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This is a blog by Mike Legeros. To start your own discussions, try The Watch Desk. New to blogs? Read these Rules of the Road

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Andrew (Orange Rural Fire…): Looking at the map, this looks pretty close to th…
Swiman (Manchester Fire D…): Some of Manchester FD area was annexed into Sprin…
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Rescue Ranger (Three Houses Burn…): But…but…sprinklers would mean more cost. If I de…
Observer (Three Houses Burn…): I’m surprised more of these beach homes aren’t eq…
Legeros (Raleigh Tornado R…): Great question, and particularly when examined th…
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curious (Morrisville Engin…): Any one have any idea as to what happened to Garn…
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car3550 (Morrisville Engin…): In Duplin County old Garner E10 a 1984 Pierce Das…
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Chris Murray (Morrisville Engin…): Old Morrisville Engine 2 1989 Duplex Custom serve…
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George (Morrisville Engin…): Locke Township VFD, Salisbury NC. Truck 62 is ex-…
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PGtruckie (Morrisville Engin…): Buies Creeks ladder is a former Cary piece
PJ (Mystery Raleigh P…): The new graphics for WCSO look great on the new C…
Charlie (Morrisville Engin…): Clayton’s Rescue Truck was obtained from Morrisvi…
Silver (Mystery Raleigh P…): Hey Marshall, the Charger looks sweet, but those …
Meineke (Mystery Raleigh P…): RR, that is true the brakes do not contact the ri…
Marshall Sherard … (Mystery Raleigh P…): For those that want to see how Durham PD’s squads…
Rescue Ranger (Mystery Raleigh P…): There is no truth in the aluminum wheels reducing…
Braking it Down (Mystery Raleigh P…): I always heard that aluminum dissipated heat gene…
firedriver (Mystery Raleigh P…): Another arguement for aluminum wheels is that the…
Curtis Teague (Charlotte Fire Mu…): The antique pumper on the left looks like Kerners…
Legeros (The Aftermath in …): Here’s a graphic showing the buildings involved i…
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H2O (Mystery Raleigh P…): Traditions do exist in the Police Department as w…
H2O (Specification For…): .pdf isnt working Mike
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Keith Eriksen (Early History of …): I work for a fire hose company in Ohio that has w…
Mike (Duck Rescue, Tren…): They also had a high angle rescue of window washe…
Marshall Sherard … (Mystery Raleigh P…): Durham too is testing out the Caprices vs Charger…
Silver (Mystery Raleigh P…): Don’t really care about the look of it, more so t…
RPD (Mystery Raleigh P…): Yes, RPD will be testing Chevys, Fords and Dodges…
Mike (Mystery Raleigh P…): Silver, I too am a fan of the red painted rims on…
Legeros (Aftermath of Virg…): Here’s a Star-News article on the Morehead City c…
Galax,VA (Aftermath of Virg…): I don’t remember the crash in Morehead but while …
Galax,VA (Mystery Commercia…): Also noticed engines and ladders were white with…
shevais (Mystery Raleigh P…): apples to oranges. Aluminum wheels won’t rust an…
Legeros (Mystery Commercia…): I think you are right on the correct Carolina. Th…
Galax,VA (Mystery Commercia…): mike, ain,t that Greenville,SC? At least that’s …
Legeros (Mystery Raleigh P…): I also spend way too much time on blogs, Jeff… A…
PJ (Mystery Raleigh P…): @John Franks, red??? this isn’t an 18th century s…
harkey (Mystery Raleigh P…): So what’s the justification of the additional RPD…
Silver (Mystery Raleigh P…): Painted rims too…it IS a work truck not a parade …
+ 2 - 2 | § Apex Rescue Team Weathered Storm to Help Irene Victims

That's the headline from this WRAL story about the Apex Fire Department's swift-water team, and their role in the response to Hurricane Irene. Nine of their water rescue members-- they have 25 swift-water technicians and 20 divers-- were deployed to the Albemarle Sound area of Tyrrell County on Saturday afternoon. The order to was issued at 12:30 p.m. and they were rolling in 15 minutes. They were there for 48 hours, and enduring the intensity of the storm at the beginning. Battalion Chief Mike Beasley talks about the experience in the 96-second clip. Read/watch the story.

Readers have observed elsewhere that we haven't seen much local media coverage about the local water rescue and USAR teams and their operations during Irene. Since Yours Truly is neither a Public Office Information nor plays one on television, the best answer might be a collective answer. e.g., what do you think?

Some of the factors are probably obvious. For example, if your department has a standing relationship with one or more local news members, that relationship can be leveraged at times when the department has a story that the news might be interested in. Such relationships might be in the form of the Fire Chief, a PIO, or a member of command staff. What are your experiences?

Of course, we're also thick into the digital era. Everyone has cameras and there's usually someone capable of filming and posting reasonably good-quality video. So write and post your own news. Not the same, right? And probably not necessarily sanctioned. Does your department have a YouTube channel, say, and does it produce videos for public consumption and education? What, you're laughing now? Again, let's look to you. What would you, as Joe or Jane Responder, like to see as "news" of what you do?

+ 2 - 0 | § U.S. Appeals Court Ruling on Videotaping of Police

Statter911 yesterday posted this report on a U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston that issued an opinion on the 2007 arrest of a citizen who used his cell phone to record arrest activities. Simon Glik was charged with violating state wiretapping laws (audio recording without consent), disturbing the peace, and aiding the escape of a prisoner. The last charge was dismissed, and he was found not guilty of the other two. Gilk complained to the police and subsequently filed a civil rights suits, after they refused to investigate. Last week, the court agreed that his rights were violated.

Dave Statter's posting includes links to the entire opinion, a ZDNet article about the case, an ACLU video that includes the video that led to the arrest, and Dave's  previous coverage of stories of involving first responders reacting to cameras (and at times engaging in altercations with photographers and videographers). It's good reading and remains a useful and educational perspective. Cameras are everywhere. And public photography is not illegal.

What's the perspective like for the law officer, who's with a suspect or in a situation, who's trying to stay safe and control the outcome, and there's someone with a camera there? And what tactics might they employ, to interface with the camera holder? This PoliceOne.com column and its reader comments provide an exceptionally interesting perspective. The link is cited in the Statter story's reader comments.

September 4, 2011 update: See also this great Fire Law Blog posting about same, called The Public's Right to Take Photos at Incident Scenes.

+ 0 - 3 | § North Carolina Emergency Operations Center

See photos from Saturday

Let’s take a tour of the North Carolina Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which is located in the basement of the Administration Building at 116 W. Jones Street. That building was  built in 1967, but the EOC might be older. We'll research that one. (It probably originated during the time of Civil Defense infrastructure expansion during the Cold War. We’ll research that one. (Frank Blazich's North Carolina Civil Defense History would be a good place to start. As for the site of the Administration Building, the land was privately owned until 1963, say county real estate records.)

What is an EOC, you ask? Here's the Wikipedia definition, paraphrased: a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out emergency preparedness/management functions at a strategic level, and ensuring the continuity of operation. An EOC is responsible for the strategic overview/big picture of the emergency, and does not normally directly control field assets. It makes operational decisions and leaves tactical decisions to lower commands.
 


 

The physical space of the center is a series of connected rooms on a single floor underneath the Administration Building. Also on the floor is the state’s 24 Hour Operations Center. That facility is staffed at all times, has an additional level of access control, and operates as the communications center for the EOC. It's also where “regular” emergency requests for state resources are received throughout the year, such as a request to activate a USAR task force.

READ MORE

+ 1 - 2 | § Day After Down East

Posted in this Carteret County News-Times story, here's a commercial fishing vessel sitting on the side of Shell Road in Atlantic on Sunday. Said thoroughfare is about 1000 feet from the shore, says Google Maps. Did we mean Atlantic Beach? Nope, that's the community of Atlantic, an unincorporated community in Carteret County along the Core Sound. What's there? Notes this Wikepedia page, Atlantic was the location of the first public high school in the county. It was incorporated from 1905 to 1920. There's a satellite airfield there, operated by the Marine Corps. And they have a fire department.
 


Dylan Ray/News Times photo

+ 2 - 1 | § Progress Energy Mobile Sleep Station

From this New Bern Sun Journal story, this mobile sleep station can house 400 Progress Energy workers. It's been set-up beside Moore's BBQ on Highway 17 in New Bern. Looks climate controlled, but it might feel a bit claustrophobic. Unless you're ex-Navy, perhaps!
 


