IAFF Media Awards 2005

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IAFF 2005 Media Awards


The International Association of Fire Fighters Media Awards Contest is conducted annually to honor reporting and photography that best portray the professional and dangerous work of fire fighters and emergency medical personnel in the United States and Canada.
In addition, these awards recognize outstanding work by IAFF affiliates in communicating with their members and generating greater public awareness for fire fighters in their respective communities. More than 185 entries were submitted in the 2005 Media Awards Contest. The winners in each of the 13 categories are highlighted on this web site.



FIRST PLACE: “Heat: A Firefighter’s Story”

“There were those moments, in bed in the middle of the night, when a vision from an incident on the job from years before might creep into Croonen’s consciousness, and he’d wake up, the muscles in his stomach constricting, a band of pressure wrapped around his head.”

“Heat: A Fire Fighter’s Story” ran as a daily series in The Hamilton Spectator from February 26 to March 26, 2004. This story provided a rare glimpse into the world of fire fighters through the life and career of Captain Bob Shaw. Shaw died from occupational disease obtained while fighting the Plastimet Fire, a warehouse fire that burned PVC plastic for four days in 1997.

This story delves into the lives of many fire fighters like Bob Shaw, both on the job and at home, dealing with the tragedies that come with their career: illness, death and the memories they would rather forget.

The Hamilton Spectator
Written by: Jon Wells
Submitted by: Hamilton, ON Local 288

SECOND PLACE: “The Valiant Men”

“And when it was all over, 25 sons and daughters were left fatherless. Eight women were widowed, one of them pregnant with a son who would never meet his father.”

This article is a touching dedication to 10 fire fighters who died in a chemical explosion 50 years ago. The reporter went to great lengths to research the tragedy, exposing the raw emotions and suffering of those who experienced this tragic event. Fire fighters entered the building with no one inside and were soon aware of intense toxic smells. Within minutes a 4,000-gallon tank in the yard of the building exploded, throwing 10 fire fighters against a brick wall. The tank contained poison gas that seriously injured 23 other fire fighters. The author exposes the unforgettable sacrifices of these brave individuals and the effects on the families of the victims. The wives and children, now 50 years older, recall the day of the explosion with painful memories.

Philadelphia Daily News
Written by: Regina Medina
Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22

HONORABLE MENTION: “Police, Fire Departments See Shortages Across USA”

This article was written to generate public awareness of the shortage of first responders in charge of protecting their communities. The author investigates understaffed fire stations across the United States, making it perfectly clear that these factors are directly related to death tolls in fires. The article is supported with credible statistics concerning recent developments in fire protection, including the importance of the SAFER Act. It’s a strong argument against cutting funding for fire fighters.

USA Today
Written by: Mimi Hall
Submitted by: IAFF 13th District Vice President Bruce Carpenter

Circulation Under 100,000

FIRST PLACE: “Slow Burn” 

“On the national front, since 9/11, local fire department staffing and equipment problems have emerged as part of a more general failure to back up swagger and political posturing about ‘homeland defense’ with money….”

This article is a thought-provoking story investigating the issues behind fire department understaffing and political agendas. The story cites the imminent dangers of cutting budgets and jeopardizing public safety and the horrific consequences of undermining the importance of fully funded fire departments.

Pulse of the Twin Cities
Written by: David Rubenstein
Submitted by: St. Paul, MN Local 21

SECOND PLACE: “Worker Wellness”

“We must realize the value of the service we provide to others and recognize the service we must provide to ourselves. If we fail to change current attitudes and complacency, emergency service worker illness and death will remain constant.”

Former paramedic and author Hinds brings to the forefront the serious, yet often ignored effects of on-the-job stress for emergency workers.

EMS Magazine
Written by: Larry Hinds
Submitted by: Suncoast, FL Local 2546

HONORABLE MENTIONS: “In the Heat of the Day”

This article alerts readers to the reality of training to prepare fire fighters for their jobs and highlights the dangers and difficulties of practicing with live fires and the risks that all fire fighters face when entering a burning building.

Muscatine Journal
Written by: Stephen Byrd
Submitted by: Muscatine, IA Local 1672




FIRST PLACE: “Path Through Inferno” captures the magnitude of wildland fires and illustrates the heroism in fighting the relentless fires in California in July 2004.

