Headline Animator

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year to all

It is nice to see a close to another fun and enjoyable year. I look forward to closing in on a full year here on the internet, which will happen in March. I hadn't really thought about it until now, but I am now off of probation as a Lieutenant. I am happy to have been a part of so many lives this year. There are firefighters here in Roanoke, whom I have hardly even met. Yet when I do meet them, they know my name. I am not sure if that is because they have seen this site, or they are thinking "oh that is the one they put on the ARFF crew". Either way, any publicity is good publicity. I also appreciate the other readers I have. Some of the ones I have talked to include several blog owners from California to South Dakota back to Pennsylvania as well as numerous local bloggers like this and this and this. I have bumped into past Roanokers in Atlanta and Nashville, who I hear from regularly. I have been talking to firefighters who are interested in working for the Department from here in Roanoke, to North Carolina all the way to Florida. I have come into contact with Firefighters in Australia and even Singapore. Oh I cannot forget another Site from somewhere across the pond. There have been so many others. So many people who contact me and leave comments. It amazes me how such a localized blog about a small city in Southwest Virginia can receive so much attention.

I have to admit that when I started this thing, I did not know what I was doing. I did not have an agenda, a plan, or a guideline. So many firefighters I work with did not know what it was, what it meant, or how this came to be. Well I have found a path, I have found a cause, I have found a hobby. That is to bring national attention to our profession, the way we do things, and the incidents we are involved in. I put a face to stories written about us. I now know that so many of you past critics out there read daily to see what is going on, to see pictures, to find out what is new.

I know I have had some controversial posts in the past. Controversial that is if you do not see things the way I do. Controversial if you do not feel I should have an opinion, or a voice in the matter. Many of you have said "told you so" when certain comments were made, and quite possibly the threats made true. Oh well, that is life, and life goes on. I will continue to bring you the news of the Roanoke Firefighters, pictures, stories, and history. I will even mix in some other news of national importance. You can rest assured knowing that this is my site and that these are my views and my opinions.

Happy New Year and God Bless - Extra stories -New Year's Eve - Extra stories -New Year's Eve:
“You always think it’s going to be very busy that night. It’s kind of hit or miss. You usually have a lot more intoxicated people, obviously. The good side is, some people are happy-intoxicated. You’re going to have your everyday thing with heart problems or breathing problems. I haven’t dealt with any wrecks.”
Check out this right up on Firefighter/Paramedic Josh Holmes. Josh's picture was featured on the front page of the Extra Section. Good work Josh.

Technorati tags: , ,

Friday, December 30, 2005

MVA on Orange Avenue

Picture courtesy of Chief Tartaglia

Here is a picture of an extrication today. I am short on time. I will post more pictures later. I apologize for giving the wrong credit for the photos. I have added one of Captain A.P. Wallaces below. I will post more later, of course if someone would like to fill me in on what happened that would be nice too. Email me or leave comment on the accident.

Update: all of the pictures have been added to a slideshow at Local 1132 Incidents.
Thanks to A.P. Wallace and Ralph Tartaglia for the pictures. Keep the pictures and information coming in.

Photo courtesy of Captain A.P. Wallace

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Residents Lash Out At Houston Fire Department - News

Residents Lash Out At Houston Fire Department - News:

Community leaders said Tuesday they will seek an independent investigation of how firefighters responded to a southwest Houston apartment fire that killed three children.

Quanell X said apartment residents and the children's family repeatedly told firefighters the children were still inside, but twice came out of an apartment saying no one was there. On a third attempt, a witness said, firefighters found the children.

Nation of Islam Minister Robert Muhammad described the conduct of some firefighters at the scene as "cavalier," and that they were seen laughing.

"They would not have demonstrated the behavior that they did had this fire been in River Oaks. They would not have carried on the way they did laughing and joking," said Quanell X, who said he will submit a formal request for an independent investigation today.

This is interesting. Although I was not there, I would like to comment on this article. This is a case of the public not knowing exactly who we are, or what we do. They don't know the extent of our training, and the acceptance of our own limitations. They don't know that each time firefighters enter a structure, we know we may not come back out. They don't understand what we do once we are in a burning building. They don't understand how hard it is to work in these conditions.

I was not there at the fire in Houston, but I can assure the residents that the firefighters did everything humanly possible to save the children.

I understand it is hard to grasp the loss of these families, however the answer is not berading the firefighters who risked their lives for these children.

The article, the words of these citizens, and the misinterpretation of what was actually going on are unfortunate. These actions could possibly scar the Department and some of its members for some time.
Technorati tags: ,

Breaking news from The Roanoke Times -Morning accident kills one on I-581

Breaking News
Morning accident kills one on I-581:
The Roanoke Times

Photo by Sam Dean | The Roanoke Times
Rescue workers and police investigate the scene of an accident on 581 North near the northbound Peters Creek road exit.

A two-vehicle accident on Interstate 581 this morning resulted in at least one confirmed fatality, according to Sgt. Bob Carpentieri, spokesman for the Virginia State Police.

The accident occurred at approximately 9 a.m. on northbound I-581 south of the Peters Creek Road exit, Carpentieri said.

Check out the link for the article on I will update any information I receive.
UPDATE: You can view 3 more pictures HERE.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Cake Like No Other

C-Shift worked on Christmas Day this year. Let me tell you first off, it was not busy at the Airport. I took care of the crew and cooked a large spread including Ham, potatoes, mac n' cheese, etc. Right in the middle of cooking, a woman and her daughter came to the door of Fire Station #10 with a tray in her hand. The woman was holding a cake. She explained to us that her daughter, who appeared to be about 7, told her mom that they should do something for us a the station on Christmas because we had to work. So her mom whipped up a cake. But this was no ordinary cake. This cake stood about 14" tall and 6" in diameter. You can see by the picture that it indeed was Santa Claus. We were grateful. This was not an easy cake to eat, because none of us wanted to ruin it.