Bryon Holland/Sun Journal photo

+ 2 - 4 | § Raleigh Police Truck

Saw this this weekend. The officer driving said it pulls their horse trailer. And that the police department has exactly one such truck. Nice looking.
 

+ 3 - 2 | § Clean Underwear

We're a couple days into the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. The busiest crews are getting some relief. The double- or even triple-shifters have resumed normal schedules. Some deployments are being deactivated. Other resources are being moved around. Open question for everyone whose been working long hours over the last few days. What's that one thing that you're glad you brought along, that you stowed in your pack, and that you brought to the station? Or, alternately, what's that one thing that you wish you had, the one thing you've been dying to have? And don't say access to a computer to read this blog. We know that ain't true! Thanks for your dedication and hard work...

+ 0 - 1 | § Morning News - August 24, 2011

Good morning Raleigh. Couple more stories about the storm, as related to emergency responders and notable incidents. Google searching "North Carolina firefighters Irene" to find some of these. Forward stories as found, please.

+ 0 - 1 | § Evening News, August 28, 2011

Sundry stories to end our Sunday, most are storm-related. Plus one incendiary device, lobbed last week into the fire news reporting from Atlanta...

+ 1 - 0 | § Mystery Cemetery

No fair peeking into genealogy records to solve this one. Clues forthcoming, if it proves a stumper.
 

+ 1 - 1 | § Job Security?

From a reader, this picture appeared on the Rocky Mount Telegram web site, in this slideshow of storm photos. The caption: "U.S. Postal Service mail carrier Reinaldo Holmes uses a tree branch to remove a utility wire from his vehicle Saturday while delivering mail on Lafayette Avenue during Hurricane Irene."
 


Rocky Mount Telegram/Alan Campbell photo

+ 0 - 1 | § Fire Station Damage From Hurricane Irene

From reader photos submitted to WRAL, here's the day room of the Collington Fire Department in Dare County. Photo from Susan:
 


WRAL photo
 

Also submitted as a viewer photo to WRAL, here's the roof of the Weldon Fire Department in Halfiax County:
 


WRAL photo

+ 0 - 1 | § Hurricane Irene Photos and Photo Galleries

For your Sunday morning, here are some images and image galleries from the Hurricane. There's some superb photojournalism that's taking place. Check out the N&O, AP, and Getty images displayed by the News & Observer and New York Times. There are also reader and viewer photos by the dozen. The local-shot shots from New York City are particularly amusing. No shortage of humor there, as the big storm approaches. What photo gallery are you viewing, that you would recommend? And are there any galleries out there of responder photos, both shots of them and by them? Probably not. Feel free to send, and we'll see about sharing here. As for Mr. Blogger's photos, they are minimal: Task Force 8 preparing and leaving, Irene's effects around Raleigh, and the NC EOC in action Saturday morning (forthcoming).

Local News

Regional News

News & Observer

New York Times

+ 0 - 1 | § Storm Stuff

Skimming the news and social media web sites, here are some sundry details about Hurricane Irene's passage through North Carolina. Readers are welcome to contribute. 

Data

Deaths and Injuries

Damage and Closures

Emergency Response

+ 1 - 1 | § Scenes From Irene

Here are some scenes from around the Capitol City, from the last 24 hours. See more photos of Task Force 8. More other photos forthcoming. Click to enlarge:
 


Left: NC USAR Task Force 8 members secure equipment in one of
their tractor-drawn trucks. Right: Task Force 8 members are briefed
before departing the Keeter Training Center late Friday afternoon.
 

Left: Task Force 8 heads east on Highway 64, while a crazy guy in a
Hawaiian shirt watches from the Wendell Falls Parkway bridge. Right:
The North Carolina Emergency Operations Center started their Saturday
morning operational period with a 7:00 a.m. briefing.
 

Left: The briefing opened with a meteorology report. Right. One of
the many "big boards" at the EOC, located at 116 W. Jones Street.
 

Left: Space and supplies are ready at Raleigh Fire Station 8, for
operational command needs. Right: Crews clear a tree that struck
a vehicle on Wade Avenue just east of Gorman Street.
 

Left: Firefighter operates chainsaw provided by EMS Truck 1,  which also
responded. Right: Firefighter watches electrical arcing on White Oak Road.
Units secured the roadway, and awaited the arrival of utility workers.
Mike Legeros photographs.

+ 0 - 1 | § Weekend Planning, Part 3

Spaghetti model graphic courtesy of Stormpulse.
 

+ 0 - 1 | § Dave's Fire Videos / Boots 'n' Armchairs

Dave Statter has lately been posting some good fire videos on his blog, Statter911. Good in terms of fodder for discussion, for sure. The latest crop has been from the Eastern and Midwestern states: Indiana, Philly, Jersey, Spokane (tough situation on arrival on that one), and Iowa. Readers are entirely blunt in their assessments of the tactics and techniques on display, but they're also quick to praise and reinforce those things that work. There is perhaps a danger of diminishing returns, with regard to the relentless critical observations. Reader Gwoneg says it best in this response to Early Raw Video: House Fire in Pitman, New Jersey:

Wow, no one is good enough, are they?

Armchairs – "Never fight from the outside, always go in."
Boots – " But it went out, right?"
Armchairs – "Well, I guess outside is OK, but you used the wrong appliance."
Boots – "But it went out right?"
Armchairs – "I don't care if it went out, you are still clearly doing it wrong."

I know there are clear examples of poor tactics in some of the videos posted here on Statter , and I am glad for the learning value that those bring, but boy are we nitpicky.

+ 1 - 1 | § Last Week's Waterspout

Here's an extreme weather event from last week, a waterspout seen offshore at Carolina Beach. That's a tornado over water, and that moved onto land in the 1800 block of Canal Drive. As this WRAL story reported, waterspouts were seen offshore in both New Hanover and Brunswick counties. Do hurricanes sprout 'spouts? Guess we'll find out.
 


WRAL photo

+ 0 - 1 | § Evening News, August 25, 2011

Good evening Raleigh. Everyone's eye is on the eye. Sunday we'll say goodnight Irene. Local conditions are looking wet 'n' windy for Saturday. Cameras, radios, and umbrellas will be ready. Of course, we're still a couple days away. Big storms can change course and some times at the last minute.

+ 1 - 0 | § NC EM Tweets

From the Facebook page of North Carolina Emergency Management, here's a sampling of their Twitter messages of the last 24 hours:

+ 1 - 1 | § Rolesville Fire Department Open House and Ladder Truck Dedication, Sunday, Sept. 11

Location is the Rolesville Fire Department, 104 East Young Street, Rolesville, NC. Times are 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for open house, and 3:00 p.m. for the dedication of Ladder 15. Click to view this PDF flier:
 

+ 3 - 0 | § Hurricane Hazel in Raleigh, 1954

In 1954, a much smaller version of the Raleigh Fire Department faced Hurricane Hazel. Their seven engine companies and two truck companies responded to dozens-- well, a couple dozen-- calls over the course of a weekend. It was one of their busiest weekends, said the newspapers.  For four decades, Hazel was recognized as the benchmark of tropical weather in this part of the country. Hurricane Fran then took that crown in 1996. What did the fire department response look like, when Hazel blew through Raleigh?
 

From the Monday, October 18, 1954 edition of the Raleigh Times:

Raleigh firemen experienced one of their busiest weekends as a result of damage wrought by Hurricane Hazel.

The following telephone calls were answered on Friday:

- 8:05 a.m., 23 Bragg Street, electric wire, no damage;
- 10:04 a.m., 1206 Park Drive, rug on fire, damage not estimated;
- 11:30 a.m., 20 E. Cabarrus Street, electric wires, no damage;
- 1:40 p.m., 714 Glenwood Avenue, electric wires, no damage:
- 2:05 p.m., Lenior and Salisbury, electric wires, no damage;
- 2:35 p.m., Colleton Road, house, damage not estimated;
- 3 p.m., 500 S. Salisbury Street, tree on auto, damage no estimated;
- 3:55 p.m., Carolina Buck Company, use of ladder needed;
- 6:40 p.m., 400 block Oberlin Road, electric wires, no damage;
- 7:15 p.m., 908 Fayetteville Street, oil stove, no damage;
- 8:40 p.m., Cabarrus and Cutler, electric wires, no damage;
- 9 p.m., S. East Street, electric wires, no damage;
- 10:15 p.m., 500 block Salisbury Street, tree on fire, no damage;
- 10:53 p.m., 128 N. Harrington Street, inspection;
- 11:30 p.m., Bloodworth and Edenton Street, inspection

READ MORE

+ 3 - 0 | § Evening News, August 24, 2011

Late and belated reports from here, there, and everywhere...

