second alarm bar and grill

Second Alarm on Williamson Road

Hey guys, before I write a little ditty on this I want to preempt it with a message. If you have a chance, any chance at all get by Second Alarm and have a beer. Be sure to tell Gary Harris your a Roanoke City Firefighter. Not to get a free drink, but to show him your solidarity to his passion he has enjoyed for 30 years.

The Second Alarm is closing its doors after 30 years.

The Second Alarm sits at 2816 Williamson Road. The same place it has been for 30 years. Gary Harris has owned and operated it ever since he opened it in 1979. Gary retired from the Roanoke Fire Department as a Captain after 35 years of service. He was hired on February 16, 1964 and retired in 1999.

Sam Dean | The Roanoke Times 9/11/09--Todd Harris, left, and his farther Gary Harris discuss the items the plan on keeping after the sale of Second Alarm, a bar and restaurant the family has run for 30 years on Williamson Road.

Sam Dean | The Roanoke Times 9/11/09--Todd Harris, left, and his farther Gary Harris discuss the items the plan on keeping after the sale of Second Alarm, a bar and restaurant the family has run for 30 years on Williamson Road.

Gary’s son Todd is a firefighter for the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department and was hired in 1987. I currently work with Todd at Station 13 C-shift. I can tell you that just about anytime I drive by Second Alarm in the morning, both Todd and his father’s vehicles are there. They usually got together and cleaned and got everything ready for the days business. Second Alarm is open from 2pm til 2am.

Today, when talking to Todd I could tell that the sudden events leading up to the announcement of closure had effected the family. I can only imagine that after 30 years, Gary would have liked to have had a different ending to the story.

Needless to say that after 30 years of leasing the property, it isn’t much to ask of the owners.

Unfortunately, Harris was not left many other options and the bar will be closing. September 26th will be the last day of the Second Alarm…unless Gary decides other plans at a different location.

Like I said in the beginning, it would be great for everyone to stop by and say hello to Gary before it closes. Enjoy a frosty beverage and talk about “Back in the Day”. You might even catch Todd there!

If you need a drinking buddy….give me a call!

Read the story on the Roanoke Times here

Today, Roanoke sits in the news as does the rest of Virginia. Unfortunately, South of us there has been a terrible shooting at Virginia Tech. 31 reported deaths and over 60 shot. There are several patients at various hospitals throughout Southwest Virginia, including Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Lewis Gale Hospital, and New River Valley Medical Center.

At the Virginia Tech shooting, what happened?

Being here in Roanoke and having connections with the Fire and EMS here and there I am hearing reports that a male found out his girlfriend was cheating on him so he went to kill the guy who was having the affair with his girlfriend. That was the shooting at 7am, the unidentified male and his roomate were shot. Then he waited around until his girlfriend had his first class. The gunman/boyfriend showed up at the class and killed his girlfriend and continued to shoot many in the classroom. The gunman finished by killing himself.

Again, this is just what I hear outside of conventional press. Do not hold me to it, nor ask where I got the information. You can find information on the shooting anywhere online like or

There will be a lot of news coverage of this story. The word is that this might be the largest shooting spree and/or college shooting in U.S. History.

As a commenter has stated that I should not report rumors , the fact is that the news has covered the same information as I. It is an unfortunate event. Yes, I pray for the families of those involved and I hope that all of the injured have a speedy recovery. I hope also that the death toll stops at 33, as reported right now.

Prince William Firefighter LODD

A Prince William firefighter lost his life at a fire this morning in Woodbridge. The fire went to 3 alarms. I do not have much other information right now, and I have heard reports of a second firefighter dying on the way to the fire, but I have not confirmed it. If you have more information please let me know.

As for the rest of the State, we are experiencing high winds. Roanoke had a 3 alarm fire today, I will have pictures up soon.

More information later

I apologize, I did not have the correct URL when I posted the information on the Star City FOOLS. The correct URL is: It seems as though they meet at O’Malleys Downtown the second Wednesday of each Month.

Warning, Rant ahead!!

Tonight I took my family to the Circus. When we arrived, an hour and fifteen minutes early, we were told that we had to park downtown and take the shuttle unless we were handicap or had a preferred parking pass. I wanted to strangle the guy who was working the parking lot, but it wasn’t his fault. Did I miss a memo? What the heck is going on here? There was another event going on at the auditorium of the Civic Center and another event downtown. Apparently, this created the need for Police Officers at every stoplight near downtown and the Civic Center. We ended up parking near the Civic Center and walking. Now imagine my amazement when I got inside and realized that there was a Roanoke Express size attendance ( just under 1000 probably). Just imagine if the place was packed. The Circus was decent, only one ring and not exactly how I remember the circus as a child. But never the less enjoyable for the kids.

My suggestion is before you sink millions of dollars on another venue at the Civic Center (the exhibition hall), taking away hundreds of parking spaces, why don’t we make sure we have enough parking for events. Maybe they should take that big vast expanse that was going to be an amphitheatre and pave it. Then create a walking path or raised walkway over 460 to the Civic Center. Maybe parking is the reason why the place wasn’t packed.

Since I am in rant mode, I have another no-brainer. Valley View Mall is constantly adding stores, and currently following the City’s lead by taking away parking, creating more tax revenue for the City. Why not go ahead and finish the entrance/exit at Best Buy? What the heck is going on here? That place is a mess. I like visiting the Valley View area, but I don’t understand why that project never got finished.

It seems to me that the City needs to prioritize it’s needs and start working on the traffic problem which exists in many places in Roanoke. I can think of many areas which are very congested; Colonial near Towers mall, 460 from 581 to the County line, Valley View Mall, Hershberger and Williamson, Several spots on Brandon Avenue, Avenham and Franklin, to name a few.

I am glad I had time to cool down since the parking incident. I know I don’t hit on stuff like this much, but I just couldn’t help myself. If you were wondering if the Circus was worth it, the answer is yes. The kids loved it.