Remembering the Fallen of 2014

“87 firefighters died in the line of duty in the US in 2014 according to the USFA. These were people’s fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, grandfathers, aunts, uncles and cousins. They are all true heroes in every sense of the word. We owe it to the ones that have passed to make it safer for the ones that remain.”


“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, apprear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives. Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even of supreme sacrifice”.

–  Chief Edward F. Croker

NOTE: Thanks to Brew City FOOLS for letting me “Steal” their Post.

  •  January 8 , 2014 Cosmo Paris , Cliffside Park Fire Department. Cliffside Park, NJ
  • January 10, 2014 – Christ Swan, Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Fire Department. Marietta, Georgia
  • January 15, 2014 – James Doc Delbert Brooks -Prince George’s Fire EMS Department . Largo, Maryland
  • January 20, 2014 – Greg Hennessey -Orange County Fire Authority – Rancho Santa Margarita, California
  • January 26, 2014 – Stephen A. Machcinski and James A. Dickman – Toledo Fire and Rescue Department. Toledo, Ohio
  • January 28, 2014 – Rick Winkles -Trumann Fire Department. Trumann, Arkansas
  • February 1, 2014 – Dwight Hilton -East Central Volunteer Fire Department. Liberty, Mississippi
  • February 1, 2014 – Michael Dale Garrett – Nutter Fort Fire Department. Nutter Fort, West Virginia
  • February 1, 2014 – Thomas Gerald Lee -Four Oaks Fire Department. Four Oaks, NC
  • February 4, 2014 – Bruce A. Stayner -Scioto Township Fire Department.Ostrander , Ohio
  • February 8, 2014 –James Joseph Knesek, Sr. – Munster Fire Department, Munster, Indiana
  • February 9, 2014 – James C. Wilber – Franklin Fire Department, Franklin, New York
  • February 10, 2014 – Dennis Channell – Poyen Fire Department. Poyen, Arkansas
  • February 10, 2014 – Roger Dale Tome – Kennedy Space Center Fire and Rescue. Kennedy Space Center, Florida
  • February 10, 2014 – William Scott Tanksley – Dallas Fire Rescue Department. Dallas, TX
  • February 19, 2014 – Randy R. Pogue – Oak Grove Fire District #25. Maumelle, Arkansas
  • February 22, 2014 – Bruce Britt – Columbia Fire Department. Columbia, Missouri
  • February 24, 2014 – Homer J.R. Harrell – Orange City Fire Department. Orange City, Florida
  • February 28, 2014 – Gregory Barnas – Wallington Fire Department. Wallington, NJ
  • February 28, 2014 – Steven Joseph Knaus – Willowick Fire Department. Willowick, Ohio
  • March 1, 2014 – Jerry Campbell – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry. Nashville, Tennessee
  • March 3, 2014 – Kevin J. Bristol -Peekskill Fire Department. Peekskill, NY
  • March 5, 2014 – Jamie A. Peite – Ironwood Township Vol. Fire Dept. Irownwood, Michigan
  • March 7, 2014 – Jeff Bayless – Anchorage Fire Department. Anchorage, Alaska
  • March 8, 2014 – Bobby Mollere – Hellsgate Fire Department. Star Valley, Arizona
  • March 13, 2014 – Joseph E. Bove – Spotswood Fire Department. Spotswood, NJ
  • March 16, 2014 – Wayne Jeffers – South Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Department. Ramer, Alabama
  • March 17, 2014 – Tom D. Stevens, Sr. – Bright Volunteer Fire Company. Lawrenceburg, Indiana
  • March 21, 2014 – Rickie K. Halcomb – Dayton Fire Department. Dayton, Ohio
  • March 22, 2014 – Edwin J. “Lance” Wentzel – Youngwood Vol. Fire Department. Youngwood, Pennsylvania
  • March 26, 2014 – Edward Walsh and Michael Kennedy – Boston Fire Department. Boston, Massachusetts
  • April 2, 2014 – George Underwood – Lake Vol. Fire Department. Lake, WV
  • April 21, 2014 – Hugh Ferguson – Damon Fire Department. Damon, TX
  • April 27, 2014 – Charles Goff – McQuady Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. Falls of Rough, Kentucky
  • May 1, 2014 – Jeffrey B. Newland – North Port Fire Rescue. North Port, FL
  • May 6, 2014 – Robert Glenn “Bud” Webster Sr. – Glencoe Fire-Rescue Department. Glencoe, Kentucky
  • May 10, 2014 – David W. Millett – Norway Fire Department. Norway, Maine
  • May 17, 2014 – Ted F. Drake – Wyoming State Forestry Division. Newcastle, Wyoming
  • May 25, 2014 – Robert Fogel III – Baltimore County Fire Department. Townson, Maryland
