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  1. Lithium-ion batteries, once ignited, are extremely difficult to douse. After an out-of-control Tesla Model S plowed into a stand of palm trees on a highway median outside Fort Lauderdale last month, police rushed to put out the ensuing blaze using a department-issued fire extinguisher. It was a wasted effort. The car kept on burning after the crash, which killed the driver. The police may not have known lithium-ion batteries inside electric vehicles, once ignited, can’t be put out with chemicals from a conventional extinguisher. The battery fires are susceptible to a self-destructive chain reaction known as thermal runaway, causing a feedback loop of rising temperatures. The Tesla fire stumped a series of first responders in Florida. Firefighters eventually doused the flames with water, which seemed to work, but the wrecked car reignited twice more after being towed away. That prompted what a police report later termed “extraordinary measures,” including a call to Broward County’s hazmat unit for advice on stamping out the fire once and for all. The accident illustrates the challenges faced by first responders unfamiliar with the special characteristics—and hazards—of electric vehicles’ powertrains. Safety experts say the only way to extinguish a lithium-ion battery inside a car is with thousands of gallons of water, much more than what it takes to stop a fire in a typical gasoline engine. The other option is to just let it burn itself out. “It’s such a difficult fire because it takes so much water to put out,” said Robert Taylor, fire marshal in Davie, Fla., where the crash occurred. In addition to fires, emergency responders dealing with EVs face risks from high-voltage cables and silent-running motors. The experience taught Taylor’s team important lessons about dealing with electric vehicles. “For us,” he said, “it’ll be the awareness of auto-ignition of the battery and knowing how long the energy remains in them.” In an emailed statement, Tesla Inc. called the accident tragic and said it had reached out to first responders to offer cooperation. The company also noted that vehicle fires aren’t unique to EVs. “We understand that speed is being investigated as a factor in this crash,” the company wrote, “and know that high speed collisions can result in a fire in any type of car, not just electric vehicles.” While one witness said the car “flew” past him, police said it was traveling at the posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour. With more than 760,000 electric and plug-in vehicles on the road in the U.S., according to the International Energy Agency, emergency responders with little past exposure to these cars are becoming more likely to encounter one at a crash scene. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is already investigating multiple incidents involving EV battery fires and problems encountered by emergency personnel. The agency plans to issue a set of recommendations based on four reference cases by late summer or early fall. “That will be the first major report addressing the issue,” said NTSB spokesman Chris O’Neil. Electric vehicles are no more prone to accidents or fires than gasoline-powered cars—and might be less so, according to a 2017 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That report also notes battery technology is still evolving, without any consensus on safe system design. Battery-powered cars remain a tiny minority in the U.S., with sales of EVs accounting for just 1.2 percent of total new vehicles delivered in the U.S. last year, according to data from Edmunds. But the expectation that EV sales will rise sharply within the next five years makes it critical to educate first responders and develop new standards that make identification and troubleshooting easier for police, firefighters, and tow truck operators. So far about 250,000 of the roughly 1.1 million firefighting personnel in the U.S. have undergone some form of EV training, according to estimates from the National Fire Protection Association. “First responders have 100 years of experience dealing with internal combustion engines, but it’s a very different situation when it comes to EVs ,” said Andrew Klock, program manager for emerging technology at NFPA, a nonprofit based in Quincy, Mass. “Every time an EV catches fire, we get a lot of calls” from emergency management coordinators, he said. The NFPA began conducting training and creating reference manuals about a decade ago just as the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf were about to debut. It has worked closely since then with General Motors Co. and other automakers to educate first responders about what wires to avoid, where critical components are located under the hood, and how to control battery fires. The NFPA provides check sheets for most makes and models. Tesla also regularly meets with first responders and donates its cars for training purposes. But there’s only so much that can be done once battery cells begin to spontaneously explode. The company’s online emergency response guide notes: “Battery fires can take up to 24 