Frederick (MD)– DFRS Troops Get After a Mid-Day Commercial Fire

QUICK RESPONSE BRINGS QUICK CONTROL.  Hawk tools landed with several Frederick, Maryland, fire companies at a quickly-evolving blaze in a large tire store complex, at 901 N. East Street. With reports of dark smoke issuing from the store’s service bays, first arriving units laid in and set up and rapidly implemented offensive operations.  Citizen’s Truck Company Truck 42 quickly established roof and ground support operations.  Engine crews advanced lines inside and, despite heavy smoke conditions in the offices and public spaces, quickly found and controlled the fire in a restroom.  The cause was determined to be a malfunction in the bathrooms fluorescent lighting.

Early action in the Mr. Tire fire, with supply lines on the ground and Citizens Truck 42’s elevated ops well underway. [Photo: Sam Yu, The Frederick News-Post]
A SAMPLING OF HAWK TOOL GENERATIONS. Although the fire was quickly controlled, there was already significant lateral spread, requiring extended and tedious overhaul, both inside and out.  Frederick fire companies are pretty well equipped. As captured by the ever-present, ever-alert fire photographer Trevor James, the hand tools were out in force at Mr. Tire.  And, since the Malven Hawk tool was under active development while its designer was spending 6 months living in Truck 4’s house, whenever they’re on the scene, you’re likely to see any and every version of the tool on hand and at work.

Hawk Tools & Mr. Tire
Operations winding down at Frederick’s Mr. Tire fire, March 14, 2017.  In this shot, the photographer captured both a 6th generation, current production tool (leaning against the step ladder) and a 2nd generation prototype (being carried down the ladder). [Photo: Trevor James, TrevorJamesStudio.Com]
That was the case here.  In Trevor’s photo, the current (6th generation) version of the Hawk tool is the blue tool seen roosting on the stepladder.  The newest version of the Hawk is pretty common in Frederick area fire stations so this one could have been anyone’s.  However, it’s blue-all-over paint color leaves little doubt that it was off of Squad 3’s rig.  Far less common, anywhere, is the hook coming down the ladder with the roofies.  It’s a 2nd generation Hawk tool prototype– probably part of Citizens’ Truck 42’s collection.  Early in the Hawk Tool’s development, a short run of virtually every revision was produced for field evaluation.  These were intended to be purely research and development models.  However, at the time, there wasn’t much variety in the fire tool marketplace and Martin Vitali, then owner/president of now-defunct Iowa-American Firefighting Equipment (first manufacturers of the tool) liked to capitalize on every subtle refinement, as though it was a new product.  So, virtually every experimental change in the product found its way–via a flyer, catalog, or word-of-mouth into the hands of customers for day-to-day use.

In the very near future, this blog will introduce the first installment on the history of the Malven Hawk tool.  It will discuss influences on the original development of the tool and separate discussion of each of its six generations of evolution.  Later installments will also look at specialized variations along the way.  Keep your eyes open, collectors– as noted above, many of these early prototypes found their way into the field and are still in use.  If you find one, take an extra photo for us– send that, along with any background you might have, and we’ll post it here and send you a MalvenWorks shirt of your choice for your trouble.

The Hawk Head– Prying

USING THE “ADZE” TO PRY TIGHT-FITTING HARDWARE. Although the Hawk head was originally developed as a “hook”– primarily a pulling tool– it also incorporates a versatile prying element.  Its thin, sharp rear-facing surface fits into the more awkward kinds of tight spaces presented by architectural fittings, such as metal grilles, cover panels, mounting brackets, etc. Use it to dislodge surface mounted hinges, hasps and other door hardware. It is also useful for dealing with metal floor hardware, such as extruded aluminum thresholds, edging, floor drain inserts, etc.  Strike the adze’s flat back surface with an axe or Halligan to drive its chisel edge behind virtually any tight-fitting, small to medium size component.

Check the following for a concise printable summary:

Hawk Prying– Tight Hardware & Trim

Dean Tope, former Assistant Chief, Nevada Community Fire Department, Nevada, IA

“VETERAN ‘FALCONERS’?” “Falconry” is the ‘hunting of wild quarry, in its natural state, by means of a specially conditioned bird of prey’– generally a hawk, falcon or eagle. Since fire in a structure is pretty “wild quarry in its natural state,” we couldn’t resist the temptation to extend the falconer label to those who are hunting fire with a Hawk [tool], as well.

DEAN TOPE is certainly one of the longest-term MW Dean at Pump Panelusers of the Hawk Tool on the Nevada (IA) Community Fire Department (NCFD), where it was developed. Dean has been a volunteer with the department for over twenty years, including service, until recently, as the Assistant Chief responsible for EMS delivery.