  • May 26, 2014 – David Fiori – New Britain Fire Department. New Britain, Connecticut
  • May 30, 2014 – John “Mac” McDonald – Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Naval District. Washington, District of Columbia
  • June 5, 2014 – Donovan Garcia Jr – Hungry Valley Volunteer Fire Department. Sparks, Nevada
  • June 8, 2014 – Robert Meyer – Union Beach Fire Department. Union Beach, NJ
  • June 19, 2014 – Todd Allen Rummel – Three Forks Vol. Fire Department. Three Forks, Montana
  • July 1, 2014 – Robert Thomas – Bienville Parish Fire Protection District 7. Saline, Louisiana
  • July 5, 2014 – Gordon Ambelas – Fire Department City of New York. Brooklyn, NY
  • July 9, 2014 – Daniel Groover – Houston Fire Department. Houston, TX
  • July 9, 2014 – Richard L. Marchman -Indian Peaks Fire Protection District . Ward, Colorado
  • July 21, 2014 – Billy Glen Norris, Sr. – Lecompte Volunteer Fire Department. Lecompte, Louisiana
  • July 29, 2014 – Matthew David Goodnature – Fremont-Winema National Forrest. Lakeview, Oregon
  • August 5, 2014 – Jamie Middlebrook – New Carlisle Fire Department. New Carlisle, Indiana
  • August 6, 2014 – Douglas James Casson – Vaughn Volunteer Fire Department. Vaughn, Montana
  • August 6, 2014 – Jonathan French – Glendale Fire Department. Glendale, Kentucky
  • August 13, 2014 – Darrell Parker – Fairbury Rural Fire Department. Fairbury, Nebraska
  • August 25, 2014 – Dave Anderson – Fort Shaw Fire Department. Fort Shaw, Montana
  • September 5, 2014 – Kevin J. Ollier – Anderson Township Fire & Rescue Department. Anderson Township, Ohio
  • September 8, 2014 – Richard Choate -Byram Township Fire Deptartment. Andover, New Jersey
  • September 8, 2014 – William Russell “Uncle Will” Wiita – Coldsprings-Excelsior Fire and Rescue Station #6. Kalkaska, Michigan
  • September 16, 2014 – John Derek Gupton – Justice Rural Volunteer Fire Department. Spring Hope, North Carolina
  • September 20, 2014 – Anthony Tony Lynn Grider – Campbellsville Fire-Rescue Department. Campbellsville, Kentucky
  • September 23, 2014 – Allen Westby -East Islip Fire Department. East Islip, New York
  • October 1, 2014 – J.B. Hutton, Jr – Dermott Volunteer Fire Department. Dermott, Arkansas
  • October 7, 2014 – Geoffrey ‘Craig’ Hunt – CAL Fire. Sacramento, California
  • October 7, 2014 – Kevin Bell – Hartford Fire Department. Hartford, Connecticut
  • October 20, 2014 – Eddie Johnson Jr – Alton Fire Department. Alton, Missouri
  • October 24, 2014 – Christi Rodgers – Robert Fulton Fire Company. Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania
  • October 24, 2014 – Troy Magee – New Orleans Fire Department. New Orleans, Louisiana
  • October 30, 2014 – Donald “Pete” Martin – Sanborn Fire Company. Sanborn, NY
  • October 30, 2014 – Malcolm Jenkins – Fern Creek Fire Department. Louisville, Kentucky
  • November 1, 2014 – Kellen Andrew Fleming – Westview-Fairforest Fire Department. Spartanburg, South Carolina
  • November 12, 2014 – James Bethea – Baltimore City Fire Department. Baltimore, Maryland
  • November 15, 2014 – Christopher Hunter – Cinnaminson Fire Department. Cinnaminson, New Jersey
  • November 15, 2014 – Richard Weisse, Sr – St. James Fire District. St. James, NY
  • November 16, 2014 – Alejandro Castro – Brownsville Fire Department. Brownsville, TX
  • November 18, 2014 – James Foote – Summit Fire Department. Summit, NY
  • November 19, 2014 – Arthur E. “Art” Treon – Cape May County Office of Emergency Management. Cape May Court House, New Jersey
  • November 20, 2014 – Samir P. “Sam” Ashmar – Upper Macungie Township Station 56, Inc. Allenton, Pennsylvania
  • November 28, 2014 – Tom Rhamey – Western Holmes County Fire and EMS – Lakeville Station. Lakeville, Ohio
  • December 3, 2014 – John Burns – Myrtle Beach Fire Department. Myrtle Beach, SC
  • December 9, 2014 – Gus Losleben – Hardin County Fire Department. Savannah, Tennessee
  • December 9, 2014 – Joyce Craig-Lewis – Philadelphia Fire Department. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • December 16, 2014 – Ricky Wooten Doub – Forbush Volunteer Fire Department. Yadkinville, North Carolina
  • December 23, 2014 – Joseph Sanford Jr. – Inwood Fire Department. Inwood, NY
  • December 25, 2014 – James Woods – Jersey City Fire Department. Jersey City, New Jersey

