In my work with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation I have been able to see the impact that contributions big and small have on the survivors. The contributions come in the form of the legion of fire service volunteers who run Memorial Weekend and countless programs throughout the year, to donations of material and money.
Motorola Solutions supports the Foundation in all those ways and then some. Now they are doing so with a beautiful video taking you into Memorial Weekend through the eyes of some of the survivors who return each year to Emmitsburg to help other families. As you will hear, some of these survivors have benefited greatly from the scholarship program Motorola Solutions generously supports. Please take a moment to watch this.
We want to thank all who entered to win one of five bricks from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Walk of Honor in Emmitsburg, Maryland that STATter911.com is giving away. It’s our way of saying thanks for all the support you have given me and this site. The drawing can be seen in the video above. Here are the winners:
Robert Hall (correction, this is actually Rachel Hall)
I have contacted each of the winners by email or Facebook.
Even if you didn’t win, it doesn’t mean you or someone you want to honor can’t get have a brick surrounding the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Click here for the details.
This will be our the sixth year streaming the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Memorial Weekend telecasts and we are grateful many, many other websites are doing the same. WUSA9.com is once again providing the live streaming. Saturday’s Candlelight Service begins at 6:30 PM EDT. Sunday’s Memorial Service starts at 10:00 AM EDT. See both telecasts via STATter911.com.
Please encourage your department and your local news media to also run the live streaming so that as many people as possible will see the tribute to the nation’s fallen firefighters.
In addition, there are many other ways to take part in Memorial Weekend even if you can’t join us in Emmitsburg. Here is a link that has all of the information you will need – http://weekend.firehero.org/creative/2012/ . Here are some of the highlights:
Be part of the FireHero Network and embed live streaming of Saturday’s Candlelight Service and Sunday’s Memorial Service on your website. And please encourage general news websites in your community to do the same. Click here for streaming information.
In addition, you will be able to follow the weekend events through social media. NFFF has a team of firefighters on campus in Emmitsburg to provide pictures, video and details throughout the weekend,
There are two new campaigns this year for firefighters and the public to show their support of the fallen on their Facebook pages. On Saturday, October 6 at 6:30 pm please “Light a Virtual Candle for a Fallen Firefighter.” And on Sunday, October 7 you can “Ring a Virtual Bell for a Fallen Firefighter.” All the details are available here:
The second annual Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters is going strong and more departments and places of worship are signing on every day. Please continue to spread the word of this important program that encourages the public to pause and remember the firefighters who have died. http://bellsacrossamerica.com/
Over the weekend NFFF will be posting video remembrances of firefighters from their survivors. As always, there is a growing library of Memorial Weekend videos on FireHero TV, the NFFF YouTube channel http://www.firehero.tv.com.
MORE ON THE WEB
The Virtual Remembrance Banner is available for anyone to pay tribute to a fallen firefighter or share a special memory of Memorial Weekend. It’s a wonderful way for family, friends and others who can’t be in Emmitsburg to have a connection to the events. http://weekend.firehero.org/remembrance/banner.php
Departments and individuals can still add the National Fallen Firefighters Tribute Widget to their website, blog or Facebook page. Go to http://weekend.firehero.org/widget/ to copy and embed the widget.
Of course, webmaster Jenni McClelland will be constantly updating the Memorial Weekend website with fresh pictures and information at http://weekend.firehero.org/. And you will always find information about all of the programs of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation at http://firehero.org.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has been working with the family of Hal Bruno to coordinate funeral arrangements. The funeral will take place at 11:00 am on Friday, November 11 at Temple Shalom, 8401 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase, Maryland. The event will be open to anyone wishing to attend. For fire service coordination issues please contact Victor Stagnaro at 240-508-7731 or John Proels at 301-712-7201.
Family, friends and fire service members will be received between 1:00 and 5:00 pm in the Anastasi Room at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, 5020 Battery Lane, Bethesda, Maryland.
Flowers can be sent directly to Temple Shalom, and will be displayed in the front lobby of the synagogue. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, PO Drawer 498, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727 and marked In Memory of Hal Bruno. A special fund has been established to memorialize his years of service and accomplishments within the American Fire Service Community.
On behalf of the Bruno Family the Foundation would like to express their sincere appreciation for all of the outpouring of love, concern and sympathy received. It truly is a fitting tribute for what Hal meant to all of us and a testament to the legacy he leaves.
