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Here’s The Scoop…Who Did What …And When…At The Hyperbaric Explosion…..LBTS-VFD Makes Some “Noise”…

MAY 1, 2009….

Last week Readers will recall we had a tragedy occur at the Ocean Hyperbaric Center in the south end of town…( previous scoops posts)…It resulted in instant “Hero” status for the brave actions of BSO Deputy John Melbourne…with newspaper articles, local newscast stories, along with BSO press releases and culminated in the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an Officer being awarded to Deputy Melbourne last Wednesday May 6th in a ceremony.

As previously posted there was major grumbling in the background of the VFD and AMR being left out of the media attention and BSO press releases…

Well the VFD and the Town went into overdrive on that very day…sending out a letter from LBTS-VFD Chief Perkins to BSO Sheriff Lamberti and 2 press releases……

Here they are…..

(1)…Letter To BSO Sheriff Lamberti…

May 6, 2009

‘Dear Sheriff Lamberti,

Attached you will find the press release prepared by our department regarding the recent incident at the Hyperbaric Chamber in our town on May1, 2009. I can sadly say many members of my Department were very disappointed and depressed at the way the Public Information Officer of your department treated our members and the members of the AMR ambulance division in our town.

In the release made by your department and various public statements to the local TV news media, not once were we mentioned as even being present at this tragic event. When you read our VFD press release you will clearly see that we certainly were present and did all that was in our power to help these poor people who were so tragically injured.

We, at the Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Volunteer Fire Department hope in the future you will be more considerate in your press releases regarding events we participate in with your department in providing public safety to our community.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely Chief Robert Perkins’

(2)…The LBTS-VFD Press Release …

‘On the 1st of May 2009, at approximately 11:29 AM, the Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a report of an EXPLOSION at 4001 North Ocean Drive in our town.

Chief Robert Perkins was the first fire officer on the scene and reported on location at 11:29:28 AM; just 1 minute and 55 seconds after the call was transmitted. Chief Perkins upon arrival was confronted with a three story commercial building with fire alarms sounding and smoke showing. The building at this stage was evacuated by the occupant, about 30-40 people. Chief Perkins immediately went into the structure located that alarm panel and determined where the alarm was activated from. This panel indicated the alarm was coming from one of the hyperbaric chambers. As Chief Perkins went into the Chamber room, he was met with heavy white smoke. Also in the room was a Sheriff’s Deputy who had a mask on. This Deputy indicated to Chief Perkins that we may have two victims inside one of the observed chambers. The Chief and Deputy Sheriff walked over to the suspect chamber, opened the chamber and observed two bodies, a young male and a middle aged female: both victims had extensive charring and burn injuries. At this point, the Chief alerted the Deputy Sheriff that he had to secure the building for immediate safety reasons. The Chief directed Inspector Paine of the VFD to turn off the oxygen, the power to the building and then the Chief gave orders to the incoming firemen and AMR ambulance personnel to begin the rescue work. One of the orders was to relocate the ambulance to the front of the building for easy regress of the victims. The Chief then returned to to the Deputy Sheriff who was standing by the occupied chamber, total time lapsed, was 1-1 1/2 minutes between initially opening the occupied chamber and his return.

Chief Perkins went back and met with the Deputy Sheriff to explain to the Deputy how they werre going to remove the victims. The Chief stated that he wanted to pick the child up first and the Deputy assisted in this action. The Chief then picked up the child and handed him the victim to the Deputy and told him to go outside the front door AMR would be located there. The Deputy Sheriff then went outside with the young child. The Chief then began to lift the female victim out of the chamber. At this time, Firefighter Silverstone and Chavez came to the Chief’s aid. The female victim was carried out with Chief Perkins holding the legs and FF Silverstone and Chavez carrying the upper body of the victim. The three fighters working together carried the woman victim outside to a waiting AMR backboard and placed the victim on this medical device where a team of AMR Paramedics and EMT’s feverishly worked to save the victims. It should be noted, that the tremendous work of AMR EMS personnel who were lead by Chief Medic Donald Anderson, Gus Herrera, Kevin Padden, Arthur Moen, Robbie Salvina, Paulette Archer and Paul Chevannes kept the horrible injured victims alive and prepared them for transport. The young boy was helicopter transported to the hospital and the woman was ground transported to the hospital. The Deputy Sheriff who entered the building with the borrowed mask should also be commended for his brave actions.

This was the perfect example of the whole public safety apparatus in town working together for the greater good of the community.

We are sad to report that the female has succumbed to her injuries and the young boy remains in critical condition.

Chief Robert Perkins’

BC- The “Deputy Sheriff” in the VFD press release is BSO Deputy John Melbourne…

(3)…The Media Release From The Town of LBTS from Public Information Officer Steve d’ Oliveira

May 6, 2009

‘Media Release


Lauderdale-By- The- Sea volunteer firefighters and paramedics played a vital role in extricating the two victims of Friday’s tragic hyperbaric chamber explosion.

The incident occurred May 1 at 11:29 AM at 4001 N. Ocean Drive, a three-story structure that houses the first-floor Ocean Hypebaric Oxygen Neurologic Center.

One of the victims, Vincenza Pesce, 62, of Italy, later died. Her grandson, Francesco Pio Martinisi,4, also of Italy, suffered burns over much of his body. The boy, who was receiving medical treatment, was in the chamber with his grandmother when a blast caused a flash fire inside the pressurized chamber.

The cause of the explosion and fire is under investigation.

Shortly after the fire alarm in the building went off, the Lauderdale-By- The- Sea Volunteer Fire Department, Broward Sheriff’s Office and paramedics with American Medical Repsonse responded to the scene at the south end of Town.

When VFD Chief Robert Perkins entered the building, which was filled with heavy white smoke, he encountered Broward Sheriff’s Officer John Melbourne, who entered the building wearing a mask shortly before Perkins went inside. Melbourne told Perkins he thought there were two victims inside a chamber.

Perkins and Melbourne opened the chamber and found the burned bodies of the young boy and his grandmother. After Perkins ordered another firefighter to turn off the power and oxygen to the building, he lifted up the child and handed him to Melbourne., who exited through the front door and handed him to paramedics.

Perkins then lifted up the woman with assistance from firefighters Jim Silverstone and Daniel Chavez. The three carried the woman out of the building and handed her to paramedics, who then rushed the grandmother to a nearby hospital. The boy was transported by helicopter to medical facilities for treatment of his burns.

Perkins today (05-06-09) praised Silverstone, Chavez, Melbourne and AMR paramedics who responded;  Chief Medic Donald Anderson, Gus Herrera, Kevin Padden, Arthur Moen, Robbie Salvina, Paulette Archer and Paul Chevanne.

“This was the perfect example of the whole public safety apparatus in town working together for the greater good of the community,” Perkins said.

BSO honored Melbourne today for his role after  responding to the scene.

“The Volunteer Fire Department and BSO deputies performed professionally and were of great assistance to AMR crews,” said Brook Liddle, Chief  of Operations for AMR in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.’

Below …. is what the Sentinel included from the press releases……on May 7,2009

(4)….’Meanwhile, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Volunteer Fire Department’s Chief Robert Perkins and two other volunteer firefighters, Jim Silverstone and Daniel Chavez, removed the grandmother from the chamber, Perkins said in a press release Wednesday.

Perkins described Friday’s rescue efforts, which involved multiple departments, as “the perfect example” of emergency personnel working as team for “the greater good of the community.”‘

BC…the Incident Reports have been requested from BSO and the VFD…and will be posted upon receipt …

more to come….

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