I have added the firehouses to the site. If you navigate above, you will see “Firehouses” in the navigational bar. Once you “mouse” over the text, it will drop down and you will see each firehouse 1-14. I have added most, but not all of the firehouses that have ever existed. I posted the stations numerically, and individually listed the firehouses chronologically starting with the first. If you see a firehouse missing, let me know. You will notice I am missing some dates and I am happy to receive feedback on which ones. Please send in any photos or information you would like to share.

I know I need

  • Firehouse 4 (across from current address)
  • Firehouse 13 (once located behind current address)
  • Firehouse 15 (once located at Woodrum field that was a trailer *pretty sure it was 15)
  • I also want to add in the EMS Stations (REMS, Williamson Road, and the others)
  • I also am planning on adding the training tower, training center, various sites of administration, and the Union Building

Let me know if you think of anything else.


Next on the list is apparatus. Wish me luck with that, we are probably talking about 100′s of apparatus.

RoanokeFire.com is currently seeking images of Roanoke Fire Stations, Firefighters, Crews, Apparatus etc. to be a part of the new site. With the redesign will come  a new direction which will mean more of a focus on the past and present and a little less on the future. I will be adding a detailed list of the stations, apparatus, and possibly even crews in Roanoke City.

Another thing I plan on focusing on is Roanoke County, Salem, and Vinton…so if any of you guys want to get in on this let me know and send some pictures and info!!!

My email is firefleitz@cox.net.


Station # 8 has its own t-shirt. All three shifts offered ideas about the design of the shirt.

The art work is by Lieutenant Jim Hylton. We felt the images should reflect the community we serve. The front has the small Maltese cross we use on our department shirts, but the inside of the cross has a picture of two wine glasses and a rose. Yup, South Roanoke is the land of wine and roses.
There is a very strong sense of community here. The people are very nice to us.
The words, “South Roanoke Fire Station” are on the east side of the building (not on the shirt).
The picture on the back of the shirt is hand drawn of Engine # 8 in front of the station.
The Star is in the background.
The caption says, “Serving South Roanoke Since 1929.”
If you look close, you will see the white squirrel “Lola” in the lower left side of the picture.
Lola was a popular community figure here for several years until she passed a couple months ago.
The shirts are limited edition. We’re not really trying to sell them, but if you want one, contact Jarrod Fuhrman at “First Due Fire EMS Gear” or ask one of the guys at # 8.
We paid more for them because we wanted shirts that were made in the USA.

What about Medic 8?
Yes, there is talk of putting a medic truck here at # 8.
How can I get assigned to Medic 8 you ask?
If you are interested in being assigned to South Roanoke, please answer the following questionnaire and send it to the Medic 8 Application Committee here at station 8. The application process will be both demanding and vigorous. Bribes will be accepted. Please answer the following questions;

Medic 8 Application Questionnaire

1. What is the difference between a Chardonnay and Beaujolais?
a. A Chardonnay is a white wine and Beaujolais is a Hungarian car.
b. A Chardonnay is a brand of faucet and Beaujolais is Buddhist cheese.
c. Chardonnay is a white wine and Beaujolais is a dry red wine.
d. Chardonnay is a punk band; Beaujolais is a town in Canada.

2. What type of water do we keep in the booster tank on the Engine?
a. tonic
b. spring
c. mineral
d. sparkling
3. If you have a call for a fire in the butler’s pantry, what is the primary concern of the homeowner?
a. dinner
b. the fire
c. that we may track up the carpet
d. the butler

4. To what level are we accredited?
a. locally
b. nationally
c. internationally
d. intergallactically (only at number 8)

5. Which station has a swimming pool in the basement?
a. Station # 1, in the bay where they dug it up
b. Station #5, turn left five times, back in
c. Station #8, spring fed
d. Station #2, don’t mind the asbestos

6. Where the meals are big, the kitchen is small, and there are 2 dishwashers on every shift describes which station?
a. Station #1, sorry, it’s not about you
b. Station #5, circle the block again
c. Station #8, the Texas Tavern kitchen of South Roanoke
d. Station #2, could it be?

