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The Texas Edition PUBLISHING SINCE 1993



WINTER, 2018


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If you have photos you would like to see in our “Buddy Shots” feature please upload them on our website, or email them to

Healthy St. Patrick’s Day Eats FORK & HOSE CO. a Food Blog by A.J. Fusco

I have always said, if I wasn’t Italian I would be Irish. Not sure exactly why though. Maybe it’s the fact that when I hear pipes and drums playing I get excited, pumped up or in some cases emotional. I even tried to join the local Emerald Society when they recruited at my fire academy, but they didn’t buy my name as being A.J. “Mc”Fusco. Still, the Irish tra-

ditions run deep in the fire service and that may very well be the reason. The fire service and tradition are near and dear to my heart. But this is a food column right?! Irish cuisine here in America is not much to write home about. Please, to all the Irish out there, don’t beat me up over this. It happens to all cultures; Chinese food in the states is for the most part not at all how they eat in China. And very much the same can be said for Italian food here, and this I know first-hand having been to Italy twice. I hate to break it to ya, but chicken parm isn’t really a thing. In Ireland, there is a great food movement going on, showcasing the best produce, meat and fish the

Emerald Isle has to offer. But I digress, just because it may not be authentic certainly does not mean it can’t be good. So when I decided to make something “Irish” for dinner at the firehouse, I knew I wanted to do something familiar but put my own healthy twist on it. Shepherd’s Pie is delicious, I mean how could you not want beef smothered in a brown gravy-like sauce and topped with buttery mashed potatoes. But one of my favorite things to do is take a dish that is popular in the firehouse and make it a little more nutritious, so just a few ingredient substitutions and boom! A healthy variation on a classic!

“Turkey-Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie” Serves 6 Ingredients:


Irving, TX - Irving Fire Department members Hilton Barlow and Benny Renaud smile for the camera after climbing over 150 stories on January 13th at Reunion Tower during the Dallas Vertical mile.



Paramedics always notice how IV-friendly your veins are, even if you are not their patient. You think he’s looking at you in a romantic way? He’s probably thinking about how your veins would be great for a 14-gauge needle.

1.5 Lb. Ground Turkey 6 Sweet Potatoes ½ Yellow Onion, diced 2 Garlic Cloves, diced 4 Medium Carrots, peeled and diced 8 oz. Mushrooms, quartered 10 oz. Frozen Peas 10 oz. Frozen Corn 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemaryleaves removed and finely chopped 14.5 Can of Low-Sodium Chicken Broth Extra Virgin Olive Oil ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon ½ tsp Paprika ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper 2 tsp. Flour Salt and Pepper, to taste Procedure:

-Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

add the mushrooms and sauté until nicely browned and no moisture is left in the pan. Add the garlic and rosemary, stirring often.

-Now add the turkey back to the pan with the peas and corn. Sprinkle the flour in, stir and cook for a minute or so. Add in the broth, bring to a boil and lower to a simmer for a few minutes until thickened. Place mixture in an oven-proof baking dish or tray.

soning. Spread on top of the turkey mixture. For a nicer presentation place the potato in a ziploc bag, cut one corner tip of the bag and squeeze the mixture on top of turkey like a pastry bag. -Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the top has browned. You can also use the broiler if you have one. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

-Now that the potatoes have cooled, peel the skin (you could chop the skin and add to turkey mixture for extra nutrients). In a large bowl add the potato flesh, a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt and the spices. Mash with a fork, taste and adjust sea-

-In a large pot, place sweet potatoes with enough cold water to cover. Salt the water like you would pasta water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until soft, approximately 30 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

-While the potatoes are cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat. Add a couple glugs of olive oil. When the oil is simmering add the ground turkey, seasoning with a little salt and pepper. When the turkey starts to brown, stir it until cooked through and set aside. In the same pan add a little more olive oil and the onions and carrots. When the onions are translucent


1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Winter, 2018



Winter, 2018

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX



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1st Responder News (ISSN 1525-1683) - Vol. 3 No. 1 - Texas edition is published quarterly, 4 times a year for $15 per year by Belsito Communications, Inc., 1 Ardmore St., New Windsor, NY 12553. Periodicals Postage Paid at Newburgh, NY and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to 1st Responder News, 1 Ardmore St., New Windsor, NY 12553. No financial responsibility is assumed by this newspaper to publish a display, classified, or legal ad or for typographical errors except of reprinting that part of the ad which was omitted or in error. Omissions or erA division of: rors must be brought to the attention of the newspaper during the same month of publication.

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Corpus Christi Celebrates Opening of Fire Station 18

Corpus Christi, TX - Fire Chief Robert Rocha spoke to the audience in attendance for the grand opening of Corpus Christi Fire Station 18 on November 15, 2017. Councilwoman Lucy Rubio was in attendance.

