Fireside Reading

By John M. Malecky

Collapse of Burning Buildings
Video Training Program
By Vincent Dunn, Deputy Chief (ret.), FDNY

Available from:
1-800-752-9764 or 1-918-831-9421
Fax: 1-877-218-1348

Five DVDs: $109.00 each or $491.00 for all five
Five Videos: $89.00 each or $399.00 for all five.

This is a set of five DVDs or videos supporting Collapse of Burning Buildings by Vincent Dunn. They are broken down into five categories, Wall, Peaked Roof, Truss Roof, Floor and Wood frame Building Collapse. They each vary in time but average about 20 minutes each.

Each DVD starts out with a brief flashback of several fires from the past where firefighters were killed and/or injured due to collapse. The DVDs also are loaded with footage of actual fires and fireground activities. Each DVD has an average of four questions at the end, which can be used for discussions.

The DVD topics include:

Wall Collapse: Since more are killed outside the building by walls, there are four safe operating procedures to employ; new information learned within the past 10 years, types of wall material, bearing, non-bearing and free standing walls, three problems causing collapse, applying fire streams, accountability and five ways to be safe/productive against wall collapse.

Peaked Roofs: Five kinds of peaked roofs, their dangers and how they are compounded compared to flat roofs; how to familiarize yourself to the types of roofs in your community, how they are built, four reasons why firefighters must go up on roofs, how to size up and operate on the roof including a demonstration of the “roofer’s walk”, where to look for rotting and cautions around objects out side of the roof (porches, chimneys, skylights, etc.)

Truss Collapse: three ways they can collapse, types of buildings that have them, their makeup, heat sinks and crew reporting differences (inside verses outside) and which is more accurate.

Floor Collapse: Why they collapse and what the warning signs are, classes of construction, makings of a floor and its supports, four types of collapses and where firefighters would be found in them, deck, beam, arch and column collapse and the advantage and danger of fire cut beams.

Wood Frame Collapse: Includes light weight truss construction, three types of collapse, nature of wood frame collapse, how the buildings are designed, four types of construction through the years, what stages of fire are collapses likely to occur, how to protect yourself from collapse and distinguishing bearing walls from non-bearing walls.

There are many, many firefighters now deceased because of collapse. This program, ideally supported by the book and workbook, will provide firefighting forces with a new dimension to respect the potential danger and guard against it while at the same time doing their job of extinguishing fire.

John M. Malecky is a 32-year veteran of the Bayonne (NJ) Fire Department and a battalion chief (retired) with Battalion 2. He joined the department in 1970 and was named a lieutenant in 1987, a captain in 1994, and a battalion chief in 2000. He is author of Apparatus Deliveries in Fire Engineering.

Fireside Reading

By John M. Malecky

A Tribute from Fire Engineering
September 11, 2001

Available from:
Fax: 1-877-218-1348

Price: $50.00 + S & H, Order 0-87814-833-7

Pennwell Corporation, the parent company of Fire Engineering, has established the FIRE ENGINEERING COURAGE AND VALOR FOUNDATION in the wake of the Word Trade Center tragedy. The unimaginable impact of this event on us all, especially at Pennwell, who lost 10 advisors, instructors, and friends, prompted the company to establish a memorial (in tribute to our fallen FDNY heroes) that would exist for many years to come.

The corporation has set up this tax-free foundation that will present a monetary award to the firefighter (or his/her family) who has exhibited exemplary courage and valor in a rescue operation during the preceeding year in memory of those who sacrificed their lives on September 11, 2001. The award is named for FDNY Deputy Chief Ray Downey. It will be presented annually at the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. The first award was presented to Rosalie Downey, Ray’s widow, at the 2002 FDIC.

All profits from this book will go to the foundation as well, with matching contributions from the corporation. The goal is to raise and fund the foundation with $1 million.

The book begins with a dedication by Margaret Shake, the book publisher, and a forward by Bill Manning, the magazine editor. Many of the photos were taken by newspaper and magazine photographers as well as fire service personnel. Others, many of whom are part of the Fire Engineering family of advisors and instructors, wrote about the impact the event had on them.

The book resembles a school year book or one that might be a fire department history in that it is made up of quality binding, paper, and covers. There is a brief but adequate history of FDNY included and a page describing the origin of the Maltese Cross. Manning presents Fire Engineering’s initial report on the events of September 11.

Next is “The Scene at the Pentagon,” courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense, which explains the impact on that structure and the people in and around it when a plane crashed into the Pentagon. There is brief coverage on Deputy Chief Ray Downey and Lieutenant Andrew A. Fredericks, who both have contributed much to the education of the fire service through Fire Engineering.

Featured are the photos of the fallen personnel. As I look at these photos, I see some men I knew, I see some with identical names, and in one case I see a father and a son. The father had 40 years on the job and had been laid to rest. It is just mind-boggling how many personalities are now gone and how many families and friends have voids in their lives, let alone other emergency workers and civilians who were killed.

Fire Engineering author and FDNY Battalion Chief John Norman, who has been assigned to take Ray Downey’s position in Special Operations Command, lends his thoughts of the job and some of the men he knew in a chapter following the roll call of the deceased. Within his comments is an aerial view of “Ground Zero.”

The book concludes with a poem written by a 14-year-old girl whose father is a first assistant chief of a volunteer department north of New York City and the “Firefighter’s Prayer.”

I hope you will find it in your heart to buy this book. Books are starting to come out about the WTC and the tragedy, but this book remembers our brothers and pays tribute to them.

John M. Malecky is a 31-year veteran of the Bayonne (NJ) Fire Department and battalion chief with Battalion 2. He joined the department in 1970 and was named a lieutenant in 1987, a captain in 1994, and a battalion chief in 2000. He is author of the Apparatus Deliveries feature in Fire Engineering.