A little side note to all the families, friends, and neighbors who drop off desserts to firehouses: We thank you for thinking of us, remembering us, and taking care of us.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

MVA on Valley View Blvd.

Here are some pictures from a 10-50 at the 1900 block of Valley View Blvd. The accident was right in front of Shakers. E-10, E-2, and M-10 responded, although there were no injuries.

Firefighter Jobs in Roanoke

Here is your guide to getting a job as a Firefighter/EMT in the City of Roanoke, Virginia.

Fire-EMS Jobs for Firemen, Firewomen, Firefighters, EMT's, Paramedics, Cardiac Tech's, and Paramedics in Roanoke.

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department accepts applications for the position of Firefighter year round. All Firefighters are trained to the level of at least FFII and EMT-B in a 13 week recruit school. The recruits are also put through training such as EVOCI-III (emergency vehicle operator course), Rope Rescue I, Vehicle Rescue, MayDay Firefighter Down, CPR, DPO (Driver Pump Operator). Some classes are added and some are taken away each school like the DPO class and confined space, or even DPO - Aerial Operator. Applications are good for 1 year from the date of submission.

Written tests are held monthly for the applicants.

The RFEMS has set up an email address you can access HERE. You can always email me at, if you have questions as well.
Firefighter/EMT candidates must: (FOUND HERE)
  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Be at least 21 years of age;
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent;
  • Meet vision requirements of 20/100 in both eyes; both correctable to 20/20;
  • Be physically fit, height and weight must be in proportion;
  • Have a valid Virginia driver's license; and
  • Have no criminal background or poor traffic record.
Roanoke uses the Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT) as its physical test. From what I understand, if you have taken the test and passes in the past year, then it is good here. You might call and make sure that is correct. The next CPAT will be held in Spring 2006.

Currently there is a posting for 5-10 positions to be filled in early Summer of 2006. By my count, there are already 8 positions open.

The Firefighter payscale is as follows:
Firefighter/EMT-Basic: $30,452
Firefighter/EMT-Intermediate: $32,221
Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic: $34,221

You can apply online at, or you can stop in and complete an application at The Municipal Building Room 207, 215 Church Ave. SW Roanoke, Virginia 24011.

From what I understand, the new recruits might have to sign a 2-5 year contract and will have to sign a contract to get at least an EMT-I certification.

If indeed you have any other questions, please let me know. I will try to answer all questions. If indeed you are trying to get hired, good luck. I have been in contact with several candidates. As with any job in the Fire Service, you need to keep your head up.

Now Showing - Engine 5

Now Showing "Engine5 - Are We There Yet?"
Check out this Movie Promo that was sent to me. The poster is from the Movie Ladder 49. I vaguely remember hearing about an incident where 5A thought they...well I would hate to start a rumor. Why not call them up and ask them yourselves. Love ya, mean it.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Funniest Jokes Ever

I am not sure if I have posted any of these jokes in the past. However, all three of them are hilarious. If indeed you do not find yourself laughing hysterically at these, you need to be checked. *Please note - some profanity ahead. So here they are:

Diary of a Snow Shoveler...
(via email)

December 8 - 6:00 PM. It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9 - We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the Whole World? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life.

December 12 - The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry, we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is such a nice man, I'm glad he's our neighbor.

December 14 - Snow lovely snow! 8" last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish l wouldn't huff and puff so.

December 15 - 20 inches forecast. Sold my Corolla and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all.

December 16 - Ice storm this morning. Fell on my ass on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, Which I think was very cruel.

December 17 - Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20 - Electricity's back on, but had another 14" of the damn stuff last night. More shoveling. Took all day. Goddamn snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have another ship ment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.

December 22 - Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white shit fell today, and it's so cold it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to piss. By the time I got undressed, pissed and dressed again. I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter; but he says he's too busy. I think the asshole is lying.

December 23 - Only 2" of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What, is she nuts??!!! Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she's lying.

December 24 - 6". Snow packed so hard by snowplow, l broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son of a bitch who drives that snow plow I'll drag him through the snow by his balls and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the goddamn snowplow.

December 25 - Merry @#!%#@*& Christmas! 20 more inches of the goddamn slop tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's an idiot. If I have to watch "It's A Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to stuff her into the microwave.

December 26 - Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves.

December 27 - Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze, plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he only charged me 1,400 to replace all my pipes.

December 28 - Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. THE BITCH is driving me crazy!!!

December 29 - 10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30 - Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plow driver he is now suing me for a million dollars not only the beating I gave him but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his ass. The wife went home to her mother. 9" more predicted.

December 31 - I set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8 - Feelin so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?

This is a bricklayer's accident report that was printed in the newsletter of the English equivalent of the Workers' Compensation Board. So here, thanks to John Sedgwick, is this Bricklayer's report. (via

Dear Sir;

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form. I put "Poor Planning" as the cause of my accident. You asked for a more complete explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over which, when weighed later, were found to weigh 240 lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out, and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 240 lbs of bricks. You will note on the accident reporting form that my weight is 135 lbs.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions, and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3, accident reporting form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence. Fortunately, by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs.

I refer you again to my weight. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope.

"The Chili Taster"
(via email)

"Recently I was honored to be selected as an Outstanding Famous Celebrity in Texas, to be a judge at a chili cook-off because no one else wanted to do it. Also the original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking directions to the beer wagon when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy, and besides they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted this as being one of those burdens you endure when you're an Internet writer and therefore known and adored by all."

The scorecards from the event:

* Chili # 1: Mike's Maniac Mobster Monster Chili

JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor Very mild.

FRANK: Holy smokes, what is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out. Hope that's the worst one. These people are crazy.

* Chili # 2: Arthur's Afterburner Chili

JUDGE ONE: Smoky (barbecue?) with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.

JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

FRANK: Keep this out of reach of children! I'm not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. Shoved my way to the front of the beer line. The barmaid looks like a professional wrestler after a bad night. She was so irritated over my gagging sounds that the snake tattoo under her eye started to twitch. She has arms like Popeye and a face like Winston Churchill. I will NOT pick a fight with her.

* Chili # 3: Fred's Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili

JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.

JUDGE TWO: A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers.

FRANK: This has got to be a joke. Call the EPA, I've located a uranium spill! My nose feels like I have been sneezing Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now and got out of my way so I could make it to the beer wagon. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. She said her friends call her "Sally". Probably behind her back they call her "Forklift".

* Chili # 4: Bubba's Black Magic

JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue but was unable to taste it. Sally was standing behind me with fresh refills so I wouldn't have to dash over to see her. When she winked at me her snake sort of coiled and uncoiled... it's kinda cute.

* Chili # 5: Linda's Legal Lip Remover

JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground adding
considerable kick. Very impressive.

JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit
the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

FRANK: My ears are ringing and I can no longer focus my eyes. I belched and four people in front of me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed hurt when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. Sort of irritates me that one of the other judges asked me to stop screaming.

* Chili # 6: Vera's Very Vegetarian Variety

JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.

JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.

FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous flames. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except Sally. I asked if she wants to go dancing later.

* Chili # 7: Susan's Screaming Sensation Chili

JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef threw in canned chili peppers at the last moment. I should note that I am worried about Judge Number 3, he appears to be in a bit of distress.

FRANK: You could put a hand grenade in my mouth and pull the pin and I wouldn't feel it. I've lost the sight in one eye and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My clothes are covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth at some point. Good, at autopsy they'll know what killed me. Go Sally, save yourself before it's too late. Tell our children I'm sorry I was not there to conceive them.

I've decided to stop breathing, it's too painful and I'm not getting any
oxygen anyway. If I need air I'll just let it in through the hole in my

* Chili # 8: Helen's Mount Saint Chili

JUDGE ONE: This final entry is a good, balanced chili, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 fell and pulled the chili pot on top of himself.

JUDGE TWO: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.

FRANK: Momma??!!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone. I wish you all a fun and enjoyable day with your family, whether you are at home or at work. I am at work today, hey someone's got to do it, right. I am probably looking at a quiet day though.

I want to share some statistics with you now, as a recap of the past several months. I am doing this because I am at a loss of stuff to post. The history vault only has one Christmas picture that I know of. So I will entertain you with some statistics.

Roanoke Firefighters Blog
Posts: 311
Months Online: 10 months, Site began March 9, 2005
Total Visitors: 12,832
Total Pageviews: 22,517
Average Visits per day: 75
Average Pageviews per day: 129
Average Visit Length: 2:17

Local 1132/Roanoke Fire Fighters Association
Months since new website: 7 months, Site was revamped in June 05'
Total Pages on site: 68
Total Visitors: 3227
Total Pageviews: 12,189
Average Visits per day: 24
Average Pageviews per day: 82
Average Visit Length: 3:52

So the point is that our sites are being read. I get email from across the U.S. about things I have posted on this site, or about the history, etc. which is housed on the Local 1132 site. I have spoken to readers via email, google talk, and the phone about Roanoke. I have heard from guys who want to work here, want to know what it is like to work here, and want to know what the area is like. I speak with guys who used to work here, live here, or know guys who still work here. I have been able to send people in the right direction who are looking for information. All of that is great, and that is one reason why I do what I do.

The other thing that drives me to do this site, and continually add to the Local 1132 site, is you my brothers and sisters here in Roanoke. I do it because I think that it can make a difference. I have seen differences it can make. I hear from you guys all the time. I get emails, phone calls, and comments in person about how you guys like the site. I get ideas, recommendations, and material to use. To date I have only heard of one person who does not like the site, for whatever reason. Then there are those of you who do not see things from my point of view, which is fine. Readership is what I am after. I am not trying to shock anyone, merely tell a story.

What would it be like if we could go to a website and read what was written 100 years ago? There probably would be less questions. That is not an option, however in 100 years it might be.

The Local 1132 website is growing by leaps and bounds. If you have not checked it out in a while, I suggest you take a gander at some of the added pages.

If you have any questions, comments, or the like please let me know at

God Bless you and your Family during the Holidays.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Today in History - TAP Fire 1989

Link - Today in History - TAP Fire 1989

This new addition to the Local 1132 website shows the Roanoke Times newspaper clippings from the fire. The fire occurred at 10 am on Saturday December 23, 1989. This fire was one of the more notable fires of that last 25 years. If you hang out at a Roanoke firehouse long enough you will probably hear mention of the fire. I myself have heard so very many stories of this fire. I will not go into the stories now, because I have not been able to clarify them.

This is what I have put together thus far:

  1. There were about 100 firemen on top of the various Aerial Ladders.
  2. Most of those said firemen were up there the whole time.
  3. Most of those who were up there the whole time, were frozen to the ladder.
  4. But only one fireman(now a Captain) was needed at the fire, cause he put it out by himself. You know who you are. Love ya mean it.
Just having a little fun with you guys. Before you all say it, yes I was only 12 years old (almost 13) at the time. That puts me in the 7th grade. Yeah I know, you have underwear older. Yes you are a seasoned, crusty, old Jake. Yes I am still wet behind the ears. Yes at the time I couldn't fight my way out of a wet paper bag. And YES the fire occurred "Back in the Day". I think I covered everything. Oh except for something about a studded diamond in a Goat's ass.

Seriously though, this was one of the largest fires in the past 25 maybe even 50 years. There were a lot of Firefighters called in to cover the stations. I do not know what alarm this fire was. Possibly a General Alarm. These Firefighters were fighting fire in temperatures in the teens. They had to battle freezing on everything. I have heard stories of having to leave hose in the street for days just to wait for it to thaw out.

