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Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Week Off

So I am going out of town tomorrow to Ohio. I will be in Bellevue Ohio visiting relatives and attending a Family Reunion. And yes the family tree branches, ha, beat you to it.

I am working on some pretty cool things right now.

1. The Local's website. This site is going to be very informative. So look forward to it in the following month or two. I have been bogged down by the Golf Tournament and Fill the Boot etc. So you will have to wait. If you have any recommendations for the site please let me know.

2. The Golf Tournament- This is going to be the best one yet thanks to Charlie Adkins, Rob Johnson, Myself, and numerous others who have really helped out. You know who you are. We have 20+ sponsors and the door prizes include a DVD player, XM radio, Texas Hold em set, 12' x 12' collapsible party tent, car charger, IAFF custom made clock, Virginia Tech Prints, gift certificates, and a lot of others. You don't have to play to win. You do have to be present to win. So come on out if you aren't playing and buy some raffle tickets, help out a little, eat some food, drink some golden beverages, have some fun, and win some prizes. July 14th at Ole Monterey Golf Club.

3. A big surprise or not. I am working on a neat project that could fabricate into being a really, really, really big surprise. Or it could turn out to be not so big but still a surprise. I could tell you but then it wouldn't be a surprise. This might just be a hidden treasure here in Roanoke that has been hidden for almost a half a century and nearly a century old. Then again it could turn out to be something totally different, not bad but different. So I really don't know what to expect. If you have followed this site then you might have an idea as to what I am talking about. I might know something before I get home from my trip, and then again I might have to wait. So you will have to wait and see just like me. YOU JUST HAVE TO WAIT A LITTLE LONGER THAN ME. This could be the find of the century.

So you will have to wait for more posts until I get back.

Don't forget about the Guns N Hoses Basketball game between the City Firefighters and the City Police Officers on August 5, 2005 at Roanoke Catholic. Contact
  • Georgette Asbury for tickets.

  • Tuesday, June 28, 2005

    79 Calls in 5 hours

    Yup that is right Roanoke Fire-EMS ran 79 calls in 5 hours last night June 27, 2005 between the hours of 1900 and 2400. That equates to about a call every 4 minutes. To put that figure into perspective we ran 63 calls in a 24 hour period on June 26, 2005 which is approximately one call every 23 minutes. I do not know if that is an average day or not, however it does show the work load that we are served when a big storm comes through the city.
    I cannot believe the constant flooding that occurs in the City limits. Look at the Ramada Inn on Franklin Rd. They should be required to disclose to their patrons that if indeed it rains their vehicles will probably sustain flood damage. I do not know if flood damage is normally covered on motor vehicle insurance. Time and time again we see severe flooding in that area. Of course it probably isn't Ramada Inn's fault for the flooding, but possibly due to more and more construction, paving, and land grading that has occurred over the past several years. So who's fault or problem is it to be fixed and yes it needs to be fixed before someone is killed? So I wonder who will point the finger where when it happens?
    So hopefully we won't get hit as hard today or maybe because the ground is saturated we won't need as much to have the same effect or worse. Maybe it will blow over and we won't see the same flooding conditions that are becoming a regularity for us to work in.

    Monday, June 27, 2005

    Station 10 in the 50's

    This is station #10 which is now known as station #2. This picture was probably taken in the early 50's. The vehicle on the far right is a 1918 model as well as the water tower 3rd from the left. I am not sure but the 1st on on the left looks to be a little later than the 1918 models and the rest look to be newer possibly late 40's early 50's. Just thought I would give you a fix from the past. Jenkins at #2 got a pretty good picture of the water tower. I believe I had posted something about it in a past post. It had wooden wheels and might have even had solid tires. All of the 1918 models came with solid tires, at a later date the department replaced them with inflatable tires. I am trying to locate the water tower now. I understand that it was at cycle systems and last seen there about 10 years ago.

