WHO WE ARE.

OUR MISSION.

Our historic preservation efforts not only include firefighting, but also fire prevention, fire protection engineering, fire equipment manufacturing, and any discipline associated with fire protection. We support researchers, historians, individuals, and organizations interested in fire protection. This includes municipal and rural firefighting, aviation firefighting, wildland firefighting, firefighting in the military, design and engineering, architecture, fire training and academic programs, rail and utilities, equipment manufacturing, regulations and standards, fire equipment distributors, and any other area of fire protection. Prior to establishing the NFHC, there was no centralized, coordinated archival of fire protection in the United States. Much of the written history of “fire in America” is challenging to locate and sadly, much information is permanently lost. 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 United States.” In spite of the study, the project never acquired government funding. However, Chief Ronny Coleman of California and several other interested fire protection experts took it upon themselves to create an independent nonprofit organization called the National Fire Heritage Center. The organization has expanded from the original mission to protect perishable items, to include three-dimensional objects and other important fire protection materials. The Center also is home for the Fire Service Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders, Who’s Who in Fire Protection and the Benjamin Franklin Fire Writer’s Award. Today, the National Fire Heritage Center is a vibrant organization supported by private donations and grants. The Archive is growing so rapidly, that the Board of Trustees has been given the task of finding a new home – from which the NFHC will continue to preserve the history of the American Fire Service for generations to come. The National Fire Heritage Center is the result of a study, Heritage Hall, conducted by the U.S. Fire Administration, which identified that a “need to collect, preserve, and provide access to the historical records of the fire service/fire protection disciplines in the United States.” In spite of the study, the project never acquired government funding. However, Chief Ronny Coleman of California and several other interested fire protection experts took it upon themselves to create an independent nonprofit organization called the National Fire Heritage Center. The NFHC is home for the Fire Service Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders, Who’s Who in Fire Protection and the Benjamin Franklin Fire Writer’s Award. Today, the National Fire Heritage Center is a vibrant organization supported by private donations and grants.

ANNUAL REPORT

2021-2022

COLLECTIONS

The NFHC is both a fire history archive and a documentation preservation project. Our collection of over 15,000 cataloged items consists of written documents and limited three-dimensional items donated by the public and private sectors. Materials are cataloged, preserved and made available to NFHC visitors and online researchers.

The following is a partial list of fire industry leaders’ personal libraries donated to the National Fire Heritage Center for safe keeping in perpetuity. The significance of these collections, per Frank Schmersal Chief Archivist at the NFHC, “is that within each collection you can see what literature influenced the thought process for each of these industry leaders.” Future students and researchers will be able to trace the development of change and innovation within the fire service community, and fire industry, by reviewing and linking these collections together to form a variety of new narratives.

PERSONAL LIBRARIES

DE | Lou Amabili

TX | Bob Barraclough

MD | Ed Bosanko

GA | Robert “Windy” Briese

VA | Fred Brower

MD | Hal Bruno

MD | John Bryan

PA | Gene Carlson

CA | Ronny J. Coleman

TX | John Lee Cook, Jr.

WI | DePere Fire Dept.

MA | Nelson Dionne

FL | Joe Donovan

NJ | Harvey Eisner

CT | Daniel B.C. Gardiner

MD | Harry Hickey

SD | John Hoyle

OK | IFSTA

MD | Warren Isman

TN | William “Bill” Killen

MD | John Kimball

DC | Eric Lamar

PA | Lancaster County VFA

NC | Mike Legeros

MD | John McNeece

NY | Richard Nagle

PA | Denis Onieal

PA | Don Ringer

WV | James C. Robertson

MD | Ronald Graf

CA | Jan Gratton

MS | Ken Henry

MD | John Ottoson

IL | Jim Jaracz

SC | Jack Jansen

VA | Dennis Rubin

MD | Bernard Schwartz

PA | John Senft

MD | David Gratz

NY | Leo Duliba

WHY OUR WORK IS IMPORTANT.

Gaining access to historical fire-related writings can be hard. Prior to the establishment of the NFHC in 2006, there was no centralized, coordinated archival activity in the United States to ensure that important fire materials were saved in an accessible way. Much of the written history of “fire in America” was challenging to locate or, unfortunately, forever lost. Historical documentation that did exist was held in private collections and access was difficult or materials were not properly preserved.

LEADERSHIP.

The National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC) is operated and managed by Executive Officers, a Board of Directors, Trustees, and various key personnel. 

Executive Officers

President/CEO

Dr. Lynn White

Vice President for Finance/CFO

Donald Bathurst

Vice President for Operations/COO

Willie G. Shelton, Jr., CEM, FIFireE

Secretary

Stuart M. Nathan

Treasurer

Grayson Hofferber

Staff

Executive Director/Chief Archivist

Richard “Dick” Lee DeVore, Jr.

 

Board of Directors

Dr. Lynn White, President

Bob Andrews, Director

Don Bathhurst, Director

Michael Dixon, Director

Glenn Dorner (BFWA), Director

Grayson Hofferber, Treasurer/CFO

Ignatius Kapalczynski, Director

Ben May (BFWA), Director

Stu Nathan, Secretary

Frank Schmersal, Director

Billy Shelton, VP/COO

Rodney Slaughter, Director

Dr. Carey Waddell, Director

Mike Wieder, Director

Linda Wells, Director

WHERE
WE'RE
LOCATED.