For the Record 8/23

Aug. 7, 2023
Ronald Siarnicki and Janet Wilmoth are the Firehouse Hall of Fame 2023 inductees.

Firehouse Hall of Fame Class of 2023

Ronald J. Siarnicki and Janet Wilmoth were selected as the Firehouse Hall of Fame 2023 inductees. They will be honored at Firehouse Expo in Columbus, OH, on Sept. 27.
Siarnicki retired as fire chief of the Prince George’s County, MD, Fire Department in July 2001. Following that, he was named executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). In the early stages of his tenure at the NFFF, Siarnicki shared an office with members of the staff in Maryland. He led the NFFF through the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and helped to create mental health and wellness resources for FDNY before taking the program national through the NFFF.
Wilmoth has served as Firehouse’s Special Projects Director for 10 years. She oversees Station Design Conference and the Station Design Awards program. She also supervises the Emergency Vehicle Technician of the Year award in partnership with the Fire Department Safety Officers Association. Wilmoth, who grew up in a family of Chicago-area firefighters, came to Firehouse after a 27-year career with Fire Chief magazine.
“It’s a great honor to recognize Ron for his decades of dedication to the fire service and, most notably, to the survivors of the fallen firefighters, whose sacrifices he has not forgotten. Through their losses, and Ron’s tireless determination, today’s firefighters are better educated and equipped to follow the foundation’s ‘Everyone Goes Home’ theme,” Firehouse Editor-in-Chief Peter Matthews said.
About Wilmoth, Matthews said, “The fire service is in Janet’s blood, and her commitment to firefighters never has wavered, whether it was focused on new technology, fire station design or leadership issues. Janet has been a key part of the Firehouse team for the past 10 years, and we’re excited to induct her into the Hall of Fame to recognize her for countless accomplishments.”
To register for Firehouse Expo, visit

NVFC Hydration Partnerships

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is partnering with Anheuser-Busch and DripDrop Hydration, respectively, to keep volunteer firefighters hydrated.
It’s the fifth year in a row that NVFC partnered with Anheuser-Busch and the fourth year with DripDrop Hydration, which is an electrolyte powder company.
The NVFC/Anheuser-Busch effort will provide more than 2.5 million cans of emergency drinking water to some-600 volunteer fire departments in 48 states.
DripDrop will donate 500,000 servings of its electrolyte drink mix to volunteer fire departments.
Fire departments can learn more about the NVFC/Anheuser-Busch Emergency Drinking Water for Wildland Firefighters Program at Active U.S. volunteer firefighters can request a DripDrop product donation, while supplies last, at

New NOFD Headquarters

The city of New Orleans broke ground for the start of the final construction phase for the New Orleans Fire Department’s new headquarters. The city’s 20,000-square-foot former Municipal Training Academy building will become the new headquarters and a storm shelter. The department worked closely with architecture firm NANO LLC to redesign the building for 24-hour operation and to improve communication and preparedness.


In the July 2023 issue of Firehouse, in “Gender Equity in Emergency Services Facilities,” the caption for the illustration of a combined all-gender restroom/shower room/locker room facility (page 42) should have noted that the red shaded area is storage lockers. Changing rooms are the doorways on the right edge of the illustration. We regret the error.

Line-of-Duty Deaths

12 U.S. firefighters died in the line of duty. Three died from injuries that were sustained during fireground operations, two died from a health-related incident, two died after suffering a medical emergency at a training exercise, one died from injuries that were sustained in a motor vehicle accident, one died after suffering a medical emergency on scene of a motor vehicle accident, one died after suffering a medical emergency on the fireground, one died from a medical emergency during wildfire operations and one died when he was struck by his own apparatus. This issue of Firehouse is dedicated to these firefighters.

FOREST RANGER SHAUN LUKE DANIEL, 26, of the Georgia Forestry Commission, died on June 5. While on duty at a contained wildfire in Washington County, GA, Daniel was walking a firebreak. He collapsed suddenly. Fellow emergency responders provided CPR on scene. Daniel was transported immediately to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead of an apparent heart attack.

