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John Curry a 30-year old firefighter with Volusia County Fire Services was killed during training at the Volusia County Fire Training Center, 3889 Tiger Bay Road, Daytona Beach. John Curry was part of Volusia County Wildland Fire Team, which was practicing power and chain saw
use at the center. Witnesses said a pine tree fell on Curry. He was pronounced dead at 11:05 a.m. This is a tragic loss for all of us, said Frank Bruno, Volusia County Chair. Our hearts are heavy and we extend our deepest sympathy to his friends and family.

John Curry was hired by Volusia County Fire Services in January and was stationed at Station 41 in DeLeon Springs. This was his first firefighting job.
John was participating in ongoing training. He had received advanced training in fire behavior, strategy and tactics, and safety specific to wildland fire. The accident which claimed Johns life was a hands on field exercise drill. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Major Case Unit, in conjunction with the Volusia County Medical Examiner’s Office, is conducting a death investigation, which is customary in accidental deaths.

Wildland firefighting is increasingly important in almost every community in America today. The training is rigorous and dangerous. The actual practice of wildland or urban interface protection is very complicated and dangerous as well.

We are sure Firefighter John Curry understood these risks. We know he took his training seriously and volunteered for this assignment. John was dedicated to doing all he could to serve his community. We are told he will be greatly missed, and we extend our deepest sympathies to all of his family and friends who are missing him now. John was among our finest Florida firefighters, some of the best equipped and best trained firefighters in wildaland interface protection.

This incident highlights the ever present need to be vigilant when conducting training. There are no low risk activities when firefighting is involved. Our thoughts and prayers are with Johns family and friends. To get information on Johns arraignments go to


posted by Bobby Halton
11/30/2007 03:17:00 PM

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Blogger dummysales said...

This death would highlight the extreme danger of combining two of the most dangerous jobs on the planet; firefighting and logging. Having lived in both worlds, I know that this once again highlights the necessity of trainees to take upon themselves the necessary mindset to ensure their own safety; all of the instructors in the world won't protect you from all of the hazards.

Wed Dec 05, 09:29:00 AM EST  
Blogger Steve Derbyshire said...

Thank you John.

Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends. — John 15:13

Watch over us.



Wed Dec 05, 11:56:00 AM EST  

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I'm down to two wake-ups. Chester is still on the wall (see earlier post - When Chester goes - I go!).

I've cleaned out the desk. Chief Tiggs bought it on my personal auction for $200.00. I had to buy my own office desk in 2002 when I took over FPB. Joe Walter whose place I took, had this old small metal desk in his office, that was now my office. When I took his place when he retired, I asked the Toledo Fire Administration for a new desk and they said "no" - so I went out and bought my own nice "L" shaped desk. Anyway, It's now Toms.

I've hit a few stations today and gave a few hugs (I'm not too insecure in my masculinity to hug a male firefighter).

I've cleaned out my city vehicle and tomorrow I will leave it at headquarters and Chief Santiago (who should take my place as Assistant Chief - he deserves it-) will drive me home to pick up my personal vehicle.

My personal vehicle is packed with last-minute stuff to go home from the house we sold in Toledo, and on Friday - sometime in the afternoon I will head to my next life in West Chester Ohio.

I hope that all my Toledo firefighters stay safe. I want to thank them for all they do and for making me look like I knew what I was doing at fires. I will miss you!


posted by Skip Coleman
11/28/2007 06:54:00 PM

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I was reading about the terrible accident in New York yesterday and I was reminded of an old quote from Alexander the Great he said, Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all. I was reminded of the quote because of the weird reaction the article got from some readers.

What happened was I saw this article ( on a terrible fall by a great firefighter who was doing his job and doing it well. We have all accidentally unlatched a bucket door or had one appear to be completely shut when it wasn't. Sometimes terrible accidents just happen. Our thoughts and prayers are for Brian's speedy and complete recovery.

But what really upset me were the ignorant and cruel comments by some of the folks who read this piece. Without any knowledge at all about what happened, they have jumped to the conclusion that Brian was somehow incapacitated. It drives me nuts that just because some of us have problems with the addictions and illnesses associated with alcohol and drugs (just like many other Americans), it does not mean that we all do.

