IAFF Media Awards 2007

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IAFF 2007 Media Awards Contest


The International Association of Fire Fighters Media Awards Contest, conducted annually, honors 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 public awareness for fire fighters in their respective communities. The stories and photos entered also bring to light important issues that affect the welfare of fire fighters throughout North America.

More than 285 entries were submitted in the 2007 Media Awards Contest.



FIRST PLACE: “Special Report: Falling Heroes”

This three-part series features interviews with Ontario fire fighters who contract illnesses on the job, and details the efforts of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association to gain appropriate compensation for fire fighters with occupational illnesses.

Ottawa Citizen
Written by: Shelley Page
Submitted by: Ottawa, ON Local 162

SECOND PLACE: “Deathly Slow”

This story highlights the overworked Philadelphia Fire Department’s emergency medical response system, and led to a year-long investigation by the city’s controller’s office and a vote by City Council to add more than $1 million to the EMS budget.

Philadelphia Daily News
Written by: Dave Davies
Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22


“Chief Chides Firefighters Union”

Fire fighters campaigning on behalf of certain candidates in the civic elections got a collective scolding from the city’s paramedic chief, who did not believe the fire fighters should identify themselves as representatives of the city’s fire department during their door-to-door campaigning.

Winnipeg Free Press
Written by: Mary Agnes Welch
Submitted by: Winnipeg, MB Local 867

Circulation Under 100,000

FIRST PLACE: “Healing Presence”

Billerica fire fighter Phil Tammaro, a burn victim at the age of two, leads his co-workers in bringing hope, encouragement and toys to children at the Shriners Burn Hospital for Children in Boston.

The Sun
Written by: Jennifer Amy Myers
Submitted by: Billerica, MA Local 1495

SECOND PLACE: “Controlling fire damage”

This story reports on a live burn to show the effectiveness of residential sprinkler systems for saving lives and property and making fires easier to control.

Poughkeepsie Journal
Written by: Nik Bonopartis
Submitted by: Arlington, NY Local 2393

HONORABLE MENTION: “Firemen establish fund to honor young epileptic”

Alexander Arcuri was 13 when he died in 2006. His mother credited the collective knowledge of Washington Township’s fire fighters for her son’s capable emergency care. In his memory, those fire fighters began raising funds for a scholarship to help local middle and high school students interested in studying medicine.

The Trentonian
Written by: Candice Grieco
Submitted by: Washington Township, NJ Local 3786

HONORABLE MENTION: “Blazing into Galesburg history, again”

An early morning fire in an old department store claimed a Galesburg landmark. However, the local fire department called back fire fighters from the previous shift, a measure that helped save other structures up and down the street.

The Zephyr
Written by: Mike Kroll
Submitted by: Galesburg, IL Local 555




FIRST PLACE: “The Los Angeles Fire Fighter”

An Angeles National Forest Service caption (on the radio) and a fire fighter (holding a flare) leave a backfiring operation. The fire burned nearly 700 acres of heavy fuel before it was contained.

Firehouse Magazine
Photo by: Gene Blevins
Submitted by: Los Angeles, CA Local 112

FIRST PLACE: “Smoky Bucket”

In the bucket of a tower truck, Prince William County, Virginia fire fighters hose down hot spots on the roof of a townhouse. The fire gutted two townhouses and damaged three others.

The Potomac News
Photo by: Dylan Moore
Submitted by: Prince William County, VA Local 2598

SECOND PLACE (TIE): “Three-Alarm Blaze, San Jose”

At 7:28 p.m. on February 6, 2006, units from the City of Santa Clara Fire Department responded to multiple reports of a structure fire in a single-family dwelling on the City’s south side.

Photo by: Craig Allyn Rose
Submitted by: San Jose, CA Local 230

SECOND PLACE (TIE): “The Los Angeles Fire Fighter”

The night shot shows fire fighters running for their lives as the day fire blows up along a highway. The fire had already burned nearly 24,000 acres.

