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Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Firefighting in Roanoke" on PBS

I just got finished watching the interview I did for PBS on Blue Ridge Excursions. Many thanks to Jim Hammerstrom for doing an excellent job editing the story. I will do my best to get a hold of the video to get copies out to whoever wants one.

And yes I know that #5 is at 12th and Loudoun Ave. not 12th and Moorman. My bad.

I hope you guys liked it who were able to watch it.

Retired Firefighter Richard Buck Blankinship passes away

Richard (Buck) Matthew Blankenship, 70, of Roanoke, passed away, Friday, April 27, 2007. He was born in Roanoke on June 3, 1936. He was retired from the Roanoke City Fire Department. Richard is preceded in death by his parents, Harry Blankenship, Sr. and Gracie Dent Blankenship, and a brother, Harry Lee Blankenship, Jr. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Frances Blankenship of Roanoke; a son, Mike Blankenship of Salem; two grandchildren, Jonathan Blankenship, of Salem and Christina Blankenship, of Roanoke; a sister, Roxie Newhouse, of West Virginia; and several nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends on Sunday, April 29, 2007 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Lotz Funeral Home, 1001 Franklin Rd. SW. A service will be held on Monday, April 30, 2007 at 11 a.m. at Lotz Roanoke Chapel with the Rev. Carter Sloan officiating. Interment will follow at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem. Condolences may be sent to Arrangements by Lotz Roanoke Chapel, 982-1001.

Obituary from the Roanoke Times

3 dogs rescued from house fire

Firefighters rescued three dogs from a burning house in Southwest Roanoke on Thursday night, said Roanoke Fire-EMS Battalion Chief Audie Ferris.

The dogs' owners were not at the home in the 1500 block of Roanoke Avenue when the fire started.

The dogs were given oxygen and taken to a veterinarian's office, where they were treated for smoke inhalation, Ferris said. They are expected to recover. Read More

In case you were wondering why I haven't posted information on the other fires recently it is due to two reasons. For some reason I have not been getting email notifications when press releases are published on the fires. I will check and make sure I am still signed up, although Administration might have stopped publishing them. The other reason is because rarely does anyone send in information on fires they run. I get a lot of questions about this. I try to do a write up on most of the fires I run on, both of them. HA. If you would like to share information like the address, what you had, and who responded, just email it to me at

Reminder: Watch the PBS video on Roanoke's Fire History tonight

Tonight on PBS Blue Ridge Excursions, the video on the history of the Roanoke Fire Department will air at 730 pm.

The website for PBS is here

Let me know what you think after you watch it. I will be watching it for the first time as well.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Reminder: Benefit Book Signing for Kevin Jamerson

Reminder: Benefit Book Signing in Roanoke at First Due Fire/EMS Gear for injured Firefighter Kevin Jamerson of Moneta Volunteer Fire Department Tomorrow Saturday April 28th 1pm.

I will be at First Due Fire/EMS Gear signing copies of "Firefighting in Roanoke".

Click for more information

Roanoke Recruit School Burn

Roanoke Fire-EMS Recruit School Burn
Click for more

Roanoke Fire-EMS Training

Check out Roanoke Fire-EMS on showcasing the Rock Harness, Ray Harness, and Roanoke Ladder.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The history of the Roanoke Fire Department on PBS

In haste of what some would call my shameless self-promotion, I forgot all about the interview I did airing on PBS tonight. I was interviewed for Blue Ridge Excursions for PBS a couple of months ago and it is airing this week. In case you missed it along with me you will have the opprotunity to watch it again on Sunday April 29th at 730 pm. By the way, the interview isn't about me at all, it is about the history of the Roanoke Fire Department and was filmed in the bay of Fire Station #1. The really cool thing about it is that the RFFA has a tape of an interview that RVTV did with Maurice Wiseman in the 1990's.

Boston on Fire

The City of Boston

Last week, Becky and I travelled to Boston for an enjoyable vacation. If you have not been to Boston, I suggest making a trip in your lifetime. It is amazing how much history there is in the City. We tried to get to as much as possible, but there just wasn't enough time.