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12-31-14 Run Down

The Kinked Line Drill HERE

Urgency of Response HERE

Marriage Invitation: Hook and Halligan HERE

Prepare to Win HERE

Predictions: 6 Things to Look for in 2015 HERE

Don’t Allow Rookie Entitlement in your Fire Service HERE

Transom Windows HERE

The RIT Reality HERE 

Ventilation Factors We Can’t Control HERE

3 Minute Fire Behavior Lesson HERE

The Engine Company Officer HERE

Tampa 2 Report Released HERE. Watch the Video!!!!!

Fire First Mindset HERE

Mayday Drills HERE, and HERE

Handing Down Pride and Tradition HERE

Fire Service Legal Issues- Year Review HERE

Examining Wind Driven Fire Tactics (5 Videos) HERE

Training Bulletin: Trench Cut HERE

44.7% HERE

Line of Duty Death 12-25-14

James Woods

Firefighter Woods passed away from a nature and cause of fatal injury still to be determined within 24 hours of responding to an emergency response call.

Jersey City Fire Department, Jersey City, New Jersey

Fatality status is provisional and may change.

Age: 44
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Career
Incident Date: Dec 25, 2014
Date of Death: Dec 25, 2014
Cause of Death: Unknown
Nature of Death: Unknown

To Date: 87 Firefighters have Died in the Line of Duty in 2014

12-29-14 Run Down

Ladder Balance and Task Packages HERE

Positioning Aerial Apparatus when your Not First Due HERE

Tactical Fire Problem- Recycling Fire HERE

Presentations from FSTAR at Austin Town Hall Meeting HERE

Presentations from FSTAR Oklahoma City Townhall Available HERE

——–Note: Check FSTAR’s Website HERE———-

September 2014 On Duty Deaths in Detail HERE

60 Second Safety- Hiring HERE


———Also check Steve’s Site HERE————–

What you You Do?- Fire in a WWII Frame Structure HERE

Ventilation Factors We Can Not Control HERE

Don’t Allow Rookie entitlement in your Fire Service HERE

——As a side note, Work is being done to update our “Links, Reading List, and Documents” Tabs. Please check them out———

Remembering LODD 12-27-1983 Buffalo NY

“December 27th is always a somber night for the Buffalo (NY) Fire Department. 31 years ago tonight, the BFD was dealt the worst loss of life in its history.

On December 27th 1983, at 2023 hrs, 3 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Rescue, and a Battalion Chief were dispatched for Box 191 at the intersection of North Division and Grosvenor for a propane leak.

Engine 32 arrived first on the scene and reported a 4 story 50’ x 100’ Heavy Timber warehouse with nothing showing, Ladder 5, Engine 1, and the Battalion Chief arrived shortly thereafter. 37 seconds after the Chief reported on the scene, a massive explosion occurred. This explosion completely leveled the warehouse, caused damage to many structures in a 4 block radius, and lit off multiple buildings in close proximity. The scene was later described as a “war zone.”

The explosion blew Ladder 5, a tractor drawn aerial, almost 50 feet into the front yard of a house across the street, killing the entire crew. 11 firefighters were injured in the initial explosion with 19 more injured during rescue and suppression operations. 2 civilians were killed and over 150 were injured.

A second and third alarm were immediately requested to the scene to assist with rescue efforts and the multiple secondary fires and building collapses. The first arriving Battalion Chief ran the incident, until relieved by another Chief, with a stake embedded in his neck from the explosion.

