IMG_0578Captain Chris Brown was laid to rest yesterday. I have included text, links, video, and photos from yesterday. Please let me know of other stories to add. If you would like to add any photos you may send them in as well.

Note: I previously falsely noted that Chris had been posthumously promoted to BC.

Chris Brown passed away unexpectedly after he became ill after working a 24 hour shift on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 and was then diagnosed with cancer. Chris passed away in the evening of the IMG_058622nd at Roanoke Memorial with his family at his side. Chris was a Captain assigned to station 1 on C-shift and an IAFF Local 1132 member. He was 44 years old at the time of his death. He is survived by “his girls” who are his wife, Stephanie, and their two daughters Caroline, 16 and Hannah, 11.
Chris and his family dedicated their lives to the City of Roanoke. Chris was a second-generation firefighter following IMG_0717in his father’s footsteps. Chris’ father, Clarence Wayne Brown (deceased) retired from the department in 1989. His brother, Mark, also followed the same path and currently serves as the Lieutenant on engine 5 C-shift. His mother, Marquita Brown retired from the Roanoke City Occupational Health Clinic as an RN.
Chris was hired into the Roanoke Fire Department, now Roanoke Fire-EMS Department, on August 2, 1994. He worked in the company prior to attending his recruit school which he attended with eight other members in 1995. His first assignment as firefighter placed him in one of the busiest companies in the city at the time, old station #3 located at 6th and Rorer SW. He served on C-shift Southside under the command of Battalion Chief Pat Taylor (retired / deceased) and Captain Kenny Watson (retired / deceased). He
IMG_0666had the honor of serving with men such as Lt. Randy Obenchain (retired), Firefighter William Humbert (now Lt. Station #7C), Firefighter /EMT Matt Dewhirst (now Capt. #7B) and Firefighter/ Paramedic Kent McIlhany (now captain #8 B). This assignment placed Chris on the scene of many of the most memorable incidents in Roanoke’s recent history. He would later be transferred to Station #6 C with Capt. Eddie Carter (retired), Lt. Rory Lee (retired) who was replaced by Lt. Willie Wines Jr. (Capt. #9C), Firefighter Adam Fleming, and Firefighter/Paramedic Marci Stone (resigned) and Firefighter/Paramedic Hank Pfister. From there, Chris would make IMG_0832the rank of Lieutenant and serve at Station #11C where he would remain with Captain Carter until his transfer back to his beloved station #3. At home again on 6th and Rorer, Chris worked under Captain Terry King (now station #7C) and began his watch over members such as Firefighter/Paramedic Justine Hines (AKA “57” resigned), Gracey Wirt Humbert (resigned, now part time), Firefighter/Paramedic Jason Crouch (now Lt. #7A) and Firefighter/EMT Adam Fleming (now Station #1C).   Chris continued to climb the “promotional IMG_0615ladder” and soon made 1st Lieutenant. This assignment moved him to Station #7C under Captain Dale Barker (now Battalion Chief C-North). From there, Chris would make Captain and take command of his first company in the department headquarters Station #1 C-shift under his long time friend and mentor Battalion Chief Jeff Beckner.
Undoubtedly, his past assignments and co-workers made a huge impact on Chris’ life and career. In the early years, he was known as a “bull”. Always eager and willing to perform his duties and would let nothing get in his way. He grew and developed into a stern but understanding Captain. He has passed along his knowledge and experiences to his men and has molded them into one of the most respected companies within the department. Chris was known for his abilities and leadership style. He has excelled in every aspect of his life, from the job, to his family, Chris has shown devotion.
IMG_0859Every member who has worked with or around Chris will hold their own special memories. Memories of his firm hand shakes, his ear to ear smile, his hyperactive approach and his unforgettable pride will be remembered by all who knew him. Although the department was important to Chris his first love which he showed openly was to “Steph” and “the girls” as he called them. No matter what was happening, when Stephanie, Caroline and Hannah made one of their many visits to the station, Chris’ smile remained but the hyperactivity turned to calm which would let everyone around him know that his happiness had arrived.
Captain Chris Brown will be remembered and missed by all, both his immediate family and his fire department brothers and sisters. His dedication to both should be an example to those he leaves behind.
Matthew 23: 11-12 “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself with be exalted. “
May you rest in peace oh brother of ours, called for a higher duty in the kingdom of Heaven. Well done lad, well done!