He became a member of NCFD at a time when applicants frequently joined in clusters. These young, enthusiastic, firefighters tended to be exceptionally active in emergency responses and generally took all the training they could find.  They advanced quickly.  They regularly helped with preparations for local training. Dean set the pace for this pattern and was soon helping teach some of the field courses he had taken, and became one of the most active instructors in his Nevada department.

Dean was also one of the first members of the department to acquire and regularly carry his own personal fire tool, in his case one of the early Hawk tools like those carried on departmental apparatus (they were originally manufactured by Iowa American Fire Equipment, located in nearby Osceola, Iowa).

Dean Tope (center) with his ever-present 36″ Hawk/Raptor combination on a fiberglass handle.  Fellow Lieutenants were Brett Hambly (left) and Chris Bardsley (right).

FIREGROUND SUPPORT OPERATIONS. Fireground Support Operations (FSO) is a regionally and nationally delivered course focused on “truck company operations for fire departments without a ladder truck.” Background on the course is summarized in the “LOVERS PLUS” blog on the Hook and Ladder University website: As some of the original instructors of that course, moved on to other ventures, members of the Nevada department gradually took over the majority its course deliveries.  Dean quickly specialized in vertical ventilation and made significant refinements in that section of the course.

A significant objective of the course is to introduce students to new truckwork-related tools and equipment; it offers them the opportunity for hands-on experience working with virtually every hand tool and small power tool on the market.  The last segment of the course is generally a real-time emergency scenario involving the entire class in simulated truck company assignments– the above photo of students laddering shows the roof operations segment of one of Dean’s roof ops classes.

PUBLIC FIRE EDUCATION. Much of Dean’s time as an Assistant Chief was spent directing the EMS arm of the department.  Keeping departmental and individual EMS training, protocols, and other documents records up-to-date is a never-ending job.  It requires a person with administrative skills, dedication, and responsibility– a chore that is seldom fully appreciated.  Dean did a good job with EMS but his original, day-to-day passion has long been fire prevention and safety education.  He has led his department’s school fire safety program, tirelessly, for over twenty years.  In that regard, he continues a tradition of department excellence in public fire education established by Gerald Mills, Nevada’s first career fire chief.  And, like Mills, Dean earned a Governor’s Award from Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack (left photo, below– later U.S. Secretary of Agriculture) for the consistent excellence of his programming.

DIVERSIFIED E.M.S.  Recently Dean stepped out of the Assistant Chief role and transitioned into a new, more diversified involvement in EMS– employment in the field.  He has become an unusually active EMS Instructor/Educator, joined a hospital-based ambulance service, is pursuing advanced professional EMS certification, and (in his “spare time”) works EMS with Mary Greeley Medical Center at Iowa State University sporting events.

Dean w: MGMC Crew
Dean and his wife, Tracy, along with other members of the Mary Greeley Medical Center crew, prepare for a game at Iowa State University’s Jack Trice Stadium

“VACATIONING” IN THE BACK SEAT.  While hospital-based EMS now takes a big bite out of Dean’s emergency service schedule, he still manages to squeeze in a little fun every once in a while– it’s always a pleasure to see him riding backward in a BRT, with a Hawk tool.

KNOW A VETERAN FALCONER? This series of posts recognizes firefighters who: 1) have had a good deal of firefighting and/or rescue experience, and 2) have lots of experience with, and at least a slight partiality to, the Malven Hawk tool.  If you know a person who fits our description of a veteran falconer, please email us photos and background information.  We’ll spotlight them in a future blog.  Contact Fred Malven:


Des Moines (IA)– Quick Stop, but Tedious Clean-Up, at DSM Apartment Job

REALLY LATE BREAKING NEWS.  This posting is REALLY late.  Well over a year ago, Des Moines Fire Captain Randy Jones called our attention to a KCCI-TV video (see except in bottom photo) that included a segment showing a Hawk-equipped firefighter working his way into an apartment fire on Fleur Drive in Des Moines.  The troops had been called out around 12:30 in the morning for smoke in the hallway of a 3-story, occupied building. On arrival, evacuation was in progress and smoke was pushing from the roof.


The fire (started by electrical arching) spread undetected in the attic for some time before it was detected, by which time it also involved parts of four apartments.  Tight quarters and extension into numerous void spaces kept overhaul crews engaged for several hours.

Des Moines Apt. Fire (Hawk Tool)
The Raptor end of Hawk Tool marks the progress of a DSM firefighter back into a smoldering, early morning apartment fire and an extended round of mop-up work.