In the ensuing investigation it was found that a 500 lb propane tank was being illegally stored on the premises. A worker was using a forklift to move the tank when it slipped off the forks, puncturing it. The propane leaked out and filled the entire building until it found an ignition source.

Box 191 – December 27 1983
• Michael Austin
• Michael Catanzaro
• Matthew Colpoys
• Jimmy Lickfeld
• Anthony Waskielewicz”

Video HERE




The 4th Annual Fireground Survival Seminar is January 17, 2015.

This event is sponsored by the Northern Ohio FOOLS, EHOVE Fire Academy, and Firefighter Cancer Support Network. This is a FREE Training event. 8 CE hours will be given by the EHOVE Fire Academy.
Fireground Survival 4 will be held at “The Center” located at EHOVE Career Center Campus in Milan, Ohio.

Attend this eye opening course on surviving the fireground and their hazards as well as tactics to improve your operations
and safety.

Steve Westcott, Secretary, Firefighter Cancer Support Network will share his story of his battle with cancer and how the foundation is supporting Firefighters.

Donuts/Coffee are provided as well as lunch and refreshments.

Registration deadline: January 12, 2015

Register today at:

Special hotel rates available.


12-27-14 Run Down

Unable to Complete the 360 HERE

Anyone can Run Away HERE

Death, Perspective, and The Garbageman HERE

Mental Toughness- Can Firefighters Train to be Tough? HERE

Maintaining a Second Means of Egress HERE

Absorbent Filled Training Hose HERE






Remembering George Driggers Jr.- LODD 12-26-1976, Brooklyn Park, MD

“As Anne Arundel County firefighters were advancing a charged line down a hall through the front doorway of an occupied, two-story brick end row house, an explosion occurred in the cellar, turning the house into a roaring inferno. Most of the men were able to crawl to safety, but two became trapped inside when they lost water in their line. One of the men was found at a back window suffering third and fourth degree burns over half of his body. He died 30 hours later. Drigger’s body was found burned beyond recognition on the first floor. The loss of water was attributed to stones that were placed in the hydrant by vandals clogging the pump strainer.”

Read the Full Drill HERE

Line of Duty Death 12-23-14

Joseph “Junior” Sanford Jr.

Firefighter Sanford succumbed to injuries sustained several days after being rescued from the basement of a burning residence in Woodmere, New York, revived by fellow responders and transported to the hospital.

Sanford, a former assistant fire chief with the Inwood Fire Department, was reported to have been one of the first firefighters on the scene when he became separated from others and fell through the first floor of the home into the basement.

Investigation into the fatal fire incident continues by authorities.

Inwood Fire Department, Inwood, New York

Fatality status is provisional and may change.

Age: 43
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Volunteer
Incident Date: Dec 19, 2014 04:00
Date of Death: Dec 23, 2014
Cause of Death: Collapse
Nature of Death: Burns
Activity Type: Search and Rescue

A Quick Rant- WEAR YOUR AIR!!

Allow me to rant for a minute about something I’m pretty passionate about. Hell, It’s my blog, I’ll say what I want, if you don’t like it, don’t read it!!

How does getting Cancer sound? Do you think it sounds fun? How about if you have to retire? Thank God there is a solution out there——–WEAR YOUR AIR AND MASK UP!!!!!!!!!

It continues to amaze me, whether it’s videos on the internet, or out on calls buffing around, how many firefighters continue to be “macho” man and don’t mask up on Car fires. Whether it’s to officer of the engine without even bothering to put the pack on, or the line firefighter without his Facepiece on. Hell, if you’re not going to wear the Facepiece, why even bother putting your pack on!?!?! Or even “Better” the nozzle firefighter comes off the truck with his pack on, pulled the line, and masked up….but after the fire was knocked down, your overhauling the car and now you “decide” its ok to take the Facepiece off…. BACK THE TRUCK UP. If you’re going to wear your through fire attack, but decide to take it off even when there is more steam and smoke… you might as well order an attack on yourself.

And we wonder why Firefighters are coming down all kinds of different Cancers!!!!1533782_394160637412997_8807166794987160933_n

It’s pretty simple… if there is smoke, fire, or products of Combustion in the area you are going to do “business” Put your Facepiece on, Breath air (IT’S FREE!) and ensure YOUR personal safety and survival.

