Scuttlebutt 8/14

PVPFF Purchase Animal Oxygen Masks

The Pahrump Valley Professional Fire Fighters (PVPFF), in partnership with the town of Pahrump Fire Department, recently purchased three animal oxygen masks, to assist in saving lives of pets trapped and suffering smoke inhalation due to house fires. Pahrump Fire Chief Scott Lewis approved town funding for half the cost of the masks.

The PVPFF bought the three masks in order to maintain one within each fire station engine in Pahrump Valley. These masks will assist the PVPFF significantly because (unlike people who attempt to escape their home during a blaze) pets instinctively look for hiding spots in homes to protect themselves from the fire. The oxygen masks are crucial to saving lives of pets by giving them oxygen before they could die of smoke asphyxiation.


St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue Gives Back

St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue presented four local charities with donations that were raised from the 2012/2013 St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue Annual Awards Banquet. The banquet recognizes and honors the “Firefighter of the Year,” “Fire Officer of the Year,” “Paramedic of the Year” and “EMT of the Year.” The awards banquet committee raised a total of $20,000; these funds were divided equally amongst the four charities. Banquet Committee Chairman, EMS Division Chief Ian Womack, presented each of the donation checks to the following charities:

• St. Pete’s Promise: Their objective is to improve the quality of public education in the City of St. Petersburg.

• PARC: Their mission is to help provide for children and adults with developmental disabilities to exercise her independence and experience life to the fullest.

• CASA: Their mission is to raise their voices against violence through advocacy, empowerment, and social change.

• Suncoast Hospice: Their focus is on the patient and family making sure attention and care they receive is beyond expectations.

Reported by Lt. Steven Lawrence, Deputy Fire Marshal/PIO


Portland Fire Honors Heroic 9-Year-Old Boy

The Portland (ME) Fire department presented a local 9-year-old boy with a Portland Fire Department challenge coin and letter of commendation in appreciation to recognize his actions while assisting in the treatment of his grandmother during a recent medical emergency.

Nicolas Burnham, 9, of Portland was at his grandmother’s house when she experienced a medical emergency.  Nicholas called 911 and helped his grandmother remain calm while providing the 911 emergency dispatcher with critical information.

“You quickly reacted and called 911 to report this incident and summon help. Your quick action and calm demeanor in the face of this incident was noticed by bystanders, emergency dispatchers and responders from the Portland Fire Department,” Portland Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria stated in his letter of commendation to Burnham.

Nicholas was presented with a Portland Fire Department challenge coin, a department t-shirt and hat as a gesture of thanks for a job well done.


Great Basin Fire Fighters Raise Money for Childhood Cancer

The Great Basin Professional Fire Fighters recently hosted their first annual “Fire Your Hair” Fundraiser Event at Elko Fire Station 24, benefitting the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The event was put on with the help of local community members and the Northern Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, as well as members of the local fire and police departments.

A total of 99 volunteers participated in the event, and approximately 75 heads were shaved throughout the day, raising a total of  $14,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation and $2,300 for a local 16-year-old cancer patient with stage 4 Melanoma.

 “It was the goal of Station 24 to bring a community-based event to the Great Basin area, and provide for our friends and neighbors in need,” said John Schuler of the Great Basin Professional Fire Fighters. “We accomplished that and more with our ‘Fire Your Hair’ and look forward to making this an annual effort.”


Johnsonville Reveals Volunteer Fire Department Winners

Johnsonville Sausage has announced the 10 winners of its nationwide “Best of US” contest for volunteer firehouses. Grand prize winner Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (Dooly County, GA) garnered nearly 9,000 votes since the month-long voting window opened. Ashburn Volunteer Fire Rescue Department (Ashburn, VA) came in at a close second with nearly 6,000 votes. With more than 68,600 total votes having poured in from around the country, the second annual contest generated overwhelming participation in support of some of the nation’s finest volunteer departments.

As the grand prize winner, Vienna Volunteer Fire Department will receive $10,000 cash to use toward the firehouse or the community. The International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) is providing the grand prize winner with its training library and home smoke alarm equipment with alert devices (that meet the needs of people with disabilities) to install in 100 homes in their community.

“There was a swell of enthusiasm and support this year in search of the Best of US volunteer fire departments,” said Ralph Stayer, CEO of Johnsonville Sausage. “We believe this level of activity shows us how much people appreciate the work their fellow Americans do to serve and protect us. These winners definitely represent The Best of US.”

Based on a public nomination and voting process, here are the nation’s top 10 “Best of US” volunteer fire departments:


Top 10 Volunteer Fire Departments

  1. Grand Prize Winner: Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (GA)
  2. Ashburn Volunteer Fire Rescue Department (VA)
  3. Aquashicola Volunteer Fire Co. (PA)
  4. Montrose Fire Department (MN)
  5. Burkburnett Volunteer Fire Department (TX)
  6. East 52 Volunteer Fire Department School (TN)
  7. Cowlitz County Fire District #6 (WA)
  8. North Catawba Fire-Rescue (NC)
  9. Atlantic Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company (VA)
  10. Hiawatha Fire Department (IA)


The top 10 were identified following a public voting period that ran from May 20 to June 20. The top nine vote-getting fire departments out of the top 10 will each receive a $1,000 cash prize and Johnsonville Sausage products for the department to raise additional funds. IFSTA will also award each of these top 10 fire departments a ball cap, a T-shirt and an IFSTA eBook. IFSTA will also provide the latest in smoke alarm installer training for the department to help their community become more fire safe.

For additional information and details about all the top 10 winners, visit  


This Month in Fire History


August 4, 1949, Gates of the Mountain, MT – Forest fire kills 13 firefighters


August 9, 1965, Searcy, AR – Titan II ICBM silo fire kills 53


August 10, 1955, Andover, OH – Gateway Restaurant fire kills 22


August 11, 1874 – First Sprinkler head patented by H.S. Parmelee


August 17, 1975, Philadelphia, PA – Gulf Oil refinery fire causes $44 million in damages


August 24, 1812, Washington, DC – Washington set afire by British troops during War of 1812


August 25, 1974, Berkeley Springs, WV – Washington House Hotel fire kills 12


August 28, 1923, Hull, MA – Conflagration destroys 44 buildings and kills 2


August 31, 1968, Gary, IN – In Crowd lounge fire kills 13


Courtesy of NFPA


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