Monday, July 26, 2010

Thrashing On Our Hot Rod!!

It never ceases to amaze me what grown men will do to make a hot rod run 1/2 second faster on the dragstrip! We put so much power to the Camaro that the torque convertor wouldn't handle it. A Neal Chance Pro Mod convertor should do the trick. If not, we may trade for an F-16!!
632 Cu. in. of Pure American Muscle!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thank You to a Friend.........

One of the finest men I have ever known in my life is Israel Fogle. He has been my friend and mentor for 46 years now. Our family moved to Charleston in 1964 when my Dad became Chief of the St. Andrews Fire Department. He was a volunteer firefighter at St. Andrews and my Dad would later ask him to be the Chaplain for the Department. Little did I know at the time that I would count on his guidance and counsel so many times along the way. He helped me get several of my first cars, gave me help when I was a young father with two little children and couldn’t pay my bills, has given me advice on being a father, husband, and firefighter, and really has been a father figure for me throughout my life. In 1984, he married my wife, Marci-Jo and me and we celebrated our 25th anniversary last November. I know that many of you share my love and respect for him and you too have benefited in your lives because of his influence. He is a true southern gentleman, a respected firefighter, a good husband and father, and a true servant of God. As he and I stood at the Charleston 9 Memorial on June 18, I realized that he may truly be one-of-a-kind and we are better people because he is in our lives. Thank you Chaplain Fogle, I’m sure I’ve never said it enough.

Squad 51, a New Beginning!

We were excited to bring our newest addition to our Team vehicles home yesterday. Many thanks to Chief Mike Sonefeld and the Irmo Fire District commissioners for their generous donation. Any time we begin a restoration, we take photos of the vehicle to document our progress and, quite frankly, have an idea of where all the parts fit after we put them in a pile! Wish us luck!

We're naming it Squad 51 after the infamous squad on the old televison show, "Emergency".  For all you "Emergency" purists out there, we acknowledge Squad 51 was a Dodge!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A New National Initiative to Support Firefighters!

A new national initiative to help firefighters cope with trauma and tragedy draws on Charleston's experience after the June, 2007 Sofa Super Store blaze that killed nine city firefighters.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation unveiled this new model at the Firehouse Expo in Baltimore, Maryland today before an audience of fire service officials from across the nation. It's part of a movement to promote better physical and emotional well-being in the fire service.

Click on the caption above for the full story.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Beautiful Tribute!

This Saleen Mustang is owned by CFD member John Cole and is the 534th Saleen Mustang ever built. It has a full Saleen Racecraft suspension and a Saleen big brake kit with six piston calipers. It has the upgraded Whipple HO intercooled supercharger system rated at 550 hp at the motor. It was dyno-tuned at Tuten Racing in Columbia South Carolina with a Diablo Predator tuner and makes 478 horsepower at the rear wheels.  It was built by John in honor and memory of his brother firefighters, Shane Albers and the Charleston 9. The car has a custom cowl hood with hand-painted artwork for the guys by Stacy Lundy of Stacy's Designs of North Charleston. It will be on display this Friday and Saturday in the Mustang Car Show in the Colonial Mall on Highway 17 in Myrtle Beach.  Come out and support John and this magnificent car.

Congratulations to John on the completion of this great tribute!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Women Firefighters of the Lowcountry

As part of the public outreach programs of our Team, we display several fire department vehicles that we have restored. At present, we have a 1961 Mack pumper, a 1962 Ford Fire Chief’s car, a customized firefighter tribute motorcycle, a Charleston 9 Tribute drag racing car, and a customized golf cart. We have just acquired a 1979 Chevrolet Pierce squad truck that we are about to begin restoring. We have shown these vehicles at the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association’s Annual Fire Rescue Conference in Myrtle Beach, various parades, public gatherings, fund raising events, car shows, school visits, and any other event where we can raise the public’s awareness of the Fire Service and the contributions that our firefighters make to the community on a daily basis. These vehicles are also used to garner the attention of our firefighters and their families with the hope that we can engage some of those who may need the services of our Team as a counseling unit.

