1140Battalion Chief Audie Ferris retired on April 8th after working for the Roanoke Fire Department and Roanoke Fire EMS Department for 28 years. Ferris was hired on November 20, 1980 and was promoted to Battalion Chief in 1999 if my memory serves me correctly. His most recent assignment has been BC of Southside A-Shift as well as being in charge of HTR and the Swift Water Rescue Team.

The Southside A shift firefighters had a party for him on Monday at Station 1 and Admin had a get together for him on Wednesday.

View pictures on the Station 6 blog here.

We wish you the best Chief.

Audie is retiring from the fire department and from what I hear will be working with the State Medical Examiners Office located in Roanoke County as an MSI.

I have attached some photos of Audie for your pleasure as well. Some old and some real old. Enjoy.


Big things are in the works for Station 8, or as they are calling it now “The Ocho”. As the story is unravelling, the details are slowly seeping out. Everyone knows that Medic 8 was supposed to go in service in July after the 6 positions are moved back within City limits from Clearbrook (County #7).  What was unforseen was the quick scramble to get the medic truck in service by next Tuesday. It is unclear exactly why we didn’t requisition a new medic unit and furnish it with new equipment. Instead, medic 8 will  be using Reserve 904 with a full supply of extra equipment. The only thing I have heard is that Roanoke City Manager Burcham wants it in service by Tuesday.

It is interesting how we have such a push to put new apparatus in service only weeks after announcing we were unfunding 6 positions within the City, two weeks after Roanoke City getting word that 11 firefighters were retiring this year, among a hiring and promotion freeze until next year. All this after two successful years of losing positions in Public Safety.

Doing more with less. That is the Nation wide trend in Public Safety.

I digress.

Medic 8 is going in service. Overtime has been approved if necessary. The Ocho will be full swing in a matter of 6 days.

Oh…and the Credit Union is out. After almost 75 years of being run in within the confines of a Roanoke City Fire Station (not always station 8 I believe), the CU will be on the move. The new home for the Roanoke Virginia Firemen Federal Credit Union will be at the Southwestern Telco Federal Credit Union on Hershberger Road. I know many of you have wondered what the heck is going on and when, why, how, and where the CU was moving. I have wondered the same. I found out today that sometime around the 1st of May the CU will move to Telco.

And so a new chapter begins at Station 8…the Ocho…enjoy some pics from the guys down at #8 I snapped today.

Info from Roanoke Fire EMS Press Release
Photo by Mike Overacker RoanokeFirefighters.com

To view more images go to RoanokeFirefighters.com

Pictured in the image below is Lt. Travis Simmons 2A

On Saturday, March 21, 2009, Roanoke Fire-EMS responded to a residential structure fire at 618 Loudon Ave. The call was received
in the E-911 Center at approximately 6:36 p.m. The response of 4 engines, 1 ladder truck, 3 medic units, 2 Battalion Chiefs, 1 EMS
Captain, the Investigation Unit, the Assistant Fire Marshal, 1 Administrative Chief and the service truck for a total of 29
personnel responded to the scene.

When crews arrived they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the front of the one story structure. Crews quickly began to extinguish
the fire.

There was no one in the house when the fire started. There were no injuries to civilians. Two firefighters were transported to Carilion
Roanoke Memorial Hospital with minor, non-life threatening injuries. They have been released from the hospital.

The cause and origin of the fire are currently under investigation. One person was displaced from the home. They are being assisted by their family. Damage estimates at this time are approximately $40,000.


Battalion Chief Steve Poff (Ret.) is once again gracing us with a great class on suspended ceilings. The class goes over the basics of how to free yourself if you are caught up in a suspended ceiling. The class also covers many case studies where firefighters have been caught in fallensuspended ceilings. This coupled with the lightweight truss construction has killed many firefighters. Suspended ceilings can also hide many dangers for firefighters including the fire itself. The class was great, and we all learned a lot.

BC Poff covered lightweight truss construction as well. The following class is supposed to cover the building type in depth.

If you do not know the issues with lightweight truss construction and how quickly they fail in fire conditions then you need to learn about it now. One way to start is to check out the link below. This is the online course Poff talked about in the class.


After going to the site you will see NEW USER on your far right at the top. Register and complete the form and save. In the links in the middle of the page find Fire Safety Online Courses which takes you to another page. Scroll down and find Structural Stability of Engineered Lumber in Fire Conditions. Start the course.

The photos show the attendees doing some hands cutting on with various hand tools. Thanks to BC Bishop for snapping the photos

Roanoke Station 13 C Shift trained on Ladder 13 the other day. The idea for training came from VentEnterSearch.com. If you have not viewed the website, it is a must read. Both myself and Captain Willie Wines Jr. have had articles posted on the site and have utilized the site for training and other ideas. The collaboration of so many great ladder draggers has proved to be very insightful for many things that I had not even thought of before. Even though I am not a ladder dragger, I have been able to utilize ideas for basic firefighting as well as hone my knowledge of truck work. After all, I have to be able to ride the truck just as well as the engine. In addition, how often do you find hose jockeys doing truck work in Roanoke due to our short staffing on our ladder trucks.

