Scuttlebutt 5/14

Harvick Thanks Oak Ridge Firefighters

Four months after NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick and his wife DeLana woke up to the sound of their home’s smoke detector going off, the driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS visited the Oak Ridge (NC) Fire Department to thank the firefighters that helped saved his home.

“If it weren’t for these guys, I wouldn’t have a house,” said Harvick who brought his 18-month-old son Keelan to tour the fire station with Chief Steve Simmons. “We didn’t think anything was actually on fire, because we couldn’t see any flames and figured the smoke was coming from the fireplace.”

Members of the Oak Ridge Fire Department were dispatched to the Harvick family’s home in the early morning hours of November 27, 2013. With the help of thermal imaging cameras, the unit was able to locate the fire, which was in between the basement ceiling and main level of the house.

“Chief Simmons and his guys knew exactly what to do and were able to contain a small mess that could have been a very big mess,” said Harvick. “We’re very fortunate.”

 “I cannot think of better example of how smoke detectors save lives than Kevin and DeLana’s story,” said Simmons. “They have a very nice home and lots of nice things, but the best investment they made in that house was the smoke alarm.”


Firehouse Heroism Program Honored

For more than 30 years, Firehouse has recognized firefighters for their extraordinary acts of heroism, community service and bravery. On April 2, Firehouse was honored for that program, receiving an honorable mention in the “Best Awards/Recognition Program B2B” category at the FOLIO FAME Awards.

“The FAME Awards winners made incredible strides and understand the power of events in the industry,” according to FOLIO magazine.

The Firehouse Heroism and Community Service Awards Program recognizes firefighters from across the country for acts of heroism that were performed both on and off duty.

“The rescues take place in a variety of places and unusual situations,” said Harvey Eisner, editor-in-chief of Firehouse Magazine. “These can range from building and vehicle fires to high-angle removals, boating accidents, ice rescues and many more unusual situations that firefighters are called to or come upon while off duty.”

This year’s heroism award recipients will be named in the June issue of Firehouse, while the September issue will honor the community service winners.


Firefighters Shave Heads For Good Cause

Local firefighters shaved their heads to support Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation and St. Baldrick’s Foundation on March 7. The Truckee Meadows and Incline Fire Fighters Associations partnered with the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation (NNCCF) for a charity event in conjunction with St. Baldrick’s Foundation signature head-shaving event.

Firefighters joined the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for their second annual “Day at the Firehouse,” where firefighters and NNCCF families came together for their signature head-shaving event. This was an opportunity for NNCCF families to take a few hours out of their day to not think about the struggles of cancer. Firefighters also presented these families with more than $3,600 in food and fuel gift cards. This annual event also serves as a  “pre-shave” for the annual St. Baldrick’s fundraiser scheduled later that month.


NVFC Announces 2014 Award Winners

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has announced the winners of its four national fire service awards. A special banquet to honor the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement, Fire Prevention, Junior Firefighter of the Year and Junior Firefighter Program of the Year awards took place during the NVFC’s spring meeting on May 2 in Alexandria, VA.

“The quality of the applications we receive each year speaks to the excellence of the fire service nationwide,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “The recipients that were chosen this year exemplify outstanding service and commitment to the fire and emergency services. Their achievements reflect a proud past and exciting future.”

The recipients of the NVFC’s 2014 awards are:

Chief Charles Singleton – NVFC Lifetime Achievement Award

Chief Singleton has been an active member of the Virginia volunteer fire service for more than 62 years. He has moved throughout the state, serving almost 30 years with the Vienna Fire Department before retiring and continuing his service with the Ebony (VA) Volunteer Fire Department and then the Amherst County (VA) Emergency Services Board.

Jim Pickett – NVFC Fire Prevention Award
For two decades, Pickett has volunteered as a firefighter and fire prevention educator in Kodiak, AK, with a mission to make his community a better, safer place to live. Each year, he provides fire prevention presentations and station tours to over 500 children in local schools. 

Jennifer Schaefer – Junior Firefighter of the Year Award
Schaefer has been a junior firefighter with the Burlington (ND) Rural Fire Department for over four years. She spends as much time as possible at the station doing whatever is needed to keep the department ready for the next call. Schaefer is actively involved with the department’s fire prevention program and broke a record in North Dakota as the youngest person to take and pass the Firefighter One Essentials Five test. 

