Editorial: No Excuses

An advertisement ran in the September issue of Firehouse® Magazine that was displeasing, and we have heard from readers who believe we should have not accepted the ad. We will not offer excuses, but we will offer a sincere apology to our readers, members of the fire department and family members who were upset and hurt by this ad. A mistake was made and we will work to see that it never happens again. We hope that the readers of the magazine can realize it was a mistake and judge us on our future actions.

We hope that this will clear the air. We take great pride in providing the fire service with a first-rate publication. The forums and chat rooms that were developed on Firehouse.com to establish a dialogue within the fire service were effective in sending your message to us.

Firehouse® has taken a great interest in saving lives and educating the fire service since 1976. We always try to do the right thing. We publicized the tremendous outpouring of the 30,000-plus firefighters from around the world who attended the Worcester Memorial in December 1999. We obtained the go-ahead to interview the first incident commander from Worcester, and we secured permission for the same incident commander to present the keynote address at the recent Firehouse Expo in Baltimore. We did this to provide an insight into what happened so that we don't lose any more firefighters. The reason behind our being a sponsor of the Worcester Memorial Firefighters Safety and Training Seminar in September was to support the members of the Worcester Fire Department, IAFF Local 1009, and to raise money for the memorial to the firefighters killed in the line of duty.

We have worked with various members of the Worcester Fire Department in each of these endeavors and we have supported each other. We would never intentionally do something to discredit ourselves or to hurt members of the fire service or the families of the firefighters killed in the line of duty. That's the last thing we would ever do. We hope that this will be of some consolation to those hurt or offended by this lapse, and reaffirm our commitment to hold ourselves to the highest standards.

Contributing Editor Robert M. Winston presents a first-hand report on the devastating wildland fires that hit the western U.S. While he and other members of his wildland firefighting team were protecting a number of houses, they were nearly killed by a violent and fast-moving fire storm. See page 38 for this fascinating report. Since my last editorial, more than another one million acres have burned. Conditions seem to be stabilizing in the west and the focus has turned to Texas. No rain for 10 weeks and temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit have not made the job of Texas firefighters any easier. One incredible fact: the lumber that is sold to build houses has a higher moisture content than the trees standing in some western forests. On page 44 we present our exclusive Volunteer Run Survey, providing statistical information from across the country. From Iowa, Steve Meyer reports on an explosion that ripped through a house during a birthday party. Responding firefighters in the small, close-knit rural community were hit hard by the disaster. Many of them knew the victims. See page 70 for this moving account.

A tip of the helmet to Contributing Editor and Jersey City, NJ, Battalion Chief Robert Cobb for his dedication and hard work to develop, promote and make the Worcester Firefighters Memorial Safety & Training Seminar a reality. Our thanks also go to the Firehouse® contributing editors who made presentations to firefighters from across the country who traveled to Worcester to learn and donate to the Memorial Fund.