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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Back to the Basics

Well I have to apologize for all of the interested readers out there who enjoy the history of the fire service. I have been busy with a lot of things. As you can read on here I have been busy in trying to keep Fire Station #1 open. I think that this has everything to do with our history.
I have been busy with the MDA also. We have the cookout Wednesday August 3rd (everyone is welcome) go to for more information. I also have to get going on the Fill the Boot Campaign for this year. As always we are not allowed doing it on duty or at the intersections. We will need all of the help we can get. Check out the MDA page of for information on this soon.
I have also been busy with the RFFA's new website. If you haven't checked it out, you should soon. Our site is easily the best site in Virginia (among the locals). Of course I might have a biased opinion.
We also have the basketball game coming up on Friday August 5th. Check out for more information.
I have spoken with a lot of people recently in reference to RFFA's stance on certain subjects, what the local is doing about this and that, and why certain things are happening. I do not mind answering questions here and there, but I am not going to recite the entire meeting every time someone wants to know what is going on. It is your responsibility as a Union member to attend the meetings. It seems as though a lot of you all are interested, I just do not understand why you can't attend 1 meeting a month. I know you work 2 jobs, so do I and I manage to make it there most of the time. There are a lot of things happening at the Union Hall and within the Local, these things would happen faster if we had more people there to help us. Thanks for all that everyone does with MDA. I look forward to seeing you all out there on Wednesday.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Fire at 2309 Ranch Road

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to an alarm for a structure fire on July 28, 2005 at 2309 Ranch Rd.
The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 9:38 p.m., and was quickly under control.The response of three Engines, one Ladder truck, two Medic units, one EMS Captain and one Battalion Chief were involved in the fire.
This is a residential townhouse structure. Upon arrival units saw smoke and flames coming through the roof of the townhouse. They made an agressive attack and extinguished the fire rapidly.
There was 1 person at home at the time of the fire and they escaped safely. There were also 2 other people at home in the adjacent townhouse. They also escaped safely. There were no injuries to citizens or Fire-EMS personnel.
Damage estimates were approximately $25,000-$30,000.
The cause was a short or electrical malfunction in an exhaust fan in the upstairs bathroom.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fire at 2449 Maryland Avenue

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to an alarm for a structure fire on July 25, 2005 at 2449 Maryland Avenue.
The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 8:45p.m., and was quickly under control.The response of three Engines, one Ladder truck, one Medic unit, and one Battalion Chief were involved in the fire.
This is a residential structure. Upon arrival units saw light smoke and flames in the basement. They made an agressive interior attack and extinguished the fire rapidly.
There were 2 people at home at the time of the fire and they escaped safely. There were no injuries to citizens or Fire-EMS personnel.
Damage estimates were $4,000 to the structure and $2,000 to the contents.
The cause was an electrical surge caused by lightning.

Monday, July 25, 2005

More information on the proposed Fire Station #1 building site.

A concerned department member asked me that I review my facts on the posting that I submitted concerning the site for the new station #1. So I have dug a little deeper and I am posting my findings here. If you would like to see the information for yourself or read the entire City Council agenda you can find it here: go to departments, City Council, then go to meeting agendas, followed by Council agendas and reports, then go to July 18, 2005, the part we are concerned with starts on page 102.
"A stipulation for participation in the VRP was the City's agreement to a Declaration of Restrictive Covenants associated with the property that permits groundwater beneath the property to be used only for environmental monitoring and testing and that the property shall not be used for residential purposes or for a children's daycare facility, schools or playground purposes. The residential exclusion does not apply to the use of the property for a fully-staffed fire Station/Administration Building."
Source: The meeting report for Roanoke City Council July 18, 2005.
Furthermore I have the definition as found at

With certain legal exclusions and additions, the term `brownfield site' means real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