+ 0 - 3 | § Beer, Books, and Big Fires

Bought a new book this week. Beertown Flazes - A Century of Milwaukee Fire Fighting. Published in 1971, written by R. L. Nailen and James S. Haight. Purchased  on eBay. This one's an old school-style history book. Hardcover, heavy on text, light with photos, and a double dozen appendix pages. No personnel portraits, no yearbook layout. Nary any color pictures. I've lately collected a few of these, and have found them an appealing alternative to the glossy products of our current, digital-publishing age.1 

Sitting on my shelf are older volumes from Washington, DC (1971), York, PA (1976),  Detroit (1977), and Minneapolis (1979). The last one, written by the late, great Richard Heath, has inspired a number of my approaches to recording and presenting history. And can't forget those two great books out of Baltimore: The Unheralded Heroes of Baltimore's Big Blazes by William A. Murray (1995 reprint of 1968 book, plus two supplements), and The Rigs of the Unheralded Heroes by William F. Snyder and William A. Murray (1971).

Will Adventure Boy ever visit Milwaukee, and commence digging about for old engine houses? Who knows. But the book can still be enjoyed, both for its content and its presentation. Particularly neat is an appendix on the city's biggest fires. The authors have listed the top 100 conflagrations, dating to the Blatz Brewing Company fire of 1873. Here's their introduction to that section:

"As we said earlier in this book, the definition of a "big" or "bad" fire is up to you. Many old-timers remember for a lifetime a blaze where they almost "got it," which nevertheless made no headlines. You have to look at total loss, size of firefighting force, causalities, firefighting problems, and threat to other property.

"Taking those things into account, we came up with out list of the 100 top fires in Milwaukee during the past century. If your favorite didn't make the list, don't be insulted--there just wasn't room for every contender."

Neat concept, listing a century's worth of top fires. And a hundred of them, no less! What would Raleigh's top 100 list look like? We've blogged about that subject before, about assessing our biggest blazes. Has Raleigh even had 100 really big, real corker of a fire, barn-burning multi-alarm fires? Certainly not in comparison to many of the older and denser cities in the United States.

Heck, the same applies statewide. Our biggest cities are still comparatively young and smaller sized, and even alongside some of the older cities in the south. Our urban centers have never been burning, not with the historical ferocity seen elsewhere. So maybe a Top 75 or Top 50 list is a better choice, for ranking some of the biggest ones in our city's history. Memo to self: Work on that some time.
 

1To the best of my knowledge, there are no full-text histories of North Carolina fire departments. Most of the commemorative volumes have been yearbook-style. Most with historical sections, mind you. A few departments have more recently produced glossier and more artistically designed books: Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro come to mind.

+ 1 - 2 | § Wake County Fire Service Leadership Overview

As a public service to our readers, Mike Legeros, A. C. Rich, and Lee Price present an overview of fire service leadership in Wake County. The information is delivered in the format of an FAQ. First, though, let’s identify the speakers.

Mike Legeros is the historian, author, and photographer who runs this blog. A. C. Rich is Fire Chief of the Stony Hill Fire Department, in addition to a career firefighter in Raleigh. Lee Price is Asst. Chief of the Wake-New Hope Fire Department, in addition to a career firefighter in Rolesville.

Below is their best attempt to explain the many heads of the hydra that we call “local fire service leadership.” We’ll start with the fire commission, and work our way outward.

Q: What is the Wake County Fire Commission?

A: It is a group of people appointed by the Wake County Board of Commissioners, and empowered as a group to make recommendations to the County Commissioners, about aspects of the fire service within the control of the county.  This web site lists the expected duties of the Fire Commission: http://www.wakegov.com/fire/commission.

Q: Who are the members of the Fire Commission?

A: Conceptually, they consist of:

The specific members are listed on a web site (http://www.wakegov.com/fire/commission/members.htm). However, that page is out of date at this time.

Q: How can you get appointed to the Fire Commission?

A: Fire Commission members are appointed in two ways:

READ MORE

+ 2 - 1 | § Weekend Planning, Part 2

Projected path of Hurricane Irene, as of 5 a.m. from Weather Underground. How's busy are you preparing and/or panicking?
  

+ 0 - 3 | § Boots Needed For Tunnels to Towers Run in Wake Forest

The Ladies Auxiliary of the Wake Forest Fire Department is collecting boots for the Tunnels to Towers Run in Wake Forest on September 11. They're planning to line the finish line with 343 pairs of boots to represent the firefighters who died at the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. They've collected about 200 pairs to date. They'll take new or used, borrowed or donated. Can you assist? Read this Destination Wake Forest story for more information about the boot drive.
 

+ 2 - 1 | § Mystery Buildings

Let's see how quickly these can be identified...
 

+ 0 - 3 | § Raleigh's Finest 5K, Saturday, September 10

This five-kilometer race is being held to honor Andrew "A.J." Johnson and Harry "Flip" Kissinger, and other members of the Raleigh Fire Department who have lost their lives both on- and off-duty. Johnson and Kissinger were killed in automobile accidents in December 2008 and December 2009, respectively. "A.J." was a First Class Firefighter assigned to Station 11; "Flip" was a Lieutenant assigned to Station 6. Both were dedicated to the fire service, and their wives are dedicated to honoring their husbands and that profession.

Melissa Johnson and Jill Kissinger are the event organizers. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 10. The course starts at Fire Station 6 at 2601 Fairview Road, and continues on a flat 1.6 mile course to Fire Station 5 at 300 Oberlin Road. Then the runners and walkers return to Station 6, following the same route. Registration for the event is $30.00 before August 26, and $35.00 after that time. Proceeds will be donated to the 200 Club of Wake County and the North Carolina Fallen Firefighter's Foundation. Read more about the event on the Raleigh's Finest 5K Facebook page. Register online on this Active.com page.
 

+ 1 - 1 | § All Shook Up

They say the Triangle experienced an earthquake early this afternoon. Mr. Blogger blissfully missed any rumbling or shaking from his second-story office in Cary. Guess his mind was elsewhere. Everyone else on his floor spilled into the hallway, exclaiming how the earth moved under their feet. The cause of the 1:51 p.m. shaker was a 5.8-magnitude earthquake centered near Mineral, VA. That's some 40 miles northeast of Richmond. Shocks were felt up and down the east coast, and as far inland as Ohio. It was no laughing matter in the nation's Capitol, where buildings were evacuated and some parts of structures collapsed. Locally, WRAL asked eastern North Carolina residents to refrain from calling 911 to report the earthquake. The Raleigh-Wake County Emergency Communications Center tweeted a similiar message: "Only call 9-1-1 for an emergency. Only call if you have a fire, injury, or damage from the earthquake." (And to think we were worried about a hurricane just this morning. Oh wait, we still are.) Readers, what happened where you were?

+ 1 - 2 | § Morning News - August 23, 2011

Good morning Raleigh! Let's cruise a couple headlines before departing Blog Central:

+ 1 - 2 | § Travel Planning, Part 1

Adventure Boy lands in Chicago in a couple weeks. Planned excursions eastward include a day trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan. That place is loaded with historic and former engine houses, including five from the late 1800s and three from the early 1900s. Fifteen structures to see and shoot. That's where Google maps adds an assist, to optimize the best route. Let's hope every address was entered correctly, or there'll be course corrections come travel day!
 

+ 3 - 1 | § Weekend Planning, Part 1

Projected path of Hurricane Irene, from WRAL web site:
 

+ 2 - 3 | § News From Asheville

Yesterday, Statter911 posted a nice story about a memorial motorcycle ride in Asheville on Saturday, part of one of many ongoing fundraisers to benefit the family of Capt. Jeff Bowen. He was killed on July 28, at a intentionally set fire at a medical office building. As Dave notes, the AFD IAFF Local 865 has posted a list of both upcoming and prior fundraisers on their web site. The community and the brotherhood has really come together for the Bowen family. Additionally, a special fund has been established for the education of Capt. Bowen's children, and to assist the other firefighters injured in the July 28 incident. See this page for more information.