At several recent events, we have been asked by many in attendance if we had any posters or photos of the vehicles for them to keep as souvenirs. After some thought and discussion, we have decided to have posters and postcards made of these vehicles to give to folks who attend the various functions. We are currently working with a group of women firefighters in the Lowcountry to have posters made with them appearing  with the various vehicles. We also hope to use some of  their department's current in-service apparatus along with our vehicles in these posters. These women, from many different departments throughout the Lowcountry, have come together to support and participate in this project. They have collectively agreed that they want these posters to be professionally done with them appearing in their turnouts pants, boots and helmets, along with logo t-shirts of their various departments. It is their hope that these posters will help promote their individual departments and the Fire Service. We propose to add job fairs and career days to our list of appearances to recruit other young people to join the Fire Department. We also plan to have tables set up at our various events where they can appear to discuss their careers, promote the Fire Service, and autograph the posters for people in attendance.

I have been personally impressed with the level of professionalism shown by these women in the planning of this project as well as their excitement and desire to promote not only their own departments but the Fire Service in general. Stay tuned for more to come!

Taking Care of Each Other . . . . .

Yesterday, while at Rockingham Dragway, I spoke to the mother of a young firefighter who had responded to a call earlier in the week involving the loss of an infant. She called him on the phone and we offered our support to them. We love drag racing and car shows, but we also love reaching out to our firefighters, anywhere we can. That's really what the "Never Forget" Camaro and all of our other "toys" are about!

Rockin at the Rock!

We traveled to the Rockingham, North Carolina Dragway this weekend to compete in the Top 8 Doorslammers race and to pursue that elusive 4 second run.  After qualifying with a 5.17 second pass in the 1/8 mile, we were knocked out in the first round.  We will not be discouraged as we continue to work on our new motor and nitrous combination and get after them next weekend!

A New Addition to Our Team!

The Irmo Fire Department has donated this vehicle to be restored and used in our collection. It is a 1979 Pierce squad on a Chevrolet chassis. Many thanks to the Irmo Fire Department and the Irmo Commissioners for their support of our program!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Sad But Proud Day . . . . . . .

Many of us gathered today to pay our last respects to Walter Barrineau, Jr., CFD Retired, and maybe the oldest living member of the department at the time of his passing. As I stood listening to the graveside service, I was moved by the fact that he retired in 1965, before many of us ever joined the fire department and before some of those firefighters in attendance were born. Someone once told me early in my career that we would not be judged by what we brought to the table but instead what we leave behind when we are gone. Walter Barrineau leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a fire service legacy that includes his son, Gene, and his grandson, Robbie. Gene’s words, at his father’s graveside today, were very touching and Robbie’s bagpipes set a most somber, but appropriate tone. I’m sure he would have been proud of them both.

Just an important, was the showing of respect for him by his CFD brothers, young and old, who stood at attention while our Honor Guard performed their duties with the utmost of care and professionalism. I must tell you that my heart swelled with pride as the long blue line demonstrated that tradition, honor, and brotherhood are alive and well in the CFD.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Engineer Walter E. Barrineau, Jr., CFD Retired, Passes Away.

Engineer Walter E. Barrineau Jr., CFD Retired, passed away early this past Saturday morning. Walter Eli Barrineau Jr. retired from the Charleston Fire Department after 25 years of service. He started with the department as an auxiliary fireman during the late 1930's. He became a fulltime paid fireman in 1940. He resigned from the department during World War Two to serve in the United States Navy. He was reinstated back into the CFD in 1946. He was promoted to Senior Engineer in 1958 and retired from the department in 1965. He spent most of his career on Cannon Street, assigned to Engine Company 6 and retired as the Senior Engineer of Engine Company 8. He received burns to his eyes and face while fighting the Tidewater Terminal fire in 1955 and retired from the department due to glaucoma and retina damage.

