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.

Chief Hoback Addresses the Crowd

Today marked a significant Anniversary for the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department, one hundred years as a completely career Fire Department. (Read More)

According to the Maurice Wiseman Project on Local

March 31, 1907 - The Roanoke City Fire Department became fully paid with uniformed men and the Volunteers disbanded, most of which were hired by the department.

Roanoke Firefighters took to the streets today for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Downtown Roanoke. The event was cold, but luckily well attended. Check out this link for the whole story.

Engine 3

This is a video of Warpipe playing at the Parade. I will have more uploaded soon. I am experiencing yet another issue of Windows Vista and its lovely security features. For you guys at work, I think that the City blocked Youtube, which is where it is hosted, so you will see a big black area. Sorry.
The Greater Roanoke Police and Fire Emerald Society

This is an interesting banner by the Roanoke Police Officers Association. More on that Monday.

11 candidates spoke to the IAFF members at the 2008 Presidential Forum. I would like to point you in the right direction for information on the event and the candidates. I decided to leave my comments on each of the candidates off of the blog for now so that the IAFF Local 1132 members can decide for themselves and not feel that our Local or the IAFF is swaying one way or another. The IAFF will not likely make an endorsement for some time and it should reflect the view of the majority of IAFF members.

I suggest you look closely at the information and watch the videos. Jonathan Martin dissects some of the candidates on his blog The Politico, although he did not see the entire forum and speaks mostly on the Democrats.

The IAFF have done the searching for you on News articles on the Presidential Forum. Visit to view links to many of the articles. There are many links to articles which offer Democrat and Republican views.

You can watch the videos of all the candidates individually. If you have ever wondered what these candidates think about Firefighters issues you need to check them out. If you would like to know more about what went on let me know.

IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger

This is what it looked like from my seat on the front row just off to the left. It was like a feeding frenzy for the photographers.

Former U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-NC)

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore (R-VA)

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) with Duane Dixon

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) with our President Rodney Jordan

U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)

U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT)

U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)

Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM)

U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) with Duane Dixon

First off, today you can watch the IAFF Presidential Forum via Webcast on the IAFF website ( If you get a chance, I suggest that you tune in for it.

IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger talks to the IAFF members about Legislation.

On Monday we heard speakers about many issues and were taught the ins and outs of the legislation we are pushing or opposing this year. Here are some of the speakers:

House Republican Leader, Representative John Boehner (R-OH)
Homeland Security Chairman Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD)

Representative Lois Capps (D-CA)

Representative John Larson (D-CT)

John Buckley, U.S. House Ways and Means Committee staff member

David Price (D-NC), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security

Yesterday, we were on Capitol Hill lobbying for several key legislative issues including a National Collective Bargaining Bill, SAFER funding, Presumptive laws for Federal Firefighters, and other legislation that I will have information for you soon.

Last night we enjoyed a reception with Senators and Representatives.

Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, was present and spoke to the Firefighters.

Senator Hillary Clinton was at the reception and will also be speaking at the Presidential Forum today.

The HazMat team travelled North on Interstate 81 on Wednesday to assist with a tractor trailer accident that closed down both Southbound lanes for several hours. FF Travis Collins was able to snap a couple of pictures while the team was there. Visit for more.

MVA on Tazwell and 8th Street

Time of Dispatch: 0752
Units Operating: E-6, M-6, E-5, RS-1, M-3, M-7 Three minor injuries transported, one more trauma alert transported for a total of four.
Photos courtesy of Engine 6-A Shift.

ROANOKE, VA – The City of Roanoke has promoted David Hoback as the Chief of Roanoke Fire-EMS effective yesterday, Jan. 29, 2007. Mr.
Hoback has been serving as Acting Chief since July 2005. He brings 22 years of experience with the city’s Fire-EMS Department to this position, including his services as a paramedic (1985-1989), EMS Field Supervisor (1989), Deputy Coordinator of Emergency Services (1989-1995), Battalion Chief (1995-2002), and Deputy Chief (2002-2007). Mr. Hoback was selected from a number of highly qualified candidates resulting from a national search.