Definition Source:The Brownfields Site definition is found in Public Law 107-118 (H.R. 2869) - "Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act" signed into law January 11, 2002.
So this site is indeed a brownfield site as described by the definition.
Also noted in the City Council Report is this:
The subject site had been developed with the Crystal Springs Laundry from approximately 1914 to 1977, at which time it was demolished. The subject site has been undeveloped since then. Soil and groundwater sampling was conducted at the subject site in 2002 and 2003 and both soil and groundwater were found to be impacted by dry cleaning solvents. A groundwater monitoring well was installed in 2004. Laboratory analyses indicated soil and groundwater at the subject site to be impacted with chloroform, 1,2-dichlorobenzene (1,2-DCB), cis-1,2,- dichloroethene (c-1,2-DCE), tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE). Only PCE and TCE in groundwater exceeded the VRP Tier II Screening Levels and a quantitative risk assessment determined that the concentrations present at the site did not pose a significant risk.
In July 1998 during a geotechnical investigation, an underground storage tank (UST) was encountered and removed. The UST was documented to have had a release and was addressed under the Commonwealth of Virginia UST regulations. Remaining petroleum constituents were addressed under the VRP Risk Assessment."
Later in the report it is written:
"The risk assessment concluded that contamination in the soil and groundwater at the Site did not present an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment provided that the impacted groundwater at the Site is not used for drinking water purposes or development for residential or children day care purposes. Therefore, the following deed restrictions are to be incorporated: (1) groundwater beneath the Site shall not be used for any purpose other that environmental monitoring and testing and; (2) the Site shall not be used for residential purposes or for children's (under the age of 16) daycare facilities, schools or playground purposes (although hotels and motels are not prohibited). the residential exclusion also does not apply to the use of the Property for a fully-staffed Fire Station/ Administration Building."
All of that being said you might ask what all of this means. Well to me it means that the site has some serious contaminates left in the soil and that the Agencies involved have made sure that children are not exposed to its risks at a daycare, nor is any citizen exposed to its risk as a residence EXCEPT FIREFIGHTERS who CAN live there and CAN work there because the report was written that it is okay.
Now I know that Roanoke City asks a lot of its firefighters, and we always rise to the occasion no matter what the risk to protect its citizens. That is what we are here for. To be a public servant and protect life and property from the perils of fire, medical emergencies, and any other situation or incident that the citizens/visitors of this great City might call us for. However I do not know of any training or otherwise that the City thinks may protect us from the same ailments that others might experience while living on this Site. Yes that is right, we will be living on this site (at least the firefighters who are stationed there) and it plainly says in black and white that it cannot be used as residential. Sure there is the exception for the fire station, but why. Why would they subject us to these contaminates that they deem the rest of the citizens/visitors of the City should not be.
These are questions that need answers. If you have not emailed or called City Council on this matter and you feel the same way then you need to.

Fire at Stratford Park Apartments

A fire in the 3800 block of Stratford Park occured on Sunday July 24th, 2005. Units responding include E-4, E-13, E-3, E-7, L-7, L-13, BC-1, RS-1, M-4, M-3, and Salem Engine 2. The fire occured at 6:47 pm and was quickly controlled. The fire was a room and contents fire and damaged a single apartment unit. One family was displaced by the fire and the family cat parished in the fire.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Firefighter B.T. Butler currently in Iraq

I hope no one has forgotten about B.T. Butler. I snapped this picture at #13 when the rest of the company was busy doing a company drill. Ha Ha. Just kidding. I have heard from B.T. several times now and he seems to be doing fine. I have looked for him on Firehouse Forums but I have not seen him on there in a while. Firefighter Butler is currently overseas in Iraq working for Wackenhut as a Firefighter on base. He has seen a little bit of fire apparently over there, which is more than he can say about when he was here. Again just kidding. Email B.T. Butler. I am pretty sure that is his email, I will edit it if it is wrong. I will edit it if that is wrong. Send him an email to let him know we are thinking about him. I trying to remember if this picture was taken at 9am on a Wednesday or not. ha ha ha.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The all new RFFA Local 1132 Online

Ok so I have pulled all of my hair out at this point. However after major set-backs by the smallest issues the all new and improved RFFA Local 1132 website is online. This is my first attempt at building a website. I have to admit I had help with it from dreamweaver. There is so much that I have not even begun uncover from dreamweaver. So I hope you all appreciate it, and keep looking back. It certainly will not be a stagnant site. I hope to capitalize on the abundance of server space available. Look for major improvements in the future.
Anyways I just wanted to let you all know that it is online and see what you guys thought.

