A True Friend and Brother to the Fire Service Visits “The City”!

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Today I had the distinct honor of meeting up with Fireman/Photographer Mike Sanders of Winchester, VA. Mike and I have corresponded over the years and our Fire Photography paths have crossed on numerous occasions. During our most recent conversation Mike mentioned he would be visiting the city on Business, and that a longstanding wish of his has been to take a tour of the historic “Old #1″ downtown.

A single call was made to Lieutenant Rhett Fleitz and the plan was good to go. I met up with Mike at #1 in the late morning and the tour was on. Among many things Mike and I have shared over the years is a passion for the culture, history and traditions of the Fire Service – and his reactions to the myriad of historical characteristics found at #1 further confirmed that. To be honest, it was like two kids in a candy store! I had been in #1 on numerous occasions and couldn’t wait to show Mike everything from the Ticker Tape to the upstairs bunkroom, Chiefs office/bunk area, bells, poles, flooring, ceiling… and hundreds of other pieces I knew he would “get”.

Following our visit to #1 Mike followed me to Station #5 where Rhett was detailed for part of the tour. Both Rhett and Mike have been in contact with one another over the years yet had never met. Both were excited to finally shake hands, meet one another and share some laughs and stories.

When Mike and I initially discussed his visit last week and desire to see #1 I assured him it could happen. How could I do that? I am not employed by Roanoke City Fire & EMS! I guess my answer to that is exactly what I told Mike over the phone… “Mike, trust me. From all I have experienced this is the kind of Department that is proud of its history, and wants to share it with others”.

Although Rhett was my point of contact and primary facilitator for this to happen I have no doubt anyone else would have stepped up to do the same.

At the time of our visit I made a point to show Mike the meticulously packed cross-lays on the reserve rigs being housed there. Reserve rigs! Once again, Mike was impressed.

Special thanks to the crew at #5 for their hospitality during Mike and I’s visit. You all rock.

Mike Sanders has an extensive resume relating to the Fire Service:

– Two books compiling the apparatus history of both Fairfax and Loudoun County’s
– A regular contributor to Fire & EMS Virginia Magazine
– Longstanding member of the Ashburn Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department (Loudoun County, VA):


– A phenomenal Apparatus photographer, who’s work can be found at:

Mike, it was great to meet! Come back soon! You’re always welcome my friend!




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