Washington County (MD) High School Fire and Rescue Academy – Junior Firefighter Program of the Year Award

The Washington County (MD) High School Fire and Rescue Academy was established in 1999 as a recruitment tool for the county’s volunteer fire companies. This innovative program enrolls high school juniors and seniors in a two-year cadet program. Upon completion, the cadets are eligible for up to 16 college credits, including certifications in Firefighter I & II, Maryland EMT, Rescue Tech, and others.


New Color Scheme for Ocala Apparatus

The first of several replacement emergency vehicles that have been ordered by Ocala Fire Rescue has been received. The new fire apparatus feature an updated color scheme and new graphics for the department. Later this year, two fire engines, two additional rescue vehicles and a command vehicle will be delivered.

“It was an opportune time due to the numerous vehicles that have been ordered to make a change in color to a black over red scheme to redefine our department that has served our citizens since 1885,” stated Fire Chief Bradd Clark.

The advanced life support rescue vehicle features a 10-foot non-walk-in body manufactured by E-One, mounted on a Ford F550 extended cab chassis.


NFPA’s Music Videos Teach Kids Fire Safety

Two new music videos, focusing on the importance of smoke alarms, have been released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and are currently available on its Sparky School House website. The videos, “Little Rosalie” and “What’s That Sound?” teach young children the importance of fire safety and help children remember what they should do in the event of a fire.

Designed to help build a child’s vocabulary and fluency skills, the videos use engaging lyrics, catchy tunes and memorable dance moves to deliver a message centered on the steps children can take when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm in their homes.


Ocala Fire Visits Ireland

Last month in this space, we featured an Irish delegation visiting Ocala Fire Rescue. This month, we report on an official delegation from Ocala that traveled to its twin town Newbridge, Ireland. The group consisting of 17 people had the honor to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and represent the Ocala community during many official activities.

This year the delegation included four fire department personnel, six law enforcement officers and seven citizens who paid their own expenses for the trip.


OPEI Advises Emergency, Fire and Rescue Personnel to “Look Before You Pump”

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing 100 small engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers, is alerting owners and users of small engine and power equipment to be aware of new fuels that can destroy or damage the engine. 

The national ethanol education and consumer protection campaign, called “Look Before You Pump” is cautioning that it is harmful and illegal to use higher than 10 percent ethanol gas when fueling up a range of gas-powered equipment. The urgency of the industry’s campaign comes from research that shows high-ethanol blends of gasoline can damage or destroy small engines (like those in chainsaws) not designed to handle it.

“We are cautioning American consumers and business owners whose livelihood depends on our equipment to be more mindful at the gas pump,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “Don’t assume that the gas you put in your car can still go in your mower, chain saw or generator.” 

OPEI urges consumers to read their equipment operating manual before filling with gasoline to ensure they use the right fuel for that engine. 


Ocala Assistant Chief Announces Retirement

After more than 31 years of dedicated service to the city of Ocala, Assistant Fire Chief Brian Stoothoff plans to retire at the end of May. He was hired as a firefighter/emergency medical technician in November 1982 and became a paramedic in 1985. Over the years, Stoothoff was promoted through all ranks. Additionally, in recent years he also served as the department’s public information officer and public education specialist. In total, Stoothoff served 24 years on the line and more than seven years in fire administration.

“I am honored to have served our citizens and I will miss my co-workers,” said Stoothoff. “ I have had an exceptional career and look forward to beginning the next chapter of my life.”



This Month in Fire History


May 4, 1973 – National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control publishes America Burning


May 5, 1988, Norco, LA – Petroleum refinery fire; loss worth $513 million


May 6, 1937, Lakehurst, NJ – Hindenburg zeppelin fire kills 36


May 14, 1947, Rome, NY – Minerva Film Company fire kills 23


May 17, 1923, Beulah, SC – Cleveland School fire kills 77


May 18, 1971 – NFPA Standard 19B requires SCBA use during firefighting


May 23, 1964, San Francisco, CA – All Hallows Church Parish Hall fire kills 17


May 28, 1977, Southgate, KY – Beverly Hills Supper Club fire kills 165


Courtesy NFPA


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