On June 28th, the promotional ceremony was held for the recent promotees. From L-R with their new rank 1st Lt. J.J. Price, Lt. Steve McFaden, Lt. Chris Franklin, 1st Lt. Tim Cady, Deputy Chief Billy Altman, Battalion Chief Teddy Adkins, 1st Lt. Scott Graham, Battalion Chief Kent McIlhany, Battalion Chief Dale Barker, Captain Ronnie Campbell, Deputy Chief Ralph Tartaglia, 1st Lt. Noel Gardner, Captain Loren Thompson, 1st Lt. Tom Mougin, and Captain Chuck Swecker. Not pictured is Lt. Joe Hodgin.
Here is Tyler and Scott Graham after the ceremony.
Thanks to Melanie Graham for the pictures. I appreciate it.
This years 2007 Roanoke Valley Professional Firefighters MDA Golf Tournament was a huge success. I had a blast this year and got a trophy for the third year in a row (last place if anyone is counting). My father was able to make it into town again for the golf tournament (neither of us is golfers). Jeff Oliver was our third and apparently nobody else wanted to play with us. Either way we had a blast. Many thanks to Tina O’Brien and Charlie Adkins for putting on a great tournament. Unofficially, we raised about $5000 for the MDA. Check out VAFireNews.com for more photos.

I almost forgot to tell you guys. There were 25 cases of beer consumed at the Golf Tournament. There were only 112 players. You do the math.

Here is my swing. Move over Tiger.

The Hooters Girls are always a staple at the Golf Tournament.

The picture above is from Roanoke Fire EMS. Click the picture for the whole story and many photos hosted on VAFireNews.com. I included links to the story on WSLS, WDBJ7, and the Roanoke Times. Also be sure to check out RoanokeFirefighters.com for Michael Overacker’s pictures.

Units on scene include: L1, L2, L7, E1, E5, E6, E7, E8, E9, E11, E13, M9, M1, M7, HTR 6, Chief 1, Chief 2, BC 1, BC2, RS1, Investigator 1, Fire Marshal, PIO, Emergency Manager, Service Truck 2, Roanoke County Air Unit, REMS Squad 1 and M101. Sorry if I missed anybody.

Fire last night at Roanoke Fruit & Produce
Click image for more information
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:

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.

From April 30 – May 3, 2007, Roanoke Firefighters travelled to Alexandria to participate in the 2007 Rescue Challenge. Below is Lt. Travis Simmons, FF Richard Lipes, Lt. Chuck Sharp, and Captain R.T. “Skippy” Flora. Click here for more of the story on VAFireNews.com.

Thanks to Lt. Chuck Sharp for the pictures.

Last week, President Bush visited the Campus of Virginia Tech for the memorial service of those who lost their lives during the Virginia Tech Shootings. Air Force 1 landed at Roanoke Regional Airport carrying President Bush and the First Lady. After landing, the President and his wife then boarded Marine 1 to fly to Blacksburg. Needless to say that neither Air Force 1 or Marine 1 fly alone.

The pictures were taken by Jeff Marvin. I apologize, I originally mislabeled the photos as to who took them. This was my fault and I am sorry for any confusion or frustration I may have caused.

Roanoke Fire-EMS Recruit School Burn
Click for more

Check out Roanoke Fire-EMS on VAFireNews.com showcasing the Rock Harness, Ray Harness, and Roanoke Ladder.
The City of Boston
Last week, Becky and I travelled to Boston for an enjoyable vacation. If you have not been to Boston, I suggest making a trip in your lifetime. It is amazing how much history there is in the City. We tried to get to as much as possible, but there just wasn’t enough time.

I enjoyed reading about the Boston Fire Department and about historical fires in Boston. If you aren’t aware, Boston has had several significant fires, two which nearly burned the whole City to the ground, the Cocoanut Grove fire which killed 490 people, and a hotel fire which killed 9 firefighters.