To me, Hal Bruno is one of the most important figures in the history of this country's fire service. Hal died last night at age 83. I imagine that many of the younger firefighters and a few older ones who read this site aren't familiar with the name Hal Bruno. Hal wasn't a fire chief and his expertise wasn't in fireground tactics, hazardous materials, truck company or engine company operations. Hal's specialty was firefighters. He was the best friend a firefighter and the fire service could have.
But Hal Bruno wasn't the friend who just slapped you on the back and told you what you wanted to hear. Hal cared enough to tell us all what we needed to hear.
Whether it was through his "Fire Politics" column in Firehouse Magazine, or in countless talks and presentations at conventions and seminars, or privately with fire chiefs and union leaders, Hal Bruno provided invaluable guidance, counseling and advice on how the fire service could win the hearts and minds of the American public, elected officials and other government leaders. The effort behind the victory at the polls in Ohio for firefighters and other government workers at the same time Hal was leaving us is right out of the Hal Bruno playbook.
Hal knew that it took a lot more than just doing the job of fighting fires and saving lives to secure the resources needed to have an effective fire department that is properly supported by the people it serves. Hal Bruno's decades of work helped create the modern fire service leader who not only knows his or her way around the fireground but who can also navigate the corridors of City Hall or Congress and answer the tough questions from a reporter.
Hal shared with all those connected to the fire service what he learned from his long career as a political reporter. He was a distinguished observer of the political scene. After 18 years at Newsweek, Hal Bruno became the political director for ABC News. He had direct contact with those elected to lead this country. In 1992 Hal moderated the Vice Presidential debate between Dan Quayle, Al Gore and James Stockdale. It was one of the liveliest of these type of debates (click here and take a look for yourself) with the unflappable Hal Bruno in the middle of it trying to keep order. A style that served him well when he kept the politicians and the fire chiefs (and their egos) in check after assuming the role of MC at the annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner in Washington.
But Hal Bruno did show bias and exactly where he stood when it came to firefighters. As Hal related to many, he was practically raised in a Chicago firehouse and always felt indebted to firefighters. He later became a volunteer firefighter and was a member of many fire service organizations, including DC's Friendship Fire Association. It was not unusual to see Hal on a multi-alarm fire in the Nation's Capital handing out coffee on a cold winter's night.
Being there for firefighters took on a new meaning, well beyond providing refreshments and giving advice on politics, when Hal Bruno became a charter member of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation's Board of Directors in 1993. In a big way, Hal Bruno was now able to practice what he had been preaching to firefighters for so many years. He used his political skill and insight to help guide the Foundation in its role of honoring the fallen and caring for their survivors. In 1999 he took over as Chairman of the Board.
His accomplishments in that role were many. They will long have impact on the safety and well-being of firefighters and the survivors of those who died in the line of duty. Current Chairman Dennis Compton and Executive Director Ron Siarnicki continue to build on that legacy.
In his final years as chairman, Hal Bruno worked tirelessly to make sure the families of fallen firefighters received federal benefits promised them. I listened to Hal, of course, explain the politics behind the issue as we stood watching the Georgetown Library burn in April, 2007.
At that time I had already been listening to Hal for almost 40 years. I first became aware of his as a young teenager reading my parents' Newsweek. But the name Hal Bruno became permanently etched in my mind in1974, the same year I became a volunteer firefighter. What caught my attention was an article he had written for Argosy Magazine about the 1958 Our Lady of the Angels fire in Chicago that killed 92 school children and three nuns. It was a tragedy that Hal Bruno witnessed. Hal's recounting of that event and his analysis of fire safety in the United States made such an impression on me, to this day, I have held onto that magazine.
Like many of you, I also became a big fan of Hal's columns on politics when Firehouse began publishing in 1976. In 1983 I finally got to meet Hal Bruno. That was when Rich Adams, the editorial director at Channel 9, who worked across the alley when I was a reporter at WTOP Radio, invited me to a cookout at the Bruno home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Hal and Rich were close friends who shared a bond of journalism, bluegrass music and the fire service. Rich wrote the EMS column for Firehouse and was a long time member of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad.
While jazz is more my style, I was on board with the rest of what these two had to offer. In fact, both Hal and Rich were important influences on my career. They showed me how to combine a job in broadcast news with a passion for firefighting. In addition, when I went to work at Channel 9 in 1985, Hal and Rich each gave me a great deal of encouragement, and even some news tips.