Santa Clara Valley Signal
Photo by: Robert Curtis
Submitted by: Los Angeles, CA Local 112

SECOND PLACE (TIE): “Fire Fighters Hurt in Blaze”

A Toronto fire fighter climbs out of second-floor window, slides off the roof and falls to the ground. Three fire fighters suffered injuries — none serious — in the three-alarm fire.

Toronto Sun
Photo by: John Hanley
Submitted by: Toronto, ON Local 3888

SECOND PLACE (TIE): “Up in Flames”

Fire fighters bring more hoses to a Bremerton home engulfed in flames. Although no one died, the family lost everything.

Kitsap Sun
Photo by: Stina Foiles
Submitted by: Bremerton, WA Local 437


“Blaze Summons Recruits to First Call on Front Line”

Sun City Fire Captain Jim West looks for fuel flowing from a blaze triggered when a tanker holding 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline erupted after a collision. This was the very first call for the first class of recruits going through the Northwest Regional Fire Academy.

Daily News-Sun
Photo by: Thomas Boggan
Submitted by: United Sun Cities, AZ Local 3573

HONORABLE MENTION: “Blaze Destroys Historic Church”

Built in 1896, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church was a National Historical Landmark. A trio of Capital City Fire and Rescue fire fighters battle the fire that destroyed the church.

Juneau Empire
Photo by: Michael Penn
Submitted by: Juneau, AK 4303

HONORABLE MENTION: “Assessing the Injured”

Racine Fire Lieutenant Tom Gavahan helps a woman who jumped from a second-floor apartment to escape a fire. The four-alarm fire displaced some 100 tenants and resulted in two deaths.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Photo by: Timothy J. Stein
Submitted by: Racine, WI Local 321


Fire fighter Sean Jones is hosed off while working a small fire that started when a can of insecticide exploded in an apartment wall.

The Potomac News
Photo by: Ana Pimsler
Submitted by: Prince William County, VA Local 2598


Members of Engine Company 78 fight a fire on board a UPS plane at Philadelphia International Airport.

Philadelphia Daily News
Photo by: Joe Kacmarek
Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22


One fire fighter was rescued, uninjured, after a stairwell gave in a fire that started in the basement of a Victorian-style, balloon constructed house.

Firehouse Magazine
Photo by: Jay K. Bradish
Submitted by: Bradford, PA Local 655

HONORABLE MENTION: “Round and Round”

A fire hose curves and twists in the hands of Dave Yakowenko as he sprays a small grass fire on a frontage road off Interstate 94.

Kenosha News
Photo by: Kevin Poirer
Submitted by: Kenosha, WI Local 414

HONORABLE MENTION: “Hopkins House Fire”

Captain Paul Wilson is shown amid a burning section of the roof of a Hopkins Avenue home. An elderly woman escaped the fire, which started in her kitchen, while another fire fighter brought her dog to safety.

Peterborough This Week
Photo by: Kyle Griffin
Submitted by: Peterborough, ON Local 519



FIRST PLACE: “Ron Fritz”

Four days after a major ice storm struck the St. Louis area, Normandy Fire Captain Ron Fritz is shown on the initial interior attack of a house fire. The storm had knocked out electricity to the home.

Photo by: David J. Dubowski
Submitted by: St. Louis, MO Local 1665

SECOND PLACE: “Heavy Smoke Showing”

Companies battle heavy smoke and below-freezing conditions at a three-alarm fire.

Photo by: Rick Nohl
Submitted by: Belmont, MA Local 1637

HONORABLE MENTION: “The Los Angeles Firefighter”

(Right) “Ladder One” depicts the intensity of a third alarm fire in downtown Jacksonville as it burns three two-story Queen Victorian style buildings.

Photo by: Rick McClure
Submitted by: Los Angeles, CA Local 112

HONORABLE MENTION: “Attack From Above”

Two fire fighters appear in silhouette during a rooftop hoseline attack on a shopping center fire.

Photo by: Keith Kyte
Submitted by: Orange Beach, AL Local 4309

HONORABLE MENTION: “South Lawn Excavation Fire”

The Rouss addition was under construction on the south lawn on the University of Virginia campus when this fire broke out.

