Longtime Firehouse Columnist Harry Carter Dies
The fire service lost a giant on June 24, 2022, with the passing of Dr. Harry R. Carter. He died at the age of 74 after a two-year battle with cancer. In addition to authoring the “Command Post” column in Firehouse Magazine, Carter was a dedicated author and speaker.
Carter joined the Adelphia Fire Company in Howell Township, NJ, in 1971 and served as fire chief in 1991. In 1999, he retired from a 26-year career with the Newark, NJ, Fire Department as a battalion chief. Other roles in which he served included chief of training, commander of the Hazardous Materials Response Team and administrative assistant to the fire chief.
For 32 years, Carter was a Firehouse contributing editor. His work most frequently was found under the “Command Post” column, which covered topics from fireground command to volunteer fire service management, politics and management styles. The last column, “What Is Our Brotherhood?” was published in August 2021.
“The Firehouse family will have a tremendous void with the passing of Harry,” Firehouse Editor-in-Chief Peter Matthews says. “He was a friend to everyone here, every firefighter and everyone else he ever met. He clued me in to so much about the fire service, including leading in the fire service, volunteer fire department challenges and what he learned during Newark’s War Years. This time of year is always hard for the fire service, with the anniversaries of the Charleston Sofa Super Store fire, the collapse of the Hotel Vendome in Boston and the Father’s Day Fire for FDNY. Now, we will always remember Harry for all of his contributions and his friendship.”
In 2017, Carter was inducted into the Firehouse Hall of Fame at Firehouse Expo in Nashville.
FDNY Training Site Dedicated to Raymond Downey
A crowd gathered June 9 at the FDNY Fire Academy on Randall’s Island to dedicate a technical rescue training site to FDNY Chief of Special Operations Raymond Downey, who died during rescue efforts at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.
After witnessing the need for a more specialized rescue training for FDNY, Downey, who at the time was the captain of Rescue 2, launched the department’s Rescue School in 1996. Originally a single trailer, the school has grown to include a subway tunnel and other technical rescue areas.
Twenty-six years later, the Raymond Downey All Hazards Disaster Training Site adds simulations of parking deck and structural collapse situations, blind elevator shafts, breaching and breaking scenarios, and confined space and trench collapse areas. This allows firefighters to utilize their tools and training in myriad situations that they can’t train on at the station.
“The options that we have at this training site are endless,” Downey’s son, Deputy Chief Charles “Chuck” Downey, said. “It has tunnels, collapse simulations, crushed vehicles, various sections of debris and even a plane.”
Another son of Downey’s, Joe, who is a commander of FDNY’s Rescue Battalion, said the department provides more than 1,200 hours of training for special operations members, and many of those hours now are spent at the All Hazards Site. He pointed out a slab of concrete with a piece of metal protruding from it that replicates a challenging scenario from the 1996 Oklahoma City bombing.
Downey’s widow, family and friends stood at a large steel beam, where they unveiled the plaque that officially dedicated the site.
“It’s an honor to be here today and to remember our father 21 years later for the impact and guidance he gave so many of you here,” Joe said. “It’s a great day.”
“He was extremely knowledgeable and determined and a staunch believer of our training,” acting Chief of Department John Hodgens said. “He cared deeply for the safety of his members and for the public he served.”
Following the dedication, FDNY Rescue 2 and Squad 1 crews showed guests how they train at the site.
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10 U.S. firefighters recently died in the line of duty. Six died from health-related incidents, two died during fireground operations and to were killed in motor-vehicle accidents. This issue of Firehouse is dedicated to these firefighters.
FIREFIGHTER HAROLD JOE CORDOVA, 83, of the Central Conejos County, CO, Fire Protection District, died on May 1. Cordova responded to a grassland fire near Manassa to help protect structures. Once he was on scene, he told colleagues that he wasn’t feeling well and went home. A short time later, his family called 9-1-1, and he was rushed to Conejos County Hospital, where he passed away from an apparent heart attack.
FIREFIGHTER TERRY LEE CASSIDY, 64, of the Sparta Township, NJ, Fire Department, died on May 26. On May 23, Cassidy responded to a medical emergency at a residence. While he assisted on scene, he started to experience symptoms of a heart attack. He immediately was transported to the local hospital, where he remained until he died three days later.
FIREFIGHTER/DRIVER BRANDON YAEGER, 32, of the Bethany, NC, Volunteer Fire Department, died on May 31. While on duty at the firehouse, Yaeger was found deceased in his bunkroom. The nature of his death was pending as of press time.
DRIVER/ENGINEER CHRIS ALLEN, 58, of Hollywood, FL, Fire Rescue & Beach Safety, died on June 6. On June 5, Allen left the firehouse after working a 48-hour shift, during which he responded to numerous calls. At approximately 3:30 a.m. the next day, while at home, he didn’t feel well. A call to 9-1-1 was placed, and he was transported to the hospital, where he passed away from a heart attack a short time later.
FORMER CHIEF STEPHEN A. FERON, 49, died on June 11. Feron was operating at a training exercise with the Suffolk County Urban Search and Rescue Team. He suffered a medical emergency and immediately was transported to the hospital, where he passed away a short time later. The nature of his death was pending as of press time.
ENGINEER/PARAMEDIC DOUGLAS CLEMONS, 56, of Polk County, FL, Fire Rescue, died on June 14. While on duty at the firehouse, Clemons experienced a medical emergency. He immediately was transported to the hospital, where he passed away a short time later from an apparent heart attack.
LT. SEAN WILLIAMSON, 51, of the Philadelphia Fire Department, died on June 18. Williamson responded to a fire at a commercial building. Approximately an hour later, the fire was under control. Firefighters’ work was continuing when the building collapsed. Five firefighters and an inspector were trapped. Five of the individuals were rescued and immediately transported to the hospital. Williamson was pronounced dead on scene.
ASSISTANT CHIEF JONATHON COCO, 25, and his brother, FIREFIGHTER HUNTER COCO, 21, of the Maxwell, TX, Community Volunteer Fire Department, died on June 20. The two men were returning from the scene of a wildland fire in a brush truck when the driver of a privately owned vehicle failed to yield and was struck by the truck. The brush truck rolled over, killing both members.
FIREFIGHTER JOSHUA HAYNES, 35, of the Linn County, KS, Rural District 1 Fire Department, died on June 22. On June 20, Haynes responded to a building fire at a chiropractor’s office. While fighting the fire, he experienced a medical emergency and collapsed on scene. He was airlifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he passed away two days later. The nature of his death was pending as of press time.