I got an email several months ago from Stephanie Schorow about a new book coming out titled Rescue Men. In the meantime, she sent me two of her books titled The Cocoanut Grove Fire and Boston on Fire. I read both of the books and learned about historic fires in Boston and other events which shaped Boston’s Fire Department. I recommend both books.

The site of the Cocoanut Grove fire is a very quiet residential/commercial area. We went there midday, so most of the residents were away at work. The only telling reminders of the Fire are the plaque in the sidewalk and a plaque on the wall of a neighboring building.

Rescue Men, written by Charles Kenney, is a book mainly about his Father “Sonny”and Grandfather “Pops” who were both firefighters in Boston. Ironically, both of them were retired due to health reasons after suffering injuries in significant fires. His Grandfather suffered injuries during the Cocoanut Grove fire, and was one of the first firefighters on scene. He was able to rescue many people that evening. Charles’ dad became one of the top experts on the Cocoanut Grove Fire, spending years of his life researching the fire and trying to define a cause for the disastrous fire.

The book delves into other struggles in the Kenney family including Affirmative Action which kept other Kenney men from becoming Boston Firefighters, growing up in Boston, losing his mother, and his fathers struggle to find peace after being retired from the BFD due to injuries. The book also discusses Charles’ brother who responded to the World Trade Center after September 11th and assisted with the Search and Rescue operations. Read a review on the book. Mike over at the Firefighter Blog also wrote a review on Rescue Men.

Boston has a Fire Museum, it opens in May and stays open for over half the year apparently. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open when we where there. The have some neat Firefighting artifacts in the museum which used to be a fire station. According to the website they have a Rebuilt 1966 American La France Model 900, 1000 gallon per minute pumper. (Ex- Mount Vernon, Virginia).

You can visit the Boston Fire Department online here. The BFD is separate from Boston EMS. I would have stopped in the one EMS station I saw, but both of the units were out on a call.

There were many sights I wanted to make it to in Boston, one being the Hotel Vendome Memorial. Ironically, Becky picked out a Tapas restaurant for us to eat at across town from our hotel and it just so happened to be in the basement of what used to be the Hotel Vendome. The building is now office space, however in 1972 it became a tomb for 9 firefighters and nearly 16 more when 4 floors collapsed trapping 25 firefighters in all.

According to the Boston Firebuff website: The firefighters were killed on June 17, 1972, when the hotel’s southeast wall came crashing down. It was the worst tragedy in the history of the Boston Fire Department and one of the dozen most deadly in the history of U.S. firefighting.

The Massachusetts Firefighters Memorial has information on the firefighters who lost their lives that day as well.
In the pictures of the memorial, the Hotel Vendome is in the background.

At the Hotel Vendome, they have a memorial set up across the street in the median, think Monument Avenue in Richmond, each of the names are lit at night. We had to come back the next day to get the pictures, it was well worth it.

We were able to get around to a couple of Fire Stations in Boston. I didn’t have a map of the stations, and I figured we would just come across one or two here and there. Eventually, we did find a couple of the stations. I didn’t get to chat with too many of the firefighters, however it seemed as though they had several reserve apparatus in service.
In the center you can see the bays for the firehouse, to the right of it you can see an ambulance sitting in front of the EMS house. The firehouse houses E10, TL3, R1, Technical Support Unit 1, Collapse Unit, Division 1

This is the house for Ladder 1 and Engine 8 in Boston’s North End otherwise known as Little Italy. This firehouse is right around the corner from the Paul Revere house and down the street from Mike’s Pastry, both of which we stopped at.

We also stopped by Engine 33 and Ladder 15′s firehouse on Boylston Street. This is the firehouse which was recently on Firehouse.com due to a catastrophic failure on their aerial ladder. They were not too happy about the reserve sitting behind them.

Boston still uses Fire Alarm Pull Boxes and from what I have read they are still very pleased with the service it provides the citizens. Of course, they have an advanced 911 call/dispatch center too, but the old pull boxes still work just fine. One thing I do need to look into is why they have so many darned fire hydrants. Not that it is a complaint, but there would be two right next to each other, then 4 more within view in a block radius. I took a picture with the other camera and I will upload it later. The hydrants were either red or yellow it seemed, but I don’t think it was NFPA color coded. Some had 4 2 1/2″ outlets and others had a steamer connection. It was odd.