Also on Saturday, the Asheville Citizen-Times posted a story with new details about the fatal fire, notably about the nearly 38 minute delay before water was applied. The problem is cited as "due largely to a faulty standpipe." The article's sources include public records, the fire's incident report,  fireground audio records released through an open records request (which is different than the unofficial audio released on YouTube), and an interview with Fire Chief Scott Burnette. Dave also recaps the article in this posting. (Most of the content of this posting is swiped from his posting, truth be told!)

And the first comment has been posted, a passionate and critical response to the news of the news report. Will the thing start a shouting match? Be met with silence? Gets me thinking about talking. How much time should pass, before blog-based critical comments (and even commentary) should start? What's a respectful period of silence? Maybe (certainly?) it's a sliding scale, based on severity and even geography. It's a question you'll also see debated in the dusty streets of the Wild West, e.g. the Firehouse forums. Of course, they take no prisoners over there. Discuss as desired.

+ 1 - 2 | § Caption This Photo

The weiner-shaped vehicle in this mobile phone photo isn't much of a mystery, so we'll make this one a caption contest. Seen turning onto Glenwood Avenue from Brier Creek Parkway. Wonder how the thing rides? Good suspension, or does the driver get bruised buns? How's the cabin comfort, you suppose? A person could get dog-tired driving that thing! Though, truth be told, they probably relish their time behind the wheel. As for the photo, the Blogmobile was a couple car lengths behind. Tried to get a better one, but couldn't... ketchup. Thank you and good night.
 

+ 2 - 3 | § Be Advised, Blog Posting About Radio Redundancy

Found a neat new fire blog, courtesy of Google Alerts. The latter sends me a mail whenever the keyword "Legeros" is indexed by the search engine. (Hey, at least maintenance of my ego is automated!) Yours Truly was mentioned in a posting on Excessive Leather Accessories For Firefighters, in a topic titled Radio Traffic Redundancy. Be advised, it's an amusing read. (As an armchair listener, who is never tasked with using radios while clad in PPE and operating on a fireground, I probably don't deserve much of an opinion on this one.) The site and its well-written postings are by an entity named Lt. Lemon. He or she has posted a few comments here. Who is this mysterious, citrus-named blogger? No idea at this time.

+ 1 - 1 | § Here's Your Big One

Saw this photo in a posting on Firegeezer yesterday. Was taken by Heather Harley-Davidson-- how's that for a great name!-- for Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union on Friday. The incident involved a service station, a fuel tanker, and above-ground storage tanks. How many of the latter are around here, by the way?
 


Heather Harley-Davidson/Florida Times-Union photo
 
How hot was the spot that the photographer standing? Looking closely, it appears conditions were comfortable for a passing bicyclist and someone in a bright yellow-green shirt. Observer the scene tape. Hot zone starts here, no duh. Where's the police? They're probably securing the many roads the approaching the scene. Where are all the spectators? They probably ran for their lives. Read the posting on Firegeezer, and the story in the Florida Times-Union.



Heather Harley-Davidson/Florida Times-Union photo

+ 2 - 2 | § Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?

Among the articles available for your Sunday morning reading is this compelling piece from the New York Times. What the heck is "decision fatigure?" That's a new discovery by social psychologists that's found that people have finite stores of mental energy for making decisions. And as that energy drops, the ability to make decisions is effected. Interesting stuff. Makes you think about thinking. Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite. Now decide if you want to read the thing...

"Virtually no one has a gut-level sense of just how tiring it is to decide. Big decisions, small decisions, they all add up. Choosing what to have for breakfast, where to go on vacation, whom to hire, how much to spend — these all deplete willpower, and there’s no telltale symptom of when that willpower is low. It’s not like getting winded or hitting the wall during a marathon. Ego depletion manifests itself not as one feeling but rather as a propensity to experience everything more intensely. When the brain’s regulatory powers weaken, frustrations seem more irritating than usual. Impulses to eat, drink, spend and say stupid things feel more powerful (and alcohol causes self-control to decline further). Like those dogs in the experiment, ego-depleted humans become more likely to get into needless fights over turf. In making decisions, they take illogical shortcuts and tend to favor short-term gains and delayed costs. Like the depleted parole judges [cited in the article], they become inclined to take the safer, easier option even when that option hurts someone else."

+ 0 - 5 | § The Amazing Color-Changing Aerial Ladder Fire Engine

Ever seen a fire truck change colors as a cloud passes? Here's Raleigh Ladder 4 showing the same thing as it executes a turn during driver-operator training on Poole Road. The tiller transformed into a brighter-red rig, as direct sunlight strikes the side of the truck. This is also ably shows why apparatus photography is best in bright sunlight. Sun behind the camera, of course. The maker of this photo, meanwhile, was turning his mind back two decades, to his last few months as a firefighter, and training as an assistant driver on Truck 16. That was the 1979 Mack/1958 American LaFrance tiller. Remember that one? Good times. See more photos from this afternoon. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 0 - 2 | § American, Not American LaFrance

South Carolina fire historian Grant Mishoe has provided an important correction to last week's posting about "Old Sue," Charlotte's 1902 steam engine displayed and demonstrated on Saturday at the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo. The apparatus was manufactured by the American Fire Engine Company, and not American LaFrance. The latter wasn't formed until 1904. Comments from Grant on both the apparatus and the company: 

[Old Sue] is a 1902 American Fire Engine Company steam fire engine. It was built in 1902 on a Fox boiler. This is not an American LaFrance steamer. ALF did not come into existence until 1904.
Talks [to merge American and LaFrance] were started in 1903, but it was official and [the company was] formed in 1904. It was officially known as American-Lafrance [and was] later changed to American LaFrance.
[The company] was a product of the fallout of the International Fire Engine Company, which was broken up. They took the two biggest names in the company and called it that.
A-L designers were working on a motorized vehicle in 1903. When they became A-L in 1904, two were delivered. They made two more in 1904 and 1905 of this type. They then made one in 1906 and two more in 1907 and 1908. The first Type 5s were not delivered until 1910. I have all the serial numbers and pictures of these rigs.
Though [Charlotte's steamer] was purchased from International Fire, it was still built on an American Fire frame. International was more of a trust, with the individual brands working underneath the umbrella.

+ 0 - 3 | § Two Raleigh Firefighters Struck on I-40

At a scene of a vehicle fire this afternoon on Interstate 40-- at the entrance ramp from Hammond Road-- two firefighters from Raleigh Engine 2 were struck as a passenger vehicle entered the scene. The second vehicle struck at least two other vehicles, and injuring three other people. The two firefighters sustained minor injuries, and were transported to WakeMed. Three other civilians were also transported, including one in serious condition.

Engine 2 and Engine 20 were dispatched to the vehicle fire about 4:10 p.m. Engine 20 was still en route at the time of the accident, which occurred about 4:20 p.m. After the reported accident, Engine 1, Engine 3, and Engine 10 were dispatched. Battalion 3, Car 10, and Car 2 also responded. Medical resources included EMS 8, EMS 11, EMS 18, EMS 36, and District 1. Here are scene photos from today by Mike Legeros. We'll add news stories a bit later, as well as any updates as provided.

The accident occurred just a couple hundred feet east of where Engine 1 was struck by a passenger vehicle on January 25, 2011. They were blocking for Engine 2 at an accident scene. No firefighters were injured at that incident, but the driver of the car was transported.
 


 
10:46 p.m. update. News links, with minimal reporting:

+ 0 - 2 | § The Future is Here: Drones on the Fireground

From this posting by Statter911, here's footage from a hobby/business group in Portland that operated three quadcopters at a live burn. (Drone = unmanned aerial vehicle designed for recon.) What are the benefits for incident commanders? This video tells a thousand words and then some:
 

+ 1 - 1 | § Caption This Photo / The Electric Slide

Every Thursday evening in the summer, the shaggers come a-callin' at North Hills Mall. Or it is Main at North Hills? Or Shoppes at North Hills? Or North Hills Plaza? What is the thing called, these days, anyway? Didn't catch the band name, but they sounded good! Caught a few swing dances, as well. Here's an Electric Slide in progress. Back behind the camera, Engine 9 is over at the roundabout, clearing a medical call. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 1 - 1 | § Fleas Release Me

Been itching to write a punny headline lately. Jumped on this story from Waterbury, Connecticut. Crews entered an abandoned building on a hazard-check, and exited as insect collectors. The four firefighters we literally coated. They bugged out to the hospital, where they endure a circus of undressing, scrubbing, and checking for flea-borne diseases. Scratch that activity from their preferred list of pastimes! The engine was also fumigated. Bet that was a gas. Everyone's fine, says the Chief. Not hopping mad, or anything. One more story to tell. And a great goofy story for those crawling the fire web, unless it's just too much. Flea while you can.

