VIDEO: Dr. Smith Home Burns in Coudersport, Ambulance Crew Member Assaults Reporter

The home of Dr. Smith and family caught fire the afternoon of July 22.

In this video, footage of the fire and a member of the Coudersport Ambulance Department assaulting a CoudyNews reporter.

Let me say, in all the news I have covered, I have never hindered or got in the way of emergency personnel, and do not have plans to do so. In fact, any time I have gone to cover an accident scene or other such incident, I do everything I can to stay out of the way and not be noticed. There was no reason for what happened today.

When I neared the scene, and I was quite far away and across the road in a yard, a woman (seen in this video) began telling me I could not be there (despite the fact that there were several other individuals already standing in the grass far ahead of me). I told the woman I was with the media and asked several times where I could go to shoot video, asking her if I could join the other people down in the grass across the street.

She continued to deny me any reasonable access anywhere near the fire. Mind you, I was completely across the road and down approximately two homes from where the fire even was.

After I finally had enough of the woman telling me to leave, I turned the camera on to start filming what I could of the fire. Since the woman was telling me that I could not be there, I turned the camera in her direction. That is when she took a swipe and smacked my camera (which I believe is damaged since the video here is really shaky). The woman then threatened to ‘call the cops’.

She also falsely informed me that I did not have a right to videotape. We have every right to videotape – the Supreme Court has already ruled on that. This woman was acting as a public official in a public place and we have every legal right to videotape her and the fire.

I would also like to add, that shortly after the dispute with the woman, the Editor of a local newspaper was given full access to walk right up the road, much much closer than we ever were to the scene.


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130 Comments

  1. Cody Ayers says:

    Great vid Tim! & I think that woman has lost her mind..

  2. Anonymous says:

    First of all I send my prayers to the Smith family! Second of all if people had any respect they would stay off of scenes! Poeple need to realize (even reporters) that the fire and ems personel on scene are there to keep everyone safe! If you want to be a bystander and get pictures do it from a distance away! What if the individual taking the video would have gotten hit by the emergency vehicle pulling up or the gas would have exploded? People that close could have gotten hurt! Scenes need to be kept safe at all times for everyones sake, even reporters! Have some respect for people that are in need and keep your cameras at a distance!!!

    Editor’s Response: We were plenty far away from the scene. Plenty. And that does not give this woman any right to assault anyone.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey the emt offical is Tameca VanBergen.

  4. Anonymous says:

    From what I could see, standing on the main road one house away where emergency vehicles are trying to get to scene is to close! I think everyone needs to have respect! There were other ways to get the shots needed without going through the scene! Everyone has jobs to do and they need to be done as safely as possible!!! Try some appoligies and drop it!

    Editor’s Response: First, I was in the grass, not in the road. The video is zoomed in. Second, there were plenty of other folks much closer than I was. Third, the Editor of the PL was granted access no questions asked. Fourth, she still did not have the right to hit my camera. And yes, I will adamantly defend my position in this matter, because this is America and not only do we have freedoms (First Amendment), but I WAS NOT hindering or even coming close to hindering any personnel at this scene. I was across the road and in the grass.

  5. anon says:

    I was surprised to see the official reach out and hit the camera. She absolutely had no right to do that. There are many times when videos shot at the scene help investigators. Looks like she was clearly in the wrong in my opinion

  6. admin says:

    For the record, there were several people standing under the tree were I walked to. You cannot see them in the video. Also, right after the video ends, the Editor of the PL walks right up along the road, no questions asked.

  7. admin says:

    Also, it should be noted that I am posting this video not as a vendetta against this woman, but as a statement that we will not tolerate the stonewalling and ‘good ‘ole boy politics’ any longer.

    CoudyNews will continue to insist on having the same access that is granted to other media agencies.

  8. Bobbi says:

    The camera guy isn’t even near them. That woman should be fired.

  9. Jake M. says:

    well if the reporter from the potter leader was allowed in then any reporter should be… and yeah she was with the ambulance…. right? she had nothing to do with fire control sorry.. and NO she has no right to act the way she did and touch anyone.. especially as an ems assistant should have NEVER got physical with anyone.. it her job to assist ppl in need of medical attention… SHES NOT A BOUNCER…… i believe from the pics ive seen there was a police officer right there so if anything he would have been the one to say something not her… and obviously if the officer was that close then he didnt see a problem with the reporter being there or he would have said something… of which an officer has the right NOT an EMS VOLUNTEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! respect for what? there was ppl crawling all over that place trying to get a look for their personal selves… so why not keep them away and let in the reporters so that EVERYONE can see when it comes out as NEWS….. apparently people have never heard of the NEWS…. Funny though how the potter liar reporter was allowed in with no questions let alone being assaulted…….

  10. Anonymous #1 says:

    Can’t be fired if she’s a volunteer! DUH…no she didnt have a right to hit the camera but she was trying to do her job….and that is probley what she was told to do…but if one person gets in trouble the others doing the same thing should have been told as well…sso guess its a no win situation…

  11. Bobbi says:

    Ummm you can still fire a volunteer. It’s called your no longer a volunteer.

  12. Jake M. says:

    im sure she was told to assault people…. yeah ok…. DUH…… LMAO

  13. Anonymous #1 says:

    She is a very good ems…! so people need to back off…and be fired over keeping people away from the fire scene get real…maybe a warning! but I dont think people really need to be standing there watching someones house burn down! that is just disrespectful to them! watching everything they own go to ashes!!! and it shouldn’t be aloud to be video taped and put on the internet! thats a disgrace that reporters would do that! I’m sure you wouldn’t like the “media” videoing your house if was to burn down now would you bobbi or jake?! or anyone else who wants to protect the media!

  14. Bobbi says:

    What a load. Fired over keeping people away? Fired for hitting people. How can you say she a good ems if she acts like that. Total unprofessional. And to say newspeople can’t report news what are you a communist?

  15. lulz says:

    @Anonymous; Hey Retard. Go tell that to any other news site. Get a life

  16. admin says:

    Actually 7:05, the State Police Fire Marshals Unit has used media taken by CoudyNews staff to assist in conducting arson investigations.

    A house burning down is legitimate news. This in no ways means that we intend to disrespect anyone involved. It’s the news.

  17. Terry says:

    Sorry but I think she was out of line. I don’t see where the reporter was doing anything wrong. And I think also it isn’t her job she’s an ems not police of fire police. Keep up the good work coudynews! IMHO

  18. Billybob says:

    GOOD thing the blodie doesn’t have any REAL authority, could cause a legal problem someday. Keep reporting the news!

  19. anonymous says:

    Im sorry but this story should be first and foremost about the family that experienced a tradgedy today. Later you can focus on the first amendmant rights of those spectators to this horrendous event. Our volunteers do the best they can at the scene with a lot of heightened anxiety. she may have been out of line but so are those who make this sad story of a family losing their hard earned home and meories about themselves. Please bring it in later, you have a short line or two about the fire and a great deal about your ordeal. This isnt a personal deal. write about that tomorrow

  20. admin says:

    @8:25 I see your point, however the two stories are related, especially considering it happened while shooting video of the fire.

    Second, on one hand I have folks telling me I shouldn’t even be covering the fire, then on the other hand I have folks telling me I didn’t cover it enough.

    Finally, I simply do not have much information on the fire. Considering the course of events, I shot some video and then left.

  21. jeff says:

    your not a fire fighter it looks like you were to close to the road , maybe nex time you will listen

  22. Anonymous says:

    she was in the wrong..they need to get rid of her,i would want her coming to my house if i was going to hospital.

  23. lulz says:

    jeff, whats that supposed to mean?

  24. Anonymous #1 says:

    well then you can sit in your house and rot seriously grow up and have some respect for our volunteers! nobody should be that close to a fire that obviously was a huge loss and sad story! and even zoomed in you were still to close! pictures are a little better then a video why would you even think to shoot a video of this! i sure wouldnt want to relive this tragedy the days to come! hard enough to see it once! horrible..As for the people that want to talk bad about tameca need to maybe become a volunteer for a day and see how hard and stressful it can be and seeing someones home being destroyed and PROTECTING people from the scene…she didnt assulte him she assulted his camera that shouldn’t have been there…she never laid one finger on him! if something in that house would have blew up being where he was he would of got hurt and it would of been on her cuz she was there trying to keep people out of the way! and for a police man being there it was brian phelps and i think he was a little occupied by trying to help put the fire out to notice if he was to close cuz that was HER job!!!! god you people make me sick

  25. A MOM says:

    Thanks for the great reporting!! As for the EMT, (if it’s who #3 and I think it is from the quick glance in the vid) all I can say is the apple does not fall far from the tree.

  26. anonymous says:

    she was just doing her job people need to respect them. there keeping you safe and not being hurt. and the people close were probally local residents to the next house or the house burning. you shouldnt be talking crap on this woman for doing her job.

  27. YouTube says:

    I hope you filed a complaint against her. This is at least a simple assault case. You were apparently on public land and had every right to take pictures of the event. This person was a private citizen and not even a member of the police/fire department.

  28. admin says:

    I’m sorry, but this woman’s job is not to assault reporters trying to do their job. As for the other comments, I never once ignored or disobeyed any orders or commands (even though this woman clearly didn’t have the authority to issue such orders). In fact, I did my best to ask the woman where I COULD stand…watch the video again. The woman only got mad when I turned the camera towards her, and that is why she hit the camera, not because I was in anyone’s way.

  29. Anonymous #1 says:

    Simple assult? really get a grip she didn’t touch hiim! she was doing her job and what she was suppose to be doing! And she did tell you where to go but you ignored her commands she is part of the EMS and still has authority since the true authority was kinda busy at that moment if you couldn’t tell! As for the other people standing there are houses right across the road ever think that it was probley them! and she wasnt a private ciziten she was on duty! and the fireman are also volunteers so if one of them told you to move what you wouldnt have to ? seriously get real he will not make it in court by no means!

  30. seriously. says:

    The road was closed and shut down for hours therefore no one unless fire, ems, or other personel should have been on scene unless informed other wise. This fire was a huge loss for the family pray for them instead of bashing a volunteer that was there to help. No offense but what does the press or media help seeing how lately anything posted about fires or ems leads to the community wanting to criticize. If your capable of doing what these men and women do then go sign up at your local organization. They were out there in the blistering hot sun for hours today and why to save the smiths house they risked there lives today and all you people keep sitting here criticizing. Tameca has a right as a person to not let someone take a photo of her since we wanna talk about rights. Its pretty pathetic that pictures were posted not to long after the fire was called in its becoming a joke lets let the family see there home before its posted all over solomons and coudynews. Looks like there was enough going on at that scene and it maybe zoomed but that is still entirely to close. She was telling the reporter to back up so that he didn’t get hurt. He wasn’t the only one told to back up. No one should be anywhere near trucks or hose unless you are part of the ems or fire dept because they all pose danger. I think its pretty pathetic the reporter posted this video and the community is bashing tameca. Shes been apart of the organization for years and has assisted many people in this community. Shes a sweet girl who has a heart of gold. Personally if there would have been a camera shoved in my face i would have done the same exact thing.

    Tim Hallman’s Response: First, the road had not been shut down yet when I got there. Second, I wasn’t in the road.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I also am a Volunteer for the Fire Dept. That person should not have done what she did to the reporter. He was NOT even close to the house. First the main thing here is that the Smith family is alright. Second the reporter was in the right. Third if any of our people would have done what she did Trust me no questions asked we would no longer be part of that department. To the reporter keep up the good work. To the volunteer our job is to help people not be mean or rude. That reporter was clearly not in anyones way. Dr. Smith Prayers to you and Your Family. God Bless each Firefighter, EMT, Auxillary member that was out there today. Thank You All!!!!

    Editor’s Response: Thank you very much.