The Poem below was written by Justin Heinz and first appeared in the comments section of “Captain Chris Brown” here on The poem was recited at Brown’s funeral.

Chris Brown- He will be riding that Grumman in the sky. On earth, you couldn’t find a better guy.
In the hay loft he did sleep. So many memories from 3, I will keep. On his coat tail, we did ride. He and Terry King taught us to fight fire with pride. He spoke of iron men and wooden ladders from RFD’s past. A flag spelling; Honor and Bravery flew from E 3’s mast. Those words fit Chris to a “T”.
Some of him, helped mold me. He was a family man that is for sure. Dedicated, honest, and he had a heart that was pure. There are so many stories that I would like to share. “Hunker Down”, “Bap Bap” and the 9 p.m. stare.
In closing I must say, “Iron Man” should go under his name.
He will be missed. The world won’t be the same.

Links to stories on Chris Brown

Videos of coverage on Chris’s Funeral below

First of all, if you are able/willing/want to work on Monday so that others (B-shifters) may go to the funeral please contact Captain Trussler at 2B. Just to put it into perspective for you…some people who were close with Chris might not be able to go because they are working. If you are a newer guy, take your lumps and offer to work on monday so that others can to to the funeral. It will only be for a couple hours. I remember taking my lumps when BC Tyree died. I worked for J.J. Price so that he could go to the funeral. I did it for free.

Warren “Calhoon” Hawley Passed Away

It is with deep sadness that I inform you of Warren Hawley’s passing. Warren aka Calhoun or Floor Board (for the way he drived) died of a heart attack earlier today. Warren retired back in 1984? I will have a better write-up, some photos, and the arrangments when I can get to them. Warren was a friend of mine and helped me with the book Firefighting in Roanoke. His mind was a steel trap!


Photo courtesy of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department

Updated with funeral arrangements (15:27hrs):

Visitation will be Sunday at the Oakeys funeral home on RT 604/ Cloverdale road from 14:00-16:00 and 18:00- 20:00

The funeral will be held at 1st Baptist church downtown Roanoke at 13:00 on Monday.
Grave site will be Evergreen cemetery.

It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of Captain Chris Brown. Chris was hired on August 2, 1994 and was the Captain at Station 1 on C-Shift. He was a second generation firefighter. His brother Mark is the Lt. on Engine 5 C-Shift and his father (deceased) retired from the department as a firefighter. His mother retired from the Roanoke City Occupational Health Clinic as an RN. Needless to say, his family has dedicated their lives to the City of Roanoke.

Please continue praying for his family, friends, and brother and sister Firefighters. Numerous Roanoke Firefighters have been placing the news and condolences on facebook as well.

The Captain had a very tight knit family at Station 1 as well as at home. You can read about his crew at station 1 on their blog here. I will add more information as it becomes available.

I have attached photos from the past years. They are from Station 1 Blog, (Mike Overacker), Maurice Wiseman, and other photographers. Click on the image for the full size view.

As I am sure that many of you are looking for updates on the condition of Chris Brown, I am willing to share bits here and there when I can. I am NOT a point of contact for the family, therefore I will not disclose everything I hear. I will more than likely be posting information after there is plenty of time for the information to be disseminated other ways. This will ensure that I am giving truthful updates.

I spoke with Chris’ mother earlier and she told me that he was given an EEG. The results have not been disclosed to the family yet. There is approximately 50 friends, family members, and firefighters in the waiting room on the 9th floor of Neuro-Trauma ICU. The last time I checked in was approximately 2pm.

Most of all, we need to continue to keep Chris and his family in our thoughts and prayers. Everyone is going through a tough time.

If in deed you would like an update. Please email me with your phone number and I will call you back ( My phone number is published on my Facebook page if you would like to call as well.

Update on Dave Palmer: I also spoke with Dave Palmer today. He is doing better and was heading over for his first treatment today. I spoke with him around 2pm and dropped of a DVD player and some DVD’s. If you want, you could drop him off some DVD’s too.

I will be heading out of town to Nashville in the morning (Friday). I will be available and will be checking on Chris’ status.