7. To what station does a chief go to become a captain?
a. Station #1, sorry it’s still not about you
b. Station #5, keep circling
c. Station #8, uh
d. Station #2, two what; rabbits

8. What level of EMS certification is required to ride M-8?
a. I don’t want to ride the box
b. I don’t want to be an “i”
c. I don’t care
d. What’s a box?

9. What level of fire performance standards must I maintain?
a. the same as the rest of the department
b. none
c. more than the rest of the department
d. Will we eat well?

10. The term Division of Labor means;
a. Assignments on the fire ground
b. Laborers doing math
c. Laborers choosing sides
d. Who does the steaks on the grill, who does the potatoes and who makes the salad

11. Which station has an Oshkosh kid with money upstairs?
a. Station #1; why do you always think it’s about you?
b. Station #5; one word, NASCAR; thank you for playing
c. Station #8
d. Station #2

12. Which station has a ghost that walks the bedroom floor at night?
a. Station #8, the phantom
b. Station #1, no, you’re haunted in daylight
c. Station #5, ok they have one too
d. Station #2; no, Trussler exorcised theirs

13. What will be the future name of station # 8?
a. Carillion Clinic Emergency Services
b. Famous Anthony’s Hot Meals on Hot Wheels delivery
c. South Roanoke Cat Rescue
d. South Roanoke Covert Ops

14. What is another name for German white wine?
a. Gustofrauääghier
b. Milk of the Virgin
c. Rhinelűnd Splattze
d. Roger Manuel

15. What is the coefficient for calculating gpm in a solid bore orifice?
a. What is an orifice?
b. GPM = BTU’s; darn* it (Terry knows)
c. GPM = 29.7 x d² x √NP
d. GPM = 1.57 x d² x √NP

16. Asian Toasted Sesame refers to which of the following:
a. Candles
b. Potpourri
c. Roger Manuel’s aftershave
d. Salad Dressing

17. Why do you want this assignment
a. To meet Kent McIlhany
b. To find my happy place
c. To better myself
d. To ascend to a higher level of Zen conscientiousness

18. How many CFM of air is displaced by a 1 ¾” fog nozzle performing hydra-ventilation?
a. 15-18,000 cfm
b. 20-23,000 cfm
c. 32-35,000 cfm
d. Ben Sweeney

19. What makes us perform best on the fireground?
a. Music by ZZ Top
b. Music by Led Zeppelin
c. Brian Wray
d. Catch phrases on city email

20. Who is the best Firefighter in Roanoke today?
a. Shane Duncan
b. Snoopy
c. Lloyd Layman
d. Sister Teresa

21. What Firefighter has been assigned to # 8 the most?
a. Rocky Sink
b. Jerry Thompson
c. Christina Aguilera
d. Ray-Ray

Firehouse 3 has been sold. The new owners hope to restore it to its original look as much as they can. It will be good to see the station hang around a while longer if everything goes as planned.

Below is from the Roanoke Times (Read the entire story here)

A nearly 100-year-old firehouse that was decommissioned earlier this year will become the headquarters of a local architectural company after the Roanoke City Council approved the building’s sale Monday.

Interactive Design Group, currently housed on Norfolk Avenue Southwest, will give the city $171,000 for Fire Station 3, located at Sixth Street and Rorer Avenue Southwest.

The site is assessed at $321,800, according to city records.

The business plans to renovate both the two-story building’s interior and exterior, according to city officials.

This is a picture of Station 8 B-shift standing in front of Engine 8 with their Christmas Wreath. Left to Right is Captain Kent McIlhany, Firefighter Shane Duncan, and Lt. Jim Hylton. The crew works at Station 8 located in Crystal Springs.

Shane Duncan fries up a turkey for the guys to eat for dinner. The guys had purchased a turkey for thanksgiving, however it was not needed because of the local Church which provides a complete dinner for all the fire stations in the Roanoke Valley. So the guys enjoyed a fried turkey for dinner. You have to love Shane’s set up including two chairs and a recycling bin to keep the wind off of the burner.

