Editorial: Some More Serious Than Others

Because we are committed to firefighter safety, we are proud to present an overview of the Worcester Incident in this issue. To write my article, I received official permission to interview the chief who was the first incident commander at the cold storage warehouse fire.

When I introduced myself to District Chief Mike McNamee and told him what I do and described the major stories I have covered, he said he knew my name and had read my stories, being a long-time subscriber. I said it was a tough way for us to meet, but it was a good interview as I was able to gather the available facts. (The incident is still under departmental review.) I also told the chief that, speaking after 12 years as a fire chief, I didn't know whether I could handle what he must have been going through. The decisions he had to make he will live with forever. I understand that the entire group that works on the shift with Chief McNamee supports his decisions, understanding that without them more lives surely would have been lost.

Every firefighter's death is difficult, as we have said many times. The family suffers, the firefighters suffer, the department and, in this case, a vast number in the fire service were affected. You can read the details and continue on, but the people directly involved are touched in many ways forever.

To educate the fire service, we decided to present a multi-part look at the fire as well as the type of construction of that building and its associated hazards for fire departments. There are still many buildings that are still in use or just standing that can kill or injure firefighters. Contributing Editors Frank Brannigan, District of Columbia Battalion Chief Mike Smith and Jersey City, NJ, Battalion Chief Robert Cobb look at so many problems in this type of building that it can be scary being inside one of them even without heat, smoke or fire.

As always, we want to learn from deadly fires. That's why we present these richly illustrated articles - to keep firefighters, officers and chiefs aware of the potential problems in cold storage and heavy timber construction.

Two top presentations have just been added to the Firehouse Emergency Services Expo to be held at the Baltimore Convention Center July 18-23, 2000. We are equally proud to present an overview of the Worcester Incident by Worcester District Chief Mike McNamee early Thursday, July 20, 2000. Early on Saturday, July 22, a representative from the Los Alamos County Fire Department will present an overview of the wildland fire that destroyed almost 300 homes, threatened the Los Alamos National Laboratory and burned thousands of acres. A terrific Professional Information Program taught by speakers from across the country and England will cover numerous fire service/EMS/rescue topics.

If you want to learn about the latest techniques, strategy, safety and procedures you don't want to miss this impressive lineup. The three-day exhibit floor will have the latest in apparatus, equipment and technology on display. And as depicted on our cover, the apparatus parade around the Baltimore Inner Harbor is back. Follow the parade to the excitement of the flea market on the final day of a great Expo week.