I enjoyed reading about the Boston Fire Department and about historical fires in Boston. If you aren't aware, Boston has had several significant fires, two which nearly burned the whole City to the ground, the Cocoanut Grove fire which killed 490 people, and a hotel fire which killed 9 firefighters.

I got an email several months ago from Stephanie Schorow about a new book coming out titled Rescue Men. In the meantime, she sent me two of her books titled The Cocoanut Grove Fire and Boston on Fire. I read both of the books and learned about historic fires in Boston and other events which shaped Boston's Fire Department. I recommend both books.

The site of the Cocoanut Grove fire is a very quiet residential/commercial area. We went there midday, so most of the residents were away at work. The only telling reminders of the Fire are the plaque in the sidewalk and a plaque on the wall of a neighboring building.

Rescue Men, written by Charles Kenney, is a book mainly about his Father "Sonny"and Grandfather "Pops" who were both firefighters in Boston. Ironically, both of them were retired due to health reasons after suffering injuries in significant fires. His Grandfather suffered injuries during the Cocoanut Grove fire, and was one of the first firefighters on scene. He was able to rescue many people that evening. Charles' dad became one of the top experts on the Cocoanut Grove Fire, spending years of his life researching the fire and trying to define a cause for the disastrous fire.

The book delves into other struggles in the Kenney family including Affirmative Action which kept other Kenney men from becoming Boston Firefighters, growing up in Boston, losing his mother, and his fathers struggle to find peace after being retired from the BFD due to injuries. The book also discusses Charles' brother who responded to the World Trade Center after September 11th and assisted with the Search and Rescue operations. Read a review on the book. Mike over at the Firefighter Blog also wrote a review on Rescue Men.

Boston has a Fire Museum, it opens in May and stays open for over half the year apparently. Unfortunately, it wasn't open when we where there. The have some neat Firefighting artifacts in the museum which used to be a fire station. According to the website they have a Rebuilt 1966 American La France Model 900, 1000 gallon per minute pumper. (Ex- Mount Vernon, Virginia).

You can visit the Boston Fire Department online here. The BFD is separate from Boston EMS. I would have stopped in the one EMS station I saw, but both of the units were out on a call.

There were many sights I wanted to make it to in Boston, one being the Hotel Vendome Memorial. Ironically, Becky picked out a Tapas restaurant for us to eat at across town from our hotel and it just so happened to be in the basement of what used to be the Hotel Vendome. The building is now office space, however in 1972 it became a tomb for 9 firefighters and nearly 16 more when 4 floors collapsed trapping 25 firefighters in all.

According to the Boston Firebuff website: The firefighters were killed on June 17, 1972, when the hotel's southeast wall came crashing down. It was the worst tragedy in the history of the Boston Fire Department and one of the dozen most deadly in the history of U.S. firefighting.

The Massachusetts Firefighters Memorial has information on the firefighters who lost their lives that day as well.
In the pictures of the memorial, the Hotel Vendome is in the background.

At the Hotel Vendome, they have a memorial set up across the street in the median, think Monument Avenue in Richmond, each of the names are lit at night. We had to come back the next day to get the pictures, it was well worth it.

We were able to get around to a couple of Fire Stations in Boston. I didn't have a map of the stations, and I figured we would just come across one or two here and there. Eventually, we did find a couple of the stations. I didn't get to chat with too many of the firefighters, however it seemed as though they had several reserve apparatus in service.
In the center you can see the bays for the firehouse, to the right of it you can see an ambulance sitting in front of the EMS house. The firehouse houses E10, TL3, R1, Technical Support Unit 1, Collapse Unit, Division 1

This is the house for Ladder 1 and Engine 8 in Boston's North End otherwise known as Little Italy. This firehouse is right around the corner from the Paul Revere house and down the street from Mike's Pastry, both of which we stopped at.

