Emergency Services

  • Blogs

    September 17, 2014

    When a Lesson Took a Dangerous Turn, a Room Full of Firefighters Couldn't Save Neal Smith

    Firefighter Neal Smith was almost out of the second floor of the six-story training tower when he became disoriented and fell to his knees. Smith had excelled through the first day's exercises, and he was doing fine on day two. He was one of a few to clear a bunker with air left in his tank; others ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 17, 2014

    HFD Union Members Not Feeling City's Latest Contract as Deadline Looms

    Tuesday afternoon the firefighters union rejected the latest contract offer from the city, with a deadline looming at the end of the month. According to media reports 2,709 firefighters voted against the plan, which sought to reel-in vacation time, among other things. Just 207 members of the Houston ... More >>

  • News

    May 1, 2014

    Texas Is Losing Out on Millions of Dollars Thanks to Its Defective Property-Tax System

    Across the state, private companies are able to slash their property-tax assessments, but homeowners aren’t as lucky with their county appraisal districts.

  • Blogs

    September 19, 2013

    Chefs to Demonstrate How to Cook During a Disaster with Ready Houston

    The city of Houston discovered fairly quickly after Hurricane Ike hit five years ago that it wasn't adequately prepared for a natural disaster of that magnitude. In the years since, the city has taken steps to make sure it's never caught unprepared again, including creating Ready Houston, an organiz ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 7, 2013

    Scoundrels Make Off With Melange Catering's BBQ Pit

    Back in the wild, wild west, people had to deal with wagon thieves and sneaky neighbors out to steal cattle or horses. These days, the modern felon has evolved to barbecue pit theft. On Sunday around 4 p.m., a surveillance camera outside Melange Catering caught what appears to be a man in a blue ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 17, 2013

    On the Eve of the Busy Season for Hurricanes, Now Is the Time to Prepare

    For about four months along the Texas coastline, people with relatively no interest in weather other than casual conversations in grocery store waiting lines ("Sure is hot outside." "Yup.") suddenly become experts in sea surface temperatures, El Nińo and vertical wind shear. Welcome to hurricane sea ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 14, 2013

    Guns and Hoses: How You Can Help the Families of the Four Fallen Houston Firefighters

    If you're looking for the definition of courage, a good place to start would be along Houston's Southwest Freeway back on May 31, where a burning hotel and restaurant took the lives of four Houston area firefighters and injured five more. Most of us see a fire like that, and our first instinct is ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 13, 2012

    Six HPD Officers To Be Honored By Governor For Above-And-Beyond Services Rendered

    Governor Rick Perry will honor six Houston police officers tomorrow for the service they gave the public, service that left them wounded from gunshots or other actions. The officers will receive the Star of Texas Award, which "were created to honor and commemorate selected first responders who made ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 13, 2011

    Uh-Oh: George Bush Park Is (Sorta) on Fire (UPDATED)

    ​This photo, taken from a local resident's front yard, shows a smoky fire in George Bush Park on the far west side. The Houston Fire Department does report "a grass fire" and sent a unit out at 4:31 p.m. UPDATE: 22 units have been sent out, HFD says (see end of item). It doesn't sound too ba ... More >>

  • Calendar

    September 8, 2011
  • Blogs

    August 9, 2011

    A Dozen High-Priced Arabian Horses Die in Barn Fire

    A prized Arabian horse​At least 12 high-priced Arabian horses died in a barn fire this morning in Magnolia, city fire chief Gary Vincent says. The average horse killed at the Goslin-Nix Stables blaze was worth about $60,000 and included one world champion valued at $100,000. The Arabian hor ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 8, 2010

    Three Firefighters Fired Over Racially Insensitive Comments (Updated With HFD Response)

    Another in a series of racial problems for HFD​Three Houston firefighters have been "indefinitely suspended" over racially insensitive comments made on a patient's record, a firefighters union said today. Jeff Caynon, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, said his group ... More >>

  • Calendar

    February 11, 2010

    Artists for Haiti Benefit

    The Houston arts community responds to the Haitian people's need for help

  • Blogs

    January 19, 2010

    It's Back To The Local Station For The Fire Chief

    ​The announcement came earlier today that the chief of the Houston Fire Department, Phil Boriskie, is resigning his post because of "my desire to return to the station and continue to serve in this great Department," according to his written statement. Boriskie's sudden desire to return to the sta ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 12, 2009

