This episode is a rebroadcast of Danny’s Fire Engineering Radio Show called “First Due Battalion Chief”. Tonight Danny is joined by Retired Lieutenant Ray Calinan and Deputy Chief Tommy Fox from FDNY to talk about their experiences in the FDNY during the “War Years”. Tommy shares his experience at Ground Zero one October afternoon where a miracle took place on the pile saving the lives of potentially hundreds of firefighters.
Chief John Sullivan was a Lieutenant working in Engine 3 of the Worcester Fire Department the night of the Cold Storage Fire where six firefighters lost their lives. Listen as John tells Danny about his decision not to enter through the “Silver Door”. Subsequently it was learned that the six firefighters that went through that door never came back. John also shares a few more instances that night, where surely the Hand of God was present.
Pat Kenny is a retired Chief this is from his web page www.patrickjkenny.com
I have always believed that being a firefighter is a vocation, and if called, God gives firefighters a “Cape” to enable them to go places and do things that others cannot or should not have to do to protect and save lives. As a father and husband, the number-one responsibility is to protect my blood family, my wife, and my three children. As a fire chief, my number-one responsibility is to protect my extended family, the members of my department. I faithfully put on that “Cape” every day with both families in mind. However, when the person I wanted to save the most was in a battle for his life, the Cape failed me.
As a father, the self-identified protector, I experienced the pain and helplessness of watching my youngest son Sean, struggle with mental illness for most of his life. I could not protect him from his struggles with mental illness or save his life when he died by suicide at the age of only twenty.
I have taken on Sean’s mission through speaking and sharing with audiences that mental illness is a proven physical illness, not a character weakness, and indeed it is not a choice any more than one chooses cancer.
In my presentations, I use a side by side comparison of mental illness and brain cancer. One day, my wife Eileen, who was always by my side, encouraging me to share Sean’s message, without any significant symptoms or warning, was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an incurable brain cancer. I’m a big believer in signs, and both my wife and I wondered, did we somehow know what was about to strike our family when we choose, of all illnesses, brain cancer as the comparison?
Before my wife passed and joined our son Sean in heaven, she made me promise to continue to spread Sean’s message that mental illness is a physical illness and to write a book. I’ve honored both of these promises and intend to continue to do so with the same passion Sean and Eileen lived their lives.
Lt Mike Daly joins Danny this week to talk about some of his experiences in his small New Jersey career fire department. He talks about and experience where they had a fire in a 2 1/2 story Private Dwelling where for some unknown reason he decided to withdraw the attack and moments later the room flashed. Danny shares a similar incident in a 2 1/2 story Private Dwelling that caught him in a Flashover where he survived. Another story that ended tragically where a little girl was killed in a horrific car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, later that night she visited him in a dream.
FF Jay Bettencourt and Captain Jeff Bowen from Rescue 3 were fighting for their lives when they become lost in a Medical Complex fire July 28, 2011. Listen to a first hand report of what happened in those last few moments when the two firefighters attempted to buddy breath and they lost all their air on the 5th floor of the fireproof building. They both were suffering from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning which impaired the Captains’ ability to make rational decisions. This is where Jay decided to take control. He doesn’t consider himself a Religious person but what happened next is unexplainable. Listen to how possibly the prayers of his Uncle, Brother Ambrose, a monk may have helped Jay in his most dire moment of his life.
Battalion Chief Andy Starnes joins Danny today to talk about his experiences in the Charlotte Fire Department. Andy shares with Danny a near miss at a training fire where his injury almost forced him to have to retire but instead it opened the door for him to start teaching the Thermal Imaging Camera. He then gets Danny to open up and share a near miss at a training fire when he was a young lieutenant that he’s never talked about before where he and crew of four other people were caught in a flashover.
Mike Milner retired from Rescue 4 joins Danny to talk about the Fathers Day Fire from his vantage point. Mike shares his struggles with dealing with the aftermath of the Fathers Day Fire and September 11th. Mike tells shares with us the heroic tale of how FF John Downing from Ladder 163 left his position to help FF Harry Ford who was struggling with venting windows on the Exposure 2 side of the store which in turn collapsed killing them both.
Battalion Chief Brian Kearny FDNY joins Danny to tell his story about the Fathers Day Fire, June 17 2001. This year is the 20th anniversary of that tragic sunny day where the FDNY lost 3 of its own. No one could ever imagine what was going to unfold just a few months later when the FDNY suffered its greatest tragedy ever. Brian is a member of the FDNY Bagpipe band and he describes the following year of the 100’s of funerals and memorials they attended. The Band did not miss a single service, a testimony to the types of people that wear the FDNY uniform.
Captain Jimmy Davis from the Chicago Fire Department joins Danny to talk about his 27 years of experience in the CFD. Jimmy and Danny share some harrowing near misses with one commonality, experience saved their lives. Danny talks about Battalion Chief Royal Fox from FDNY and how his experience at a near miss in the 1950’s helped save the life of 10 firefighters in the basement at the 23rd street fire.
Chicago FireFighter from Squad 1, Severen Henderson joins Danny to talk about his incredible tale of survival in the basement of a Multiple Dwelling. This fire occurred in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago on February 19, 2021. Seve responded in with his company and was told to check the basement by the Chief. He made his way to the rear and entered the basement which was ready to Flashover. He made it in half way when he realized that he was in trouble, the heat was on top of him like a blanket. He transmitted a “Mayday” a few times without being acknowledged, the situation was dire, he felt helpless so he decided to lay flat and wait. He describes feeling being “Lifted to his Knees by an invisible force” and pushed up the stairs to the rear yard. He was intubated and transported to hospital with burns to his shoulder.