  32. We're Not Gonna Take It says:

    This is just the latest in a nationwide epidemic of people in authority or in this case, deluded self imposed authority of trying to quash the legal videotaping of incidents, news and themselves in their line of duty.
    Obviously this girl has no understanding of “no expectation of privacy” on a public street means. Then she makes the choice to cross the line into assault on another person, For starters, an apology, reprimand and more training is in order. The public is filmed every day of their lives by these thugs; it’s time they get used to the people exerting their rights while they still have them.

  33. Garry says:

    Appears to me that the young lady controlling access to the incident did her job well. Yes, the media has a job to do- however that’s well down on the list of important things. (just so you know, priorities are saving life, property, evidence, and environment- then mundane things like media). Your reporter was obviously in the way of the responding fire trucks- and when told to move, argued then whined. I have to assume that the first responders have better things to do than argue with a recalcitrant reporter. Lucky, actually, that his interference didn’t appear to cause any harm.

    Also lucky that it wasn’t me he was arguing with- I tend to not suffer fools when I’m busy.

    God job young lady!

  34. Tim Hallman says:

    So, let me get this right Garry:

    An ambulance crew member striking a reporter simply because she did not want to be filmed, is a 'job well done'?

    I'm sorry Garry, but I fail to see the correlation. You cannot defend someone simply because of their profession (volunteer work), when they abuse their power. Do you really believe it is acceptable for emergency personnel to be assaulting members of the press? Or anyone for that matter?

    Also, for the record, I wasn't even standing where the filming began, I was walking down in the grass, to where the other people were standing, far from the fire, and across the street, well out of anyone's way. I ran practically from Level3 to Mosch's, and then did my best to stay out of the way and go around the ambulance that was parked on the side road next to Mosch's. My entire intention was to 'stay out of the way' and across the street for a shot of the fire, until abruptly confronted by this hostile woman.

    As for those of you saying the press should not videotape fires... I don't even know what to say. Have you watched television lately? Have you visited a fire departments website? Heck, the firemen themselves post videos of houses burning to the ground! How can you argue that videotaping this somehow is detrimental to the family because they have to "relive the fire?" Seriously? They don't HAVE TO watch the video!

    btw... if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million!

  35. We’re Not Gonna Take It says:

    So many have a perverted view of the role of this volunteer, yet none of the clubhouse members can explain why one Reporter is granted unfettered access and the other Reporter is assaulted by some estrogen challenged hack.
    “lucky that it wasn’t me he was arguing with” says the big man on campus. Get off your high horse, Learn your role then learn the law.

  36. We’re Not Gonna Take It says:

    Garry, Please enlighten us with who it is ok to assault and who it is not ok to assault. Family members? Local business people for bad service? Neighbors? Children who cry? Which people who don’t listen to your “orders” are you thinking about?

  37. Sarah Henning says:

    I have a video that i took from behind the house, it shows the chimney falling. i was wondering if you wanted it

    Editor’s Response: We would certainly welcome any additional footage, Sarah. You can email me at tim@coudynews.com. Thanks!

  38. anonymous says:

    do you have press credentials? Do you have press identification?

    Tim’s Response: Yes, and I clearly identified myself three times to this woman.

  39. admin says:

    One last point I would like to make in this matter regarding video: Every news agency in America shoots video of fires when possible. Here is a clip from the Wellsville Daily Reporter of a FATAL fire, which I believe was made public before the fire was extinguished. I didn’t see anyone calling that newspaper a ‘tabloid’ or criticizing their reporting, so why the double standard?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRqiiJVk3uM

    signed:
    Tim Hallman

  40. Anonymous says:

    I believe this woman is a paid employee of the Coudersport Volunteer Ambulance Association. I also believe she should be reprimanded, if not fired or even arrested for assault. She certainly did not act like a professional. There is no excuse for that behavior.

  41. Garry says:

    Striking a reporter (while personally satisfying) is not a job well done- keeping the reporter alive (ie not run over) by the responding units is….as is keeping the approaches to the scene open for unfettered access.

    For the “high horse” comment- good response, however incorrect. I don’t suffer fools- including taking time out of my day to wrestle with them. I wouldn’t have argued- you have one chance to get out of my scene (and stop putting yourself and my crews in danger) (and slowing my response to those that need help)…then the police make you go away.

    Reporter, you are going to win this on line argument- seen these before, you’re going to continue to ignore the issue (failure to comply with direction from a first responder) and the story (good man’s house burns) while you whine about a young lady slapping your camera. You’ve become the story, and are relishing the limelight….and have plenty of paid time to continue whining.

    Enjoy the martyrdom.

    Cheers- Garry

  42. essie says:

    Again, my heart goes out to the Smith family. I cried watching the video of the flames pouring out of their home, praying that the fireman could save it. Even though I wasn’t there, the cameraman was across the street in the grass, and did not appear to be interfering with the fire trucks and rescue efforts. When did it become illegal to videotape breaking news? A little compassion would go a long way for you, if they let you keep your job, Ms. VanBergen. QUESTION: Why do so many people hide behind the Anonymous moniker?

  43. Tony says:

    She SHOULDNT be repremended. The camera man shoved the camera in her face, violating her personal space. HE should be repremended. She asked him to remove the video, and he wont, he was to close to the fire scene, putting the fire out is more important than capturing video. Reporters do have the right to capture video and pics, but they dont have the right to get into our first responders face that are only here to help our community. A majority of them are volunteer too.

    Editor’s Response: That is ridiculous, Tony. I was never in her face. She was following me and I turned towards her, and I HAVE EVERY RIGHT to film in public. How many times do we need to remind you that we have every right to film public officials in public? You say you are a fireman Tony, I hope you realize that if a reporter is videotaping you, it’s perfectly legal and ethical. Perhaps a lawsuit would have some educational value, since it seems no one in your department understands they can be videotaped while on duty. At minimum, it seems some training on how to properly deal with citizens and reporters is in dire need.

  44. Just Me says:

    I believe she should be reprimanded & apologize for her outburst. You can clearly see in the video she got in the reporters face and he was very much away from the fire and any danger. Besides, why wasn’t the other reporter given the same grief. The volunteer should be ashamed of herself for assualting the reporter. Just because she didn’t touch him doesn’t excuse the fact that she assualted his property. At least the reporter was doing his job, unlike her. As for the short fuses, tough, if you can’t handle the stress in situations like this, well then you shouldn’t be a volunteer for a ambulance association. There’s no excuse for her behavior. ROCK ON COUDY NEWS. Your news site is refreshing. I love getting my news as it’s happening, not a week later like some other place does it.

  45. JKWF says:

    I think Temecka does a wonderful job and i feel that coudynews does a great job as well…it is what it is…let it go! In the end is that what we are going to take from this and in the end is it going to matter??? My heart goes out to Dr. Smith and her family during this great loss! What a sad thing to happen to such wonderful, caring people!!!

  46. Whinefest 2011 says:

    Really? While she may not have needed to push the camera, the reporter should comply with the request of an EMS worker on scene. If not, then go sneak in to “get the shot” and deal with the legal fallout afterwards. To post this video as a “news” event is a stretch. There is way to present the story without coming off as a whiner, but the reporter has failed. And their further posts here defending their actions only supports the idea that they are too involved with the story. In fact, the first person narrative is very unprofessional as any reporter would tell you.
    If you want a story go cover the banksters ripping off the American public.

  47. Jay C says:

    Tim, Here are my views on what has happened,

    1. I dont think that the EMT was keeping you away just because you were from Coudy News and not from PL. That is just absurd to think.
    2. And you have even said this yourself, she did what she did when you pointed your camera at her. If I was standing outside the night of a certain medical emergency and put a camera in your face, how would you have reacted??? In fact Tim I’m not sure that if you walked down town and shoved a camera in someones face that you would get it swatted away by several ppl… that is a act of intimidation itself.
    3. You say that your camera was broke after she swatted it, be cause it is shaky, well it is shaky before she hit it too… watch the video again.

    Editor’s Response: It is perfectly legal, and in my opinion (and every other news agency across America) ethical, to videotape public officials performing their jobs in public. I’m not saying she necessarily denied me access because I was from CN and not the PL, but she certainly did not stop the Editor of the PL, when he WAS walking in the road, TWICE as close to the fire as I ever was. As for the camera, it was shaky when I first turned it on because I was moving it drastically, whereas in the later video the camera was set down on the post that is in the grass, I wasn’t even holding it. The camera now shoots all videos with wobble. It never did before. Seems something with the image stablizer has broken. It is a Lumix FX700 and it is only 4 months old.

  48. Anonymous says:

    If she believed she was in the right, her proper response would have been to seek out an officer and inform him of the situation.
    She does not have the authority to deputize herself and then proceed to attack a civilian. Just another example of out of control power. The only thing worse are the people who excuse this oppression.
    But looking on the bright side, I suppose we should be grateful she did not have the ability to taze or shoot him.

  49. Eeekl says:

    Yup.. another public official who thinks “They know more than you and have the right to boss/push you around”. Typical jerk

  50. Sue says:

    This volunteer is attempting to secure the scene as fire crews arrived. As you can hear from the video units were just beginning to arrive on scene. I understand that news is news, but news should not cost fire, ems, or other emergency services time trying to keep the public safe. You do not know the mechanics of a fire unless you are the incident commander on scene. There could have been numerous explosions, toxic fumes, or any other magnitude of hazards. Firefighters wear air packs to protect their respiratory systems. The general public is not trained to understand that most homes now contain many plastics and other potentially deadly chemicals that could cause reaction. As soon as a single unit arrives on a scene, it establishes command, and in this instance, on a highly traveled main road, with the magnitude of equipment and volunteers responding, the entire scene was in jeopardy. Fire and EMS are often blamed for posting information before a family even knows there is a tragedy. If the reporter stuck a camera in her face while she was attempting to clear the area for incoming apparatus, what part of the news was he really reporting? The reaction of the EMT has absolutely nothing to do with the tragedy which was unfolding at this time. Why not simply do as asked and remove yourself from an area close to the roadway where approximately 100 volunteers were beginning to arrive. All spectators were asked to remove themselves from the scene for their own safety. Instant news has become a problem. Nobody seems to care WHAT HAPPENED to the victims, lets just get it on the air ASAP. At any alarm, scene safety and security is the first step that must be taken, otherwise everyone present is in danger. And again, what did the photographer attempt to report when he stuck the camera in her face. At that time, nobody knew if there was entrapment, the ambulance was attemptint to set up for a very long triage period recuperating firefighters, equipment was arriving, and there are many other tasks which must be executed before emergency services can even do their job. Scene safety and security is paramount. Again, I understand that this is news, but the reporters actions were inappropriate. The right to do whatever you want ends when a hazard is created. Had an incoming piece of equipment injured this reporter, or if he had inhaled toxins, who is at fault then? The emergency responders. If you do not care about your own safety how can you expect others to care unconditionally. This scene was not safe, whether you were on the road, in a parking lot, in the grass, or sitting on a porch. The potential for danger was too great. Had there been enough personnel on scene, every citizen would have been removed from the scene to a much safer distance. There just aren’t enough personnel available to do so. If you want to be part of the action, please join your local voluntire fire or ambulance company. I would have responded the same way. Whats sad is Tameca is unable to defend herself against this attack because the editor is commenting on the community responses, but yet she has to take it on the chin. Why not sit down with her to talk about this misunderstanding and post that video

    Editor’s Response: Tameca is more than welcome to comment here. She has not, at least not with her name attached. I have approved every comment submitted on this post. Also, Tameca IS NOT A VOLUNTEER, so please stop defending her for ‘donating her time’, when she gets paid for doing her job.