Stay safe over Christmas. I will be posting a little. Maybe I will put together something big for Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

EMS Recruitment Video

Check out this video which was produced to recruit EMT's in Pennsylvania. The video is courtesy of

View a write-up of the video HERE.

A Soldier's "Twas a night before Christmas"

This morning I heard a version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" on K92. Danny of the Morning Thang recited the poem. The poem is as follows:

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.

I looked all about a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and dreary,
I knew I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.

I heard stories about them, I had to see more
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping silent alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one bedroom home.

His face so gentle, his room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
I soon understood this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.

Soon ‘round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of soldiers like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don’t cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
my life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over and drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.

So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And I covered this Soldier from his toes to his head.
And I put on his T-shirt of gray and black,
With an eagle and an Army patch embroidered on back.

And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment, I was United States Army deep inside.
I didn’t want to leave him on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice so clean and pure,
"Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all is secure."
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night!


They sited with information concerning this poem. You can view all of the information HERE.
As Leatherneck wrote of the poem's author in 2003:

"Merry Christmas, My Friend" has been a holiday favorite among "leatherneckphiles" for nearly the time it takes to complete a Marine Corps career. Few, however, know who wrote it and when. Former Corporal James M. Schmidt, stationed at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., pounded it out 17 years ago on a typewriter while awaiting the commanding officer's Christmas holiday decorations inspection . . . while other leathernecks strung lights for the Barracks' annual Christmas decoration contest, Schmidt contributed his poem to his section.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fires that slipped through the cracks

So today I get a call from some cat explaining to me that I had missed a couple of fires. Apparently there were two fires on A-shifts first day, and I did not post them. Now I do not mind being beckoned to post something, least of all a fire. However if you will notice, I do not post every fire. I enjoy hearing from guys who responded so that I have some feedback to post about. I enjoy getting a detailed description of what happened, and how the guys did. I enjoy having something of detail, something with some clout to it, to post.
Well this guy merely pointed out that I did not post either of the fires. Apparently 5 Engine ran two fires in the same day. The only other information I received was that Engine 5 beat Engine 2 to Days Inn on Orange Avenue.
This is what Roanoke Fire-EMS released about the fires:


The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to a residential fire on December 16, 2005 at 2407 Delaware Ave. The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 2:10 p.m. The response of three Engines, one Ladder truck, one Medic Unit, one EMS Captain and one Battalion Chief for a total of 23 personnel responded to the scene.
When crews arrived they found smoke coming from the home. Upon further investigation, crews found the fire in the basement. This fire had started in a couch and had extended into the walls of the home. Firefighters attacked the blaze aggressively and quickly extinguished the flames.
The cause of the fire was found to be smoking materials that had ignited the couch and has been ruled accidental. When the fire broke out there was no one home. There were no injuries to Fire-EMS personnel or citizens. Damage estimates are approximately $33,000.

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to a commercial fire on December 17, 2005 at 535 Orange Ave., Days Inn.
The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 2:42 a.m. The response of three Engines, two Ladder trucks, one Medic Unit, one EMS Captain and one Battalion Chief for a total of 19 personnel responded to the scene.
When crews arrived they found smoke showing from room 155. Once crews gained access to the room they found the wall heater in the room was on fire. The flames had spread to the curtains and chairs. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze. The fire was contained to Room 155.
The cause of the fire was a malfunction in the electric heater and has been ruled accidental. When the fire broke out there were 200 people in the hotel. Everyone escaped safely. There were no injuries to Fire-EMS personnel or citizens. Damage estimates are approximately $9,000.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Dallas K's

The Dallas K's:

I thought this was a very interesting post. I did not know about this, but apparently this Congressman recited this poem, that he wrote himself, right in front of everybody.

Dingell’s HOLIDAY Jingle for O’Reilly and House GOP

Washington, DC - Congressman John D. Dingell (MI-15) recited the following poem on the floor of the US House of Representatives concerning House Resolution 579, which expressed the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected. “Preserving Christmas” has been a frequent topic for conservative talk show hosts, including Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly:

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House
No bills were passed ‘bout which Fox News could grouse;
Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer,
So vacations in St. Barts soon would be near;
Katrina kids were nestled all snug in motel beds,
While visions of school and home danced in their heads;
In Iraq our soldiers needed supplies and a plan,
Plus nuclear weapons were being built in Iran;
Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell;
Americans feared we were on a fast track to…well…
Wait--- we need a distraction--- something divisive and wily;
A fabrication straight from the mouth of O’Reilly
We can pretend that Christmas is under attack
Hold a vote to save it--- then pat ourselves on the back;
Silent Night, First Noel, Away in the Manger
Wake up Congress, they’re in no danger!
This time of year we see Christmas every where we go,
From churches, to homes, to schools, and yes…even Costco;
What we have is an attempt to divide and destroy,
When this is the season to unite us with joy
At Christmas time we’re taught to unite,
We don’t need a made-up reason to fight
So on O’Reilly, on Hannity, on Coulter, and those right wing blogs;
You should just sit back, relax…have a few egg nogs!
‘Tis the holiday season: enjoy it a pinch
With all our real problems, do we honestly need another Grinch?
So to my friends and my colleagues I say with delight,
A merry Christmas to all,
and to Bill O’Reilly…Happy Holidays.

Paramedics, Intermediates, and even Plain ole' EMT's, with a touch of good old Firefighting.

Here is a little tidbit of information sent to me today. Today 17 city Fire-EMS folks tested for National Registry EMT-I: Lt T Simmons, Lt T McFall, FF D Goodwin, FF T Meador, FF S East, FF X Lee, FF S Boone, FF J Mone, FF A Mitchell, FF B Smith, FF Proulx, FF Slayton, FF P Jesse, FF M Jenkins, FF D Lucas, FF A Foley, FF M Wheeling.

I wish the best for these guys. From what I hear the majority of them did an excellent job. This will provide the City with several more ALS providers.