We also stopped by Engine 33 and Ladder 15's firehouse on Boylston Street. This is the firehouse which was recently on due to a catastrophic failure on their aerial ladder. They were not too happy about the reserve sitting behind them.

Boston still uses Fire Alarm Pull Boxes and from what I have read they are still very pleased with the service it provides the citizens. Of course, they have an advanced 911 call/dispatch center too, but the old pull boxes still work just fine. One thing I do need to look into is why they have so many darned fire hydrants. Not that it is a complaint, but there would be two right next to each other, then 4 more within view in a block radius. I took a picture with the other camera and I will upload it later. The hydrants were either red or yellow it seemed, but I don't think it was NFPA color coded. Some had 4 2 1/2" outlets and others had a steamer connection. It was odd.

That was the trip as far as Firefighting goes. We did have a blast and we ate at some great restaurants, drank some great beer, and enjoyed the history of Boston. We even stumbled across filming for the movie 21 starring Kevin Spacey about the MIT card reading group who took millions from Vegas casinos before getting caught. We didn't see any big stars, but we did get to see the set as they filmed on a bridge in Boston.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. We went to see the Boston Red Sox play the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. We went to game three of the series on Sunday and sat in Center Field. We had a blast. Becky had never been to a MLB game besides when we went to Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida. Fenway Park was nuts, the fans up there are awesome and had a bunch of fun. It was also neat seeing Ramirez, Drew, Loretta, and Varitek hit back to back homeruns. You can read about it here.
Becky and I at Fenway Park

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fleitz In Bah-stan

Hey guys, I am in Boston for a couple more days. I have some stuff to post, but I am not going to do it right now. Keep sending stuff in though, I will get to it eventually.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Funeral Arrangements for Kyle Wilson

Hey guys,

Here is the deal:

The funeral service will be at the Nissan Pavilion on Saturday the 21st at

There will be visitation on Friday the 20th at 1600hrs to 1800hrs and
1900hrs to 2100hrs at the Miller Funeral Home, 3200 Golansky Blvd in
Woodbridge VA. 22192 that number is 703-878-2273

Todd Stone sent this info:

It appears that the wake will be this sat for the LODD in prince william on monday.A-shift is working so i can not go. I Talked to chief Hoback in the staff meeting yesterday and if anyone from the department would like to go to the wake on Sat the city will provide the training vans and the pio van. So if anyone would like to go up and show support to this family and this department please call Chief Hoback and secure the vans and get a list of who wants to go. All info on the wake will be out today .Thanks Todd Stone

Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend or even schedule the trip. I certainly hope that we get a group of firefighters to go. Please let me know if I can help, but I will be travelling to Boston in the morning and I will be gone until next Tuesday.

If you have never been able to go to a Firefighter LODD funeral, it is certainly an event that deserves the utmost reverence. Knock on wood, but Virginia has been very fortunate over the years and we have not had too many LODD's. I travelled to Chesapeake when the two firefighters died in the Advance Auto parts store. The procession was miles long. I cannot estimate as to how many firefighters were there, but they were all there to pay respects for two of our Fallen Brothers. If you have the chance to pay proper respects and travel to Prince William, please do so. Thanks to Chief Hoback for giving our Brothers the opprotunity to pay respects and provide travel for the event, and thanks to Captain Stone for setting it up.

God Bless you Kyle Wilson and your family, Brother and Sister Firefighters, and all of those affected by your sacrifice. You will not be forgotten. Godspeed Brother.

For more information on Kyle Wilson click here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wind fuels Fire at Trinity United Methodist Church

Photo by Baron Gibson

Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded for a fire at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Downtown Roanoke yesterday. Four Engine companies, Four Ladder companies, and numerous other equipment responded for a fire which caused $150,000 in damage. The crews on scene extinguished the fire quickly which had spread fast due to extreme winds in the region. Most of the damage was external and the stained glass looked unharmed during the fire. Read More and view more images

Roanoke firefighters celebrate Station 3

From the Roanoke Times:

Battalion Chief Bobbie Slayton remembered Fire-EMS Station No. 3 as one of the busiest of all the Roanoke stations.

