For the Record

Finn Named Boston Commissioner

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh appointed Deputy Fire Chief Joe Finn of Division 1 as Fire Commissioner/Chief of Department on July 7. Finn was hailed as a seasoned leader who will command the rank-and-file’s respect. “Chief Finn’s experience and leadership style, along with his commitment to diversity and fairness, will help move our Fire Department into an even more successful era of service to the people of Boston,” said Mayor Walsh. A 30-year Boston fire veteran, Finn was widely hailed for a split-second decision to pull dozens of firefighters out of a savage blaze in a Back Bay brownstone that killed two firefighters in March.


Good Sports; Good Cause

As the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat kicked off, the chiefs of the San Antonio and Miami-Dade fire departments made a little wager. The losing city would make a donation to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) in the name of the winning city. When the Spurs won the title, Miami-Dade Chief Dave Downey made good with a $500 donation made on behalf of San Antonio Chief Charles Hood.  There were also some other stipulations that can be seen in the photos here and online.


Line-of-Duty Deaths

Seven U.S. fire service personnel recently died in the line of duty. One career firefighter, four volunteer firefighters and two civilian employees died in six separate incidents. Two deaths were health related, one death was the result of direct fireground operations and four deaths were the result of motor vehicle accidents. One accident claimed the lives of two civilian employees.

ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF DONOVAN GARCIA JR., 52, of the Hungry Valley Volunteer Fire Department in Sparks, NV, died on June 5. Garcia was participating in wildland fire training when he collapsed from an apparent heart attack. Immediate care was provided and he was transported to Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks, where he died.

FIREFIGHTER ROBERT MEYER, 54, of the Union Beach, NJ, Fire Department died on June 8. While operating at the scene of a four-alarm fire in a commercial building, Meyer collapsed after exiting the building. An autopsy determined that Meyers suffered cardiac arrest. Meyer received the Carnegie Medal for heroism in 2005 for rescuing a truck driver from a fiery crash in 2004.

FIRE CHIEF TODD ALLEN RUMMEL, 44, of the Three Forks, MT, Volunteer Fire Department died on June 19. While returning a fire apparatus to the station after repair work, Rummel was involved in an accident with a pickup truck on Highway 287/12. The five occupants of the pickup truck also died in the crash. Rummel was a 30-year veteran of the fire service.

Two employees of ASAP Ambulance in Laurel, MS, died on June 24. PARAMEDICS WILLIAM ALAN SMITH, 48, and DENNIS RUSHING, 31, were responding to an emergency call when they were involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer. The ambulance had passed one tractor-trailer and was passing another when the tractor-trailer made a left turn into the ambulance. Both paramedics were pronounced dead at the scene.

CAPTAIN ROBERT BRUCE THOMAS, 52, of the Bienville Parish Fire Protection District 7 in Saline, LA, died on June 30. Thomas was operating a fire apparatus on Highway 155, returning from a residential structure fire, when he lost control of the vehicle. The apparatus went into a ditch and overturned, ejecting Thomas from the vehicle and pinning him underneath. Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Thomas was a 30-year veteran of the fire service.

LIEUTENANT GORDON MATTHEW AMBELAS, 40, of the New York City Fire Department died on July 5. While operating on the 19th floor of a 21-floor high-rise residential building, Ambelas became trapped in an apartment. Reports indicated that he was in cardiac arrest when he was removed from the building. He was transported to Woodhull Medical Center, where he died. A shorted electrical cord is blamed for the fire. Ambelas was a 14-year veteran of the department.

Jay K. Bradish