Sent in by Station 6 A-Shift.

With the arrival of FF/Dr. to be George Harris at Station 6-A Shift, Station 6 personnel thought it would be nice to make George feel as at home as possible. Realizing that George has gotten used to the fancy Pierce Quantum assigned to Engine 1, Station 6 personnel thought that retrofitting 6 Engine with a step like the Quantum’s folding step would reduce the risk of injury to George as well as help to make him feel at home. With no money allotted for the upgrade, the station 6 crew had to make this step a manual pull-down model rather than the air-actuated model on the Quantum. Welcome to Station 6 George! Good luck on your Dr.’s test!

Now that is funny!!!

Mike Overacker was on scene taking some really great photographs. I have the story and photos on, and Mike has some more photos on

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.

Hey all, I totally dropped the ball on this story below. I apologize to the guys involved that I left it off the site for so long. The truth is that I get around 50 emails a day (after the spam filter). So if I forget to go back and mark it as unread it just falls to the bottom. I usually catch this sort of thing and post it, but this one fell through the cracks. I will post the story unadulterated. The story was submitted by Captain Willie Wines Jr.

October 6, 2007


With so many negative things happening around the Department this week, I thought I’d share a more positive story with you. We had a visitor at station #9 last week by Roy Lane. Roy belongs to the Kazim Temple’s Fire Brigade here in Roanoke. He told us a story of the Lexington, Va. Fire Department donating an Engine to the Temple. He said the guys of the Brigade worked endlessly to refurbish the Engine and had it in great condition. He was really excited to tell of how Captain Brown’s men ( Roanoke Fire / EMS Station #1-C ) had donated some 2 ½ hose and even went as far to load it into the bed for them. He continued to detail their work and said all they really lacked was to find some axes for the holders already mounted on the Engine. Roy and I know each other pretty well, so he knows I have a pretty large collection of Fire equipment etc. and thought I may have an axe or know where to get one. He also knows me well enough to know that my dad was once a volunteer Firefighter for Lexington (before being hired here in 1971) and knew I may have an interest in participating. Well, in particular, he was looking for a flat head axe, feeling it would be safer for the kids that often climb on and play around their equipment. Well, as my luck runs, of all the axes in my collection, none are flat head. So, I contacted Vince Stover at Fire Administration to see if he could help. Vince was happy to help and even offered to donate a new axe from our supply closet. That’s the good news, the bad? We only have fiberglass-handled axes and we just didn’t think that would be a good fit for antique apparatus. So, more calls were made. We contacted Chief Adkins at RTC to see if he had any wooden handle flat heads and as unbelievable as it is, he didn’t. Not to be stonewalled, we kept searching and were finally able to locate 2 axes on Reserve Engines (904 @ #10, and 901 @ #14). The Officers at both stations had the axes sent to # 9 where my guys worked most of the day refinishing and painting them. Lt. Richard Alley led the work and despite my opinion being biased, they turned out GREAT. Well, the timing was perfect because the Brigade was heading to Lexington this morning in that Engine to lead in a Parade. They left a few minutes early to stop by our station and thank the guys for their work and allow us to present them with the refurbished axes. The ironic thing here is that they wanted to thank us, yet they are the ones deserving the thanks for all they do! My hat is off to them and all who helped in this project (Roanoke Fire / EMS Dept., Vince Stover, Chief Teddy Adkins, Captain R.T. Flora, Lt. Stacy Booth, and the men from stations #1, and #9 C-shift).

In closing, I would encourage everyone to stop by the Shriner’s building (located on Rorer Ave behind the old # 3) to look at the Antique Fire apparatus they have. They have a really neat Ladder Truck, complete with wooden ladders that even have American LaFrance carved into them. Better yet, sign on to help these guys out in a really deserving cause.

W.W. Wines Jr.
Captain, # 9-C

This past weekend, several firefighters got together at Logan’s Roadhouse to enjoy a meal before going to the Brad Paisley Concert. The firefighters received tickets to the concert for free. Roanoke Fire-EMS was given a bunch of tickets, which they distributed on a first call basis. I am not sure how many tickets there were available, but I do know that several firefighters were able to go. While I did not go to the concert, it seems as though everyone had a great time.

Left to right are: Back row: Matt Wheeling, guest of Travis Meador, Travis Meador, Willie Wines Jr., Scott Boone, Ben O’Baugh. Front Row: Wheelings Guest, Randi Wines, Reba Wines, Robin Wines, Boone’s Wife, Rhett Fleitz. I apologize for not remember the guests/wives/girlfriends names.

Retired Captain Robert Guthrie celebrated his 80th birthday today at Saint Timothy Lutheran Church. His family threw a small celebration to mark the milestone. His birthday is actually on November 13th, although they celebrated it today.

Captain Guthrie has been a source of a lot of historic information during my quest to learn as much as possible about the Department. Thanks to FF Barry Kincer for the pictures.

