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KY FF LODD, Fire Instructors (The Secret List)


The Secret List

It is with deep regret that we pass on to you the Line of Duty Death of a Fire Officer in Jefferson County, KY. Major Malcolm Jenkins of the Fern Creek Fire Department passed away yesterday from an apparent heart attack.

We'll post more as it becomes available. RIP.


It's the final countdown till ISFSI Fall FIRE INSTRUCTORS Conference Nov. 14-15 being held at the Ohio Fire Academy in "easy to get to" Columbus, Ohio. Register now to take advantage of this two day instructor conference. 

In addition, they are offering two pre-conference workshops including Principles of Modern Fire Attack 8 hour SLICE-RS as well as Blue Card Command CE. 

Please check out for additional details.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 10-31-2014-1108 Hours





Did You Hear The One About The IC...(The Secret List)

Thursday, October 30, 2014  Hey,

The term "did you hear the one about..." is usually related to a joke that's being told...or  story,.usually a good one-but not always. This time it's no joke.

Did you hear the one about the Hartford FD incident commander at the fire that tragically killed Hartford FF Kevin Bell? If you read (and especially watched) the news report we passed on earlier-you did hear "the one about." But, like every Line of Duty death-at this early stage, the facts are not out.

In nearly all line of duty deaths, the facts do come out...and I said nearly because there are some where the facts do not come out for a variety of reasons-from confusion to impossible determination to even political. Yeah-political. How about that.

When you watch the news report-it is confusing to you-because you are when you listened and watched the report I have to assume - word used intentionally - that you, like me, were confused and perhaps even annoyed-because of the way general aspects of the incidents were described in that story. 

This was not at all the first fire that the IC had command of. 

Why would the media report that? 

Who would be a "source" to the media and give them that information? 

It's easy for spectators on a Sunday to yell and scream at the football coach-especially in the comfort of the stands-and especially when they have never been coaches. The same fits to some extent to those who command fires. I remember as a young firefighter it was easy to criticize the IC's (we called them Chiefs back then) - and then in 1982, I became one. Things are a bit different when one goes from player to coach-you gain required perspective in now understanding you own this. Every aspect of the incident. 

In this latest case, who knows what happened? No one yet. NIOSH? Not yet. State FM? Not yet. HFD. No-not yet.. 

Was a mayday call missed? I don't know-and neither will any of us until every aspect of the investigated. "But the tape shows it!!!" Yeah-but that doesn't mean it was heard by the IC or others for that matter. In other fires across the US, maydays were transmitted - but not heard by radios on the fireground-even thought the "tapes" show it. The facts aren't out yet.

"Sources reported....." So-called sources can be the most credible-or incredible-folks to those who may have a certain motivation for being a source. We don't know yet.

Hose lines in front and back? Not unusual on any fireground. It sounded like the rear company asked for a line. Were the front and rear companies opposing and flowing at the same time? Were they communicating? How does fire science and fire behavior play into this? What about "modern" fire behavior?  Don't know yet-at least we don't-because the HFD, the SFM and NIOSH have not provided that info-it's way too soon.

30 minute's on an SCBA? Were they "30 minute" packs? Were they 45? Were they properly maintained and tested? What were the conditions of the masks? 

Did they run out of air too soon? 

Facts? Not yet.

The Hartford Fire Department has some of the best Firefighters and Officers out there-that's been proven over time. They also have had a solid record of fireground survival-backed up by the fact that this was their first LODD in 40 YEARS. The fact is that the only thing that's really been proven-tragically-is that some Firefighters were injured-and a Firefighter, Kevin Bell-gave his life while serving Hartford. The rest - hopefully - will come out as facts - so that all of us can honor Kevin's life by learning about exactly what happened.

A fire department is most fragile following the loss of one of their own. It can get very, very emotional, ugly and even nasty as every member on the scene-or not-deals with the loss of their Brother. The next layer are those members-all of them-who were there when their Brother or Sister was lost. Fragile? That doesn't even begin to describe it. And "it" is different for everyone involved-at every we each grieve and deal with an insane range of emotions is just that-different for everyone involved. 

Mark Twain said "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel."...(meaning don't fight with the media) ...but on the other hand, Abe Lincoln said ""If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."

Let's hope that as the professionals determine the facts in exactly what happened on October 7, 2014, the media goes easy with the "ink" - especially from info pushed by "sources"---understanding that the volatility of the family, the firefighters and the officers are directly impacted by what's said and printed. Fact or not.

RIP Kevin Bell, God Bless his family, friends and all those impacted by this tragic loss.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 10/30/2014-1534 Hours





Questions Raised/Probe/Video re: Hartford CT LODD (The Secret List)

Thursday, October 30, 2014  Hey,

The Hartford (CT) Fire Department is launching an "internal" investigation to find out what happened when a a 6 year Firefighter died in the Line of Duty at that house fire. See video below.

