Tag Archives: Fire Department

A Wall of Heroes Inspires Burbank Fire Fighters and Police Officers

“Symbolism is the practice of representing things by symbols, or the practice of investing things with a symbolic meaning or character. A symbol is an object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself, often of a more abstract nature.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In 2010 artist Jessica Rodrigue painted a large mural in the gymnasium located within the Police and Fire Department Headquarters Building in downtown Burbank.  The mural features faded badges from both departments, a couple high rise buildings, an eagle, emergency vehicles, a background of American flags, capped with the title “Honoring Our Fallen Heroes” above a roll call of officers and fire fighters who lost their lives while serving the community.

If you ask a police officer or fire fighter what they see in the mural, each will give you a different interpretation of the symbolism contained within the painting.  BurbankNBeyond had a rare opportunity to talk with a small group of police officers and firefighters, learning how they view, interpret, and consider the symbolism contained in the mural.

“I see the badges” mentions Fire Department Captain Jim Baldridge.  “The badges fade out on top, giving the feeling something is missing” he continues.  “What’s missing is our fellow firefighters.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The fire fighter’s badge carries number 91, that of Firefighter/Paramedic Dan Yonan, lost in 1999.

In the background we hear the constant chatter of radio and dispatch traffic, an audible reminder the job of protecting citizens and visitors to Burbank is not prepared to take a break for interviews, and the interview could be over in one second if the need arises, allowing either or both fire fighters and police officers to move quickly towards danger or disaster.

”The badges, police and fire, are next to each other” notes Sergeant Darin Ryburn, Burbank Police Department.  “In Burbank the brotherhood (police and fire) is very strong.  We support each other, firefighters support the police, police support the firefighters.  For me, coming down and working out in the gym reminds me of that brotherhood we have in Burbank.”

Captain Baldridge believes the high rises are symbolic of 9/11.  Firefighter Richard Morris added “you see the tall buildings, and you think of all the firefighters and police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, and those who are on duty every day.  I see the mural, and there are a lot of thought-provoking images.”

Sgt Ryburn jumps in, explaining while it is good to honor those on the wall, it is also important to “not be added to the wall” ourselves.  “The gym is a place to maintain our physical fitness, focusing to keep on top of our game, as we do not want to be added to the wall.”

The mural is viewed by the Matthew Pavelka’s family and other Burbank Police Officers during a recent visit to the Burbank Police Station. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The small group of officers and firefighters gathered, looking at the wall, having a bit of quiet small talk with each other, reminiscing and talking through memories of those fallen.  Memories of police officers supporting a firefighter’s funeral, fire fighters lending professional and emotional support to officers during the investigation of a fallen police officer (Officer Matthew Pavelka, Badge 84, killed in the line of duty on 15 November 2003).

Sgt Ryburn breaks the moment with an image from a day long ago, when Firefighter/Paramedic Dan Yonan was laid to rest.  “I will never forget that day.  I was a motor officer when he passed away.  It was raining the day we had his funeral, and we saw flags all over Forest Lawn.  It was such an honor to escort the casket.  He was one of our own, it was an honor to escort Dan to his final resting place. In Burbank we know each other, we’ve gotten used to seeing each other, being with each other.”

It is hard to keep police officers and fire fighters in a somber mood for long.  Within a few minutes they are back to joking and teasing.  Captain Baldridge offers “like all families we have our differences, and can be just as tenacious as brothers.  However, the gym is a great place for us to get together and build relationships.”

The funeral procession of Dan Yonan’s funeral.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A few more stories about practical jokes, rivalries, competition, and the differences between generations of cops and fire fighters.  The old guys are in the gym providing guidance to the young, and when needed putting context to the symbolism presented by Ms. Rodrigue’s mural.

A younger police officer, Officer Ashley Sudbrook steps in, and is “volunteered” by the old guys to share a few thoughts on her impressions of the mural.   “This department does not take anything lightly, and nothing is forgotten.”  She continues to explain the gym is a great place for both the police and fire fighters to “hang out” and get to know each other. “This is a great place to pass along war stories” among our colleagues.

“We know when we come to work, we might not go home that night” reminds Officer Sudbrook.  “However,” she says, while looking up at the mural, “we know our efforts will not be forgotten.”

While the group continued standing in front of the mural, conversation had veered off to discussions on the relationship between police and fire fighters, with the only reference to the wall being an occasional comment on how appropriate it is to have the badges together on the wall, as they should be, in a city like Burbank.

Those honored on the wall:

  • Officer Matthew Pavelka – 2003
  • Fire Medic Dan Yonan – 1999
  • Officer Richard Kunkle – 1961
  • Engineer John Satisik – 1961
  • Officer Joseph Wilson – 1961
  • Deputy Marshal Robert Normand – 1920
  • Marshal Luther Colson – 1914

The mural as shown painted on the weight room wall. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Campers Spend a Day at Bob Hope Airport

Bob Hope Crash rig displays it powerful nozzles with over 1500 gallons a minute. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This years Burbank Summer Daze Camp located at Robert Gross Park recently took a trip over to The Bob Hope Airport, to see how the Airport runs and get a show from the different agencies that make up the airport’s operations.

