A View from the Street; Remembrance and Paying Respect
A brief trip on Friday took me to the City of Buffalo, New York. Following business, I made my way to 1815 Genesee Street. As the morning sun began to burn off the light layer of fog, I came upon my destination which at first glance is an empty lot sided by a convenience store (bodega) on one side and a side street on the other.
Further observations would reveal a new American flag affixed to the street sign.
A decorative metal plate fastened to a light pole and a small flower arrangement toppled over in the center of the grassy lot.
At 03:51 hours, on August 24, 2009 Buffalo (NY) FD companies responded to a structure fire at this address. As the fire escalated to three alarms, the subsequent partial floor collapse would claim the lives of Lt. Charles “Chip” McCarthy and FF Jonathan Croom. Attached is a previous posting and link on CommandSafety.com with links to the FD and NIOSH reports and incident insights.
Take a read….Â
NIOSH Report: Career Lieutenant Dies Following Floor Collapse into Basement Fire and a Career Fire Fighter Dies Attempting to Rescue the Career Lieutenant Â– New York (REPORT HERE)
Much is being written, debated and argued in our profession related to the job, firefighting, operations, safety, tradition and tactics; what we should or should not be doing.
Standing solemnly on this hallowed ground this morning, I prayed and paid tribute to two brother firefighters who represented everything the American Fire Service epitomizes and the sacrifices made for the citizens we protect each and every day.
Look and Study the photo; think about the fact that a building once stood there, that a fire occurred, a Fire Department responded, Companies and Firefighters engaged and went to work the job.
Two brothers paid the ultimate sacrifice based upon their oaths, obligations and responsibilities as firefighters.
The panoramic view from the street depicts an empty lot. To the public, it’s a non-descriptive part of the neighborhood and urban landscape and city fabric. To us, it is much more.
That vacant property and it’s represented history from 2009 should give pause and reflection to our job as firefighters, our responsibilities, our duty, our tradition and the continued need for operational excellence, personal competencies and skill development and the strive to be adaptive to the continued challenges the evolving Fireground and buildings presents today and tomorrow.
ItÂ’s understanding our buildings, their inherent predictability of performance, occupancy risk and todayÂ’s extreme fire behavior that we are leaning so much more about.
My view from the streetÂ on Friday,Â at this address reaffirmed who I am, what I do and why I continue to give back to this; the greatest profession-the Fire Service.
What about you?
Foremost- remembering Lt. McCarthy and Firefighter Croom, and the many other firefighters who over the years and decades have paid the sacrifice. Honor, Duty, Courage and Fortitude.
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