"My name is ex-Captain Steve Delamar, from fire emergency services Heavy Rescue Co. No. 1. in Central Islip, New York. I have been with the company 24 years. The shark has been on our trucks for the past 35 years. As you would say, here is the jaws of life."

Would you like your emergency services related tattoo featured here? Contact Lindsey at

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Winter, 2018

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Rick Billings (Cartoon) AJ Fusco (Food Blog) Bob Long (Cartoon) John Malecky (Apparatus, Video, Bookshelf) Didymus McHugh (Chaplain’s Corner) Joel Miller (Social Media) Robert “Pip” Piparo (Health & Fitness) Fernando Villicana (Chaplain’s Corner)


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Join our team of correspondents or columnists! 1st Responder Newspaper welcomes submissions by our readers. Send stories and photos to us at 1 Ardmore Street, New Windsor, NY 12553. Or, give us a call or send us an e-mail. If using the mail, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for all submissions you wish to have returned. Publisher reserves the right to refuse any editorial or advertising material submitted.

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In memory of those who gave all

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

1st Responder Newspaper honors and remembers emergency responders lost in the line of duty

Texas: Charles Edward Patterson, 60 Rank: Firefighter Incident Date: December 1, 2017 Death Date: December 7, 2017 Fire Department: Bowie Rural Volunteer Fire Department Initial Summary: Firefighter Charles Edward Patterson collapsed in the front yard of a residential structure fire while working a hose line with other members of his fire department. Emergency medical personnel were on scene and provided immediate assistance. Firefighter Patterson was transported to the hospital where he died several days later from a nature and cause of fatal injury still to be reported. California: Cory Iverson, 32 Rank: Engineer Incident Date: December 14, 2017 Death Date: December 14, 2017 Fire Department: CAL FIRE Initial Summary: Engineer Cory Iverson died while fighting the Thomas Fire near Fillmore, California. The nature and cause of Iverson's death has not been released pending a Cal Fire serious accident review. Engineer Iverson was part of a multiengine strike team dispatched from the San Diego area more than a week ago to fight some of the largest fires in California’s history. Florida: Jeffery Atkinson, 43 Rank: Engineer Incident Date: December 15, 2017 Death Date: December 15, 2017 Fire Department: Tallahassee Fire Department Initial Summary: Engineer Jeffery Atkinson died while on-duty at the fire station from a nature and cause of fatal injury still to be determined. Texas: Dene Barber, 56 Rank: Captain Incident Date: December 13, 2017 Death Date: December 13, 2017 Fire Department: Brazoria Fire Department

Initial Summary: Captain Dene Barber responded with the Brazoria Fire Department to an apartment building fire on the evening of December 13, 2017. Firefighters made entry into the building and extinguished the fire. Upon exiting the structure, Barber complained to others of not feeling well. Captain Barber was treated on scene by West Brazos EMS, then transported to the hospital where in spite of all efforts he passed away from a reported heart attack.

New York: David Jahnes, 58 Rank: Firefighter Incident Date: December 18, 2017 Death Date: December 18, 2017 Fire Department: Nyack Fire Department – Fire Patrol Initial Summary: Firefighter David Jahnes fell ill while at the scene of an investigation into an odor at a bank which turned out to be an overheating battery in the alarm system. Firefighter Jahnes was treated by fellow responders and transported by the Nyack Ambulance Corps to the hospital where later during treatment he suffered coronary failure and passed away. Indiana: Jeffery Alan Blackmer, 42 Rank: Firefighter Incident Date: December 20, 2017 Death Date: December 20, 2017 Fire Department: Hamilton Township Volunteer Fire Company Initial Summary: Shortly after working a barn fire with his fire department, Firefighter Jeffery Alan Blackmer was discovered deceased at the fire station where he had been cleaning and stowing away gear used to fight the early morning blaze. The nature and cause of fatal injury are still to be determined by authorities.

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX


If you have photos you would like to see in our “Future First Responders” feature, please upload them on our website, or email them to

Encino, TX - Andrew Herrera Jr. and his brother Ryan A. Herrera received "Future Firefighter" awards at the 35th Anniversary of Southern Brooks Vol. Fire Department.


Winter, 2018


February 15 - 18, 2018 Portland, Maine



WATER RESCUE May 17 - 20, 2018 Portland, Maine

PRIZED POSSESSIONS If you have photos you would like to see in our “Prized Possessions” feature, please upload them on our website, or email them to


We are excited to be debuting our new feature called "Prized Possessions," that will showcase people's FIRE/EMS related possessions and collectibles! We are 'kicking it off' by featuring these flame sneakers worn by 1st Responder News correspondent, Damien Danis. When asked about his infamous sneakers, Damien had this to say: "I wear the sneakers only once a year to the Wildwood Fire Expo. The flames go with my nickname, "Flamien Damien". My friend's brother gave me the nickname years ago and it stuck!!" DAMIEN DANIS