"It was central in locations," said Slayton, who had worked on and off at the station since 1965. "Some of the finest firefighters Roanoke had to offer have come through these doors, and the same ones have gone out."

More than 150 firefighters gathered Sunday afternoon to share memories, laughs and celebrate the closing of the 98-year-old station on Sixth Street Southwest.

Roanoke Fire-EMS Lt. Rhett Fleitz said the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association just wanted to bring together former members of the station one last time.

"You never know what the city council is going to do; they could come and bulldoze it for all we know," he said. "This has been a second home for so many guys in the department, and we just wanted them to come in and enjoy the tradition one last time." Read More

I have to say that I really had a great time down at Fire Station 3 the other day. The food was great and the stories were better. Especially seeing Roadie Kelley slide down the pole, mind you he is around 70 years old. Special thanks to Chad Riddleberger, Nathan Foutz, and JJ Price for getting the event put together. Unfortunately, Chad was unable to attend due to an illness which put him in the hospital. I wish you a speedy recovery.

On another note:

The verdict is in. Ladder 1 will be moved to Fire Station 1. This isn't a shock. The disturbing thing about the whole Station 1 mess is that they couldn't come out and make a definite decision when they decided to continue with building the new station. Instead, firefighters have had to wait for a decision, one that finally came a mere week or two before the new station opens.

And then this:

Engine 7 will be taken out of service and replaced with a Medic truck. Station 7 will change from an Engine 7 (4 firefighters, minimum of 3) and Ladder 7 (4 firefighters, minimum of 3) per shift to Medic 7 (2 Firefighters, one being ALS Certified) and Quint 7 (6 firefighters, minimum of 4) per shift. Meanwhile, we still have 6 firefighters (3 Lieutenants and 3 ALS firefighters) stationed at Clearbrook Station 7 in Roanoke County.

I may never fully understand why the City still allows giving free manpower to the County when we have such huge budgetary issues in the City that we have to take an Engine out of Service. It appears there is some deep rooted City Council/Board of Supervisors back scratching going on.

I have hit on this before, and I will continue to do so in the future. Let us look at what is going on in the Northside. The rumblings on the street is that Roanoke County needs to justify more firefighters so they have had Medic 10 start running second in to Hollins area. Justification? What does Roanoke County need justification for? There department should be twice the size it is right now. What the hell are they waiting for? Maybe they are waiting for the senseless deaths of citizens in fires and medical emergencies while waiting for second or third due coverage. Roanoke County is beyond the capability of relying on firefighters responding at home. They need to have full coverage on all of their apparatus all the time. They need to run their own calls and only rely on mutual aid for what it was designed for. Currently, it seems as though Roanoke City has become the first in agency in a large part of Roanoke County. This should not be accepted by Roanoke City Citizens nor Roanoke City Council.

Engine 13 alone ran 4 calls in the County yesterday. County units were only seen on one of the calls. Don't get me wrong, I love running calls. I have two years of running nothing to make up for. However, I can see the writing on the walls when City units are in the County covering for them and something BAD happens in there first due. I guess we will have to explain away....

Am I the only one who sees the Clearbrook deal as the worst business venture the City has done in a long time. We provide mutual aid into the County, hell most of it is automatic aid. Yet, instead of them providing the same to us, we have to staff their stations with our people. That is a blatant waste of resources.

Monday, April 16, 2007

LODD - Firefighter Fatality in Prince William County - Kyle Wilson

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA . . . At 6:02 this morning Fire and Rescue units were dispatched to a house fire at 15474 Marsh Overlook Drive in Woodbridge. When firefighters arrived on the scene the home was heavily involved in fire. Firefighters began immediate suppression efforts and a search for possible occupants. Read More

Rest in peace Kyle, and God Bless your Family and Brother and Sister Firefighters.

