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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 ]  




Funeral Details: PA FF LODD-Fund For Her Child (The Secret List)

Sunday, October 26, 2014  All,

Here are details related to Firefighter/EMT Christi Marie Rodgers, 26, of Peach Bottom, Lancaster County, PA, who died in the Line of Duty, on Friday, October 24, 2014. She was the wife of James P. Rodgers, II-also a Firefighter. In addition to her husband and parents, she is survived by her one month old son, Conner Patrick Rodgers* and numerous friends & family.


If you are not local, please consider sending an online note of condolence to the family at:

Christi was an active firefighter-EMT. She was a member of Robert Fulton Fire Company, where she currently served as secretary and medical officer and also served with the Wakefield Ambulance Assoc. 

The Funeral Service will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1104 Kirkwood Pike, Quarryville, PA on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 11:00 A.M. The burial will be in Pleasant Grove United Methodist Cemetery, Peach Bottom, PA. Visitations will be held on Wednesday evening at the Worship Center, 2384 New Holland Pike, Lancaster, PA from 6-8:00 PM and at Wesley United Methodist Church on Thursday from 9-11:00 A.M. 



*In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are requested to

“Conner P. Rodgers Benefit Fund”, c/o any Fulton Bank branch. Arrangements entrusted to Reynolds Funeral and Cremation Services, Inc., 144 East State Street, Quarryville, PA.  
Any departments wishing to send apparatus, please Contact Deputy Chief Mark Barto at 717-371-1271.


Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 10-26-2014-2048 hrs





Remb'rng 5 Firefighters Killed, PA LODD Update (The Secret List)

Saturday, October 25, 2014 


We take time today to remember Fire Capt. Mark Loutzenhiser, 43, FF's Daniel Najera, 20, Jess McLean, 27, Jason McKay 27 and Pablo Cerda, 23 who were killed in the Line of Duty on October 26, 2006 at the Esperanza fire in California. The members of USFS Engine 57 were protecting a structure and the fire over ran their position. This was an arson fire and the arsonist has been sentenced to death.



Here's an article on the tragic loss of a volunteer Firefighter, her husband (also a Firefighter), their one month old child and community.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 10-24-2014-1000 hrs





Funeral Details: Chief Harvey Eisner (The Secret List)

Friday, October 24, 2014  All-

Details for Chief Eisner:

This coming Sunday morning 

Oct 26th, 2014

10am viewing

11am service then to Mount Hope Cemetery Hastings on the Hudson NY exit 13 off Saw Mill Parkway.

Funeral home GPS address: 

16 Arcadian Ave Paramus NJ;

Physical address: 

West Rt 4 Paramus, NJ

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 10-24-2014-1600 hrs





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100% of the royalties from the sales of "PASS IT ON" will be donated to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Chief Ray Downey Scholarship Fund.