Fire Engine Named For Florida Hero Who Died

Karl J. Carman was known as the fireman's fireman.

And on Wednesday, Carman's former colleagues paid him a special tribute -- dedicating the Miami Springs-based Engine 35 in his honor.

Carman died March 27, 1987, while responding to a four-alarm fire at Cyclo Corp., 7700 NW 66th St.

''He was just a man doing his job,'' Carman's son, Lt. Joseph K. Carman, 41, said at the dedication ceremony at Station 35, 201 Westward Dr. ''He always told us that if he had a choice about dying, he wanted it to be in a large fire. He wanted to go out in a blaze of glory.''

Added Kenneth, 49, another son, ''My dad was John Wayne and apple pie.''

Carman was known as a patriotic man who loved the Fourth of July festivities.

''He would dress up like Uncle Sam for the town's parade,'' said fireman Rick LaValley. ''He was patriotic to the max. He loved the parade. His Winnebago would be decked out in American flags.''

Born in Pennsylvania, Carman moved to Miami with his family as a teenager. In 1960, he joined the Miami Springs Fire Department, which merged with the Miami-Dade department in 1979.

''We started the same day, Nov. 15, 1953,'' retired fireman Joe Iannaci said.

''It killed me when I heard he had died.''

Carman was called Mr. Perfectionist by his family.

''I guarantee that wherever he is, it is the most organized place in the world,'' Joseph said.

A gentle breeze swept over the crowd during a moment of silence observed in Carman's memory during the dedication. The final alarm crackled on firefighters' radios across the county, given by a dispatcher: ''Attention all stations. Today we honor the memory of firefighter Karl J. Carman Jr. On March 27, 1987, firefighter Carman made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting a four-alarm chemical fire. We now dedicate Engine 35 to his memory.''

''Looking down today and seeing all of his friends here, I know he is smiling from ear to ear,'' Joseph said.