FF Kevin Bell was killed in that two-alarm fire at a two-family home on Blue Hills Avenue on Oct. 7.

Their board will be made up of seven people, all with very close ties to the HFD. Their goal will be getting answers for the public, but more importantly, Bell's family.

Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas appointed Chief Dan Nolan, who is the deputy fire chief of training, to chair a board of inquiry to review everything that went down on that night. Along with him, the fire marshal, two line deputy chiefs, two union officers and a representative from the employee assistance program make up this board.

For the next six months, they'll be looking into the reports that were filed as well as interviewing the responding firefighters. Then, the board members will go through the footage taken on scene by local stations and eyewitnesses.

They will also be looking at the gear that was used that night including Bell's to make sure everything was working right prior to him using it.

The board along with the fire marshal and Occupational Safety and Health Administration will all be doing separate investigations. FF Bell's death is still a mystery. The medical examiner has not released a cause of death just yet.

HERE IS MEDIA VIDEO:!/on-air/as-seen-on/Fatal-Fire-Probe-Examines-Air-Tanks--Mayday-Call/280880112

Lots to learn about FF Kevin Bell, the fire, what happened and why he died.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 10-30-2014-0930 hrs







The Secret List

We regret to pass on to you that a 13-year veteran New Orleans Fire Captain died Sunday (Oct. 26) while training in New Mexico.

Capt. Troy Magee fell ill while taking part in a training course in Albuquerque. The NOFD has not advised the nature of the course, or his illness.

Magee received Mayor Mitch Landrieu's Outstanding Employee award just this past June, after he rescued a car crash victim while off duty on Interstate 10 near Baton Rouge.

Captain Magee's body will arrive at Louis Armstrong airport tonight, where it will be escorted by police and fire department personnel to a funeral home. Our condolences to all affected. RIP.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 10-30-2014-0630 hrs





Dennis Smith Remembers Chief Harvey Eisner & Bruce Bowling (The Secret List)

Monday, October 27, 2014 


As the fire service mourns the sudden loss of fire service icon, friend and Brother, Chief Harvey Eisner, I thought you would find comfort and a bit of enjoyment (as I have) learning how "it" all started-meaning Firehouse Magazine...and so much that followed that.


At the risk of thinking that some of our younger Secret List members don't know who Dennis Smith is, I'll give you a very quick briefing.


Dennis is a retired firefighter from FDNY. He is best known for writing the best selling memoir Report from Engine Co. 82, a chronicle of his career as a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department in a South Bronx firehouse - the worlds busiest - during the late 1960s and into the 1970s. (Note-if you don't have "Report from Eng Co 82" in your personal library-get it. Seriously. Get it. $14.00 Here is a link )

Dennis also founded Firehouse magazine in 1976. While the editor and publisher of Firehouse, Smith also created the Firehouse Muster and Convention in Baltimore. 

Immediately following 9/11, Dennis also wrote:

Report from Ground Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center

The above is merely the tip of the iceberg about Dennis-you can learn more HERE:


I'm fortunate to be friends with Dennis for many years-and we were emailing this weekend about our deep sadness in Harvey's passing. We also spoke of Bruce Bowling who also died last week. So instead of me writing anything else, take a moment to enjoy Dennis's thoughts related to how he got Harvey started at FIREHOUSE, and how Bruce Bowling played a role as well.


TO: The Members of The Secret List

FROM: Dennis Smith-Brother Firefighter (an original TSL member)



I have always liked fire buffs. Jack Lerch, (FDNY Hon. Chief of Department) whom I think of as the leading fire buff in NYC, has become an invaluable friend over the years, and I still call upon him whenever I need a particular piece of history or folklore in the fire service. Fire buffs will go anywhere, and read anything that brings them closer to the actual firefighting experience. Indeed, there was a wealthy fire buff in New York, Bob Russell, who along with the one-time owner of Macy’s Department Store, Ken Strauss, came to visit me several times in the firehouse. They had more radios and lights in their car than the fire commissioner! I became a close friend of Bob’s, who had the honor and distinction of being the first investor in Firehouse Magazine when I invented that journal written exclusively for firefighters. Even some of our NYC firefighters and fire officers were dedicated buffs – I, for instance, worked as a volunteer at the Waldbaum Drug Store fire in Brooklyn,  the 23rd Street fire, and then the 9/11 World Trade Center alarm, three of our greatest tragedies.  And, so, it was no surprise for me to see a car of four men sitting in a car outside of Engine Co. 82 on Intervale Avenue in the South Bronx sometime in early 1973. They never got out of the car, respecting the privacy of the firehouse, but they followed us to every alarm. During a pause in our usual 40 alarms a day, I went over to speak with them. And, that is when I first met Harvey Eisner. I met Bruce Bowing just a few years later. They each had a similar impact on my personal life, much beyond the long lasting success of Firehouse Magazine.
I am now in Manila, (The Philippines) writing my 16th book, and was collapsed in sadness when I received word that the former publisher of Firehouse Magazine-Bruce Bowling-has passed. He was such a good friend, and I am sure we knew each other as well as anyone in the world. I talked to him regularly at his retirement home in Florida. My first thought was with his wife Phyllis, who was his strength during his various illnesses, and his son David, who himself grew to be a magazine executive and of whom Bruce was so proud. Being a good father and a good husband were two things that Bruce cared about, and also got right.