Death toll rises to 33 in Va. Tech shooting

Government officials tell The Associated Press the death toll on the Virginia Tech campus has risen to 31 after a gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on today in the deadliest campus shooting rampage in U.S. history. Read More

One heck of a day in Virginia - Shootings at Virginia Tech and an LODD in Prince William County

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

At the Virginia Tech shooting, what happened?

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

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

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

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

Prince William Firefighter LODD

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

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

More information later

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fire Engine 13

Here is the update on the new Engine 13 - The guys who travelled to Wisconsin to see the new engine and review the plans for the next have returned with good news. The picture below is Engine 13, which should be in Roanoke this week. It will arrive at Singer Fire Apparatus and proceed to be fitted with some of the final items like the deck gun and the nationally accredited sticker as well as a final inspection. After the finalization at Singer, the truck will move down the line to Roanoke's shops and have the radios installed and the the equipment mounts. It is my understanding that the guys at 13 will be trained on the Husky foam unit on the truck. The truck will be delivered with most hand tools, extinguishers, and hand lights. The hose and specialty equipment will be swapped from the current E13 to the new one. The new truck is expected to be in service in about a month.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Celebrate Station 3 - Disbanding after 98 years of service

On April 15th, the firefighters of Station 3 (Sixth and Rorer) are inviting friends, family, and citizens to the station for a farewell to the nearly 100 year old building. There will be good food, catered by Lt. Nathan Foutz and Lt. J.J. Price, and drinks (sodas I am sure). The event is planned from 1pm til around 5pm.

If you have never made it to an event attended by a bunch of the retired firefighters, this would be a great opportunity. You think you know the history and tradition, well I have news for you, you don't know anything until you listen to them. Those guys will tell you a story with such passion that you will think you were there yourself.

This wasn't the original station 3. There was a station 3 at 4th and East, near where the main post office is now. When the department went fully paid, they renumbered it station 2. In 1909, they built a new station at Sixth and Rorer and numbered it 3. It has been there ever since.

Once the new Headquarters Station opens, we will lose the number 3. Engine 3 and Medic 3 will become Engine 1 and Medic 1. Once the new station, replacing station 10, on Williamson Road opens near Hershberger, they will renumber it station 3. Therefore Engine 10 and Medic 10 will become Engine 3 and Medic 3. At least that is what I am told.

So come on out on April 15th and celebrate the old station.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Station 2 A-Shift Works a Garage Fire

The guys/gals at Station 2 A-Shift had a fire on Pennsylvania Avenue on Easter Sunday.
Thanks to Daniel Goodwin for the photos

Three more bite the dust

At times, keeping this site up to date is tedious. Often I do not have the time, or the information you guys want to see in a timely manner. I made it a point to give each member who leaves a moment in the spotlight, especially those retiring. The guys who retire often get more time and energy put into their posts than the members of the mass exodus we have seen in the recent years. It has become tedious keeping up with who is going and when they are leaving. Often times I hear of someone leaving months before they leave and then only find out they are gone after the fact. That being said, we have lost three more members of the department; Dan Spearin, Daniel Spradling, and Kent Clark. Spearin came in 2002, Spradling in 2003, and Clark in 2005. They have left for different reasons.

Good luck to the three of you. God Bless.

I know that comments may veer to saying that they left because of pay and benefits, then others will say that they didn't and there is no basis for saying that members leave due to pay and benefits. The comments will go back and forth.

I will say this, maybe some leave for better paying departments, maybe some leave for other career options, others just don't like the job. However, if the job here in Roanoke was a little more appetizing, maybe we wouldn't lose so many to chasing other options.