Here is the new rookie at Station 13 C-shift Josh Slaughter. Josh’s first day was on Saturday and was quickly thrown in the mix of vacation sign ups. We sign up for a whole years vacation in December. Josh, like the rest of the rookies, won’t have much vacation to sign up for because they will only accrue a little bit of vacation during the year.

Josh enjoyed a very slow day, we didn’t run our first call until after midnight. However, once he was in bed around 10pm, we decided to let him know what the alarm tones sounded like. We were hoping that he would come out of the bunkroom struggling to get his turnout pants on, but it wasn’t the case.

More hi jinx in the future I am sure, we decided to be easy on him the first day.

If you guys have photos to share, just let me know.

I got a call at the Union Hall on Wednesday from the Interactive Design Group. They are purchasing Fire Station #3 to be used as their offices. Unless something comes up, the deal will go through.

Apparently, the woman I spoke to is looking for the fire pole for the station. I told her that it is now the legs to the table at #1. So she was interested in finding another one from Roanoke. I told her that I would look around, but I doubt she would have any luck.

The plan is to restore the station and keep the open floor plan. They also plan on putting overhead doors in place of the current ones which replicate the original doors. That will be neat.

It is good to see that it won’t be torn down.

Reading some of the comments from Staffing in Roanoke (the previous post), I realized that some of you want more information. I try my best to write on the basis of non-firefighters reading this and/or firefighters from other jurisdictions. Apparently I have fallen short. That is ok. I will elaborate further.

First of all, I want to say that the reasoning for writing Staffing in Roanoke was to shine light on apparatus being taken out of service almost daily due to the lack of staffing. My solution is to hire more firefighters and/or create more positions so that when these events occur, we will not be taking units out of service for the lack of 3 firefighters.

Although I have been a proponent of a minimum staffing of 4, the last post was not intended to develop cause for it, I have written about that in the past and will do so again in the future.

One of the commentors asked about information on what firefighters do and reasoning for needing 4 firefighter on the truck. The cause for the question was for ammunition to assist in writing council. I want to be certain that we are at least operating at par before attempting to increase staffing for the 4 minimum.

The issue at hand is that Roanoke Fire-EMS staffs its fire engines and fire ladder trucks with a minimum of 3 firefighters. When we do not have 3 firefighters for each truck we mark trucks out of service. This is not the intended result of having a minimum of 3. The minimum of 3 is to ensure that we have 3 on every truck. If we do not have enough then we need to call in overtime (quick fix) or hire more firefighters (long term fix). Surely, the Department cannot guess when members will quit or retire, however it can be proactive by over hiring to merely cover the gap.

Almost daily, an engine or two is marked out of service so that members can go to intermediate class, instruct at the recruit school, or occupational health for physicals and drug tests (random tests), and many other reasons. However, marking the trucks out of service is not the answer.

For years, Administration has attempted to decrease Roanoke Fire EMS down to 9 stations (currently we are at 12, in 1995 we had 14).

We have lost:
Station 12 – closed around 2000, Engine 12 was taken out of service and Medic 4 was placed in service. We also sent 6 firefighters to staff a county station (Clearbrook). The County is still counting the dollars it saves!

Station 3 – closed last year, Engine 3 and medic 3 are now Engine 1 and medic 1. This was a cosmetic change and no apparatus were taken out of service.

Engine 7 was taken out of service this year and Ladder 7 became a Quint. Medic 7 was put in place of Engine 7.

It should also be noted that in 1991, Engine 1 was taken out of service to put Engine 14 in service on 460 (Gus Nicks area). City Council decided at the last minute to delete the new firefighter positions needed to staff the new engine 14 and simply up and move engine 1 out there from downtown. The newly funded firefighter positions became police officer positions.

With the future of the Roanoke Fire EMS Department still up in the air, the 9 station department concept is still on the table. Some of which would include the combining of Stations 5 and 9 (northwest), 2 and 10 (northwest), and 6 and 11 in Southeast. This was laid out in the Tri-Data Study recently completed for the City.