  51. jjw says:

    dancing on the grave are we????’

    reporters are pond scum

    she did not hit him watch it clearly

    reporters are waaaay over the top on 1st amendment

    chief is obviously scare or in bed with the paper

    he needs to be glad it wasnt me. would “reason” with him at another time when he didn’t have a camera.

    he is danciing on graves for news to sell ads.

  52. anonymous says:

    I was an EMS volunteer for some 15 ears and while crowd control at any emergency scene is necessary there is no excuse for this woman’s rude behavior. She could certainly have “protected” this reporter in a much more gracious, less abusive way. This situation certainly calls for a written reprimand in her personnel file.

  53. Shelley M says:

    a good journalist gets all points of view, why didn’t you post my comment??

  54. anonymous says:

    i think who ever took this video is a little baby and should go cry to his mommy! if the women said you can’t stand were you wanted too then you can’t stand there and you should go where she says and stop crying about it. im pretty sure there is more too worry about then some stupid camera guy trying too get closer too the fire! how about you grow up who ever took this video!

  55. Mia says:

    Excellent video! So it’s her fault you can’t hold a camera steady while you’re so ticked off because you didn’t get your way?

    This story would have been much better had you reported the actual news (that would be the fire, right?) and not used it to further your personal agenda/vendetta against a volunteer doing an important job in the community. Given the story is mainly about her touching your camera, it’s personal…NOT professional.

    Curious…How much time do you give back to your community on a weekly basis? Without expecting so much as a “thank you” in return? And without using it as a “Look what I did to get attention!”

    And for those who don’t know…an EMT or Fireman can be put in charge of controlling traffic, which is normally the job of Fire Police personnel, when needed. So while it wasn’t her usual task to direct vehicle or foot traffic, that was her job at that specific scene.

    Editor’s Response: I think her paycheck is ‘thank you’ enough from the community. Also, the camera WAS broken and that is why the video is wobbly. The camera will not shoot video correctly any longer.

  56. Toby says:

    As a former member of the Potter County EMS, the position of an ambulance unit on a fire scene is for safety. Should a firefighter or someone else need medical assistance on this call (especially with the extreme weather you are having), there is medical help on scene. So basically with that said, the ambualnce crew was “standing by on the scene of the incident” and was in no way treating a patient. This PAID crew member over stepped her bounds by attempting to “police” a fire scene. Now, unless she was under a direct command from the INCIDENT COMMAND to “Police” the scene, she was OUT OF LINE and should therefore be held accountable for her actions. When I was a volunteer for this department, and an incident like this was taking place I would have contacted a chief or requested the help of a POLICE OFFICER! In my opinion, and of course everyone has one, I feel this woman should be disclipined with either suspension or termination as this could very well bring a lawsuit against Coudersport Ambulance as well as the negetive impact it has put on this service.

  57. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe that people of Coudersport are really bashing this young woman who risks her life on a day to day basis to keep YOU safe. Whether she is a volunteer or a paid employee should not even matter. Her job is to protect people from getting hurt. That is exactly what she was doing. She was trying to keep you back from the scene. What if the house would have blown or collapsed, would you have been upset with her then? No of course not. You probably would have posted a blog on your “blog site” (NOT A CREDITED NEWS SITE) that condemned her for not asking you step back off of the scene. You make me sick. I can’t believe that this is how the community of Coudersport is thanking their volunteers. You think you can do a better job. Then put your camera down and go volunteer. Then come post a blog about all the idiots that try to breech scene so they can get their film footage for their supposed “blog.” My guess is that you couldn’t handle what they have to deal with on a daily basis because you can’t even handle someone telling you “no.”

  58. Jerrica says:

    It’s funny how all of the comments except for a select few are posted against this young woman. I know that I have tried to post a few comments in favor of the woman and they somehow seem to not find their way on to the blog. Nice to see that this blog site is so biased. Why couldn’t this be taken care of in a private manner instead of putting this on blast for the rest of the community to put their two cents in. When this story was first posted, there was a longer video on there that has been intentionally edited to make this young woman look bad. Shame on you for not telling the truth when you claim to be a mere member of the press who swears to get the whole story. Clearly that is not the case here.

    Editor’s Response: First, I have approved every comment on this post (we were away at the Dam Show and not moderating comments yesterday). Second, THE VIDEO IS NOT EDITED. I have the raw .MTS file to prove it. It is the entire raw footage.

  59. Anonymous #1 says:

    SHE DIDNT ASSULT HIM NEVER LAYED A FINGER ON HIM WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE NOT UNDERSTANDING! JEEZUS YOU PEOPLE ARE PATHETIC!

    Editor’s Response: Please tell me your name, and how you think you know this… especially considering I have a finger nail scrape mark and broken camera to prove she did indeed hit me and my camera.

  60. Tasmia Mallor says:

    Just stating that you are a member of the press does not give you access to the scene of an incident. You must provide proper credentials. EMS and Fire are in control of the scene, and have every right to prohibit access to a scene to protect your safety and the safety of the people working the scene. To prevent future issues, you should provide copies of your press credentials to both the ambulance and fire departments so they are familiar with you prior to you showing up on scene. This is likely why a different reporter was allowed access while you were denied.

    Editor’s Response: We do have secured, verifiable (with barcode) press credentials and provide them whenever asked. As for the Editor being granted access, it certainly wasn’t because they were more familiar with him, the PL hardly ever covers the news… just look at the murder case recently… who showed up to take photos of Prather and Buckingham? CoudyNews and Endeavor News. Everyone knows the PL has been doing a terrible job of covering the news.

  61. seriously. says:

    Hate to inform you timothy but on fire scenes there isn’t alot of time to mess with press. Our job is to make sure people are safe. If she was telling you to back up or move it was for a reason with fire trucks coming in left and right you needed to move. She didn’t hit you she hit your camera big whoop suck it up and stop being such a child cause with all your comments and posting thinga that is what you look like a child act like and adult. Volunteer paid employee or not she has rights just as much as you do sir. So if you can post this video with her name and her voice without her permission she can move the camera out of her face. As for the post about websites if you go to look for coudersport volunteer fire department website you wont find one. Seems like every time there is a fire someone is bashing or complaining about the volunteers in the community that help to keep all of you safe. If you think you can take the heat go fill out and application.

    Editor’s Response: You’re right, they don’t have time to mess with people, and that is exactly why she shouldn’t have messed with me, because I was IN NO WAY hindering or getting in anyone’s way, or too close to the fire. The simple fact is, this woman had a ‘bug up her butt’ and decided she was going to play cop, and when I turned my camera towards her to videotape how ridiculous and rude she was acting towards me, she hit my camera.

  62. Anonymous says:

    That is clearly Tameca. I knew the voice, before seeing her on the video. What she did was uncalled for and action needs to be taken by the CAAA, whether she is paid or not. She had no authority to do as she did, including touching Tim or his camera. Had she been in a police uniform, this might have been another matter as he’s disobeying an order from someone in charge (when told to stay behind crimescene tape, etc). Tameca was far from being “in charge”….she’s just full of herself.

  63. Taxpaying Citizen says:

    Video can help solve crimes, causes of accidents and much more. Look at he video/pic–isn’t that a gas grill on the back porch?

  64. Trey says:

    Having worked in Emergency Services in the past, I can say that reporters that we could identify as having had training in Emergency Services were rarely even questioned by personnel on the scene; we knew they knew enough about fires/wrecks/etc to maintain a safe distance, not hinder vehicles, etc. Some reporters even have various pieces of protection equipment they wear to scenes. We usually let these individuals get MUCH closer to a scene than reporters we didn’t know (as in, “didn’t know about their skills/experience relating to the scene in question”). As you said in one of your responses, your video and pictures are often very helpful during investigations and such later on.

    In an effort to educate, I’d like to toss out some things that I found were not common knowledge to others (on BOTH sides of the Badges) while I was working in Emergency Services…

    Emergency Services vehicles tend to move faster than people are used to, and they move in directions people aren’t used to (they travel over curbs, on grass and on sidewalks if needed, etc).. There is also an optical illusion that causes large vehicles to appear to be moving more slowly than they really are, so people tend to greatly misjudge the timing involved in getting out of their way, especially when the person is distracted by watching the action, filming, writing, recording, and so on. Every person near a moving Emergency Services vehicle is one more thing the driver must keep track of mentally in an area where there’s already a LOT on their minds. A person standing in a yard across the street from a scene always thinks they’re well out of the way, until they see that a big truck has climbed the curb and is moving toward them rather quickly, needing to be in that yard where the person is standing! At this point the driver has to forget everything else that was on his mind to concentrate on the one person in the way, AND the driver knows his big vehicle doesn’t stop nearly as well on grass (which is very often wet), nor does it turn as well. That person who thought they were out of the way is now in REAL danger, as are other people that the driver may have been keeping track of mentally before he had to focus on not hitting *you*.

    ..and for your future safety, let me remind you that your Vision, Hearing, Reflexes, Awareness, etc. are severely degraded when you’re behind your camera and focusing on the subject at hand. Many reporters I know surely understand this, but a surprising number had never “really consciously thought about it before”. Even the most skilled people at a scene sometimes get “honked at” by a vehicle they didn’t even know was approaching them… it startled *me* every time!

    At about 1:07.. that sounds like something beginning to cook off in the fire (ammunition, some canned goods, etc, can sound like that). I could be wrong about where the pops were coming from, but I’m assuming your camera’s mic picks up sound better in the direction it’s pointing, which was toward the involved structure at the time. Debris from things exploding in a fire can travel a LONG way, and travel at a high velocity! That’s another one of the main reasons people need to stay back. Untrained people viewing an event like this often think they’re at a safe distance, when in reality they’re WELL inside the danger area where they may be struck by flying debris! I have personally seen large/heavy objects ejected from a fire travel well over a quarter of a mile!

    Very little is more exasperating than trying to manage a scene in it’s initial stages, trying to close off an area, and trying to move people well back, and while you’re trying to do that you see more people running toward the area you’re trying to control for the safety of everyone involved. You have to start from “close in to the scene” and begin moving everyone back from there, usually having to ask the same people to move even further back several times as you move further outward from the scene… Meanwhile there’s a LOT of other things going on that you must pay attention to at the same time; it can be almost overwhelming sometimes… then add in that many of those people want exceptions made (IE: “This is MY yard, I’m not moving at all!”) and so more and more of your time and attention is being taken trying to convince each individual person to move a safe distance away (and remember, as you deal with each person wanting to talk, or ask questions, or being recalcitrant, more people are steadily streaming into the scene trying to bypass the safe area you’ve already established).

    Not knowing anyone involved in this episode, let me say that unless you are well known, or were wearing very prominent ID, she may have mistaken you for “Random gawker off the street” at first. Furthermore, I couldn’t count the number of people that have hurriedly said “Press” or “News” while trying to hurry by me, who WERE NOT with the press. Sadly, that was VERY common. You may think that your “More professional looking camera” would make it obvious that you were with the press, but with prices on camera equipment falling more all the time, even hobbyists can afford equipment that looks very professional.

    Agreed, she blocked your camera and pushed it away when you tried to video her specifically, but you WERE asking her to deal with all of the responsibilities above involving establishing a safe perimeter, AND become a lawyer in a split second pertaining to what you could and couldn’t video (while probably not even knowing you were with the press at first, and not knowing whether or not you were with the press “For Sure” even after you said you were)… I know the natural inclination is to think “Emergency Services Personnel should know these laws”, but most of them don’t. You have to admit, the laws pertaining to every situation they may face would be a LOT to learn. Her natural reaction was to block the camera when you swung it toward her face, but in her defense, few people want a close up shot at that kind of a scene where they’re likely NOT going to look their best… for all she knew she had snot running down her face and would be laughed at about it later (or whatever her reasoning was for not wanting to be on video).. I think you can respect that, especially considering the situation, the stress, etc…

    Under that same thought about expecting Emergency Services Personnel to know the laws pertaining to YOUR job (your rights to access, etc), and expecting them to have some training on those laws, you might also want to take some training on what Emergency Services does. Get training locally if possible so that the locals know you have it, and so they know “you” by sight, then they’ll probably be MUCH more liberal about *your* access to the scene, and will probably allow you much closer access than another reporter whose training/skills are unknown. It also makes *you* safer when on the job, and when an Emergency Services worker sees you they know you’re one LESS person they have to worry about getting hurt… Not only are you one less distraction/hindrance, you’re actually a help in many cases. That type of extra training on *your* part would pay dividends in MANY ways, and to many other people besides yourself.