As with most Cities across the Nation, the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department actively recruits Advanced Life Support (Paramedics, Cardiac Technicians, or Emergency Medical Technician Level Intermediate) personnel to fill the need of the Department. Currently there is a study being completed to find out the needs of the Department, and what the Department can do to retain these personnel. I was told today that the next recruit school will have a two year contract to sign. This will mean that the Firefighters will have to stay 2 years after recruit school in order to fulfill there contract, otherwise the individual will have to reimburse the City for the cost of their participation in recruit school.

This was brought up due to the fact that a rookie, who has only been out of recruit school about 2 months, is quitting effective January 2, 2006. It is reported that he will be going to work for Ablemarle County, Virginia. Below are the salaries of Ablemarle Fire as seen HERE.
Position Desc Paygrade Minimum Midpoint Maximum FLSA Status



Assistant Fire Chief, Operations 18 $48,698 $63,308 $77,917 E


Assistant Fire Chief, Prevention 18 $48,698 $63,308 $77,917 E


Deputy Fire Chief 21 $60,145 $78,188 $96,232 E


Education Specialist/Training Captain 16 $42,305 $54,996 $67,688 N


EMS Instructor 14 $36,750 $47,774 $58,799 N


EMS Supervisor 16 $42,305 $54,996 $67,688 N


Fire & Rescue Assistant 09 $25,848 $33,603 $41,358 N


Fire Captain 14 $36,750 $47,774 $58,799 N


Fire Fighter/Emergency Medical Technician 12 $31,925 $41,503 $51,081 N


Fire Prevention Inspector II 12 $31,925 $41,503 $51,081 N


Fire Prevention Inspector/Investigator 13 $34,254 $44,529 $54,803 N


Firefighter/Advanced Life Support 13 $34,254 $44,529 $54,803 N


Plans Reviewer (Fire & Rescue) 14 $36,750 $47,774 $58,799 N


Recruitment & Retention Captain 14 $36,750 $47,774 $58,799 N

Whereas this is the immediate information of Roanoke Firefighter/EMT or FF/Medic:

Job Title: Firefighter/EMT FF/EMT 1 & FF/Paramedic

Salary: FF/EMT $30,452
FF/EMT 1 $31,771
FF/Paramedic $ 33,771

There is not that much of a difference in Pay from what I can see. On the other hand the Insurance might be a different story.

I got a phone call today. I was told that Ablemarle adjusts the pay for experience, training, and education. I am told that a firefighter like myself with almost 7 years paid experience, an associates degree, and numerous training classes would probably start out close to 40k a year. If you throw in ALS certification, you can expect 40k+ each year. Sounds good, where do I sign up. Ha just kidding. You can't get rid of me that easy.

Don't worry, I will still be posting soon on employment opportunities for Roanoke City Fire-EMS, as well as some other local Departments. As far as Roanoke City goes, you can start HERE, HERE, or HERE for a position with Roanoke Fire-EMS as a Firefighter/EMT or a Firefighter/Paramedic. If indeed you have specific questions, I would be glad to answer them. Email me at I have already been contacted by several of you, and I am currently talking to some of you. I do not mind answering questions. If you would like, send me questions, therefore when I post on employment, I will have questions answered for everybody.

Golf Tournament T-shirts are in

I know it has been a long time since the Golf Tournament, but I wanted everyone to know that the extra Golf Tournament T-shirts have arrived. They are $10 a piece. Let me know if you want one. You can check out a picture of the t-shirt HERE. By the way, if you would like to help with the Golf Tournament this next year let me know.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Third Roanoke Team returns from Deployment

The third team arrived from Cameron Louisiana today. The team was deployed in Cameron to assist with the continued Cleanup of Hurricane Rita. You can view pictures of the team while they were deployed HERE. You can also read about their deployment HERE. The Hurricane Assistance Team consists of: Battalion Chief Audie Ferris, Battalion Chief Roger Manuel, Captain Alan Austin, Captain David Bishop, Captain Anthony Wallace, Captain David Pope and 1st Lt. Chuck Swecker.

The team served as the Incident Management Team running the EOC in Cameron. The crew was deployed on December 3rd.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Roanoke Fire Department 1937 Rules and Regulations

Roanoke Fire Department 1937 Rules and Regulations

Check out the newest addition to The Maurice Wiseman Project on Local 1132. Captain Willie Wines loaned the book to the RFFA so we could incorporate it in the project. You should really take a close look at the rules back in the day. I would have had to find a different occupation since I am only 5'7" and the minimum was 5'8". I am not the only one. Most of the Roanoke Firefighters would have had to find different occupations. The height/weight standards were very strict.

Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom

Check out the two prayers and one very poignant response to a letter to the editor on this. The three pieces speak volumes.

Roanoke Fire Department 10 Codes

Back in the day, the Roanoke Fire Department, now the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department, used 10 codes to communicate on the radio. This all changed in 2000, when the Department decided to change to plain talk. You can still hear remnant of the old way on the radio, dispatch and companies often still use terminology such as 10-4 (acknowledgement), 10-8 ( In service), 10-9 (repeat), and Codes such as Code 34 (DOA).

10 Codes/Signals vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, although certain ones always hold true. Many are universal across the nation. Many are used on the Citizen Band radio (CB).

So here is a list of the 10 codes, and other Codes from the Roanoke Fire Department. If you have any to add, let me know. This list is what is in one of the old engines in the City.