What will happen? Who knows. But rest assured, the trucks that remain in service should REMAIN IN SERVICE. It boggles my mind that the department is run on a skeleton crew. We have been chiseled away to bare bones and the future looks like it will get worse.

So as for right now, the 4 firefighter minimum seems far fetched when we cannot even comply with the 3 firefighter minimum.

I have stuck my neck out pretty far on this blog. And so be it if my skeptics only remember the stuff they disagree with. However, I have seen this occurrence long enough. I feel that there needs to be change. Trucks being marked out has become commonplace. I want the firefighters to know that this type of behavior is not safe or acceptable. I believe that many of us have become numb to the fact that it happens so often and feel that it is ok. It isn’t.

I just don’t want to be the person to be on this same pedestal saying told you so after a firefighter fatality or civilian fatality because trucks were out of service.

Staffing in the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department. This topic has bothered me for a long time. There are several issues relating directly to staffing, and I hope to cover several of them in the next few paragraphs.

First of all lets talk about trucks being out of service. I think that if we had scrolling message boards outside of each station notifying the citizens of when the trucks are out of service and why, we would have several complaints. I know that a lot of it is part of life like going out of service occasionally and being out on a call, even out of service for training. However, being a firefighter on the Northside, it is amazing how often Engine 2 and Engine 13 are out of service due to manpower.

Now let me give you a little background. All of Roanoke City’s Fire Engines are staffed with a minimum of 3 firefighters (I will leave rank out of it). 3 of the 4 ladder trucks are staffed with a minimum of 3 firefighters. Recently, one of our Ladders (Ladder 7) has been staffed with a minimum of 4 firefighters. This is due to the fact that the Engine was taken out of service at that station and replaced with an ambulance. Better or worse, there are more issues concerning this removal of an engine. The Ladder that remained in place of the Engine Ladder combo now acts as a Quint, meaning the truck can do everything an engine and ladder can do (for the most part). The problem is that the truck doesn’t do anything on it’s own except sit quietly. Therefore, now you have 4 guys doing the job that in Roanoke requires 6 and in other cities requires 8 to 9 firefighters. That is right, in some cities, the minimum staffing is 4 on engines and ladders and even 5 on some ladders. But Roanoke apparently places a lot of stock in its firefighters by doing the job with 3.

I digress, the issue is staffing not removal of apparatus.

The point I was beginning to make with laying out the minimum staffing is just that; the minimum staffing is 3 on each piece except 1. If you walk in any fire station in Roanoke you will see 3 on the truck 80% of the time (just an educated guess). Where are all of the extra firefighters? Well the answer is that there aren’t many. With guys off on vacation, sick, and light duty, and vacancies due to retirements, firefighters quiting, and other reasons we are left with the minimum on duty.

So basically every day we begin with the minimum unless by chance a station here or there has an extra firefighter. Extra being used very loosely because actually an extra firefighter would be above and beyond the 4 assigned to most apparatus.

So that is at 0750 hours when we begin our shift. Soon, apparatus will be magically marked out of service because of numerous reasons. Company level training, individual training, drug tests, physicals, meetings, investigations, promotional testing, Captains meetings, and many other reasons. Basically, anything that would require at least 1 firefighter to leave the station and not be able to answer calls while being in their first due territory.

This is when, on the Northside, Engine 2 and/or Engine 13 are most commonly out of service. It is usually out of the Battalion Chiefs hands. They work with what they have. On the Southside, I would imagine that the situation is similar. I bet the citizens would have a fit if they knew how often these trucks are out of service, when just a handful of more firefighters would fix the problem.

In the past, I have been a huge proponent of minimum staffing of 4, or compliance with NFPA 1710. Right now, I am not even pushing for the minimum of 4, but rather just the minimum of 3.
After all, if we have to mark a truck out of service because a firefighter has to go to training then are we really meeting the minimum of 3. I THINK NOT. Minimum staffing of 3 should mean a minimum of 3 all the time. Doesn’t it just make sense. It seems to me like a cover up. Sure, the system allows for a certain amount of trucks to be out of service at a time. But for what reasons. Maybe we need to reform the system and add some positions just to ensure the minimum staffing is met.