There are some people out there who say things like “It’s just a car fire, what could go wrong?”, or “It’s a little bit of smoke, I’ll be fine.” (This is the point where I would like to slap them). WHAT THE F**K DO YOU MEAN, “What could go wrong?”? How about Magnesium Explosions, tires exploding, bumpers blowing, windows popping. Is that enough… on top of that now there are energy efficient cars, Smart cars, CNG Cars, and Electric Cars. How about that!

Car fires happen in all towns, from the West to East Coast. These are pretty simple fires to handle. You must do so with SAFETY in your mind at all times. There is NO EXCUSE to not wear your air at car fires or ANY Fires, for that matter! Mask up it’s just that simple.

—-Rant over—–

Here is MY opinion of a “Perfect” car fire. A quick but safe response, good positioning of your rig, firefighters coming off the rig with equipment on (Ready for battle), a good stretch of the line, you extinguish the fire, Be on air from the time you are near smoke, repack the line, and take a shower when you get back to quarters. Does it really sound that hard?!?!? No that’s right it isn’t hard. So why are firefighters still breathing f*****g smoke? Its 2014, enough excuses!

So how about some take-a-ways:

  2. Come off the truck ready to work. That would include with your pack on!
  3. Stretch the first line right, the first time
  4. Try before you pry. Don’t just break glass to break it
  5. Wear ALL your gear… that includes Gloves, and Hood! (It Builds Muscle Memory)
  6. Take a shower after your exposed to smoke of any magnitude
  7. Wash your gear if it has been exposed to smoke
  8. Lead by example, if an officer doesn’t wear there pack chances are that the crew will follow!
  9. Don’t take your mask off until 1 of 2 things happen: your out of air, or your out of the smoke
  10. WEAR YOUR AIR (did I say that already?!!)

485258_orig(I will have a blog coming about cancer in the service in the near future)

Thanks, Stay Safe.

12-23-14 Run Down

Tactical Considerations for Extinguishing Fires in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles HERE

Forcible Exiting The Rear Fortified Door HERE

Hollow Core Precast Concrete Planks HERE

Tactical Considerations of Cockloft Fires HERE

Opportunities for Training: Not Just on the Drill Ground HERE

Check out this Problem HERE

A Great Concept of Active RIT HERE

Another Look at RITs and the MayDay HERE

Are you Ready for the Christmas Fire? HERE

Defensive Search

Defensive Search is a topic I was introduced to after reading the Keokuk, IA LODD Report, in which 3 firefighters were killed in a Flashover attempting the rescue of 3 kids (who also perished). Defensive Search is a form of search to use when signs of Flashover are present.

“As stated in Command and Control of Fires and Emergencies, By Vincent Dunn, “There are two warning signs that may precede flashover: heat mixed with smoke and rollover. When heat mixes with smoke, it forces a fire fighter to crouch down on his hands and knees. If you are forced down to the floor by intense heat, consider the possibility of flashover. Rollover presages flashover.”

Whenever any of these danger signs exists, defensive search tactics must be used. Three defensive search tactics are:

  1. At a door to a burning room that may flashover, fire fighters should check behind the door to the room and sweep the floor near the doorway. Fire fighters should not enter the room until a hoseline is in position.
  2. When there is a danger of flashover, fire fighters should not go beyond the “point of no return.” The point of no return is the maximum distance that a fully equipped fire fighter can crawl inside a superheated, smoke-filled room and still escape alive if a flashover occurs. The point of no return is five feet inside a doorway or window.
  3. “When searching from a ladder tip placed at a window, look for signs of rollover if one of the panes has been broken. If rollover is present, do not go through the window. Instead, crouch below the heat and sweep the interior area below the windowsill with a tool. If a victim has collapsed there, you may be able to crouch below the heat enough to pull him to safety.”

Additionally NIOSH Recommended, fire departments should ensure fire fighters are trained to recognize the danger of searching above a fire.

The danger of being trapped above a fire is greatly influenced by the construction of the burning building. Of the five basic building construction types (fire resistive, noncombustible, ordinary construction, heavy timber, and wood-frame) the greatest danger to a fire fighter who must search above the fire is posed by wood frame construction. Vertical fire spread is more rapid in this type of structure. Flames may spread vertically and trap fire fighters searching above the fire in four ways: up the interior stairs, through windows (autoexposure), within concealed spaces, or up the combustible exterior siding.”

Another Search Tactic to use if you need to make a very quick sweep of a room is the “Hook your Foot” Method 


By hooking your foot on the door frame (as shown above) you ensure you have a way out if conditions go South quickly.