+ 1 - 0 | § Wilmington Firefighters Help One of Their Own After Fall Leaves Him Paralyzed

From a reader, here's a WECT story about Wilmington firefighters who have busy outfitting the home of fellow firefighter Eric Lacewell. He recently fell while on duty, and sustained injuries that have left him paralyzed from the shoulder down. He underwent spinal surgery at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, has been to Atlanta to learn to use a quad chair, and is presently at a facility in Raleigh, where he's continuing his adjustment and preparations to return home. Lacewell lives in Columbus County, SC. His fellow firefighters have been building a wheelchair ramp at his residence, with lumber donated from 84 Lumber in Wilmington. They're also planning a celebration to welcome him back, when he returns home. Read the entire story.
 


WECT photo

+ 1 - 1 | § Swift Creek Fire Department Celebrates 50 Years of Service

This week's Cary News has a profile of the Swift Creek Fire Department, which is celebrating 50 years of service this year. The article traces the history of the department, which was organized in 1960 to protect the unincorporated communities of Swift Creek and Macedonia. They were named Swift Creek Rural Fire Department, though they've since dropped "Rural" from their name.

They're also just one of two remaining fire departments in Wake County that does not utilize full-time members. In their first years, they answered around 30 calls each year. Today, their 33 volunteers and 13 part-time members answer about 50 calls a month. Their response area, notes the story, is bound roughly by Holly Springs Road to the west, Tryon Road to the north, Lake Wheel Road to the east, and Penny Road to the south. Read the story.

Let's augment this look back with a few historical images from our files. Who, when, where, and when? Let's let readers caption these photos. Mr. Blogger has to go work. He'll fill in the gaps later. Click once or twice to enlarge:
 




+ 1 - 0 | § Hidden Hydrant

Here's your hidden hydrant for today, found in the 6300 (?) block of Hillsborough Street by Engine 14, at an outside fire outside an unoccupied warehouse building. So many outside fires! Wonder if Locution will ever slip and say outhouse fire?
 

+ 1 - 2 | § Morning News - August 16, 2011

Good morning, Raleigh. Here at Blog Central, we're basking in the post-Expo silence. Had a great time this weekend, saw and spoke with tons of folks. What's on tap for next year's workshop? Fire photography maybe, and perhaps as a panel discussion. Had that idea last year. Looking this morning for news reports or maybe footage from Van Dyke Avenue. Early morning house fire, and with a dead hydrant to complicate matters. Listened to that one entirely, before returning to bed. Anyway...

+ 2 - 2 | § Best Blog Comment Ever?

From Statter911's posting about a determined Detroit firefighter ascending a roof with a ground ladder. News helicopter captured his first and second attempt in close-camera glory. Readers are entirely polarized in their reactions to the footage. The user named Whatever adds this perspective, which might be the single best summation on blog-based reader comments yet written:
 

Blah blah blah.
I'm better than you. I've eaten more smoke. I live on a roof. You're an idiot. I'm smarter. I like PPV. Me too. I think that's stupid. No you're stupid. Try being a real firefighter. Get your head out of the standards and journals. Try being a modern firefighter. Get bent hairbag. Why don't you read something from this century? I'm a fire instructor. So am I. The job is dangerous. People are dangerous. You're a fat slob. Get a grip. Get a clue.
Have I summed this and most other comment threads up well enough?
What a bunch of whiny little bitches. You remind me of my 7 year old nephew and his friends.
Every department does their own risk benefit analysis (whether they admit that is what it is or not). The analysis for Detroit that can afford to throw dozens of firefighters at a two story frame is different than for the department that shows up with a ten guys for the same job. Both departments get the job done. They just do it differently. That doesn't make it wrong. It just makes it different.
Not that I think I'm going to change the minds of any of you fire service bigots; I just needed to vent.
I'm quite certain there's somebody who will tell me I'm doing it wrong….

+ 4 - 0 | § Roanoke Island and Hatteras Fire Departments on "My Heart Will Always Be in Carolina"

UNC TV tonight aired a splendid episode of the regionally produced "My Heart Will Always Be in Carolina." The half-hour episode focused on the origins of volunteer firefighters in Dare County, and specifically the early years of the Roanoke Island and Hatteras volunteer fire departments. The show is broadcast on several public and commercial channels around the state. See this web site for a listing. Check your local listings to see if it's still airing after tonight. Maybe it'll even be posted online.

Roanoke Island Fire Department was created in 1974 as a merger of the Manteo and Wanchese fire departments. Both departments are mentioned, but the merger isn't. Manteo's is the earlier department, dating to 1928. The Hatteras Volunteer Fire Department dates to 1960, says Secretary of State records. They're business name is the Hatteras Fire Protective Organization.

The episode included interviews with charter and early members of both departments. They talk about subjects ranging from door-to-door fundraising to the training they received from the Department of Insurance. Also shown a number of old photos. These two appear on the show's Facebook page. Left is an early downtown fire in Manteo. Right is the original Hatteras engine, a four-wheel drive Howe pumper delivered new. Perhaps readers can share others. Send and we'll post. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 2 - 1 | § Shelby Communications Patch

Found for sale on eBay, here's a uniform patch for telecommunicators in Shelby. The thing is listed as an older patch. There's no additional context, but it raises a great Sunday morning discussion question. How many dispatch centers in North Carolina require their personnel to wear uniforms? Second question, does wearing a uniform make a difference in the performance (or even just the perception) of the job? Guess we could expand that last one across fire and EMS. Do you deliver better service, the better or more formally dressed you are? Chief officers, do you have a different take than what the troops perceive or demonstrate?
 

+ 2 - 1 | § Charlotte's "Old Sue" Steams, Pumps, Thrills

You'd have been hard-pressed to find a more exciting event in downtown Raleigh today than the live pumping demonstration by the Charlotte Fire Department's 1902 American LaFrance Metropolitan steamer "Old Sue." After bunking overnight at Fire Station 1, the horse-drawn pumping engine appeared in the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo's apparatus parade. It was drawn by a pair of horses and received generous applause passing the convention center. (Old Sue was the last of the antiques in the parade, and preceded one of the state's few tillers, Raleigh Ladder 4.)
 

 
The live demonstration was conducted at the corner of McDowell and Cabarrus streets. The Charlotte crew started setting things up about 10:30 a.m. The water supply was a hydrant on McDowell Street, flowing into a drop-tank. Two sections of hard suction hose then supplied the steamer. The boiler was fired using paper to kindle small pieces of wood, which started the charcoal burning. They had two bags of the black stuff, making this a two-bagger demonstration. Ashes from the combustion dropped into a diamond-plated pan underneath. The Engineer periodically sprayed the pan with small second line, to keep the ashes from getting too hot.
 

 
After heating the boiler for about 30 minutes, the Engineer and his crew were ready to flow water. The pump was engaged, the pistons started moving, and a solid stream of water shot east along Cabarrus Street. Then Mother Nature responded with her own deluge, and a heavy shower dispersed onlookers for a period of time. Below is view from the nearby parking deck, after one of the periods of rain. Thanks a ton to the Charlotte Fire Department for sharing a great piece of their history. Also enjoyed meeting and talking to Charlotte Fire Chief Jon Hannan, who was present and provided great information about Old Sue. See photos by Mike Legeros. Watch for more photos here, along with hoped-for video footage. We'll update this post as more media is made available.

 
More Information

Photos and media

+ 2 - 4 | § Lids

As of 9:00 p.m. this evening, some 300 hundred (rough guess) firefighters, family members, and friends were having a blast at the First Annual Brotherhood Bash at Napper Tandy's Irish Pub. The thing started at 7:00 p.m. and is still underway. They were getting ready to announce raffle winners when Blog 100 cleared the scene. A performance by the Atlantic Beach Fire Department pipes and drum band had just wrapped. Great, great fellowship at the event. It's sponsored by the Capital Area FOOLS and the Wake County Firefighter's Association. Go ahead and swing by. It's still early. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 0 - 1 | § Caption This Photo / Crazy Camera Guy

Fool with FOOLS? Jowls and Dolls? Meet the Creeper? That's somebody we know on the show floor, posing at the Capitol Area FOOLS slash Wake County Firefighter's Association booth. Love the Heatmiser hair, buddy. And a nifty method of preventing camera breakage: add faces more attractive than your own!
 