I am kinda scared to ask for a minimum staffing of 4 anymore. The way things are currently going, if it was agreed upon, it would cost marking 5 trucks out of service unless of course we had every vacancy filled and everyone was at work that day.

I will leave you with a couple of things.

First of all, the Charleston review panel has come out with a recommendation of a minimum staffing of 4 in 2 years. Charleston FD is approximately the same size as Roanoke Fire-EMS.

Second, this video from the IAFF on NFPA 1710 (thanks for the heads up from Jay at FirefighterHourly.com). Sorry for those of you on City Computers, you aren’t allowed to access YouTube.

Thirdly, this video from Fairfax County IAFF on the topic of staffing.

The firefighters at Fire Station #4 have built a brand new kitchen table. Check out the new table. I must say that you guys did one hell of a job on this one. It looks great. Thanks to Lt. Steve Jordan for the pictures.

When I was finishing the book (Firefighting in Roanoke) I double checked everything. When I got to the chapter on the Diamond Jubilee I realized an error. I had written that we had a picture of every firefighter at every station in Roanoke on that Day. I was wrong and I knew it. Unfortunately, through all the work that Maurice Wiseman and I did and all of the pictures available out there, the picture of #6 for that day was never found. We have several originals and many copies for every picture, except for #6. So I had to change the wording of the chapter and write that it was all of the firefighters and fire stations except station 6.
The missing picture was out of my mind. I figured that the picture was never taken. However, that all changed the other day when I got a call from a friend. Greg Doss lives just South of Nashville, TN. Greg is a native of Roanoke and used to be a firefighter in Vinton. His father, Daniel “Peanuts” Doss was a firefighter for Roanoke City. Peanut’s sister, Grace Myers, is the widow of Joseph Earl Myers. Joe was firefighter for Roanoke City as well. Peanut’s nephews are Mike and Tommy Hogan, both firefighters for Roanoke City. Jerry Hogan is Mike and Tommy’s cousin.

I met up with Greg the other day at Grace Myers’ house. Joe, her husband, was a firefighter for Roanoke for about 6 years when he suddenly went blind. The firefighters kept Joe on the books for a year until they had to let him go. Grace still has his helmet and turnout coat. The coat is more of a thick raincoat with buckles much like turnout coats. The material is almost like leather, and might have been leather. Grace also had two pictures out that were related to the fire department. One was of Fire Station 1 and the other was this missing picture of #6.

I have not had time to identify all of the firefighters in the picture but I know of several so far. Left to right they stood in line of rank, both shifts at once. Therefore the first two are Captains, then two lieutenants, then four firefighters. Again this is 1957. On the right is Captain Cox, who later died in the Line of Duty, then we think it is Captain McFarland, one of the lt.’s is Honey Vest and all the way on the right is Firefighter Joseph “Earl” Myers.

Thanks to the Myers family for allowing us to get a copy of the photo. Thanks to Greg Doss and his Father Peanuts as well. This means a lot to us and is the missing piece of the puzzle. We now have every firefighter and fire station pictured in 1957.

As for Daniel “Peanuts” Doss, he is a character. Some of the stories he told me were hilarious. Obviously a prankster, he would have fit right in nowadays as well. Although some of the stuff he got away with back in the day we would certainly be fired for now.

Peanuts worked for Roanoke City from 1958 – 1966 and decided to move on; Tommy Hogan worked here for years, being hired in 1963, and made Captain; Mike Hogan died of Leukemia after working here for a little over a year 1972 – 1973; Jerry Hogan was hired in 1964 and made Captain, you can still see him around at Union Meetings etc.; Joseph “Earl” Myers worked here from 1956 – 1962 and left because he lost his sight.

Gish is coming back! This time I went to the source. He still has to have his physical, but he is scheduled to be back in about a week or two. I apologize for the premature notice of his return, although I thought I had a pretty decent source when I posted it.
From what I understand Gish is one of 11 who were hired. Congratulations to the others who were hired. Welcome to the Department.