Winter, 2018

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

EMS Mom Recounts Personal Experience Responding to Son’s Burning Home Stillwater, NJ - Responding to a call for help is a normal day in the Martin family. My husband Bill, who was a 23-year veteran of EMS, died while driving an ambulance to a landing zone. He was transporting a burn victim from a structure fire. My son Andy is an offi- JUMP TO FILE# cer with the Sussex 011118116 County Sheriff's Dept. Andy is also an EMR with the Stillwater Emergency Rescue Squad. I have 28 years of service to EMS. I was a 911 operator for over 10 years. Volunteerism and community service is our way of life. It's a commitment we passed to our children. Andy and Beth were recently married and spent the first few weeks of marriage painting an old Victorian house. They cleaned and polished till everything gleamed. They displayed wedding photos and wedding presents. They were settling down to enjoy being a new family. On January 4, 2018, I responded to a call for a smell of smoke; it was the home of my son and his wife Beth. I got a panicked call from Beth telling me she smelled smoke in her home. She had called the fire department, but she was okay. I raced out the door and was on the way there in minutes. Because the location was just up the street, I was first on scene. I notified dispatch via radio that I was just seconds out. As I got to the end of the street, I noticed the bright orange color in the lower windows. The glow was terrifying, as I didn't see my daughter-in-law outside. I shouted in the radio, "I got flames showing". Later, one fireman approached me and said that he has known me for years and that was the first time he heard panic in my voice. He said he rolled out of bed faster. A longtime fire dept. member from a neighboring town called me and said my radio dispatch made the hair on his neck stand on end. He said he knew I was in trouble. Another EMS member told me he stepped up his response when he heard my voice. I will admit that is the first time in my life I witnessed the was in the form of was sheer terror. So many horrible thoughts ran through my head in those few short seconds. Flashbacks to almost five years ago when Bill went to a structure fire and didn't come back. I searched the darkness and finally saw Beth running toward me in her nightgown and robe. I have never felt such relief. She was safe, but crying and covered in black soot. I held her tight trying to calm my fear. I notified dispatch that the structure had been evacuated. Stillwater EMS arrived on scene. They offered blankets and a warm place

to sit inside the truck. It was hard to walk away, so we stayed...watching. EMS stayed with us. Beth and I watched the flames lick through the walls and melt the siding. The windows buckled and fell out. The shattering noise of glass breaking was heart wrenching. Black smoke with bright embers floated up in the night sky. The bone-numbing cold cut through us while we watched the fire grow brighter. We were helpless till the fire department arrived on scene. Minutes later, the trucks arrived, one after another. Men and women jumped off the trucks ready to tackle what was destroying a new family's dream. My son, Andy, arrived from work. He jumped in carrying hoses, still in uniform. Neighboring fire departments were simultaneously dispatched for this structure fire, an action that saved the home. Thank you "Tripod dispatch". When the fire was extinguished and the scene cleared for safety, we were escorted into the house to get much needed possessions. Walking into the house, we saw walls with dripping water, heavy black soot and charred memories. New furniture that was polished with pride, now covered with fallen plaster and broken ceiling fans. Destruction was everywhere, nothing was recognizable in the main fire area. Christmas presents totally gone. What was left there was only huge masses of sodden ash and soot. The walls and doors six-feet down from the ceiling were covered with black soot. The light switches and furnace thermostat were melted mass dripping down the walls. The heat was intense; the fire did its damage. As we walked through the house my son noted his prized John Wayne posters were leaning against the wall. They were covered in black. He dropped his head and just walked away. I got three firefighters to secure these framed posters and turn them over to EMS to safe guard for us. Throughout the house, Andy and Beth picked up what they could save. They kept saying to each other, "no one was hurt," "it's just stuff," and "it's okay". The one wedding present they bought themselves was a huge big screen tv. It was Andy's pride and joy. He had it hooked up before he had cable. It melted off the wall. On the floor below where it hung lay the mass that once brought joy. Andy just hung his head. No words. Just silence. Returning to his childhood home, Andy brought his new wife and black garbage bags of what was salvaged in his burnt home. No toothbrush, no clean clothes, just what they were wearing. So many friends and family have reached out to make sure they were okay. These contacts have kept them going. A GoFundMe page was started and the response has been overwhelming. Responses from as far

Before the fire struck.

away as Germany have been coming in. Days after the fire, a request for clean up and salvage assistance was put out via Facebook. Not knowing how many, or if anyone would show up, we went back to the house. Our family was met at the scene by neighbors, friends, family, EMS and fire department members. All ready to help. The Stillwater mayor, Lisa Chammings, came and was working in the muck with us. Stillwater Emergency Rescue squad came with a rig, crew and Captain. Yes, an ambulance. After all, we are an EMS family. There is always an ambulance. Stillwater Fire Department

After the fire struck.