It just goes to show you how fast bad news travels and how much damage a bad story or inaccurate portrayal on TV or in a movie can hurt our noble profession. When you are held in such high regard as we are by the public, it brings out the knives when one of us has bad conduct--as old Alexander said, it effects us all. But Brian did not participate in any bad conduct. He was righteously doing his job. We know Brian was sober and extremely competent in his job. We know he will be upset by these ill-informed creeps. We who know better just hope he heals fast and these fools who are making unfounded accusations grow up and display a little respect for a man who is willing to risk his life to protect them.


posted by Bobby Halton
11/20/2007 12:56:00 PM

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It's going quick. I have six more wake-ups. Said differently, six more times to put on the uniform. There's a lot going through my head.
What am I forgetting? That's why in the first Blog a week or so ago, I asked for any help or suggestions. I have never retired before - yet alone retired and also moved away from the city I was born in.
Almost everything I had on my walls in my office is gone. I had 10 or so articles that I wrote for Fire Engineering that I had framed. Two Book covers. A few plaques from my stint as President of the Toledo Fire Chiefs Association and one honoring me as honorary Dean of the Ohio State Fire School. A large picture of a fire in Toledo in 1894 where Capt. Frazier died and no trace of him was ever found. A blueprint of fire department tools copyrighted in 1930 something. All of these are now gone and waiting for me to put up in my new office at home. There's only one thing left on the wall.
But what else? I need to turn in my SCBA and facepiece. Check with the pension board to make sure they know where to send my "pension" check. I've notified everyone I can think of of my change of address and I'm beginning to visit stations to say goodbye to those who I worked with. But I know I'm forgetting something.
If you can think of anything, please let me know. Oh! By the way, The one thing left on my wall is a picture of my dad when he was a Lieutenant on # 1 Squad. He'll be the last thing I take from my office on my last day. When Chester goes, I go!


posted by Skip Coleman
11/19/2007 05:08:00 PM

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Blogger Kevin Coleman said...

He was a great dad and you are a great brother. Congrats on your retirement and a job well done.

Your little bro, KC

Tue Nov 20, 02:46:00 PM EST  
Blogger Bobby Halton said...

Hey Brother Chester would be proud of his boy! I am proud to call you my friend. I know we will see more of you now that you are joining us old retired guys. I gotta tell ya getting paid to keep breathing aint so bad! Keep teaching, speaking and traveling the country making the fireground a safer place. But more importantly making every life you touch a little richer. You are a firefighters firefighter always have been and always will be.
Your friend

Tue Nov 20, 09:23:00 PM EST  
Blogger Dan Bodette said...

I saw Bob Pflager (former dispatcher) working at Ace Hardware in Wauseon the other day. We always talk about the TFD since we're both from Toledo. I told him you were retiring and he said that means there won't be anymore Skip Coleman's on the department. He told me about working for your dad on #1 Squad and that they called him Skip also, something I didn't know. I have always appreciated your teachings and hope to see more now that the day to day duties won't be there. Best of luck in your retirement and enjoy life. It's all what you make of it.

Dan Bodette
Captain - Lyons FD
Lyons, OH

Wed Nov 21, 10:26:00 AM EST  
Blogger A/C Staley said...

Chief Coleman: Every guy (remember when it was just us guys?)who was in the department when I started (1972) has retired. I'm the only one left. When I consider retirement my only thought is "I AIN'T GONNA DO IT!" At age sixty-two I'm still walkin' the walk, still carrying my share of the load. I've stood a post for over thirty-five years. Now my question: could you share some of the reasons you decided it was time to leave? You have, via books, articles and classes, made me a better firefighter and now I need some wisdom about knowing when to go.

Wed Nov 21, 11:41:00 AM EST  

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I love it when a guy says really stupid stuff, especially when a really smart guy says really stupid stuff. Check this quote out below.

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.
This was written by Hesiod, the father of Greek didactic poetry in 700 B.C.

Now you know who the first guy to say when I was a boy was. Okay, this Hesiod guy is not riding senior man on Engine 34 for the last 29 years, but some lame version of that same dribble is spewed out in conferences, fire halls, and station kitchen tables almost everyday by someone, maybe not as eloquently as this old Greek, but with the same intentions. Complete unwarranted garbage about our future firefighters about our sons and daughters.

Now, fast forward two thousand and seven years to FDIC, where I met a really great guy, Doug Heydon. Doug and I visited together about our love of FDIC and the fire service (which is really the same thing). Like most dads, we both shared stories of our heroes, who just happen to be our sons. Doug was really moved by the story I told of firefighter Ward Parker, who rescued my youngest son Evan last winter in Aspen.

But today let's visit for a minute on our other boys. My son Dean is in his final training as a naval aviator and Andrew, Doug's son, is returning to duty in Iraq. Our boys are not unusual for this this new generation, so please read Andrew's story here and then you will have many things to thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Andrew served our country in the United States Army 1st Stryker Brigade, 23 Infantry, Operation Iraqi Freedom, returned, and was honorably discharged in 2005 to pursue his firefighter-EMT career. Andrew knows what it means when we say we belong to everyone.

Since his discahrge from the Army, Andrew has served his community in various capacities as a volunteer firefighter, EMT, on technical and swift water rescue teams, all the time while studying for his Firefighter 1 and 2 designations. You see, this warfighter, this hero, is another firefighter's kid who is going to take this fire service places it has been dreaming of going for years. In case you haven't figured it out yet, about the only thing in this new generation which needs fixing is the old fools who can't recognize these kids' greatness.

