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Background Information

Employment History

Fire Chief


Fire Chief and Emergency-Services Director



Salem Fire-EMS Department


Board Member
Clean Valley Council

Web References (22 Total References)

"A lot of people get comfortable ... [cached]

"A lot of people get comfortable with portable heaters, and things like that, but first you have to be sure its been approved for use in a residence and try to keep them clear of combustible materials," says Salem Fire Chief Pat Counts.

Salem Fire Chief Pat ... [cached]

Salem Fire Chief Pat Counts chokes up thinking about his recent trip to Ground Zero | Tally of storm damage under way in Virginia [cached]

Salem Fire Chief Pat Counts said the damage estimate could rise much higher once damage-assessment teams start adding up the numbers: "A lot of our residents live along the [Roanoke] river or along small streams."

Counts, Salem's fire chief and emergency-services director, said residents of the apartment complex and several mobile-home parks probably would not be allowed to return until tomorrow because the water is still high.

Fatal gas was from water heater, inspectors say - [cached]

The top of the water heater came apart when one of the system's components failed, filling a mechanical room in a campus dormitory with carbon monoxide that spread through the building, said Salem Fire-EMS Chief Pat Counts.

"When one of the components fails, it'll mess up the whole system," Counts said in announcing the results of an investigation by the Salem Fire-EMS Department.
Counts said the water heating system was supposed to shut down if one of the components failed, but didn't.
After the carbon monoxide started leaking, a fan designed to ventilate the mechanical room by drawing outside air into the building created pressure that forced the odorless, colorless gas throughout the building, Counts said.
The carbon monoxide level was between 200 and 300 parts per million as measured by emergency responders arriving on the scene early Friday morning, Counts said.Normal levels are between 5 and 9 parts per million, he said.Federal guidelines limit safe levels to 35 parts per million.
Walter Vierling, a 91-year-old retired pastor who died in the dorm, was staying on the first floor and was the closest person to the water heating system, Counts said.
Counts noted that some of the more than 100 people treated for exposure at local hospitals said they had been experiencing flulike symptoms beginning around 10 p.m. Thursday.

Welcome to Clean Valley Council [cached]

Chester G. "Pat" Counts, Fire Chief/Emergency Coordinator, City of Salem

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