hours to extinguish. Consider allowing the battery to burn while protecting exposures.” One of the first things first responders learn: Never cut an orange cable, a color reserved for wiring in excess of 60 volts. These can be found not just in the front or rear of a car but also running behind side panels. Most gasoline-powered vehicles have no orange cabling at all, since they use electrical charge powered by a standard 12-volt battery. A typical EV operates at closer to a potentially deadly 400 volts. The all-new Porsche Taycan, for example, will boast double that amount of electrical charge when it goes on sale later this year. Higher voltages are part of a trend designed to maximize efficiency and boost horsepower. “We think you could see a world of 1,200 volts” for vehicles in a few years, said Mary Gustanski, chief technology officer at Delphi Technologies Plc, a major automotive powertrain supplier. But she said advanced componentry could eventually do away with most high-voltage cabling. The orange color coding was one early step taken by automakers to aid first responders and auto repair technicians. Other efforts include standardizing instructional materials and advocating three-sided badging on vehicles to help identify EVs. That’s being shepherded by a Society of Automotive Engineering task force, which includes representatives from 11 automakers as well as auto suppliers and government officials. The SAE is expected to update those guidelines later this year with more recommendations, such as using an “e” (for electric) as a prefix or suffix on nameplates of newer EVs. Officials say future revisions may include calls for a kill switch to cut off power under the hoods of electric vehicles. Countries outside the U.S. also are grappling with the issue of familiarizing emergency response crews with electric cars. In 2016 firefighters in a small town in Norway allowed a Tesla to burn to the ground at a charging station, leaving only the charred remains of the frame and wheels, because they mistakenly feared using water could lead to an electric shock. Later that year, firefighters in the Netherlands delayed extracting the body of a deceased Tesla driver involved in a crash due to fear of electrocution if they cut a wire in the car’s frame. In the aftermath of that incident, Dutch authorities turned to one of the leading authorities on Tesla vehicles involved in accidents: the fire department in Fremont, Calif., where the automaker’s factory is located. The department has ample experience responding to EV-related incidents, including a fire at Tesla’s plant earlier this year requiring the full submersion of battery packs in water tanks, said Cory Wilson, a captain at the Fremont Fire Department. “We’ve had several incidents there,” he said. Tesla has donated hundreds of vehicles to the local fire department for use in deconstructive demonstrations of the Jaws of Life and other rescue tools. “We’ve cut up 400 to 500 Teslas over the past five years,” said Wilson. The Fremont Fire Department now has about 50 Teslas ready for the next of its regular two-day classes attended by emergency personnel from around the country. Visiting crews are taught how to safely cut through and demobilize the electric vehicles. Wilson said he accepted an invitation on behalf of the department to teach a special session in The Hague, Netherlands, for Dutch and German first responders in 2017. “Not knowing how to secure an electric vehicle can be lethal,” he said. “We’re fortunate enough to have Tesla in our community.” RESOURCE LINK
  2. P.E.I. man gets conditional discharge after altercation with police A P.E.I. man who got into an altercation with the police after he left his truck in a ditch was recently given a conditional discharge. Shaun Allen Morrison, 33, appeared before Judge John Douglas in provincial court in Charlottetown where he pleaded guilty to resisting arrest. The court heard that on March 3 the police responded to a report of a truck in a ditch. No one was with the truck, but the police determined Morrison was the owner. Crown attorney Lisa Goulden told the court the police contacted Morrison who said he knew the truck was in the ditch and it was fine. After the police told Morrison they would have the truck towed, he said they would be paying the bill. Goulden said Morrison later showed up at the scene where he started walking toward the police and the tow truck while carrying a stick. Morrison refused to tell the police who had been driving the truck, and Goulden said he challenged the police to a fight. He also unhooked the tow line attached to his truck. Goulden said it took four officers to restrain Morrison who continued to be combative with guards once he was at the jail. Morrison told the court he had wanted to get a friend to tow the truck out. He also said he wasn’t drunk that night and just had a bad temper. Morrison apologized for his behaviour. “I was mad,” he said. With the conditional discharge, Morrison will be on probation for nine months, he must pay $100 to the P.E.I. Humane Society and has to write an apology letter to the police. RESOURCE LINK
