Fire Fighter killed while Storm Spotting

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Dispatcher308

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Hon Land!!!!!
Courtesy of Firefighter Close Calls:

Seneca (MO) Firefighter Tyler Casey, age 21, was fatally injured last night while assigned to "storm spotter duties" in the Seneca area when he was caught in the path of a horrific killer tornado. Firefighter Casey was fatally injured while assisting his community during the storms and subsequent tornadoes in Newton County on Saturday evening. No funeral details have been finalized. Our sincere condolences to Firefighter Casey’s family and friends.
 

btritch

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Courtesy Of KOAM TV - Joplin MO And Meteorologist Geoff Cornish -

A storm spotter / volunteer firefighter from the Seneca, MO Rural Fire Protection District has died today as a result of injuries from Saturday's EF4 tornado in western Newton County, MO.

Tyler Casey was spotting at Highway 43 and Iris Road in western Newton County, and his vehicle were tossed by the winds. He was pulled from the vehicle and was on life support until this morning. This was a LODD in the fire service, as his firefighting responsibilites with Rural Seneca Fire led him out spotting.


Tyler is survived by a two year old daughter. His fire training instructor says that Tyler was a tremendous firefighter -- one of the best, most 'up and coming' young guys in Newton County. He said that Tyler was one who always put others first. He was helping the public at large when he sustained those injuries.

Funeral Arrangements Are Still Pending and Are Incomplete

Keep These People In Your Thoughts And Prayers
 

red8

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Look,
Anytime a firefighter, policeman or an emt dies in the line of duty, it is truly sad. most definetly we have to keep him and everyone else that protects and serves us in our prayers
red8
 

af5rn

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Agreed. But this is also an event that we can learn from. As the dust settles, I sincerely hope that officials will intelligently investigate what led up to this and how it can be prevented in the future. I mean, was this guy trained in weather spotting, or was he just winging it? If the VFD is sending people out there to do a job they have no training for, that's unforgivable recklessness. And if this guy's whole purpose was to watch for tornadoes, how could he not see, hear, and feel one coming right at him WAY before it hit him?

There's a lot of talk and videos on the Internets and the television that make this spotting/chasing thing seem like a kids game, but it's serious business. No place for amateurs.
 

SAR923

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This is also a good example of why peace officers try to move people off public roads and out of their vehicles into storm shelters. Half the people killed in this latest outbreak of tornados died in vehicles. I have no idea what kind of training this FF had but, having been in several near misses with tornados, you can't always tell which way they are coming and how fast they are moving. If it was dark enough and the EF4 tornado had kicked up a big enough debris shield, they can be on top of you in heartbeat.
 

rdale

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He found someone along the road changing a tire, ushered them into a nearby house for safety -- then he went back into his car.
 

hoser147

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Sad news to hear, many Public safety depts, use their personnel for storm spotting. Around here during a Warning they disperse the equipment to different area's not only as spotters but also to keep the trucks separated and not in one spot for a potential tornado to trap the equipment and personnel in one place. From what rdale stated the man probably saved someones life or lives before losing his own. My sympathy to the family and the FF that worked with this brave man, who gave his own life for the safety of his community and those he served...............Hoser
 

Brebuck

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I just started viewing this forum so the reply is way late.
No one should occupy spotter positions after dark
 

rdale

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No one should occupy spotter positions after dark
I disagree... They should be in a position a little more safe after dark, and they'll want to have their controller watching the radar very closely, but no need to shut down monitoring.
 

Brebuck

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I disagree... They should be in a position a little more safe after dark, and they'll want to have their controller watching the radar very closely, but no need to shut down monitoring.
For a net with numerous spotters, attempting positional control of spotters to cell peripheries and coordinating reports simultaneously is next to impossible. All spotter nets that I know of have fixed spotter positions. Are you aware of any that operate in the manner that you are describing?

My thought is that you cant report or avoid what you can't see.
 

rdale

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I'm not saying vector them around -- if you don't have radar in the car, you shouldn't be moving at night -- I'm saying don't shut down spotter ops just because the sun sets.
 