In 1996 Hal asked me to fill in for an ill Rich Adams, who each year hosted the annual satellite telecast of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Memorial Service. When Hal called I really wasn't sure this was something I should be doing as a reporter who covered the fire service. Hal reassured me that it was fine and essentially held my hand through the first year's broadcast. Sadly, Rich passed away not long after Memorial Weekend. I kept coming back to Emmitsburg year after year because no one, including Hal, told me not to. I was learning that this connection to NFFF was something quite important to me and will always be grateful to Hal for making it a part of my life.
Despite all that I've written here, I am not the biggest Hal Bruno fan in my family. That honor goes to my wife Hillary Howard. In 2002 Hillary helped produce the Candlelight Service for Memorial Weekend when it was held in Washington, DC because of the large loss from September 11, 2001. She will tell you that the highlight of those couple of months was working with Hal.
Hillary often talks about Hal's warmth, charm, intelligence, smile and quiet strength. All of those attributes were still on display for us one last time, a month ago, as we stopped and chatted with Hal and his beautiful wife Meg in the dining hall at Emmitsburg at the end of Memorial Weekend. As we caught up, the conversation quickly turned to a mutual friend who had recently found himself forced out of a fire department job. Hal Bruno, of course, wanted to hear all about the politics behind this move.
It should be noted that Hal Bruno died on election day.
Looking at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Facebook page it appears the image above is the most popular photo from the 2011 Memorial Weekend. Obviously it wasn't taken in Emmitsburg, Maryland. This is a photo of Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters coming to Northern Afghanistan. It was sent by Adam J. Montoya, MSgt, USAF & Air Force Fire Chief, as his crew paused to remember all fallen firefighters, volunteer, career and military. They are a group of 6 firefighters assigned to Forward Operating Base Kunduz. This is Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, 4 -227th Aviation Regiment. P-19A ARFF Apparatus with UH-60 MEDEVAC Helicopter.
The video below is of other USAF firefighters taking part in Bells Across America. The 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters are described as being somewhere in Southwest Asia. Parts of this video were shown during Sunday's Memorial Service. Thanks to MSgt Paul Mann and SMSgt Joseph W. Walsh for making sure this video made its way to Emmitsburg. You have to love the spanner and fire extinguisher in place of a bell.
Below are two more videos from Memorial Weekend. The top one is the closing video put together by the wonderful people at CrossCreek TV Productions who I have had the pleasure of working with for three Memorial Weekends. Below that is some video of Sunday's service from photographer Greg Guise.
I am heading up to Emmitsburg tomorrow to get ready for the 2011 Memorial Weekend of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. I know I will see some of you there before the week is out. Those who won't be joining us in person can still help pay tribute to the 89 firefighters whose names will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial on Sunday.
Probably one of the most effective ways to get involved is to help increase the awareness of Memorial Weekend. You can start by making sure your fire department's website, your personal website or blog and the websites for your local news media are part of the FireHero Network by carrying the live streaming of Saturday's Candlelight Service and Sunday's Memorial Service. It is simple to do. Click here for the details. This is the fifth year the services have been live on the Internet. The worldwide audience tripled last year thanks to the scores of websites that joined the network.
Another way is to contact your place of worship about participating in Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters. It's a wonderful program that gets the public involved in remembering the fallen. Read about it here.
You will be able to follow the weekend events through social media. NFFF has a team of firefighters on campus in Emmitsburg who will be providing pictures, video and details from the entire weekend via Facebook and Twitter. Please help us keep the fire service and the public informed by sharing and Retweeting.
For the second year, the Virtual Remembrance Banner is available for anyone to pay tribute to a fallen firefighter or share a special memory of Memorial Weekend. It’s a wonderful way for family, friends and others who can’t be in Emmitsburg to have a connection to the events.
This year VueTOO.com is providing the NFFF Memorial Weekend Foundation Ops Page. This will provide the various information streams from NFFF on one screen. It includes the live streaming, Memorial Weekend website, FireHero.org website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Click here to check it out.
There is a lot of other information about events and the firefighters who are being remembered that you can find on the Memorial Weekend website.
Of course we will have the live coverage from Memorial Weekend right here on STATter911.com. My wife, WTOP Radio's Hillary Howard and I are once again honored to host the two telecasts. Please join us either in person or on your computer.
