International Firefighters’ Day: Tribute to past, present and all those on the frontlineMay 04, 2020
Over the past few months, and for some time to come, our world has been turned upside-down with the COVID-19 pandemic but we are fortunate to have frontline heroes on our side, fighting for our safety and wellbeing.
In acknowledgement of International Firefighters’ Day, we wanted to acknowledge the many current firefighters that work for us, as several of our investigators are also still part of active fire or police administration. However, our thanks extend well beyond our current employees – to all of the frontline workers who are risking their lives to keep our world safe and return us back to normalcy. To the healthcare workers and first responders, to the men and women delivering mail, to those stocking grocery store shelves or keeping our gas stations open, and all others fighting for us day in and day out, thank you for all you do. We cannot do this without you.
A firefighter’s inspiration
This year for International Firefighters’ Day, we asked our fire investigators, and previous firefighters, to describe their firefighting experience, what they love about their job and what inspired them to pursue a career from firefighting to forensic investigating. Here’s what they said:
Randy Bruff, NAFI-CFEI
Senior Lead Consultant
|FFD Station Circia 1884|
|Mike Driscoll, Youngest Fire Marshall in Seymour's History|
|Mike Driscoll with Son Circa 1998|
|David Harlow on Fire Scene|
|Mike Driscoll, Fire Chief (7/20/02)|
“February of 2020 was my 40-year anniversary being involved in the fire service. Back in ’79, I started as a volunteer firefighter and was soon after hired on as a full-time firefighter and inspector. During my tenure as a full-time firefighter, I studied about the investigation of fires and by ‘85 I started my career in fire investigation, while still maintaining my position with the fire department.
Eventually, I went back as a volunteer and today I am the Assistant Fire Chief for the same fire department where I first started my career. I am proud to be in the fire service and to be able to help my community during time of disasters, when we are most needed.”
Keith Contant, CFEI
As a child, I actually didn’t want to be a fireman, I always wanted to be a policeman like my dad. Once I did become a fireman, I learned that it’s not a job, it’s a brotherhood. Fast forward 29 years, I fulfilled all my hopes and dreams. I am a Chicago Fireman, a Police Sergeant, and to tie them together, a Fire and Arson Investigator for 25 years. Being a fire investigator still gives me the adrenaline rush I used to feel when going into a burning building.
Randy D’Arcy, JM, IAAI-CFI
"When people ask me what I do and why I love doing it, this is what I tell them:
I am a fire investigator. A senior lead investigator, but I love getting my hands dirty. I seek certainty in an uncertainty world. I mentor, coach, and provide support. I have compassion and empathy for my victims. I respect the value of quality training. I understand the need for a team to accomplish the mission. I relish the aroma of a fire. I appreciate the value of an interview but possess the wisdom to see and recognize deception. I recognize the need, define the problem, collected data, analyze the data, and use inductive and deductive reasoning. I provide facts to support my professional opinions.”
Michael J. Driscoll, IAAI-CFI
Technical Director – Fire & Explosion
“As a kid, I always wanted to be a firefighter and I will forever cherish the memory of sitting on my grandfather’s lap while wearing his helmet. Once I joined this lifetime brotherhood, several firefighters took me under their wing, which allowed me to transition from a volunteer firefighter to my initial career as a local fire marshal. The experiences I gained remain invaluable to my fire investigation career today.”
T. David Harlow, IAAI-CFI, CFEI, CVFI, CMI
“I have stayed connected with and involved in the fire service for so many years because it is a special Brotherhood and Sisterhood that only those who have served can understand.”
Daniel Hrouda, CFEI, CVFI, CFII
The poem, ‘Guardians’ by Firefighter, Allan Albaitis, came out long after I was a firefighter but served to explain the reasons I ultimately chose to become a firefighter. Albaitis describes, “…those of us who step to the front as duty calls are closest to the truth of who we really are.” His words illustrate my spiritual calling to fight fires and hold our ground in harm’s way.
Mike McGee, CFI(V), CFEI, ASE, CVTI, CFL
Senior Principal Consultant
"I have been fighting fires for many years and will continue to do so for as long as I can. I am a retired Fire Fighter II and Fire Chief after 18 years and have recently transitioned to forensic fire investigations to keep my passion breathing.”
Visit the Expert Directory to see our full list of fire/explosion investigators and experts!