Photo by: Dave Hartman
Submitted by: Charlottesville, VA Local 2363

HONORABLE MENTION: “The Wait for Water”

At 2:00 a.m., a fire captain waits for water as a vacant dwelling collapses in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Photo by: Chris E. Mickal
Submitted by: New Orleans, LA Local 632


Fire fighters prepare to enter an apartment where several units were destroyed.

Photo by: Rick Snodgrass
Submitted by: Lakewood, WA Local 1488


Torrance fire fighters advance a hoseline in an attempt to contain a fire near the ExxonMobil Torrance refinery.

Photo by: Jon Androwski
Submitted by: Torrance, CA Local 1138


FIRST PLACE: “Hazmat Horror”

A fire in a large biotech lab brought to light fire fighters’ concerns about their training and resources to manage hazardous material accidents. A two-part FOX undercover investigation reported there are 5,000 biotech labs in Boston alone — but no dedicated HazMat team to deal with hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials. The second part of the series illuminated the serious health problem that beset emergency personnel after combating these accidents.

FOX 25 News
Reported by: Mike Beaudet
Submitted by: Boston, MA Local 718

SECOND PLACE: “Black Sunday Firefighters: First Anniversary”

Four fire fighters are still struggling with the physical and psychological wounds on the eve of the first anniversary of the Black Sunday fires in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The four had survived a jump from a burning fourth-story apartment. Two fire fighters died in the fires, and the story includes interviews with their widows.

Reported by: Mary Murphy
Submitted by: Uniformed Fire Officers Association of New York Local 854

HONORABLE MENTION: “In the Line of Duty”

This story opens and ends with the funeral of Jack Kellum, who died of bladder and brain cancer at the age of 67. The family of Kellun, who was a 26-year veteran of the fire department, is being compensated because the cancer was proven to be job related.

A Channel News
Reported by: Kathy Mueller
Submitted by: London, ON Local 142


Started 12 years ago, Camp Bucko provides young burn victims with a free, one-week camp experience every August. This two-part series shows campers telling their stories and also highlights a dedicated camp leader who herself was a burn victim.

CH Television
Reported by: Cindy Csordas
Submitted by: Hamilton, ON Local 288


At nearly six minutes, “Water Safety” drives home the message that drowning accidents are preventable. The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District presented this video for the benefit of preschool and primary school children.

Produced by: Sacramento Fire District
Reported by: Brenda Briggs
Submitted by: Sacramento, CA Local 522

HONORABLE MENTION: “Burning for Help”

Viewers get a first-hand look at what takes place inside a burning building. Hagerstown Local 1605 emphasizes the need to provide the best in fire fighting equipment and training.

Produced by: WHAG-TV
Reported by: Marie Coronel and Terry Brown
Submitted by: Hagerstown, MD Local 1605

HONORABLE MENTION: “The Las Cruces Fire Department: 100 Years of Service”

Aired on the cable channel for the city’s government, this documentary tells the story of past and present Las Cruces fire fighters as they celebrate 100 years of service.

Produced by: CLC TV Cable Channel 20
Reported by: Adrian Guzman, Johnny Carrillo and Wally Monsivaiz
Submitted by: Las Cruces, NM Local 2362

HONORABLE MENTION: “When Seconds Count”

This eye-opening series investigates how children will react in a home fire drill. With the cooperation of parents, the Vaughn Fire Department put several families to the test, setting up night vision cameras and smoke machines in their houses, with a fire crew on standby outside.

Reported by: Bob McLaughlin and Tracy McReynolds
Submitted by: Vaughn, ON Local 1595


FIRST PLACEwww.uflac.org 

Los Angeles City, CA Local 112 established this web site to supply members with information on the many services that the local provides, and other information — such as the Los Angeles area retiree cost of living increase.

Produced by: Mikel Bullis
Submitted by: Los Angeles, CA Local 112

SECOND PLACE: www.local341.org

In connection with its 75th anniversary, the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association redesigned its site, which serves more than 3,800 members of the fire department. A key objective is to give depth to articles featured in Local 341’s magazine.