10-0 Caution
10-1 Unable to Copy
10-2 Signals good
10-3 Stop Transmitting
10-4 Acknowledgement
10-5 Relay
10-6 Busy - Standby unless urgent
10-7 Out of Service
10-8 In Service
10-9 Repeat
10-12 Standby (stop)
10-13 Weather and road report
10-19 Return to___________.
10-20 Location
10-21 Call ____________ by telephone
10-22 Disregard
10-23 Arrived at scene * First company to arrive on scene, give exact location.
10-24 Assignment completed
10-25 Report in person to ___________
10-30 Illegal use of radio
10-33 Emergency
10-34 Riot
10-36 Correct time
10-39 Urgent - Use light and siren
10-40 Silent Run - No light or siren
10-51 Need _________________
10-53 Road Blocked
10-70 Fire alarm
10-71 Working fire
10-72 Can handle alone
10-73 False alarm
10-74 Negative
10-76 Enroute or transfer to
10-79 Notify Coroner
10-84 If meeting ________, advise ETA
10-87 Pick up checks for distribution
10-88 Advise present telephone number of ______
10-89 Bomb Threat
10-97 Check (Test) Signal

Code 3 Flat tire
Code 6 Garage repair or service
Code 7 Radio repair
Code 10 Vehicle breakdown
Code 16 At office or station
Code 17 Follow up investigation
Code 18 Building inspection
Code 19 Other
Code 29 Airport alert
Code 30 Notify Hospital Emergency Room
Code 31 Disaster
Code 34 DOA (dead on arrival)
Code 51 Unnecessary use of radio
Code 53 Civil Defense siren not working
Code 54 Radiation involved
Code 56 Any traffic for __________

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Fire at 4600 Williamson Rd.

Tonight at 8:16 pm a fire was reported at the old Roma restraint on Williamson Road. The Roma restraint is vacant, and has been for several years. The building is situated right beside Hooter's restraint. E10, E2, E9, L13, L2, M2, M10, Chief 2, BC1, BC2, Service Truck 2, and Fire Marshal 2. The Fire was marked under control at 8:53 and a primary search had been completed according to the page. One firefighter was transported to the hospital. The reports that I am getting are that the FF had superficial burns to the ears and neck. The firefighter was ambulatory at the hospital. The fire was a single alarm.

I will update when I find out more information.


From the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to a commercial structure fire on December 15, 2005 at the 4600 block of Williamson Rd., the Villa Roma Motel.

The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 8:15 p.m. The response of four Engines, two Ladder trucks, two Medic Units, one EMS Captain, two Battalion Chiefs, one Administrative Chief, the Assistant Fire Marshal and one Investigative Unit for a total of 28 personnel responded to the scene.

When crews arrived they found two rooms fully involved. Firefighters aggressively attacked the blaze and brought it under control by 8:45 p.m.

This was a vacant motel and no one was inside the building when the fire broke out. The fire started at the rear of the structure and was contained to the building. This fire has been ruled as an arson and is being investigated. Damage estimates are approximately $50,000.

Two firefighters sustained minor injuries while fighting the fire. There were no injuries to citizens.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Two Fires at 502 22nd Street in 12 hours

Photo courtesy of Capt. Kent McIlhany
There was two fires at the same residence in a 12 hour period. The fire is still under investigation.

From the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department:

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to a structure fire on December 14, 2005 at 502 22nd St. This residence is located on the corner of 22nd St. and Essex St.

The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 10:37 a.m. The response of three Engines, one Ladder truck, two Medic Units, one EMS Captain, two Battalion Chiefs, three Administrative Chiefs, one Education Information Specialist, the Fire Marshal, the Assistant Fire Marshal and one Investigative Unit for a total of 28 personnel responded to the scene.

When crews arrived they found a flames coming from the upstairs of the structure. Crews began an interior attack but were instructed to evacuate the building because it had been deemed unsafe. Firefighters then set up an exterior attack to extinguish the blaze. An Investigative Unit was called to the scene to determine the cause of the fire.

The origin, estimated cause of the fire and damage estimates are still under investigation.

This was a vacant home. No one was in the building when the fire started. There were no injuries to civilians or Fire-EMS personnel.

Photo courtesy of Capt. Kent McIlhany
The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to a fire on December 13, 2005 at 502 22nd St.

The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 11:05 p.m. and was quickly under control. The response of two Engines, one Ladder truck, one Medic Unit, one EMS Captain, one Battalion Chief and one Investigative Unit for a total of 21 personnel responded to the fire.

When crews arrived they found a fire on the side of the residence. Crews quickly extinguished the fire and began to investigate.

The fire started at the window on the side of the house and was contained to the side of the structure. The estimated cause of the fire is under investigation and preliminary damage estimates are approximately $300.

This was a vacant home. No one was in the building when the fire started. There were no injuries to civilians or Fire-EMS personnel.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

2006 Spots & Ladders Calendars

The 2006 Spots & Ladders Calendars are available from the Dalmatian Rescue of Southwest Virginia. You can visit the DRSV Online. The direct link for the online store is here. Support the DRSV by purchasing a calendar. The DRSV has helped out the Roanoke Firefighters during many events. The calendar features Firefighters from Roanoke City.

Roanoke Firefighters Frappr - Map of Readers

Let Roanoke Firefighters know where you are reading from as well as check out where the other readers are. Check out Roanoke Firefighters Frappr and simply sign in where you are located. You do not have to sign up if you do not want to. Thanks to the LAFD Blog for this idea.

On this Day in History - Fire Station #7 is opened

Fire Station #7 Opened: December 13, 1922

Photo courtesy of the RFFA archives circa 1922.
Fire Station #7 was opened this day in history 83 years ago. The station originally had only 1 bay. The second bay was added on in 1950 to accommodate a Ladder truck. The addition was built The station is still in operation today housing Engine 7 and Ladder 7. I was told just the other day that Roanoke Fire-EMS has begun planning to replace this station with a new Fire Station 7 in the same vicinity. The new station will probably have 3 bays and will be built in the next 10 years.

Fire Station #7 circa 2005

Monday, December 12, 2005

16th Anniversary of Deadly Shenandoah Homes Fire

December 14th marks the 16th anniversary since the deadly fire at Shenandoah Homes in Roanoke County. Four People lost their lives in the fire that night. I was not in Roanoke at the time. As a matter of fact I was not even in High School at the time. So what I have learned of the fire, I have been told, or I have read. I will not comment on the Fire other than four people perished and 12+ were injured.