He holds a B.A. in fire administration from Hampton University and was named an Executive Fire Officer with the National Fire Academy in 2002. He also earned the designation of Chief Executive Fire Officer in 2006. Prior to his employment with the city, he worked for Community Hospital as an Emergency Room Technician.

During his tenure as Acting Director for Roanoke Fire-EMS, Mr. Hoback has led in planning, directing and reviewing activities of personnel working in the areas of fire suppression, inspection, prevention, training, hazardous incidents, and emergency medical services.

Under his leadership, the department has expanded the Regional Recruit School to include Lynchburg City Fire-EMS, expanded regional cooperation with Roanoke County Mount Pleasant EMS responding into Garden City, and participated on the City’s Code Enforcement Team. As Acting Fire Chief, Mr. Hoback also participated in civic programs, fire prevention and safety campaigns, and recommended programs that provide for the efficient and effective use of personnel and equipment to reduce fire losses within the city.

“David has proven himself an effective leader for our Fire-EMS Department,” said City Manager Darlene Burcham. “I am confident his direction will be an asset to our city as we continue to modernize our fire and emergency medical facilities and services to be more responsive and accessible to citizens.”

Author Note: The above was taken from a Roanoke City Press Release.

Historic Note: Chief David Hoback is the first Chief named since the Roanoke Fire Department and Roanoke City EMS Department merged in 1995. Former Chief Grigsby was named Chief several months prior to the merge.

This picture was sent to me of the Roanoke Metro Fire/EMS Department Station #11. If you didn’t know, in exchange for Engine 11′s (Garden City) response into the Mount Pleasant area of Roanoke County, Mount Pleasant Medic 62 runs calls into the Garden City area of Roanoke City. Apparently some of the guys were having fun with the fact that there has been an increased amount of mutual aid and automatic aid on top of having City guys working out of a County Station. There were rumors of a “Metro” Department even before the assistance among localities began.

Currently we have:

A Lieutenant and a Firefighter stationed at Clearbrook Station #7 on each shift riding on County Apparatus and responding to a first due territory which includes Roanoke City around the Electric Road/220 corridor.

Engine 4 runs automatic aid with Salem.

Engine 13 runs automatic aid with Roanoke County and Salem.

Engine 10 runs automatic aid to Roanoke County.

Engine 6 runs mutual aid into Vinton frequently.

Of course mutual aid has no bounds, any of the jurisdictions can ask for assistance at anytime and the firefighters are more than welcome to help.

The automatic aid calls have increased, and City units are frequently used to assist the outlying localities.

Of the mutual aid coming back into the City, it seems as though we use Medic 71 the most. Maybe someday there will be a “Metro Fire Department”.

I apologize if I left out any of the mutual/automatic aid that we assist with. These are just the ones on the top of my head.

Chief Obenchain and Jimmy Jennings stopped by #9 for lunch with the guys today. Captain Wines, FF Jeff Dudley, FF Jeff Proulx, and FF Ben Obaugh ate a hearty meal with Billy and Jimmy cooked up by FF Chris Franklin AKA “Chicken Hawk” AKA #9 C-Shift Chef. They feasted on a spread of cornbread and pinto beans. I am sure they shared some decent stories and solved many of the World’s problems.

2007 Annual Roanoke Valley Guns and Hoses Hockey Game
Click the picture for the article and more pictures.
Pictures by Michael Overacker

The Roanoke Fire-EMS/Roanoke Fire Fighters Association Color Guard began the event with the posting of the colors.

The Color Guard members are L-R Noel Gardner,
John Burrows, Daryl Songer, and R.T. Flora
Last night was the 2006 Annual Awards Banquet held by the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association Local 1132. The event was held at the Holiday Inn, formerly the Clarion, and was an enjoyable evening.

The highlights of the Banquet are the Retirement Axes handed out to the Firefighters who retired during the past year, and the awards giving to firefighters for exceptional acts including Firefighter of the Year.