Benefit Book Signing for Injured Firefighter Kevin Jamerson

On April 28th there will be a benefit book signing for Kevin Jamerson at First Due: Fire/EMS Gear at 1 pm. Read more about the event here.
Left to right; Rhett Fleitz, Natasha Ryan, and Kevin Jamerson
The more important thing is that Kevin, Sarah Fuhrman, and I were interviewed by Natasha Ryan of News Channel 7. Check out the story and video here. Funny story: Natasha asked me to spell my first and last name when we first went on camera. I blanked out. It was hilarious. She had to ask me again.
I am not sure she was interested in me or the book at all.
Here I am getting set for sound

All that and they only used about 5 seconds of it. Not a big deal though. Thanks to Sarah Fuhrman for the pictures. The event is being sponsored by First Due: Fire/EMS Gear.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lawrence E. "Bones" Hylton passes away at the age of 77

Lawrence E. (Captain Bones) Hylton, 77, of Moneta, died Monday, April 9, 2007. Arrangements by Oakey's Vinton Chapel, 982-2221.

Bones was hired on May 1, 1953 and retired June 26, 1983 after 30 years of service.

Pictured from left to right; Captain Daniel Ralph Sink, Lt. Blenky Greer, Lt. Everett Ray Walters, FF William Kopcial, FF Lawrence "Bones" Hylton, FF Warren "Floorboard" Hawley, and FF Donald Barbour. The men are pictured at Station 8 in 1957 during Roanoke's Diamond Jubilee.

Roanoke Fire-EMS Fire responds to fire on Easter Morning

Roanoke Fire-EMS Northside Battalion responded for a possible structure fire at 1 am on Easter Morning. First arriving Units arrived with heavy smoke in the area. Engine 13 marked on scene with fire showing from side 2 of the structure and heavy smoke conditions. Read More

Monday, April 09, 2007

Roanoke Valley Firefighters participate in navigational training

On Monday, April 6th, members of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Tech Rescue team along with 5 members of the Roanoke County fire-Rescue Department participated in a training exercise on the use of compasses and GPS units. Read More

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Fire at 3025 Cove Road

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to a residential structure fire on April 8, 2007 at 3025 Cove Rd.

The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 1:05 a.m. The response of three Engines, one Ladder truck, three Medic Units, one EMS Captain, the Investigation Unit, one Administrative Chief and one Battalion Chief for a total of 22 personnel responded to the scene.

When crews arrived they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the home. Crews quickly began extinguishing the blaze.

There was no one home when the fire started. There were no injuries to civilians or Fire-EMS personnel.

The origin and cause of the fire are under investigation. Damage
estimates are approximately $125,000.

Above is the press release. I hope to have some pictures and more of a write up on the fire in the next couple of days. The guys did a hell of a job last night at the fire and there weren't any injuries.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Engine 7 to disband

It seems that the common theme the past 8 years, that is as long as I have been here, is that just when you think that the changing has ended, it continues. I am sure that many of my brothers and sisters who have been here longer will say the changes began long before 1999. After all, speaking from both sides of the fence, the Firefighters and Paramedics (including a few EMT's) were thrown into a tailspin during the merger. There were many opinions on the matter, and most people maintain that the merge was flawed from the beginning and didn't stand a chance. Here we are over ten years later and it is evident that there are still band aids on the entire merge. Was it necessary? My opinion is yes, and many will agree. It just wasn't done correctly.

Some of the other issues over the years which left Firefighters thinking "What the hell were they thinking?". For instance removing Engine 1 to Engine 14, Disbanding Engine 12 to create two ambulances, one of those being in the County.

I assure you that I know very well it is easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. However, when most firefighters tend to agree on something, that something is probably well worth listening to the firefighters. That is where the issue lies.

Currently we are just getting ready to settle into our new digs at the new Fire Station 1 Headquarters, closing Station 3 and possibly Station 1 for good. Yet when we are just getting used to the idea of our two oldest fire stations closing, we are thrown for several new ideas.

If you remember, back in September 2005, there was a post about an editorial that Chris Muse wrote poking fun at the fact that if Station 1 caught fire Station 3 would have to be called to put it out (link). His ignorance was commenting on how Ladder 1 doesn't have any water. Well I wonder what he is going to think when the City removes Engine 7 from his station in Old Southwest Roanoke. Then who will put out the Fire Station if it catches fire? After all, Engines put out fires, right.