Bruce always told people I hired him because I thought he was Irish – he happened to have red hair at the time. I enjoyed that informality with him. I actually brought Bruce into the Firehouse family when we were in the Crown Building on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, which was a penthouse office given to us for one year as a courtesy of the late Jeff Byers, who owned the building - and an early investor in the magazine. I am sure no one remembers that office where the company struggled through its start-up difficulties. It had a millionaire’s view overlooking Central Park, and I know Bruce remembered how impressive it was. He later told me he thought the company was well financed, and did things with flair. He did not know we had free rent, and that free rent could not last forever. But, he also saw that he got along well with me in his several interviews, and he took the job when I offered it to him. I had a partner then who owned The Village Voice, Bartle Bull, who said we had to hire Bruce, not because he wore Hermes ties, but because he was so good at what he did. He sold advertising for us – and nobody could do it better than Bruce. He fit right into the Madison Avenue mold, always perfectly dressed with the perfect tie, pocket handkerchief, and his red comb-over perfectly in place.

Subscription income was not enough to sustain Firehouse magazine in the start up period, and we would have folded without his work and the income he brought to us. I confess we had long discussions about the question of taking cigarette advertising. Can you imagine, cigarettes advertised in a journal for firefighters? Well, we did take those ads for awhile, with a sort of rob Peter to Pay Paul, sink or swim rationalization. But, just for awhile. As soon as we had a positive cash flow we were able to get out of that alliance with Dr. Evil. But Bruce always throughout his long career with Firehouse produced sufficiently to generate not only our success but our future growth. He was a better businessman than I, and always saw opportunity where it existed. And so we built a going concern. It was Bruce who decided finally on Baltimore when we decided to finance a convention business, which gave us an opportunity to develop very long term and satisfying friendships with that city and with its fire department. Bruce produced so much for the Magazine that I invited him into a partnership stake in the company. Literally, I could not do without him. Indeed, when we decided after the first fifteen years to sell the magazine to a man named Stanley Sills, I began to get anticipation fears - a little like being on the nozzle waiting for the water at a working fire. I then decided that I would back out of the deal, the way a firefighter at the nozzle never can. But, Bruce was determined to go forward. I admired Bruce so much that I allowed him to talk me into rethinking my position. His needs were very different from mine, and I felt it was my duty to respect that. It was that decision that brought Firehouse from being a family business into the cold realities of the corporate world, bringing the calculating hard decisions that considered only the bottom line. Bruce went on to work for Stanley Sills, and he continued to like his position and his ability to keep Firehouse at the top of the field. 


I now am very sad that he is gone. He contributed much to the fire service, though his contributions are mostly unsung. He understood that a magazine can find its success in direct proportion to its ability to finance new projects. That is the part of the business I miss, but there are a million more reasons to miss Bruce Bowling. For Bruce also understood what the value was in having a good friend.

I do not count the funerals I have gone to for firefighters, dozens and dozens certainly, but at every Mass or Service I always realize the sadness, sometimes hopelessness, that our heroes leave behind. They leave a new and empty space in the lives of so many - family members and friends. I will never get used to the death of a firefighter, even though in the heart of my experience I know that another one will come. And it will come soon. I was the Chairman of the original National Near-Miss Reporting System Committee, and the main thing we learned, which is something we have known for a long time, that especial attention to safety issues is the only thing that will bring, and has brought, the number of those awful Line of Duty Deaths down. This is why we have the national NFFF memorial in Maryland and the IAFF memorial in Colorado The inevitability each year comes with the profession, and we pray that the firefighters in our firehouse are safe and healthy always. If you studied the hundreds of editorials that Harvey wrote over the years you will find that his fundamental responsibility, as he saw it, was to bring these issues to the fore. But even with great concentration, we all know a tragedy will soon strike, and this is what I felt when I received word of Harvey’s death while still in his fifties. There was so much more that Harvey would have accomplished if he had been given the normal life span. But there is no determined equality in nature, and neither in the physiology of life. And so Harvey has left a big and empty space for so many in the fire service.

I had introduced myself to Harvey that night during the early war years of the South Bronx. He was a nice enoug... [ more ]  




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