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NJ Firefighter Killed Christmas Morning; GoFundMe Donors Refunded; PA Pet Hot Car Bill in Effect
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 12/26/18 5:30 am | updated: 12/26/18 5:30 am
A young firefighter lost her life Christmas morning in a single-car crash in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County. It happened around 6:20 a.m. Tuesday, 12/25, on Landis Avenue, west of Estelle Avenue. 21-year-old Natalie Dempsey was responding to a call as a member of the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Department. She was driving westbound in a 2001 Honda Accord when she lost control and hit a guardrail. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The entire community as well as the fire company is mourning the loss. Dempsey volunteered at the company for three years and had just completed the police academy over the summer. On Mizpah Volunteer's Facebook page they said funeral plans will be announced soon. They also say, "This will be a funeral with full honors due to it being a line of duty passing."

GoFundMe says that it has now refunded all money donated to a fraudulent fundraising campaign earlier this year involving a New Jersey couple and a homeless veteran from Philadelphia. GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said Tuesday that "all donors who contributed to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully refunded." Johnny Bobbitt, Kate McClure, and her now ex-boyfriend Mark D'Amico made up a feel-good story to get people to donate to their campaign. They said that Bobbitt, a homeless veteran, gave McClure his last $20 to buy gas after she became stranded off I-95. The campaign raised over $400,000 and was supposed to help Bobbitt get back on his feet. In August, Bobbitt sued the couple for not giving him the money and accused them of spending it on luxury items and vacations. However, when investigators began to look into where all the money went and how it was spent, they discovered the trio's ruse. "We have a zero tolerance policy for fraudulent behavior," Whithorne said. "If fraud occurs, donors get refunded and we work with law enforcement officials to recover the money." The three have been charged with fraud and conspiracy.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a new law aimed at protecting pets in emergency situations back in October. The bill known as House Bill 1216, or Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, or 'the hot car bill' went into effect on Christmas eve. Emergency responders are now permitted to remove an animal from a motor vehicle "after a reasonable search for the operator of the vehicle." The emergency responder is not liable for damage done to the vehicle. Once the dog or cat is taken from the vehicle, the emergency responder must leave information about the circumstances, the officer's information, and a location the animal was taken. According to the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, it only takes 5-10 minutes for an animal to get heatstroke in a hot car. This law does not extend to private citizens, only police officers, firefighter, humane officers, animal control officers or other public safety professionals.

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