I just received word this evening that CBS Sunday Morning has scheduled the airing of a long planned feature on volunteer firefighters during the broadcast tomorrow morning (Sunday, November 28, 9:00 AM ET).
Part of the segment is expected to feature Kelly Walesh and her daughter Lexus (seen in the photo by Glenn Udsin, below). They are survivors of Wisconsin Firefighter Stephen ‘Peanut’ Koeser who died in the line-of-duty on December 29, 2009. The CBS crew, with producer Kay Lim, followed Kelly Walesh and Lexus as they attended the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation 2010 Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg.
If you didn’t get to join us either in person or on the Internet a week ago for the Memorial Service at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial you may not have seen the video above. It is the closing montage looking back at the weekend that the CrossCreek TV folks put together on the fly from inside their production truck. It was played at the end of the service last Sunday morning.
For the second year, the McRee family from Alabama and their entire crew did a masterful job of letting the world see and honor those we have lost. The combination of Spruce, Patrick and Chris’ experience in the fire service (daddy Spruce got his start, like Dave, at Oxon Hill VFD) and their TV production skills from years broadcasting sporting events for the networks resulted in a telecast that the CrossCreek crew should be proud of. Much of the crew put in their bids immediately after last year’s event to return to Emmitsburg.
In addition, on-campus technical support, editing and the TV studio came, once again, from more broadcast professionals at the United States Fire Administration’s PREPnet. USFA has a group of people headed by Jeff Elliott who really know television and how to use it to communicate.
Brierfield (AL) FRD Chief Spruce McRee, who directed the telecasts from Emmitsburg, seen back in the day as a member of Oxon Hill VFD’s Company 42 (Prince George’s County, MD). Spruce is in the back row, far right, wearing a yellow coat. We figured Spruce left Oxon Hill about a month before I joined in 1974.
First of all, I am a bit late on this story due to my other duties over the last few days. The Fire Critic, Firegeezer (Bill goes deep on this one, giving us lots of background) and Firefighter Close Calls already have posted this video from Xenia, Ohio. In it, two council members, John Caupp and Dale Louderback, speak out and vote against buying seven sets of firefighter turnout gear through the Ohio Cooperative Purchasing Program. It is their belief that firefighters should buy their own PPE and cops should buy their own ballistic vests. Especially in the tough economic times that caused Xenia to lay off firefighters this year.
Looking at the video is it clear to me that it’s more than just the X in both Xenia and Xinos that’s the common element between this video and our other big fire department budget story of the last two weeks. As I am sure most of you recall, Connie Xinos wants to balance the Village of Oak Brook, Illinois budget (a wealthy community with no property tax) by firing one firefighter each month until the union agrees to modify its current agreement to allow staffing and pension cuts. Xinos added, referring to the wife of a fired firefighter:
“Maybe they’ll sue us. Maybe they’ll win something three years from now. She’ll leave him. He’ll be out of the house. The dog will be dead and the kids will be out on the streets.”
Warning: The rest of this column is kind of a personal message from me to Mr. Xinos, Mr. Caupp and Mr. Louderback. There’s no need for anyone else to read it.
Mr. Xinos, I imagine a man with your soft-spoken and easy charm is not lacking friends. But just in case you are, I want you to think of STATter911.com as your own personal eHarmony.com. No upfront fees. In fact, the service is completely free. And I believe STATter911.com has already found your soul mates for life (strictly platonic, of course).
Really what I am offering is kind of a video service for those who don’t have a best friend. Connie, just click above and I think you’ll agree that you could be looking into a mirror rather than a YouTube video.
I even have a suggestion for a first date for you fun loving guys. How about a trip to Emmitsburg, Maryland? It’s a gorgeous little town in the Catoctin Mountains. It’s just south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The people there are lovely.
Fall is a great time to visit this area. How about the first weekend in October of next year? A year from now. I promise you the wait will be worth it.
I know how thrifty you three are, so why not carpool it to Maryland?
Connie will pick up John and Dale. Connie it’s on your way, but I already know what’s bothering you about this. No need to worry, I am sure they will chip in for gas (actually let me rethink that part).
Either way I am certain you guys will have plenty to talk about. I imagine by the time you turn south on Route 15 in Pennsylvania you will have solutions for many of society’s ills.
I have good news for you budget conscious men. I will be glad to pick up your hotel rooms in Maryland. I mean it. My treat.