Des Moines Fire Department was an early user of the original Hawk Tool.  Malven designed it in the ’80s for manufacture by Iowa American Fire Equipment, located in nearby Osceola, Iowa.  Even though Iowa-American has been out of business for well over a decade, it’s not unusual to see older Hawks popping up at working jobs from time-to-time. And, as shown above, current versions are also starting to appear.

Baltimore (MD)– Rescue 1 Works A 14 Box

IRREGULARS.  The Hawk Tools in the photos below are oddities.  Tim Brozoskie (at the right in the top photo– at the far left, in the middle shot) may use this rare Hawk/Halligan-forks combination fairly frequently, but this is a rare photo of him with it.  Jerry Smith (at the left below; far right in the bottom) always seems to lean a bit toward the unorthodox, so in his hands, the equally rare Raptor/Hallux combo seems…ordinary.  The uniqueness of their two tools is more evident in the team photo at the bottom.  Thanks to Tim, Jerry, and the rest of the crew for getting Hawks to so many of their jobs.

MW Jerry & Tim R1
Firefighters Jerry Smith and Tim Brozoskie of BCFD Rescue 1– Jerry’s tool is a 5′ Raptor/Hallux combination; Tim’s an equally unusual Hawk/Halligan Claw combination. Photo By Stanley Jaworski– part of an album posted on Flickr.

GOOD SHOTS OF A GOOD TEAM.  All of the photos in this post are by well-known Atlantic Seaboard fire photographer Stanley Jaworski.   BCFD Rescue 1 pilot Tim “Brozo” Brozoskie posted the shot below on his Facebook page.  Its another of an ongoing string of good team photos of the lads from R1.  Stanley caught them at the completion of a working box (BCFD 1 Alarm Fire (Box 14-31) 33 S Carey St 7/17/17).  Rescue 1 is typically among the first crews to test Hawk prototypes and refinements– the photo below shows the details of the two unusual Hawks that rode along on this trip.

Rescue 1’s wagon forms a jazzy, glow-in-the-dark background for this 14 Box post-mortem.  Jerry Smith (at the right– the inspiration for the Smithit) has a Halligan and a Hawk “Roofman,” with one of the first prototypes of the “Hallux” pry end, which is now a regular option.  Tim Brozoskie, at the other end, often carries this prototype of the Hawk “Claw” tool, which will be a regular part of the line-up starting in August 2018. Photographer Stanley “Jaws” Jaworki works for DC Fire and EMS– see more of his stuff on Facebook.
MW R1 Group Dec.15.jpg
For comparison purposes, another shot of the R1 troops from Stanley Jaworski’s Facebook pictures.  This one shows a couple of the more common Hawk/Raptor “Versa-Tool” configurations.  The Rescue Squaddies never seem to show up empty-handed.

As busy as they are, and with a variety of Hawk tools on board, it would be pretty easy to devote these Hawk-spotting posts exclusively to BCFD’ Rescue 1.  No fair– we’ll try to resist the temptation.  But, be sure to do some periodic spotting of your own on the BCFD Rescue 1 Facebook page (and, of course, Stanley’s for rich coverage of the upper Eastern Seaboard fire scene.

Thai FFs Find Fire! (CloseUp)
Good friends Noah & Jade left some Hawk shirts in Thailand this summer.

“BIRD” WATCHING is a place where we’ll be calling attention to a few sightings of Malven Hawk Tools in the media.  If you photograph a Hawk Tool in action on one of your jobs, we’d appreciate your sending us one–  Include your contact information– if we use yours, we’ll send you one of our FIND FIRE! T-shirts (good for painting, changing oil in your Jeep, or giving away to fire stations you visit– very useful).

Baltimore (MD)– Tight Quarters for Truck 5

TRUCK 5’s NATURAL HABITAT– TIGHT QUARTERS.  Truck 5 is one of Baltimore City’s busier trucks– often the BUSIEST.  They catch some calls! Even a quick look at the Facebook page they share with former station-mate Engine 33, would suggest that T5 sees lots of fire in row houses.  And, they’re apparently used to working in pretty tight quarters, inside and out.

Obviously, tight quarters aren’t limited to streets or the interiors.  Randy Jones of the Des Moines (IA) Fire Department saw the two photos below on Balto Engine 33/Truck 5’s Facebook page– a fire on the 1300 block of East Biddle Street, which apparently involved a sneak-attack advance down an alley and past some chainlink fence.  In one of the photos, Hawkeye Jones spotted a Hawk Tool in an array of equipment.  It was apparently Truck 5’s stuff.  Their equipment is marked with distinctive “I wish it was still St. Patty’s Day(!),” Irish national flag-inspired orange, white and green bands.