    Thursday, June 23, 2005

    Combining Fire Stations

    The year is 2040 Engine 1 is responding to its 10th call of the day. They will not Ladder 1 until later possibly for lunch. Medic 1 you can forget about. They will be running all day. Not the medic 1 you know of today though, this is a paid unit. The only remnant of REMS can be seen at the To the Rescue Museum located at 13 East Church Ave. If that address sounds familiar it now houses Ladder 1 downtown. Ladder 1 receives a call in SW although they just cleared up from a call near the airport. So it will be a long response, however they will make it eventually. It is only noon. Roanoke Fire-EMS is the busiest Fire Department in the Nation. Engine 1 runs an average of 35 calls a day, Ladder 1 runs at least 27, and Medic 1 runs every minute of the day turning calls over to Carilion that they cannot run because they are already on a call. You ask what about all the other apparatus. Well in 2007 station 1 merged with 3 and 10 merged with 2, 2008 9 merged with 5,2010 8 merged with 11 and Clearbrook, 2012 6 merged with 14, 2018 13 merged with 4. Then a new wrath of merges to 2040 where we are left with 3 apparatus. Minimum staffing 3 on engine and ladder and 2 on the medic truck. Where is the station you ask. Who needs a station. These firefighters are running calls all day. They got rid of the last fire station 2 years ago.
    Ok this is not practical and it is extremely far fetched.
    I understand that the Airport station has been sold to the Airport for about $750,000. Those funds were in turn used to purchase to parcels of land one around 19th street NW and another at Williamson and Birchlawn.
    So I understand the purchase of the 19th St. land is to be used for the 5-9 combination station. And I can assume that the purchase of the Williamson Rd. land will be used for the new Station 10. Now the big question is will we have County personnel and apparatus in City Station 10? There has been talk of the County putting a Medic truck in stations 11 and 13. What will come of that?
    So then I guess the Race is on. Which station will be built first? Station 1-3 at Franklin at Elm, Station 5-9 at 19th and Melrose, or Station 10 at Williamson and Birchlawn?
    What apparatus will these stations have. Will we only be combining stations or will Engine companies disappear?

    Firefighters help build Playground

    Several Firefighters from Roanoke Fire Fighters Association/Roanoke Fire-EMS got together to help Kaboom and Home Depot build a playground for the Roanoke Valley Boys and Girls Club on Ninth Street SE. Kaboom is a non-profit organization that assists communities in building and repairing playgrounds across the nation. The event brought the volunteers together as one group to build a grand playground for the community. Although there is no mention of the Firefighters being present at the build, we were visible they even played a couple of songs catered to us. The majority of the volunteers were from Home Depot stores in Virginia and North Carolina. Wachovia employees, Roanoke City sheriff's deputies, and Lewis Gale employees were also among the volunteers. It is good to see Firefighters helping out the community. It can only help our cause when citizens and community leaders see us out there on our days off helping beautify the community and bring neighbors together. Maybe next time we will have more firefighters out there assisting. The firefighters present were Firefighter Josh Holmes whose idea it was to assist in the event, 1st Lt. Mike Rose, Firefighter Andy Foley, and Lt. Rhett Fleitz.

    Sunday, June 19, 2005

    Fire at 3841 Garden City Blvd.

    Engine 8, Engine 11, Engine 6 Ladder 1, BC-1, Medic 1, and Medic 6 responded to a reported structure fire at 3841 Garden City Blvd. Engine 11 marked on scene with a bus on fire. The fire was suppressed and Investigation 1 was called to investigate the fire. The bus was located near an abandoned house. The bus is owned by Bob Huffman who had used it in the 70's and 80's. The bus has not been used for several years. There were no injuries reported during the incident. Engine 11 was able to extinguish the fire with tank water. Engine 11 was recently put into service. It is an M+W built pumper-tanker that carries 1000 gallons of water. Engine 11 is built on an HME chassis, I will post a picture when I acquire one.

    Thursday, June 16, 2005

    Forklift Extrication

    Engine 10 and Engine 5 responded to Airborne Express near Roanoke Regional Airport for a forklift accident. Engine 10 arrived to find a man pinned between the forklift and the load he was moving at about 2:45 am. The forklift was partially disassembled and the man was extricated from the wreckage. The forklift fell off of the loading dock when he drove through the wrong door opening. The truck he was supposed to be loading was in another bay. The man is expected to recover and his arm and hand which were caught in the wreckage seemed to be salvageable. The extrication took about 45 minutes.
    If anyone has anything else to add please contact me.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2005

    Fire at 1037 Stewart Ave. S.E.

    E-6, E-11, Ladder-1, Medic 6 1037 Stewart Ave. S.E. for a reported house fire. Engine 6 arrived to find fire showing from side 4 and made it a working fire.
    Additional units: E-3 and M-1. Fire was knocked down within five minutes of arrival. Ladder 1 searched/proved negative.
    No one was home at the time of the fire.