What I have done is taken excerpts from the Roanoke Times articles and letters to the editor about the fire and some of the issues which resulted from the fire. The information below was gathered from NewsBank which anyone can access through the Salem Library or online at the Salem Libraries Website with a library card. It is a great source for information.

Roanoke Times, The (VA)
January 3, 1990
The blackened third-floor window at Shenandoah Homes represents only a bad memory now and some of the people who have returned after the fire said today they are glad to be back.

The fire was Dec. 14. It took four lives and all 170 residents had to be evacuated in subfreezing weather. Today, Dorothy Jarrett, 74, was back in her first-floor apartment and she said the memory of the early morning fire "doesn't bother me a bit."

"It could have happened somewhere else," she said.

Lewis Johnson, 83 and a man who helped get people out of the south side of the first floor the night of the fire, said he wasn't bothered by the memory.

"Life goes on," Johnson said. "You're not scared. It could happen anywhere. In your home or anywhere else."..."

Roanoke Times, The (VA)
January 2, 1990
Estimated printed pages: 1

A LOT HAS been said about the response time for the fire at Shenandoah Homes. I and my family are eternally grateful for the fire department, rescue squad and volunteers who helped to get the residents out. The staff is to be commended.

My mother has lived there for two years. By the grace of God and all the above-mentioned, she was taken out safe..."

Roanoke Times, The (VA)
January 3, 1990
Estimated printed pages: 2

"THE RESPONSE to the Shenandoah Homes disaster was disastrous. The facts are similar to that of a 1976 fire at Spanish Trace apartments. Three people died there. I hope the consolidation plan will address certain key issues pertaining to emergency response to potential multicasualty incidents.

Spanish Trace was in an area recently annexed by the city of Roanoke. the closest fire station in the city was at 24th St. and Melrose Avenue, too far for a five-minute response time. The closest was Salem Fire Department's No. 2 station on Electric Road, close enough for a five-minute response. The personnel and equipment from this station were never asked to respond.
After the Roanoke Fire Department arrived, they asked Salem to send a ladder truck, which was sent from the downtown station. Roanoke also asked for the county to respond, but by now it was too late for any further rescue. Nothing much politically has changed since then.

I believe the closest qualified personnel and equipment should respond to emergencies, no matter in whose political boundary they occur. Volunteer firefighters and paramedics take the same training and testing as the paid ones do.

At the Shenandoah Homes fire, no one was at the Hollins Fire Station when the call went out. I invite the politicians to consider some incentives to keep volunteers at the stations at night:

Provide adequate facilities for eating, sleeping and showering.

Include the volunteers in a pension or retirement plan.

Decrease the personal property tax by 1/7 to the volunteers if they have to spend one night a week away from home and at the station.

I believe these incentives, and others, will insure a quality response and not burden the taxpayers much."


Roanoke Times, The (VA)
January 3, 1990
Estimated printed pages: 2

"IF A RECURRENCE of the tragedy at Shenandoah Homes is to be avoided, deliberate steps must be taken. While the unusual delay in response by the Roanoke County Fire Department is regrettable, the solution is not to spend $6 million to provide a paid staff in all the county fire departments; a similar delay could be expected in the event of two incidents occurring in quick succession. Perhaps the staff of first-response volunteer firefighters could remain in the stations during periods of predicted extreme weather conditions, thus partly eliminating the problem of delay.

More important than the response of emergency agencies is the placement of automatic fire detection and suppression systems that will prevent an incident from reaching disastrous proportions. Local fire officials who advocate legislation requiring the installation of sprinkler systems throughout facilities such as Shenandoah Homes are on target.
Hazards such as overloaded electrical circuits and smoking in bed are difficult or impossible to eliminate. Partial sprinkler systems, covering only select areas, offer a false sense of security.

However, a properly maintained, total coverage sprinkler system is, according to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 99 percent reliable in extinguishing a fire before it consumes synthetic bedding, upholstered furniture, carpeting and other combustibles found in every home, all of which produce poisonous gases when they burn. Most fire fatalities are a result of exposure to these gases..."

Roanoke Times, The (VA)
January 8, 1990
Estimated printed pages: 2

"ROANOKE County's volunteer firefighters performed heroically in battling the fatal fire at Shenandoah Homes. If some of our readers inferred from our editorials that we believe otherwise, let us set the record straight.

Our criticism of the response to the Shenandoah Homes fire was not directed at the firefighters. They did their jobs bravely and well under very adverse circumstances.
Our call for a unified emergency-response system throughout the valley has nothing to do with the caliber of the people who make up the county's volunteer fire departments. They're sterling, public-spirited folks, and thank God for them.

What we have said, and what we continue to believe, is that the area is entitled to a better system: a system through which an emergency call will go to the station in the best position to respond; a system that provides an on-duty response crew at all times of day and night. In calling for such a system, we tried to pay tribute to the performance of the individuals who did respond to the Shenandoah Homes fire. We tried to make it clear that the delay in responding was not the fault of the volunteers who crawled out of warm beds and braved icy streets to get to the scene. If our praise for the volunteers got buried in our criticism of the system, then allow us to reiterate that praise.

On Dec. 20, our lead editorial made this observation:

By all reports, county firefighters and sheriff's deputies worked effectively and courageously once they arrived. Conditions - icy subfreezing weather - made a difficult job all the harder. The heroism of the rescuers almost certainly kept the fire from claiming more lives than it did. On this score, the rescuers can hold their heads high.

On Dec. 30, again in a lead editorial, we stated:

The spate of fires has put a tremendous burden on firefighters, be they paid professionals . . . or unpaid volunteers . . . Where one's own life and the lives of others are often at stake, the burden can be emotional as well as physical. One purpose of working toward a unified emergency-response system throughout the valley is to ease that burden.