BALTIMORE HOOD ORNAMENTS.  Baltimore’s a long way from home (i.e.. Iowa) for the Hawk Tool.  But, in fact, there are probably more of the current version of the tool riding Balto rigs than in all of Iowa put together (no big surprise; BCFD Rescue 1 EVD Tim Brozoskie’s The RAGE Company is the top seller of Hawks in the US).  One of them lives on Truck 5.  Their previous Seagrave TTA had a compact array of tools on the extended front bumper (I call ’em “hood ornaments”).  Theirs was somewhat unique in that a few of the tools rotated, depending (we assume) on the preferences of the day’s crew.  The Halligan bar was a staple; a TNT seemed to put in an appearance from time-to-time, and the rotating spot was filled by a “hook of the day.”  There seems to be a closely fought, department-wide battle for fire hook supremacy between the New York Roofman’s hook and the bare-knuckled Boston Rake.  Apparently, this skirmish extends to T5, as well.  One day it’s the Roofman, another its the Rake.  But, occasionally their Malven Hawk Tool gets into the fight and ride out a tour on the point.

Truck 5’s new wagon, see BCFD Engine 33 & Truck 5 on Facebook.

POSTSCRIPT– NEW TRUCK 5.  As this was going together, Truck 5 took delivery of a new Pierce TTA.  Nice looking piece.  So far, we haven’t heard whether the “hood ornament” tradition of carrying tools on the front bumper will continue on the new rig.

CAPTAIN RANDY JONES.  Congratulations(!) to Des Moines Fire Department’s Randy Jones on his recent promotion to Captain.  Several years ago, Des Moines made a substantial investment in tools from Iowa American Firefighting Equipment when they were still in business, including a fair number of Hawk Tools.  Randy has a couple of his own, that have followed his career, from station to station.  Thanks for helping us keep track of our Hawks, Randy.

Tim Brozoskie, EVD, Baltimore City Fire Department, Baltimore, MD; Captain, Mount Carmel Area Rescue Squad, Mount Carmel, PA

TIM BROZOSKIE is an Emergency Vehicle Driver (EVD), Rescue 1, Baltimore City Fire Department, and Captain, Mt. Carmel (PA) Area Rescue Squad.  He strikes you as being an exceptionally dedicated firefighter and rescue technician.  He serves in both the career and volunteer ranks.  He’s an ardent fire service ambassador and advocate– on his RAGE Company (The Rapid Action Gear & Equipment Co.) website and his own Facebook page, he’s always among the first to recognize and give tribute to LODDs and other losses in the fire service ranks, honors, promotions and achievements of firefighters, retirements, job opportunities, forthcoming classes, etc.  He also hosts the classes of a number of nationally recognized instructors, and teaches a number of them himself.  Good guy.

Tim Brozoskie

Through the RAGE Company, and otherwise, Tim has been long been a strong promoter of fire and rescue tools and equipment designed and produced by firefighters. As an early field tester and advocate, he has helped launch the success of a number of now well known, innovative tools.  In particular, he’s been responsible for most of the visibility the Hawk has enjoyed in the Northeast– or anywhere else, for that matter. He’s been selling the Hawk longer than anyone else, and consistently has the best prices and the best, most informed service.  Tim’s certainly done everything possible to try to keep the Malven Hawk Tool off of the endangered species list!

It’s hard to imagine anyone having more working experience with the Hawk: 1) Rescue 1 ran 4724 calls in 2016 (they’re off to a good start in ’17), and 2) Rescue 1 has several Hawks onboard and the Hawk’s part of the toolbox on his rescue company in Mount Carmel, PA.  You don’t see too many photos of Tim that don’t include a Hawk Tool of some description (as you can see from the sampling of photos below, he’s also a real fan of The Pig).

KEEP AN EYE ON B.C.F.D. RESCUE 1.  If you’re interested in tracking the work of busy fire companies, check out Baltimore’s Rescue 1.  Baltimore gets plenty of action and R1 is often right in the middle of it, with lots of fire, challenging MVCs, and technical rescues of all types.  Obviously, different riding positions call for different equipping.  Still, most of R1’s crew members have had experience with the Hawk.  They’ve been the first to use several prototypes and currently have several different configurations onboard. Collectively, they’ve passed along lots of suggestions that have found their way into final production– a virtual R&D lab on wheels.  They’re well worth watching.  And, they’re a very hospitable bunch– if you’re ever in Baltimore a visit to the Big House, the Steadman station, is a must.