The campers heard from Police Officers, Firefighters, Southwest ticket operators, and the members of the TSA and were able to see the equipment the different people and agencies use.

Many of the campers commented that this is the best field trip they had ever been on. The best part for some where getting wet from the spray of Crash 2, or looking into the inside of a Jet, while a couple enjoyed looking into the Burbank Police Helicopter.  Of course at the end, all of them enjoyed the pizza lunch that was served before heading back to the park.

Campers even got to see one of their counselors handcuffed, and an Airport Authority Police officer use his taser on a demo board.

The program was hosted by Lucy Burghdorf the Airports Manager, Public Relations & Government Affairs.


Burbank Police Sgt. Bob Quesada guides Officer Jason Embleton driving a tug with a Notar Helicopter to it's parking spot. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Kids get to ask Burbank Police Officer Jason Embleton questions about Burbank's Helicopter. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)


Getting drenched in the 100 degree heat was the best part of the day. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Summer Daze campers find out what the role of the Airport's Fire Department. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Bob Hope Police Officer Steve Bock shows the kids one of the ways they get around the airport on this T-3 transporter. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

Lock up time as a camper uses a pair of handcuffs to lock up her counselor. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

After boarding this private jet the Summer Daze camp poses for a group photo. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Bob Hope Airport Fire Department Introduces the Panther 1500

Bob Hope Airports Newest Fire Equipment Compresses Air Foam Equipped Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Vehicle. With water being squirted over a 150 feet, it also shoots water or foam under the rig making a path for people to escape. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

You are in seat 23D on Ridge Air Flight 4357 approaching Burbank Airport.  The captain makes an announcement that one of the wing landing gears has not fully locked, and the aircraft will need to land with the gear raised.  No big problem, as the crew trains for this situation “all the time.”

The passengers, while anxious, have full confidence the aircrew, airport operations, and fire department are fully prepared for any event.  As the aircraft does a circle around the airport, you notice a lot of red flashing lights approaching the runway, and you know the airport fire department is ready for your landing.

Bob Hope Airports Newest Fire Equipment Compresses Air Foam Equipped Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Vehicle.This picture if of one of the water cannons. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

According to Fire Captain Marcus Domingo of the Bob Hope (Burbank) Airport Fire Department (BHAFD), the BHAFD’s rescue and firefighting resources “greatly exceed what you would normally expect to see at an airport this size,” and that resource is now further reinforced with the rollout of BHAFD’s newest firefighting tool, the ARFF Panther 1500.

Built by Rosenbauer, the BHAFD’s Panther 1500 was introduced to the public Monday morning.  The new crash rig provides Bob Hope Airport with the latest in compressed air foam (CAF) technologies, providing fire fighters far greater control in dynamically managing the mixtures of foam, water, and other compounds used in quickly smothering and extinguishing fuel fires.

Combining the ability to deploy the most advanced fire fighting compounds, with additional tools such as forward looking infrared (FLIR) and thermal imaging cameras (TICs), fire fighters employing

ARFF Panther

the Panther 1500 are able to more rapidly assess and identify the best possible response to nearly any emergency situation.  This enhanced firefighting capability can be delivered to any point within the airport property in 3 minutes or less following notification of an emergency.

The Panther 1500 employs an advanced cab, allowing the operator to manage nearly all facets of the truck’s capability, including operating foam and water turrets, adjusting foam and chemical mixtures, visibility into the FLIR, and charging lines.  “It is like playing a video game” continued Capt Domingo.  “The cab operator basically manages everything with a joystick, and the firefighters are free to concentrate on approaching the fire” and rescuing passengers.

Bob Hope Airports Newest Fire Equipment Compresses Air Foam Equipped Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Vehicle. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Burbank is the first airport in the US to operate a Class 4 ARFF (aircraft rescue and fire fighting designation) vehicle employing the CAF system” said Capt Domingo.  “Although several other area airports, including LAX, are in the process of acquiring the same type vehicle.”

In fact, the LAX fire department recently sent a large number of firefighters to Burbank Airport for a day of familiarization with the Panther 1500, walking away with great anticipation of receiving their own.  According to Capt Domingo, LAX will soon receive six of the crash rigs.

The Bob Hope Airport Authority “takes pride in backing public safety agencies supporting the airport” noted Capt Domingo.  “Whether it is the police department or fire department, they (airport authority) provide us with the best possible equipment to safely handle the traveling passenger.  They really care about the safety of our passengers.”

Bob Hope Airports Newest Fire Equipment Compresses Air Foam Equipped Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Vehicle. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Capt Domingo acknowledges other airports around the world have professional, courageous firefighters and emergency responders committed to protecting passengers during accidents or other safety events.  However “having access to this type equipment increases our ability to save lives” if a crash or accident occurs.

Passengers departing and arriving to Bob Hope Airport will likely never meet an airport fireman, however all will have confidence the combination of a motivated fire department, using the best possible firefighting and rescue equipment, will ensure their safety is the highest priority, and help is available on a moment’s notice.