MVA on Loudon Ave.

Here is Engine 5 B-shift on the scene of an MVA on Loudon and 15th street. One person was transported by Medic 3. Incident took place on July 20, 2005.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Captain E.E. Smith

Here is a good picture of me getting a schooling from Pete Smith at Station #8. Pete is the oldest living Retired Firefighter from the City of Roanoke. Pete worked here from 1942 til 1974 and is 93 years old. Next year he will have been drawing a pension for the same amount of time that he worked here. Pete lives near Station #8 and stops by just about everyday at least once. He is always welcome and likes hearing what is going on. If you ever have a chance to work at Station #8 find time to sit down and talk to Pete. If he doesn't stop by then ask the guys where he lives and go talk to him. He loves telling stories.
Pete's real name is Elmer Elijah Smith. He was a Captain and spent 20 years at station #3. He was moved from station #8 until station #11 opened and he was there the day it opened. When Pete came to the department he was filling a spot opened from a firefighter going to the War. When Pete was a newly hired firefighter he worked with a guy who was a firefighter when the horses pulled the steam engines (late teens).
Pete is a great source for information on the past, so if you get a chance then sit down and talk.

1918 Water Tower Fire Truck

I just got back from Cycle Systems in SW Roanoke and I have good news and not so good news. The good news is that I have found the 1918 Water Tower that was housed at Station #10 (now #2 on Noble Ave.) This truck was a one of a kind for the city and it still has the wooden wheels and solid rubber tires on it. However it is in bad shape. I am not sure what if anything was scrapped on it, however the body panels are gone and it is pretty much just the frame. It still has the motor, water tower, gears, even some hose on it, but it is completely covered in rust. Can it be restored? I am not sure, I am not in that business, however it is worth looking into. I would like to thank Pete Hristov and Jay Brenner at Cycle Systems with their assistance in showing me the truck. There is also the tractor part of a tiller truck also 1918 model next to it. I will attach pictures in the future hopefully.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Fire at 2618 Portland

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to an alarm for a structure fire on July 20, 2005 at 2618 Portland.

The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 2:35 p.m. and was quickly under control at 3:00 p.m. The response of three Engines, one Ladder truck, two Medic units, one EMS Captain, one Investigative unit, two Battalion Chiefs and two Administrative Chiefs were involved in the fire.

This is a residential structure. Upon arrival units saw heavy flames and smoke coming from a front bedroom window. The fire was quickly extinguished. The cause was a youngster dropping a lit candle into clothes. The fire was accidental. Damage was confined to the bedroom and the attic with estimates of approximately $75,000.

There were five people in the house when the fire started. All five escaped unharmed. There were no injuries to civilians or Fire-EMS Personnel.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New Fire Station being built on "Brown Field"