    Courtesy of FF Brad Creasy 6-A.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2005

    New Website

    I will be recreating the local's website soon. It is located at If you have any opinions, comments, questions, or ideas then please contact me. It will probably not look as it does now and will be updated regularly. I look forward to this site being up and running in the next month or two, it just depends how long it takes to build. I hope that this will help inform the members on a regular basis.
    So look for it in the future.
    The website will include:
    Department/Local news
    Presidents page
    Legislative information
    and a lot more!!!!
    By the way. If you have a team or sponsor for the golf tournament contact Rhett Fleitz ASAP.

    Firehouse USA: Boston

    Just to let you all know that there is a new show on the discovery channel tonight. It airs at 10pm. The shows title is Firehouse USA and it is episode "follow me". There is not much more information on the discovery website so we will just have to see what it is all about. I am not sure if there will be other locations in the future.
    Rescue Me Season 2 ( premieres on June 21st at 10pm on the FX network.

    Fire at 3230 Orchard Hill Drive

    Roanoke, VA - The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to an alarm for a structure fire on June 13, 2005 at 3230 Orchard Hill Drive. The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 3:32 p.m., and was under control by 3:45 p.m.

    The response of two engines,one ladder truck, one medic unit, one EMS Captain,and one Battalion Chief, were involved in the fire.

    This is a residential building. First arriving units found a fire in the kitchen in the area of the stove.The fire spread to the cabinets but was contained to the kitchen. The cause was unattended cooking.
    There was one resident home at the time, but they escaped unharmed.

    There were no injuries to citizens or department personnel.

    Property loss was determined to be approximately $15,000.

    Sunday, June 12, 2005

    Fire at 1801 Cove Rd.

    Roanoke, VA - The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to an alarmfor a structure fire on June 11, 2005 at 1801 Cove Rd. The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 7:46p.m., and was under control by 7:56 p.m.The response of three engines,one ladder truck, two medic units, oneEMS Captain, and one Battalion Chief were involved in the fire.
    This is a restaurant building.The fire started in the kitchen area ofthe restaurant.The fire was contained to the kitchen area. There wasone individual present at the time of the fire, but they escaped unharmed.
    There were no injuries to citizens or department personnel.
    Property loss was determined to be approximately $10,000.

    Fire at 1534 Wellsley Street

    Roanoke, VA - The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to an alarm for a structure fire on June 12, 2005 at 1524 Wellsley Street.The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 2:15p.m., and was under control by 2:25 p.m.
    The response of two engines,one ladder truck, one medic unit, one EMSCaptain,and one Battalion Chief, were involved in the fire.This is a residential building.
    First arriving units found a fire inthe kitchen in the area of the stove.The fire spread to the cabinetsbut was contained to the kitchen. The cause was unattendedcooking.There was one resident home at the time, but they escapedunharmed.
    There were no injuries to citizens or department personnel.
    Property loss was determined to be approximately $20,000.

    Friday, June 10, 2005

    MVA on Old Mountain Road

    This is the scene of an accident on Old Mountain Road cross of Trevino. E-5, E-2, M-3, RS-1 responded for a head on collision with 3 vehicles involved.

    Thursday, June 09, 2005

    Jennifer Waddell is leaving Roanoke

    Jennifer Waddell is leaving Roanoke. Yes you heard me right. The Best looking News Anchor the Valley has to offer is heading to Arizona. I know that she is a favorite in every Fire Station in Roanoke. I first met her on scene of our Rookie School burn. I think that every firefighter in Recruit School 15 and the instructors at the burn remember her. She will be missed here in Roanoke and hopefully the Firefighters down in Tucson will embrace her as we did. We wish you the best Jennifer, thanks for bringing us the new for the past 6 years.