    It appears that a little extra training would have been a benefit to both of you in this situation (Extra training on ANY subject rarely goes to waste).

    BTW, Check the settings on your camera Bro; you’re right that it appears VERY shaky, but if you watch even the short segment of video at the beginning of what you posted BEFORE she blocks the camera, it’s obvious that it’s shaking much more already than should be expected… it doesn’t appear to get worse after she blocked the lens, so I suspect your vibration/stability settings may have gotten turned off, or reset, at an earlier time period. I hope that helps with your camera, I understand they are expensive, and being one of the tools of your trade, you’re probably kinda attached to it emotionally (and I don’t blame you at all. I know I worry a lot about some of my tools, wanting to keep them in the best possible operating condition).

    No one hates heavy handed tactics (from ANYONE) worse than I do, and NO ONE likes to feel as if they’ve been belittled or disrespected by someone “in authority”, but I hope the above helps explain some possible factors/motives that may have come into play during this unfortunate event. I’ve suggested many times to my reporter friends that they do pieces on “Scene Safety” in an effort to educate the public to the dangers and realities of a scene such as this, and it always helps! Not only does it help make the public, AND Emergency Services Workers, safer, but it also turns an unfortunate negative experience such as this, into a positive learning experience for many others so that this type of thing is avoided in the future. Trust me, pictures of a #10 can full of peaches completely buried in the front yard of a home that is out of sight from a fire scene gets the public’s attention! Loose bullets cooking off aren’t nearly as dangerous as you might think they would be, whereas I’ve seen the lid to a metal gas can completely penetrate the outside wall of a home WAY across the street!

    To everyone involved, be careful out there, and please show each other a little respect.. A little respect and courtesy go a LONG way, ESPECIALLY in stressful situations.

  65. Lates says:

    I know nothing about what ACTUALLY happened. What I saw in the video was a piece of fire apparatus approaching the fire scene on the same roadway where the reporter wanted to walk. Is that not protecting the public? How attentive can you be when walking on a roadway and running a video camera at the same time? Maybe after the Coudy reporter was too close, the ambulance member was directed to keep people farther away. I would think a well prepared reporter would have a camera with a telephoto or zoom lens to capture the footage from a safe distance.
    As far as an assault taking place, there were no sudden jerks of the camera and no sound of a hand or fist striking the reporter. Another case of taking the meaning of ‘assault’ too far. Been hanging around with any lawyers lately?
    On a different note, why didn’t the ambulance member have on the required proper safety vest while working on or near the roadway? Why did members on the arriving apparatus not have all their protective clothing on when departing the engine? Why didn’t the chief officer directing the apparatus have on protective clothing, or in light of that, at least a white helmet and safety vest? So, several things weren’t exactly as they should have been.
    Everybody needs to get over it and learn something from it. Don’t carry on any longer. Put all your energy into something more productive, like getting along. If this keeps up, relations will become more strained and you can expect a repeat performance. Perhaps appoint an older member of the fire department to act as the PIO (Public Information Officer) and all media representatives will be directed to him or her, and that is where they will remain.
    Finally, and most importantly, no lives were lost and my heartfelt feelings to the Smith family. I’ve seen this far too many times in my 40 year fire service career and it won’t decline until we have legislation passed to require fire sprinklers in all new single family housing.

    Editor’s Response: She broke my camera and skin on my arm when she struck me, and you say that is not assault? And ONCE AGAIN, I was NOT in the road! or approaching the road! I was walking down the grass!

  66. admin says:

    I have approved every comment submitted on this article so far, but I’m tempted to close them at this time and here is why:

    There are repeated comments with different ‘anonymous’ names, that have the same IP addresses. These are clearly the same few people making anonymous comments. Probably friends of Temeca, or dare I say, other ‘volunteer’ personnel who share her twisted concept of what a ‘job well done’ really is.

    The last thing I will say to those of you who do not believe I have the right to videotape this woman, I have every right! She is a public official in a public place and the Supreme Court has been quite clear on this matter… we (the press) have every right to videotape police and emergency responders doing their jobs in public. This woman should know that. If she doesn’t want to be taped, she should find a different career.

    For those of you criticizing my decision to publish this video and story, let me just say, if an ambulance crew member did this to a FOX or CNN news reporter, the video would go viral on YouTube and it would be all over the news.

    And for the last time I will say again, I was not too close to the fire, I never disobeyed her orders, listen to the video, I clearly am asking her where I can go.

    And for those of you who want to hide behind ‘anonymous’ and criticize me… at least I have the courage to put my name here. Why don’t you?

  67. admin says:

    I have decided to close comments on this post. UNLESS YOU LEAVE YOUR NAME, YOUR COMMENT WILL NOT BE APPROVED.

    I have also changed my mind – I WILL be filing a formal complaint against this woman, and this is why:

    It’s quite clear to me that many of those sharing Tameca’s philosophy of a ‘job well done’ are also members of local fire and/or ambulance departments.

    Someone implying they are a fire chief here, also implies he would ‘not suffer fools’? Really? So, you think it’s acceptable to hit people who have done nothing wrong but film you in public? You even imply you would go farther than Tameca… are you going to punch me square in the face? Please tell me… and also, please tell me your name instead of hiding behind anonymous.

    Let me be very clear, JUST BECAUSE YOU VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN BREAK THE LAW. As a citizen and parent, I will be demanding much more professionalism from the emergency personnel in the community I reside. You are not above the law. You volunteer your time to ‘help the community’, not play cop.

    Just because you are a volunteer does not mean you cannot be relieved of you volunteer status. Perhaps the community needs to review who and what is exactly going on in our local volunteer (and paid) emergency departments.

    This is exactly why the press has the right to videotape emergency people and police… who else is going to make sure they are doing their jobs and not abusing their power?

    And to the fire person who says we the press ‘annoy’ you, sorry. The police also get annoyed… because they hate getting caught abusing their power or not following proper procedure. If you don’t like being videotaped while volunteering your time as a fireman, then maybe you shouldn’t volunteer your time as a public official, because we the press have every right to videotape you in public. Get used to it… it’s 2011, not 1980! If Coudersport had a television station (like Buffalo), no one would question them broadcasting the same video, but for some reason our credibility is called into question… we are no different than any other news agency. Like I said, it’s 2011 and this is how people get their news in today’s day and age…. and to prove my point, CoudyNews was read 22,000 times in ONE DAY several weeks ago.. that is our current record… 22,000 times! It takes the newspaper three weeks to reach that many people!

  68. Tony says:

    To the Editor, if you have fingernail scratch so what. Stop crying about it. And a broken camera? if it broke from the way she touched it, it wasnt worth what you paid for it. Argueing with tour towns first responders is pathetic. Your suposed to be a “perfesional.” If a first responder ask you to move off the scene then you should politly do so. They are there to do a service to the community.

    Editor’s Response: What is your real name ‘Tony’? Also, I’m glad you continue to imply that I did not ‘listen’, when no such thing ever happened. Do you hear me telling her no? No, you don’t, you hear me ASKING where I COULD go. I must say, I find it very troubling that 99% of those defending her actions are volunteer EMT/Firemen like her, whereas everyone I’ve spoken to that has watched the video (3 politicians, 2 local businessman, 3 newspaper editors, and 1 laywer), all feel this woman overstepped her bounds and that I was not in the wrong. This is disturbing because it tells me the attitude she displayed is mutual among many of her colleagues.

  69. Rodney Franklin says:

    Hey Tim here is something I don’t get. in the video the girl says you are to close but when you move you end up closer to the fire and a fire fighter which has more authority than her walks by and doesn’t say anything so that right there should say something.

  70. admin says:

    Rodney, the firefighter walking by is actually Bryan Phelps. In fact, what you don’t see is that he walked down there and told the ambulance crew (the woman who hit me), to move their ambulance because IT was in the way, not me.

    It’s hard to tell from this video, but as I’ve said before, I was not too close to the fire. In fact, I’m tempted to return to the scene and shoot more video so folks can actually see how far away I was, and show the path I took which wasn’t even near any firemen or their equipment. The ONLY reason I even stopped near the road while making my way down to where I shot video of the fire was because this woman stopped me and told me I was not allowed to take pictures of the fire.

    This is the part that has been completely twisted. I wasn’t in the road, I had no intentions of being in the road or in anyone’s way. Also, I NEVER told her no. For people to say I wasn’t listening to her and I was in their way is plain ridiculous and simply not true. Pause the video at the beginning when she is in the frame and tell me what you see in the road and across the street.

    The botton line is, I was telling her I wanted to go to where I DID end up, but she immediately became hostile, despite the fact that I asked her numerous times where I could go. She simply did not want me shooting the fire, and that is why she got so bent out of shape when she thought I was going to take her picture.

    It seems her real issue was that I had a camera, not that I was too close. If you’re in authority to direct traffic and tell people not to go near a fire scene, then you should at least be able tell reporters and the like WHERE they CAN go.. but this woman never did any such thing, she simply kept telling me I could not ‘take pictures of the fire,’ and that I ‘could not be there.’ You can hear me saying in the video, “you have to tell me where I can go.” In the end she finally tells me I can go down to the road in the trailer park… where you likely could not see the fire.

  71. Rodney Franklin says:

    I am totally on your side Tim, and I think that is a good idea to go and re-shoot your steps. It may clear up some things. Also I do know for a fact that when I was a firefighter in the ulysses dep. we had issues with coudersport all the time.

  72. Becky says:

    Tim..Keep up the good work. I completely agree that this woman was way out of line. As a past volunteer EMT, I feel she should be suspended for her actions. Thank goodness not all volunteers in the Ambulance Services are as bad as this one. Oh I forgot….she is paid so that makes it even worse!

  73. admin says:

    Here is the photo the PL took, after I stopped filming. As I said, he WAS in the road, and judging by the photo, maybe even in the way… certainly much closer to the fire than I ever was. Also, I believe the road WAS shutdown at this point.

    http://coudynews.com/wp-content/uploads/207917_141922749224101_127313960684980_278673_2709439_n.jpg

  74. Bada Bing says:

    Tim,

    You are wasting your time arguing with very ignorant uneducated people(especially Garry and Tony). You are only asking for trouble when you give one of them a uniform. I think this is as big an issue as the fire if this is the type of people we have to rely on in emergencies. And you need to go to court so “these people” learn you can’t just put your hands on someone when you feel like it.

  75. Just Curious says:

    speaking of the Ambulance crew, there was a girl laying along the road unresponsive on Mill and Maple streets last week, the Ambulance was called and it took them 15 Minutes to get to the scene. THEIR LOCATION IS 2 BLOCKS AWAY…

    Where was the girl then, when someone need attention??? Everyone at the scene was asking the same questions?? where the heck are they??

    the parents wanted to just drive the girl to the hospital, but the Hospital EMT’s would not let them, soooo everyone waited, staring down the street staring until the Ambulance backed out of the garage and drove 2 blocks …

    Aren’t these people paid? and on call at the station at all times?? (the Ambulance crew) so what the heck took so long??

    I commend our volunteers but this is a paid service right? I know the firemen are not paid. and I think them for volunteering their time!

    I think the girl had some “issues” with you at the scence of the fire, I would like to think that she would not do that all the time. that maybe she was just having a bad day, but someone needs to sit her down and have a talk with her.

