The Rest Of The Story

A tale in which dashing cub reporter Vladimir Kogan gets it (mostly) right.

Interesting news story in Saturday’s Santa Barbara News-Press:

Firefighters discover person trapped in burning building

by Vladimir Kogan

Firefighters battling a blaze in a four-story mixed-use structure in the 100 block of De la Guerra Street on Friday found at least one person trapped inside the burning building.

Several engines from the Santa Barbara Fire Department responded to a report of a fire Friday evening, and firefighters punctured a hole in the roof to provide ventilation. [snip – the password protected link is here]

The article continues by describing the second floor rescue, and how, at the time of the news report, the man’s condition was unknown. The good news is that an ambulance was providing support. No calls, evidently, were returned from the Fire Department headquarters.

Now this is the kind of real news we need from the News-Press.

As veteran broadcaster Paul Harvey says, “And now… for the rest of the story.”

We received this E-mail today from one of our more astute bloggers, “Vladdy Baby,” which was sent to City officials from John Ahlman, the Santa Barbara City Fire Dept. Battalion Chief; it’s authenticity has not been verified, but we believe it to be true:

You may have read the article in the News Press entitled “Firefighters discover person trapped in burning building” dated Saturday the 28th of October.

This was preplanned DRILL, not an actual incident. I had no communication with Vladimir or any SBNP reporter about this event. I will remind him to verify any event before publishing it, especially one where he is not in personal contact with myself or another representative of the fire department.

All drill activities such as this are relayed to the 911 dispatchers so as not to alarm the public. The four story “mixed-use structure” was our training tower.

When conducting training such as this, we use alternate radio frequencies to communicate, not our main tactical channel. I can not be completely sure, but it appears that Vladimir Kogan of the Santa Barbara Newspress may have picked this up off an emergency scanner and ran with it. The article was written in error as the “Fire” was a drill.

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