Bob Hope Airports Newest Fire Equipment Compresses Air Foam Equipped Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Vehicle. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Bob Hope Airport Fire Department employs 3 shifts of 6 firefighters per shift on a 2 day on, 4 day off schedule.  The airport has cooperative agreements with the Burbank City Fire Department, as well as Los Angeles City Fire in the event of a larger scale emergency.

In addition to providing emergency services, the BHAFD also supports the airport AED program, fire extinguisher inspections and training, as well as inspections and emergency support for all airport structures.


Bob Hope Airports Newest Fire Equipment Compresses Air Foam Equipped Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Vehicle. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Fire Conducts ‘Live Burn’ Training

The man went to work diligently piling wooden pallets, kindling, and other materials in the room, preparing to build a fire that could potentially burn down the entire building. Armed with a propane torch, he went about lighting the kindling…

An arsonist attempting to destroy the structure? No, it was Captain John Nare, Arson Investigator for the Burbank Fire Department initiating a live training exercise for firefighters in property scheduled for demolition at 2223 Catalina Street in Burbank……..

See the whole story here at BurbankNBeyond along with a photo gallery

Car Crash Turns Drivers World Upside Down

Photo By Ross A. Benson

Firefighters from both Burbank and L. A. responded to the corner of Clybourn and Riverside Saturday afternoon for a vehicle that had turned upside down.  It was reported that the young female driver of the vehicle was driving westbound on Riverside when she veered over and hit a parked car with the impact then sending her car upside down.

Photo By Ross A. Benson

Burbank Firefighters Need Your Help Next Weekend For MDA Fundraiser

Photo By Ross A. Benson

The Burbank Firefighters Local 778 will soon kick-off their annual “Fill-the-Boot” fund-raising campaign which benefits children and adults with muscle-wasting diseases served by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). On April 29th, April 30th and May 1st from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Burbank firefighters will be stationed at three locations. Please help the firefighters raise money for MDA by filling the boot at the Empire Center, on San Fernando Rd. in front of IKEA and the entrance of Pavilions on Alameda.

The MDA is committed to the eradication of neuromuscular diseases and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) is their longtime friend and their largest national sponsor. Fill-the-Boot drives are the primary means by which the IAFF has raised $450 million for MDA since 1954.

“Time and again, these lifesaving heroes give so much of themselves for ‘my kids’,” MDA National Chairman Jerry Lewis said. “They’ve made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many, and as they begin their 2011 campaign, I hope people will see their tireless dedication and be moved and inspired to do their part.”  Fill-the-Boot funds support MDA’s services locally and nationally, including medical clinics staffed with specialists in muscle disease and summer camps for kids.  These funds also help finance MDA’s worldwide research program seeking treatments for diseases such as Duchene Muscular Dystrophy and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Up-to-date information about MDA services and research can be found at www.mda.org.

Photo By Ross A. Benson

Traffic Accident In Burbank Results In HazMat Cleanup

Photo By Ross A. Benson

A truck carrying Chlorine and Pool Acid was involved in a minor traffic accident at the intersection of Buena Vista and Glenoaks Blvds. Saturday morning. A liquid started to leak from the inside of the Bobcat type truck, causing the Fire Department to go into HazMat mode and closing down Glenoaks Blvd.. Burbank Fire’s Hazardous Materials team along with Glendale’s Hazardous Materials units were called into check the severity of the spill. When the back of the truck was opened, it was determined that the spill was very minor and could be cleaned up by the fire dept. The accident didn’t cause any injuries, and the materials spilled were cleaned up removed by the Hazmat team.

Photo By Ross A. Benson

Photo By Ross A. Benson

The Boller’s Have Left The House, The Firehouse That Is

Photo By Ross A. Benson

Burbank Firefighters gathered this past Friday to give well wishes and retirement goodbye’s  and see the end of a family tradition.  Robert ‘Bobby’ Boller retired from the Burbank Fire Department, this past Friday, Bob a 1975 graduate of Burbank High School, was also a  City of Burbank Parks and Recreation Coach and Recreation leader in the early 1970’s until he took the test to become a Burbank Firemen.

Bob followed in the footsteps of his father George, who was a lifelong Burbank Firefighter, who followed his dad who was Chief of the  Lockheed Fire Dept from the 1940’s till his retirement in 1970,  George Boller  retired as a Captain in July of 1991 following a 30 year career with The Burbank Fire Department. Bobby became a Paramedic only a few years after coming on the job in 1979 and remained an active Paramedic for 26 years, some say that is unheard of, but Bob loved his job and the people he helped all these years.

Plenty of stories were shared and there were tears of joy and sadness as he leaves. City Manager Mike Flad presented Bob with his retirement tile and thanked him on behalf of the City Council and Fire Chief Ray Krakowski  presented bob with a shadow box with his badge, Helmet Shield, and a hug for good health in his retirement years. Retires who also stopped by to wish Bobbie well  were Dwayne Servillo, Hans Jenner, Battalion Chief Milford ‘Butch’ Johnson. Bobby also had his whole family along his side including his wife, daughters Candace, Casey, and his son Kyle and all his grandchildren.

Photo By Ross A. Benson