The Death of Leather in the Fire Service

CLIFFWOOD, NJ – In an announcement made today by the U.S. Supreme Court, leather will no longer utilized in the production of firefighter ensemble or accessories, unless lawfully approved by a Board of Trustees that is comprised of members throughout the country that are trained and authorized to employ such use in a manner that would prove to be uninvolved with fire suppression activities.


The New York Times revealed several studies and interviews made by the founding members of Cairns & Brothers, a company that designed leather helmets has been named as one of the leading proponents of it’s product’s usage. “Leather is made more durable and outlasting today than ever before. If it weren’t for it’s usage in the fire service, we would be out of a job.” Cairns & Brothers have been the leaders in “lids” since the early 1850’s and have kept the design similar to that of it’s inventor, Henry J. Gratacap. Recent studies by consulting firms have revealed that leather helmets are being referred to as “top-heavy and unsafe.” Click here for current lawsuit information.

Other leather accessories such as front pieces, belts, and radio straps are also being included as a way to completely rid the profession of all types of leather, due to it’s apparent risk. Different types of leather are currently being tested in burn rooms for endurance, sensitivity, moisture release, conductivity to electrical hazards, and melt factor.

What could be done to prove the regulations are working? For years, safety stickers have been found inside the impact cap that indicate the date of manufacture, type of testing, inspector test code, and light refractivity rating. Over time, these stickers have stood up against the elements of the atmosphere most commonly found in fires. Manufacturers have become less strict on their placement/type of material used and it has been apparent in recent tests. “It is important for all manufacturers to comply with labeling requirements,” says Justin Paddock, Chief of Sciences at the Bureau of Exposure and Atmospheric Reactions to Headgear Factors under Thermal Insult (BEARHFTI). “These labels ensure consumers know if the products they are purchasing are new or used, contain added chemicals, may pose a risk to family members with allergies, and that products meet basic flammability requirements. In short, these labels protect the health and welfare of households.” For years these labels have stayed inside helmets, however it is becoming evident they are being removed, or more importantly, becoming less legible. Just so you know, some people probably didn’t make it this far. If you did, I would like to formally thank you very much for staying true to our page and following us. Without loyal viewers like you, we wouldn’t be what we are today. Since you are here, please be sure to bash the hell out of all the haters of this article in public forums and don’t let them talk too much trash about us. We appreciate your support and thank you very much. Now back to the end of the article, to “make it look good. “Labels have been required to assist in warranty and claim information, but have recently been of little help. Helmet labeling requirements in California began in 1911, in response to the fires following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. At that time, there were no set standards for letting consumers know what materials were used in the making of their leather products, allowing unscrupulous manufacturers to use unsafe materials.

Furthermore, due to a national shortage of cowhide, there has been an incline in supply, which has caused an all-time low in “economical relative susceptibility to purity,” according to Paddock. Consequently, leather products and their by-products have been on the decline in recent months. For these reasons and more, leather has become a past-time in our great profession, and we all need to go out and rid ourselves of it’s usage. We at Station-Pride highly recommend putting it to good use and put some salt on it as quickly as possible…because it sounds like it won’t be around for much longer. Visit our friends over at Leatherhead Mafia for more details and literature on how YOU can prevent this from happening.


IAFF begins Unionizing Volunteer Firefighters

In an incredible policy reversal, the International Association of Fire Fighters(IAFF) has called a truce on a decades-long feud with the volunteer fire service. It’s widely known that 70% of the American fire service is comprised of unpaid or barely compensated volunteers, while the remaining 30% are career staff. The large majority of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.

It’s been a long-held position of the IAFF that volunteer firefighters take jobs away from career firefighters, thus threatening the sanctity and long-term viability of the union. The IAFF’s continued mission to grow the union has been happening at a slower pace than planned. Due to the financial crisis, department consolidation, and budget cuts, small career departments have been dissolving back into volunteer

IAFF President Christopher Montgomery stated that it was time to rethink the 100-year-old IAFF platform. During a brainstorming session with the executive board of directors, the idea of unionizing volunteer stations was presented. It was a game-changing Eureka moment, Montgomery said. After very little discussion it was clear the decision was pivotal and necessary for the health of the union.

IAFF President Montgomery further stated that hundreds of thousands of existing firefighters are under-represented and disenfranchised by a system that doesn’t support them. Volunteers are required to complete the same training hours and respond to the same emergency calls, performing labor with ZERO compensation and in most cases ZERO ancillary medical or psychological support. Exposure to cancer-causing toxins, emotionally taxing situations, and the risk of post-traumatic stress leave an entire segment of the firefighting community in dire need of representation.