A fire fighter moves through the frontlines of a wildfire in north Los Angeles County. Walls of flames burned along Pine Canyon Road through the Pine Mountain area. Fire crews battled fast moving blazes in two other Southland regions: Griffith Park and a mountainous area of Riverside County near Palm Springs.

“Path Through Inferno”
Los Angeles Daily News
Photo by: Gene Blevins
Los Angeles City, CA Local 112

FIRST PLACE: “Tire Fire” is an alluring picture of a Lethbridge fire fighter preventing tractor tires from causing more damage after a storage building went up in flames. Wind gusts in excess of 100 kilometers per hour turned the fire into a mini inferno.

Fire fighter Les Hillard separates burning tractor tires at an industrial fire at Willow Creek Sand and Gravel. The blaze destroyed a building and machinery but no injuries were reported.

SECOND PLACE: “Vulcan Road Fire” represents an outstanding composition of fire fighters in action against a raging fire that threatened an adjacent chemical storage facility. More than 100 fire fighters from across Toronto battled the $1 million, four-alarm fire at this family-run furniture store in North Etobicoke in August 2004. Miraculously, there were no injuries or casualties.

A fire fighter with an aerial hose pours water on the remains of Virk Home Furnishings.

Vulcan Road Fire
Toronto Sun
Photo by: Jack Boland
Submitted by: Toronto, ON Local 3888

SECOND PLACE: “Melted” shows the intensity of the heat from a house fire. This fire fighter’s face mask cracked after battling a fire in Fort Worth, Texas.

After fire fighter Bradberry reaches the ground, the damage to his face shield is evident. His air mask and hood also were damaged. Bradberry was fortunate not to have been injured.

Firehouse Magazine
Photo by: Glen E. Ellman
Submitted by: Fort Worth, TX Local 440

HONORABLE MENTION:  In “Quick Escape From Fire” a Buffalo fire fighter is shown diving head first from a burning house after fire filled the building from the ground floor up. Several other fire fighters also were forced to jump after the fire consumed the building.

 A fire fighter escapes from a burning two-story home in Buffalo after a failed attempt to save two 8-year-old cousins. The boys died in the early morning blaze.

Quick Escape From Fire
The Buffalo News/Syracuse Post-Standard
Photo By: John Cetrino
Submitted by: Syracuse, NY Local 282

HONORABLE MENTION: “90 Degree Too Far To the Right” tells the story of a cement mixer truck driver trapped after the truck took a corner too fast and lost control, rolling the truck. Kitsap, CO Local 2819 fire fighters rescued the man who was pinned inside the cab but uninjured.

Crews work to remove driver Christopher Coyne form inside the cab.

“90 Degrees Too Far To the Right”
Central Kitsap Reporter
Photo by: Jesse Beals
Submitted by: Kitsap, CO Local 2819


HONORABLE MENTION: “Fire Star” is a storytelling image that combines the tragedy of fire damage to a family home with the visual beauty created by the smoke, sun and wind pushing through the limbs of this large old tree.

“Fire Star”
The Post-Crescent
Photo by: Dan Powers
Submitted by: Grand Chute, WI Local 3655

HONORABLE MENTION: Lone Fire Fighters” documents a fierce fire that caused $3 million in damage to a historic woodworking company near downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. The flames went nearly 80 feet high while fire fighters shot water at the fire and their own trucks to keep them cool.

Fire crews battle the intensely hot four-alarm fire at Jeffery Cobabe and Associates, a Salt Lake City woodworking business.

“Lone Fire Fighters”
Deseret Morning News
Photo by: Jeffery D. Allred
Submitted by: Salt Lake City, UT Local 1645

HONORABLE MENTION: In “Woman Rescued,” fire fighters help the owner out of her house after the family lost everything in a fire that started in the kitchen.

Council Bluff fire fighters assist Molly Stogdill after a fire destroyed her home.

“Woman Rescued”
The Daily Nonpareil
Photo by: Ben DeVries
Submitted by: Council Bluffs, IA Local 15



FIRST PLACE: “Water Drop” is a dramatic photo of Los Angeles city fire fighters working with ground forces and aerial equipment to control a wildfire

“Water Drop”
Photo by: Robert Curtis
Submitted by: Los Angeles City, CA Local 112

SECOND PLACE: “Ice Palace” reflects the irony of severe weather conditions and fire fighting

“Ice Palace”
Photo by: Tim Witham
Submitted by: Bangor, ME Local 772

HONORABLE MENTION: Fire fighters rescue a puppy after fighting an apartment fire in Mesa,

“Apartment Fire and Animal Rescue”
Photo by: Rick Montemorra
Submitted by: Mesa, AZ Local 2260

HONORABLE MENTION: “Time to Overhaul” shows the shear exhaustion of fire fighters engulfed in smoke after a rigorous operation.