All throughout this Mission Critical Search operation you must constantly be monitoring for signs of Flashover including: Intense Heat that pushes you to the floor, Rollover, and Thick Dense Turbulent Smoke that is Under Pressure.You must also maintain a keen sense of Awareness thorough the operation. All of this is of course, based off a Go Vs. No Go Decision, Risk Vs. Benefit Decision, or through the concept of Victim Survivability Profiling (which we will discuss in a later post).

Though this is another “tool in the toolbox” there are many great drills in this short post that you can take back to your department. Including: Recognizing signs of Flashover, Hooking your foot, and General Search Practices.

The purpose of this post is to get you thinking and also to get you to get up, get out and do hands on training.

Until next time, Be safe. EB

Remembering Keokuk, IA 3-LODDs 12-22-1999


On December 22, 1999 3 firefighters were killed, in a Flashover, as they attempted to rescue 3 kids (who also perished in the fire). This was a “Routine” Fire that could of happened in any town across America.

The firefighters killed were Assistant Fire Chief Dave McNally, 48; Jason Bitting, 29; and Nate Tuck, 39.

Recommendations from NIOSH include:

  • Fire departments should ensure that adequate numbers of staff are available to immediately respond to emergency incidents.
  • Fire departments should ensure that Incident Command conducts an initial size-up of the incident before initiating fire fighting efforts, and continually evaluates the risk versus gain during operations at an incident.
  • Fire departments should ensure that the first officer or fire fighter inside evaluates interior conditions and reports them immediately to the Incident Commander.
  • Fire departments should ensure fire fighters are trained in the tactics of defensive search.
  • Fire departments should ensure that fire command always maintains close accountability for all personnel at the fire scene.
  • Fire departments should ensure that fireground communication is present through both the use of portable radios and face-to-face communications.
  • Fire departments should ensure that a trained Rapid Intervention Team is established and in position immediately upon arrival.
  • Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters wear and use PASS devices when involved in interior fire fighting and other hazardous duties. 

NFPA has determined that the following significant factors may have contributed to the deaths of the three fire fighters:

  • Lack of a proper Building/incident size-up (Risk vs. benefit analysis)
  • Lack of an established Incident Management System
  • Lack of an Accountability System
  • Insufficient resources (such as personnel and equipment ) to mount interior fire suppression and rescue activities
  • Absence of an established Rapid Intervention Crew (RIC) and a lack of a standard operating procedure requiring a RIC.
  • Lack of functioning smoke detectors within the apartment to provide early warning of a fire.



Remembering- 13 LODDs PHILADELPHIA, PA, 12-22-1910

“While operating at a two-alarm fire in a leather factory, several men were killed when a portion of the building collapsed. Several more were killed in a secondary collapse during the rescue effort.

Weakened by the cold, hampered by frozen hydrants, firefighters waded into the inferno that had been a five-story leather factory, hoping to save comrades crushed by crumpled machinery and fallen brick walls. But their lantern-lit rescue quickly gave way to the painful repetition of recovery.

One by one they bore the charred remains of the dead on stretchers: 13 firefighters and one police officer — first responders to the Dec. 22, 1910,blaze at Friedlander Leather Remnant Co. on Bodine Street in North Philadelphia.

The five-story factory blaze started in the lower level of the building and spread to all floors, burning through the roof in a short time. Each floor was reported to be about 1,600 square feet.

A New York Times report from the scene noted that shortly before 2100 HRS, a column of flame arose from the factory basement, spreading the fire to all five floors, each of which was estimated at 1,600 square feet. The department called a third-alarm response that brought 18 engines and 6 trucks to the scene. However, cold-weather conditions prevailed, and most of the hydrants were frozen over. At first, only two lines were able to produce water.

About a dozen firefighters were on the roof when it began to sag. The chief of the department noted the sagging conditions and ordered the firefighters off the roof, but it’s not clear they heard him. He then went into the building to try to rescue them, when the walls collapsed.

As the roof collapsed, it fanned the flames, creating a great column of fire even as it took down the roof firefighters. At least 20 men were trapped in the collapse; the chief was one of them, and the first to be rescued. He immediately began directing the search-and rescue operation; many firefighters were pulled alive from the collapse. Other reports indicated that a second collapse occurred later, when the north wall of the factory came down, trapping police officers who were working in the ruins.