Union dues are expected to range from $10-$25 per month, per volunteer, depending on the type of department and budget. Montgomery stated that the union was committed to all firefighters everywhere willing to pay dues. Of course, the union local for a volunteer station will have limited powers at first but the action has the potential to upend the entire volunteer system as we know it, effectively
bankrupting communities, forcing consolidation, thus triggering the need and means to hire career staff.

IAFF board of trustee Mark Burke spoke out against the decision to unionize volunteers stating it was the most genius trojan horse plan the union has ever concocted to completely dismantle the American volunteer fire service, all in the pursuit of dues.

It’s nearly unbelievable that a situation like this would occur. Only time will tell whether the IAFF’s position will make a positive or negative impact on the fire service. For sure, this will benefit individual firefighters in some fashion as they will finally have professional representation.

No matter which side of the fence you reside with this topic, unions have always stood up for the American worker, protecting us from big business and government. Volunteers represent an untapped resource for the IAFF to grow in strength while building a stronger more safe fire service nationwide. The unionization of volunteers will redefine the American fire service. It’s clear the IAFF is taking a large step forward, revolutionizing the idea of a union. We applaud their efforts to protect the union and we certainly hope they are good sports.




Town Opens Firehouse to Homeless, Solves Volunteer Shortage

The Town of Corson, SD has been struggling with an incredible homeless problem for years. One by one, businesses packed up and left, leaving the town’s residents high and dry. Through State grants and town planning, Corson part-time Mayor Delbert Dezotell spent years expanding their response to the problem. Despite his efforts, Corson was never able to get ahead of their homeless problem.

As with most volunteers fire stations in the United States, they’re consistently coming up short on staffing. Chief Chris Andrews of the Corson Volunteer Fire Department said, “The people aren’t coming out of their homes like they used to. Video games, television, and the Internet have eroded their sense of community. We used to support each other.”

This winter was particularly unbearable, and the town’s volunteer shelters had been over capacity daily, resorting to turning people away. Mayor Dezotell stated that turning people away was not an ideal situation; he had been opening his home to accommodate the over-flow.

A brutal cold snap swept through Corson in the first week of February, killing a homeless man who’d been turned away from an overcrowded shelter. The Mayor refused to accept this situation or allow this to happen again. Chief Andrews was ordered to open up the fire station as a shelter for the homeless. Reluctantly, but wishing to comply with the town managers directive, Chief Andrews opened the firehouse out of compassion for the situation.

Twenty-three homeless men and women filtered into the fire station, setting up sleeping bags, taking much-needed showers, and washing clothes. At 2:23 am on the first night of occupancy, a call came in for a structure fire at the Corson railyard repair area. The in-house alerting system woke all of the temporary residents. Chief Andrews arrived at the station from home and waited for a crew, but only 2 volunteers arrived. The next nearest mutual aid station was 30 minutes away.

In dire need for manpower, Chief Andrews asked his temporary residents for anyone willing to help put out a fire. All twenty-three homeless individuals stepped forward, grabbing turnout gear off the rack and filling all the seats on every truck leaving the station. Three fully staffed engines arrived on scene. The crews worked tirelessly to extinguish the fire.

After a few days had passed, Chief Andrews couldn’t shake the feeling about what had happened that night when the idea dawned on him. Why not offer the homeless semi-permanent residence in exchange for signing up as volunteer firefighters?

For the first time since the mid-1980’s, the town of Corson Volunteer Fire Station has been fully-staffed for an entire month. Mayor Dezotell lauded Chief Andrews for his forward out-of-the-box thinking. One U.S. town solving both its homeless problem and it’s volunteer firefighter problem in one decision. That’s a pretty incredible feat. Could this become a new trend throughout volunteer stations country-wide?



The Hartford Circus Fire 6 July 1944

The Hartford circus fire, which occurred on July 6, 1944, in Hartford, Connecticut, was c8875395d1one of the worst fire disasters in the history of the United States. The fire occurred during an afternoon performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus that was attended by 6,000 to 8,000 people. 167 people died[1] and more than 700 were injured.

In mid-20th century America, a typical circus traveled from town to town by train, performing under a huge canvas tent commonly called a “big top”. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was no exception: what made it stand out was that it was the largest circus in the country. Its big top could seat 9,000 spectators around its three rings; the tent’s canvas had been coated with 1,800 pounds (820 kg) of paraffin wax dissolved in 6,000 US gallons (23,000 l) of gasoline, a common waterproofing method of the time.[1]

10561125The fire began as a small flame after the lions performed, on the southwest sidewall of the tent, while the Great Wallendas were performing. Circus bandleader Merle Evans was said to have been the first to spot the flames, and immediately directed the band to play “The Stars and Stripes Forever“, the tune that traditionally signaled distress to all circus personnel. Ringmaster Fred Bradna urged the audience not to panic and to leave in an orderly fashion, but the power failed and he could not be heard. Bradna and the ushers unsuccessfully tried to maintain some order as the panicked crowd tried to flee the big top.