Andrew has been called back to active duty from the Inactive Ready Reserves and is placing his firefighting career on hold; once again he belongs to the Army. Once again he is voluntarily returning to serve our country. When Doug's department heard of Andrew's redeployment, they rallied to provide him an incredible farewell. If you would take a moment and review the following URL, you will see this extraordinary show of appreciation for his service by the Clallam County Fire District.
(Andrew is catching a coveted FF coin tossed by Assistant Chief Andrews)
(Contains a tribute produced by Clallam County Fire District #3 firefighters, a large file but well worth it.)

Fire Engineering would like to acknowledge this generation and their selfless sense of service. We would like to say thank you to all our brother and sister firefighters serving and all the military personnel for protecting America. As far back 2700 years ago, some middle-aged windbag thought he was better than the younger generation; it is a trap many of us have stepped in. For every idiot who has questioned your heart, your character, or your potential, I apologize now for us all.

To Andrew and all of the other sons and daughters, fathers and mothers serving, may God hold you safe in his hands till you can come safely home to us. I hope you all take a moment to view this short slide show, and I hope you are inspired by the energy and love the Clallam County Fire District 3, Sequim Police, Clallam County Sheriffs, Washington State Patrol, the Patriot Guard Riders and the men and women of Andrew's community displayed proudly for one of their own.

As we get ready to sit down in our homes this Thanksgiving and enjoy our freedom, let's take a minute to thank God for those who made it possible and for those who are making it possible today. I will be thankful this year my warfighter, my son Dean will be with us. We know next year he will be more than likely joining with Andrew. I couldn't ask for him to be in better company.

I know you all will join with me in praying for our troops, but say a special word that we get Andrew and all our firefighters back safely. And the next time some blowhard questions the character of one of these incredible young people, just ask him where he spent last thanksgiving, then tell him to call Andrew Heydon and say thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless America,
Your Brother,


posted by Bobby Halton
11/19/2007 04:45:00 PM

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Blogger Michael H. Reynolds said...

Well said Bobby. We've hired 9 of the generation in question in the last year and a half, and all but one have been ambitious, personable, motivated, voracious learners for everything fire, EMS, and community related. Even the one exception very graciously and responsibly opted out of a profession that he realized he was not suited for.

We miss you in NM. Come back for a visit, at least to Carlsbad, sometime. Bring the family to the Caverns and especially to Christmas on the Pecos, it starts this Saturday, 24NOV07 and runs 7 days a week through New Years Eve. It's an experience you won't expect or forget.

Take care, enjoy your travels. I enjoy reading about them.

Mike Reynolds, Fire Chief
Carlsbad Fire Dept.
Carlsbad, NM

Wed Nov 21, 09:34:00 AM EST  
Blogger Karl Lusk said...

I certainly agree with you wholeheartedly! We have two men who ahve served in Iraq and returned to our department-both fine young men, who are indeed part of the "Greatest Generation" of today, just as my Dad was part of teh original "Greatest Generation."
Likewise, I have a son-in-law who volunteered to serve a year in Iraq as a contract civilan firefighter, because he wanted the experience and he wanted to be debt-free and able to buy a home for he and my daughter when teh married upon his return. All that has turned to smoke...He injured his knee on the job in Iraq, came home, filed for Workers' Comp (Federal), has been waiting six months on the WC insurance. A hearing found in his favor and directed the insurance company to pay his claim, repair the damage to hsi knee, and give him full back-pay to date of report of injury. They have appealed and it may take six months before an appeal hearing. He can't go back to work as a career firefighter; he can't draw disability; the contractor has now discontinued his medical coverage. He's stuck, using what he earned in Iraq to exist...The insurance company and the former employer are freezing him out. He can't afford physical therapy or prescription pain meds. without insurance. He wants to return to work, but his former position with a SE US FD won't be there much longer, if he could get his knee repaired, take a physical, and be released for duty. All this, and a 26 yr. old with excellent commendation reports has to sit at home.
Any suggestions as to how he might fight this? Are there otehrs out there who have similar experiences?
Thanks to all our Part Two Greatest Generation Men and Women!
Karl Lusk, Capt.
Rolling Fork VFD
New Haven KY

Fri Nov 23, 05:03:00 PM EST  
Blogger Bobby Halton said...

You bet we have folks who want to help. Contact Joe Moresset at Family and Friends for Freedom. This outstanding organization is dedicated to helping our wounded heroes get the help they need. Contact me directly at [email protected] for Joes e-mail and phone. We need to show these new firefighters what brotherhood means. That we just don't talk about it when it is comfortable. If you have a room and anyone is interested in setting it up I would come to speak as fund raiser. We could do a day of training to help this fellow firefighter / soldier get past this. No fee, no nothing all we get goes to your son in laws recovery. Let me know the offer stands. One brother to another, we need to do for your son in law, or my boy, whoever all of them get everything we can or we are just blowhard windbags making everyone think we are brohters. I will give you a day of my best "edutainment" you set it up. If anyone else has suggestions please let me know, right here.