 FIREFIGHTER WILLIAM “BILL” MCCALE, 51, of the Vermilion Township, OH, Fire & Rescue Department, died on June 10. On June 5, McCale attended training. He suffered a medical emergency when he pulled a 5-inch hose from an apparatus hosebed. Fellow firefighters immediately assisted McCale to an ambulance. He was transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center, where he was treated. He was released on June 8. On June 10, he was discovered on the ground in his backyard. He was transported to the hospital, where he died a short time later from an apparent heart attack.

FIREFIGHTER STUART HUNT, 37, of the Ancram, NY, Volunteer Fire Company, died on June 15. While performing traffic control duties on scene of a motor vehicle accident, Hunt suffered a medical emergency. Fellow members immediately began lifesaving efforts. Hunt was transported to the hospital, where he died a short time later. The cause of his death wasn’t determined as of press time.

FIREFIGHTER BRIAN LETRENT, 34, of the Bayville, NJ, Volunteer Fire Department, died on June 21. On June 20, Letrent participated in a department-mandated training drill. The next day, while on his way home from his job, he suffered a cardiac arrest. He was transported to the Bayshore Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

FIREFIGHTER BOBBY “BLUE” SMITH, 24, of Ware County Fire Rescue in Waycross, GA, died on June 22. Smith and another firefighter were driving in a fire apparatus checking hydrants. The vehicle traveled off of the roadway and lost control. It spun, hit a tree and landed in a ditch. Smith was pronounced dead on scene. Investigation into the incident continued as of press time.

FIREFIGHTER LLOYD RUEDIGER, 84, of the New Haven-Berger Fire Protection District in New Haven, MO, died on June 26. On June 25, Ruediger responded to the scene of a residential fire. Late in the evening that night, he returned home. He was found dead the next day at his residence of an apparent heart attack.

CHIEF MATTHEW “MATT” HANENKRATH, 40, of the South Richland Fire Department in Defiance, OH, died on June 27. Hanenkrath was on scene of a residential fire when he started to experience shortness of breath and chest pains. He immediately was treated on scene and then was rushed to the local hospital, where he died a short time later from a pulmonary embolism.

FIREFIGHTER BRICE TROSSBACH, 25, of the Naval District Washington Fire Department at NAS Patuxent River, MD, died on June 27. As part of a response to a mutual-aid call, Trossbach was fighting fire on the first floor of a residential fire. He fell into the basement. Trossbach was rescued and immediately rushed to the hospital, where he died from the injuries that he sustained in the accident. Trossbach also was a volunteer firefighter with the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department and the Bay District Volunteer Fire Department, both in Maryland.

FIREFIGHTER AUGUSTO ACABOU, 45, and FIREFIGHTER WAYNE “BEARS” BROOKS JR., 49, of the Newark, NJ, Fire Division (NFD), died on July 5. The two men were among the members of the NFD who responded to a fire on a cargo ship that was docked at Port Newark. Members were fighting fire on the 10th, 11th and 12th decks. They were pushed back by intense heat. As they backed out, Acabou and Brooks Jr. became lost and disorientated in the smoke. A mayday was called, and a search effort was launched. The two firefighters were rescued and immediately rushed to the hospital, where they both were pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

FIREFIGHTER RECRUIT IAN STRICKLER, 35, of the Frederick County, VA, Fire Rescue Department, died on July 5. While attending physical fitness training, Strickler suffered a medical emergency. He immediately was transported to the Winchester Medical Center, where he died. The cause of death wasn’t determined as of press time.

FIREFIGHTER JAMES “SPOT” CLEARY JR., 19, of the Bramwell, WV, Volunteer Fire Department, died on July 11. Cleary Jr. and his father were examining previous crash scenes. They travelled to the scenes in the department’s side-by-side ATV. While they were on foot beside the vehicle at one scene, the vehicle rolled toward them. As they attempted to stop it, they were dragged over a hill, and the vehicle rolled several times. Clear Jr. died of his injuries at a local hospital. His father was released after treatment.

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