about the Bogey Hills Country Club fire visit the District’s Facebook page here. 

ATF National Response Team Joins Bogey Hills Fire Investigation

Bogey Hills Country Club Fire

The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with ATF special agents from the Kansas City Field Division were activated Sunday to join the investigation into the fire that destroyed the Bogey Hills Country Club,

1120 Country Club Road, St. Charles, Missouri. The three-alarm fire occurred in the late night hours of Thursday and burned into early Friday morning. The NRT arrived on the scene this morning.

“ATF is committed to working with the Missouri Fire Marshal’s Office, Central County Fire Rescue and St. Charles County Police Department, by adding our expertise and resources to this investigation,” said Jeffrey L. Fulton, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Kansas City Field Division.

In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to bring its expertise to federal, state and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant explosions and arson incidents. The NRT consists of four teams organized geographically to cover the United States. Each team can respond within 24 hours to assist state and local law enforcement/fire service personnel in on-site investigations.

The teams are each composed of veteran special agents who have extensive post blast and fire origin and cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; accelerant detection canines and electrical engineers. The teams work alongside state and local officers in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the bombing/arson. Further complementing the teams’ efforts are a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States to provide logistical support.

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. For more information about ATF, go to www.atf.gov and follow @ATFHQ on Twitter.

Additional information about the fire, including images and video, are available on the District’s Facebook page here.

Bogey Hills Country Club Fire

Bogey Hills Country Club Fire

Just before midnight on Feb. 16, 2017, Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) received a structure fire call.

When they arrived at Bogey Hills Country Club in St. Charles County, Missouri they found the clubhouse engulfed in flames. As the fire rapidly grew to a three-alarm incident they were able to recover some memorabilia, computers and member’s golf clubs before having to turn to defensive operations. Fortunately, there were no fatalities or injuries. The building and contents are a total loss, and the cause of the fire is under investigation. Crews remained on the scene throughout the morning to ensure that hot spots were put out and that the area was safe.

To see photos and videos from the fire visit CCFR’s Facebook Page here.

Alert: Elevated Fire Danger

Grass Fire

Central County Fire & Rescue is urging its citizens to take extra precautions as current weather conditions are contributing to an elevated fire danger.

The combination of dry vegetation, low humidity and strong winds poses a great threat for rapidly spreading fires, which can be started with discarded cigarettes, BBQ grills, fireplace ashes or burning debris.

Open burning is prohibited within CCFR’s boundaries — this includes burning construction debris, yard waste, trash and other materials that are not seasoned firewood.

If you plan to use a grill or fire pit this weekend, make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby. Remove all dried leaves and other foliage from the area. Grills and fire pits should be placed on level surfaces at least 6 feet away from the home and other structures, such as decks. Discarded cigarettes, charcoal and fire pit ashes should be disposed of in a metal container that is stored at least 6 feet from the house, deck or garage.

Burn Awareness Week

Burn Awareness Week

Feb. 5-11 is Burn Awareness Week.

This annual initiative is an opportunity for burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in our communities, and to raise awareness among families about potential harmful situations.

Burn Statistics

Approximately 450,000 burn injuries require medical treatment each year, according to a report by the American Burn Association.

Children are particularly susceptible; the CDC reports that more than 300 chilren are treated in emergency rooms every day for burn-related injuries. Young children are likely to be injured by scald burns caused by hot liquids or steam, while older children are likely to sustain injuries from flame burns caused by direct contact with fire. Children and older adults, by virtue of their thinner skin, sustain severe burns at lower temperatures and in less time than an adult.

Burn Prevention

In addition to practicing general fire safety, there are a few specific scenarios when burns are more likely to occur. Bathtime, in the kitchen and around fire-starting tools are all good times to remember and reinforce ways to prevent burns.

At bathtime:

  • When using water taps, turn cold water on first, then add hot water and adjust the temperature. Reverse this order when turning water off.
  • Always test bath and sink water at the tap before use (experts recommend testing with an elbow or wrist), and monitor temperature throughout.
  • Set your home’s water heater thermostat to 120º (Fahrenheit) or lower.
  • Consider installing anti-scald devices on faucets and shower heads, which will shut off water if it gets too hot.

In the kitchen:

  • Use safe cooking practices. Never leave cooking food unattended, use backburners when you cook and turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge so they stay out of reach.
  • Supervise and/or restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens and microwaves.
  • Test the temperature of food and beverages before serving them to children. Food can cook unevenly in microwave ovens; stir and test before eating.
  • Use oven mitts to handle hot food; never use wet oven mitts, which can cause scald burns. Replace old/worn oven mitts.
  • Open heated food containers slowly, away from the face to avoid steam burns. Hot steam escaping from the container or food can cause burns.

Around fire-starting tools:

  • Store all matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of young children.
  • Teach older children responsible use of matches and lighters, and reinforce the concept that these are tools with a specific use (ie. lighting a candle or starting a campfire).

Burn Treatment

If a burn does occur, there are a few important steps you should take immediately.

  • Treat a burn right away by putting it in cool water for 3-5 minutes.
  • Cover burn with a clean, dry cloth. Do not apply creams, ointments, sprays or other home remedies.
  • Remove all clothing, diapers, jewelry and metal from the affected area, as these items can hide underlying burns and retain heat.

Seek medical treatment for severe burns.

Carpet Powder Recalled

carpet products

Six brands of dry carpet cleaners have been recalled.

The dry carpet cleaning powders can contain harmful bacteria that poses a risk of respiratory and other infections in immunocompromised individuals. Consumers with healthy immune systems are generally not affected by the bacteria. Brands include Arm & Hammer, Capture, Healthy Home, Oreck, Resista and Riccar.

Click here for the full recall.