I have more good news for you to save some money. While you’re in Emmitsburg I will be your personal tour guide.
The first stop has to be Gettysburg. There’s lots to learn there. Talk about being a leader during tough times. But you guys have shown those aren’t lessons you really need. Connie, I guess you would agree that John and Dale have inspired their own troops by toughening them up. Letting them know if they really must have protective gear going into battle, they should just buy it themselves. I am sure that’s what many of them did during the Civil War.
And John and Dale, I think you both will be greatly impressed with Connie’s leadership when he was in that fierce battle with the 11-year-old girl. I can assure you it wasn’t Connie who went home and cried that night.
By the way, while we are in Emmitsburg there’s a big event in town that weekend that I would love for you three to see. It draws about five or six thousand people each year. But there’s more good news. It’s free of charge. It won’t cost you a dime. I know money means more than anything to you guys. You’ve made that clear.
While there you should really take take the time to meet some of the men, women and children who will be at that gathering. I’ve been going for years and I always find it an extremely impressive group (but in a much different way than you three impress me).
Just do me one little favor. It’s simple. When you meet them, take a close look into their eyes.
That’s it. Nothing more. Just take a close look into their eyes.
Today and tomorrow the Nation pays tribute to 105 firefighters who have died in the line-of-duty. And thanks to the fire service web community and some general news sites more people than ever will get to see the ceremonies this weekend. This year we have more than tripled the number of sites planning to carry the Candlelight Service tonight at 6:45 PM EDT and the Memorial Service tomorrow at 9:30 AM EDT.
From the large name brand websites, to regional and local blogs, to fire department websites, the fire service is helping the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation honor the memory of the fallen firefighters whose names will be added to the Memorial. It is not too late to be a part of this. If you have a website, be it fire service related or other, click here to get the details on how to share the telecasts with your audience (make sure you tell us you are carrying the services on the web – email@example.com).
FEMA, lead by Administrator Craig Fugate, the United States Fire Administration with USFA Acting Administrator Glenn Gaines, the USFA studios PREPNet, Motorola Inc., WUSA9.com in Washington, DC and CrossCreek TV have partnered with the Foundation to originate these telecasts.
I have been on campus in Emmitsburg since Thursday. While I am honored to again be the face (such as it is) of the telecasts, along with my wife Hillary Howard, my role is quite minor. As usual Hillary and I sit in awe of how this operation comes together each year. Under the direction of Raliegh Fire Department Chief John McGrath, who is again the IC, almost 1500 volunteers get the job done. It is an amazing thing to watch and is another example of the can-do spirit of firefighters. Check out the video above to get an idea of what I am talking about.
There are some new elements this year to watch out for. We have dedicated a number of people to make sure there is more information and news from the weekend on the Foundation’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. And for the first time there will be podcasting. John Mitchell, Rhett Fleitz with assistance from Willie Wines, have set up Firefighter Netcast on campus to bring you FireHero Radio. Tune in to hear from the people who make the weekend happen and for some of the stories of the firefighters who are being honored.
You are all invited on campus to experience Memorial Weekend. If you can’t join us in person please watch the telecasts.
Below we have a video clip of one visitor we had last year. It is Engine 62 of Ohio’s Loveland-Symmes Fire Department. Chief Otto Huber talks to us abouth this mobile billboard.
On Saturday and Sunday the Nation will honor 105 firefighters who died in the line-of-duty. Once again, thanks to WUSA9.com, the U.S. Fire Administration’s PREPnet and Motorola, Inc., you will be able to watch Saturday’s Candlelight Service and Sunday’s Memorial Service live on the Internet. I have hosted these telecasts since 1996 and for about the last 10-years WTOP Radio’s Hillary Howard (Mrs. STATter911) has been the co-host. Of course, we would like to see you in Emmitsburg for the weekend events, but if you can’t make it, join us on the web.
As many of you know, since leaving my TV job in June, I have been doing work for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. I believe that one of the best ways you can honor the firefighters we are remembering this year is to help spread the word about the weekend. You can do so by making sure your department’s website is carrying the live coverage of the Candlelight Service & Memorial Service. It is simple to do. Just click here for an easy way to let your community see these important events. Also, let the news media in your area know they can carry the Memorial Weekend events on their websites.