    If News reporters can be in Iraq covering stories, then it is pretty much known that they are on their own. they are responsible for themselves and can hold nobody liable for unforseen accidents that may happen.

    I dont know the girl or the reporter, but if the girl would have even touched my camera she would have been a little surprised by what she would have gotten in return. then she could have stopped Mr. Phelps and asked for help.

    COMMON SENSE GOES ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLONG WAY!!!!

  76. Len says:

    SOME of the Amb Vol are paid. Most are not.

  77. Jim says:

    There is one paid ambulance crew available during the day. If they are out on a call, the second ambulance is staffed with volunteers. The volunteers are not at the ambulance hall and need to come from their day jobs or homes to the hall, to get the ambulance. In the evenings until early morning, the ambulances are entirely staffed with volunteers. Its not unusual at all for more than one ambulance to be out at a time.

  78. Just Curious says:

    Thanks for clearing that up Jim!!

  79. Chief in Indiana says:

    WOW! About half way through the comments I couldn’t take it anymore and stopped reading. In our area bystanders not the press are a problem. Bystanders will be within 10′ of the scene, all you have to do is nicely ask them to step back or find a police officer to do crowd control. We have never had a problem with the press unless it is at a bad mva and then we shield them from filming the pts. to protect the pts. privacy. We never have the press show up at a fire until all the work is done and to tell you the truth I wouldn’t mind if they showed up at the beginning so that after the incident I could review how everything went looking from a different view. My only problem is talking into a camera after the incident, not real comfortable but it’s part of the job. Grant it this is a difficult time for the family that lost their home however this is America and everyone has a job to do including the press because the next day Aunt Mabel in the next town over wants to know where were all the sirens going. As far as the actions of the EMS I don’t care if you’re paid or volunteer everyone has a duty to act proffessionaly, it could be a member of the press sticking a camera in your face or a pt./bystander that spits in your face you’ve got to be the better person and handle it proffessionaly. I found in my 16 yrs in the fire service if you give somebody a little authority sometimes they can make it become the ultimate authority over everything.

  80. Firefighter says:

    I have been a Paramedic for 22 years and a firefighter for 18 years all as a Full time professional that being said the E.M.T in this video is less than professional. Last time I checked the Fire Chief is the Boss on scene of a fire not a know it all E.M.T To the Reporter you did a good job if that was my fire I would have brought you up closer we have 3 zone’s cold,warm and Hot you did not even qualify for the cold zone you were so far back. I hope this E.M.T knows by now what she did embarrassed herself and the organization she represented. Heck I am embarrassed that she is in the same profession that I am in. I hope she learns an important lesson. I used to think bad of the press but I want them on my scene people need to see what we have to deal with on a day to day base. Everyone be safe and be good to each other.

  81. Andrew says:

    First of all, I would like to personally apologize for the actions of young Tameca (sp?). I have been a firefighter/paramedic with one of the busiest departments in the nation for a long time, and I can assure you that she does not posess one ounce of professionalism.

    Tim, it seems pretty clear to me that you were far enough away from any of the action that was taking place. Where I’m from, it takes the police and fire/EMS an eternity to remove citizens from the area, and sometimes we have weapons presented to us when we ASK them to leave. It may seem like a foreign concept to some, but if you enter a burning home and someone tells you they don’t want to go anywhere…they don’t have to. (and that’s happened to me on several occasions.) As far as the press is concerned, I have never had a problem with anyone. Most of them (like Tim) stay out of the way and we never have to direct them to go anywhere. If there is ever a dispute, there is a chain of command to follow and it’s obvious that she did not follow it. Whether or not it hurt the reporter, damaged his camera, or caused any other problems (and I say that because I don’t have any clue) laying your hands on ANYONE while on duty is the best way to kiss your career/future in Fire/EMS goodbye. I’ve had patients, family, and bystanders punch me, spit on me, and threaten me, but not once have I ever done anything to them. Lastly, she was probably on “stand-by” or some sort of working fire dispatch. Her job is not to police the boundaries of a fire scene, it’s to provide rehabilitation services to the firefighters who are working their butts off in the summer heat.

    Tim, again I am sorry for this…it seems as if people continually forget their place. You’ll be happy to know that you aren’t alone in this fight. Check out Dave Statter’s blog (statter911.com) for coverage on these sorts of incidents. It’s actually how I came across your story. Dave is a great guy and an awesome reporter; one who has commanded respect from Police/Fire/EMS workers alike for a very long time. What I see here is a lack of training, knowledge, and experience on Tameca’s part. It’s unfortunate that she chose to act like a toddler.

    Lastly, to the family…I don’t know you, but I am very sorry for your loss. I have seen the despair of those who lose all their belongings time and time again and I know it’s not easy. But it seems to me that you have a community that will help you in your time of need.

    Tim, if you have any comments/questions I included my e-mail…thanks!

  82. admin says:

    For those who questioned the filming of a house fire, here are two clips of a fire department videotaping and publishing a working house fire:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu6_yIm8EpE&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAumovnA3Dg&NR=1

  83. Johnn Bravo says:

    Based on most SOP/SOGs that I’ve ever read, EMS personnel (Career or Volunteer) are not called to the scene to do anything but position out of the way of incoming units and be available for transport to the hospital in case of a FF or civilian casualty. Nowhere does it state control bystanders of any type. This is a pretty clear case of a young female that has little idea of her role on a fireground. Secondly, it is a matter of assult and freedom of the press. Fires (like-it-or-not) are usually in the public eye. There is no law against filming anyone in the public eye to include public servants. I’ve been a firefighter for over 20 years and professionalism goes a long way. “Admin” I’d definitely see that she is reprimanded for her actions and issues an apology. Secondly, I’d recommend her chief suspend her until she takes appropriate training to curve her obvious attitude problem and destructive mentality.
    I can tell you, if she would have never made it to EMT in my department. We weed out the teenage control freak types fairly quickly. From one public service to another – my apologies. She is the exception; not the rule.

  84. RETIREDIN SC says:

    Man, not allot going on up there, all the comments, got a good fire going now. I realy do not think that her name should of been printed for all to see. If she came on the medic why is she not doing the job of taking care and being ready if any of the FF need the EMS crew. She was no where close to the fire sceen. What help is she going to be if they need to track her down if EMS was needed. Hun your job is EMS and the police job is to take care of the media and bystanders.

  85. Corey says:

    As a firefighter for the last 18 years, I have never had a problem with ANY reporter on scene. That woman just had the idea of “oh I’m EMS, look at me, listen to my commands!!!” she thinks she is “all that” because she has a star of life on her shirt. Another thing, the reporter/videographer was plenty far away from the scene. He wasn’t hurting anything where he was, also he wasn’t “in the way of approaching emergency vehicles” unless that department normally drives in the grass. Anyway, good video of the fire!! Wish we had more ppl who would video fires here do we could get a copy of the video and look at where we excel and where we need to improve! Kinda like the guy that gets OUT OF THE TRUCK WITH NO GEAR ON AND JUST DIRECTS THE PUMPER FORWARD!! On my department, if you are on the first or second truck out, you had BETTER have gear on or u will be sitting at the building next time! Have a great day all!!

  86. firefighter says:

    I think both were some what in the wrong here. No the girl should not have hit the camera. But 2 houses and across the street is not far enough away. As for the other reporter you say he came later and was aloud to walk around. If he came later then the scene, the fire may have been under better control and the safety factors may have been lower. That why were I’m from the media checks in with the fire chief or has a firefighter ask the chief where they can film from. After that then they start filming. And just asking if you realize that 70+% of all firefighters in America are Volunteer and the number of people that want to be volunteer firefighters is dropping. Paid firefighters jobs are also being cut. So when your house is on fire and there aren’t enough firefighters to come put it out cause they were fired dont be complaining.

  87. Bada Bing says:

    Acts 26:14 says “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” I say its even harder to argue with them. Take them to court.

  88. Medic says:

    Wah-wah-wah. Sounds to me like you two got in a pissing contest. Just grow up.

    First, you continually state that “there were plenty or other folks much closer than I.” No evidence of this, even in the video. Second, you say there was an assault. I see no assault. She struck the camera. You cannot assault a camera. You also say that you were “in the grass.” Whether zoomed in or not, it appeared you were “in the grass” right on the road. It appears, from the video, that you would have been extremly close to getting hit when the fire truck pulled up, had you not moved. Also, how do you know she was not asked by a fire fighter or police officer to have you move? All the fire fighters looked really busy at the moment and how many cops were there? I think I saw one, maybe.

    Everything that you have said and shown is biased. Yes, you do have a freedom of speech. No, she does not have any expectation to privacy. Whether she was right or wrong, you should have taken the high road instead of crying and moaning in the media.

  89. Bob says:

    Having over 30 years experience in fire, ems, and rescue I can say that being a volunteer does not excuse you from professional behavior. The EMT was not doing her job and could be arrested if charges are brought.
    The reporter was not in the way nor in danger. He did not approach her she sought him out(by the way he got a better view of the fire.)
    Responders do have a heightened sense of anxiety but they have to control it otherwise they will not be able to function well at an emergency. These are the ones we call for help. The reporter was well within his constitutional right to be there. EMS should have been tending to victims
    Or setting rehab for the FD.

  90. Dallas says:

    As a firefighter for more than 30 years I am disgusted by the behavior of the EMS responder on this incident. If I were the reporter I would swear out an assault warrant against her. I don’t know who owns the camera in question (the reporter or the employer) but the owner should be suing her personally for the damages to the camera.

    There is no reasonable interpretation of the law that permits this type of behavior. While she was acting under the cloak of a public official acting for the public good, she was in fact directly violating the Constitution of the United States asserting authority that neither she or anyone else in the United States has, so she owns the consequences of her actions. People, reporters and otherwise, are actually permitted to occupy public spaces in this country, there are others where that may or may not be the case, but here we are allowed to do that.

    For those claiming that she was merely ensuring the safety of the scene and the availability an adequate operating space for the responding units you are either clueless or disingenuous. I have been to hundreds and hundreds of fires in 30 years and there is NO way that the reporter was in anyway compromising his safety, the safety of others, or encroaching into the hot or warm zones; he was firmly ensconced in the cold zone well outside any area of risk to himself or others (other than being assaulted by an incompetent first responder).

    For those distraught over the idea that pictures or video might be taken of something bad happening, what planet are you from? This happens every day all day long. I suspect that you have probably even taken a peek at a few of those pictures and video over time: never looked at a picture of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City (168 dead), never looked a picture of New York on 9/11 (2500+ dead), never looked a picture of the Gulf Coast post-Katrina (~1500 dead)? Yeah, right. You are hypocrites of the first order.

    Fires, crimes scenes and other bad things are news. They happened all day, every day, all over the country and the world. Some are large (see above) and some are relatively small (as in this case), and in all cases the individuals (or maybe a whole country) living through them are traumatized, but they are still news. The job of the reporter is to report the news, which is exactly what was being done here before the self-anointed, extra-Constitutional, enforcer of whims swung into action.

    If she is an employee (as some state in the comments above) then her job should be legitimately at risk; we can’t have public servants assaulting people on a whim. If she is a volunteer then she is definitely in need of a significant time out to consider her actions and be thoroughly retrained at a minimum, or maybe tossed out of the organization permanently.

    I realize that the reporter may feel that pursuing criminal charges may be an overzealous response, but in my mind anything short of that in an endorsement of this type of behavior and an erosion of the protections of the Constitution, the very Constitution that many outstanding members of the United States military have died to defend; most recently in the tragic loss of the helicopter in Afghanistan, an event that I noticed the media covered by the way…the most tragic thing that I have heard about in a long time…

    Those that have defended the actions of the EMS responder in the messages above need to grow up and look around, and maybe, just maybe, read the U.S. Constitution one time; it is actually quite a good read and you might learn a thing or two.