    Another Round In the Jolanda Jones-Jeff Caynon Pissing Match

    ​You know how there are things you know you're supposed to care about, but you just can't bring yourself to do it?That's kinda how we feel about the ongoing pissing match between city council member Jolanda Jones and firefighters union chief Jeff Caynon.As everyone knows, there's been a series of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 5, 2009

    The Disaster That Is College Station

    ​Via Swamplot, we've learned that College Station is a disaster. On purpose.Popular Mechanics offers a fascinating look at a 52-acre site near Aggieville that has been modeled to look like a town in the aftermath of a man-made or natural disaster. Finally, there is Disaster City itself, the urban ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 23, 2009

    Black Firefighters Protest Lack Of Action On A Noose In A Locker

    Photo by Paul KnightA senior captain in the Houston Fire Department kept a noose hanging in his locker, and according to the Houston Black Firefighters Association, the fire department, city council and mayor haven't taken the incident seriously. "They basically gave him a slap on the wrist," firefi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 31, 2009

    Ed Emmett Is Officially Pretty Pleased With The Ike Response

    Harris County Judge Ed Emmett's official and final scorecard on local-government response to Hurricane Ike: "Pretty good."At a press conference Monday he addressed what worked and what didn't, and announced that most things worked out well."A state has the primary responsibility, if you will, and if ... More >>

  • Culture

    February 12, 2009

    Pleasure Cruiser

    Why is Paul Villinski's "Emergency Response Studio" parked outside Rice Gallery?

  • Blogs

    September 23, 2008

    Some Ike Statistics

    The Harris County Homeland Security & Emergency Management office has released a by-the-numbers look at the response to Ike. It's pretty random, but numbers are real, man. So here they are: 2,400 special-needs residents were moved by Metro 1,125,750 gallons of water were distributed at PODs 2.8 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 21, 2008

    Humane Society Helps Galveston Animals After Hurricane Ike

    Kyle Held came from St. Louis to help. Kyle Held and Catherine Raymond must have driven Galveston’s west end back and forth 100 times this past week. They’re from the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis; just two of the dozens of animal rescue personnel who flocked to the island from Michi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 15, 2008

    The Saddest Press Release

    Presented without comment, from the Harris Couty Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office: HUMMINGBIRD FESTIVAL CANCELED Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack's office is canceling the annual Hummingbird Festival at the Kleb Woods Nature Center originally scheduled for Saturd ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 11, 2008

    Closed: Everything

    We're getting bombarded with e-mails announcing that things are closed or events are canceled Friday and Saturday. Art shows, horse races, school events, even H-E-B's plans to help the heroes at local fire stations. So our advice is this: If you think something's going to be open, or happening, tom ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 10, 2008
  • Blogs

    August 5, 2008

    How Much Rain In Your Neighborhood? Find Out

    How much rain is your neighborhood getting? There's an easy way to find out. The Harris County Homeland Security and Emergency Management office has put up a map that shows rainfall totals throughout the area. Downtown? 1.46 inches at this point. Sylvan Beach? 4.14 inches. Move your mouse over ... More >>

  • News

    September 15, 2005

    Blocked Signals

    City, county officials silence a proposed radio station inside the Dome

  • News

    July 14, 2005

    A Gap in Coverage

    Critics of GoldStar ambulance service say it's late to emergencies, cares for profits over patients, and doctors its books. But without it, there's nothing.

  • News

    June 26, 2003

    Logos, Lies and Layoffs

    A walk in the city parks department

  • News

    January 10, 2002

    Riding Short

    Houston firefighters say the city has been playing Russian roulette by carrying crews of three members instead of four on its trucks. Last October, Jay Paul Jahnke anted up with his life.

  • News

    November 8, 2001

    Burning Grief

    The mayor's new HFD staffing plan postpones the dreams of dead firefighter's kin.

  • Best of Houston

    September 21, 2000
  • News

    August 17, 2000

    On The Hot Seat

    Lester Tyra's short reign as chief of the Houston Fire Department has been filled with controversy. Can he quench the flames fast enough to save his job?

  • News

    January 8, 1998
  • Film

    April 24, 1997

    I Lava L.A.!

    Volcano destroys the City of Angels with hot magma and cool affection