Scuttlebutt 9/13

Georgia Firefighters Visit “Angel of Mercy”

A former city clerk in Lighthouse Point, FL, who saved all her life so she could retire and travel the country, is now giving that money away. Not to just anyone, mind you, but to volunteer fire departments in small towns she visited while traveling around the country in her motor home.

Carol Landau began donating after being diagnosed as terminally ill. She has paid for needed equipment and protective gear, well aware of the underfunded but life-saving work the volunteers do.

Landau has given away tens of thousands of dollars to more than a dozen small departments and other groups since April, and she said she plans to give away thousands more. She hopes her actions will lead others to help struggling volunteer departments across the country.

Recently, Landau was having discussions with three chiefs in Georgia about the supplies they needed and she decided she would mail them a check. But the chiefs wanted this to be a bit more personal. They wanted to meet their “Angel of Mercy” in person.

According to her blog (, Landau says that on Monday, July 8, the Georgia firefighters arrived. “I was so happy, and to think they drove about 450 miles just to see me… I felt so humble and grateful,” she wrote. “It was nice getting to know them and talk face to face rather than on the phone and by email. After our time together, we are now all friends and even feel like a special family.”

In all, nine firefighters showed up that day, including Chief Ashley Dent of the Madray Springs, GA, volunteer department, Chief Kevin Altman of the Odum, GA, volunteer department, and Chief Richard Truman of the volunteer fire department in Ludowici, GA. The firefighters posed for pictures and had Landau sign their helmets. They also presented her with a helmet signed by all of them.

It was a day that none of them will ever forget.


Firefighters Bike to Support Muscular Dystrophy Canada

Firefighters Reagan Breeze, Graham Warburton, Tylor Marusyk and Corey Hayes are making their muscles move in support of those affected with muscular dystrophy. Their four-day bike ride, which will cover almost 600km, will begin on September 9 at the Manitoba/Ontario border and finish in Thunder Bay on September 12, for the opening day of FireCon. FireCon is an annual conference where more than 300 firefighters travel to Thunder Bay for training over a three-day period and is an important part of the regional camaraderie amongst the fire service across Northern Ontario.

Last year’s bike event raised more than $6,000 and created great awareness throughout Northwestern Ontario. These dedicated individuals want to surpass last year’s total and hope other firefighters will join them and bike through their communities and show their support.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit


Photograph Auction Benefits Prescott Heroes

A photograph taken during a photography class at a college campus in New Mexico recently sold at auction with proceeds benefitting the families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Christine Muncy, a photography student at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs NM took the photo and it gathered such interest that she offered it to Brian Willingham of the United Phoenix Firefighters Association (UPFFA) for auction. This is just one of the many ways people have come together to support the families of the fallen firefighters. To which we say, “Well done, Christine!”


Nugent Named Emergency Service Coordinator

The Middlesex (VA) County Board of Supervisors and the Office of the County Administrator have announced the appointment of the county’s first Emergency Service Coordinator. After a search and interview process, Mark R. Nugent, a retired Battalion Chief from the Chesterfield Department of Fire and EMS, accepted the position.

Nugent served a decorated 38-year career with Chesterfield Fire and EMS, which began in 1975 when he joined the department as a 16-year-old volunteer firefighter. Nugent was hired as a firefighter in 1978, and worked his way through the organization for the past 35 years, rising to the rank of Battalion Chief, a position he held for 14 years.


Tribal Fire Department Chief Appointed to State Board of Fire Services

California Governor Jerry Brown has appointed San Manuel Fire Chief Michael J. Smith to the California State Board of Fire Services, a body that addresses fire protection and prevention issues on a statewide level.

This appointment is the product of the emergent role that California Tribal Governments have come to play in the broader emergency service response network across the state. Smith, a resident of the City of Highland, has been a fire service professional with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians since 2000 and was instrumental in working with Tribal leadership to establish the San Manuel Fire Department in 2003.

“In our view, this appointment is further confirmation that San Manuel and Tribal Governments statewide have become critical partners in preparing for and responding to emergencies,” said San Manuel Tribal Chairperson Carla Rodriguez. “Chief Smith represents someone who has forged strong reciprocal relationships with other jurisdictions enabling San Manuel to be part of a unified response when life and property are threatened.”

This new role is being commemorated and celebrated as a shared milestone for San Manuel Chief Smith, San Manuel Fire, and the San Manuel Tribal Community. Moreover, San Manuel Fire has made it a priority to reach out to Tribal fire departments to cooperatively evaluate strategies and tactics employed in emergency services response on Tribal lands that are prone to wildfire and have been historically underserved.



This Month in Fire History


September 1, 1923, Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan

Earthquake conflagration kills 142,807


September 3, 1991, Hamlet, NC

Chicken processing plant fire kills 25


September 7, 1926, Drumcollogher, Ireland

Movie theater fire kills 50


September 8, 1934

SS Morro Castle fire kills 135 off New Jersey coast


September 11, 2001, New York, NY

World Trade Center attacks kill 2,666


September 13, 1970, Los Angeles, CA

Ponet Square Hotel fire kills 19


September 17, 1872

First sprinkler system patented by P.W. Pratt


September 20, 1929, Detroit, MI

Study Club fire kills 22


September 25, 2003, Nashville, TN

Nursing home fire kills 14


September 26, 1936, Bandon, OR

Conflagration destroys 386 buildings and kills 13


Courtesy of NFPA

For details on fires that occurred 100 years ago this month, turn to Paul Hashagen’s “Rekindles” on page 112.