    BTW, those events that I listed above, I responded to all of them, including working to clear the day care center in the Murrah Building for many days…I know a thing or two about tragic events…

    Incomprehensible ignorance and incompetence…end of rant.

  91. Paul Schewene says:

    I spent 15 years in the fire service, several of those as an EMT.

    I do not carry a great love affair with the media in my history. One call I was on where the media showed up… soured me quickly on them… when a report was broadcast… that was TOTAL fiction, in the name of ratings… much to the great pain of the loved ones of the victims who were seriously injured or killed.

    THIS SAID…

    Our first duty as public servants… whether volunteers or paid professionals… IS TO THE CONSTITUTION, and its application to our citizens. We’re SERVANTS… not bosses… not governors… SERVANTS of the people.

    That’s what the badge stands for… a symbol of a very sacred public TRUST. We’re entrusted to DO THE RIGHT THING in a crisis, on BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE. Not just some of the people… ALL of the people.

    Whether someone is with mainstream media, the school paper, or they’re just there with their own camera, ready to blog away as an amateur reporter… or just a member of the public… we have a duty to do right by them.

    There ARE times where the situation is SO dire, that we DO have to make a rapid decision that is in apparent contravention of those constitutional rights.

    Good example is when we grab someone and hustle them out of a dangerous area, because we see that it’s extremely dangerous for them and others if they stay there.

    We have to have a DAMN GOOD REASON that we can articulate to a judge, before we can claim that we had a right to do so as emergency workers in an emergency. If we DO NOT have that good reason… WE can be HELD LIABLE for violations of the civil rights of others.

    And rightly we SHOULD be held accountable to that standard!!

    Regardless of our personal views… (and folks… I’m as harsh a critic of the media as you can get.) …we have a duty to the public… and it’s not all about what our trucks do, or what we do as heroes to end the emergency.

    Our duty to the public is to support, defend and respect their rights.

    We don’t go into hot emergencies, to get some medal on our chest.

    We go, to ensure someone’s right to LIVE is protected as best as humanly possible.

    We go, to HELP our public. Not to tell them what to do, while we brag to everyone about what hot crap we think we are as a ‘pillar of the community’.

    We’re there to HELP the public… not to serve our own ego.

    That EMT’s actions, were SO out of keeping with the traditions and moral obligations of the fire and EMS services… that if I were her chief officer… her EMT certificate would be in jeopardy at the state level for misconduct before the public… and she would no longer be on the department.

    No suspensions… no games… no ‘re-training’. She showed up to the business with the wrong attitude… and as evidenced by her actions, obviously, she needs to go find another calling, because she doesn’t have the character that is a pre-requisite for serving the public.

    That may sound harsh to some people who claim to be firefighters or EMTs or paramedics…

    But consider it this way… if you can’t trust her to be professional to the public… which isn’t terribly difficult on the whole… How the HELL can you trust her to go into your grandma’s house, on your grandma’s worst day… EARN your grandma’s trust, and then give your grandma the red-carpet treatment all the way to the hospital?!?

    I wouldn’t want her coming to ME to help ME, if she was the only EMT in all the world who was available!

    She popped a reporter for pointing a camera at her…

    What do you think she’d do, if I’m in a car, all busted up with internal injuries and delirious and going into shock, and I wind up puking in her face because of all the blood in my gut? What do I get for that?

    She slapped a reporter for pointing a camera… think I’d get five across the eyes for throwing up on her?

    Believe me… someone in the public’s asking that very question right now…

    Someone in the public might be looking at making a donation to her EMS team… and seeing how she treated a fellow citizen and member of the public… and saying, “Do I want my money to support THAT?!?”

    This is a serious issue… and frankly, she deserves to be held fully accountable. Volunteers are great… I was one. But you can’t have someone behaving like that. It’s better to do with a few less volunteers, than to have people like that on your staff.

    I’ve been out of the business quite a number of years now… and I’ll tell you… I ‘still’ feel a sense of PROFESSIONAL EMBARRASSMENT and SHAME, at what she did. That’s not what firefighters and EMS workers are about… that’s NOT who we are…

  92. Mike says:

    I have been a volunteer in public safety for 29 years working with Police, Fire, and EMS. I have worked in television for over 30 years.

    *News Photographer never turn off your camera.

    *EMS Person If you don’t want people or the press in a area then use “Fire Line Do Not Cross Tape”

    *Police Officer Inforce the do not cross line not the placement of trucks.

    *Television news has a duty to report the news as it is happening.

    *It is the job of the Incident Commander to setup a place where the media can cover the story.

    *EMS person if you were dispatched to the call then your part of the story.

    .

  93. Barbara says:

    The young woman was way out of line. She IS on scene as a member of a public resource and as such she is liable to be filmed.
    As a nurse in maternity many years ago, I ended up in a bit part in thousands of home movies of babies birth’s. IT’S PART OF THE JOB, SISTER. Relax a little and let the videographer get his film.
    Looked like it would have been a very interesting film story if not for the interruption by someone who should have been doing HER job, not harassing you doing yours.
    To the Smith family, I am so sorry for the fire in your home. It is a beautiful building, and i hope it can be salvaged.

  94. Alan W. Rose says:

    I am a Paramedic and used to be a firefighter.

    That EMS chick is so out of line she should be issued a carpenter’s square.

    Nowhere in my EMT or Paramedic textbooks does it say I can harass or strike reporters, or decide who gets to be on a fire scene. I bet her SOPs are the same way.

    Got a scratch? I hope you photographed it. Go get a warrant. Some people, including some other posters here, only learn things the hard way.

    Absolutely she should be terminated for striking a citizen. She can read up on public photography and Constitutional Rights while she’s between jobs.

  95. Mike says:

    I am a member of several public safety organizations in Pennsylvania. This EMT acted very unprofessional in her duties. Crowd / media control is the job of the police. Her job was to stand by and be ready to act, if anyone were to be injured or rescued from the residence. If this news reporter was a safety issue then she should have notified the police to handle it not take it upon herself to carry out the law. My opinion (from what I can see in the video) this news reporter seemed to be a safe distance and was not interfering with any fire suppression or personal. I know in my organizations, anyone who were to act like this and assault the public would no longer be serving.

  96. AZRanger says:

    While I will agree that she shouldn’t have hit the camera, it seems that there’s a love-hate relationship with the commenters here. Let’s go over a couple of things.

    First, volunteer or not, she is a fire/EMS official and has the right to ask anybody – reporters or bystanders – to move. You should have been less concerned with what everyone else was doing and simply gone to a different spot. Yes, she was wrong, but you could have done more to avoid the situation, too.

    Second, your First Amendment rights were not in danger from simply being asked to move. Who was allowed where would have depended heavily on working space for the fire crew. Where would they need to drive in from? Where would they park their apparatus? How much space would they need around the apparatus to work (lay down lines, activate lines, keep gear, etc.)? You may well have been standing in one of the very spots that they needed. She may have been told to start asking people to move and you just happened to be the first one – maybe after that, whoever gave that directive changed his/her mind. There’s a lot of questions that go into this that you’re not considering.

    Third, while I’ve said that it was absolutely wrong for her to put her hands on you or your equipment, I don’t see an arrestable offense here (which true assault is). I see an EMT behaving unprofessionally. I see a cropped video that doesn’t show the conversation leading up to the incident. It seems pretty damning, but so do a lot of videos – video is only worth what is actually captured. When it misses everything leading up to what you see, it’s all but worthless.

    Were I her supervisor, I would consider this a very serious incident. She likely would not have a position any longer. You played your role, however. It doesn’t matter what you think is going on; there is a hell of a lot that goes into these kind of incidents. Do not assume that the very mention of the idea that you needed to move was an outrageous injustice. Call this for what it is or retract it, otherwise you look as childish as she does.

  97. Connecticut Firefighter says:

    As a firefighter I believe the press should be encouraged to film what we do,I feel the public needs a better understanding of what we do. This reporter was no where near an area I would have been concearned with with the view I can see. I would have let him set up closer with no problem. I was pump operater at a structure fire last week and the news camera crew set uo across the street from the scene-about 12 feet from my apperatus and I had no problem with it. EMS people with authority complexes are a danger to the industry and this was an example of it. If I ws the commander of this scene I would have told her to grab her 1st aid bag and stand by near the scene in case she was needed. And getting off the truck in shorts-come-on,my asumption is it was a volunteer dept. at first guess.

  98. admin says:

    Lets get a few facts clear. Now, I know I’ve said this before, but the number of comments has likely buried that.

    1. The video is raw, unedited footage.. from button ‘ON’ to button ‘OFF’. It is not edited. I have the raw .MTS file as proof.

    2. I was not standing where the video begins. The only reason I stopped walking down in the grass (where I eventually went anyway), is because the woman began confronting me, “you cannot take pictures of the fire”. I never had any intention of staying there, and I told the woman that, as well as identifying myself three times before video begins. Note that I asked her WHERE I COULD stand. Not once did I ‘not listen’ or ‘disobey’ her unlawful orders.

    3. There was approximately 10 seconds of her confronting me before video begins rolling. I turned the video on at that point because she was telling me I could not photograph the fire. I figured I would get what of it that I could, and then it dawned on me I should film her considering her threatening and confrontational (and ridiculous) manner – First, telling me I could not photograph the fire, and then hitting the camera and telling me I had no right to photograph her. The woman is clearly misinformed.

    4. Her actions and mentality are what prompted me to make the raw footage public. Perhaps this will be a lesson learned for would-be-future-camera-slappers in our area. Our cameras are very expensive and we run a tight budget in this small town. We cannot have medics slapping our cameras because they do not wished to be filmed.

    5. You can defend her actions however you like… the simple fact is, the only reason anyone would defend her is because they share her twisted mentality, or believe the public (or press) has no right to film public officials in public (which we clearly do).

  99. admin says:

    Why does everyone keep getting hung up on, “It’s not ridiculous to ask you to move, you should’ve moved.”

    At what point DID I REFUSE TO MOVE? The answer, NEVER.

    The issue at hand is not me disobeying orders… because I never did. The issue at hand is that this woman did not want to be filmed and felt she had every right to prevent me from filming not only the fire, but her as well.

    Please, stop twisting it into something it never was.

  100. Tommy G. says:

    Without doubt, a formal complaint against this person and her employeer is needed. Clearly, the attitude that she can do whatever she wants because of her affiliation with the ambulance service is pervasive throughout the local fire department as well.
    Formal action, not online debate, will help bring their thinking into the 21st century.

  101. Dallas says:

    AZRanger says:

    “First, volunteer or not, she is a fire/EMS official and has the right to ask anybody – reporters or bystanders – to move.”

    Actually, no, she doesn’t, and that is EXACTLY the problem. If a civilian (reporter or otherwise) is impeding operations, or located in an unsafe position, then your statement would be true. That said, there is no blanket authority for fire/EMS, law enforcement, or anyone of any authority to arbitrarily order people around who are located on public property not interfering with operations in any way.

    That is the difference between this country and many other countries around the world; our citizens have rights and the EMS provider in this case clearly violated the reporter’s rights (not to mention assaulting him).

    You are drawing a false equivalency between the responder’s actions and the reporter’s actions. The responder’s actions were completely out of bounds and illegal. The reporter was doing nothing more than attempting to exercise his Constitutional rights. He was never in any way impeding operations or in an unsafe position; there is no shared responsibility.

    You theorize that the reporter may have been occupying a critical location needed for the FD’s operations; there is no evidence of that and we know that other civilians were much closer to the incident when altercation took place. I could theorize that she was moving him from the designated landing zone for the incoming spaceship from Mars that command had advised her of; there is about evidence to support that hypothesis as yours.