+ 2 - 1 | § Visiting Apparatus

These two lovely ladies from the Charlotte Fire Department are parked at Central Fire Station in Raleigh tonight. Left is a 1928 American LaFrance triple combination. Right is a 1902 American LaFrance steamer. Both are appearing in tomorrow's fire apparatus parade down Fayetteville Street, as part of the Fire Expo. Horses will be pulling "Old Sue," as the steamer is named. Then a pumping demonstration takes place on Cabarrus Street between Gale and McDowell streets. That'll be around 11:30 a.m. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 2 - 1 | § Show Floor

That's Rolesville's big daddy ladder truck on the show floor at the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh. It's again open again tomorrow, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. As for the ladder, the 2011 Ferrara Inferno HD mid-mount 2000/300/100-foot will be placed in service on September 11. More information on that special event is forthcoming. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 2 - 0 | § You Think You're a Precision Driver?

Here's North Carolina Department of Transportation heavy equipment operator Willie Baines showing his skills during a "roadeo" event on Wednesday at the fairgrounds. That was a competition for NCDOT employees statewide this week. It tested their safety awareness and skills. Photographer Shawn Rocco took this pictures, which demonstrates excellent depth of field. See more photos in this slideshow.
 


Shawn Rocco/News & Observer photo

+ 2 - 0 | § Dump Truck Versus House in Durham, Boating Accident on Falls Lake

Couple unusual accidents to report. WTVD has posted this aerial photo of a dump truck that collided with a residence in Durham. It happened about 6:30 a.m. on Sherron Road at Mineral Springs Road. Is that Durham city or Durham county? Unknown if anyone was injured. Been quiet on vehicle versus building accidents in recent weeks, it seems.

WRAL has a short report on last night's boating accident on Falls Lake. Three people were transported, after being ejected from their craft. The location was near the Barton's Landing boat ramp on Six Forks Road. Bay Leaf FD, Stony Hill FD, Falls FD, and Wake County EMS were among the agencies on scene, recalling the radio traffic.
 


WTVD photo

+ 1 - 1 | § Blog and More via Twitter, Facebook

Read this blog via Twitter at twitter.com/legeros. All postings are repeated there. Plus there's additional, exclusive content. In addition to Legeros Fire Blog posting, you'll see tweeted links to local and national fire-related content.

Read this blog via Facebook, via the Legeros Fire Blog facebook group. All postings are repeated there. Click "Like" and the postings will appear in your Facebook news feed. You can also comment via Facebook, but it won't be anonymous!

+ 0 - 2 | § North Carolina Firefighting History, Today at 1:30 p.m.

Room 306C of the Raleigh Convention Center at the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo. Conference registration required. Don't be alarmed by the absence of a Hawaiian shirt, or any signs for the workshop that say 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The session length is 90 minutes. We'll stop at 3:00 p.m. Here's a high-level overview:

+ 3 - 0 | § Eastern Wake's New Freightliner Kenworth Ambulance

That's EMS 68 operated by Eastern Wake EMS, and photographed by Lee Wilson on the show floor at the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo. Is this the first Freightliner Kenworth ambulance in these parts? That is, not counting the two ambulance body Raleigh Fire Department rescue units delivered in the early 1990s? See more of the truck.
 


Lee Wilson photo

+ 1 - 1 | § This Morning's Bus Fire

Traffic cameras captured this morning's bus fire on the exit ramp from Interstate 40 to the Beltline. Engine 10 first on scene. Engine 12 and Battalion 2 joined, with other units including Haz-Mat 1 returned to service. Quickly extinguished. Bet the onlookers got a good show! Click to slightly enlarge:
 

+ 2 - 0 | § Loading the Convention Center

The red trucks were rolling into downtown Raleigh yesterday, and staging at the top-secret underground entrance to the Raleigh Convention Center. Hint on the location: Some nights, they play music really loud nearby. Have you heard about the fire and rescue convention that's in town this week? We might have posted one or two things about it. See more photos from Lee Wilson. See you at the show tomorrow.
 


Lee Wilson photo

+ 1 - 1 | § Raleigh Fire Department Centennial Coins For Sale at Fire Expo

The Raleigh Fire Department is approaching its 100th anniversary as a career fire department. Plans are being prepared for several activities in 2012, both public and private. The Raleigh Fire Department Historical Society is assisting with both planning and raising money for these events. Beginning on Friday, August 12, at 10:00 a.m., 100th anniversary challenge coins will be available at the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo.

This is the first fundraiser to help fund the anniversary activities. The full-color coins cost $10 each, including sales tax. The coins are 1.5 inches in diameter. They will be sold at the Raleigh Fire Department's booth on the expo exhibit floor. Conference registration or a day pass is required to visit the exhibit floor. On Monday, 15, the coins will be available through the Raleigh Fire Department Historical Society web site. Below is a picture of the coin design, shown to scale. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 1 - 1 | § Stretching Lines / Mills Street

Photographer Lee Wilson was early on scene at yesterday's house fire at 1072 Mills Street. Engine 9 arriving at a one-story, wood-frame, single-family dwelling with 1,339 square feet. Built 1993. Fire found on the back deck, with fire extended up through the roof. Crews forced entry, and entered structure. Engine 9 with their own water supply. Two additional engines and additional ladder requested. High temperature yesterday of 97 degrees. Dispatched 2:15 p.m. Controlled 2:54 p.m. Building unoccupied, one person displaced. No injuries reported. Cause determined as arson. Units on scene included: E9, E7, E6, E3, E1, E13, L4, L2, R2, A1, B1, B3, C10, C20, C40, EMS2, EMS36, EMS35, D3, T1. View the photos.
 


Lee Wilson photo

+ 1 - 2 | § Two Discussions of Media

First is from statter911.com, titled Media Relations Video: EMS Crew Member Tells Report Where to Go at Fire Scene in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. Dave loves those long title, and maybe there's a correlation with long discussion threads. That one's logged 93 comments since Monday's posting. And any Statter thread that exceeds 90 comments is certainly worth a look. The posting is about a fire scene video that opens with a confrontation between an EMS member and a news photographer.

The clip is a great learning tool and self-check for both responders and reporters. Both sides should watch the video and ask themselves "what's the best way to react in that situation?" What behaviors will arrive at an outcome that is effective in the short-term, and not problematic in the long-term? And for both sides? As for the discussion, maybe a third of the comments are about the issue of reacting to the press (and cameras in general) on scene. There's also a hearty amount of scene critique, volunteer bashing, and even some EMS bashing. Sigh.

Second is from Fire Law blog, which is a super site by veteran firefighter (38+ years) and attorney (26+ years) Curt Varone. The posting is titled: Digital Imagery and Facebook Question: Off Duty. The issue relates to a fire department and a member who has taken scene photos off-duty (in police office role) and posted to Facebook. The question is from a fire officer, who is uncomfortable with that action. The answer is answers, with Varone addressing two points. First are the legal issues. Second are the leadership issues. A good discussion follows the posting. See what you think.

Both Statter and Varone appeared in a social media panel in Baltimore, and my lame notes from same were posted yesterday. No small amount of irony there. Blogger blogging about bloggers speaking about blogging. If this were a movie, we'd be seeing a guy with a loud shirt at a computer, with mirrors in front of him and behind him. And showing reflections of reflections of reflections...

+ 2 - 0 | § Historical Events at the Fire Expo

Friday, August 12

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Exhibit floor hours)

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

READ MORE

+ 2 - 3 | § Notes From Social Media Panel at Baltimore Fire Expo

On the last day of last month's Firehouse Expo in Baltimore, a panel discussion was conducted titled Social Media: An Opportunity, a Curse, or Both? This was one of the many conference sessions. The participants were:

The description of the discussion as advertised was:

Join us for an interactive, round table discussion on a topic that is ever changing, evolving, and not without controversy and concern! We will discuss how social media can and is being used by fire departments to communicate with the public, the media, and internally while also highlighting potential pothole’s and legal issues to avoid.

The session included a lengthy period of questions and answers. The audience was very interested. Here are some pictures. My notes are below, incomplete as they are. But there's plenty to think about, or get some good discussions going. Disclaimer: Most of these notes are paraphrased from direct quotes. My apologies for unintended misrepresentation. And failing to note exactly who was speaking when, at all times. All errors and inaccuracies should be attributed to Yours Truly.