“Time To Overhaul”
Photo by: Rick Nohl
Submitted by: Belmont, MA Local 1637


FIRST PLACE: “First Responders”

This timely CNN story outlines several important issues faced by fire departments across the nation, including staffing shortages and budget cuts and their impact on public safety. This broadcast also advocates for additional SAFER funding in relation to recent station closures and lay offs. This story features an interview with IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger, other prominent union leaders and fire fighters from IAFF locals.

Reported by: Alina Cho and Produced by Chris Strathmann
Submitted by: IAFF 13th District Vice President Bruce Carpenter

SECOND PLACE: “Storm King Mountain Anniversary”

KCNC TV produced this well-researched feature to coincide with the 10th anniversary of a wildfire in Storm King Mountains, Colorado, where 14 fire fighters lost their lives battling the blaze. The documentary includes a simulation of the dreadful day to show that fire fighters went in knowing they might not make it out alive. A park leading to a monument where these 14 fire fighters lost their lives has been built in their memory.

Reported by: Andrea Lopez and John Mason
Submitted by: IAFF 13th District Vice President Bruce Carpenter

SECOND PLACE: “Get Your Children Out”

This news feature effectively demonstrates how to rescue children from submerged cars, and illustrates the important role of fire fighters in an underwater rescue.

Reported by: Mike Kirsh
Submitted by: Metro-Dade County, FL Local 1403

HONORABLE MENTION: “In Your Shoes – Fire Fighter” 
This documentary describes what it takes to be a fire fighter, including the requirements and process to become a fire fighter. This feature also promotes the profession of fire fighting.

Shaw Cable Systems GR (Urban Rush)
Reported by: Erin Cebula, Marlene Gurvich, Craig Childe
Submitted by: Vancouver, BC Local 18


FIRST PLACE: www.iaff2067.org

Norman, OK Local 2067 has created an excellent resource for fire service-related news and information at the national, state, regional and local level. This web site promotes union activism and interaction with other locals and their members. Updated almost daily, this site also features an impressive list of more than 500 IAFF local web sites. In addition, the graphics, color, composition and presentation are clean and consistent.

Produced by: Tim McDermott
Submitted by: Norman, OK Local 2067

SECOND PLACE: www.cpf.org

California Professional Firefighters have developed an effective, interactive and easy-to-navigate web site to communicate with its members throughout California. The site also covers union- and fire service-related news and information affecting California fire fighters and the International.

Produced and submitted by: California Professional Firefighters

HONORABLE MENTION: www.iaff27.org

Seattle, WA Local 27’s web site offers a wealth of information packaged using an attractive color theme and graphics. Information on union-related activities and fire fighter issues is prominently displayed.

Produced by: Monica Blum
Submitted by: Seattle, WA Local 27

HONORABLE MENTION: www.local1230.org

United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County makes dynamic use of graphics to communicate to members the goals and priorities of the local and the IAFF.

Produced by: Richard Carvalho
Submitted by: Contra Costa County, CA Local 1230


FIRST PLACE: “Window Washer Drama”

“Window Washer Drama” is the story of the rescue of a window washer whose harness broke and was left hanging for his life on the 12th floor of a building. The television report detailed the fire fighters’ efforts to save a man from a life-threatening situation.

CFTO Television
Reported by: Keith Hanley, Jeff Long, John Mussleman and Ken Dishman
Submitted by: Toronto, ON Local 3888


FIRST PLACE: “Jacksonville Firefighters Endure Frances, Prep for Ivan”

This story is about fire fighters responding to emergencies caused by Hurricane Frances in Florida.

Written by: Mark Treglio
Submitted by: Jacksonville, FL Local 122



“24/7” is a five-part documentary describing the dangers of even routine emergency response. The series highlights a number of important issues, including why a response time of less than six minutes is critical for providing emergency medical services and saving lives.