In an article in the Roanoke Times today Todd Jackson writes about the contaminated site that was chose for a fire station because it was unfit for residential use. I have news for the City Council, citizens involved, and everyone else : Firefighters live at the fire station. I think that sums up the building actually being residential. How would you feel if you were made to live under these conditions that City Manager, City Council, and the State Department of Environmental Quality say is a contaminated "brown field" that has a buried fuel tank from a former gas station and also contains solvents and chemicals from a past dry cleaning business. I know that this is not to appealing to me, and for the next 19 years I will spend a third of my life in a fire house. That is right, firefighters spend a third of their life at the fire house. We work 56 hours a week, 52 weeks a year = 2912 hours a year or 1/3 of the year 24 hours at a time. That is residential I don't care how you look at it. So how can the City Officials let this be? Well it seems as though they do not put very much stock in their loyal public servants. It seems as though they will close down station #1 and continue with the consolidation plan at any expense. Will it effect the firefighters? Who knows? I for one certainly do not want to find out 20 years from now that working at that station improved my chances of getting cancer. As you know firefighters are already at an increased threat of getting most common cancers. So this is GREAT news.
"So the city, as it often does in urban redevelopment projects, entered into a voluntary program with the state to prepare the site. It also agreed that the property will be used for an accepted public or commercial purpose - and not for residential development or a day care center. State and federal law provides for certain uses on so-called "brown field" sites while prohibiting uses that could pose a greater potential long-term health hazard."

-Todd Jackson "Tainted lot good for new station" Roanoke Times, Virginia Section Tuesday, July 19, 2005.

This makes me sick, to find out this is really what Officials think of the brave men and women(firefighters) who serve the citizens and visitors of Roanoke City and are willing to risk life and limb on their behalf.

And yes Brian Wishneff I think that the administration to poll the historic station's employees to gather their feedback on the issue.(relating to closing down station #1)

Maybe they should invest some money in getting proper exhaust fans in the station bays. I work at a station that has no exhaust fans at all. That means when we pull out of the station all of that diesel exhaust fills the station, then when we get back we get to live in it and breathe in it. So what is being done to combat that problem? Some stations have the equivalent of an attic fan or a box fan put in a window. Let me tell you, that really gets the job done.

It just goes to show you how the firefighters, who work for the #1 department in the city (voted on by the citizens), are being treated. It really makes you want to strive to be a better employee. Yet another step by the city that breeds mediocrity.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The new Engine 11

Here is a picture of Engine 11 that was placed in service about a month ago. This engine replaced the second to last open cab front line engine. Engine 13 is currently the last open cab front line fire engine in the City of Roanoke. This is the first truck built by M&W for Roanoke Fire-EMS. From what I hear this is a very well built fire engine. I guess only time will tell as with any new venture. Custom Pumper - HME Custom Cab; Detroit Series 60; Allison 4000EVS; 1,500 GPM Pump; 1,000 gal Tank; Foam System; Deck Gun; 6" Rear Suction; 8kW Hydraulic Generator, Cord Reel, Brow Light; (2) 1,500W Telescopic Quartz Lights; LED Light Pkg.. Job No. 10700

Fire Station #1 T-Shirts

If you all didn't know this is the building that is supposed to be built at Franklin and Elm. It will be the new Fire Department Headquarters which will include Ladder 1, Engine 3, Medic 3, Battalion 1, and RS-1. Fire Station 1 and 3 will be closed down signaling the end of an era. The era of 100 years of firefighting history in the City of Roanoke. The RFFA is currently making t-shirts of Station #1 then and now which will turn out great I am sure.
I was thinking of making a simple t-shirt, something not to expensive, that anyone could buy. The t-shirts would not be for any fund raising purposes and would be sold at cost. The idea behind them would be to raise awareness of the current plan to close down the station. I am trying to think up a good catchy phrase along the lines of "Keep Station #1 open". I am sure some of you can come up with something a little better than that. So let us here it.
If you do not know it anyone can post a comment and give their idea. Just click the comments button below the post and add your 2 cents and click submit.

Fire at 3204 Cove Rd.

Units responded to a residential structure fire at 3204 Cove Rd. NW on July 16, 2005 at 2120 hours. Engine 9 was incident command with Engine 13, Ladder 13, and Medic 9 working inside. RS-1 and Battalion 2 also responded. Engine 5 and Medic 2 were dispatched as the working fire units and were cancelled en route by command. I will add more information it comes in.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Golf Tournament a HUGE Success!!!