members were there helping with salvaging of what we could find. The local church opened its doors for food and a warm place to rest. Neighbors who could not help dropped off packing supplies and food. The Stillwater community gathered around to assist one of their own. The cold just seeped through your clothing no matter how warm you dressed. The smell, oh the smell. You don't forget that quickly. Not one person complained. On that day there would be no tears, just smiles. Everyone was there for Andy and Beth. A few hours after the clean up at the house, I received a call from the EMS crew. They were stopping

at the house. They had a surprise. Rob Losey and Trevor Havens of Stillwater Emergency Rescue Squad brought back the three posters that were taken from the house the night of the fire. They had spent hours cleaning the John Wayne posters until they were pristine. These young men took time to ease the pain of a fellow volunteer. That is family. That is a volunteer for EMS and Fire. I am proud to say I am a resident of Stillwater, N.J., where the term "family" includes your neighbors, friends and fellow volunteers. - TERI MARTIN


1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Winter, 2018



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Winter, 2018

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

APPARATUS IN ACTION If you have photos you would like to see in our Apparatus in Action feature please upload them on our website or email them to

Irving, TX - Irving F.D. Engine 12 pumping on a fast moving threealarm apartment fire at 4542 West Pioneer that involved the attic space and second-floor.



Dozens Left Homeless After Four-Alarm Fire Destroys Condominium Building in Dallas Dallas, TX - At 12:39 P.M. on January 25th, Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to a 911 call for a structure fire at the Sable Ridge Condminiums, located at 6108 Abrams Road, near the intersection of Northwest Highway. When firefighters arrived at the three-story residential building, they found fire in a first-floor unit. While they worked to knock the

JUMP TO FILE #021518105 fire down, flames had already got into the walls and floor spaces and began spreading throughout the building. The building houses up to 24 units and after a significant collapse occurred during firefighting

efforts, it will leave most of them uninhabitable. Fifty residents were displaced as a result of the fire and will receive help from the American Red Cross. There were no injuries reported and the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time. - JASON EVANS



Vehicle News ®

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Sansom Park, TX - Sansom Park Fire Dept. recently held a push-in ceremony for their new Spartan Metro Star pumper. It’s the first new apparatus for the department in 20 years.

"Loyal to Our Duty"

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Winter, 2018



Winter, 2018

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Ten Ways Social Media Works For Your Department by Chief Joel Miller

1. Ensure your social media policies work for the department and do not completely restrict your social media platforms. Do not leave “gray areas” for interpretation such as making policies so strict or confusing that people are deterred from utilizing them. 2. Utilize your PIO (Public Information Officer) as your social media administrator. This is the person with the information that needs to be available on your social media. They can do this from the field as the action happens and even use social media for a press conference or mass notification. 3. Consider utilizing firefighters as volunteer PIOs for your social media accounts. This allows you to cover more areas than having one PIO. Volunteers can be given rules and guidelines for posting pictures and information or have all posts funnel through the official PIO for actual posting. Many fire departments have been very successful with this approach. Just make sure your crew understands, work first and social media second unless they are the official PIO. 4. Establish a following. Make sure your fire departments’ social medial information is on everything! In today’s world, this is just as important as your phone number…….and I’m not talking about 911. So, from business cards to flyers for an event, be sure to include all your departments’ social media information. 5. Work smarter not harder. Let your social media accounts promote

your events and fund raisers. Use social media to direct people where to buy tickets or make donations to your events. 6. Always post the “great” things that are going on within your department such as fire prevention, feeding the homeless, or other public services in which your department participates. 7. Always post your departmental promotions and retirements on social media. This is a great way to let the community know about your departments’ accomplishments and recognize staff for their hard work and dedication. 8. As I stated in a previous article “A Picture is NOT Worth a Thousand Words," you must always tell the story behind the picture because if you don’t, people will assume the worst and reflect negatively on your department. Keep the story brief, as most readers only read the first two or three lines. 9. Use other groups and organizations’ social media pages to help promote your page. Tag other people with large sites relevant to your page and use their hashtag to help promote your pictures and get your information in front of the masses. (@chief_miller #chiefmiller , just saying… lol) 10. Start a hashtag for your department and use it consistently on all your posts. This is an important way for others to find your page in the social media world. Choose a hashtag that is relevant to your department while keeping it simple and easy to remember.


1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Winter, 2018



Winter, 2018

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

DEPARTMENT PROFILES If you have photos you would like to see in our Department Profiles feature please upload them on our website or email them to

San Antonio, TX - Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw, District 2, and Fire Chief Charles Hood "uncouple" the new Fire Station 18 (1410 S. W.W. White Road). The station houses three apparatus bays, one EMS bay, kitchen, dining and living areas as well as dormitories and an exercise room. Station 18 is the first and only active station to have a display bay to house an antique fire apparatus and public art.





SAFD Escorts 5-Year-Old Church Shooting Victim Home San Antonio, TX - On January 11th, the SAFD was honored to take part in the escort home of 5-year-old Ryland Ward. Ryland was released from University Hospital where he had been recovering from injuries sustained in the Sutherland Springs shootings that occurred on November 5, 2017.


