THE FIRE ENGINEERING/FDIC FAMILY: LOST OR MISSING

“These men are the keystones of the fire department. It gives you a proud feeling to be among them.” Jim Ellson, FDNY


Donald Burns, FDNY’s citywide chief/staff chief and the most senior staff chief, is probably the most knowledgeable and is one of the most talented of all the chiefs. He knows all the firefighters, officers, and companies in FDNY. He does his homework and puts his heart into the fire department. He is totally devoted to the department and to his family.

Chief Burns worked his way up through the ranks. As a captain in research and development, he pushed people to attend the Fire Department Instructors Conference 20 to 25 years ago. He is always looking for new tools, new ideas. As a deputy chief, he worked in headquarters more than 20 years.

When the department is at a chaotic site, he really gets control. He is known for his stability. When Chief Burns is on the scene, you have to be aware. He is very safety conscious. He is the first to pull everyone back from danger; he grabs a firefighter who isn’t wearing a mask and tells him to put one on. He does it to help, not to intimidate.

Chief Burns taught high-rise firefighting at the New York State Fire Academy. He wrote for Fire Engineering and contributed significantly to Fire Engineering’s coverage of the World Trade Center Bombing in 1993, which became the official report of the U.S. Fire Administration.

He is contemplating retirement after 40 years. His dad was a battalion chief.


Ray Downey is known in fire department circles as a “Rescue God.” He is in constant de-mand throughout the country for his rescue expertise. As chief of Special Operations Command for FDNY, he trains the rescue companies and squads and has their members’ utmost respect and admiration. He is the USAR task force leaders representative to FEMA for all 27 teams and is a member of FEMA’s Advisory Committee. He commanded rescue operations at the Oklahoma City Bombing and serves on numerous terrorism task forces and panels.

A 39-year veteran of FDNY, he has a tremendous amount of knowledge, much of it gained as captain of Rescue 2, one of FDNY’s busiest companies. He jokingly says he stores such information in his “computer under the helmet.” You could learn a lot just by watching him, but you could never do everything he does.

Downey is the author of the book The Rescue Company, the video Rescue Operational Planning: Factors for Success, and the video series Collapse Rescue for the Fire Service, published by Fire Engineering. He is an advisory board member of Fire Engineering and the FDIC and teaches firefighters nationwide through H.O.T. classes at FDIC and FDIC West. He is a trusted friend and advisor to the entire Fire Engineering/FDIC family.

He is very private about his job and his family. When asked what he was going to do when he retires (next year), he said, “I’m not going to do anything. I’m going to play with my grandchildren.”

He and his wife, Rosalie, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this year. They have five children, two of which are members of FDNY. In July Mayor Rudolph Giuliani held a dinner at Gracie Mansion in Downey’s honor.


Terry Hatton is a captain in Rescue 1. His dad was a deputy chief in the department. Hatton lives and breathes the fire department. He previously was a firefighter in Rescue 2 and a lieutenant in Rescue 4. He gives his heart to the department. He is always on top of everything.

He is a very strong leader, very knowledgeable. He helped organize the squads and designed test criteria for their capabilities. He realized the department needed a technical rescue school and worked toward that goal. FDNY now has one of the most disciplined rescue schools of any fire department in the country.

Hatton knows the city inside out. He knows his men and every fire that’s going on. Rescue 1 is constantly training under his command. He has equipment manufacturers come to the fire station so he can try out and evaluate new equipment. He has the ability to see beyond what most people see, and he knows if a situation doesn’t feel right.


Patrick Brown, a captain in Ladder 3, is like Hollywood’s fire-fighter—the kind of firefighter Hollywood always tries to portray. He has a heart of gold, looks, charisma, and talent. He gives his whole life to the fire department. His men always come before him.

He stayed in the burn unit for 40 days at the bedside of Captain John Drennan, who then succumbed to his burn injuries.

He became well known for the May 1991 dramatic rope rescues in which he rescued, under extenuating circumstances, two victims from the 12th floor of a Manhattan high-rise: The victims were on the window ledge with flames at their backs; there was no substantial object to which the rescue rope could be tied, so “human” anchors were used; and the lifesaving rope had to be used twice. A fellow firefighter commented that a type of officer like Brown was needed to complete such a rescue successfully.

When you mention the name “Patty” in the fire department, everyone knows to whom you’re referring. He needs only one name, like Madonna or Cher. People want to be like him.

In Ladder 3, he is constantly training. When he hears of a building scheduled for demolition or available for training, he takes advantage of the training opportunity.

Brown has written for Fire Engineering.


Billy McGinn, a lieutenant in Squad 18, previously was a firefighter in Squad 1. He is very proactive and is always asking for tools for his squad. He has to be told, “No, those tools are dedicated for rescue.”

He is constantly drill-ing his squad in high-rises. If you drive past a building and see Squad 18 parked, you know he is inside with his crew training. Mc-Ginn is a H.O.T. instructor at FDIC.