    Wednesday, June 08, 2005

    Firefighters Business Database

    I am going to add a new page to this site. It will list the businesses that are operated, owned, or employ our fellow firefighters. Please email me at with your name, Company, phone number, and shift. Look for this page to be added in the near future. Feel free also to page me, call me or contact me in person at station 8 C-shift or at the Credit Union.
    Ok I have added the new page. You can get to it at If you would like to see your site listed please contact me with the proper information and I will add it.
    I really think that I will have to branch out to an actual website soon. I just need to find a host and I think the site will be or something like that since is already taken. I am itching to do this, I just need a little help in getting started. Like where to find a host and how to get the domain name I want. I could use my adelphia address, they give me web space, however I do not want to run over the limit and have to find a new home. So if anyone out there could help then hit email Rhett Fleitz on the right under links and let me know. I appreciate it. I also know that once I make the switch sky will be the limit. Of course I will keep the blog open. So who wants to give me a shove in the right direction?

    Skippy's Custom Motorcycle

    Here is a custom motorcycle built by 1st Lt. R.T. Flora (Skippy). Skippy works with Battalion Chief Ricky Trout at Iron Sports Custom Motorcycles.

    1950 Panhead

    Here is a 1950 Panhead that was restored by Firefighter Chip Johnston with Iron Sports Custom Motorcycles.

    Tuesday, June 07, 2005

    Iron Sports Custom Motorcycles

    I hope everyone got to see the article (click Iron Sports above for link) on Battalion Chief Ricky Trout's motorcycle shop as well as his wife's love of the Dalmation Rescue. I thought that the article really showcased the shop well and brought positive attention to the Firefighters of Roanoke City. Unfortunately due to the paper being botched up because of the power outage the picture of Ricky and Skippy (R.T. Flora) was not very good. However we all know of the excellent work that those guys do. If you haven't seen Skippy's bike that he built you need to. I will try to get ahold of a picture to post for you guys.
    You can go to Iron Sports Custom Motorcycles on the web at:
    The Dalmation Rescue ( is another story. I got to see the guys at Station 2 A-shift in action with these dalmations at the St. Patricks Day Parade. They really take pride in the cause. There is a Calendar of dalmations with some of the Firefighters. If you haven't seen the calendar call the guys down at 2 A-shift and ask to see a copy or where you can get ahold of a copy.
    Anyway it is good to see the Firefighters in the Paper.

    Fire at 813 Kellogg Avenue

    Roanoke, VA - The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to an alarm for a structure fire on June 7, 2005 at 813 Kellogg Avenue. The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 2:15 p.m., and was under control by 2:20 p.m. The response of three engines,one ladder truck, two medic units, one EMS Captain, and one Battalion Chief unit were involved in the fire.
    The fire started in a closet near the gas hot water heater.The floor under the heater had deteriorated started to sag causing the heater to ignite some of the flooring in the closet. Six people were at home at the time of the fire. They all got out safely prior to arrival of Fire-EMS units. There were no injuries to citizens or department personnel.
    Property loss was determined to be approximately $3,500.

    Fire at 1305 Belle Aire Ln.

    Roanoke, VA - The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to an alarm for a structure fire on June 6, 2005 at 1305 Belle Aire Ln. The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 10:04 p.m.
    The response consisted of two engines,one ladder truck, one medic unit, one EMS Captain, one Battalion Chief,and one investigative unit.
    As they arrived units noticed light smoke coming from the front door. Upon investigation the following was found: an elderly female was in bed and as she was lighting a cigarette she accidently ignited her nightgown. She received 1st and 2nd degree burns and was transported to a local hospital. There was no other damage to the structure or contents other than what she was wearing.

    Leather Helmet Circa 1884.

    Here is a picture of the helmet. I have attached the original posting of this helmet.
    So today as I sift through the numerous articles that Captain Wiseman has left us I notice something, something unique, something I doubted, something I have in my possession. I acquired a leather helmet a couple of years ago from a Captain who was getting rid of some of his fire memorabilia. The Captain stated that the helmet was from 1884 he thought and that it was from Roanoke. He said he got it from a retired District Chief. I doubted the whole 1884 date. I mean how could this thing have made it that long. After all this helmet is not in the best shape. It is green, the leather is old, and the eagle on top is coming off. The helmet looks like it might fit a little child. I thought maybe it shrunk, maybe they were form fitted to the head instead of having any protection in them other than the leather. After all the original reason for the helmets was to shed water.
    So here I find an article from August 19, 1972. The article is about, get this, the Roanoke Historical Society trying to acquire Station #1. Even back then they thought that it would only be a couple of years. They speak of an Eric Miller who was or maybe still is a Salem Firefighter. He is also a fire buff and let the Society use some of his memorabilia for a display at 17 East Kirk Ave. The picture is what caught my attention. There it was, the helmet, in the picture. My helmet, or at least the one that I received from that Captain along with a scale model of a steam engine. The caption under the picture reads "Model steam engine stands beside fire helmet worn by the late Joseph T. Engleby as assistant fire chief for Roanoke. The eagle topped helmet is on loan to the historical society from J.T. Engleby III, and dates to around 1884. WOW.
    So the information passed on to me was correct. However I wonder how in the heck did that helmet end up in my hands. I mean this is a very historical piece of the fire department. I guess it is fitting that I ended up with it now that I have undertaken the history of the department.
    Now I realize that someone out there might be missing this helmet. Maybe the Engleby family, maybe the historical society. If anyone else has information on this helmet please let me know. I will attach a picture as soon as I get the helmet out of storage.