I am pleased to tell you all that the 2005 Roanoke Valley Fire Fighters MDA Golf Tournament was a huge success raising a little over $3600 for MDA. Everyone involved should be very proud to have doubled the funds raised from last year. We ended up with 33 teams who were up early and began playing in the rain. However the rain did not wash out the enthusiasm of the golfers and it stopped 2 holes into the tournament. I would personally like to thank Rob Johnson and Charlie Adkins from Salem's Local for all of their hard work and determination. Those guys truly know what it is to be a brother and rise to the challenge of raising money for this great cause. I would also like to thank the sponsors:

Acute Designs Inc.
Advance Auto
ArringtonÂ’s Sports Awards
Authentic Construction
B.T.Â’s Tax Service
Back to Basics Family Physical Therapy, PC
Blue Ridge Rescue Suppliers
Circuit City
Classic Image Day Spa Clinic
Freedom First Credit Union
Garden City Grocery
JordanÂ’s Custom Framing & Art
National City Mortgage
Play it again Sports
The Heart Team
U.S. Food Service
WalMart (Salem)
Westlake Heating & Air
Starline Medical
Outback Steakhouse
Firehouse Subs
Dick's Sporting Goods
Machine Magic

A special thanks to The Heart Team for coming out to the tournament and hanging out with all of us all day. We appreciate their presence on Hole #10 and hope to see them next year.

Through our sponsors support we are able to put on this great event. I hope that these sponsors return next year to raise even more funds for the MDA.
The teams were mostly groups of local firefighters, however this year we had our biggest turnout yet of outside teams. Some of these teams represent Companies dedicated to our cause and donate through sponsorship, a team, door prizes, food, personnel. The company's that were present as a team were:
Westlake Heating & Air
Arrington Sports Awards
Commonwealth Used Equipment
Mitchell Service Center
The other teams were made up of Firefighters from Roanoke City, Salem, Vinton, Roanoke County, and Danville.
Thank you to all of the assistance we had from the non golfers who helped drive beverage carts, cook and take pictures. The Hooter's girls were an added bonus for us. They were unable to attend last years tournament and I heard about how I really needed to get them out there this year. Well they really pulled through for us this year. They raised about $400 in door prize ticket sales and seemed to have a really good time. We really appreciate thgenerositysity.
And so I will say that it was once again a blast to put on this tournament for everyone. I have to say that I did not hear a single complaint this year, which means that you did something right or the firefighters are eating or dead. So cheers to us, all of us, who get together each year to play a sport that none of us are good at and try to look professional.

Golf Tournament T-Shirts

Here is a picture of the Golf Tournament Shirt. The image on the left is the back, the one in the middle is pocket size on the front and the image on the right is on the left sleave. These are some really nice looking shirts and a lot of the players were asking where they could get them. They are being sold for $8 and can be ordered through me. They will probably be ordered once so let me know if you are interested. I will see if the RFFA will want to purchase several to have at the hall.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Station #1

Yet another excellent article written about the historical Fire Station #1. I hope that people enjoy reading about this Station, and that they know the plans are to change it into an EMS museum. That is right. Over the past 30 years there have been plans drawn up for several different scenarios. The history museum wants to get their hands on it to turn it into a museum, the EMS Museum currently at Tanglewood Mall wants to get a hold of it and turn it into an EMS Museum (It has never housed and ambulance in 100 years), and private developers would like to get a hold of it to turn it into a restaurant. Those are the ideas that I have read about in the articles the RFFA possesses. I will tell you what I think. I think that they should leave it alone. I think that it is perfect the way it is. For almost 100 years Firefighters have ate meals, slept, run fires, built fire engines (that is right), made hose appliances, kept horses, dispatched, rang the bell, painted the roof, fed squirrels, lifted hay into the loft, laughed, cried, and continued a tradition that needs to be kept intact. These Firefighters have answered every call, every question, every everything and only asked for a fair shake in return. The Firefighters of Roanoke City are asking for just that, a fair shake. Maybe we should sit back and look at the other options before making a hasty decision. I will be posting a picture of the new Fire Headquarters to be built at the corner of Elm and Franklin in the next week or so.