Of the retirements over the past year, the firefighters who were present to receive their retirement axe were; Billy Obenchain, Oscar Smith, John Sweeney, and Michael Overacker.

Michael Overacker photographed the evening, so this is the picture
of him receiving his retirement axe.

This year the coveted “Firefighter of the Year” award actually went to 5 firefighters for a double rescue that occurred at a house fire. Captain Scott Mutter, 1st Lt. Scott Alford, Lieutenant Jamie Brads, Firefighter George Harris, and Firefighter Eric Mulford performed two rescues on the scene of a house fire. Congratulations to all you guys.
Receiving the award for Firefighter of the Year are: L-R Scott Alford, Eric Mulford, Jamie Brads, and Scott Mutter. George Harris was unable to attend.

Special Thanks to Vice President Tim Parry for all of the planning that goes into providing the banquet. The many hours of preparation paid off, and it seemed as though everyone enjoyed themselves.

My lovely Bride, Becky, and myself at the Banquet

On another note: There has been a lot of discussion about the Banquet and where it is held, whether we should have a DJ or a Band, the cost of the banquet, and when it is held. In the coming months the RFFA will be revisiting the planning of the event to make sure that we are planning the best possible banquet for all of our members to enjoy. Feel free to leave comments on what you would like to see change or stay the same.

I was unable to take many pictures during the event. Michael Overacker took many photographs of the event and will have them available soon.

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department has acquired an apartment complex for use in training up until demolition begins to replace the structures with a new complex. The Department has been able to use the complex for training on Rules Of Air Management (ROAM) training and Roof Ventilation Training. The training has been accomplished on duty, rotating crews from the various stations through the training on all three shifts. (Read More and see additional Photos at
Roanoke Firefighters respond to an Apartment Fire at the Maple Grove ApartmentsRoanoke Fire-EMS responded for a Building fire at 1133 Pilot Street NW. E13, L13, E9, E4, E5, L7, M10, M4, BC-2, and Salem Engine 2 responded for the reported fire. E13 advised of a heavy column of smoke which could be seen as they responded from Station 13 on Peters Creek Rd. Firefighters experienced heavy fire from two apartments which had spread to one other in the 4 unit apartment building. The Firefighters were able to contain the fire quickly and the primary and secondary searches were negative.

This was my first fire since joining the guys at Station 13. Last day we had a small fire at another apartment complex in NW, which was relatively small.

Unfortunately, 16 tenants were put out of their homes due to this fire. Luckily, there weren’t any serious injuries to any of the tenants or firefighters.

Engine 9′s crew stand in the burned out window casing. The guys are from left to right; Jon Dixon, Chris Franklin, Captain Willie Wines Jr., and Brad Glidden (from station 10). Lt. Richard Alley was pumping Engine 9.

Captain Wines told me a little story after the fire. Captain Wines was just recently moved from Station 14 to Station 9. He said that the first day on the job was at Station 9, being assigned to Ladder 9. His father, a retired firefighter who worked at Station 1, came to visit him on his first day of work. While his father was there L9 got a fire, the first one of his career. Fast forward 100 years or so to today, his father stopped by again. This time it was Willie’s second day back at Station 9. Ten minutes after his father got there, this fire was toned out. I thought it was a pretty good story.

Lynwood English from L13 and R. Caughey from E4 stand in the upstairs apartment window. This was their first fire.

On a personal note, this was my first fire since a fire at the Ferncliff Apartment fire 2 years ago. It was good to get back in the action. Once on scene, it was like I was never gone. We (E13) got the hydrant and brought the 5″ supply line. I helped hook it up to E9 and was able to get in and do some overhaul. It was a nice homecoming being back at Station 13. It is always a great fire when all the firefighters stay safe.

