Category Archives: Uncategorized

Eagle Eye

CLEAN THE LITTERBOX NOTEFor me and I’m sure many others, February 12, 2009 was one of those moments in your life where you’ll always say “I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing … at the moment I heard of the crash.”

My wife Laurie and I have always had an unwritten rule that we don’t swear in front of our kids and hold to that today, even with them in their twenties. Six years ago tonight I was watching the movie “Eagle Eye” with my then 16-year old son Alex. My pager went off for about the sixth time that day and I immediately let out an involuntary “Ho—ly Sh**!”

Sensing that something obviously wasn’t right, Alex asked me: “What’s wrong Dad?” Read more of this post

The Midnight Express

This will be a shorter version of a much more detailed post to come but for now, I have to share some of the story behind this photo.


JIM GUY: Just found this photo of Tiger (when he was just a cub) and Iron Mike- DCFD

A good friend and mentor of mine, Jim Guy just posted this photo of me that dates back almost 20 years.

I’ll never forget my first trip to Washington, DC and visiting the “Midnight Express” — home to 16 Engine, 3 Truck and the 6th Battalion Chief. Despite being my first trip, accompanied by Jim, Dave Sherman and Ric Dimpfl, they made me drive on the Beltway around DC — just perfect.
We were traveling as the management team of The Fire Fighter Newspaper, a publication just three years in existence at the time, to the annual National Fire & Emergency Services Congressional Caucus dinner hosted by the Congressional Fire Services Institute ( at the famous Washington Hilton. As the dinner cost something like $250 a plate, we were honored to be the guests of Volunteer Firemens Insurance Services ( (Why the Washington Hilton is famous is fodder for the longer version of this story!) Read more of this post

Firefighter Storytellers returns with Chief Walt Pieczynski

Instructor Wally Pieczynski teaches tactics to Firefighter 1 Boot Camp students advancing a line on a car fire. Wally is a Run-to-the-Curb kid. Photo by: Tiger Schmittendorf

A regular feature on the FirefighterNetcast Radio Network, Tiger Schmittendorf’sFirefighter Storytellers” radio show returns Wednesday-September 8, 2010 at 9pm EDT with special guest Chief Walter Pieczynski. 

Wally Pieczynski is a firefighter with the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport Fire Department and an assistant chief with the Seneca Hose Fire Department in the Town of West Seneca NY. He also serves as a fire instructor for the Erie County Department of Emergency Services Division of Fire Safety as well as the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and ControlRead more of this post

Run to the Curb!

This circa 1940s photo courtesy of Chief Tom Merrill of the Snyder Fire Department in Amherst NY is what Run-to-the-Curb is all about: Capturing the imaginations of kids and firefighters alike to fuel their passion for the fire service.

What kid doesn’t want to be a firefighter? Every time they hear a siren or see a fire engine race by, they run to the curb to see what’s going on. Thus, I call these future firefighters “Run to the Curb” type kids.

I was one of those kids and I bet you were one too. It’s something you never grow out of — and many of us chose to grow into it.

Run to the Curb!” is a living document and possible online book project too. Here, I’ll share my experiences, my stories that have been writing themselves over my thirty years in the fire service —and my thoughts on our need to be better story tellers

And, I want to hear your stories too. You can share your childhood experiences and your connections to the fire service and in doing so, share the brotherhood, history and traditions of the fire service with fellow firefighters — and those who wish they were.

Check back often as more stories are added and we build this legacy together.

Run to the curb. Tell your story. Tell your fortune. We can’t wait to hear it.