Yesterday and today I had the pleasure of meeting up with a true fire history buff. Tommy Herman lives in Chesterfield County. He is a retired Richmond firefighter and a long time volunteer at Ettrick station 13 in Chesterfield County.

Tommy had reached out to me a while back and had called a couple times when he made it to town. This time we were able to meet up. Tommy is a foremost authority on Oren apparatus and the company itself. He has a book coming out in the spring on Oren apparatus and it has several Roanoke Trucks in it. I got to peruse the draft of the book and I cannot wait to thumb through my own copy.

Tommy had some great stories. It was amazing how he knew all the people I had contacted, tried to find, or had heard of when I was writing “Firefighting in Roanoke”. He left me two large files to look through and scan. We went to dinner last night and afterwards I took the time to scan everything. I scanned from 8-12 last night.

Needless to say, Tommy knows a lot. He knows about Roanoke FD, REMS, Oren, Seagrave, ALF, you name it. Hell, he knew Maurice Wiseman too. Willie mentioned my meeting and some news about other Orens here.

One thing he said stood out…He commented on how Roanoke is so quick to get rid of stuff. I couldn’t agree more. Of all the great firetrucks we have had over the years, what do we have to show for it? Squad 1, a couple other rusted trucks hoping for refurb. So many great trucks are gone forever. I realize we can’t keep everything, but at least hand it off to someone who cares.

One thing Tommy was able to do that I wasn’t even thinking about was rekindling my curiosity of our history. He got me thinking about that second book and maybe the complete history book. He got me thinking about continuing to find out history, reclaim OUR artifacts, and move forward.

And with that, I shall set back out on my quest. I just ask anyone who has any images to share please let me know. I have asked in the past and not gotten much of a response. The process is simple…you get me the photos, I scan them or copy them, I get them back to you. If I use them in the future you get credit.

For now I will leave you with this little teaser of some of the images I got from Tommy. You will see more in the future!!! Feel free to chime in and comment on the trucks if you want.

By Mason Adams and David Harrison | The Roanoke Times

Courtesy of the Roanoke Police Department

Firefighters battle a Roanoke school bus fire Monday morning near Sixth Street and Morrill Avenue Southeast.

A Roanoke school bus burned Monday morning in a fire which officials believe was caused by an electrical malfunction.

The bus driver was picking up a student just after 8 a.m. near Sixth Street and Morrill Avenue Southeast when the front of the bus caught fire, according to Roanoke Fire-EMS spokeswoman Tiffany Bradbury. (Click here for more story and photos)

Submitted by Lt. Baron Gibson

At 22:09 station 6 was notified of a structure fire in the 500 block of 18th st. SE. E-6, E-11, L-1, M-6, RS-1 & BC-1 were dispatched. M-6 was returning from the hospital and arrived on scene to find a two story structure with heavy smoke showing from Alpha side and advised dispatch of the working fire. Upon arrival E-6 took their water supply with them with the help of M-6 connecting the hydrant for us. E-6 gave a size up and began stretching an 1 3/4 line into the structure and made a fast and aggresive attack on the fire (it was the rookies first nozzle job and he did ok) that was located in an upstairs bedroom. A second 1 3/4 was stretched as back up but was never charged. Cause of fire appears to be electrical, but is still under investigation. It was very cold water began freezing quickly but we never experienced any problems with the cold temps. A cat was found under and behind a couch on the first floor after the fire much to the delight of the owners. No one else was hurt and we all came home from the working fire at apprx. 23:50hrs.

In the past month, while this website has been offline, some of the stations within Roanoke have decided to take on the daunting task of creating their own blogs. I have found the blogs to be very entertaining. The blogs came online with Station 9, Station 3, and finally Station 6. Please keep up with them and bookmark them. They are updated several times each week, some even daily. It is neat seeing the updates from each shift at each station.The links are below and can also be found on the right hand sidebar with other important links —>

Station 9 – The Melrose Misfits

Station 3 – Life at the “Green” House

Station 6 – The Pride of Southeast