Your Brother Bobby

Mon Nov 26, 04:45:00 PM EST  

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From the AP by way of the Staten Island Advance:

A blaze in an office tower that soars from Manhattan's financial district left six firefighters with minor injuries early Thursday, the Fire Department said.

Read the rest HERE.


posted by Peter Prochilo
11/15/2007 09:55:00 AM

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Check out these photos from Foreign Policy's Passport blog.


posted by Peter Prochilo
11/12/2007 11:45:00 AM

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Over next few weeks I hope to share my thoughts concerning a change in my life. I have 14 more mornings to put on the uniform that I have worn for 32 + years.

My last day in Uniform will be November 30th. On that afternoon I will get into my private car and drive the 184 miles to my new home in West Chester Ohio (about 20 miles north east of Cincinnati).

My wife has been down there in our new home since September 1st. and I have been commuting back and forth over the weekends.

As you would expect, I have a few mixed feelings.
If you have any advice concerning the transition, please comment.


posted by Skip Coleman
11/07/2007 06:16:00 PM

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Blogger Fay Coleman said...


Mom and I are so proud of all you have accomplished over the past 32 years. You have been more than just a father to me, but you have been a hero and an inspiration. I love you and can't wait until I get to spend more time with you!

When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work. ~Edward F. Croker

Thu Nov 08, 10:29:00 PM EST  
Blogger NWG said...

Hey, Skip:

Congrats on your retirement. Don't stay away though. Keep teaching. Us new guys still have a lot to learn from you.

Chris Mc Loone

Mon Nov 12, 08:52:00 PM EST  
Blogger Rick Lasky said...

Brother Skip,

Congratulations buddy! Thanks for your friendship and for all that you have done for me.

I'm proud to know ya and even more proud that you're my friend.


Tue Nov 13, 04:41:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kai Rieger said...

Congratulations on your dedication and accomplishments. Enjoy your new found freedom with your family, but PLEASE DO NOT STOP TEACHING!! We desciples still have much to gain from your experience and instruction. Hats off to you brother!


Wed Nov 14, 09:37:00 AM EST  
Blogger Rick Fritz said...

Hey Skip!

Congratulations! Remember '97 The year our books came out? Cathy and I are so glad we were able to share that event with you. It was my greatest FDIC. At least we haven't hit the bargin bin yet.
Skip: Stay Healthy and most important Stay in Touch. I'll be a little closer to ya in January!

Wed Nov 14, 09:51:00 AM EST  
Blogger srmac said...

So what are the planned accomplishments for the next 32+ years? How will you make your new community a home and part of you? Don't think of retirement as just pleasure seeking and hobby expansions. You now have the freedom to explore, volunteer, and contribute in new areas and build on the old. Keep the committments short and on a project by project basis. You're on flex time and not just time off. Enjoy!

Wed Nov 14, 01:21:00 PM EST  
Blogger Bill Shouldis said...

Good luck and best of health. It has been a great journey and teaching with you and all the others at FDIC has been a rewarding experience. Over the 32 years you have made a difference. Your contributions have made "the job" safer and better. Thanks for being a real leader in the protective services. Bill Shouldis - Phila.

Wed Nov 14, 03:56:00 PM EST  
Blogger Brian Schaeffer said...

Congrats on the Retirement--I'm jealous! You have a great career to look back on as the most respected and proudest professions in the country.

Enjoy the family and be well.

Thu Nov 15, 12:41:00 AM EST  

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Just when FireEMS services are finally getting up to snuff disinfecting medical equipment, the FDA issued a big whoa to all of us about the potential for cleaning chemicals to damage medical devices. Surf to for a copy of the advisory. Years ago, many of us learned that we could permanently fog the screens of our monitor/defibrillators by cleaning them with some brands of ammonia containing cleaners. Now the FDA is suggesting that every service take an inventory of thier medical equipment and consult manufacturer instructions to assure that wipes or sprays used to decon that equipment are appropriate. Probably wise advice, given the potential for catastrophic failure which tends to occurs right in the middle of patient care.

Mike McEvoy
FireEMS Technical Editor
[email protected]


posted by Mike McEvoy
11/02/2007 06:57:00 AM

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Blogger Firoj Khan said...

FDA is keeping very close eye on these thing which is unhealthy for human beings. Their efforts should be appreciated. Congratulations for this great work !!!!!!

Firoj Khan
webmaster :

Thu Jun 05, 08:21:00 AM EDT  

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