“I still remember the smells that night, the sounds that night. That will always be there.” — Retired Worcester District Fire Chief Michael O. McNamee

On December 3, 1999, the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse Fire took the lives of six firefighters.  Unless you are very, very new to the fire service you have already heard this horrific story.

Instead of telling it again, I would like to point your attention to an article I read a couple of years ago by Scott J. Croteau over at the Worcester Telegraph and Gazette.  It’s titled “A Chief’s Perspective” by retired Worcester District Fire Chief Michael O. McNamee. 

Click here to read it.

I hope you never have to go through his nightmare.

With trapped crews inside and after others had gone in to save them, Chief McNamee ordered that no more firefighters go in.  He was met with heated threats of physical violence by his firefighters on the scene, many demanding to allow them to go in to rescue their brothers. 

But he hung firm- and in doing so stopped that massive fire from killing any more of his men that night.  Could you have done the same?

Rest easy, our Brothers.

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John Mitchell

Firefighter/Paramedic and a Lieutenant in suburban Chicago

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Comments
Rob
Packing heat with our halligan and a Glock by our gloves?
I was a volunteer for almost twenty years. When our members were police officers, they could carry on duty, concealed. I remember one night when I was the operator (driver) and responding to a house fire, three of the four firefighters on the truck were PD. I was handed three sidearms to take care of!…
2014-01-27 22:54:00
bhill
Packing heat with our halligan and a Glock by our gloves?
"lockbox on the truck" Does he carry his weapon in a lock box while on duty as a Deputy? I'm thinkin' not. Am I willing to use deadly force, and then turn around and try to save their life after I shoot them? Ain't happening. "individuals with police/weapons training" - the training teaches shoot to…
2014-01-27 19:33:00
Ken Nelson
Packing heat with our halligan and a Glock by our gloves?
I believe individuals with police/weapons training should carry fire arms. In our station's situation, our assistant chief is also a sheriff's deputy. I have suggested that he have his firearm with him in a lockbox on the truck in case a need arises. In addition some personnel are current military (Reserve, National Guard) who could…
2014-01-27 18:20:00
Marianna Randazzo
We Should Be Hearing All About Mike Behette Today, Rather Than Knowing So Much About the Navy Yard Shooter.
Thank you for this wonderful tribute to my dear friend Mike. I am in the process of writing a biography/anthology of Michael's life. I would be very grateful for your input. Please contact me on FB, Marianna Randazzo or Given Away, A SIiclian Upbringing. Respectfully yours, Marianna
2013-12-07 02:51:00
Fire Daily
WARNING: This video is graphic and depicts a man being rescued from his burning home.
Yes, Becky, I saw that too. As I was told by an ER doc many moons ago, "a patient without an airway is a dead patient." Not all firefighters are EMT's, and some may not have basic first aid skills- instead relying on a concurrent response from an emergency EMS agency. Not sure in this…
2013-11-27 11:27:00
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