Engine Company, Fire EMS, Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting, Leadership

The Fire Yenta: That’s Entertainment!

By Diane Feldman

Johnny Cash entertains crowd during Atlantic City fire

In his article “Blaze Destroys Stores on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk” (New Jersey Metro Fire Photographers Association Newsletter “Straight Tip,” July 2007), Bill Tompkins writes: “During the fire, a Johnny Cash impersonator serenaded the onlookers with his version of ‘Ring of Fire.'”

Chief’s car

Thanks to FE Technical Editor Mike McEvoy for this item: A Letter to the Editor from an irate taxpayer in an upstate New York community appeared in a local newspaper lambasting the local volunteer fire chief for allowing his wife to drive the official fire department chief’s car about town, apparently to run errands. The local citizen was highly upset with this seeming abuse of tax dollars and demanded an investigation as to why the local fire chief would allow his spouse to use a vehicle and fuel paid for by tax dollars.

The following week a Letter to the Editor appeared in the same local newspaper from the chief of the department named in the scandalous activity. The chief explained that in her three-year tenure as head of the local volunteer fire department, she had not once allowed her husband or any other family member to drive her chief’s vehicle. The chief went on to make it clear that she would never even consider such an appalling misuse of taxpayer funded equipment and thanked the concerned taxpayer for keeping a watchful eye on the local fire department!

Wrong house!

Captain Ed Rush, Hartsdale (NY) Fire Department, writes: A few years ago, a Westchester County (NY) Fire Department was called to a report of a possible working structure fire. The department arrived and saw smoke coming from the roof of a residence and could smell the odor of wood smoke in the air. The first-due members performed forcible entry on the very expensive fancy oak front doors, only to find that there was no fire in that residence. The fire was actually in a house behind the one they had forced entry into. It was a hot summer day, and a thunderstorm had just passed through the area. The cool rain on the hot roof had created quite a bit of steam coming off of the roof of the residence in front and, combined with the odor of smoke from the burning residence in the rear, gave the impression that the front residence was well involved!

Reality TV update

Thanks to Human Pike Pole Rich Bartlett from the Carlstadt (NJ) Fire Department for this item: Congratulations to Firefighter Greg Chavez, from Camarillo, CA, who became ABC reality TV show American Inventor‘s second-season winner. He won a $1 million cash prize for his invention–the Guardian Angel automatic Christmas tree fire extinguisher kit. He also received an offer from First Alert to further develop the invention.

Nobody’s vision is THAT good!

OK, the Yenta was greatly disappointed that she chose to see “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” over “The Simpson’s Movie” or “Hairspray.” You needed a microscope to see if copies of Fire Engineering magazine were used as props. I saw the scene our contest winner referred to: when the firefighters were sitting around the fire station coffee table. I did not see any copies of our magazine on that table! FE Technical Editor Glenn Corbett, who was with the Yenta, said he could see them, but I am pretty sure he was just trying to stick up for Adam Sandler, who wrote the movie and whom Glenn met on his birthday when we were dining during FDIC West in Los Angeles in 2005.

If you have a tidbit for the Fire Yenta, e-mail [email protected].

Diane Feldman is a 19-year veteran of Fire Engineering; she is executive editor and FDIC conference director. She has a B.A. in English/communications. Previously, she was an editor at the American Management Association in New York City.