The cause of the fire remains unproven. Investigators at the time believed it wHartfordCircusFireAerial-610x477as caused by a carelessly flicked cigarette; however, others suspected an arsonist. Several years later, while being investigated on other arson charges, Robert Dale Segee (1929–1997), who was an adolescent roustabout at the time, confessed to starting the blaze. He was never tried for the crime and later recanted his confession.

Because of the paraffin wax waterproofing of the tent, the flames spread rapidly. Many people were badly burned by the melting paraffin, which rained down from the roof. The fiery tent collapsed in about eight minutes according to eyewitness survivors, trapping hundreds of spectators beneath it.

Most of the dead were found in piles, some three bodies deep, at the most congested exits. A small number of people were found alive at the bottoms of these piles, protected by the bodies on top of them when the burning big top ultimately fell down. Because of a picture that appeared in several newspapers of sad tramp clown Emmett Kelly holding a water bucket, the event became known as “the day the clowns cried.”


Resourced straight from:


The Upstairs Lounge Fire, 24 June 1973

This would be the largest mass-murder and hate crime on the LGBT community in the United States  until the recent Orlando shootings.

On June 24, 1973, an arsonist attacked the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans, Louisiana. The space was full of members of the local Metropolitan Community Church gathered to celebrate the last night of Pride Weekend. When the fire broke out, the bars on the article-2346743-1A75E9E8000005DC-346_634x443windows kept most people from escaping. As onlookers made jokes, MCC Pastor Rev. Bill Larson burned to death hanging out of a small opening screaming, “Oh, God, no!” When the flames subsided, 32 people were dead. No one was ever charged with the massacre.

In addition to the horribly incinerated Rev. Larson, twenty-eight other individuals lost their lives that night, and three others later died of injuries received in the fire.  The death toll was the worst of any fire in New Orleans history up to that time, including the great fire of 1788 that burned the old French Quarter to the ground.  It was also the largest mass murder of homosexuals ever in the U.S. and what is more, it is a crime that has never been solved.

But the city of New Orleans did its level best to ignore the whole event.  The fire exposed a surprisingly deep fissure of homophobia in a city that has historically prided itself on its egalitarianism and cosmopolitan tolerance.  For the first time, New Orleans had to confront the reality of a thriving homosexual community in its midst.  Evidently, this was a very hard lesson for it to learn.

Upstairs 3 tumblr_npka4pxMLc1uv7ybuo7_1280 12971634-standard 12971635-standard Upstairs

Words provided by:



The Great Whiskey Fire of 1875, Dublin


W1siZiIsInVwbG9hZHMvcGxhY2VfaW1hZ2VzLzc2ODFkMDNlY2VjZTA4MWNiY19pbGx1c3RyYXRlZGxvbmRvbi5qcGciXSxbInAiLCJ0aHVtYiIsIjk4MHhcdTAwM2UiXSxbInAiLCJjb252ZXJ0IiwiLXF1YWxpdHkgOTEgLWF1dG8tb3JpZW50Il1dOne of Dublin’s least recorded tragedies, The Great Whiskey Fire of 18 June 1875. Not only was it a tragic loss of whiskey, but it was also a tragic loss of life.

The fire broke out in the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’ in The Liberties area of Dublin when a malt house and bonded warehouse went up in flames. The blaze narrowly missed a convent and a maternity hospital but engulfed the largely impoverished area of Dublin.

In this poor part of nineteenth-century Dublin, it wasn’t uncommon to have farm animals living either inside or outside these tenements. As a result, panic-ridden animals ran through the street and only added to the mayhem of lava-like whiskey running alongside them.

545239_221055804723216_1524534478_nDubliners ran through the streets with their pots, pans and even boots in an effort to scoop up as much of this flaming uisce beatha (Irish Gaelic for whiskey) as they could. As one paper noted: ‘Two corn-porters, named Healy and M’Nulty, were found in a lane off Cork-street, lying insensible, with their boots off, which they had evidently used to collect the liquor.

The Dublin Fire Brigade arrived, under the leadership of Captain James Robert Ingram, who had been a fire officer in the New York Fire Department, and was renowned for his “unconventional” strategies to control fires. On one occasion he had ordered his men to resist putting out a fire on a blazing ship in Dublin harbor, and asked the Royal Navy to sink it instead. Ingram knew that to pour water on the fire would be disastrous as the whiskey would float on top of it like petrol and spread the fire throughout the city.