Ok, I am back from Christmas in Nashville. It took a little while to catch up on the emails. I have so many things to post and so many things that readers want posted. Let me go over the vacation real quick for you and a few Christmas presents worth mentioning. My lovely wife got me two huge presents this year. The first one is this compact Canon Power Shot digital camera. This will be perfect for getting more pictures.The second is this Paul Conway leather helmet. Mine being yellow, and still being shipped. Perfect for the new assignment at 13. It will be like the first day of work. Gone will be the long sleepy nights. Did you know that the Roanoke Valley has a chapter of FOOLS. The Chapter is called the Star City Fools and they have a website here. FOOLS stands for the Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society, link here. In many localities, the FOOLS are very involved much like the IAFF locals or Volunteer Fire Department Associations.
On the trip down to Nashville, we stopped in Bristol for some authentic Mexican food. You know, Taco Bell. Bristol Engine 3 was parked nearby so I took some pics. Check out Bristol Fire here.
In Nashville, we came upon this “incident”. Apparently this BMW went into the drink. The flatbed fished him out and hauled him off. The man with the vehicle did not look to happy. Thanks to my new camera, I was able to snap this picture.
I hope that everyone else had a great Christmas.
Here are the newly promoted officers of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department. They are from left to right, 1st Lieutenant Toby Bedwell, Captain Matt Dewhirst, Lieutenant Scott Bradford, Lieutenant Breck Hudson, Lieutenant Chuck Sharp, 1st Lieutenant Doug Hurd, Lieutenant Tina O’Brien, Lieutenant Tom Gherman, Captain Mike Rose, Captain Tim Parry, 1st Lieutenant David Bocock, and 1st Lieutenant Brent Berry. The new officers will be assigned to their new stations in January. Thanks to Mike Overacker of for the picture.
Here are pictures and the guys that attended the NFA Command and General Staff class which is 48 hours 6 days straight and goes over the IMS system and all of the different command functions. The Roanoke Fire-EMS employees who are attending are: T Collins, J Beckner, E Plaza, D Bocock, L Thompson, S Graham, A Austin, S Alford, C Trussler, C Martin,W VanDamme, B Conner, P Dillon, V Stover, R Perdue, T Adkins, D Barker. There are 13 others including 2 from Botetourt County FEMS, 2 from Salem, 2 from Martinsville, 2 from Henry County, 1 from RKE County, 1 from Lynchburg, 1 from Prince WIlliam County, 1 from Moneta, and 1 from Montgomery County.

Scott Graham, Clayton Martin, Brian Conner, Teddy Adkins, Werner VanDamme
and Vince Stover work through a problem in class. (above)

Chris Trussler, Dustin Campbell, Scott Alford, and Robert Perdue work as a team.(above)
Dale Barker, Phil Dillon, Alan Austin, Loren Thompson, Ellen Plaza,
and Jeff Beckner work as a team. (above)
Thanks to Travis Collins for the pictures.
Yesterday was the first book signing. I did not have a clue what to expect, but it went very well. Perry Franks, Jerry’s brother, set up the event at the Roanoke Antique Mall. We had the good fortune of the article in the paper mentioning the event. I showed up a little early and was pleasantly surprised to find that the Rocky Mount Fire Department had sent up their 1929 Seagrave. That truck is in excellent condition. I arrived around 1230 and there were already people waiting for a signed copy. Over the course of the next several hours I had the pleasure of talking to many relatives of retired firefighters. Several of which were related to firefighters from the teens. That was very interesting. Many of the names mentioned, I had heard of. I ended up searching the book many times to see if the relatives were in the book. The event was really fun. I met the grandson of Stephen C. Snead, the daughter of Bobby Geary, Hugh Waid – a firefighter who left to go to Fairfax around 1965 after working here 10 years, a relative of Alfred and Ott Britt, several retired firefighters as well.
I had a couple people ask about Maurice Wiseman. That was really neat. Unfortunately, I never met him, so I could only offer a little bit of information on him. I did get to meat Earl, one of his brothers. He is pictured in the picture above with his wife, both in blue jackets. They were very interested in the book and we talked about Maurice for a while.
The Chief of the Rocky Mount Fire Department brought their 1929 Seagrave Engine to show for the event. Thank you for helping out and showing off the truck.
Thanks for Perry Franks for taking the pictures

Mike Overacker has posted some more photos of the breakfast on Check out the pictures here.