    Ladder 2 in Action

    Here is Ladder 2 in action at the Roanoke Civic Center. They were doing some training so I thought I would stop in and take a few pictures. Ladder 2 is a Pierce and consists of a 2004 Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine, Allison transmission, 300-gallon water tank, 95' platform. Ladder 2 is stationed at Station 2 along with Engine 2, the HAZMAT unit, Medic 2, Service Truck 2, and Battalion 2.

    Monday, June 06, 2005

    Fire at 1429 Loudon Ave.

    Roanoke, VA - The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to an alarmfor a structure fire on June 5, 2005 at 1429 Louden Avenue.The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 10:11a.m., and was under control by 10:22 a.m.The response of three engines,one ladder truck, one medic unit, oneEMS Captain, one Battalion Chief,and one investigative unit wereinvolved in the fire.
    The cause was unattended cooking materials on a stove.Four people were at home at the time of the fire. There were noworking smoke detectors in the apartment, although there was anon-functional smoke detector present. Before leaving the scene Fire-EMS personnel installed a new smoke detector in the apartment.
    There were no injuries to citizens or departmentpersonnel.The fire originated in a basement apartment in theresidence and was contained to the kitchen. Property loss wasdetermined to be approximately $2,500.

    Thursday, June 02, 2005


    The 2005 Fill the Boot Campaign will be held August 26(A), 27(B), and 28(C). The locations will be announced soon. If you don't already know the event benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) aka Jerry's Kids. The IAFF along with the departments of its members has supported the MDA for over 50 years now. Locals all over the Nation and Canada get out on the streets to Fill the Boot annually, usually around Labor Day. The totals from the previous year are then submitted to the MDA telethon on Labor day. The IAFF is the biggest single supporter of the MDA and last year raised 20.3 million dollars for the charity. This has been a steady increase over the years, 4 years ago the total was 9 million dollars collected by the IAFF. Yet our total amount raised has declined the past year to a little over $2,000 (most of which came from the golf tournament). The year before we were at almost $5,000. The difference was due to the fact we went from about 30 members helping with Fill the Boot to about 10 last year. This low turn out is disturbing. Sure we cannot collect on duty and we cannot collect at the intersections, but that is not cause for defeat. The more members we have to collect, the more money we will collect.
    A little side note: The County and Salem both raised more money than us last year. To put that in perspective Roanoke Fire-EMS is about seven times as big as Salem and over twice the size of the County. Plus the County is able to collect at intersections this year. So we will have to try extra hard this year to beat them. Our goal is to raise $5,000 this year. I know we can do that. If everyone came out for a couple of hours we could easily raise $10,000.
    We will have an MDA family at the Golf Tournament this year so you can meet them and put a face with the cause. The MDA picnic will be in August also and I will have details on that soon.

    If you have any questions please contact me at

    Single Vehicle MVA at Franklin and Reserve

    This is a picture courtesy of Kent Mcilhany. The incident was on the bridge over the Roanoke River on Franklin Rd. at Reserve. It was a single vehicle accident, the driver lost control of the vehicle and hit the side of the bridge. Here you see Engine 5 on scene extricating the victim. Due to the amount of damage on this side of the car Capt. Kesterson, Lt. Brown, and FF Fisher had to cut out both doors on the right side of the vehicle including the B-post. Units on scene were E-8, E-5, M-1, RS-1. Oh yeah and I was on scene with E-8, it sure is nice to be back in the company seeing some of the action. E-8 responded to 3 MVA's in a row after midnight. L-1 extricated a victim on the 1st incident.