The building was 58 years old and inspectors attributed the collapse partly to the age of the structure, according to another New York Times report the day after the fire. That report also indicated that the ruins of the structure were frozen solid, with several firefighters’ bodies still inside. The article said the department suspected arson due to how quickly the fire spread even though the factory’s normal contents weren’t inflammable…”

Killed in the Line of Duty:

Hoseman Harry Bertolet, Chemical 2

Ladderman William Bihlmire, Ladder I

Ladderman John Carrol, Ladder G

Ladderman John Collins, Ladder 4

Hoseman Charles Edelman, Engine 6

Assistant Foreman Thomas Entwistle, Engine 21

Ladderman Samuel Parks, Ladder A

Assistant Forman J. Fredrick Kalberger

Ladderman George Matchinsky, Ladder 7

Hoseman William McConnell, Engine 23

Hoseman Thomas Pass, Chemical 2

Hoseman Robert Stewart, Engine 2

Forman Gustav Wittig, Engine 15

Remembering the Chicago Union Stock Yards Fire 12-22-1910, Chicago, IL


On December 22, 1910, 21 Chicago Firefighters were killed while operating at the Union Stock Yards. This remains the 3rd largest loss of Firefighter Lives behind 9-11, and Texas City, TX. The brothers were killed when a 6 story collapsed on them.

“Two major hazards contributed to the fire’s strength and rate of spread: the animal fat and grease that coated the walls of the warehouse, and the hundreds of cured hogs inside.

Nearby fire hydrants had been shut off to prevent freezing. By the time firefighters were able to activate the valves that fed the hydrants, it was too late. The warehouse was completely involved.

The building was surrounded by various railway cars, brick walls and other warehouses, which prevented firefighters from accessing the warehouse’s upper floor windows.
The Blast
At about 0500 HRS, the pressure inside the warehouse could no longer be contained. One firefighter on scene said he saw the walls bulge and immediately shouted a warning to others on scene. The building exploded, causing the entire structure to crumble. A 6′ wall of the building collapsed onto the nearby loading dock, killing the 21 firefighters.

The blast also caused a second fire to start in a nearby seven-story warehouse, making the scene even more chaotic. But many firefighters paid little attention to the second fire. Instead, they made a desperate attempt to uncover the 23 men who had been buried in the rubble. They frantically dug with their hands, throwing bricks off the scorching-hot pile in a futile attempt to rescue those who had obviously perished. They had to be ordered to stop digging and continue with the firefight.

With what little command structure was left, several additional alarms were called, which resulted in more than 50 engine companies and hundreds of off-duty firefighters responding to the scene.

Upon hearing of the fire, relatives and friends of the deceased flocked to the scene. Both firefighters and civilians took part in uncovering the bodies, but water had to first be poured onto the pile to make it cool enough for the digging to resume. It took 24 hours for firefighters to knock down the fire and recover all 23 bodies.

According to reports, an ammonia pipe caused the explosion.”

Killed in the Line of Duty Were:

William J. Burroughs, 47, assistant chief

Herman G. Brandenburg, 41, lieutenant

Patrick E. Collins, 47, captain

Thomas J. Costello

Nicholas Crane

Nicholas D. Doyle

Dennis M. Doyle, captain, father of Nicholas Doyle

Edward J. Danis, 46, lieutenant

George C. Enthof, 31

James Fitzgerald, 33, lieutenant

James Horan, 51, chief

Alexander Lannon

Michael F. McInerney, 32

Albert J. Moriarty, 34

Charles Moore, 29

George W. Murawski

Peter J. Powers, 34

Edward E. Schonsett, 27

William G. Sturm

Frank W. Walter

William F. Weber


Remembering- Chicago, IL 2-LODDs 12-22-2010


Corey Ankum and Edward Stringer “died when the roof collapsed during suppression operations at a rubbish fire in an abandoned and unsecured commercial structure. The bowstring truss roof collapsed at the rear of the 84-year old structure approximately 16 minutes after the initial companies arrived on-scene and within minutes after the Incident Commander reported that the fire was under control. The structure, the former site of a commercial laundry, had been abandoned for over 5 years and city officials had previously cited the building owners for the deteriorated condition of the structure and ordered the owner to either repair or demolish the structure. The victims were members of the first alarm assignment and were working inside the structure. A total of 19 other fire fighters were hurt during the collapse.”