Check this out from E-5. Apparently, they took a few minutes to have some fun this evening. That is all I am going to say about it. Use your interpretation. Meanwhile, I will be hiding under a rock.


Travis Collins created an IAFF Pumpkin and Station 9 created a Medic and Engine Pumpkin for their station.

Check them out here.

Jeremy’s house is coming along pretty well. There is still a lot of work to do. Mainly the trim (inside and outside) and hardwood floors. The electrician and plumber will be back next week to finish their work.

Craig Sellers, Matt Dewhirst, Lynwood English, Jeremy, and myself worked over two days to complete the tile in the kitchen, 3 bathrooms, and laundry room. I am pleased to say that Jeremy should be finished with the grout by now.

Thanks so much to Captain Sellers for coming out and working 2 days and getting the tile down. I am glad to say that I learned a new trade. Not that anyone would pay me to lay tile, but I know the basics now.

WSLS News Channel 10 will be out to do a story on Jeremy’s house and how the firefighters are helping to build it on either the 25th or 26th. I understand that Captain Stone is getting a group of guys to come up on the 26th and there will be a group going up on the 25th as well. Please contact me or Jeremy if you would like to help. It sounds like we will be building the garage and working on the interior and exterior trim. If the hardwood flooring is in by then, we will be laying that down as well.

Channel 10 got the idea from reading the story on the blog.

Many others have helped do things up to this point. The response has been overwhelming of people wanting to help. Jeremy is hard to get a hold of when he is working on the house. If you need to talk to him or have a message for him, just get a hold of me and I will pass along the message.

I think that we can get the stuff complete by the November 11th. However, he will need all of the help he can get. It would be great to see the numbers there on the 25th and 26th like we had for the Habitat for Humanity project (You can view that story on the blog here).

The picture to the left is Craig Sellers installing tile in the laundry room. He related his help that day (Jeremy, Lynwood, and myself) to that of his sons helping him……..when they were 3 and 4. Just kidding. The tile looks great.

Lieutenant John Harley Dubose (above) is retiring from the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department. John was hired on August 23, 1984 and his last day will be November 1, 2007. John’s last assignment was on A-Shift at Station 10 assigned to the ARFF Company. John might be best known for being a part of some of the best cartoons the fire department has ever seen. Congratulations and best wishes on your retirement John. By the way, the neighbors called and asked if you could please finish the GARAGE MAHAL!!

I would have posted Davids retirement sooner, but he had concocted some scheme of going out with a bang. He decided not to do the idea, so I figured I would post his retirement. Firefighter David Sexton was hired on January 15, 1985 and retired just recently (I don’t have the date). Sexy Sexton is probably the funniest and most sadistic member of our department. His demonstrative and colorful stories are a true pleasure to watch and listen to. The first time I worked with him, I learned that he had kicked everyones ass in the department.

The department will be different without these two class clowns. Best wishes. Both pictures were taken in the early 90′s.

Captain Eddie Fielder’s retirement party was last night at Hooters. We had a great time and enjoyed some good stories and maybe a couple of beers.
Hooters announced Eddies Retirement on the sign out front

All of the guys got together for a picture. L-R Rhett Fleitz, Travis Collins, Zak Obenchain, Lynwood English, Jeff Proulx, Eddie Fielder, Teddy Adkins (in the very back), Jeremy Bennington, David Bishop, Todd Harris (in the very front), Chris Elmore (back), Sam Stump (front), Jim Mone, and Ben Obaugh.

The members of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department all chipped in to get Eddie this bugle on a pedestal. The engraving reads:
Captain Eddie Fielder
In Recognition of 23 Years of Dedication
To the Roanoke Fire – EMS Department
Congratulations and Best Wishes on
Your Retirement
September 17, 1984 – November 1, 2007

Todd Harris presents Eddie with a retirement gift

On the night of Eddie’s last day at Station 13, the guys invited his wife, Cathy, in for a steak dinner. Standing in the back are Trevor Shannon and Jim Mone. Clockwise from the front left are: David Bishop, Jeremy Bennington, Cathy Fielder, Eddie Fielder, Joe Hodgin, Chris Elmore, Sam Stump, and Zak Obenchain. The dinner was also for Zak Obenchain who was leaving Station 13 to go to work at Station 2.

Station 13 C-Shift on the last day of Eddie’s Career. L-R Firefighter Zak Obenchain, Firefighter Chris Elmore, Captain Eddie Fielder, Lieutenant Rhett Fleitz, Lieutenant Jeremy Bennington, 1st Lieutenant Sam Stump, Captain David Bishop (taking the helm at station 13 C-shift due to Eddie’s departure), and Firefighter Lynwood English.

The dinner crowd for the evening: Standing – FF Zak Obenchain, FF Chris Elmore, Battalion Chief Dale Barker, Captain Eddie Fielder, Lt. Jeremy Bennington, FF Jim Mone. Kneeling – Lt. Rhett Fleitz, 1st Lt. Sam Stump, Captain David Bishop, FF Lynwood English.