Back to our training though. 1st Lt. Sam Stump and Lt. Dean Russell led the rest of us in this very easy to set up training drill. Basically, we set up 3 cones on the roof of Station 13. Then we attached a cone to a rope on the end of the aerial of Ladder 13. One by one, cone by cone we manuevered the aerial to place the cone on the aerial on top of the cone sitting on the station. The drill was very simple to set up, did not take very long to complete.

For this and more ideas on Training, visit VentEnterSearch.com

Roanoke Firefighters were not swayed by the weather today for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (at least not all of us). Numerous firefighters and our families enjoyed the parade even though the weather was the worse it has been in years.

Captain Willie Wines Jr. seemed to be the ring leader for the festivities. We planned for the best, but prepared for the worst. Nathan Foutz was out at the crack of dawn preparing some of his famous chicken. That stuff will make you smack whoever is next to you. Willie brought his tractor and a trailer into town to carry the children and wives around in during the parade.

The event was rained on all day long. Although it seemed as though the even planners learne from last year not to scrap anything. If you remember last year all of the meteorologists were calling for rain yet it did not rain. The festival was canceled and many people were peeved when it ended up being very nice out. I remember walking in a tshirt.

This year they moved the festivities after the parade into Corned Beef and Company. A very strategic and financially beneficial move by the bar if you ask me.

Roanoke’s Bravest moved to the Union hall once the Parade was over for pizza and the ever famous Foutz Chicken. We enjoyed the comraderie at the Union Hall amoungst Firefighters, spouses, and children.

I must also add that we enjoyed the company of Mike Mohler, the VPFF President. Mike, along with our very own Mike Hanks, led us with the IAFF for McAulliffe Banner. Thanks for coming down to Roanoke Mike, we appreciate it and we hope you enjoyed yourself.

While the crowd was not as big, the parade not as long, and the festivities not as plentiful… YOUR Roanoke’s Bravest were there to enjoy themselves and to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This day only happens once a year and we weren’t going to give that up on account of rain.

Many thanks to Captain Wines, Lt. Foutz, Mike Hanks and Mike Mohler, and to all those who helped out with the day.

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.

Submitted by Lt. Baron Gibson

At 22:09 station 6 was notified of a structure fire in the 500 block of 18th st. SE. E-6, E-11, L-1, M-6, RS-1 & BC-1 were dispatched. M-6 was returning from the hospital and arrived on scene to find a two story structure with heavy smoke showing from Alpha side and advised dispatch of the working fire. Upon arrival E-6 took their water supply with them with the help of M-6 connecting the hydrant for us. E-6 gave a size up and began stretching an 1 3/4 line into the structure and made a fast and aggresive attack on the fire (it was the rookies first nozzle job and he did ok) that was located in an upstairs bedroom. A second 1 3/4 was stretched as back up but was never charged. Cause of fire appears to be electrical, but is still under investigation. It was very cold water began freezing quickly but we never experienced any problems with the cold temps. A cat was found under and behind a couch on the first floor after the fire much to the delight of the owners. No one else was hurt and we all came home from the working fire at apprx. 23:50hrs.

Roanoke Fire EMS Department Recruit Class #15 celebrates 10 years today March 1, 2009. We began recruit school on March 1, 1999. It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years on the job.


Right to left front row: Captain Phil Dillon*, FF Todd Reighley, Beth Norwood, FF Betty Totten (Salem), B.T. Butler, Lt. Rhett Fleitz, Lt. Kelcey Branch, FF Barry Kincer, Battalion Chief Roger Manuel*, Captain R.T. Flora*, ?*, Captain Chris Trussler*, Lt. Jeremy Bennington, 1st Lt. Doug Hurd, Sport Hayden, Lt. Travis Simmons, Lt. Mac Craft, Dennis Duncan, Charles Williams, Lt. Kevin Bradbury, 1st. Lt. Brian Riddle*. An asterisks (*) indicates an instructor and I cannot figure out who is next to Captain Flora. All individuals are notated with their current rank/position. No rank/position indicates that the person no longer works for Roanoke City. All of the individuals were hired by Roanoke Fire EMS with the exception of Betty Totten who works for Salem.

Where are they now? Let me give you a rundown of where the ones who left are now for the ones I know.

  1. Beth Norwood married Roanoke FF/PM Rob Joyner and I believe is an RN.
  2. B.T. Butler works for TSA at the Roanoke Regional Airport.
  3. Sport Hayden works for the Henrico Division of Fire in Henrico County, VA.
  4. Dennis Duncan is in school to become a Physicians Assistant (PA).
  5. Charles Williams left the department.

Congratulations to all who are still here and best wishes to all those who have left. Most of them still keep in touch. Our class was 6 days a week for 12 weeks. It was held at the old Administration at the Jefferson center. Most of our PT was done at Victory Stadium. It sucked but we had a blast. BC Manuel was the 1st Lt. of Training at the time and Capt. Dillon was the Lt. in training at the time. 1st Lt. Riddle and 1st Lt. Plaza were in training at the time as well and Crosby Grindle was the BC of Training.

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.


Mike over at RoanokeFirefighters.com has several pictures of the fire on 715 1st Street NW on February 10th.

Click here to view more images.

Photo by Mike Overacker