Produced by: Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association
Submitted by: Houston, TX Local 341


Described as the “guardians of Silicon Valley,” the nearly 800 members of Local 230 use this site to keep track of union news, political activities, its numerous charity events, fire service news (RSS feeds) and its major public attraction, the San Jose Fire Museum

Produced by: Cliff Hubbard
Submitted by: San Jose, CA Local 230

HONORABLE MENTION: www.iaff22.org

The two most important new features of this site are the online incident report and broadcast email system, which have enhanced the ability of Philadelphia Local 22 to engage in two-way communication with its membership.

Produced by: Dave Kearney
Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22

HONORABLE MENTION: www.nkffa.org

As a smaller department serving 26,000 residents, Local 1651 went on the offensive in the 2006 town council election to alert local taxpayers to the fire department’s critical resource needs. It credits its web site with its success in the election and for giving it a voice that was lacking at town meetings.

Produced by: Mark J. Cardarelli
Submitted by: North Kingstown, RI Local 1651

HONORABLE MENTION: www.iaff2928.com

The Local 2928 web site offers numerous benefits to union members, including links to the UnionActive IAFF News Wire and Backdraft magazine. It also features outreach to the community, with fire safety tips, a kids area, photo gallery and guest book.

Produced by: Palm Beach County, FL Local 2928
Submitted by: Palm Beach County, FL Local 2928

HONORABLE MENTION: www.firefightersforrod.com

Last year, the Florida Professional Firefighters backed Rod Smith in the Democratic primary for governor of Florida. It developed this site to offer resources fire fighters could access when Smith visited their part of the state and to use the powerful appeal of the fire fighters to show public support for the candidate.

Produced by: Mark Treglio
Submitted by: Florida Professional Firefighters


FIRST PLACE: “Seven-Alarm Fire”

A paint store in an historic downtown building wreaked havoc for Toronto commuters.

CN City News
Reported by: Tracy Moore, Bert Dandy, Tim Maeba and Bryan Carey
Submitted by: Toronto, ON Local 3888


FIRST PLACE: “Ties That Truly Bind”

Two days after September 11, 2001, Mike Regan led and eight-man search-and-rescue team through a destroyed section of the Pentagon. One of the deceased victims that Virginia Task Force 1 found that day was Dan Shanower of Naperville, Illinois. Five years later, Mike and his wife, Janice, would be commemorating September 11 with Shanower’s parents. “They have a lot of the same emotions we have,” Mike Regan says of the Shanowers.

Written by: Rick Newman
Submitted by: Fairfax County, VA Local 2068

SECOND PLACE: “Explosion in Jacksonville Plant Causes Radiation Exposure”

An explosion at a Jacksonville plant was complicated by possible hazardous materials exposure. Responding Engine 44 immediately activated the Jacksonville Hazardous Materials Team and conducted an orderly evacuation, keeping all of the potential exposure victims together. Previous drills involving the city’s emergency response organizations paid off in the orderly resolution of the incident.

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


“New Tabletop Simulator”

A 235-square-foot simulator is the newest training tool at the Raleigh Fire Department. When more space became available at the Keeter Training Center, the simulator took form, using several collapsible tables and scale elements, including topography, buildings, fire apparatus and commercial and private vehicles.

Written by: Mike Legeros
Submitted by: Raleigh, NC Local 548


FIRST PLACE: “A Firefighter’s Journey”

In this 13-part series, Michelle Durham — the granddaughter of a Philadelphia fire fighter — journeys through the Philadelphia Fire Academy alongside Local 22 members. In addition to co-sponsoring the series, Local 22 also broadcast radio spots to convey how company closings affect EMS response time.

KYW Newsradio 1060 AM
Reported by: Michelle Durham
Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22

SECOND PLACE: “Seven-Alarm Fire”

A paint and wallpaper business in an historic Toronto building progresses to a seven-alarm fire. Nearly 50 vehicles and 100 fire fighters were called out as area residents evacuated.

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


FIRST PLACE: “Fire Department Scheme Invites Death”

This commentary delivers the message that saving $3.2 million by closing three engine and two ladder companies is “too small a savings for too large a risk.”

