S.F. Bay Fire & Cops Watch Man Drown

JUNE 2, 2011

By JOHN SEILER

Fire and police rescue crews stood by — for a full hour — while a man drowned in S.F. Bay. What kind of people are these?

MSNBC reports (the link includes a video):

Interim Alameda Fire Chief Mike D’Orazi said that due to 2009 budget cuts his crews did not have the training or cold-water gear to go into the water.

“The incident yesterday was deeply regrettable,” he said Tuesday. “But I can also see it from our firefighters’ perspective. They’re standing there wanting to do something, but they are handcuffed by policy at that point”….

Policy? What about plain old human decency? With all the surfers in California, didn’t somebody have a wet suit? I just don’t believe them. They had an hour to figure something out to save this man.

They probably were standing there talking about their padded pensions.

“This just strikes me as not just a problem with funding, but a problem with the culture of what’s going on in our city, that no one would take the time and help this drowning man,” KGO quoted resident Adam Gillitt as saying.

I remember back in 1982, a plane crashed into the 14th Street Bridge over Potomac River. A blizzard turned the water icy. According to Wikipedia:

Roger Olian, a sheetmetal foreman at St. Elizabeths, a Washington psychiatric hospital, was on his way home across the 14th Street Bridge in his truck when he heard a man yelling that there was an aircraft in the water. He was the first to jump into the water to attempt to reach the survivors.

At the same time, several military personnel from the Pentagon — Steve Raynes, Aldo De La Cruz and Steve Bell — ran down to the water’s edge to help Olian.

He only traveled a few yards and came back, ice sticking to his body. We asked him to not try again, but he insisted. Someone grabbed some short rope and battery cables and he went out again, maybe only going 30 feet. We pulled him back. Someone had backed up their jeep and we picked him up and put him in there.

One of the passengers who survived the crash was Arland D. Williams Jr. His name was not known for some time later. Reported the Washington Post of his heroism, :

He was about 50 years old, one of half a dozen survivors clinging to twisted wreckage bobbing in the icy Potomac when the first helicopter arrived. To the copter’s two-man Park Police crew he seemed the most alert. Life vests were dropped, then a flotation ball. The man passed them to the others. On two occasions, the crew recalled last night, he handed away a life line from the hovering machine that could have dragged him to safety. The helicopter crew — who rescued five people, the only persons who survived from the jetliner — lifted a woman to the riverbank, then dragged three more persons across the ice to safety. Then the life line saved a woman who was trying to swim away from the sinking wreckage, and the helicopter pilot, Donald W. Usher, returned to the scene, but the man was gone.

That’s what humans do. We sacrifice for each other. Without worrying about our pensions. Or the regulations.

 

 

 

 

7 comments

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  1. Steven Greenhut
    Steven Greenhut 1 June, 2011, 21:00

    They are greedy selfish bureaucrats. That’s the kind of people they are. Yet they want us to believe they are heroes.

    Reply this comment
  2. David from Oceanside
    David from Oceanside 1 June, 2011, 22:09

    When I saw the report on this mornings news, I considered the union excuse of high pay and benefits compensating for high risk more than a little hollow.

    Reply this comment
  3. Tylerle13
    Tylerle13 2 June, 2011, 09:31

    Congratulations, the Unions & bloated Centralized Bureaucracy in California have taken profession that used to breed heroism & bravery and turned them into a bunch of dithering cowards. It’s very depressing that these people have resigned themselves to the theory that “No one ever gets fired for doing nothing”.

    While these same departments are cutting back on their “Certifications”, they are sending out an army of paper pushers to go door to door and look for even the most obscure “Code” violations (which the inspectors themselves admit are stupid & pointless) in a feeble attempt to siphon more money from the peasant taxpayers. Maybe if their top priority was public safety instead of self-enrichment, they wouldn’t waste so much money on useless employees and they could have properly trained the front line workers. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any Union Approved “Certification” classes for Heroism or Common sense.

    Reply this comment
  4. Claire Voyance
    Claire Voyance 2 June, 2011, 13:48

    Budget parasites. Cowards.

    Reply this comment
  5. econprof
    econprof 2 June, 2011, 17:09

    Looks like our overpaid CA public safety officers are wimps compared to average citizens near the Potomac River near D.C. And our guys had an hour to act and couldn’t perform? Please tell me there is more to this story.

    Reply this comment
  6. Tylerle13
    Tylerle13 2 June, 2011, 17:32

    Oh yes econprof, much more! The jackass Fire Chief was asked if he would go into the water if a child was drowning 75 feet off shore and his response was;

    “Well, if I was off duty I know what I would do, but I think your asking me what I would do while on duty, and in that case I would have to stick to official procedures because that is what is required by our department.”

    So the top dog admitted that their cowardly lack of response was due to Procedures and he would have no problem watching another human being disappear under the waves, no matter who the person was. These clowns didnt even bother to pull the man out of the water after he died from hypothermia/drowning, it was a 22 year old nursing student who took it upon herself to go in and fish out his lifeless corpse.

    Every single one of those cowards that stood on the beach FOR AN HOUR and watched someone die should be fired. Someone who can stand around and watch someone slowly die does not have the courage or integrity to wear a badge.

    Reply this comment
  7. Eric in Santa Rosa
    Eric in Santa Rosa 3 June, 2011, 11:31

    John 15:13 : “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This interim fire chief should be forced to spend time assisting in the Joplin, Missouri recovery effort and see how real people act when other people’s lives are imperiled. How high would Joplin’s death toll be if its police and fire units were preoccupied with following Alameda, California’s “official procedures”?!

    Reply this comment

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