Monday, July 11, 2005

History to be continued

I apologize for being off topic and posting current events. This is new to me and I will continue my historical quest as soon as this Golf Tournament is played on Thursday. I have also put the Local's website on a little bit of a hold. Unfortunately my family is also feeling the pressure of this tournament this year. But it will be over soon. I would like to say that next year someone else will hopefully be putting on the golf tournament. I will still be the MDA Coordinator for the Local, however I will be focusing most of my time with the RFFA on Communications. As the Communications Chairman I will be keeping the website up to date and members informed. Hopefully this will curb some more enthusiasm and interest within the RFFA. If anyone is interested in assisting with the MDA please contact me. There are several other events which members have expressed interest in having with the proceeds benefiting the MDA. A Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction has been discussed over the past 2 years and is a very good possibility. There are several FD's in the U.S. that put these on and make some money for various Charities. Other events include a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, miniature golf tournament, Firefighter competition, softball tournament, and others. I can only do so much, however if there was a coordinator for each event we could put them all on.

The Fill the Boot Campaign will be in the end of August so look for more information to follow.

Oh yeah and don't forget about the MDA Cookout at the summer camp on August 3rd. Contact me for any questions and information.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Point Proven

This solidifies the point of the public being misinformed and not told the whole story.

"Just to clarify, the city had the money allotted to hire the 12 new firefighters to staff station 14. It was supposed to have been a package deal; new station, 12 new firefighters, new fire engine. They then diverted the money...They chose to hire 12 new police officers instead and used that as an excuse to move the engine 1 personnel to station 14. Another thing, maybe it does not make any difference whether an engine is stationed downtown or only responds to downtown, the fact is the citizens are not told the "whole story"."

I read on
Jeff Artis website "For the past several years, Roanoke's Fire/EMS Chief Jim Grigsby, who should know better than anyone else about cost, fire stations and fire fighting efficiency, has also questioned the validity of the plan." I am not sure where he gets his information but this does not seem correct. If he is correct he might have something though.
Let me say again that I do not think the plan is racist. However the communities effected in #9 and #5's first dues need to know that the plan as I understand it might help them out. A brand new firestation that houses a Ladder Company, 2 Engine Companies, Medic Truck, a Police Substation, and a Community Center. At least that is how it was sold to me. What are the chances of them keeping 2 Engines in the same house? They might swap one of the engines for a dry squad(carries no water therefore there is no suppression value). Sure the Squad would be a nice addition to the fleet, and it is being built now, but at what cost. If you do not like the plan fine. But if it is going to happen then make sure that you know what you have now and demand to keep it that way even in the new station.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Continually Misinformed

I received an email from someone who reads this blog and he commented on the post I wrote about losing Companies in the consolidations. I referred to the 5-9 merge and questioned whether or not the new station will contain 2 engines, or an engine and a dry squad(which has already been purchased), or just a single engine. He reminded me of the fact that when Engine Company #1 was removed from Station #1 downtown the Citizens were told that there will still be a truck in the station. So the citizens bought into it. He stated that most people are under the impression that each truck can do the same thing. Well as firefighters know that isn't the case. When Engine #1 was moved to Station #14 instead of the City adding another Engine Company the downtown area lost their fire suppression and now relies on Engine 3 as the first due. Sure Station #1 houses Ladder #1 which perform many tasks, however engine companies perform different tasks. One of those engine company tasks is suppression. The engine is what carries the water, hose, pump, etc. to actually put out the fire. So there is some more information for you.

July 8, 2005

Ok so I have missed out on some incidents. I do not really feel like going into the vehicle fire/accident on 581. I was upset to see pictures on the news and in the newspaper of a woman being burned to death. I think it hit me wrong when one of the news channels aired a picture of the drivers side during the fire. I do not think you could see anyone inside, however I just think that it was wrong.