AND, KEEP R.A.G.E. IN MIND.  As owner and operator of The RAGE Company (The Rapid Action Gear & Equipment Co.), Tim has, by far, been selling the Malven Hawk Tool longer than anyone.  And, through his own personal experience, is most knowledgeable of its characteristics and use.  If you’re looking for fire tools designed and manufactured by firefighters, in the United States, we hope you’ll visit The RAGE Company web site frequently.  Move it to the top of your list when you’re looking at the most current thinking in the marketplace.

Philadelphia (PA)– Cast Lands at Squad 72

THREE MORE LAND IN PHILLY.  For reasons that we have not yet sorted out, a group of hawks is referred to as a “cast.” Generally, individual Malven Hawk Tools arrive solo.  However, for our first installment of Bird Watching, we just got word from Philadelphia Firefighter Tim Anderson, Squad 72, that a cast of three Hawks recently arrived at their quarters.  It was comprised of two 72-inchers and a compact 30-incher.  As shown in the first photo, all of them were the versa-tool Hawk/Raptor configuration and they’re already decked out in Squad 72’s red white and blue regalia.  Those three are in addition to Tim’s original 42-incher.  He’s had that at work for about a year.  As can be seen from busy Philly photographer Aaron Mott’s shot of Squad 72 workin’, they’re pretty well decked out, ready to get it, whatever it is.

Squad 72s New Hawks
Recent additions to Squaddie Tim Anderson’s cast of Malven Hawk Tools, at Squad 72’s quarters.  Tim advised that one of them quickly flew the coop to Rescue 1.

Tim said one of the 6 footers is going to Rescue 1– may already be there.  These are busy units.  The Hawks will be keeping some pretty rough company.  It will be interesting to see how they fare.

A NOTE FOR “DANGLERS.” Philadelphia is also habitat for some other wild stuff.  If you’re into RIT and/or ropes and rigging, look up ARS– Anderson Rescue Solutions, LLC.  Tim is the owner and designer of several innovative, but highly practical, technical rescue products, including his unique Multi-Loop Rescue Strap, MLRS Rapid Deployment Bag, Rope Bags, and Static Ropes.  Very tricky.  See pix: @andersonrescuesolutions.

MalvenWorks Tech

THIS SECTION IS STILL UNDER DEVELOPMENT, however, as time permits we’ll add in pages that explain the functional intent and ideas for application of various tools and components.

WE’LL SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES. If you have found methods, modifications or other ways of making your MalvenWorks tools more useful (whether for your specific purposes, or operations in general), send an e-mail line with description and (including one(s) of yourself).  We’ll get them posted in this section, ASAP.

Jason Anderson, Captain, Pinch Volunteer Fire Department, Pinch, WV.


Jason Anderson
Jason Anderson, Captain, Pinch (WV) Volunteer Fire Department

JASON ANDERSON, a Captain with the Pinch Volunteer Fire Department, Pinch, West Virginia, was among those who came immediately to mind when thinking of veteran falconers.  Hawk tools aren’t particularly plentiful anywhere.  And, given their origins on the prairies of Iowa, mountainous West Virginia may seem like an unlikely place to start identifying experienced Hawk tool users.  But, Jason has been hunting fire with a Hawk [tool] for years.  He bought his own, at a fire expo, back when they were still manufactured by Iowa American Firefighting Equipment.  He first came to our attention when we ran across a review of the Hawk tool that he had posted on an equipment dealer’s website.  You have to really like a tool a lot (or dislike it a little) to take the time to bother writing such a review.  Nobody in our group had ever seen a review of the Hawk tool– anywhere– before Jason’s.  He did a nice write-up.  Thanks, Jason.

From phone discussions with him and the number of photos he returned with the Hawk tool prominently in evidence, it’s clear that Jason is a veteran Hawk user.

Mongo Pinch IMG950689
Hunting for fire with a Hawk, in Pinch, West Virginia.

PINCH is located along U.S. Highway 119, paralleling Interstate 79, East-Northeast of Charleston, WV.  It is a busy place.  Steep slopes and winding roads keep 3 engines and a truck (a Sutphen “Mini-Tower”) busy covering an exceptional load of structure fires and motor vehicle incidents.  Jason sent along a shot of a young truckie (top right, below) who must be a recruit in their special operations training program(?); “…you can never start ’em too early.”

It’s pretty clear from the photos above, there is no shortage of variety in Pinch’s call volume.  To get more of the flavor of their work, check them out at or on Facebook, Pinch Volunteer Fire Department.