KYFI Radio
Reported by: Steven Gregory
Submitted by: Phoenix, AZ Local 493

SECOND PLACE: “The LaSalle Bank Fire”

This live news report and follow-up coverage of the unfolding events in the rescue efforts by fire fighters of several people trapped in a multi-story office building fire effectively demonstrated the course of the fire and rescue as it continued throughout the day and night.

WBBM Newsradio 780
Reported by: WBBM Staff
Submitted by: Chicago, IL Local 2


This story reports on the efforts of a civilian who reported a fire in a group home and helped residents out of the blaze.

CFRB AM 1010
Reported by: Bob Komsic
Submitted by: Toronto, ON Local 3888


FIRST PLACE: “Help Stop Our Heroes From Dying ”

“Most fire fighters know there are risks associated with the job, but he didn’t die of smoke inhalation. Nor did he get trapped in a burning house or fall through the roof of a collapsing building. My dad was stolen from us by cancer.”

This editorial was written by a fire fighter’s daughter who witnessed first-hand the long-term dangers that all fire fighters face when her father died of cancer. The author educates readers about the rising number of fire fighters who develop cancer, and encourages them to take action by contacting local politicians to create awareness.

Chetwynd Echo
Written by: Denise Everett
Submitted by: Calgary, AB Local 255

SECOND PLACE: “Mechanics of Injury

“Sometimes you can’t wear enough equipment to stay detached. Trying to find the injuries under the skin, even through latex gloves, you can feel the stubble of an unconscious man’s cheek, you can know the fleeting warmth of someone else’s skin.”

This is a well-written personal story of a fire fighter’s experiences dealing with people and colleagues lost to fires. The author vividly details the struggle he endured between the “mechanics” of his job and the haunting memories that are impossible to forget.

PRISM International Magazine
Written by: Russell Wangersky
Submitted by: St. John’s, NF Local 1075 

HONORABLE MENTION: “Yes to ALS; No To Union-Busting”

“Yes to ALS, No To Union-Busting” is an informative piece that exposes readers to the intrigues of a town council in negotiations over Advanced Life Support (ALS) systems. The author persuasively enforces the opinion that town officials should be in alliance with first responders, especially when dealing with public safety issues.

The Winchester Star
Anthony Schinella
Submitted by: Winchester, MA Local 1564


FIRST PLACE: “Proposition 172: A Fair Share for Our Firefighters”

“Proposition 172: A Fair Share for Our Firefighters” demonstrates the importance of a ballot initiative designed to prevent cuts to the fire department (Proposition 172). This campaign effectively communicates the threat cuts pose to public safety.

Produced By: Darrel Crane
Submitted by: San Bernardino County, CA Local 935

SECOND PLACE: “Local 122 Fire Fighters Against Senseless Tragedies”

Partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), Jacksonville, FL Local 122 developed this campaign to educate teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Produced By: Roy Hall
Submitted by: Jacksonville, FL Local 122

HONORABLE MENTION: “Fully Involved: A History of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters”

Fully Involved: A History of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters chronicles the rich history of the fire service and WSCFF.

Author: Ellie Belew
Submitted by: Washington State Council of Fire Fighters, Local A 45

HONORABLE MENTION: “Save the Philadelphia Fire Department”

This public awareness campaign was effective in communicating to the public about proposed staffing cuts and station closures. Using the local web site, brochures and flyers, the campaign included messages targeted to specific neighborhoods subject to the cuts.

Produced and Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22


FIRST PLACE: “Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire”

The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire’s local publication effectively communicates to the members regarding its union activities and fire service issues in an easy-to-read format.

Produced by: Bethany Blake
Submitted by: Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire

FIRST PLACE: “The Helmet”

The Helmet engages readers with a variety of important and useful information. In addition, this publication includes commentary and feedback from local members.

Produced and Submitted by: Indianapolis, IN Local 416


JumpLine is an excellent source of both news and information for Local 1403 members. This publication includes a nice balance of photos and editorials.

Produced by: Stan Hills and Cindy Spars
Submitted by: Metro Dade County, FL Local 1403


Local 3027’s Fully Involved newsletter is a well-organized and comprehensive source of timely information for members.

Produced and submitted by: Cunningham, CO Local 3027


This publication serves as a great resource for members regarding key issues of importance to Local 27.

Produced by: Monica Blum
Submitted by: Seattle, WA Local 27