I think it is interesting that the Roanoke Times printed an article(Sunday July 3, 2005) on Homeland Security and its funding to fire stations in the area just a couple of days prior to the London Bombings. The gist of the article was why do all these FD's get all this money and for what. That "nothing is going to happen here" attitude is exactly what the problem is with America. I am not saying you should live your life in fear. The FD's are receiving funds to buy equipment that could help them in case of an attack or otherwise and people have a problem with it. Well I am sure they would change their tune if something happened here or even worse to them or a family member. Most of the money is Federally funded through grants. The one thing that I found interesting is that per capita Roanoke City received $14.90 while Radford, Giles County, Floyd County, Buena Vista, Bath County, Pulaski County all received about double. And most of the other localities in the area received more than Roanoke City.

I told you all of a big surprise coming our way. I have learned some more details and it looks as though I will be able to see the surprise for the first time later this month. I do not know what it is exactly or I should say what "they are" potentially. So we will have to wait and see. If anyone wants to go with me to see this I wouldn't mind getting a few people together to see this stuff. It is in the City however it is not easily accessible from what I understand. And yes we have permission by the owners of the land, as a matter of fact they are going to cut a trail for us if need be.

Oldest Station around

So there it is again, Station #1 in the paper. Guilliams, West, and Leonard were all shown in the paper and quoted on various snippets in the article. Good job guys. I thought it was interesting how it is mentioned that "Firefighters have read that the station is the oldest active fire station east of the Mississippi River." I have heard something similair however I do not believe it. I find it hard to believe that some of these bigger cities do not have older working stations. So I put it on the forums. Click on the header above to go to the forum at Already I have been shown where Detroit Michigan has 4 older stations still operable as well as Belmar, NJ. I will see where else there are older and continue this post.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Fire Station Closings

Ok Ok. It is heating up. We have had several articles and editorials in the past week on the Fire Station closures. Now we have a rebuttal by a black columnist on the whole "Rasist" Fire Department. No I do not think that the plan is racist by any means. Nor do I believe that the department is racist. That being said I can understand why people feel that way. Maybe it is misguided anger at why the City would close down two stations in predominantly black communities and merge them into one. However I do not think that this is in any way racist.
Shanna Flowers you might know something about racism and what it is and what it isn't, however you know nothing about the fire department. You need to check your facts before you begin writing. Yes it is true that Station 9 once housed a ladder truck and that the Ladder truck for that area is now housed at Station #13. However it was not because it could not fit. The reason that the Ladder truck is at #13 is because a Medic truck was placed into service at station #9 so the citizens would have an ambulance closer to an area which has a lot of EMS calls. Medic 9 is one of the busiest in the city. Yes I believe the plan is to put Ladder 13, Engine 9, Engine 5, Medic 9 all at the new Station on Melrose and 19th because that is what we are told. However has that been set in stone. Will we lose an engine company? Will Engine 5 be replaced with a heavy technical rescue truck that carries no water? Who knows? Obviously the firefighters don't know, and the citizens don't know. So what is it going to be. These are the questions that need answers. These are the questions that the newspaper will not ask because they do not know the facts.
Another editorial in today's paper states that "The city needs modern-day engines in stations that can respond quickly to each neighborhood" I agree. So what does the new consolidation plan have to do with that. Currently 2 stations can respond to their 1st due for calls in the same engines that they will be responding from a new station where both will be housed. The plan does not call for "modern-day engines". Sure we have "modern-day" engines in service now. However 6 of our engines are 15 years or older. So what do you mean? Are you sure you know what you are talking about? Do you know what the suggested life span of a 1st line apparatus is? Why don't you look into that one and get back to me.
About the downtown Stations 1 and 3. There are many other possibilities for this consolidation. How much is it worth to the taxpayers to close these stations to build a 3 story building that will cost millions. Why not leave #1 open as a working museum. Station #1 is in very good shape for being 100 years old. Some of the other stations are in disrepair because that was part of the plan. For the past 4 years + the city has neglected these stations (3,5,9) so it would be easier to show how much it will cost to fix and repair them. That is politics at its worst. The citizens deserve better. The Virginia Historical Society has been trying to obtain Station #1 for over 25 years. Well let us look beyond our noses. They listed it as a historical landmark along with Station #6 which is now a police substation and community hall. So here this Society has a working station downtown that has real firefighters, real apparatus, real history and is being operated all of the time. Why don't they put a display in the station and call it an operating museum?
As for the new station #10. Bring it on. I do not know of any firefighters who oppose this new station being built. The current #10 is not in a good location for getting anywhere. It takes too long to get to the major arteries of the city. So a new station on Williamson Rd. will be beneficial.
If the city is to fully understand what this consolidation plan includes and excludes the newspaper needs to report the facts and demand the facts. We need to ask the right questions so we are informed on the plan and the proposed outcome.
There is an old saying that firefighters are resistant to change. Well if you ask me the firefighters of today are more willing to change if they know what the change is for and understand the change and have cause to change. In this case the firefighters have not been told much except that change will happen. What will change, when it will change, and how it will change is up in the air.
My words are free. So the newspaper can read and learn. Now go out there and ask the right questions for the people you write for.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