Instead, he sent for soldiers and ordered them to pull up paving stones and pour a mixture of sand and gravel on the whiskey. But he soon realized that wouldn’t be enough as the whiskey started to seep through the sand. Horse manure. Heaps of it lay in depots around the city. Ingram ordered that it be brought to the Liberties by the cartload and shoveled back onto the streets, from where it had once come, to form dams. As the burning whiskey met the dampimage manure it was soaked up and the fire slowly began to subside.

In 2014, a new whiskey was released by Malone’s Whiskey Company in honor of this fire, known as The Flaming Pig, a liqueur whiskey with hand-crafted spices.

13 people lost their lives to the deadly fire, however not a single one to flames or burns. Instead, the cause of death was alcohol poisoning from drinking the hot manure-filtered whiskey from the dirty Dublin streets.




Seminole County, FL Jail Fire, June 9, 1975

11 die in Florida prison fire

SANFORD , Fla . ( AP )—Eleven persons, most of them inmates trapped behind bars and screaming for help , died Monday when smoke from a smoldering fire swept the Seminole County Jail, officials said . At least 34 others were injured and admitted to area hospitals. It was like somebody was strangling me , said one inmate . I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t see. I didn’t think we were going to get out. And then I felt someone grab me. I couldn’t believe it . One of the first persons on the scene, Bill Reck, quoted workers in the county courthouse next door as saying that desperate prisoners banged on the walls to call attention to their plight . The smoke was terrible, terrible , said Sanford fire chief George Harriett, who led firemen up to the jail’s second floor/where inmates were trapped in locked cells. If you didn’t have a gas mask you couldn’t survive up there. Capt. J . Q . Galloway, jail shift commander at the time, said without elaboration, There are certain earmarks that point toward arson. He said state fire marshals were investigating. Harriett said the blaze started in a mattress in a hospital cell at the two-story central Florida jail, about 40 miles from Disney World. The heat spread it to a stack of other mattresses , and then it caught some papers and books on fire in an adjoining classroom, he said, The fire was small and contained, Harriett said, but huge billows of suffocating smoke and fumes quickly spread through the facility .

One rescued inmate said: We all laid down and threw mattresses over our faces . We were the lucky; ones . At least one of those reported dead on arrival Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 3.11.28 PMat area hospitals was a corrections officer. Officials withheld identification of the victims pending notification of relatives. Sheriff s spokesman John Spolski said the dead guard apparently was overcome by smoke on his second trip up the jail s narrow stairway to rescue unconscious prisoners. I don’t see how he did it, said Spolski. He went up one time and dragged some men down and then went up again. I tried to go up the stairs about 20 minutes after the fire started and couldn’t make it past three or four steps because of . the smoke . The fire began at 12 : 12 p.m. EDT, Harriett said, and the first units were on the scene within three minutes. The fire chief said at least two things hampered rescue efforts: —The rear entrance to the jail was blocked by more than 100 unclaimed bicycles being stored for an upcoming auction. —Jailers who tried to unlock cells were overcome by smoke , and gas-masked firemen had difficulty obtaining proper keys for cells. Officials initially said the jail elevator was knocked out in a power failure, disrupting rescue efforts. But they later said all inmates had been evacuated before the elevator failed.


NFPA Abstract of this Fire:








La Salle Hotel Fire, Chicago

La SalleJune 5, 1946

A fire broke out in the hotel, killing 61 people, many of them children. The fire began in the Silver Grill Cocktail Lounge on the lower floor on the La Salle Street side adjacent to the lobby before ascending stairwells and shafts. The fire started either in the walls or in the ceiling according to the Chicago Fire Department around 12:15 a.m. a8ecd040b4f8cfb5b26c557aff790ce0but they didn’t receive their first notification of the fire until 12:35 a.m. The fire quickly spread through the highly-varnished wood paneling in the lounge and the mezzanine balcony overlooking the lobby. While a significant number died from flames, a greater number of deaths were caused by suffocation from the thick, black smoke. Around 900 guests were able to leave the building but some 150 had to be rescued by the fire services and by heroic members of the public, including two LaSalle-Hotelsailors who were reported to have rescued 27 people between them. Two-thirds of hotel fire deaths in 1946 occurred in the La Salle and Winecoff (Atlanta) fires. The hotel fire was so devastating, it resulted in the Chicago city council enacting new hotel building codes and fire-fighting procedures, including the installation of automatic alarm systems and instructions of fire safety inside the hotel rooms.

