Firehouse Names Hall of Fame Inductees

Sept. 7, 2018
Firehouse has announced the four contributors who will be recognized during our Legends & Icons event at Firehouse Expo.

September 7, 2018 — Firehouse is proud to announce the four newest members to be inducted into the Firehouse Hall of Fame: Robert Burke, Dennis Compton, Charles Werner and Mike Wilbur. The four distinguished Firehouse contributors will be honored during the 4th Annual Legends & Icons program at Firehouse Expo on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, at Music City Center.

Firehouse Editor-in-Chief Tim Sendelbach noted that each of this year’s inductees not only played a unique role in the development and forward progression of the American fire service, but also a key role in building the Firehouse brand: “Each inductee served in key positions that have afforded them the opportunity to influence the advancement of the fire service in a variety of areas, including apparatus safety and design, fire-based EMS, fire politics, hazardous materials preparedness and response, emergency communications and technology, to name a few. The countless accomplishments of this year’s inductees have and will continue to improve the safety and operational effectiveness of firefighters for generations, and Firehouse is proud to recognize them for their countless hours of dedication and service.”

The Legends & Icons event will be held in the Main Ballroom at Music City Center. The reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by the induction ceremony at 6:30 p.m. and a post-ceremony celebration at 7:15. Food and drinks will be served.

To be inducted into the Firehouse Hall of Fame, members must have 20 years of service and demonstrated accomplishments in the advancement of the fire service. 

Robert Burke

Robert Burke started his career as a volunteer firefighter and ultimately rose through the ranks to hold positions including lieutenant and assistant fire chief, as well as Certified Fire Protection Specialist, Fire Inspector II, Fire Inspector III, Fire Investigator, and Hazardous Materials Specialist. After studying hazardous materials incidents in depth in the 1980s, Burke began teaching hazmat and terrorism courses at the National Fire Academy. Burke later served as the exercise and training officer for the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program as well as a fire marshal for the State of Maryland. Burke began writing regularly for Firehouse Magazine in the mid-1990s and became a contributing editor in 1996, at which time he also began speaking at Firehouse Expo. During his career, he has published seven books on hazardous materials and terrorism.

Dennis Compton

Dennis Compton served as the assistant chief for the Phoenix Fire Department from 1971 to 1997 and as fire chief for the Mesa, AZ, Fire Department from 1997 to 2002. He is past chairman of the Executive Board of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA), past chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) National Advisory Committee, and the founder and facilitator for the National Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance. Compton began writing for Firehouse Magazine in the late-1980s and later served as a contributing editor, writing the Fire Politics column from 2004 to 2014. He also spoke at many Firehouse Expo and Firehouse World events. Compton has also served as the chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Board of Directors and as co-chair of the Fire Service-Based EMS Advocates Steering Committee.

Charles Werner

Charles Werner started his career with volunteer fire departments and ultimately moved to the Charlottesville, VA, Fire Department, where he served for 37 years, rising through the ranks from firefighter to fire chief. He was integral in the development of and penned Firehouse Magazine’s first article about the internet’s impact on the fire service. Serving as a Firehouse contributing editor, Werner writes the Fire Technology column, and has presented at several Firehouse Expo and Firehouse World events. Werner has served in a variety of leadership roles related to interoperability, communications, technology, unmanned aircraft systems, GIS and homeland security.

  Michael Wilbur

Michael Wilbur served as a volunteer firefighter for over 40 years and a career firefighter with the FDNY for 32 years. Wilbur was assigned to FDNY Ladder Company 56 and retired in 2013 as a lieutenant with Ladder Company 27. He also served on the FDNY apparatus purchasing committee, and led the state certification program for the FDNY chauffeurs school. Wilbur began writing for Firehouse Magazine in 1994, focusing on emergency vehicle operations and apparatus purchasing and specifications, and has spoken at multiple Firehouse events. Wilbur served on multiple IFSTA validation committees for the Apparatus Operator and Aerial Operator Manuals as well as on USFA committees on Safe Operation of Fire Tankers and its Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative. He founded his apparatus-consulting company, Emergency Vehicle Response, in 1996.

For additional information about the Legends & Icons event, please visit

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