What a Vacation!!

Well I am back from Northern Ohio where a lot of my relatives live. It was neat driving through Amish country again. No my relatives are not Amish. The Bellevue Fire Department was neat to stop in and see. Check them out at Bellevue Fire Department.

Anyways it seems as though I have been gone for a month. I will probably just post several incidents on this one thread. However that is not the big news. The big news is the RFFA in the paper. Oh yes right there standing up for the Historical Station #1. Chief still stands by his plan of closing and opening stations 1 and 3 = the new #1, 5 and 9 = the new #3, and station 10 will be opened on Williamson as #5. Oh yeah and they closed #12 a couple of years ago. What about the firefighters riding in open cabs. What about almost half of our fleet of engines being 15 years old. I don't see City Council voting on a plan to purchase 6 new engines. What would that cost. Well it depends on if they are going to get a $250,000 engine or buy some more of those tele squirts at $400,000. So you are looking at $1.5 to $2.4 just on updating our engines. Not to mention the Quints that are costing more and more each day. I wonder how long those will last. Oh and that is not opinion. I am sure if you bump into certain people maybe around the Service Center area and maybe mention those trucks they might fill you in. Then again they might not.

And they are going to close Station #1. Let us talk about that for a minute. They are going to spend how much on the Art Museum, something like $48 million(don't hold me to it). Yet they are going to shut down one of the oldest working museums in the State of Virginia found right here in Roanoke two blocks from this new museum. What this can't be happening. I searched
National Registry of Landmarks for fire stations in Virginia and all I could find was Fire Station #1, Fire Station #6- both in Roanoke, and a Volunteer company somewhere else. This doesn't mean that it is the oldest working Fire Station in Virginia, however it is the oldest working Fire Station that is a National Landmark.

Now given this opportunity it could actually save Citizens money. Let us think about it.
Station #1 is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. People, children, field trips, etc. stop in day after day, all the time. You can go to Station #1 and be shown the Fire truck, an additional fire truck donated by the Kazim Shriners, the bay, the bunk room, the kitchen, along with other historical stuff like the pompier ladders, the jump net, the chew marks on the walls from the horses, all of this stuff for free. The tour guides(firefighters) are already there unless they are out on a call etc. What beats that. And the firefighters want to be there. They like seeing the visitors, they like everything about Station #1.

Station #1 represents the department, its members and its history. I do not know what more you could ask for out of a museum.

I have to stop now. I will post more tomorrow. The fires, the shooting, Daniel Goodwin on the cover of the paper looking like a pro., and all that other stuff like the land purchases and the supposed "Racist Department" that some of us work for according to some citizens.