The hotel was refurbished after the fire and was finally demolished in July 1976, to be occupied by the Two North LaSalle office building. This s kyscraper was completed on the site in 1979.




NFPA Passes All Quint Fire Service

The National Fire Protection Association(NFPA) has long been known to mandate innovation and design requirements. In proper fashion they’ve just passed
???????????????????????????????????? the 2017 revision of NFPA 1901, which on the surface might seem pretty mundane. NFPA 1901 is kind of a boring standard mostly written to provide guidance to apparatus manufacturers, although this revision gives us something a little different and WE ALL SHOULD BE PAYING ATTENTION.  The 2017 revision to NFPA 1901 mandates that all Class A Pumpers be Quints. Let that sink in for a moment. An all quint fire service nationwide? What’s really going on here?

According to an American LaFrance spokesperson, the idea behind this drastic change is to standardize the nation into utilizing one firefighting platform nationwide in order to further the goals of the National Incident Management System’s (NIMS) requirement for interoperability. We’ve long imagined a fire service where we knew exactly what was showing up for mutual aid. Now every apparatus can arrive on scene as an engine or a ladder or both leaving the initial size-up and tactics up to the officer. Furthermore any and all mutual aid requests will no longer be a mystery. All apparatus will be the same so there is less guessing involved.
This is not a new concept Great Britain, Europe, Japan, Philippines and many other countries run a standardized apparatus fire service. If you really think about it the U.S. is just catching up.
The long debated topic within the NFPA wasn’t an easy decision to digest for fire apparatus manufacturers who strongly opposed the measure due to the end of the custom chassis market and possible loss in profits until they realized Quints could start at $750,000 thus doubling the price of current class A pumpers.
Stay tuned for more information on the 2017 revision. The date currently set for nationwide compliance is 2025 giving departments a mere 9 years to gather the funding necessary.
This article is satire. We sure hope you’re not emailing the NFPA 1971 committee chairman and complaining.

Station Pride Storms Baltimore

It’s Sunday 4pm. I think I’ve slept all day just recovering from the Firehouse Expo weekend in Baltimore. I speak for us all when I say we had an amazing time. This was our first dip into the proverbial public waters of the trade show circuit. As newcomers, there were a lot of lessons learned for us. We weren’t exactly sure how we’d be received or if anyone had even heard of our movement.


As a group, the Contributors of Station Pride had invested a lot of time, energy, and resourcesIMG_8991 to create this ever-evolving organization. We were excited, nervous, confident, and unsure of what might happen. The leaders of Station Pride were confident that the cornerstones of our movement were on the proper side of any debate. ie: assisting struggling Fire Departments with grant funding, assisting Firefighter owned small businesses with low-cost advertising, promoting health and wellness resources, as well as providing content to help leave the fire service better than we found it.

[wpvideo Q6lnkjDD]

We met with many different organizations and planned for the future. I geeked out for a fair IMG_8909amount of day three after sitting with Dr. Harry Carter for about an hour and hanging out with Mike from Grant Masters. We were happy to meet our friend and Wellness Partner Chaplain Richard Phelps of

We finally met Lori Mercer from Her family is an absolute delight. If you’re not following all of the amazing resources she provides for Firefighter families, you should definitely give her a look.

During our trip we visited the National Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial and paid our respects to those who gave everything they had for the cause. We also made a IMG_8939stop to check out our newly placed brick on the Walk of Honor.  After the visit we, of course, had lunch at the Ott House.

While in Emmitsburg, we happened upon the National Fire Heritage Center which nearly brought me to tears. The sheer volume of historical fire service literature they are amassing is mind boggling. I was ready to move a cot and sleeping bag into the building and make a home there for a while.

Our first night at the Inner Harbor, 6 members of the Station Pride invaded Tir Na Nog Irish Bar and Grill next to the USS Constellation. We had an awesome time with Rachel (our server) who flew all the way from Ireland just to serve us a few brews.IMG_8873

On Friday at the Power Plant Brynn Marie slapped a Station Pride Lid sticker on her thigh IMG_8980during her concert and later on Saturday, Instructor Ken Burson and Station Pride colleague Chris McAndrews attended the Drop Kick Murphy’s concert where Ken Casey gave us some love.

It was a remarkable weekend. The Firehouse Expo was a bit of a whirlwind. We met so many people and exchanged so many incredible ideas, it may take months to execute them all. 

The Station Pride crew had a chance to collaborate face-to-face on the future direction of Station Pride. Many thanks to all of our friends, supporters, and followers. We’re here to do good things and that will always be our mission. We’ll see everyone next year in Nashville. As well as Firehouse World in San Diego.