Philadelphia Daily News
Written by: Stu Bykofsky
Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22

SECOND PLACE: “Watch what you heat to keep kitchen safe”

Unattended food cooking is the largest cause of kitchen-related fires, says Watson Kohankie, a fire fighter and paramedic with the Carrollton Fire Department.

Dallas Morning News
Written by: Watson Kohankie
Submitted by: Carrollton, TX Local 2182

HONORABLE MENTION“With children back in school, adults need to be on lookout”

Cincinnati, OH Local 48 produces this annual calendar featuring photos of members at work, as well as important dates, including holidays, union meetings and special events.

Produced by: Watson Kohankie
Submitted by: Carrollton, TX Local 2182


FIRST PLACE: “Fire Safety Festival”

For many years, these three groups have jointly produced a fire safety festival for grades K-4, benefiting 1,800 students in five schools. This event has evolved into a theatrical and musical based presentation featuring fire fighters and their families. All students received a music CD featuring safety songs written and sung by Dover Fire and Rescue personnel.

Produced by: Dover, NH Local 1312, Dover Fire Officers Local 2909 and City of Dover Fire & Rescue Service
Submitted by: Dover, NH Local 1312 and Dover Fire Officers Local 2909

SECOND PLACE (TIE): “Got Your Back”

This spot features Vermont fire fighters endorsing Peter Welch for U.S. Congress for Vermont.

Produced by: Christopher Klose
Submitted by: Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont

SECOND PLACE (TIE): “Katrina Flooding”

For the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Jefferson Parish, LA Local 1374 devised a public awareness campaign to remind residents how their Jefferson Parish fire fighters had served them during that critical time. The four billboards featured photographs taken by members of Local 1374. One billboard proclaimed, “Not even Mother Nature keeps fire fighters from protecting Jefferson Parish.”

Produced by: Jefferson Parish Firefighters
Submitted by: Jefferson Parish, LA Local 1374

HONORABLE MENTION: “Celebrity Challenge”

Burnaby, BC Local 323 fire fighters contribute more than $100,000 annually to local charities. Last year, Local 323 created a unique charity event in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week. Local 323 invited media celebrities to experience for themselves what it takes to be a fire fighter.

Produced and Submitted by: Burnaby, BC Local 323

HONORABLE MENTION: “Habitat House Project”

The Chattanooga fire fighters and Habitat for Humanity built a house in just 18 days. A DVD documents this as the first major charity project for the fire department and the local. In addition, the presentation shows teamwork among Local 820 members and others involved in the project.

Produced and Submitted by: Chattanooga, TN Local 820




FIRST PLACE: “The Hawaii Fire Fighter”

“The Hawaii Fire Fighter” is the official quarterly publication of Hawaii Local 1463. It delivers news about Oahu, Hawaii, Maui and Kauai fire fighters.

Produced by: Hawaii Fire Fighters Association
Submitted by: Hawaii Local 1463

FIRST PLACE: “Alaska Professional Fire Fighters Newsletter”

The Alaska Professional Fire Fighters sends its newsletters to members three times per year.

Produced by: Alaska Professional Fire Fighters
Submitted by: Alaska Professional Fire Fighters

SECOND PLACE: “California Professional Firefighters”

“California Professional Firefighters” reaches more than 30,000 active and retired fire fighters across the state, as well as members of the California legislature.

Produced by: California Professional Firefighters
Submitted by: California Professional Firefighters

SECOND PLACE: “Local 1645 Newsletter”

The Local 1645 Newsletter serves 301 active members and 63 active retired members in Salt Lake City. In its pages, it reports on negotiations, area elections and the local’s own elections, and benefits and retirement details.

Produced by: Salt Lake City, UT Local 1645
Submitted by: Salt Lake City, UT Local 1645



As the official publication of the Salt Lake Valley Firefighters Association, “Backdraft” enables Local 1645 and Local 1696 to reach the residents and businesses of Salt Lake City.

Produced by: Western States Publishing
Submitted by: Salt Lake City, UT Local 1645 and Salt Lake County, UT Local 1696


“Ashkicker” delivers news and commentary of interest to Middletown, OH Local 336 members every quarter.

