• P.O. Drawer 76, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727
  • (301) 876-3454

Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders: Class 2021

Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders

The mission of the National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC) is to preserve the perishable history of the fire services and fire protection disciplines. The Hall of Legends, Legacies, and Leaders (HLLL) helps fulfill that mission by providing recognition to the individuals who have made significant contributions and have distinguished themselves in the ...

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Dr. John L. Bryan: Pioneer and Professor in Fire Protection Engineering

Dr. John L. Bryan Dr. John L. Bryan

Cover Photo: Names Left to right: John Crisman, Charles Wright, Dr. John L. Bryan, and William L. Miles, Department of Fire Protection Engineering - University of Maryland. Dr. John L. Bryan is considered a pioneer and his countless contributions to the fire service and fire protection engineering are well known throughout the United States and aro...

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Preserving the Perishable: Remembering Our Past Protects Our Future

The Great Chicago Fire Currier & Ives Lithograph Of The Fire (1871) The Great Chicago Fire Currier & Ives Lithograph Of The Fire (1871)

Another Fire Prevention Week is upon us and the fire service takes this week to focus public attention on the need to practice fire prevention throughout the year. This is a necessary time to reflect that remembering our past helps preserve and protect our future. By looking back into history, we can chart a pattern of safety changes in fire preven...

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Preserving the Perishable: The Importance of Documenting History

Preserving the Perishable: The Importance of Documenting History

Cover Photo: Krystyna Krakowski, far left, and her team at Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue. I remember attending a fire conference and the topic was Safety and Apparatus Response. A side discussion started regarding beating a first due company to their own call. The engineer joked that he carried business cards and said he would place them on t...

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Preserving the Perishable: A Fire History Picture is Worth More Than a Thousand Words

2015.018.002

In this edition of Preserving the Perishable, I thought I would explain the do's and don'ts of photograph preservation briefly. As a historian and a genealogist, I frequently see the results of improper photograph archiving and how it destroys the precious history that we treasure. I remember, at the passing of my grandparents, shoe boxes and album...

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Media Advisory: Membership

Illustration of Dutch Fire (C. 1684) Illustration of Dutch Fire (C. 1684)

The value of historical documents for research can be seen in one of the oldest artifacts in the National Fire Heritage Center archives. Pictured is a newspaper story in a Dutch newspaper published in 1684, that shows the state of building technology in contrast to the evolution of fire protection technology. The illustrated picture of a 4-sto...

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Preserving the Perishable: What is Considered Historically Significant?

Certificate (C. 1832) Certificate (C. 1832)

During a recent zoom meeting, the participants, including myself, shared stories of historically significant items being discarded by fire departments. Often, it's personnel unfamiliar with the fire service's history and in a well-meaning attempt to do their part in cleaning up the station, they begin to discard things into the dumpster. They may n...

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National Fire Heritage Center Newsletter: September 2020

Waldbaum's Supermarket Fire (August 2, 1978) Waldbaum's Supermarket Fire (August 2, 1978)

Six firemen fell to their deaths as the blazing roof of a Brooklyn supermarket collapsed yesterday morning. It was the worst accident involving the city's firefighters in a dozen years. As the roof suddenly erupted in a burst of flames, dropping men into the center of the fire, a handful of other firemen —members of the first ladder companies to re...

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Press Release: Mary Tabata Joins the National Fire Heritage Center Board of Trustees

Mary Tabata Mary Tabata

Mary Tabata is a Ph.D. candidate in Organizational Leadership at Eastern University in St. Davids, PA. She is a Human Potential Catalyst and Teaching Academic in Leadership at Ducere Global Business School and has also taught as an adjunct professor of Organizational and Management Theory at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California. Mary wo...

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Fire Chief Alan V. Brunacini: American Fire Service Pioneer

Alan Brunacini Alan Brunacini

Chief Alan V. Brunacini is one of the most highly respected figures in the fire and emergency services. He was born in Jamestown, NY, on April 18, 1937, to John N. and Mary T. Brunacini. The Brunacini family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the early '40s, where Alan attended school and graduated in 1955 from Highland High School. With some amb...