There is a list above of some of those who have already committed to being a part of our Fire Hero Network. Can we add your website to this list? Just let us know by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many events the Foundation is involved in to raise money to help the families of fallen firefighters. Take a look at the video above from Dover International Speedway that I shot on Sunday. It was an honor to take a ceremonial lap around the track in the hose bed of a Dover fire engine with 12-year-old Joseph Tagliareni Jr. of Secaucus, NJ. His firefighter father died in 1999.
The money raised from these events helps families like the Tagliarenis. The total donated to the Foundation on Sunday was $93,000. The next NASCAR event is in February at the Daytona 500. Keep watching Firehero.org for details.
There is another important fundraiser for the Foundation coming up on Friday, October 8 in Chicago. It’s the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. And the current Chicago Fire (the soccer team) has a special deal to benefit NFFF. Join us in a hospitality area at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois for food and drinks two hours prior to the start of the match. Click here to order tickets.
Many of you have been following the Tour of Duty Run in its travels from Santa Monica Pier to Manhattan. The group of firefighters and other first responders from Australia and the United States left California on August 12 and are scheduled to arrive in New York on Saturday, September 11, having run through 20 states in 31 days. Very early on Labor Day morning the town of Emmitsburg, Maryland welcomed them for a visit to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.
Click the image for Graham Cullen’s pictures in the Frederick News-Post.
After getting some rest at the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company they had a late breakfast at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation chapel. NFFF Executive Director Ron Siarnicki, Interim United States Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines, Emmitsburg Mayor Jim Hoover, Frederick County Commissioner Blaine Young, Maryland State Firemens Association First Vice President David Lewis and IAFF Local 3666 President John Neary were all on hand to greet the group.
Their coast-to-coast journey is to commemorate emergency personnel and victims who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The group of 36 is raising money for a variety of charities including the Tribute WTC Visitor Center, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, among others.
“When you’re running through the desert, everything seems quite distant,” said Michael Jones, a firefighter from Melbourne, Australia. “Things are becoming a lot more closer, a lot more personal.”
Jones said a team of American firefighters is with the Australians, but the concept of the cross-country run originated in Melbourne.
His colleague, Paul Ritchie, put out a call to every fire station in Australia for participation. They got sponsors and teamed with American firefighters.
The run is relay style. The firefighters are split into groups of 12 that go for six hours then break, Jones said.
Runners are staying in mobile homes along on route, but the air conditioning in the mobile units broke down, Australian firefighter Ben Erickson said.
“We were in 95 degree heat in Vegas, Phoenix, pretty much all the way to Texas.”
The Tour of Duty Run is headed to Washington, DC today and tomorrow.
(Full disclosure: I do work with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, including taking the video at the top of this story.)
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Memorial Weekend is October 2 & 3 this year. Recently NFFF Executive Director Ron Siarnicki took a few moments to talk about this year’s ceremony and how you can help honor the 105 firefighters whose names will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. (Full Disclosure: For those who aren’t aware, I now do work on media matters for the Foundation.)
Below are links to some of the things Chief Siarnicki mentions, plus a few other NFFF reminders:
Do you have the 2010 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend Tribute Widget on your website?
Honor the firefighters being remembered at this year’s Memorial Weekend by placing this special tribute on your website. Each day we will feature one of the 80 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2009 along with 25 who died in previous years. Firefighter Close Calls is one of the more than 100 websites and blogs carrying the widget so far. We challenge all firefighters to make sure your department has the widget added to its homepage. Get the code:http://weekend.firehero.org/widget/
A Memorial Weekend Tradition Now Online: Sign the Remembrance Banner
The Remembrance Banner is a Memorial Weekend tradition that allows family members to write messages to their fallen firefighters. Now everyone can pay tribute to a firefighter we have lost with this online Remembrance Banner. Write your thoughts about a relative, friend or colleague who has been honored at Emmitsburg. Also, if you’ve attended or volunteered at a previous Memorial Weekend, share a special memory with us or pay tribute to a fallen hero. The Virtual Remembrance Banner:http://weekend.firehero.org/remembrance/banner.php
Hurry – Tickets for the 3rd Annual Firefighter Appreciation Event at Dover’s Monster Mile® Are Going Fast!
Don’t miss out on this special event pre-race celebration and race No. 2 in the “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup” at Dover! For just $99 you get: a race ticket, trackside tour, corporate style hospitality, and special guest appearances. Proceeds benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Get your tickets today: http://www.doverspeedway.com/nfff10 (Enter Code NFFF10)
Go To Bat for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation!