Contributing Factors

  • Lack of a vacant / hazardous building marking program within the city 
  • Vacant / hazardous building information not part of automatic dispatch system 
  • Dilapidated condition of the structure
  • Dispatch occurred during shift change resulting in fragmented crews 
  • Weather conditions including snow accumulation on roof and frozen water hydrants 
  • Not all fire fighters equipped with radios. 

Key Recommendations

  • Identify and mark buildings that present hazards to fire fighters and the public
  • Use risk management principles at all structure fires and especially abandoned or vacant unsecured structures
  • Train fire fighters to communicate interior conditions to the Incident Commander as soon as possible and to provide regular updates
  • Provide battalion chiefs with a staff assistant or chief’s aide to help manage information and communication 
  • Provide all fire fighters with radios and train them on their proper use 
  • Develop, train on, and enforce the use of standard operating procedures that specifically address operations in abandoned and vacant structures

This building very well could be in all of our districts. Go out, Inspect and Pre-plan, so our brothers DID NOT DIE IN VAIN!


Audio HERE and HERE


12-21-14 Run Down

Easy-Button Firefighting HERE

Going Vertical, Part 1 HERE

Buildings on Fire Risk Assessment Matrix HERE

The Bread Search HERE

A Warehouse Fire- Tactical Fire Problem HERE

SA and Accountability HERE

Just another example that we always need to search. You never know who will be “Living” where. HERE

This Weeks Firefighter Training Podcast HERE

This weeks 60 Second Safety HERE

15 Years ago: A deadly December HERE

An Evaluation of Flow-path Control HERE

Some good resources about Flashover HERE

Line of Duty Death 12-16-14

Ricky Wooten Doub

Fire Chief Doub responded to an EMS and a fire call during the day on December 16 and was later found deceased at home by his wife around 1700hrs that evening. A nature and cause of fatal injury for Chief Doub is still to be determined.

Forbush Volunteer Fire Department, Yadkinville, North Carolina

Fatality status is provisional and may change.

Age: 61
Rank: Fire Chief
Classification: Volunteer
Incident Date: Dec 16, 2014
Date of Death: Dec 16, 2014
Cause of Death: Unknown
Nature of Death: Unknown

Remembering the Vandalia Ave. Fire 12-18-1998

Vandalia 3


Lt. Joseph Cavalieri – Age 42 – Ladder 170 – 15-year veteran

F/F James Bohan – Age 25 – Ladder 170 – 2-year veteran

F/F Christopher Bopp – Age 27 – Ladder 170 – 3-year veteran

At 0454 hours, on December 18, 1998 Brooklyn transmitted box 4080 for a top floor fire at 17
Vandalia Avenue. The complex is located on Brooklyn’s south shore in the Spring Creek section. The
10 story 50 x 200 fireproof building is used as a senior citizen’s residence. By the time companies arrived the fire already could be seen blowing through two windows. Second and 3rd alarms were quickly transmitted.

As the 1st due ladder company, L170’s duty is to search the fire floor. Lieutenant Joseph Cavalieri, and fire fighters Christopher Bopp and James Bohan ascended 10 flights of stairs with extinguishers and forcible entry tools. Their mission was to rescue the resident of apartment 10-D who was believed trapped inside.

Fortunately for the elderly resident she escaped shortly before the forcible entry team arrived. Unfortunately for them, she left the apartment door wide open. The additional oxygen from the hallway fed the inferno within and blew out the windows. The halls were equipped with sprinklers but for reasons unknown to anyone is why they were deactivated.

As the Lieutenant and fire fighters arrived at the door, a sudden change in the wind direction forced an estimated 29-MPH wind gust into the apartment, and a 2,000 degree fireball into the hallway. The 3 men only had enough time to get a Mayday out. The high heat instantly asphyxiated them and burned their masks off of them. Despite the best efforts of the rescue team and EMS, all 3 were pronounced dead at the hospital. Also injured in the fire were 6 other fire fighters and 4 residents.

This brought the total of fire fighters killed in the line of duty to 780, in 1998. The cause of the blaze was careless smoking.

This fire was a turning point in the way the fire service as a whole looks at wind driven fires.

Please take the time to read the lessons learned, and honor the sacrifices of our 3 brothers


Video HERE

NIST Wind Driven Report HERE


NY Times article HERE

Close the Door for Life HERE

Article HERE, HERE, and HERE

Drill HERE

ALIVE Wind Driven Fire Program HERE

Other Wind Driven Fires HERE