1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Winter, 2018



Winter, 2018

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Remembering All Those Lost AFTER 9-11 I am one of many retired NYC firemen who went to the towers to offer my help in the recovery. It always amazed me that there were so many rescue and firefighters that came from all parts of the country to help. After 9-11, the NYFD notified its members about the passing of its members. In 2002, one firefighter passed away from a World Trade Center illness (WTC). The following year it was four firefighters. Going ahead to 2017 the numbers go up to 20. Since 9-11, a total of 165 members of the NYFD have now died from WTC illness. I also found out that more than 1,000 recovery workers have died since 911. It is reported that by 2020 there will be more people dead from 9-11 than all those who were killed on 9-11-01. The federal government took


If you have photos you would like to see in our “Working Faces” feature, please upload them on our website, or email them to

JUMP TO FILE #012318121 11 years to recognize 58 types of cancer connected to the events of 9-11. I was one of the lucky ones to survive two types of cancer. We must never forget 9-11 and those we lost that day, but we must also remember all those that have died after 9-11 and continue to die. To view the list of names of WTC Related Illness Deaths, please visit: - THOMAS COONEY

Thomas Cooney is a retired member of NYFD Ladder 30 and author of "The Man Behind Badge 711".


Missouri City, TX - Missouri City Fire & Rescue Services congratulates Firefighter Travis Williams as Firefighter of the Year for 2017. Firefighter Williams’s stead-fast approach to learning and work ethic was recognized by his supervisor and subordinates. Firefighter Williams attended evening Paramedic classes which led him to becoming a National Registered Paramedic. Missouri City Fire & Rescue Services Fire Chief Eugene Campbell promotes and encourages higher education to all members of his department. PROVIDED

If you have photos you would like to see in our “Patch of the Month” feature please upload them on our website, or email them to


Grass Fire Burns 400-Acres in Encino

Encino, TX - On January 13th at 2:00 P.M., Southern Brooks Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched one-and-a-half miles west on FM 755, off of Highway 281, for a grass fire. After several hours of battling the blaze, approximately 400-acres were burned. Mutual Aid departments were called out to assist with the fire, including Falfurrias Volunteer Fire Department, Brooks Co. Emergency Management, Brooks Co. Sherriff’s Office, Brooks Co. Road and Bridge, Linn San Manuel Volunteer Fire Department, Kleberg Co. Fire Department, Nueces Co. ESD # 3, Texas Forestry Service, Lee Farms and EL Coyote Ranch.


This patch belongs to Sansom Park Fire Dept., located in Tarrant County, TX.

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Winter, 2018



Winter, 2018

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

ALL IN THE FAMILY If you have photos you would like to see in our “All In The Family” feature, please upload them on our website, or email them to




Our company is dedicated to drowning and aquatic injury prevention and emergency management. We develop educational curriculums in Water Rescue, Swiftwater Rescue, Ice Rescue, Lifeguarding, and Aquatics Safety and we conduct training programs throughout the U.S., as well as internationally, for the Public Safety and Rescue, as well as the Lifeguard and Aquatic Recreation Sectors.

The company is run by Gerry Dworkin, a professional Aquatics Safety and Water Rescue Consultant. Gerry is currently a Firefighter/EMT with the Kennebunkport (Maine) Fire Department, and has been a Firefighter and EMT for over 40 years, having been certified in Connecticut, New PROVIDED

Future firefighters keeping the tradition alive, pictured with their father, Asst. Chief Andrew Herrera Sr. from the Southern Brooks Vol. Fire Department.

York, Texas, Virginia, New Hampshire and Maine. He has been a career and volunteer Firefighter, and is currently Paid-on-Call with Kennebunkport.

Gerry regularly consults as a Forensics Expert in drowning and aquatic injury litigation and has consulted on over 350 cases to date. He has also consulted as a Subject Matter Expert for CNN; MSNBC; CBS’ Early Show; NBC’s Today Show; ABC’s Good Morning America; The Discovery Channel; The Weather Channel; and The History Channel. Lifesaving Resources hosts a very extensive website at For information on the company, please access their website, or call 207/967-8614.


1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Winter, 2018



Winter, 2018

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Winter, 2018



Winter, 2018

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

WOMEN IN FIREFIGHTING If you have photos you would like to see in our “Women in Firefighting” feature, please upload them onour website, or email them to

Austin, TX - Congratulations and best wishes to our Fire Chief, Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, who just announced her retirement from the Austin Fire Department effective July 1, 2018. She embarks on a new journey as the Fire Chief of Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, the department where she started her career in the fire service more than 30 years ago.


