2nd Alarm Fire, Frederick City, MD

2ND ALARM, WARREN WAY.  On July 28, 2019, Frederick City and some adjacent companies caught a job involving a series of modern, wood-frame row houses. As is commonplace, these included the attendant challenges of interconnected void spaces, combustible chimney enclosures, irregular roof configurations and tight juxtaposition of units. Add heat and humidity and you start to get the picture.

Having lived in Frederick and Frederick County for a short time (during the early stages of Hawk Tool development), the area has long held a special personal attraction and affection.  There is probably no place on earth where the probability of seeing a Hawk Tool at a structure fire is higher than in Frederick, Maryland.  As evidence of this, you could look to a recent array of photos by fire photographer Trevor James (Facebook, posted 07-28-19). It is riddled with shots of firefighters and their Hawks.

SEASONED “FALCONERS.” In common usage, a falconer is a person who hunts wild game with a falcon or hawk. We’ve expanded the idea to identify individuals who hunt fire with a Hawk Tool. Trevor’s collection of photos of the Warren Way fire (from which the photos above and below were drawn) includes four such hunters. Regrettably, we haven’t yet been able to identify them all by name.

FREDERICK CITY AND COUNTY, MARYLAND– HAWK TOOL INCUBATOR. The proliferation of Hawk Tools in the Frederick and Frederick County area is no accident.  Fred served with the Vigilant Hose Company No.6 from 1984 to 1986 while working as a contract course developer for the National Fire Academy– both in Emmitsburg (northern Frederick County). He later lived in and ran with Frederick’s Citizens Truck Company No.4 for six months while on sabbatical leave from Iowa State University– again, while doing work for NFA. Most of the final refinement of the [Iowa-American’s version of] the Hawk Tool (phases IV and V) was completed during his stay at Citizens. And, of course, the crew at Citizens made introductions at surrounding stations, with the result that prototype tools ended up on many of the Frederick units.

More recent return visits to Emmitsburg and Frederick led to new introductions to– and personal and departmental acquisitions of– the Hawk Tool. Without the input and support of those folks, the current refined tool would never have been realized.  And, without Trevor James’ friendship, and frequent inclusion of the tools in his images, its resurrection would have gone largely unnoticed.

Thanks, folks.

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