That was the trip as far as Firefighting goes. We did have a blast and we ate at some great restaurants, drank some great beer, and enjoyed the history of Boston. We even stumbled across filming for the movie 21 starring Kevin Spacey about the MIT card reading group who took millions from Vegas casinos before getting caught. We didn’t see any big stars, but we did get to see the set as they filmed on a bridge in Boston.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. We went to see the Boston Red Sox play the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. We went to game three of the series on Sunday and sat in Center Field. We had a blast. Becky had never been to a MLB game besides when we went to Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida. Fenway Park was nuts, the fans up there are awesome and had a bunch of fun. It was also neat seeing Ramirez, Drew, Loretta, and Varitek hit back to back homeruns. You can read about it here.

Becky and I at Fenway Park
Photo by Baron Gibson
Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded for a fire at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Downtown Roanoke yesterday. Four Engine companies, Four Ladder companies, and numerous other equipment responded for a fire which caused $150,000 in damage. The crews on scene extinguished the fire quickly which had spread fast due to extreme winds in the region. Most of the damage was external and the stained glass looked unharmed during the fire. Read More and view more images
Here is the update on the new Engine 13 – The guys who travelled to Wisconsin to see the new engine and review the plans for the next have returned with good news. The picture below is Engine 13, which should be in Roanoke this week. It will arrive at Singer Fire Apparatus and proceed to be fitted with some of the final items like the deck gun and the nationally accredited sticker as well as a final inspection. After the finalization at Singer, the truck will move down the line to Roanoke’s shops and have the radios installed and the the equipment mounts. It is my understanding that the guys at 13 will be trained on the Husky foam unit on the truck. The truck will be delivered with most hand tools, extinguishers, and hand lights. The hose and specialty equipment will be swapped from the current E13 to the new one. The new truck is expected to be in service in about a month.

The guys/gals at Station 2 A-Shift had a fire on Pennsylvania Avenue on Easter Sunday.
Thanks to Daniel Goodwin for the photos
On April 28th there will be a benefit book signing for Kevin Jamerson at First Due: Fire/EMS Gear at 1 pm. Read more about the event here.
Left to right; Rhett Fleitz, Natasha Ryan, and Kevin Jamerson

The more important thing is that Kevin, Sarah Fuhrman, and I were interviewed by Natasha Ryan of News Channel 7. Check out the story and video here. Funny story: Natasha asked me to spell my first and last name when we first went on camera. I blanked out. It was hilarious. She had to ask me again.

I am not sure she was interested in me or the book at all.
Here I am getting set for sound

All that and they only used about 5 seconds of it. Not a big deal though. Thanks to Sarah Fuhrman for the pictures. The event is being sponsored by First Due: Fire/EMS Gear.
Lawrence E. (Captain Bones) Hylton, 77, of Moneta, died Monday, April 9, 2007. Arrangements by Oakey’s Vinton Chapel, 982-2221.

Bones was hired on May 1, 1953 and retired June 26, 1983 after 30 years of service.

Pictured from left to right; Captain Daniel Ralph Sink, Lt. Blenky Greer, Lt. Everett Ray Walters, FF William Kopcial, FF Lawrence “Bones” Hylton, FF Warren “Floorboard” Hawley, and FF Donald Barbour. The men are pictured at Station 8 in 1957 during Roanoke’s Diamond Jubilee.

Roanoke Fire-EMS Northside Battalion responded for a possible structure fire at 1 am on Easter Morning. First arriving Units arrived with heavy smoke in the area. Engine 13 marked on scene with fire showing from side 2 of the structure and heavy smoke conditions. Read More

On Monday, April 6th, members of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Tech Rescue team along with 5 members of the Roanoke County fire-Rescue Department participated in a training exercise on the use of compasses and GPS units. Read More