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Press Release: Deborah Wintner Joins the National Fire Heritage Center Board of Trustees

Deborah Wintner Deborah Wintner

Deborah K. Wintner joined STANLEY Security, a division of Stanley Black & Decker, as Vice President of Human Resources in May of 2018, where she has devoted her time establishing HR strategy and organizational capability in alignment with the business strategy. Deborah received a Master of Science degree in Organizational Development from Peppe...

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Harold Mace: Emeritus Director of Fire Protection Publications and Fire Service Training

Harold Mace Harold Mace

Mr. Mace was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on May 23, 1939. He was raised on a farm in what is now the general area of the I-35/I-44 highway interchange in north Oklahoma City. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Education from Central State University, now known as the University of Central Oklahoma. Upon graduating from college, he ...

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Press Release: Ben May Joins the National Fire Heritage Center Board of Trustees

Ben May Ben May

Ben May is a Board Director of the Center for Public Safety Excellence, and recently retired Global Director of Corporate Alliances for the Walt Disney Company. He worked with Disney to create seven figure, interactive, social marketing experiences dedicated to the betterment of society- specifically fire protection and prevention-as well internati...

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Press Release: Dr. Carey D. Waddell Joins the National Fire Heritage Center Board of Trustees

Dr. Carey Waddell Dr. Carey Waddell

Dr. Waddell is currently serving as the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay F&ES Deputy Fire Chief, possessing 28 years of experience in the fire service. During an adventurous career, he has served in every rank within the fire service. After completing four years in the United States Air Force, he started a civil service career at Fort Bliss, T...

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Press Release: FDNY Deputy Chief Thomas Dunne Book Donation

Press Release: FDNY Deputy Chief Thomas Dunne Book Donation

Thomas Dunne is a retired Deputy Chief and 33-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department. He recently published a book about his experiences in the FDNY. Deputy Chief Dunne was with the FDNY from 1981 to 2015 and he experienced numerous historical incidents including the Happy Lands Social Club fire in the Bronx and the 9/11 terror...

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Press Release: Ernst Piercy Joins the National Fire Heritage Center Board of Trustees

Ernst Piercy Ernst Piercy

    Former Air Force Academy Chief Ernst Piercy has been named to the Board of Trustees for the National Fire Heritage Center Ernst is a retired fire chief, with more than 35 years in the fire service. Most recently, he served as the Regional Fire Chief for Navy Region Southwest in San Diego, California. Previously, he...

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Nomination Instructions: The Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders: Class of 2021

Nomination Instructions: The Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders: Class of 2021

Background The National Fire Heritage Center Board of Directors has opened nominations for the Fire and Emergency Services Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders (HLLL). Nominations will be accepted from June 15, 2020, through August 15, 2020. The HLLL provides individual recognition of significant contributions and distinguished service to the Fire...

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Fire Chief Ronny J. Coleman: American Fire Service Pioneer

Fire Chief Ronny J. Coleman: American Fire Service Pioneer

Cover Photo: Christopher Baker, Member of the Board of Directors, Public Information Officer (Left) and Immediate Past President Fire Chief Ronny J. Coleman (Right) at the 2018 National Fire Heritage Center Annual Meeting in Emmitsburg, MD. Ronny J. Coleman is a retired Fire Chief, California State Fire Marshal, and Deputy Director o...

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Press Release: Mark Lamplugh Joins the National Fire Heritage Center Board of Trustees

Press Release: Mark Lamplugh Joins the National Fire Heritage Center Board of Trustees

Cover Photo: Curt Weldon former Congressman (left) with Mark Lamplugh (right) The National Fire Heritage Center is the result of a study done by the U.S. Fire Administration, where it identified that a "need to collect, preserve, and provide access to the historical records of the fire service/fire protection disciplines in the ...

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The History of Benjamin Franklin: Founder of The Union Fire Company

The History of Benjamin Franklin: Founder of The Union Fire Company

Cover Photo: Eric Okdeh  Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by John Bigelow  This fire company was formed Dec. 7, 1736.  It was designed primarily for the security of property of its members, though they did not limit their usefulness to their own members when their property was not in danger.  The Union Fire Company was in...

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Your support will help with historical review of past practices and research for new approaches to save lives and reduce fire losses in the future.

Contact Info

  • The National Fire Heritage Center
  • Physical Address: 17701 Creamery Road, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727
    Mailing Address: P.O. Drawer 76, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727
  • Phone: (301) 876-3454