Eddie Fielder and his wife Cathy in front of Engine 13
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.

I recently got a hold of these pictures of a fire which occurred in 1972. Captain Clonnie Yearout got them to me and I do not know who took them, so I cannot give any credit. Clonnie was not on the fire, being that he was hired in 1973. That leaves only one other guy in the department who was here at the time. Maybe Chief Slayton knows a little more about the fire. I do know the building is the Gainsboro Apartments.

I thought the series of pictures was neat and I decided to share them with you all. Some of the things I noted were the use of the ladder with tormentor poles. The fact that every floor was laddered, although one of the ladders moved between the first and second floors. I imagine that there were several rescues made at this fire. It also “seems as though” the fire was pushed through the building from side 2 to side 4 moving up floors as it went until it vented itself out the roof. Obviously, it would have been ideal to attack the fire from the inside and push the fire out of side 2. But we may never know what issues the firefighters had to deal with when they showed up, or the strategy and tactics of command.

I will have to look up the fire to see if anyone was injured or killed in this fire.

Firefighters on C Shift Southside put on some HTR training. Click the image for more.
Also check out the new look of homepage.

If you haven’t ever heard the story of Tom Gherman trying to find a helmet when he bought his motorcycle you should. The next time you bump into Toby Bedwell ask him to tell you the story. It is hilarious.

Anyways…the boys at 13 on B-shift finally found a helmet that will fit Tom’s head. It may not be as safe as a conventional helmet, but it fits. It is kind of like the Coneheads meet the Garbage Pail Kids.

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

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

Fire Engine 7 has been taken out of service after 84 years of service to Roanoke’s Southwest neighborhoods. The engine was placed into service on December 13, 1922 when Fire Station 7 was opened at 1742 Memorial Avenue. A ladder truck was added in 1950 after Roanoke’s Firefighters added on an additional bay with a large bunk room above. The first Engine 7 was a 1920′s model Seagrave.
Engine 7 has been replaced with an ambulance (Medic 7). The other unit which will remain in service at Station 7 will be a Quint (Ladder 7). A Quint is a multitasking truck. Ladder 7 boasts a 75′ Aerial Ladder, Ground ladders, 300 gallons of water, hose, and a pump. In the grand scheme of Quints, ours is about as underdesigned as they can get. Ladder 13 is an identical truck and is only run as a ladder.

From the ground up, Ladder 7 has shortcomings. Here are a few of the major ones.

The ideal reach of an Aerial Ladder is at least 95′; Ladder 7 is 75′.
The ideal amount of water on an engine is at least 500 gallons; Ladder 7 holds 300 gallons.
The weight of the truck is obviously too much for the single axle design in the rear end.

From what I understand, Quint 7 will be run as an engine in its first/second due and as a ladder truck outside of that area.

The reason why I bring all this stuff up is because of what is going on in Roanoke.

Roanoke has the most aggressive Fire Department in the State! If you don’t believe me look around the State. We have had fairly safe history (knock on wood); and are very blessed by having quick response times, dedicated personnel, and hard workers.

So my question is if it isn’t broke then why fix it?

Several years ago, Engine 12 was taken out of service and replaced by Medic 4; the additional two positions were sent to Roanoke County at Clearbrook Station 7.

Now we lose Engine 7 to put another Medic truck in service.

Before you guys start screaming, I will admit that we need more ambulances. It seems like the City gets dumped daily and we are calling on other agencies to fill in and run calls for us. At what cost?

Think of it this way, if we are running more EMS calls then we are billing for more EMS calls and thus making more revenue for those EMS calls. Naturally, you would think that the additional revenue would be used to fund these additional medic trucks. Until I am proven otherwise, it is my understanding that the revenue from EMS billing is placed in the general fund of the City and not earmarked for Fire-EMS uses.

The additional Medic Trucks must come at a cost. That cost has become Engine/Ladder Companies. Our fleet of Medic trucks increases, our fleet of Fire Apparatus decreases. It seems as though we are on a crash course for potential disaster. Look around, most of the large incidents we have had in the past we have been able to handle with limited loss of life and property. But will the cost be greater in the future?

From Lt. Baron Gibson:

After many years of asking fire administration for it, installation has begun of a diesel exhaust system for our department. Station 14 was the first and will be completed mid week. Station 6 was started on Sat. July 07 and will be operational the week of July 16 with station 11 to follow . The rest of the department will be completed in the next couple of months. A committee headed by Capt. Matt dewhirst and assisted by Lt. Rhett Fleitz and myself was formed in the fall of 2005 to assess the different systems on the market. This was a fairly extensive study with the committee traveling to several departments out of state. The committee decided that Nederman was the system for us. We applied for a Fire Act Grant and recieved it in 2006.