The plan is to remove Engine 7 from service at Station 7. Currently Station 7 houses Engine 7 and Ladder 7. Engine 7 has been in service since December 13, 1922 and Ladder 7 was added in 1950. In 1998 Ladder 7 received a new truck which is what some would call a Quint. A Quint was designed to accomplish 5 tasks at once; carry hose, pump, water, ground ladders, an aerial ladder. Which is great to get all that equipment to the scene at once, but does little good when you don't have the firefighters to use the equipment. Contrary to popular belief, Firefighters put out fire using different tactics.

When the plan is complete, Station 7 will house Ladder 7 and Medic 7. Ladder 7 is a quint with a 75' aerial ladder and 300 gallons and currently runs around 600 calls a year. It spends a good bit of time in the garage due to certain engineering flaws and I find it hard to believe that it will do much better running at least the amount of calls that Engine 7 runs which is probably in the neighborhood of 1200 calls a year.

The question is why is Engine 7 being taken out of service. The answer is because we don't have the manpower to staff the new ambulance so Engine 7's staff will be split up between Medic 7 and Ladder 7.

We don't have the manpower? What about those six firefighters down at Roanoke County Clearbrook Station 7? They sure would fit the bill at our Station 7, after all they are our firefighters. Whose citizens are we concerned about first?

I know that the firefighters were shipped to Clearbrook to provide coverage for the Pheasant Ridge area, but was it necessary? Not in my opinion. There are many areas that the County needs coverage for in which they cannot provide service and they ask us to cover those areas with mutual aid. You don't see Roanoke County placing County Firefighters in City Stations. Look all around the City, Station 11, 10, 13, 2, and 4 all have standing automatic aid agreements with Roanoke County which are utilized often. Other stations like 6, 7, 8, and 14 commonly run mutual aid with the County. It is working, all the mutual aid and automatic aid have provided the City and County with quicker response times for second due companies. However, the placement of City firefighters in County Stations is unnecessary.

It seems like a no brainer for me. Move the 6 firefighter from Clearbrook to staff Medic 7.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Roanoke Valley Professional Firefighters 2007 MDA Golf Tournament




Roanoke Fire Fighters Association #1132

Salem Professional Firefighters Association #3478

Roanoke County Local #3194

Town of Vinton Local # 4316

To Benefit:

The Muscular Dystrophy Association

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hanging Rock Golf Course

Salem, VA

Tournament begins at 08:30 am. - Shotgun Start

Be at the golf course by 8:00/4 man teams- Captains Choice

Entry Fee: $320.00 per four man team and includes:

Greens fees, Cart fees, Lunch, Beverages, and Snacks

Trophies for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and last place teams

Prizes for ( Men and Women’s ) Longest Drive & Closest to the pin

Hole in One Prize/ 25,000 CASH, 7 Day Cruise, Golf Clubs 2-PW,

and $500 Golf Shop Credit

Red Tees / 5 for $20.00 per team

Mulligans / 5 for $20.00 per team

Grand Prizes / Door Prizes

50/50 raffle / Betting Hole

For more information contact:

Tina O’Brien (540) 467-6563 (Roanoke)

Charles Adkins (540)-309-4566 (Salem)

Make Checks Payable to RFFA

Mail checks to:


P. O. Box 1132, Roanoke, VA 24006

Roanoke City VS. Roanoke County Flag Football

The Roanoke Firefighters took on the Roanoke County Firefighters in a friendly game of flag football yesterday. Unfortunately for the County, the City brought a case of whoop ass with them this time. The final score was 44 - 19.

From what I hear, the guys really had a good time. If you would like to see pictures head over to First Due Fire/EMS Gear.

Maybe next time I will make it out there so you guys can watch me practicing falling down.

Engine 13 in Production

Engine 13 will be very similar to Engine 11, however it will be built by Pierce and have a Quantum Chassis.This will be the third Pierce purchased by Roanoke City. Here are some pictures of the truck in production.

Roanoke Valley MDA Bowl A Thon