  3. Tow Truck Driver injured while working in Fairview Park will lose part of his leg. FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — Donations are being asked for on behalf of a tow truck driver who will lose part of his leg after a car slammed into his truck while was working on the side of the road. On Monday morning, Ronald Urbansky, 53, who works for Patton’s Five Star Towing, was loading a car onto his tow truck in Fariview Park when a 2017 Acura struck the front of his truck which caused his leg to be crushed. Fairview Park Police had called the tow truck to impound a car involved in an earlier traffic stop. Investigators say the driver of that car did not have a valid license. Donations can be made out to Ronald Urbansky and mailed to Patton’s Five Star Towing, 29700 Lorain Road, North Olmsted, Ohio, 44070. RESOURCE LINK NEW PATRON CHALLENGE ADDED: I am not even sure if this is right because we have only done this type of donation a couple of times over the nearly 2 decades of Tow411. However, since most will pas this post and forget to send a check. For those who sign up as a New Patron or Bronze Sponsor through Midnight Monday March 25, 2019. I will send those funds in one check with the names of everyone that contributed. Every New Patron/Bronze Level Member will be listed in this topic and a total will be posted. Thank you. Note: if your supporter status has expired and you no longer display a bar under your screen name now is an opportunity to support a fellow tower. I know I want to do something and this is what we can do together. Watching that Dash Cam Video really hit home and reinforced the unseen dangers we face everyday. https://www.towforce.net/subscriptions/ OK, just had a supporter ask if they could be invoiced so they could be included. Yes, I can do that however I need the funds in by Midnight Monday March 25, 2019. And all funds submitted will be sent as The Towing Information Network will cover the fees. Which is likely why there is not a gofundme type option. Pattons Towing Wrote: Ronald Urbanksy, 53, has been an operator at Patton's for a year now. While on a Fairview Park Enforcement tow, a vehicle struck Ron's Parked truck. The truck was pushed back by the impact, crushing Ron’s leg. He was in the process of loading the vehicle when the accident occurred. Ron unfortunately will have the lower half of his leg amputated. However, we are all very optimistic about his recovery. In his first two days at the hospital he already has the mindset of coming back to work, which is outstanding giving the seriousness of his injury. Ron kept our midnight shift in order running calls, keeping our trucks clean, and our shop spotless. He takes so much pride in his work, his truck, and this company. He's one of our key players here and one of our hardest workers. No news was good news on the midnight shift because he handled most everything that came his way. Always by his side was his coworker Joe Tomasic, who says Ron is like family to him. That statement is true for all of us here. Any help or donations will go straight to Ron and his family, so any little bit helps. We’ve had so many phone calls and visits of support already. We are all very appreciative. Thank you for your continued support - Patton's Five Star Towing
  4. ‘Nobody Was Helping’: Tow Truck Driver Saves Woman From Attacker In Center City PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One minute, John Sabalauskas was behind the wheel. The next, he was on top of a guy who attacked a woman in Center City and risking his own safety to help a complete stranger. Sabalauskas is a tow truck driver with CCC Towing and on Thursday, he offered a different kind of assistance. Around 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sabalauskas was driving east down Market Street when he was about to cross over 21st Street. Then, he heard something terrible. The radio was playing a song, but if you listen closely to the dash cam recording he showed Eyewitness News, you might be able to make out what sounds like a siren in the background. That was actually the desperate cries of a young woman. “I seen her face, seen him, threw the truck in park, jumped out of the truck and ran over,” Sabalauskas said. Sabalauskas said he saw the woman on her back, frightened and fighting off a man who was on top of her. “Trying to rip her bag off her back,” Sabalauskas said. “She had like a school bag, trying to rip it off. I screamed as I did that, he grabbed her laptop and he proceeded to run down 21st northbound, so I gave chase.” He also yelled to another bystander. “Grab him! As he started to run by that gentleman, that gentleman reached out, grabbed him by the shoulder, I guess threw him off-balance and as them two fell, I was already on top of both of them, holding this guy down,” Sabalauskas said. The two good Samaritans held the man in place while a police officer was flagged down. A nearby business caught the conclusion as more officers arrived and took the would-be robber into custody. Sabalauskas said the woman didn’t appear to have any serious injuries and brushes off those who have asked, “What if the suspect was armed?” “They