Former Fire Engineering Editor Dies

Tom Brennan was a third-generation FDNY firefighter.


Tom Brennan, former editor and technical editor with Fire Engineering Magazine, has died at the age of 66.

Brennan was born in 1940 in Brooklyn, New York. He was a third-generation FDNY firefighter - his father and grandfather were FDNY firefighters. His grandfather was killed in the line of duty in a gas explosion in 1920. His father, who retired after 35 years of service in FDNY, was up to that time the most decorated firefighter in the department.

Brennan answered the call to promote fire service education nationally in 1983, when he accepted the position of editor of Fire Engineering. He used his intelligence; personality; ability to "turn a phrase"; and authentic, intense love for the fire service to sustain Fire Engineering's prominence in the industry.

"Tommy found Fire Engineering when it was struggling, and he breathed life into it and gave it all he could," noted Fire Engineering Editor in Chief and close personal friend Bobby Halton. "He was like Henry Ford .... Tommy didn't care if your idea was perfect. He cared because you had an idea, and solutions are always good somewhere. He would say, 'Hell, try something; stand up and try something. The worst failures are the comfortable ones. Keep doing what you're good at. That will get you far. Keep building one car at a time."

In his "Editor's Notebook" message in the December 1983 issue of Fire Engineering, Brennan cited the reasons he "decided that trying to uphold the 107-year tradition, meaning, and purpose of Fire Engineering's goals would be a challenge I would take on: To help firefighters cope with the tremendous decisions confronting them as they battle our national disease-fire; to bring the experiences, decisions, results, and lessons of our firefighters and officers throughout the country to the fore; to lay these lessons before our interested and aware firefighters so that they may benefit from this shared knowledge ...."

"If there ever was a fireman, it was Tom Brennan!" declared Glenn Corbett, Fire Engineering technical editor, professor of fire science at John Jay College in New York City, and an assistant chief with the Waldwick (NJ) Fire Department. "Tom was one of a kind, a man with more firefighting knowledge than anyone I ever met. I don't think we'll ever meet anyone else with his wit and insight." After Brennan retired from Fire Engineering in 1990, he was appointed chief of department of the Waterbury (CT) Fire Department.

Funeral Arrangements

Wake: Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23, 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

Fuller-Cape Coral Funeral Home, 3740 Del Prado Blvd S Cape Coral , FL. 33904

Funeral: Monday, St Andrews Church, Del Prado Blvd.

The family would like for the funeral to be at 11:30 a.m. If not, it will be at 10 a.m.