READ MORE

+ 1 - 2 | § National Night Out in Knightdale

The Eastern Wake News posted this story about last week's National Night Out in Knightdale. That's an annual, national, crime/drug prevention event that involves citizens, public safety agencies, local officials, neighborhood organizations, civic groups, and businesses. This is the 28th year, with over 15,000 communities participating, and, last year, over 37 million people participating. The national date for the event was August 2, except for Texas, which is having theirs on October 4. The national web site lists 129 communities in North Carolina that were registered to participate, including also Apex, Cary, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Creedmoor, Durham, Garner, Raleigh, Rolesville, and Wake Forest. At last week's event, Knightdale Public Safety and Eastern Wake EMS were among the participants. The location was the parking lot of a shopping center on Shoppes at Midway Drive. Read the story.
 


Paul A. Specht/Eastern Wake News photo

+ 1 - 2 | § Morning News - August 7, 2011

Don't have good introductory text this morning, so let's just paste some ipsum lorem here: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum tortor felis, semper a euismod ac, consequat a tellus.

+ 1 - 1 | § Mini USB to Micro USB Adapter

Time for a geek report. Today, the subject is cords. Anything electronic involves one or more cords. They come in sizes and shapes and particular purposes. Input, output, power, pointing devices, etc. And they aren't always compatible from hardware to hardware. For example, your current non-Apple smart phone probably has an input jack for a USB mini plug. So you're powering the thing at home and in the car with a variety of adapters and cords. They all have a USB mini plug on the end.

Upgrade your smart phone, and you discover the input jack for power is smaller. Your USB mini plug doesn't fit. Do you run to Best Buy, and buy another round of cords for? Or do you try to find an adapter, something that will take your USB mini plug as input and produce a USB micro plug as output? The latter's the money-saver, although some places price such adapters as high as new cord. That's where eBay's useful. There are quite a few sellers overseas who sell such adapters for a couple bucks each. Shipping time is about 10 days. If you can wait, go cheaper and slower. Bought four of these babies for myself.
 

+ 1 - 1 | § Battleboro Rib Dinner and... Cow Drop

From a reader, the Rocky Mount Telegram recently posted a series of photos of the Battleboro Community Fire Company's Rib Plate Dinner and Cow Drop. What's that, you ask? The last thing, a cow drop? Is that like the practice of tipping cows? Or, if you prefer Mater's version from the Cars movies, tipping tractors?

Nope, this one involves a game of chance, a small field divided into squares, and a release of material from an animal's anus. Got the picture? Sorry you asked?? Bob Bartosz snapped the shots, which show everything. Unknown if any special lens was required for this unique event. Can't tell from the photos exactly how much was won. But people sure looked to be having fun for, well, such a crappy event.
 


Bob Bartosz/Rocky Mount Telegram photo

+ 0 - 3 | § Raleigh Fire Department Museum Open During Fire Expo, Saturday, August 13

The Raleigh Fire Department Museum will be open during the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo, as part of its regular schedule of opening on the second Saturday of each month. On Saturday, August 13, the museum will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

A special shuttle service will be conducted from the Raleigh Convention Center to the museum, which is located at the Keeter Training Center, 105 Keeter Center Drive. The bus will make the rounds every 30 minutes. The shuttle is free, and museum admission is free.

The museum is presented by the Raleigh Fire Department Historical Society. Located in a classroom trailer, it's a collection of artifacts and images representing over 150 years of firefighting in the Capitol City. The museum opened in May, 2011. Watch for another posting summarizing all historical events that'll be happening during Expo weekend. Click to view this PDF-format flier:
 

+ 0 - 2 | § Secrets of Night Photography

Yesterday's photos on Kent Road turned out pretty good. Here's what happened, and how the pictures happened. Canon 40D, auto white balance, semi-spot metering. Shooting mode is Program Shift (P). That's what I always use.

The first set of photos, exterior fire attack in frame 1, started with 1600 ISO. That's the second-highest for my camera. There was too much motion and too little light, however. Only one of that series was a keeper. Then bumped the ISO to the highest setting, 3200.

By frame 4, the camera is facing the side of the structure. Still pretty dark. Still seeing a shutter lag that's longer than desired. The pics are still going to be blurry. (Mind you, this is all ambient light. Flash has been left in the car. Too many reflective surfaces to make that aesthetically effective.)

Next step is changing shooting mode, since the light is still rather low. Switch to Shutter Priority (tV), and begin spinning the dial until the shutter lag seems about right. Then, relocate to the rear corner of the structure (or, rather, the rear corner of the lot as facing the structure). The camera is now pointed toward a light source. This helps greatly. By this time, I have also removed the UV filter from the lens. That second piece of glass adds light specks and other unwelcome artifacts. Notably from all the various beacons and hand lights and any other source. 

Also in the mix is metering. For most of these shots, the first attempt is pointing directly and shooting. If the result is either too bright or too dark, I point at a slightly darker or slightly brighter spot, and press the meter lock button. Then take the picture again. Rinse and repeat, until a properly exposed picture is made. 

Let's see, what else to note? After 10 or 20 minutes, shooting mode was switched back to Program Shift (P). Used a special LED camera light for a couple shots, such as frame 47. Worked okay. Basically, like a sustained flash. For the roof shots, with the firefighter in silhouette, that's my second camera. Rebel XT, with a longer lens. The ISO goes only as high as 1600. But those shots were shooting into the light, the scene lights on the aerial bucket. That's the trick at night scenes. Shoot into the light.

Finally, for the portraits at the end, those are all also using the Rebel XT. They are flash photos, using the camera's pop-up flash. They are shot in close range, and with the camera cropping any reflective surfaces. The flash makes for harsher shadows, and an overall harsher image. But since those are people working at a fire scene, it effect works to the advantage of the image. In my opinion. See the entire set of photos. Ask questions as desired. Or offer tips! Help me take better photos!
 

+ 0 - 4 | § Videos of Funeral Procession For Asheville Fire Capt. Jeff Bowen

Here are a pair of videos showing the funeral procession of Asheville Fire Department Capt. Jeffrey Scott Bowen, killed last week at a four-alarm fire at  commercial medical office building. The July 28 also critically injured firefighter Jay Bettencourt. The cause of the fire has been since determined as arson. The videos were posted by the YouTube user asheville103. The two videos have a total running time of about 25 minutes. The location of the video is not indicated, but a pair of ladder trucks are poised at the intersection. Capt. Bowen was buried at Biltmore Baptist Church, in Ayden. (Note there are other procession videos on YouTube, slightly incorrectly labeled as "funeral procession." They were filmed the day before, as Bowen's body was transported to the funeral home.)

The first apparatus to appear in the procession is Asheville Engine 1, serving as caisson. The second piece of apparatus to appear is Rescue 3, which was Capt. Bowen's fire company. Looks like the entire Asheville fleet is present, including nine engines, two quints (ladders), two aerial platforms, a medium-duty rescue, and a tanker. Also an Arson unit and an ATF truck, plus numerous small vehicles and light truck-based apparatus.

By casual count, there were at least another 28 engines, 11 ambulances, 9 brush trucks/small rescue trucks/midi pumpers, and one monster rescue truck participating in the procession. Plus too many small vehicles to count! Couldn't read the departments terribly well, however. In addition to the departments that participated in the procession, there were many others providing coverage in the city of Asheville.

Embedding of the videos on other web sites has been disabled, so here are the direct links: watch part one | watch part two. Thanks 103, for taking the time to shoot and share. See other blog postings.
 

+ 2 - 0 | § Charlotte Swift Water Rescue Team in Action

The News & Observer has posted this Charlotte Observer photo of Charlotte Fire Department swift water rescue team member Jason Dickson. He's shown assisting with the evacuation of residents from apartments on Southwest Boulevard this afternoon, after heavy rains caused flooding low-lying areas. Unknown if any of the residents were on the lam, and thus lying low in the low-lying parts. (Sorry, soggy humor there.) Read the story, which includes a couple-dozen other photos. Next question, wonder how many such teams are in service statewdie?
 


Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer photo

+ 1 - 1 | § Haz-Mat Challenge at Fire Expo, Saturday, August 13

This year's annual Haz-Mat Challenge will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 13. Part of the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo, the location will be the McLaurin parking lot between Wilmington and Lenoir streets. That's across the street from the golden arches. The event offers teams the opportunity to test their haz-mat response techniques in friendly competition, as well as network with other haz-mat responders. Watch for updated evolutions this year, to further enhance this entertaining and educational event. Click to read this PDF-format flier:
 

+ 1 - 0 | § This Morning's Apartment Fire / Kent Road

Draft pictures by Legeros posted. Details and more photos forthcoming. Engine 8 first on scene. Dispatched about 5:28 5:00 a.m. Maximum ISO photography for this one. Morning news reports appearing on local stations.
 