didn’t see the look on that girl’s face that I saw,” he said. “The way she was on that ground screaming and nobody was helping.” With his own daughter by his side, Sabalauskas hopes someone else would rush into action for her. Sabalauskas was only able to speak with the victim for a moment and he never got her name. RESOURCE LINK with video ‘I Owe You My Life’: Victim From Center City Attack Meets Good Samaritan Who Saved Her PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – John Sabalauskas came to the rescue of a young woman Thursday in broad daylight. He didn’t even get her name. Now the victim is talking. “I just had a gut feeling that somebody might have been behind me. Then I turned around and it was too late,” the victim, whose identity is being withheld by Eyewitness News, said. She said around 2 p.m. on Thursday at a busy 21st and Chestnut Street that a man threw her onto the ground and wrestled to remove her backpack. “I remember screaming, ‘Help, help,’ and then I saw people just going across the street,” she said. The victim is a student at Drexel University and works two jobs. She feared that she was going to die, yet no one stopped to help her until Sabalauskas heard her cries. When asked if she would like to meet Sabalauskas, the victim said she would. “I would actually like to meet him in person,” she said, “but we talked on the phone earlier today.” Little did she know, Sabalauskas was parked on Market Street and wanted to surprise her. On Friday, the young woman and her good Samaritan met again under far better circumstances. She had a message of gratitude for Sabalauskas. “I owe you my life,” she said. “Make sure we stay in touch and in contact.” She has one message for other victims and potential victims of crime and violence in Philadelphia. “Be aware,” she said. “Things happen anytime and don’t blame yourself.” Many people commented over how proud Sabalauskas’ young daughter was of him in the story published Thursday night. On Friday, Eyewitness News found out that the victim’s father reached out to Sabalauskas as well to say thank you. RESOURCE LINK with video
  5. In less than 3 months 14 Illinois State Troopers have now been struck. Photo: Illinois State Patrol / Facebook Illinois State Police said a trooper responding to a crash on I-55 near St. Louis Wednesday night was struck by a semi. Authorities said the trooper was conducting traffic control for another crash that happened earlier in the night. Illinois State Patrol said the trooper was further away from the scene on foot when a semi hit him and his squad car. The trooper was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. He was reported to be in stable condition. State Police said this is the 14th trooper who has been hit in 2019. One of the 14 troopers was killed. Illinois State Police told sister station KWQC that a trooper was hit by an intoxicated driver on St. Patrick's Day. State Police said there's a law that's been in place for more than a decade named Scott's Law, which has renamed the "Move Over" law, to save lives. The law requires you to move over for stopped emergency vehicles including police, fire, EMS, construction, tow truck drivers and also any car that has emergency flashers on. Breaking the law means facing a penalty of up to $10,000. ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. (KCRG) COPIED from ILLINOIS STATE POLICE FACEBOOK PAGE COLLINSVILLE, IL - Illinois State Police (ISP) District 11 Commander William Guard announces the fourteenth ISP squad car to be struck statewide in 2019 as a result of a Scott’s Law violation. On Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at approximately 10:54 p.m., an ISP Trooper was struck while assisting in the investigation of a traffic crash on Interstate 55 northbound at milepost 9.4, St. Clair County. The initial crash, reported at 10:29 p.m., involved a vehicle that left the roadway and struck a light pole. The pole fell across the lanes of traffic and seven additional vehicles struck the downed pole prior to ISP Troopers arriving. The first ISP squad car arrived at approximately 10:39 p.m. to stop traffic and move vehicles around the downed pole. When the third ISP squad car arrived at approximately 10:42 p.m., the Trooper positioned himself further back away from the scene to slow the approaching vehicles prior to them arriving at the initial scene of the downed pole. The Trooper was on foot, outside of his marked squad car with lights activated, when both he and his squad car were struck by a passing truck tractor, semi-trailer combination. The Trooper was transported by ambulance to a local hospital with serious, but stable injuries. The Illinois State Police Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit and Zone 6 Investigations are continuing the investigation into this incident. No additional information will be released at this time. What else can we possibly say or do to convince you to move over and slow down for us? The fact that 14 of OUR Troopers have been struck in this manner since January 1st is absolutely ridiculous. We lost Trooper Lambert in January and these crashes continue to occur.