I hope to have an update for you on Dave Bishop in the next day or so. If you have heard anything, leave a comment.

Here is a picture of E13 and L13 doing some pump training. Check out more pictures on VAFireNews.com.

If you have ever wondered how we clean the grill out at 13, check out FF Lynwood “Woody” English on the nozzle.

For a long time, I have wanted to create a patch for Station 13. After all, that is the station where I have worked the most. Tonight I was messing around with certain ideas and came up with what you see below. I knew I wanted to play off of the “Lucky 13″ idea. A lot of guys have said that 13 is the “Pride of Peters Creek”. I didn’t mess around with that idea much due to the fact that I am confined to my knowledge of Photoshop. So here they are. Let me know what you think.

The images above have minor differences. The one below has the “Pride of Peters Creek” rocker above it. This would be easy to add to any of them.
Let me know what you think.
Update: If you are following along with the comments, Captain Wines mentions #9′s old patch that Chief Obenchain made back in the day. If you want to see it look here:
http://www.vafirenews.com/patches/region6.htm. I have posted the patch on the blog in the past but didn’t feel like searching for it. RMF

Fire Station 9 finished their kitchen table recently and sent in pictures. They have produced t-shirts with the emblem that is seen on the wall at the pole upstairs. It seems as though the guys have done a great job with the table. All three shifts had their hand in completing the table.

Who will be next? Station 1, 5, and 9 have made them already. I have an idea for the big 13, I just have to find the time. Good job guys.

You guys can order the shirts and other memorabilia with their logo on it here:

With the highly anticipated decision to close down Roanoke’s Historic Fire Station 1 on Church Avenue behind us, we are left to ponder what will happen to the 100 year old structure. Rumors have been rampant for a long time about the fate of the building, beginning back in 1972 when the first attempts to close it began. There have been many rumors to have a fire and/or EMS museum in the building. The last I heard, the To the Rescue Museum (once housed in Tanglewood Mall) was acquired and will reopen in NOVA or Virginia Beach. With the threat of Roanoke’s flagship firehouse being taken over by an EMS museum out of the way, I am left to wonder what will happen to it?

The Roanoke Police Department will use part of the bay for their mounted patrol. Roanoke Fire-EMS has stated that they will staff the building with light-duty (injured) or retired personnel who will give tours to visitors. I am just wondering if there will be a long line to see an empty station that contrary to popular belief has been closed down. If we are to consider it still open, then it is an open building not an open firehouse. After all, a firehouse houses firefighters.

So what will come of the building that City Council says they will not get rid of?

I for one would love to see a Fire Museum located inside at this point. However, museum’s aren’t developed overnight. If Council had made the decision to close it back in 2005, we could be very close to opening one up now.

Wouldn’t the building be perfect for housing the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association, Roanoke’s chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters (Local 1132). The RFFA along with a Museum would be a perfect match for the empty building. After all, currently the RFFA owns the largest collection of Roanoke Fire artifacts. The RFFA’s collection along with private collections in the area and local museum holdings would make a decent start to a museum.

We all know that the building will not last long if it is not inhabited. What are your thoughts?

Hub’s hubbub: Fire station’s closing a surprise to many

By Amanda Codispoti

Firefighters ran their first calls from the new Roanoke Fire-EMS Headquarters on Wednesday, the same day that at least two city council members and many other Roanokers learned that Station No. 1 had quietly closed.

The fate of the 100-year-old station has been debated for the past year and a half.

The city’s original plan was to consolidate Station No. 1 and Station No. 3 into the new $6.2 million facility.

But then, in 2005, after much clamor from the city’s Firefighters Union and others, the city council voted to keep Station No. 1 open.