His funeral service and burial will begin at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 14, at the Bethany Cemetery at the corner of Meeting Street Road and Cunnington Avenue. There will be no wake. The CFD Honor Guard will be his pall bearers and his grandson, CFD Engineer Robert Barrineau, will be playing the bagpipes. Engine 108 will also be present at the request of the family.

He is survived by his son, Capt. Walter "Gene" Barrineau, also CFD Retired, and his wife Susan, two daughters, Judy West and her husband Terry, and Joan Richardson all of Charleston. Mr. Barrineau is also survived by seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Our sincere condolences go out to the Barrineau family.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Salute to Richie!!

This week will be the last one before our Team member, Richard Denninger, leaves to return home to New York. Richie came to Charleston shortly after June 18, 2007 to help organize an effort to respond to the needs of the CFD after the tragic loss of the Charleston 9. Richie spent 27 years in the FDNY before retiring and returning to their Counseling Services Unit after September 11. He brought a wealth of information, experience, compassion, and his bagpipes to us when he arrived in Charleston and we are all better for it. Richie has been instrumental in the success of our program as he developed the CFD Peer Counselor Team, a group of active duty CFD members who serve our membership on a daily basis. It is impossible to look at any part of our program without seeing Richie’s influence. His leadership and expertise in developing and presenting our Behavioral Health Workshops and Peer Training programs have set the tone for the future of our Team.

From a personal viewpoint, Richie has been our friend, our mentor, our counselor and, most of all, our brother. While we are saddened by Richie’s departure, we will keep him close in our daily thoughts and will look forward to him visiting us periodically to help us with training.  

Racing at Rockingham!

Our Team will be competing with the "Never Forget" Camaro in the "Top 8 Doorslammers Quick 16" race at the Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, North Carolina next Saturday, July 17. Gates open at 9:00 a.m for a full day of racing. Come out and join for some great racing action!

Team to Participate in "The Fight for Air Climb"!

Our Team members, Sarah Braswell and Chris Wells, along with his son Casey, will be climbing the stairs of the North Charleston Coliseum this month to raise money for the American Lung Association. This issue is close to our hearts because of how prevalent lung problems are among firefighters. The stair climb will take place on Saturday, July 31, 2010, and they will be climbing 1,056 steps each! The mission of the American Lung Association is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.

We would like you to consider donating to support their efforts. Your tax-deductible gift will make a difference in the lives of many Americans who struggle to breathe! It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause.

You can make your donation by visiting or, if you prefer, you can send your tax-deductible contribution to the American Lung Association at 44-A Markfield Drive, Charleston, SC 29407.

Any amount, great or small, helps in the fight against lung disease and will be appreciated. We will keep you posted on their progress.

What a Great Day!

On Friday, we celebrated the graduation of 33 new CFD recruits along with 4 others from Awendaw and 2 from Folly Beach in a ceremony at the Gaillard Auditorium attended by their families, friends, and fellow firefighters. This ceremony marked the completion of 20 weeks of rigorous training. Congratulations to the recruits and to Chief Ghi, Capts. Cockcroft, Farmer, Hanuscin and the other instructors who worked hard to make this a success!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Brotherhood is Alive and Well!

Today, while watching the NCFD crews operate at the fire that injured three of their own and later at the MUSC Trauma Center, it was gratifying to witness the outpouring of support for our NCFD brothers and sisters.  From all of those who responded to the scene to the others who were waiting for the injured when they arrived at MUSC, it is very clear that the brotherhood runs deep within our fire department family.

Three North Charleston Firefighters Injured In Fire

Three North Charleston firefighters were injured in a flashover while operating at a single family dwelling fire in the Baker Plantation neighborhood this afternoon.   All three were taken to the MUSC Trauma Center where two were later released and the third was airlifted to the Augusta Burn Center for further treatment. He is stable at this time and is expected to make a full recovery.  Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.