Three-Alarm Fire Heavily Damages Church in Irving

Irving, TX - On December 28, 2017, Irving Fire Department crews did an outstanding job containing a three-alarm fire to the sanctuary of Bear Creek Community Church, located at 2700 Finley Road, while also protecting the remaining structure and the homeless individuals seeking refuge from the severe cold. Investigators have ruled the cause as undetermined. They also ruled that it was not malicious.


“Although the decision to leave Austin did not come easily, Fort Lauderdale holds a special place in my heart,” said Chief Kerr. “So when the opportunity arose to return there and close out my career as the leader of that organization, I just couldn’t say no.” Chief Kerr’s many accomplishments during her tenure at the Austin Fire Department include funding and maintaining fourperson staffing on all frontline apparatus in the face of budget shortfalls; steering AFD through an Insurance Services Office (ISO) review that changed the City’s rating from “2” to “1”, the best rating a city can receive for its fire protection; expanding AFD’s outreach efforts in distributing and installing up to 2,500 free smoke alarms annually; and guiding risk management and policy development on such issues as Driving Under the Influence, Harassment Prevention, LongTerm Alternate Duty, and Vehicle Collisions and Injury Investigations. “Words cannot begin to describe how much I have enjoyed my time in Austin and in serving as the Fire Chief here,” said Chief Kerr. “It has been one of the most special periods in my life and I will treasure it always. But what I will miss most is the men and women of the

Austin Fire Department; they are truly the best in the business. During my tenure as President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), I visited fire departments around the world and I can say with complete confidence that they do it better than anyone else. And that goes for both the department’s uniform and civilian staff. The City of Austin is in very good hands!” Chief Kerr, a fourth-generation firefighter, joined the Austin Fire Department as its first female Fire Chief on February 2, 2009 after spending five years in the same position at the Little Rock Fire Department and more than 20 years rising through the ranks to the position of Assistant Chief at Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. Chief Kerr served as President of the IAFC from 2015 – 2016, the first time a woman was elected to that position in the organization’s history. She was also President of the Metropolitan “Metro” Fire Chiefs Association from 2016 – 2017. In December 2016, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, where she serves alongside academic, public, and private experts who advise the sitting President on matters regarding the security of critical infrastructure and related information systems. She sits on various committees and boards, and is a member of several state, national, and international fire service associations. She has also been honored as a Girl Scouts of Central Texas Woman of Distinction.

Please join us in wishing her all the best! - AUSTIN FD


FDNY Fires of the Past, Volume 1 VIDEO REVIEW

Video reviews by John Malecky

F.D.N.Y. FIRES OF THE PAST Volume 1 By Fireline Video Productions Available from: FSP Books & Videos 188 Central Street, Suite #4 Hudson, MA 01749-1330 1-800-522-8528 Price: $29.95 (DVD) This DVD is 60 minutes in length. It was originally produced by Advance Print & Video and is now re-released by Fireline Video Productions. It is an assortment of large and difficult fires which took place from 1989 through 1992. There are nine incidents. Narration is brief and generally states the bor-


Winter, 2018

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ough, the year and sometimes the date, the number of alarms, the type of structure or incident, and one or two of the highlights. Sometimes the location, as to the intersection or address, is given. There are two six-alarms, one fourth-alarm, three third-alarms, one second-alarm and two others not classified, however one is a vacant warehouse in Brooklyn and the other a gas explosion on 7th Avenue underground in Manhattan. So they were both major incidents. Some are apartment houses or warehouses, a cockloft fire, a dramatic rope rescue, wall collapses, rescues made down an aerial ladder, tower ladder streams, ground handlines and master streams. Heavy streams are popular! Many if not most of the incidents are at night. Also, because these fires were years ago, the viewer will see a lot of the older apparatus working. It is a good example of firefighters and the EMS working together. It is not a DVD you would want to miss!


Dallas, TX - On January 26th, 14 members of Dallas Fire-Rescue elite Urban Search & Rescue Team completed the final training requirement to earn Texas A&M's prestigious Rescue Specialist Certificate. The Rescue Specialist Certificate is provided through the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service - TEEX and is the result of a culmination of over 304 hours of intense training in several key special operations disciplines that include structural collapse rescue. To give an idea of how exclusive this is: Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service - TEEX has only awarded 144 Rescue Specialist Certificates in the world. These members are now part of an elite group of rescue professionals who can respond to such disasters like the September 11th attacks in New York and Washington DC.


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Priced Comparable to Epoxy Goes Right Over Your Old Floor




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Austin, TX - "It's a beautiful day to climb a tree," said Sniffles. So he climbed...and climbed...and climbed. Stopping to admire the view from his perch, Sniffles suddenly realized he was 35-feet in the air...and became disinclined to acquiesce to his owner's request that he come down. So on January 25th, the A shift from Quint 19 continued the fire service's time-honored tradi-

tion of getting a cat out of a tree. Probationary Firefighter Nicholas Dye got the honor of climbing up to rescue Sniffles, while Captain Skylar Putnam, Fire Specialist Ehren Iverson and Firefighter Tanner Wuthrich held the ladder.