So the station’s closing came as a surprise to council members Brian Wishneff and Sherman Lea, who said they hadn’t heard of the plans to shut down the historic station as an active firehouse.
Read More

I remember vividly when City Council voted to keep the Station open. Since then, the firefighters have realized the fate of the historic Station, it will be closed. We just had to wait for the decision which we figured would come from City Council. I have said all along that firefighters can take no for an answer. If City Council had decided then to close station 1 when the new station opened life would have went on. That is easier to swallow than dragging your feet and deciding, behind closed doors weeks before the new station was set to open, to close the older station 1. But wait…did they decide to close the station?

I received a phone call just before this article was to break about Councilman Wishneff and Councilman Lea not knowing that station 1 would be closed. I could not believe that the two Council members didn’t have a clue. But I was told that Council decided to close it. In case you are just joining us, Brian Wishneff and Shermann Lea are both Roanoke City Council members. Therefore, they would have to have known that the station would close. Maybe they are not owning up to it. That doesn’t sound right either.

It seems as though something as easy as coming out and voting to close it, has turned out to be a debacle. In the beginning, there were many firefighters opposed to the plan. Over the last year and a half, I have seen most of them turncoat. That is their prerogative, just don’t act as if you never were in agreement with keeping it open. I understand that in the face of defeat it is easier to conform to the future. That is why I have embraced the new station. It was a lost cause fighting for the historic station after council decided to continue building the new headquarters station. Downtown businesses, Council Members, and Firefighters gave it a decent fight and were not victorious. That should have been the end of it. Meanwhile, those of us opposed to it just sat back and waited for the decision…and waited…and waited. Like they were worried of the backlash, which I did not foresee.

However, now it seems someone might have been caught in a a lie.
Can a department head overturn a City Council decision?
Can the City Manager overturn City Council?
Can City Council make a decision without all of them know about it?
Is it safe for Council Members to claim they knew nothing about the decision?

I hear a lot of things from all types of people. It was my understanding that City Council agreed to close the historic station 1 and station 3 to consolidate into the new station. At the same time they agreed to take Engine 7 out of service and replace it with medic 7. Now I am left asking the question of who is in charge around here?

The funny thing is that if they had decided to close it in the beginning, they could have had a big open house for the new station, had a small gathering to close the old station, and had a plan for the old station. That way the article in the paper today would have been all about the “NEW HEADQUARTERS FIRE STATION #1″ and not about the controversy over closing the old one. Instead, we are left with a small flag raising ceremony that nobody knew about. That is a shame.

Update: From what I understand, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new station on June 2nd. That is all I know about it for now. More later.

Roanoke Opens the New Headquarters
Roanoke Firefighters held a flag raising ceremony for the opening of Fire Station 1. The station, situated at the corner of Elm Avenue and Franklin Road, cost $6.2 million and is 29,000 square foot. Read more and view more pictures.

This is the table that Kelcey Branch and the rest of the guys at 3 A built for the new station. I must admit that it is a great looking table.

Roanoke firefighters took on a new challenge today. Instead of fighting flames, crews tackled the move into the city’s new Fire-EMS headquarters. Read More
From the Roanoke Times:

Battalion Chief Bobbie Slayton remembered Fire-EMS Station No. 3 as one of the busiest of all the Roanoke stations.

“It was central in locations,” said Slayton, who had worked on and off at the station since 1965. “Some of the finest firefighters Roanoke had to offer have come through these doors, and the same ones have gone out.”

More than 150 firefighters gathered Sunday afternoon to share memories, laughs and celebrate the closing of the 98-year-old station on Sixth Street Southwest.

Roanoke Fire-EMS Lt. Rhett Fleitz said the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association just wanted to bring together former members of the station one last time.

“You never know what the city council is going to do; they could come and bulldoze it for all we know,” he said. “This has been a second home for so many guys in the department, and we just wanted them to come in and enjoy the tradition one last time.” Read More

I have to say that I really had a great time down at Fire Station 3 the other day. The food was great and the stories were better. Especially seeing Roadie Kelley slide down the pole, mind you he is around 70 years old. Special thanks to Chad Riddleberger, Nathan Foutz, and JJ Price for getting the event put together. Unfortunately, Chad was unable to attend due to an illness which put him in the hospital. I wish you a speedy recovery.