Team up with State Farm® and MLB® to support the charity of your choice and you could win a trip for 2 to the 2010 MLB® World Series® ! Simply pick the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) as your charity, play the Go To Bat game online and swing for the fences. Go to bat for us today: http://www.statefarm.com/gotobat
By coincidence this is also the date the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has kicked off a new program honoring another group of firefighters that gave their lives in the line of duty. And if you are a blogger, or webmaster, or have a Facebook or Firefighter Nation page, your help is needed.
It comes under the banner “We Will Honor Them”. Starting with Captain Eric A. Tinkham of the Queen Creek Fire Department in Arizaona NFFF will feature each day one of the 105 firefighters being honored at this year’s ceremony during Memorial Weekend in October.
This is a widget that can be a part of your website or blog. It isn’t just for the fire service media, some of who were briefed earlier this week. NFFF would like to see it on every fire department website and blog in the country.
The feature will include a link to something else that is new this year, a virtual version of the Remembrance Banner. The family and friends of a fallen firefighter sign the banner while at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Now there is a way for those who can’t make it to Emmitsburg to be a part of the tribute.
All you have to do is add the code to your site once and each day it will show another firefighter we’ve lost.
A resident of a historic building in Emmitsburg is accused of setting fire to his apartment while trying to commit suicide.
The state fire marshal’s office says the fire early Saturday at the 19th-century building on East Main Street caused $1 million in damage. The building is a former hotel that was converted into 17 apartment units.
Forty-three-year-old John Bushman has been charged with arson and malicious burning. Fire marshals say Bushman was detained after an investigation revealed he had threatened to burn the building down, and he was charged late Saturday after he revealed to investigators that he set the fire.
Our friend Wayne Powell, who is now in “retired” status with Vigilant Hose Company of Emmitsburg, has provided a much more detailed account than we had previously of the fire early Saturday morning that destroyed a landmark building in the heart of town. Here are excerpts from Wayne’s account:
Fire units were alerted at 0559 hours to a reported building fire with people trapped in an apartment building on the Square (southeast corner) above a popular Pizza Restaurant known as Stavro’s and which many from around the country and beyond have visited. Being Easter Weekend, all NETC classes had ended yesterday. For those who admire good “truck work” – in the photos you’ll note multiple ground ladders were placed around the building in addition to the 5 aerials which were quickly summoned to the scene where 4 were actively used.
President Frank Davis of Vigilant Hose Company (the community’s all volunteer fire department // which is located 4 doors west of the fire building) was out back of the fire station, while it was still dark out, cleaning up items from a major 2-day fund-raiser, VHC’s annual Easter Seafood Bonanza, when his pager alerted for the fire – he looked up at the rear portion of the building (easily seen from the fire station’s rear parking lot) and nothing was obvious. Upon reaching the station’s front overhead doors he could see the glow reflecting on windows across the street plus smoke started coming into the firehouse as the overhead doors were going up. He quickly radioed in that he had fire showing (designated the sides, etc.) and immediately requested that a 2nd alarm be transmitted.
The fully occupied 145-year old unsprinklered (pre-existing) building had fire extending out windows on the South Seton Avenue side (Side D) and as apparatus was arriving fire began extending out the front (Side A) meaning that the main interior stairwell had already become compromised as it was heavily involved in fire. Fortunately, there were no deaths and only one injury (a civilian with a cut to the hand) and equally amazing was that the structure did not collapse during the fire as had been potentially feared by generations of area firefighters. As can be seen in the photos heavy fire conditions were present as fire personnel arrived.
The circa 1865 fire building, whose construction was completed at the end of the Great Civil War, sits at the corner of East Main Street (MD Route 140) and South Seton Avenue (the road that passes in front of NETC). The “Old Hotel on the Square” as it commonly known today went by various names over the years – Eagle Hotel, Slagle Hotel and Western Maryland Hotel – and had always been of special concern to firefighters as well as state and local fire marshals for decades due to limited egress and its construction. Used in the modern era for rental apartments, all or nearly all of those displaced today reportedly had no insurance.