Produced by: Middletown, OH Local 336
Submitted by: Middletown, OH Local 336


“Third Rail”

The “Third Rail” received solid community advertising support and keeps Local 27 members apprised of union activities.

Produced by: Third Rail Staff
Submitted by: Seattle, WA Local 27


FIRST PLACE: “2007 Calendar of Local Heroes”

Local heroes from Monticello Local 2278 appear in individual portraits for each month. A portion of the proceeds from this annual calendar, which was subsidized by local businesses, benefits the Hoosier Burn Camp.

Produced by: Professional Firefighters of Monticello
Submitted by: Monticello, IN Local 2278

SECOND PLACE: “Hotter-N-Fire Calendar 2007”

With the aid of local sponsors, the Red Cross creates this annual fundraising calendar to benefit the Clark Burn Center of University Hospital in Syracuse.

Produced by: American Red Cross Onondaga-Oswego Chapter
Submitted by: Syracuse, NY Local 280

HONORABLE MENTION: “2007 Calendar, Cincinnati Fire Fighters Local 48”

Cincinnati, OH Local 48 produces this annual calendar featuring photos of members at work, as well as important dates, including holidays, union meetings and special events.

Produced by: Doug Stern
Submitted by: Cincinnati, OH Local 48

HONORABLE MENTION: “2007 Calendar, Philadelphia Fire Fighters’ Union IAFF Local 22”

Local 22 designs and produces this calendar in-house, then sends it to a union shop for printing and binding.

Produced by: Dave Kearney
Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22


FIRST PLACE (TIE): “Firefighters for Phil Angelides”

California Professional Firefighters created this video to support Phil Angelides, its officially endorsed gubernatorial candidate. The DVD was distributed to more than 1,600 fire stations throughout California, hitting each shift for a total distribution of more than 3,000 copies.

Produced by: Lou Paulson
Submitted by: California Professional Firefighters

FIRST PLACE (TIE): “Kitchener Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial”

“Protecting the memory of those who have protected you” is the subtitle for this memorial depicting Kitchener’s 10 fallen fire fighters. Built in Civic Centre Park, the 13-foot bronze sculpture is the work of master sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz. Last year, it received the Eugene H. Faehnle award for design excellence, the highest award of the American Institute of Commemorative Art.

Produced by: Kitchener Professional Fire Fighters Association
Submitted by: Kitchener, ON Local 457

SECOND PLACE: “Firefighting in Roanoke”

A lieutenant with the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department, Rhett Fleitz created a 127-page photo testament to the work of his 125-year-old department. Introducing the chapter on the 1957 diamond jubilee, the author notes, “The fire fighters were ordered to grow facial hair for the Diamond Jubilee. The men grew mustaches, goatees and beards. If the men did not comply, they were fined and the money was taken out of their paycheck.

Produced by: Rhett Fleitz, Roanoke, VA Local 1132
Submitted by: Roanoke, VA Local 1132


“Buckle Up! True Stories and Lessons Learned”

This 24-minute video reinforces to its members the importance of buckling up in emergency apparatus. In August 2006, an engine rolled over on its way to a false alarm that was reported to involve children. All four fire fighters survived because they were wearing safety belts. The feature included interviews with other fire fighters about comrades who died because they were not wearing seat belts.

Produced by: Jonathon Carter
<class=”textsmaller”>Submitted by: Houston, TX Local 341</class=”textsmaller”>

“Burn Safety: A Reminder for Seniors”

Since 1974, the Burn Fund of the Saskatchewan Professional Fire Fighters Association has raised more than $6 million. This 20-minute video, produced by the fund, carried safety messages to 1,500 senior facilities across the province of Saskatchewan.

Produced by: Brad Woodard
Submitted by: Saskatchewan Professional Fire Fighters Association

“Fire Ops 101”

Fire Ops 101 was a special event taking policymakers through a day in the life of a fire fighter. The WSCFF held it to communicate in a personal way the physical demands of the job, as well as the need for adequate staffing and equipment for fire departments.

Produced by: Washington State Council of Fire Fighters
Submitted by: Washington State Council of Fire Fighters