On another note:

The verdict is in. Ladder 1 will be moved to Fire Station 1. This isn’t a shock. The disturbing thing about the whole Station 1 mess is that they couldn’t come out and make a definite decision when they decided to continue with building the new station. Instead, firefighters have had to wait for a decision, one that finally came a mere week or two before the new station opens.

And then this:

Engine 7 will be taken out of service and replaced with a Medic truck. Station 7 will change from an Engine 7 (4 firefighters, minimum of 3) and Ladder 7 (4 firefighters, minimum of 3) per shift to Medic 7 (2 Firefighters, one being ALS Certified) and Quint 7 (6 firefighters, minimum of 4) per shift. Meanwhile, we still have 6 firefighters (3 Lieutenants and 3 ALS firefighters) stationed at Clearbrook Station 7 in Roanoke County.

I may never fully understand why the City still allows giving free manpower to the County when we have such huge budgetary issues in the City that we have to take an Engine out of Service. It appears there is some deep rooted City Council/Board of Supervisors back scratching going on.

I have hit on this before, and I will continue to do so in the future. Let us look at what is going on in the Northside. The rumblings on the street is that Roanoke County needs to justify more firefighters so they have had Medic 10 start running second in to Hollins area. Justification? What does Roanoke County need justification for? There department should be twice the size it is right now. What the hell are they waiting for? Maybe they are waiting for the senseless deaths of citizens in fires and medical emergencies while waiting for second or third due coverage. Roanoke County is beyond the capability of relying on firefighters responding at home. They need to have full coverage on all of their apparatus all the time. They need to run their own calls and only rely on mutual aid for what it was designed for. Currently, it seems as though Roanoke City has become the first in agency in a large part of Roanoke County. This should not be accepted by Roanoke City Citizens nor Roanoke City Council.

Engine 13 alone ran 4 calls in the County yesterday. County units were only seen on one of the calls. Don’t get me wrong, I love running calls. I have two years of running nothing to make up for. However, I can see the writing on the walls when City units are in the County covering for them and something BAD happens in there first due. I guess we will have to explain away….

Am I the only one who sees the Clearbrook deal as the worst business venture the City has done in a long time. We provide mutual aid into the County, hell most of it is automatic aid. Yet, instead of them providing the same to us, we have to staff their stations with our people. That is a blatant waste of resources.

The guys at Station 3 are planning a farewell party for the Fire Station which will be closing in about a month. On April 15th from 1pm til around 5pm, stop by and enjoy some food and beverage and reminisce about the nearly 100 year old station.

Fire Station 3 was opened on April 12, 1909, and will have just celebrated its 98th Anniversary when it is closed for good. The station was home to horses and horse drawn fire apparatus when it opened. The station has seen some changes over the years. Around 1950, the front facade which read No. 3 Engine House fell off of the top of the station onto the front ramp. The hose tower was removed from the roof line up, the hay loft is now used as additional bedroom, the room known as the kitchen now was added on in the 60′s I believe and was originally used as a radio communications room/alarm room.

I will have more information soon on the event.

The new Headquarters Fire-EMS Station 1 is nearing completion. I haven’t had the chance to get inside of it since they began building. The other day, I ventured over to take some pictures of the station. They are below. The Station is set to open sometime the middle to end of April from what I understand.
This is the front of the station.
This is the rear of the station. You can see the 3 large bay doors in the center which will be for the Engine, Medic Unit or two, and ?Ladder? The two small bay doors on the right and one on the left will be for the Battalion Chief, RS-1, and I guess the service truck.
This is the Franklin Rd. Side of the building.
Here is the kitchen. It boasts large walk in pantry which will be used as the pantries and also will house a refrigerator. Each Shift will get a pantry.

This is a look down the hallway of the bunk room. Unlike most of the stations in Roanoke which feature an open bedroom full of beds, this station shares the design of pods in the bedroom with stations like 6 and 4.

This is a picture of the locker room. The lockers are located down one side (left) and in an open area at the other end. On the right is individual bathrooms with showers.
This is the watchdesk located just off of the bay as you can see through the window.