He is going to be one of the new leaders in the fire department. He is awaiting promotion.

Dana Hannon is assigned to Ladder Company 34 in Manhattan. He is detailed to Engine Company 26 in New York City’s firefighter rotational training program.


Hannon began his fire service career as a volunteer in the Wyckoff (NJ) Fire Department, where he attained the rank of captain and realized his ambition to become a career firefighter. He was hired by the Bridgeport (CT) Fire Department. During his probationary period, he earned a Medal of Valor for the rescue of an elderly civilian. An excerpt from the Meritorious Act Report states, “Without due regard to his personal safety, Firefighter Hannon searched the second floor, unprotected by a handline, and located and removed an unconscious elderly civilian.” Although he was very proud to be a Bridgeport firefighter, working closer to his family and friends influenced him to return to New York and become one of New York’s Bravest.

Throughout his career, Hannon has enjoyed teaching and training firefighters. His willingness to train and devotion to training were evident when he was chosen to be an FDIC Hands-On Training instructor. He teaches with a high level of enthusiasm and always strives to pass on all of his knowledge to his students.


Andy Fredericks, a 20-year veteran of FDNY, is a firefighter from Squad 18. He was dubbed “Andy Nozzles” because of his interest in the use of fog streams in interior fire attack and his study and continuation of the research originally pioneered by Lloyd Layman, Keith Royer, and Floyd W. “Bill” Nelson—”the fathers of fog firefighting in America,” according to Fredericks.

He is a New York State-certified fire instructor at the Rockland County Fire Training Center in Pomona, New York, and an adjunct instructor at the New York State Academy of Fire Science. He also teaches at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute.

He has two bachelor’s degrees, one in political science and one in public safety, with a specialization in fire science, and a master’s degree in fire protection management from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

He developed the Fire Engineering “Bread and Butter” Operations videos Advancing the Initial Attack Handline (1997), Stretching the Initial Attack Handline (1998), and Methods of Structure Fire Attack (1999). He teaches H.O.T. classes at FDIC and FDIC West and is a trusted advisor to and friend of the Fire Engineering/FDIC staff.


Chris Blackwell is a firefighter in Rescue 3, which covers the Bronx and parts of Manhattan but also has citywide coverage as the Collapse Rescue. He is an integral part of this special unit, having been assigned there for the past 12-plus years. He received several commendations for bravery, including a medal for his part in removing several people from the remains of an airplane that ran off the runway at LaGuardia airport several years ago.

Blackwell is known as “Doctor Blackwell” to his company. His paramedic training has been put to good use many times in treating civilians and fellow firefighters. He is happy to share his experiences and knowledge through teaching for the State of New York and at FDIC.

With all he does for the fire service, Blackwell is first and foremost a dedicated husband and father. He can be found helping coach his children’s teams or cheering on the sidelines.

Confirmed Dead


Dennis Mojica was a lieutenant with Rescue 1. He formerly was a firefighter in Rescue 2. He had approximately 25 years in the fire department. He had a strong connection to the Hispanic community.

Prior to becoming a firefighter, Mojica was a mechanic for TWA. This knowledge proved helpful during operations at the crash of Flight 800 in New York and at other crash scenes.

After a major gas explosion in Puerto Rico, the government of Puerto Rico wanted its own urban search and rescue team, so Mojica went there to assess the response capabilities. After his assessment, he trained the USAR team there. Ironically, Puerto Rico was one of the first teams requested to respond to the World Trade Center—a team with which he had spent a lot of time training.

Mojica was also an instructor in FDNY’s Technical Rescue School and wrote for Fire Engineering.


George Howard was a police officer for the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey. He was a member of the Emergency Service Unit, assigned to John F. Kennedy Airport. He was off duty on the morning of September 11, 2001. When he heard that an aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Center, he immediately reported to work. He had worked at the rescue operations when the Twin Towers were bombed in 1993.

Howard was a volunteer firefighter with the Hicksville Fire Department on Long Island, where he served as captain of Emergency Company 5. Since the mid-1980s, he was an instructor with the Nassau County Fire Service Academy. His specialty was technical rescue. He constantly improvised new methods for vehicle extrication. He was a pioneer in developing operational techniques and training props for confined space rescue. He assisted the New York State Fire Academy in implementing its confined space program, and he was a member of the National Fire Protection Association Committee for Technical Rescue.

The father of two sons, Howard was also deeply involved with coaching youth sports programs, especially hockey. He was particularly known for his generosity for helping fellow emergency workers and their families when tragedy struck. The badge displayed by President Bush during his speech to the nation on Thursday, September 20, was George Howard’s. Howard’s mother, Arlene, had presented it to the President during the President’s visit to New York.

Howard was a contributing editor and writer for Fire Engineering and for several years wrote the Training Notebook column.

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