We're grateful for the jobs Roanoke Valley firefighters are doing. Our criticism has been aimed at the system, and not at the fine people who try to make the system work..."

There were other fires at Shenandoah Homes throughout the years. This was the worst of them. Hopefully there will not be any more devistating fires like this in the Roanoke Valley. Unfortunately there are still buildings like this which are not sprinklered even today.

It is interesting to see that, even then, they were talking about a Regional/Unified Fire-EMS Department.

Thanks to Travis Collins for the idea of posting this incident as well as scanning the images from the RFFA archives.

Roanoke Firehouse Nicknames

I would like to add that I have recieved several emails, phone calls, and comments in person on this topic. I would like to say that anybody can come up with a station logo, name, t-shirts, patches, etc. You can wear said items off duty all day long. In order to possibly wear this stuff on duty, and/or hang it in the stations, you will have to get permission. I know the RFFA would entertain the thought of carrying the merchandise in the marketing room.

A few suggestions if you were to follow through with this.

1. Keep it clean, professional, and Politically correct.
2. Make sure it makes sense.
3. Check with everyone in the station to see all the ideas and/or recommendations.

Some of the names I have heard recently or in the past:

#1 - Pride of Roanoke; The Big House; The Brick House; Downtown Trucking Company; The Downtown Demolition Team;
#2 - The Palace; The Palace Gaurds;
#3 - 6th Street Henchmen; 6th Street Express; Alley Kats;
#4 - Extended Stay America; Holiday Inn Express - (Gotcha Willy)
#5 - The Rock
#6 - The Beast of Southeast; Southeast Circus
#7 -
#8 - South Roanoke's Bravest
#9 - The Rat House; Northwest Raiders;
#10 - The Blackhole; The Black Sheep
#11 -
#12 - Ghost Ship
#13 - Pride of Peters Creek; Lucky 13;
#14 - The Border Patrol
County #7 - The Country Club

Feel free to add whatever you guys think of. Keep me posted. Like I said, you might also come up with individual Unit nicknames. Check out a website that I found here. It has patches of most of FDNY's current and past Firehouses. Keep the ideas flowing in. I will post them here. I might make a page on 1132's website to keep everyone posted.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Station Pride

Last week I went to Baltimore County, Maryland and DC to check out some Diesel Exhaust Systems. I will not be posting on my thoughts of the various systems until the Committee I am part of makes a recommendation to the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department.

What I do want to talk about for a minute is some similarities and differences between the Roanoke Fire-EMS and DC Fire that I noticed while I was there.

One issue I would like to speak of involves Pride, Honor, and Tradition. Our Department is thick with Traditions and some have been spoken of on this blog. Honor is also alive and well in the Department in the sense of Honor of the job, Honor of those who have died in the line of duty, Honor of rank, seniority, and respect. Pride is also prevalent on the individual basis; what I mean is that the Firefighters are Proud of the Department, the RFFA, themselves. The Firefighters are Proud of the job that they do and how they do it. However, Pride could go a lot farther in our Department.

Station Pride and Company Pride seem to be lacking, not only in our Department, but in most. Sure guys call #5 The Rock, and #2 the Palace, but what about all the rest? Why doesn't every station have t-shirts made up like #3, #5, #7. Check out some of the names FDNY has; Animal House, 90 Proof, Fantasy Island, Happy Hookers, Southern Comfort, Woodside Warriors, Red Hook Raiders, Dragon Fighters.

While up in DC we traveled to 4-5 stations. Two of them stood out; ChinaTown w/ Rescue 1, The House of Pain - Engine 10/Truck 13.

I have always been interested in these namesakes. I think that it creates a bond among the firefighters, a zest for the job, a competitive outlet for the different companies.

Why isn't there a sign hanging in #5 that says THE ROCK on it? Why not each station have a nickname or identity. You can go in most stations and see different things hanging on the walls. From huge flags to historical pictures.

If any station out there would like historical pictures of the station they are at, I will have them made so you can hang them in the Stations.

I challenge each and every station to come up with a namesake. We will see where this goes. Make some t-shirts, and whatever. A friendly competition among the Houses. Let me know if you come up with a name. On top of that, why not come up with a nickname for the individual Units/Companies. Please, try and keep it clean.

I think #10 has been dubbed "The Blackhole". From what I understand the T-shirts have been around a while.

Disclaimer: "I am not telling you to do anything without properly checking SOP's and going through the chain of command."

2006 EMS Bike Ride - cyclelicious

2006 EMS Bike Ride - cyclelicious:

2006 EMS Bike Ride
The registration deadline for the annual EMS Memorial Bike Ride is coming up.

In May 2006, EMS professionals from the Northeast will once again embark on a six day, six hundred mile bike ride from New York City to Roanoke, Virginia. The ride will conclude as part of the annual EMS Memorial events. For the fourth year they will ride to honor the memory of those EMS professionals being inducted at the memorial service as well as in support of the To The Rescue Museum.

The route is currently being developed. As with past rides, ride organizers have
depended on EMS and fire departments along the way to host meals and water breaks. Hosting the ride in your community is a great way to not only support the riders, but you will also be honoring those of whom the riders are riding for.

For all of you Bike Riders out there, and/or EMS guru's. You might want to check this out.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Saturday, December 10, 2005


LotzOthoughtz - Firemen:

There is something fascinating about Firemen. Part of it, I think, is that they go against instinct. Animals are hardwired to run from fire, be it in a fire pit or on our house. You still see this unknown fear in most non-human animals. It is so alien from everything else in the world, it is so hot and unpredictable who can blame animals for being instinctively fearful of it. But Firemen, they learn to compartmentalize this fear-a difficult thing to do. I don't think they get rid of the fear completely, that would be folly. If they had no fear there would be no sense of urgency, no sense of "have to save people now", they might even just stand there and stare at it if they had no fear of it.

This is a posting I found on a local blog. I thought some of you might enjoy it. You can find the entire post (HERE).