Fire Chief Magazine's Final Edition is Out

The November issue of Fire Chief Magazine -- the final edition -- will be a collector's item.

The staff was notified on Wednesday that the plug was being pulled on the operation by Penton, the parent company.

Five staff members are without jobs as of today as the sun sets on the 57-year publication.  

"Fire Chief was a fairly small product within Penton and it didn't really fit with the growth plans of the company," said Janet Wilmoth, who serves as Fire Chief's associate publisher and editorial director. 

"I was shocked and I just didn't see this coming," she said of the announcement.

Reflecting on her 27 years with the magazine, Wilmoth's words are similar to what would be heard at a firefighter's retirement gathering.

"It has been an amazing, amazing job and not many people get to say that at the end."

Wilmoth came from a family of firefighters and she immersed herself in the happenings of the fire service around the country. 

During her time, the magazine started the Fire Chief of the Year Award, honoring both career and volunteer chiefs for their extraordinary efforts. 

They also developed Station Style, which featured in-depth coverage of new and innovative fire station designs.

Robert Rielage, a former fire marshal in Ohio and author of the monthly Volunteer Voice column in the magazine said he was shocked when he learned the news from Wilmoth late Wednesday.

"I think in its 57 years, Fire Chief Magazine brought to light issues that were of extreme value for senior management and company officer," Rielage said. "These are the issues that will be forthcoming to the executive officers of the fire department."

In his last column for Fire Chief, Rielage wrote about the various studies by NIST, Underwriters' Laboratories and others that are changing the fire service.

"What I focused on was the ability for chiefs to take the various components of studies into their knowledge base. Chiefs will need to change their SOPs and that's what we tried to help them with." 

When asked about the most memorable assignment at Fire Chief, it took Wilmoth only seconds to recall the impact that the Charleston Super Sofa Store Fire had on her.

Soon after the fire, she sat down with Fire Chief Rusty Thomas to talk about that June 2007 day.

"It really hurt to see that a fire department was that out of date when so many other departments were so progressive. That really struck me and it has stayed with me ever since."