    What we have evidence of is first responder on an illegal and indefensible power trip. The EMT owns her actions lock, stock, & barrel. The reporter was trying to do his job; too bad the same can’t be said of the EMT.

    I repeat, those that think that the EMT’s actions are somehow defensible might want to take a few minutes to read over the Constitution. Just because she (or you, or whoever) happens to be wearing a uniform at any given point in time it doesn’t make her (or you, or whoever) the arbiter of who gets to take pictures where and of what, and where anyone gets to stand in public spaces (scene safety and operations notwithstanding). The document referenced above handles that issue, and that means that people (reporters and otherwise) can take pictures of stuff that we may or may not like, but it is their explicit and fundamental right.

    Personally I think that is a good thing, because in the places where that is not the case life is often not so good.

  102. John says:

    The charge is Assault with intent to violate your constitutional rights and don’t forget to file charges against her employer (EDMS Provider)
    I hope you filed the charge and enjoy living in her home or better yet sell it out from under her.

    PSP can help you file the charge

  103. Mark Patterson says:

    First off, she should have used a little bit of tact in asking you to move away.Second,if other reporters were closer without being asked to leave,the,by all means,you too should have access.However,just because we (public servants) are ‘in the public eye’; you DO NOT have the right to record/videotape without the individual’s position.That infringes on MY rights and both you and the Supreme Liberal Court can take a powder.If I asked and then told you not to videotape me and you proceeded with the “I have a right…” I would exercise MY right to smash your camera and then YOU could exercise your right to sue for damages.Good luck proving that as the evidence would be destroyed.

  104. Dallas says:

    Mark Patterson says:

    “However, just because we (public servants) are ‘in the public eye’; you DO NOT have the right to record/videotape without the individual’s position.”

    (I assume that “position” was supposed to be “permission”.)

    WRONG! First there is NO Constitutional right not to be seen and/or photographed when in public. Being in public means just that: you are in public and are going to be seen by other people. If you don’t want to been seen in public you might want to try a Burka; they do a pretty good job of hiding one’s identity, although I would think they might get stuffy. If you can you might want to hold out for a personal Romulan Cloaking Device, or maybe see if you can get your hands on Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak (although now that production is over for the movies I imagine it is going to end up in a museum and be hard to get your hand on).

    That said, as you are a public servant I doubt the invisibility route is going to work. You are a public servant and when working in a public place people may take pictures of you or video tape you. If you don’t like that idea you seriously need to consider another line of work. Based on your logic it would make sense to rip the cameras out of whatever bank you do business with, and maybe punch the teller while you are at it because I am sure they are videotaping you whenever you darken their door.

    The idea that you have the right to destroy someone else’s property because of your misbegotten belief that you have a right not to be seen in public is reprehensible. I hope that you rent and don’t have much in the way of other assets, because pursuing your stated course of action is not only likely to find you in the unemployment line but also stripped of assests whatever you might have. I might suggest that you consider maximizing pension contributions because I understand retirement accounts cannot be seized by the courts (I learned this from OJ), and that will give you something to fall back on after you get fired.

    Your ignorance and apparent belligerence is what gives public employees a bad name. BTW, it is also EXACTLY why the public has the right to assemble in public places, observe what we do, and take pictures and video tape if they so desire: to hold us accountable. From the sounds of it a little more accountability and oversight might be advisable on the part of the public wherever you happen to be employed.

  105. Jim Silvernail says:

    I have been in the fire service for 46 years and now retired. It is our job to work with the media not against. I believe all emergency personal should be required to have some sort of training in media relations and the media should work along side these first responders understanding each other jobs and responsibilities. If we work well with the media the citizens will be informed of our emergency responses and we will get the respect that we all deserve. The media can be our best friend.

  106. Bada Bing says:

    Mr Patterson, It is a little early to be hitting the sauce.
    It is somewhat frightening to think that you are a “public servant”, which is what I suspect. I urge you to look into employment more suited to your temperment. Maybe something along the lines of village idiot.

  107. None says:

    I would of smacked the camera too, don’t point the video in her face. Don’t Abuse Freedom of the Press. Ever since my Deployment I have absolutely no Respect for the Press. Even now that I am in Law Enforcement I have no respect for Press… Everyone has their personal space. Sometimes its just best to listen to Emergency Officials instead of starting crap like this. Regardless of whether ‘you think your life is not in danger’ if they ask you to move back be respectful, I believe that she would not of smacked the camera away if he wasn’t being disrespectful. Also, you camera is NOT damaged because the video is shaky.. ITS CALLED ADRENALINE…

  108. Dallas says:

    None says:

    “Regardless of whether ‘you think your life is not in danger’ if they ask you to move back be respectful.”

    None, it sounds like you might need to think about another career path. If you think that you are always owed respect, particularly as in this case when the EMS provider was clearly functioning in an extra-Constitutional manner, you are in the wrong line of work.

    The media is not perfect, but none of us are. That said they have an explicit right to do their job and it our job to let them do it. If you don’t understand that I suspect that you may end up with more negative media attention than you ever bargained for at some point in your career, however long or short it may be.

    You also said: “I believe that she would not of smacked the camera away if he wasn’t being disrespectful.”

    So you believe that when you are disrespected (something that happens to someone in law enforcement with some regularity) that you are entitled to assault the perpetrator: incomprehensibly incredible. Not that I don’t want to read the interview, but you might want to a bit circumspect about the offer to be interviewed; I don’t think it would turn out well.

    As it appears that you are an authoritarian thug carrying a weapon and hiding behind a badge, I am not sure that you would fare well by being publicly associated with your comments above. You might also want to consider that when you are hauled into court at some point in your career facing assault charges (or worse) that your comments above probably will not help your defense lawyer.

    You really need to think about changing careers, because just from reading your outburst above I am skeptical of your ability to change your behavior, and absent a change in behavior your odds of getting fired and/or ending up locked up yourself would seem to skew very high.

    Unreal…

  109. Steven says:

    As a volunteer firefighter/emt and paid EMT, I actually side with the reporter. She was out of line and acted very unprofessional in the first place way before she even hit the camera. Looking at where you were at anyways, it doesn’t seem like you were in the way of anything, infact, it looked like you had moved closer to the fire when you were finally left alone. People do seem to forget that when we’re in the public, camera’s are considered just like another person and you can’t stop them from recording you as it is legal to do so. She does need to be reprimanded for bringing such a PR hassle to her department and suspended.

  110. NY EMT says:

    I am not going to go through the 100+ comments on this page.

    1. Was there and EMS patient taken from this site at any point?

    2. If she was being this confrontational why not wait for the PD to arrive and give you your area to stand instead of instigation by ignoring commands?

    Her use of force was un-warranted however it is obvious she was confrontational prior to you trying to film her… you are an instigator in the situation.. not just a victim.. I’m not saying shes the victim nor am i saying her use of force was right, but both of you caused the escalation.

  111. Scott says:

    It seems to me that people are really missing the point of this whole story. Besides the tragedy of the loss of home and property, fire departments and EMS agencies are under scrutiny of the public, local governments and being brought to the national spotlight. As much as the media can hinder at times, our ability to conduct our jobs, we must understand that a positive relationship with the media is essential for positive public perception. Video of the FD putting their lives on the line to protect lives and property is one of the most dramatic ways for us to show people just how difficult our profession is. And when it comes time to discuss city, county or state budgets, such video can be a powerful tool to obtain the all important public funds for new equipment, better training or facilities. Video of us cussing, assaulting, (and yes, even hitting a camera held by someone is batter upon that person. Even knocking someones hat, by definition, is battery.) acting like some sort of self appointed Napoleon and abusing the press will surely turn what could be our biggest asset into our biggest adversary. Let the press do their jobs. If you have a personal issue with being captured on video, stay in the office where you belong. After all, anyone with a cell phone is an iReporter. Best to work like every person that is watching you is taping your every move. After all, they probably are. Keep The Faith all!

  112. Bada Bing says:

    Dallas for President.

  113. Mainer says:

    I don’t know where my first post went. But I do find it quite unprofessional for the writer of the story to continually incite people on this forum. Your job is to report, not convince. I suggest you go back to Journalism school.
    As for the EMT, she was wrong. But you incited that incident as well…

  114. Chris Jung says:

    Wow, this is amazing… from both sides, and not just the EMT and the reporter.. but from the people involved and from the people on here.

    1. She should not have touched him (or his camera). She should have not been so close that his simply turning to the side puts the camera in her personal space. If her job was to keep people away, she needs more training on how to do this properly because even if it is “reflex” for swatting a camera away, her actions and her comments were poor to say the least.

    2. Reporter, not knowing if she was in charge of safety, not knowing what the hazards are, did the right thing for asking where to go to film, however when asked to back off, should have backed off and then brought the issue up afterwards unless this is the “umteenth” time he was unfairly asked to move back. and since about 20% of the comments and replys on here are from the admin i.e. reporter involved, just restating the same things over and over (I was on the grass) (supreme court) etc, he starts making himself look foolish on here. He should know especially with people hiding behind anonomous names, people will not change their minds and talk in ways that they would not have the cajones to do in public. his repetitive defending himself is falling on deaf ears.

    3. The crowd of brothers of the emergency services in here. – Dang, you are embrassing me.
    a.She did wrong, should she be fired? nope, piss poor actions but retraining and reprimand at the least” (unless other stuff is in her record). Don’t defend her because she was paid or volunteer, or a “brother of the badge” or out saving life or risking her own. defend her or condemn her because of her actions which where unlawful. She is in a position of trust, she might or might not be a public official (not sure where coudersport falls in the public official realm) but in most cases even simple assualt could cause her to lose her license and position. simple ethics.
    b. the reporter was in the grass. he was well over 1-1/2 times the height of the building away (standard collapse), he was far enough into the grass he was at least a dozen or so strides from the road, and if he was in the way of vehicles, you need a better driver training program there.
    c. love it or hate it, freedom of the press reigns near supreme. I personally don’t like it, I have had too many mis-quotes and mis-facts to really enjoy seeing video or print about calls that I am the IC of. However, if you continue making an enemy of the press, even a “hack” (your words not mine) of a online journal, don’t expect favors from the press or positive light. As someone said, the reporter, especially the one who runs the site, will win in the war of words. If you don’t like it better chose another profession if you can’t get them on your side.
    d. Public property is public property, and available to the public, even some bottom feeding reporters (the ones I deal with) unless the area is considered to be unsafe. to the point alot of these big wildland fires reporters, photographers and video crews go right out where the action is, well beyond the “safe” zone where the rank and file civilians are allowed to go.
    e. I saw someone complaining the distance the reporter was at could have been unsafe because of toxic gases, gas lines, etc. If that was the case, the female should not have been there. the ambulance crew should not be performing standby inside the hazardous zone, all of the firefighters were in an area of grievous danger since they were at least 50% closer, which for the haz-mat gurus here know with the inverse square rule, 400% more hazard area. And if you claim they are paid or volunteer to risk their lives, they need to go back to safety officer and command classes, standing around outside is not the risk area, vehicles should not be positioned in the hazard area. You are grasping at straws on this one.
    f. For those that “would have smacked the camera too” or punched square in the face. I hope you plan on having bail money or a good attorney because this reporter was pretty lenient, he could have sued or pressed charges, and unfortunately she did it on camera so she gave them proof of the action.
    g. the coudynews, while being a online blog (first I have never heard about prior to today. is considered like all of the other internet news blogs, a valid news source. His is much better than some, he has video to back up opinion and prove claims of fact.
    h. this is not a local issue any more, your embassing actions on BOTH sides of the blog are now in the national news:
    http://www.firerescue1.com/fire-news/1100609-video-emt-vs-reporter-at-fire-scene/
    since this is online also, I assume it is just another hack website too. This was posted yesterday, posts are kinda in the middle, however they aren’t such staunch defenders of the badge as some of you here. I expect this will be a pretty well commented article in the next few weeks.
    i. For those that are hiding behind anonymous handles, including the ones that claim to work for the company or the department or were there. Obviously you have issues standing up to your own statements. Afraid to let your fellow employees or bosses know what is being said? putting your name to it shows more of a commitment to what you are saying not just a little hit-and-run ouf of the dark.