  6. A Post on FB stated: This is the result of not obeying the move over law. Save a life MOVE OVER OR SLOWDOWN FOR TOW TRUCKS WORKING ON THE ROADWAYS WITH THEIR EMERGENCY LIGHTS ACTIVATED. IT'S THE LAW! Thank God the driver and customer are fine. Our driver got the customer out of the way then himself. know your escape route, it may save your life!
  7. Bill proposed in California State Assembly would eliminate tow-practices that harm low-income people SACRAMENTO -- Assemblymember David Chiu introduced a bill Monday that seeks to end towing practices that harm low-income people. Assembly Bill 516 would eliminate towing conducted as a debt collection tool. The Bay Area is known for high costs including steep towing fees. The average fee to retrieve a car from a tow yard is $500. "When you add daily storage, parking tickets, additional standard fees and fines the cost to retrieve a car could often skyrocket to $1,500," said Chiu, who represents District 17. Chiu says it is having a devastating impact on low and middle class residents. On Monday, he introduced a bill to eliminate poverty related tows if the owner has 5 or more unpaid parking tickets, if the car registration is more than six months out of date or when a car has been legally parked for more than 72 hours; information law enforcement and meter maids have access to when calling a tow truck company. Mary Lovelace says she was working as an interior home improvement specialist when things got rough. "I was unable to continually look for work once they put the boot on my car," said Lovelace. Lovelace says some of the parking tickets she received were for being parked in places she wasn't. She's not alone. "I went to try to register my car last year and was shocked to discover that I had over $1,600-worth of unpaid parking ticket fines on my vehicle," said Diane Tober. If the bill passes, two dozen statutory grounds for towing cars will remain in-tact. "Towing should be used for traffic flow and public safety reasons, not to push poor people further into poverty," said Chiu. Chiu says enforcement mechanisms will remain to ensure Californians who are able to afford to pay parking tickets and registration fees still do. AB 516 is expected to be heard in policy committee in April. RESOURCE LINK
  8. A man was critically injured and traffic was diverted for hours after a crash early Tuesday morning in Allen Park. The incident occurred at about 5 a.m. while the motorist, driving a Chevrolet pickup truck, was traveling east on the I-94 Freeway, at the Southfield ramp. According to Fire Chief Douglas LaFond, a flatbed tow truck had just loaded a disabled vehicle when the motorist struck the tow truck at a high rate of speed. The tow truck driver and the woman who was driving the disabled minivan were not injured. “He ran into the truck and a concrete embankment,” LaFond said. “He was still alive, but was in pretty rough shape.” LaFond said it took firefighters close to 45 minutes to extricate the victim from the crumpled truck, using the Jaws of Life. The truck had to be cut apart in order to make it possible for rescuers to get him out. He was taken to a nearby hospital as a “Priority 1,” the most serious category of injured victims. LaFond said the victim is a male in his 20s. The ramp was closed for approximately three hours during the morning rush hour, until the crash scene could be cleared. RESOURCE LINK
  9. New Castle County Police have arrested two men in connection to a series car thefts, including using a tow truck to steal disabled vehicles. Police say there have been multiple reports of stolen cars, many consisting of older and disabled models, throughout the county. Surveillance footage and witnesses captured a tow truck towing the vehicles. Investigators linked the tow truck back to 47-year-old Mathew Wojciechowski and 44-year-old Arnold Phillip Anderson. Credit: New Castle Police The truck and suspects were seen driving to Chester, Pennsylvania on Feb. 25, with a then stolen older model Pontiac, which they later sold to a local car dealership. Detectives found that multiple stolen vehicles were sold to this business by Wojciechowski and Anderson. Both Wojciechowski and Anderson were charged with felony theft of a motor vehicle, felony conspiracy, and other related charges. Anderson was taken into custody on March 17 and is being held on $22,000 secured bail. Wojciechowski was taken into custody on March 16 and was released on $96,000 unsecured bail. RESOURCE LINK with video