Brebuck

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I'm not saying vector them around -- if you don't have radar in the car, you shouldn't be moving at night -- I'm saying don't shut down spotter ops just because the sun sets.
I agree. The firefighter that forfeited his life probably did not have radar access as is the case of many public safety personnel. Perhaps some policy changes and more training are in order.

By the way, when I reread my reply it sounded snarky to me and that wasn't my intent.
 

rescuecomm

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NWS would not be training spotters if the Doppler Radar was 100% effective in detecting funnel clouds. Having a computer with NWS in your car does not guarantee safety either. He appeared to be an unfortunate victim of an unpredictable storm rolling up on him rapidly. Several years ago, I was caught in a thunderstorm on a crowded interstate one afternoon. Nowhere to run to, visibility quickly went to zero, car was rocked by winds and blasted by hail. The hail was hitting my car so loudly, I could not be heard over the air on my 2 meter radio. When visibility returned, the ground was iced up and numerous trees in the vicinity were overturned. There were cars off the road near mine and that reinforced the idea that staying put was the best thing under the circumstances. Fortunately, the tractor trailer rig behind me got to a full stop before the storm hit. A funnel cloud hit the town of Liberty, SC rapidly near a middle school and piled cars on top of one another in the parking lot. No one was seriously injured, but quite a scare none the less. It hit too fast for anyone to take cover in the buildings. There are risks in storm spotting and fire fighting regardless of the safety steps taken. I believe he did not "forfeit" his life, but died in line of duty.

My condolences to Mr.Casey's family and co-workers.

Bob
 
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rdale

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Having a computer with NWS in your car does not guarantee safety either.
Ehh, it certainly does make that much better. If you see a storm approaching, you get out of the way.

A funnel cloud hit the town of Liberty, SC rapidly near a middle school and piled cars on top of one another in the parking lot.
That's not possible. If it caused damage on the ground, it came from a tornado. Only report a funnel cloud if you can't confirm it is touching down.

- Rob
 

Brebuck

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NWS would not be training spotters if the Doppler Radar was 100% effective in detecting funnel clouds. Having a computer with NWS in your car does not guarantee safety either. He appeared to be an unfortunate victim of an unpredictable storm rolling up on him rapidly. Several years ago, I was caught in a thunderstorm on a crowded interstate one afternoon. Nowhere to run to, visibility quickly went to zero, car was rocked by winds and blasted by hail. The hail was hitting my car so loudly, I could not be heard over the air on my 2 meter radio. When visibility returned, the ground was iced up and numerous trees in the vicinity were overturned. There were cars off the road near mine and that reinforced the idea that staying put was the best thing under the circumstances. Fortunately, the tractor trailer rig behind me got to a full stop before the storm hit. A funnel cloud hit the town of Liberty, SC rapidly near a middle school and piled cars on top of one another in the parking lot. No one was seriously injured, but quite a scare none the less. It hit too fast for anyone to take cover in the buildings. There are risks in storm spotting and fire fighting regardless of the safety steps taken. I believe he did not "forfeit" his life, but died in line of duty.

My condolences to Mr.Casey's family and co-workers.

Bob
One point that I was making is that folks who are regularly engaged in chasing are likely to have radar access and the experience to interpret it giving them a higher likelihood of avoiding tornadic encounters. Public safety spotters are far less likely to possess both. NWS spotter training does not impart these skills. If they are lucky, individuals sitting in total darkness might catch a fleeting lightning illuminated glance at an approaching severe storm and tornadoes but sitting and hoping for the best as the weather system pounds them and then, if they've survived, can report winds, rain and hail to appropriate agencies still seems like an ill-advised procedure.
I have heard the expression "forfeit one's life for his country" used in modern vernacular quite often and it never seemed to carry negative connotations even when used in conversations with friends that have lost a son in Iraq, and I would also place him in a scenario where there are abundant risks as well so I'm not convinced the "dying in the line of duty", although also appropriate, is superior to my original expression.
 

Brebuck

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Upon checking the dictonary.com definition of "forfeit" my take is that it applies to a fine or penalty so despite the fact that it is often used to simply mean "to give up"it does seem an inappropriate verb in this context.
Even though 21 year old Mr. Casey passed-away nearly a year ago, I too wish to extend condolences to his family.
 
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