    A little about me. over 16 years paid firefighter, 16 years volunteer fire, 5 years volunteer ambulance. current rank Captain and a state approved Training Officer. I have been there, I have done that, and I do have the T-Shirts.

  115. Ryan says:

    He should have filed an assault charge. Just because your “personal” space feels violated doesn’t give you the right to assault someone. You ask them to back away, at least that’s what professional and civilized people do. Bottom line, anyone in public is subject to recording. He was plenty far enough from the house and the paramedic should have been focused on her job, not on a photographer 200 yards away. He was well within his rights and I’m absolutely sure he was singled out solely because he had a camera. I expect this kind of treatment from the police, but not fire/EMS… in my experience they love to see themselves working later on video. Take a visit to carlosmiller.com…. this happens everywhere and the only end in sight is to embarrass public officials that violate civil rights. Keep up the good work!

  116. Terry says:

    Ok what position did her department take? What was there comment?

    I have never, never had anyone do that to me. She really made her department look bad.

    She would no longer be employed or be a volunteer on my department for what she did.

  117. Beniamino says:

    I’d like to commend you for the restraint you showed during this episode.

    You should definitely pursue this issue. Try pressing criminal charges. This pig-dog probably has “friends in the department” (she looks the type), but if the police won’t cooperate, so what. File a civil suit for battery and for the damage to your camera – you don’t need a lawyer, just file it in small claims court. Add the Ambulance Department as a party, that may give them an incentive to discipline this jerk.

  118. Bill Benson says:

    Anyone who defends what this woman did is an idiot who needs a lesson on the First Amendment as well as Battery laws. She can say No don’t take my picture all she wants but it doesn’t matter. It should be simple.

    1. She is in public so no expectation of privacy.
    2. She is a public official in a public place.
    3. He was on public grounds.

    She should be fired and a public apology issued, as well as paying for any camera repairs.

  119. Mike says:

    I hope you take action against her, her organization and press charges of assault against her, then take her and her department to civil court and sue for damages and being struck by a public official. I as a career EMT and as career Photojournalist in the largest market in Pa. People like this need to be taught a lesson that they dont make the rules and that they should READ THE US CONSTITUTION. You did everything correct, you stayed away from scene across the street, you werent hampering operations. I can tell you from experience, I have been detained by fire cops and police who thought they knew the laws. Pa has no media laws, infact there is case law that states in Pa that a fire line tape/crime scene tape must be set up within reason to the scene to allow the media access to a “safe scene”, one not after the fire is out either. You have the right to go where the public is and film anything in public, from public property.
    Have her arrested and then sue her and the department she is with for everything you can get out of them.

  120. tom says:

    While there should have been a more adult approach to resolve this issue, I dont think members of the media, both independent as well those representing a legitimate source, realize the resposibilities of emergency responders for public safety. The accountability on scene for emergency responders is the highest priority and when you throw a camera toting citizen into the mix it only complicates the outcome. Obviously the camera man thinks he is the only thing happening. When you give someone an inch to get some type of picture of some one elses disaster, they will take the mile not respecting boundries. Why does the media feel it is so important to feed on disaster? Its all about respect and if that doesn’t happen it will be a bad for everyone. Maybe the media should think of the shoe being on the other foot and when they are being put in the spot light how would they feel with everyone viewing their worst times. The media does on occassion get this right, but not very often. We all have to consider the other guy as a person, not an opportunity to profit.

  121. David Moseley says:

    Having been a Fire Chief, a Cop, and a Newspaper Reporter, I have a unique vantage point. Tim is spot on. If you are in public, you cannot be shielded by privacy laws. He doesn’t have to listen to her. He is responsible for his own safety. Clearly she is guilty of assault and battery. Were she under my command, she would have been fired and made to pay for the damage to his camera. What nobody has commented on was that Tim’s Video showed the structure was in a backdraft condition, moreover, it showed poor fireground command and control, as there were uniformed firefighters walking around apparently with no assigned tasks. Having said that, we couldn’t see what was going on on side 3 (The back of the house) so my comments about command have to be tempered with what was going on from the big picture. We Tim permitted to continue filming from his last position, or better yet, closer to the fire, he could have provided irrefutable evidence that could be used in an After Action Report. Backdrafts kill firefighters. If you can’t see where the fire is, you may very well be burning the house down with finesse by pushing the fire into places where it wasn’t. I held volunteers to a higher standard in order to have them set the example for others. Being a low person in a high place doesn’t cut it. I wish Tim had been showing up to our fires and rescue calls. We could have learned a great deal from what a video shows. An emergency of any kind shold be looked at as a pie. The only person who knows what the whole pie looks like is hopefully the IC. All we each see is the slice of the pie, and that isn’t enough. As well intentioned as the EMT was, she placed herself in legal jeapordy, and her service as well. From the limited video and information we could see, there were more questions left unanswered. Damaging the camera made it impossible to learn what could be learned, had he been encouraged, and escorted to where he could have gotten more useful footage. Wearing my Cop hat for a moment, I want to compliment Tim for not putting her on the ground for assaulting him. He showed good judgement, and all of you guys who talked about getting known by the responders are right on the money. I think Mark Twain said it best, “Never pick a fight with someone who buys their ink in railroad carloads.” Being a volunteer has nothing to do with it. Good self control Tim. I presume the last act has not been written. I got this as an example of how NOT to interact with the media. One piece of advice to fire and EMS officers, do your best to have the media escorted so that they get good action shots. If someone has had a bad experience before, unescorted folks could spend their time making you look terrible – and you can’t defend yourself. Someone said essentially, the best defense is a good offense. Use this experience to learn from. None of us will live long enough to make all the mistakes that are possible to make in an emergency. Hang in there Tim. As one who has been smeared in the newspaper for just doing my job, remember, it will all blow over. Those of use who have been there know what you did. Keep that in mind. NOTE TO EDITOR: Please don’t publish my email address, as there has been enough ignorance voiced about this incident. I don’t want folks sending me nastygrams because they don’t agree with me. Thanks. DMoseley

  122. Bada Bing says:

    All the comments that support you are well thought out rational arguments. All the comments that find fault with you are of the “well I have a right to not have my picture taken” type. Despite several attempts at educating them about Supreme Court rulings, the Constitution etc.

    Though most of the posts are in your favor it is still disheartening to see so many of the ignorant variety. And keep in mind that these are the more intelligent of the ignorant as they have computers and are attempting to read and offer their comments. Even if they are most likely typing with their knuckles.

  123. Anonymous says:

    Tony (July 24),

    If you’re going to bash the editor (totally uncalled for), or anyone else, could you please at least attempt to spell correctly? There isn’t much credibility with me when I get bashed by someone that doesn’t know/use proper English. A spelling error here or there is one thing, but your post is full of them.

    (Tim, I hope you have decided to follow through with charges or something similiar after this incident. If nothing else, at least an apology from her.)

  124. SthTexasFF says:

    I’ve been a Policeman in England (10yrs) and now I’m a Firefighter in Texas (15 yrs) and work part time as a Photographer / Videographer (20yrs in total)r for a major international news agency.

    If this had been in my area the SO dept would have already put up the
    “do not cross tape” along the grass verge where you were standing as it was obviously a vantage point for anyone in the area, rubber-neckers and press and for that reason alone is a semi hot zone for possible injuries.
    Because of the limited video it’s hard to see the rest of the area. IE access for the Tower unit thats been called for and any other Fire Dept vehicle and EMS vehicles for any injured parties either people from the house or injured Fire Fighters.

    From what I can see in the video the Tower unit coming from either direction may have had to drive onto the grass verge to get under the power lines as it is a large vehicle which is another reason for asking you to move, please note I say ASK not TELL you to move. Scene safety is paramount for all.

    The EMS Lady was wrong to reach out, I don’t know if she actually touched you or just the camera but either way it was wrong. Politeness costs nothing as I have said I would have asked you to move.

    I don’t know the size of the local Fire Dept or what vehicles it has but I would think due to the size of the house and how involved it already is that numerous other vehicles would be showing up, but surely as a seasoned reporter that would have been obvious to you. From looking at Google Earth it seems Main Street is quite a narrow road which again suggests the units may need some turning space.

    As for the Lady from EMS services could it be possible that she is new to the dept ? and therefore does not know the local press ?

    This video has gone viral over the various Fire websites and I’m sure you will be experiencing a lot more comments.

    I would suggest a meeting with all local Fire Departments and Ambulance services within your reporting area so they get to know you and you get to meet them so incidents like this don’t happen again.A set of ground rules need to be made for both sides.

    What has happened since this incident ? was she arrested ?
    An update would be nice.

  125. admin says:

    UPDATE: We have not filed criminal charges. Also, while it was our initial intent to file a formal complaint against the EMT, we have decided not to.

    Also, to clarify a few points: The footage is raw, unedited video, from the time the camera was turned on, until the time it was turned off. It has not been edited in any way.

    Furthermore, there were never fire engines or equipment in the grass where the video was shot from.

    For those asking why the negative comments are ‘hidden’, it is because they were ‘voted down’ by readers. Every reader has an opportunity to provide a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ on comments posted.

    And one last clarification: the EMT (and her crew) were not treating a patient. The people in the grass are a combination of Mr. Smith (his home was on fire), his dog, and a neighbor of Mr. Smith. They were all confirmed out of the house and safe before the video begins. They are the people sitting under the tree across the road.

  126. SthTexasFF says:

    Thanks for the quick update.

    Obviously since I do not live or know the area, I can only guess as to placement of Emergency vehicles, personnel and Fire plugs / hydrants.

    Could it have been you were in front of a hydrant ?

    From Google Earth, Main Street seems to be a quite heavily populated area, that and seeing the low power lines is why I wondered about the large Fire vehicles being able to get underneath them and up into the driveway to put out the fire without crossing onto the grass verge at any stage.

  127. admin says:

    No, I wasn’t near a fire hydrant. I also wasn’t standing there. As I said before, I only stopped because the woman confronted me. I know it appears that I was standing there since I stopped when I turned the camera on, but I only stopped for a few seconds before that.

    As for the terrain, it is a small town and certainly not heavily populated compared to other areas. I do believe Google maps provides a street view on this road.

  128. FIRSTAmend says:

    Unfortunately, most fire/ems/police department’s version of “media” training is based on how to keep the media away instead of how to work with them.

    I will give this EMT a slight benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she merely meant to block the camera view and not actually hit it. As a photographer I have gotten this many times (hand block followed by “wait until I put my teeth in” or “my wife doesn’t know I’m here”). I will, however, say that based on her aggressive nature she clearly needs a little anger mgmt training, a month’s duty of cleaning the commode at the newspaper office, and a good stern talkin’ to before she smacks someone who refuses to leave the thermometer under their tongue for a full minute.

  129. alottonmaked says:

    It is rare for me to discover something on the web that’s as entertaining and intriguing as what you’ve got here. Your page is lovely, your graphics are outstanding, and what’s more, you use source that are relevant to what you’re talking about.

  130. TheFarrier says:

    As a firefighter for 21yrs. This is an embarrassment to us. The reporter was clearly out of the way. Public safety representatives should also understand that they need to do their job as well and if you work with them, the will most certainly work with you. Not have some kind of ego trip. BTW lady, it’s not your job to kick people off the scene. It is PD’s job. Why are you doing someone elses job (Which you are not qualified for.) when you should be busy doing patient care or setting up rehab?

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