  10. Two people were hurt in the incident. FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — An investigation is underway in Fairview Park after police say a tow truck driver was struck by a vehicle early Monday morning. It happened on Lorain Road near West 204th Street. The tow truck driver and the driver of the other vehicle were both taken to the hospital. The extent of their injuries is unknown. Patton's Towing RESOURCE LINK with video Fox 8 Cleveland Reports: FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio - A crash involving a tow truck in Fairview Park is under investigation. The crash has closed Lorain Road at W. 204th St. A tow truck driver was working when he was hit by a car, according to FOX 8 crews on the scene. Police tell FOX 8 officers had pulled over the car that was on the tow truck. While the tow truck driver was loading the vehicle, a gray car hit the tow truck head on. The tow truck driver was transported to the hospital along with the driver of the gray car. RESOURCE LINK with video FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — Two people were hospitalized early Monday morning after a crash involving a tow truck driver and another vehicle. Fairview Park police said a driver of a silver Acura was driving westbound on Lorain Avenue near West 204th Street in Fairview Park when it crossed left of the center lane and hit the tow truck head-on. The driver of the tow truck was behind his truck loading another car onto the bed of the truck. The impact trapped the tow truck driver between his truck and the car he was loading. Police, who witnessed the entire crash, said they previously called the tow truck driver to assist with a traffic violation. Officials said both drivers were transported and taken to Metro Health Medical Center. RESOURCE LINK with video AirTracker 5 over crash involving tow truck and a vehicle
  11. NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Two tow truck drivers were left bloodied after, they said, a customer shot them with a pellet gun while on the job in Northwest Miami-Dade. According to the victims, the incident took place outside of am towing business at around 5 a.m., Saturday. The two truck drivers, who asked not to be identified or show their faces on camera, said they were pegged by pellets after a man came by to pick up his impounded vehicle. “I thought I was gonna die,” said one of the victims. “I didn’t know what was going on.” But the driver said the assailant did not target him right away. “I was standing outside of work, and a person came to release their car. They did so, they left and came back with a gun, and they shot me and my friend,” he said. “He questioned us. He didn’t give us a chance to explain to him what was going on. He just started shooting his gun,” said the second tow truck driver. The first victim said he was shot in the back and in one hand, where the projectile remains lodged inside. “I ran for cover as far as I could, until I knew he left,” he said. “If it was a real gun, it could have impaired my whole life. Lucky it was just a BB gun.” The other victim said he was hit in the head, adding he is grateful that it was a pellet and not a bullet. “Thank God it wasn’t a real gun. I wouldn’t be here right now to explain the story,” he said. Miami-Dade Police is investigating the incident. 7News has reached out to the department for more information about the incident. If you have any information on the shooter’s whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward. RESOURCE LINK with video
  12. KUWAIT CITY, March 16: A tow truck crashed into a cement barrier on the Sixth Ring Road near Saad Al-Abdullah area, resulting in injuries to the driver. In a press statement issued by Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD), the Public Relations and Media Department explained that the Control Room of KFSD, after receiving information about the accident, dispatched firefighters to the location along with securitymen and paramedics. The driver, who was trapped inside the tow truck, was rescued after which paramedics referred him to the nearest hospital for treatment. The tow truck was removed from the road, and the traffic flow was organized. RESOURCE LINK
  13. While assisting a stuck motorist with cones deployed a safe work zone created, and lighting activated unit was stuck by a motorist who failed to slow down to the required speed and move if possible when passing a roadside emergency vehicle. Dr. Hook Towing Said: Please Slow Down & Move Over our Operators have families they want to go home to at the end of their shift. Thankfully all involved escaped with minor injuries. RESOURCE LINK
  14. There are few Details regarding the incident at the time. RESOURCE LINK with video
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