Although fought via aggressive interior firefighting efforts, operations were shifted from offensive to defensive given the age of the building and the numerous structural renovations that have occurred over the years. Authorities from the Frederick County Sheriffs Office (trained in fire investigations) plus fire investigators from the Frederick County Department of Fire and Rescue Services and the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office worked together to determine the actual cause of the fire and further interactions. The building was condemned by building inspectors with further review by structural inspectors planned to determine structure stability. A civilian living in the building is credited with saving lives by her actions of quickly alerting residents.
It is where Seton Avenue and Main Street meet in the heart of Emmitsburg, Maryland. On the southeast corner of that intersection is an old three story apartment building (four in the rear) with balconies on Side A atop the entrance. Side C is the entrance to Stavros Pizza.
It is a building any of you who have spent time down the street at the National Fire Academy have passed many times. Probably on your way to and from the Ott house, just three doors down on the southwest side of that intersection (which, of course, is next to the Vigilant Hose Company).
Click the image for more pictures of the Hotel Slagle.
The building got its start as the Hotel Slagle in 1859. Here’s more on the fire from Gardner’s article:
Fire companies from Adams and Franklin counties in Pennsylvania and Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties battled the blaze. Thirty-five pieces of equipment and 125 firefighters were involved. The fire was out by 9 a.m., but smoke continued to billow from the roof for much of the day.
Soot covered much of the large, three-story building, and heat caused the glass in many of the windows to break. The building had a gable roof and balconies on all three stories. Rafters poked out of the roof shingles.
We need to start this posting with some full disclosure on what some may see as a possible conflict of interest for me. I generally don’t report on stories I am involved in. I leave that to others. You need to know that I had a small role in the fact finding phase of this new report from the Cumberland Valley Firemen’s Association and you will see my name listed under group members.
At the request of Steve Austin, I spent two days in Emmitsburg last year talking with the other group members about the various stories that I cover that can be seen as damaging to the repuation of the fire service. I am almost always willing to talk to anyone about what I do and why I do it.
I find it to be a compelling topic and an important issue for the fire service, despite my role (or maybe because of it) as the conduit for much bad news. This is something that has been discussed on STATter911.com many times, particularly as it relates to social media. What I had to say on the topic echoes what I have posted on the blog and my responses to readers in our comments section since I began writing Statter911.com in May of 2007.
Now that you know my role, rather than characterize the report any further, I going to let you be the judge of what this is all about. The link to the report is above and the press release is below:
Reckless Conduct Endangers America’s Fire Service –
Fire Service Reputation Management White Paper Examines Issue
Hagerstown MD, March 10, 2010- Reckless and inappropriate conduct by a small minority of the nation’s fire service is eroding the high moral ground occupied by firefighters says a White Paper sponsored by the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association, (CVVFA) a century-old organization dedicated to enhancing communication and continuing education among the fire service.
The contents of the White Paper represent a distillation of several fire service leadership meetings that identified a series of social, cultural, and ethical issues impacting the fire service nationwide that demand increased awareness.
The White Paper is intended as a wake-up call to the fire service. The detrimental impact from fire service members that engage in unethical, immoral, inappropriate, criminal, or other activities reflects back not just to these individuals, but to their departments and communities, and to the fire service as a whole.
Recognizing that the actions of a small minority of bad actors can have grievous widespread consequences, the fire service as a whole must be increasingly vigilant in policing itself. Through a combination of enhanced and improved internal controls, increased vigilance, and greater acceptance of personal responsibility perhaps including, but not limited to, abiding by a Code of Ethics, the fire service can ensure that it remains true to its roots and heritage of protecting and serving this great nation.
The Fire Service Reputation Management White Paper clearly identifies these individuals and behaviors in a clear and cogent manner, articulates some excellent solutions, and clamors for a Code of Ethics as the next logical step for our profession. We may never have the opportunity again, and I urge all fire service leaders to develop, establish, disseminate, abide and enforce a Fire Service Code of Ethics” said Kelvin Cochran, United States Fire Administrator.
Copies of the White Paper are available at www.cvvfa.org . In the next several weeks the CVVFA will launch www.firefighterbehavior.com a website that will chronicle inappropriate conduct by members of, the fire service. The website will serve to raise awareness of danger to the reputation of the fire service and will advocate for a code of ethics and standards for proper behavior.
About the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association: Established in 1901 the CVVFA provides firefighters and other emergency responders with Training, Leadership, and Fraternalism. The Association created the Emergency Responder Safety Institute in 1999 to address dangers responders face on the roadways. Much of that work is carried out through its nationally recognized website www.respondersafety.com.