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TEXAS FIREFIGHTER USES BEER TO PUT OUT TIRE BLAZE: HOUSTON (AP) — An off-duty Houston firefighter made the best of his resources when trying to put out a truck tire fire: He used beer the rig was hauling.

Fire Capt. Craig Moreau and his wife were driving home Monday night after a trip to Austin when they came upon an 18-wheeler on fire. Moreau and the trucker, whose brake problems started the fire, tried using a small extinguisher.

Moreau says he thought the fire was out, but then noticed the blaze had flared up after crawling under the truck to check.

The firefighter then asked the driver what he was hauling. When he learned it was beer, he had his solution.

Both men began shaking and spraying cans of beer on the blaze, and the fire went out.


GIFFORDS DOESN'T RULE OUT RUNNING FOR OFFICE AGAIN: TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — still recovering from a shooting three years ago — said Thursday she might consider a return to political office.

The Arizona Democrat kept the door open when asked about such a possibility, saying "well, a little later" and "maybe" during an interview on NBC's "Today" show.

The interview was aired a day after bell-ringing and flag-raising ceremonies were held in Tucson to remember the six people killed and 13 injured in the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting that occurred as Giffords met with constituents outside a grocery store.

To commemorate the anniversary and how far she has come, Giffords jumped from an airplane in Arizona in a tandem skydive.

Giffords, who did the "Today" interview with husband Mark Kelly at her side, said she felt "happy and sad" on the anniversary but believes it's time to move on.


CHRISTIE FIRES AIDE, APOLOGIZES FOR TRAFFIC JAMS: TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Republican Gov. Chris Christie fired one of his top aides on Thursday and apologized repeatedly for his staff's "stupid" behavior, insisting during a nearly two-hour news conference that he had no idea anyone around him had engineered traffic jams as part of a political vendetta against a Democratic mayor.

"I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team," Christie said as he addressed the widening scandal, which could cast a shadow over his expected run for the White House in 2016.

The famously blunt governor fielded dozens of questions from reporters with uncharacteristic patience and at times a sorrowful tone.

Christie, who had previously assured the public that his staff had nothing to do with the September lane closings that caused major backups at the George Washington Bridge, said he fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly "because she lied to me" when he demanded weeks ago that anyone who knew anything about the episode come forward.

The gridlock in Fort Lee delayed emergency vehicles, school buses and countless commuters for four days.


EX-TEACHER JAILED FOR STUDENT SEX IS RELEASED: SAN BERNARDINO   (AP) — A former Southern California teacher who had her student's baby has been released from jail.

The San Bernardino Sun ( says 29-year-old Laura Whitehurst was released this week with more than six months left on her one year sentence.

She must register as a sex offender within five days and wear a GPS tracking device.

Whitehurst is a former teacher at Citrus Valley High School in Redlands. Prosecutors say she began an affair with a student in 2012. She gave birth last July.

The father, who's now 18, told a judge she robbed him of his innocence.