+ 0 - 2 | § Mystery Ambulance

Where is it, and what is it? Let's see, what clues could we give? It's somewhere within the driving range of the blogger, who took the picture in the last 24 hours. Of course, some of you have probably already seen the thing.
 

+ 1 - 0 | § Wake County Firefighter's Association Non-Meeting and Social, Tuesday, August 9

In lieu of the quarterly dinner and meeting on Tuesday, August 9 at 7:00 p.m., the Wake County Firefighter Association will instead hold a social at Napper Tandy's Irish Pub at 126 N. West Street. The social will help kick-off the opening of the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo. Plan to attend, and at least get yourself oriented for the First Annual Brotherhood Bash, which the Association and the Capital Area FOOLS are hosting at the same pub, three days later. Plan for good spirits with good spirits on both days! Better get myself some swag printed. It's about time for Yours Truly to start sporting head gear saying Blog 100.
 

+ 0 - 1 | § Loading Hose

And another shot from Tuesday evening, aftermath of a kitchen fire on Hidden Pond Drive. Quickly extinguished, though a lot of smoke to eject. Those pictures are coming also. Busy week here at Blog Central. Getting ready for the Fire Expo.
 

+ 4 - 1 | § Tuesday's Fire on Wagram Court

Still working on the full series of pictures from Tuesday's house fire. See the preliminary pics by Legeros. Here's the incident description: Working fire at 1301 Wagram Court. Engine 4 arriving at a two-story, brick-and-frame, single-family dwelling with 2,141 square-feet. Rear deck fully involved, with fire extending up the side of the structure and into the attic space. Lines pulled and crews attacked both inside into attic space (one line), and outside to extinguish deck and exterior (two lines). Ladder 5 deployed to assist with overhaul. Dispatched 8:17 p.m., as haz-mat incident involving LP tank on fire.

Callers subsequently reported LP tank gas explosion with deck and structure on fire. Structure fire assignment dispatched and added to response. Haz-Mat 2 and Engine 15 reported column smoke while en route. Working fire assignment dispatched prior to first engine arrival. Controlled 8:52 p.m. Cause determined as accidental, due to malfunctioning LP gas grill. No civilian injuries. One firefighter injured with dislocated shoulder, sustained prior to entering structure.

Units on scene included: E4, E15 (taken with HM2), L5, L7, R1, B1, B2, HM1 (with E2 crew), HM2 (with E15 crew), SR 2 (with E8 crew). Structure fire: E22, E19, E_ (was there a third engine?), L1, R3. Working fire: E9, A1, C10, C20, C40. Other fire: B2. Medical: EMS _, EMS _, EMS 5, EMS 1, T1, D1.
 

+ 1 - 1 | § First Annual Brotherhood Bash, Friday, August 12 (Updated Flier)

From the Capital Area FOOLS comes this flier about a firefighter bash during the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo next week. The date is Friday, August 12. The location is Napper Tandy's Irish Pub, 126 N. West Street, Raleigh. The time is 8:00 p.m. until. Live music, food and drinks, and more. Here's a prior post about same. Click to view this PDF format flier:
 

+ 1 - 0 | § Rebuilt Brick by Brick

Heard this story before? Engine House No. 5 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Built in 1880 at 1181 Monroe Avenue NW. Replaced by a modern, one-story fire station around 1980. Then torn down in 1981, brick-by-brick, and reconstructed as a fire museum in 1984, in the town of Allendale, west of Grand Rapids. How wild is that? Here's the museum's web site. Here's a history site about Grand Rapids engine houses. What other fire stations have you heard of, that were rebuilt or reconstructed at second locations?
 


 
Now, why is the Grand Rapids Fire Department on this blogger's mind? Things started with our posting about new freeway blocking unit. That led to an idle visit to the department's web site, and checking out their stations. That led to the realization that (a.) wow, they have some really old buildings and (b.) hey, my trip next month to Iowa > Illinois > Michigan puts me in close proximity to said city.

Research has started, and some dozen former or historic fire station buildings have been found in town. That, my friends, is the bonus of loving fire history. No matter where you travel, there's always some sort of history to be found. And sometimes even old buildings to photograph.

+ 2 - 1 | § Brush Fire Burns 31 Acres in Durham

Durham city and county and Orange firefighters had their hands full this afternoon with a major brush fire on Cole Mill Road near Berini Drive and Interstate 85. Though a plow and back fires were deployed to help control the blaze, a change in wind direction caused the fire to jump the break. Flames came as close as 40 feet to residential structures on Bentgrass Lane, reports this WRAL story. Durham, Lebanon, Eno, and New Hope fire departments on scene, plus Forest Service. Perhaps readers will post incident details. See also this News & Observer story with a couple photos.
 


WRAL photo


Harry Lynch/News & Observer photo

+ 2 - 2 | § Charlotte Fire Department Steamer Demonstration in Downtown Raleigh, Saturday, August 13

From the Charlotte Fire Departments comes this invitation to watch a live demonstration of their 1902 American LaFrance third-size steamer "Old Sue" on Saturday, August 13. They'll be pumping on Cabarrus Street between Gale and McDowell Streets. That'll be after the 9:00 a.m. apparatus parade, in which they'll appear and drawn by horses. Both events are part of the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo.

Charlotte's steamer is one of a handful that have survived in our state. The 1902 steamer was the last of four that served, at least as my records show. It was restored by members of the department in 1999. Learn more about the history of steam fire engines in North Carolina, as well as fire horse histories. Or click to view this PDF format flier:
 

+ 1 - 0 | § Morning News - August 3, 2011

Second day for summary format, which we're totally digging. What a time saver, compiling as single versus multiple posts! Here's some of what we're reading and browsing and thinking about this morning...

+ 3 - 0 | § Freeway Blocking Unit

Who hasn't wondered about dedicated blocking vehicles for roadway emergency scenes? We've pondered that question here-- though I cannot find the specific postings or threads to cite--asking about the feasibility of specialized trucks for the sole purpose of absorbing impacts from colliding vehicles. Heck, that's how highway construction sites operate.

As Firefighter Close Calls reported today, Grand Rapids, MI, has done that very thing. Called Utility 2, it's a surplus city dump truck turned safety vehicle. New paint, new lights, new reflectors. Plus trailer-drawn shock-absorbing apparatus (called a crash attenuator). The conversion is the response to a trio of accidents that cost over $150,000 in apparatus repairs, while the bigger rigs were blocking traffic on a downtown freeway. (That's U.S. 131 and a segment called the S-curve, for a pair of sharp turns. Don't know if the new truck will respond city-wide, or just to that roadway segment.) 

Read the Firefighter Close Calls story, or watch this WOOD-TV video segment
 

+ 1 - 1 | § Morning News

Looking across the local news sites and fire bloggers, here's some of what caught our eye this morning. No time for individual postings on some of these, alas. Safe travels to those heading to Asheville today.

+ 4 - 1 | § Arrangements For Asheville Capt. Jeff Bowen, Updated

Monday morning update:

The Asheville Fire Department invites all departments to be part of the funeral procession. Apparatus should arrive at Biltmore Baptist Church, 35 Clayton Road, Arden, by 10:30 a.m., on Tuesday, August 2. Upon arrival, they will be directed to a parking area. At the end of the procession, AFD apparatus will enter the parking lot of the funeral home for a private AFD family ceremony. Non-AFD apparatus will continue west on Patton Avenue and are released at this point. Please confirm attendance via e-mail. See this Firefighter Close Calls notice for contact information.
 


 
Memorial services for Asheville Fire Department Capt. Jeff Bowen, who died yesterday, have been announced. Visitation is Monday, August 1, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Biltmore Baptist Church, 35 Clayton Road, Arden. Memorial service is Tuesday, August 2, at 11:00 a.m. at the same location. Arden is located approximately six miles south of Asheville. Fire service participation information is pending. Stay tuned to FireNews.net or ashevillenc.gov.   

Additional updates from this Asheville press release: Firefighter Jay Bettencourt, injured yesterday and transported a burn center in Augusta, GA, is the process of being discharged and returning to Asheville. He is reportedly feeling well. Two firefighters remain hospitalized at Mission Hospital.  Both are in stable condition and are awaiting discharge. The investigation continues as to the cause of the fire.  

See other postings.
 


City of Asheville image