It was a puuuurrrrffffect rescue; "cats" off to the crew! - AUSTIN FD


Euless F.D. Holds Annual Awards Banquet Euless, TX - Euless Fire Department held their annual awards banquet on Saturday evening, February 10th. Please help us congratulate everyone who helped make 2017 such a successful year. -2017 Rookie of the Year: Chris Mann -2017 EMS Provider of the Year: Andrew Harris -2017 Wayne Britt Award: Ryan Rowan -2017 Driver/Engineer of the Year: Michael Parks

JUMP TO FILE #021518110 -2017 Supervisor of the Year: Michael Hanks -2017 EFD Employee of the Year: Josh Schnitzius -2017 ECFAAA Volunteer of the Year: Mia Estella -Special Recognition Awards: Euless Lowe's and Home Depot -2017 Life Saving Award: Jon Evans, Brandon Herron, Michael

Jones, Matthew Rose, Adam Parkhurst, Cathy Pruit -2017 Distinguished Unit Award- Hurricane Harvey Response: Bill Ver Steeg, Scott Evans, Michael Hanks, Cody Delmere, Adam Parkhurst -2017 Distinguished Unit Award- Apparatus Committee: Jerad Gomez, Lance Judd, Jason Moon, Jeremy Goodman, Cody Delmere, Chris Sutterfield - EULESS FIRE DEPT.

Finding Time for What’s Important Chaplain's Corner

Pastor Fernando Villicana




In the fire service time is of the essence and we are loaded with priorities and important choices. Once emergency services arrive on scene of a crisis, the decision wheels begin to turn. In business “time is money". In the fire service, time can be a matter of life or death. Even though there are procedures in place, the incident commander must begin using each moment wisely as well as deciding what resources to deploy. Making the best use of time and resources is the name of the game. There seems to be an increased emphasis on Time Management nowadays. Companies are investing more resources to provide seminars and instructional material on how to plan your life out. Corporate America realizes that if employees are taught this concept, the company can be more fruitful and productive. Prioritizing is the name of the game and more and more books are being pub-

lished on the subject. But what are the things that are most important in life? Well, there could be a long list of things depending on the person and their status (single, married, retired etc.). Exercise is important for a healthy body. Spending quality time with your spouse and your children is important. Reading your Bible and praying everyday is important. Maintaining balance between work and play is important for a healthy life. For the most part, we already know the right things to do! The problem is we have a hard time finding time for these things that are important. Today in our society there are more time-saving devices than any other time in the history of mankind. Yet we still don't seem to have enough time. We're always in a hurry. We just can't seem to get it all done. The fact is: You can't be all, do all, and have it all. You have to make selections and choices in life. It’s called time management! The Bible has this to say about time management. Ephesians 5:1516 (Phillips trans.) "Live life with a due sense of responsibility not as those who do not know the meaning of life but as those who do. Make the best

use of your time.” We all have the exact same amount of time - 168 hours a week. The bad news is that next week you're not going to have any more time than you did this week. So, the only thing that can change is how you manage it, how you use it. You can't save time, you can't stretch time, you can't add time - you just have to manage it well. The big question is: what do I want to give my time and my life for? And you decide what really matters most. Nothing really happens until you schedule it. You may say spending time with God is important. You may say spending time with your kids is important. You may say quality time with your spouse is important. You may say exercise or anything else is important, but if you don't schedule it, it's not really important to you. Scheduling is where the rubber meets the road. Start setting a date with yourself and with the Lord and with your spouse ... things like that. Thank you for taking the time to read through this message. -Pastor Fernando Villicana, Fire Service Chaplain

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Winter, 2018

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From Fire Victim to Fire Defender: A Story 50 Years in the Making What triggered my relentless hunger for anything fire service related? Many of us old-time firefighters get that question a lot. I have served in many capacities in the fire service, UMP TO FILE# from firefighter to J011118100 emergency medical services, rescue captain, and chief of my local volunteer fire department. I am also a fire “buff” (enthusiast) and the official fire photographer for the nation’s largest fire conference—FDIC International. I am currently a fire department dispatcher and 911 call taker. Fifty years ago, on January 11, 1968, it was a cold, brisk, gloomy winter morning much like it has been recently. The night before, on my 13th birthday, some relatives came over our house in Hasbrouck Heights for a small birthday party. My mom, Josephine, managed to bake my favorite cake even though she was recuperating from a cancer operation. I went to bed with a smile on my face and some gift money, with no idea what the day ahead would have in store for me and my family. The next thing I remember was my dad waking me up early; I was an altar boy and had to serve at the 7:00 a.m. mass at my local Catholic church. Dad dropped me off in his 1963 Chevy Corvair, which had little or no heat with the engine in the rear. Father Paterson was the priest that morning, which was great: Not only was he friendly, but he had the record for the shortest mass! As the daily service started, Father Paterson waved me over and whispered: “Do you know where the electrical box is?” He instructed me to go turn on the rest of the church lights, since it was too dark with partial lighting. I found the panel and threw the switches to the position the rest of them were in. I ran back to the church and was met with laughter and complete darkness! I had shut all the switches to the OFF position! Father Paterson was laughing along with the rest, and we couldn’t make eye contact the rest of the service for fear of laughing. Little did I know I would see the priest later that day under much different circumstances. After church I went off to the adjacent parochial school to my eighth-grade classroom. Meanwhile, my older brother, Peter, was at home, getting ready to go to his high school, which was one block from our home and afforded a view of our house because of an open baseball field in between. He went to the kitchen and smelled natural gas. He went to tell our recuperating mother and she rushed Peter out the door to school and called the utility company at 8:15 a.m. By 8:50 a.m., the odor was getting worse, and she called a neighbor, Fred Moll. As he exited

