Scuttlebutt 7/14

New Disney Animated Feature Highlights Wildland Fires

The Walt Disney Company is set to release an animated film that pays tribute to those brave souls who battle wildland fires. “Planes: Fire & Rescue” is a comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world-famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire-and-rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his courageous team, including spirited air tanker Dipper, heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero. “Planes: Fire & Rescue” hits theaters in 3D on July 18.


Liberty Mutual Presents Three Firefighters with National Firemark Award

Liberty Mutual Insurance recently announced the winners of its National Firemark Award, an annual award presented to U.S. firefighters who best represent their communities and demonstrate the firefighter’s selfless spirit. To celebrate their achievements, Liberty Mutual also awarded each of the winners’ local fire department with a $10,000 grant in their honor. This year’s winners were:

Firemark Award for Heroism

Lieutenant Jake Miller & Captain Adam Ebersole of the Lampeter, PA, Fire Company. While assisting at the scene of a car accident in January 2013, Miller and Ebersole learned about a burning house nearby, and rushed to the home without hesitation. Despite suffering impaired vision and exhaustion from the intense heat and smoke, they selflessly rescued a young male and his girlfriend from the home –both of whom lived after numerous surgeries and severe burns.

Firemark Award for Community Service

Captain Scott Waldvogel of the San Bruno, CA, Fire Department. A single father and lifelong resident of San Bruno, Waldvogel is recognized among his community for his ongoing involvement in safety-related activities. After a 2010 gas explosion devastated the area, Waldvogel completed the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course and became a certified emergency instructor, aiming to empower the community with the appropriate knowledge in cases of emergency. Since then, Waldvogel has held two, 6-week courses each year for local residents, and continually challenges himself to improve and tailor the classes to attendees’ needs.

A committee comprised of numerous fire safety organizations annually selects the Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award winners from among a pool of more than 150 firefighter nominees, each of whom had received a local Firemark Award from a Liberty Mutual Insurance office in their community throughout 2013. The selection committee includes representatives from such fire safety groups as the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the National Association of State Fire Marshals, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

“We are excited to present this year’s Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award to Jake Miller, Adam Ebersole and Scott Waldvogel,” said Anthony Storm, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Liberty Mutual Personal Insurance. “These men demonstrate selfless commitments to keeping the public safe and educating people about the importance of fire safety, and we are pleased to honor these heroes for serving their communities at the highest level.”

The Lampeter Fire Company will allocate the funds from the Firemark Award toward refurbishing their fire engine with updated equipment including new warning lights and a new water tank.  

“Jake and I are both humbled that our peers thought we were so deserving of the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award,” said Ebersole. “We never thought about not going in. As Harry S. Truman once said, ‘It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.’”

Waldvogel noted the funds from the Firemark Award will go to strengthen the CERT program through new equipment, increased training and hopes the honor will increase overall awareness.  “I’m honored to be recognized for just trying to do the right thing – preparing and educating the residents of this city for a potential disaster. I look forward to building this program to help further prepare our community for the future.”   


This Month in Fire History


July 5, 1973, Kingman AZ – Doxol Gas Co. fire kills 12 firefighters

July 6, 1944, Hartford, CT – Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey Circus tent fire kills 168

July 7, 1975, Portland, OR – Pomona Hotel fire kills 12

July 9, 1953, Mendocino National Forest, CA – Forest fire kills 15 firefighters

July 23, 1984, Romeoville, IL – Union Oil refinery fire kills 17; losses worth $177 million

July 24, 1931, Pittsburgh, PA – Little Sisters of the Poor home for the aged fire kills 48

July 26, 1990 – Americans with Disabilities Act passes, greatly affecting safety codes

July 28, 1945, New York, NY – Fire after B-25 crash into Empire State Building kills 14

July 29, 1956, Sun Ray, TX – Shamrock Oil & Gas corp. refinery fire kills 19 firefighters


Courtesy of NFPA

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