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FRI 2013: Fire Chiefs of the Year named

The volunteer and career fire chiefs of the year were awarded at Fire-Rescue International’s general session


Pierce’s display at this year’s Fire Rescue International Exhibition includes the Hawk Extreme wildland apparatus.

Courtesy Pierce Manufacturing Inc

CHICAGO — This year’s two fire chiefs of the year were presented their awards during the general session at the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Fire-Rescue International Conference and Expo.

Freddy L. Johnson, Sr. of the Stoney Point Volunteer Fire Department in Fayetteville, N.C., was honored in the volunteer fire chief category, and Randy Mirowski of the Loveland (Colo.) Fire Rescue Authority took top place for a career fire chief.

Johnson began his volunteer career in the fire service in 1975 and joined the Stoney Point Volunteer Fire Department in 1976, where he rose through the ranks until being named fire chief in 1980. Johnson has led his department to become the only volunteer fire department in the world currently accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. Improvements Johnson spearheaded have resulted in a Class 3 ISO rating, the only volunteer department in North Carolina to achieve this rating.

With a career spanning nearly 40 years, Mirowski began as a firefighter with the Topeka Fire Department, then moved to Loveland Fire Department, where he served as a driver operator and apparatus maintenance engineer. Mirowski then served 27 years at the Poudre (Colo.) Fire Authority, where he rose to become a special operations battalion chief until he left to rejoin Loveland as its fire chief in 2009. Mirowski helped build a combined Fire Rescue Authority between the City and Rural District with increased staffing (from two- to three-person companies), improved equipment, and an expanded fire station.

The winners are chosen by Fire Chief Magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board for their dedication and leadership in fire and emergency services.

Custom apparatus on display
Pierce Manufacturing Inc. celebrated its 100th anniversary by displaying a lineup of custom apparatus at its booth, from the bicentennial-themed 1976 Pierce custom pumper to the new Pierce Hawk Extreme wildland.

Also on display is a DD13 engine which, through a recent five-year extension to the original agreement between Pierce and Detroit Diesel Corporation, remains available exclusively on Pierce custom chassis, including the Dash CF, Quantum, Velocity, and Arrow XT.

The vintage pumper dates back to America’s bicentennial year, when it was unveiled at FRI in Las Vegas. Amazingly, it is still in service in Jonesboro, Ind.

The other Pierce custom fire and rescue apparatus on display include the Dash CF pumper with a tilting cab-forward design, shown courtesy of the Wichita Fire Department; a Quantum 75-foot aerial ladder with the exclusive DD13 500 HP big block engine (Clark County Fire Department, Las Vegas, Nev.); a Velocity pumper, featuring a forward roof cab design and DD13 450 HP engine (Polk County Fire Rescue, Polk County, Fla.); a Saber pumper featuring the PUC pump (Rockford Fire Department, Rockford, Ill.); and an Arrow XT 105-foot heavy duty ladder, featuring TAK-4 independent front suspension and a 500 HP engine (Milwaukee Fire Department, Milwaukee, Wis.).

In addition, the Pierce booth is showcasing a custom, firefighter-inspired Ford F-150 pickup truck it’s giving away to benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). Through October 1, 2013, participants who make a $10 or more donation to the NFFF via the Support for the Long Haul website will be entered for a chance to win the Ford F-150 4 x 4 SuperCrew. The sweepstakes winner will be announced in November 2013.