his house to come over, he saw the roof of our house lift off like a flying saucer, followed by a fireball and a deafening noise. Our mother was in that house! My brother heard the explosion as well and could see our house on fire. He ran home. The fire chief of neighboring Lodi pulled up and saw our mother on the ground. Another neighbor, Frank Ercolino, noticing her hair was on fire, threw her down and used snow to douse her flaming hair. The Lodi chief took her in his vehicle to Hackensack Hospital. Our mother had been standing in the center of the house on the ground floor. The house had exploded around her. She fought her way to the front door and smashed through the storm door. She had beaten death’s door twice—once with the cancer and now a second time. As my class started, I remember hearing the volunteer fire department’s horn tower blowing madly. Neighboring fire departments were responding, and the police were inundated with calls of a terrible explosion on the Hasbrouck Heights-Lodi border. With all the screaming sirens, you didn’t have to be a firefighter to know something terrible was happening. I went to the window and saw an ominous black cloud of smoke rising from the vicinity of our house. Later someone reminded me that I said, “Man, that looks like where my house is.” Our teacher shooed us away from the window to resume class, and the PA announcement interrupted with: “Will student Anthony Greco please report to the principal’s office with his coat and his bookbag?” I was thinking, “Oh no, what did I do now? My parents are going to kill me!” When I got to the principal’s office, my uncle Dominick was there. I thought, “Oh, this looks bad. What is my uncle doing here? Did my mom take a turn for the worse?” My uncle explained that there had been a fire at our house and took me to the scene. 127 Ottawa Avenue. My house. There were fire trucks everywhere. Hoses on the street. Lots of noise. The gas utility company was fervently digging up the street. When I got closer to the house, it appeared to be gone except for one staircase. Parts of the structure had been blown next door. Our refrigerator was lying in the backyard. I had a hard time comprehending what I was seeing. My mom’s new 1967 Ford Fairlane 500 was in the driveway with live wires down on it. I found out later my dad narrowly missed serious injury when he went to move the car—he was in shock on his arrival at the scene and did not notice the live wires. The gas utility had dug a hole about 20 feet down in front of the house and found a cracked pipe feeding gas into the house. A young detective at the scene, also a volunteer firefighter, ordered the pipe handed over to him before

the utility could take it away. It was evidence that the leak started outside and filled the house with gas. Later I remember walking into my mom’s hospital room and seeing her all bandaged up. She was going to be okay. That image still gets to me 50 years later. Then reality set in: We were homeless, with just the clothes on our backs. We would split up and stay at my uncle’s and grandmother’s houses for the time being. Then, Father Paterson and Father Kukura showed up and told my father they were taking me and my brother out for a few hours. They took us to a shopping mall and a salesperson at Gimbel’s completely outfitted us from new underwear to shoes to coats and hats. I was confused: Was I living through a tragedy or was it Christmas? The townspeople also pulled together, with fund drives through the VFW, the mayor’s office, and the Catholic church. I remember sitting in church when they announced: “The second collection is for the Greco family” and 500 people were staring at us. A week later, my dad got a call from Leroy Fisher, the pastor of a Baptist church in Englewood who owned a large excavating company. He volunteered to remove all the debris from the fire scene with his equipment at no charge. A lit-

tle wary, my dad agreed, and the man showed up with some serious heavy equipment to do the job. The only thing he asked in return was for my dad and uncle to attend one service at his church. They gladly did. My mom recuperated from her injuries, beat cancer, and lived to age 84, dying on Christmas Day 2011. My dad died three years after that. They got to see grandchildren and great grandchildren and rebuilt their home on the same lot of their former home—all electric, no more gas for them!

You never quite forget an event like my family experienced. To this day it makes me think about fire victims and their losses. Will they be okay? Is there anything else we can do for their family? PROVIDED

### Anthony Greco is a fire department dispatcher, a 911 call taker, and a longtime volunteer firefighter. He can be reached at - ANTHONY GRECO

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Winter, 2018

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1st Responder Texas Winter Edition