“The current members of Watkins Street would like to express our gratitude to all the members who have worked before us. For it is their dogged determination and commitment to excellence on which our very traditions are grounded.”

May
23
2016

The Boys Of Summer

2016 Engine vs Truck

2016 Engine vs Truck

Proud Grampa Dave Fenton (L120, Ret) Introduces The Twins To Engine/Truck Softball!

Proud Grampa Dave Fenton (L120, Ret) Introduces The Twins To Engine/Truck Softball!

 

The annual Engine/Truck softball game was a great success as L120 came away with a 7-6 victory to edge out the Engine and secure bragging rights for the first time in many years! The Engine was led by the strong pitching staff which included recently retired BC Tim Riordan (former Lt E231) and current Bn44 Chief, Danny DiMartino. E231 Senior Man (Charlie Staten) showed he could still hang with the young fellas as he ripped a liner to short, drawing a standing ovation. L120 (which had an overall balanced offensive attack) was anchored on the defense side by second baseman – former Captain John Calamari and the gold glove outfield play of Lt Scott Coyne. Following the game, FF Billy McLaughlin was seen ordering mandatory batting practice for all 231 members in preparation for next year!

The highlight of the day was the standing room only crowd which quickly gathered around “Grandpa Dave Fenton” who did a fantastic job explaining the history of the annual bragging rights game – while multi-tasking between bottles and diaper duty for 2 sets ((the Fenton’s & the Woods) of our “many” Watkins Street twins. Congratulations to one and all!

“The Tradition Continues…

May
12
2016

Watkins Street Members Join His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan Among Honorees At 21st Annual FDNY Foundation Dinner

Lt Scott Coyne (L120) Accepts 2016 FDNY Recognition Award

Lt Scott Coyne (L120) Accepts 2016 FDNY Recognition Award

Congratulations to Lt Scott Coyne (L120) who represented the Watkins Street contingent of the FDNY Incident Management Team and Bureau of Operations (which also included FF Billy McLaughlin E231, FF Brian Winzer E231, and FF John McEneaney L120) receiving the FDNY Recognition Award at the New York Hilton in recognition for exemplary efforts as part of the FDNY Legionnaire Task Force at the 2016 FDNY Foundation Dinner.

After several New Yorkers lost their lives to the dreaded disease, members of the Legionnaire Task Force essentially operated around the clock in order to identify every potential building in NYC which may have been affected.

The entire effort was a great success, under the command of Assistant Chief Ronald Spadafora, (who along with former Bn44 members AC James Daly & DAC Edward Ferrier) led the Brothers on stage to accept the award from FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. In a poignant moment that brought the house down, Chief Spadafora received a standing ovation as all in attendance, including His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan marveled at the courage and dignity for which Chief Ronnie continues to display as he stands up to fight cancer. Congratulations to all for a job well done.

“The Tradition Continues…

Apr
26
2016

Companies Honor Former Battalion 44 Commander Orlence “Dan” Orvis – Oldest Living FDNY Chief!

New York Newsday - April 26, 2016

New York Newsday – April 26, 2016

Welcome Home Chief!

Welcome Home Chief!

The Officers & Members of the 44 Battalion gathered to welcome NYC’s oldest living Fire Chief (95 yrs old), former Bn44 Commander Orlence “Dan” Orvis back home as he celebrated his 40th year of retirement. BC Orvis (US Navy WW2 Veteran) was in command of the 44th Battalion during the latter parts of the FDNY War Years from (1972-1976). Chief Orvis was forced to retire following 30 years of service after a roof collapsed on him during a rescue attempt which left him partially paralyzed on one side of his body.

As the Chief’s motorcade turned onto Watkins Street, his family was greeted with thunderous applause from FDNY members as every rig in the 44 Battalion had lined the street to welcome the former Commander home to Watkins Street. UFOA President Jake Lemonda and current Bn44 Commander James McNally presented special commendations and gifts to mark the occasion, our friends from the Brooklyn CO gave the traditional Voice Alarm tribute, and many firefighting Brothers from years gone by also made surprise visits (which included Al Jacobs, Andy Garguilo, and the birthday boy who turns 90 next week, Seymour Schenker – who was Chief Orvis’ trusted 44 Aide). Before cutting his cake, the tones went off and the old school Chief was treated to one last nostalgic trip down Pitkin Ave, responding with his 44th Battalion to a Class 3 alarm.

At the conclusion of a memorable afternoon, the wise Chief had one small piece of advice for today’s members (telling us), ”Boys, you’re all in a wonderful Job…..be good to The Job.”

“The Tradition Continues…

To view photos, please click on the “Photo Gallery” section and scroll to the bottom of the page

* The Officers & Members of the entire 44 Battalion send a tip of the helmet to all the people who quietly worked behind the scenes at FDNY Headquarters for helping provide a fitting tribute to a deserving individual and his family.

http://m.nydailynews.com/new-york/fdny-honors-95-year-old-retired-firefighter-brooklyn-article-1.2614196

Apr
21
2016

TBT – Remembering Our Friend Ed Wetzel

Captain Ed Wetzel (E231)

Captain Ed Wetzel (E231)

Ed Wetzel & Wife Audrey Celebrate Son Danny (E231) Promotion To Lieutenant

Ed Wetzel & Wife Audrey Celebrate Son Danny (E231) Promotion To Lieutenant

 

For today’s “Throw Back Thursday” (TBT), we remember BC Ed Wetzel, a giant of a man (whom they affectionately called “The Mighty Midget”) and undoubtedly will forever be part of the Mount Rushmore of Watkins Street. A member of the US Navy in WW2 and legend of the FDNY War Years, Ed is the only person in history to officially have been assigned to all 3 ranks (Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain) in Engine Company 231…and we should add….somehow ”unofficially” found his way back to Watkins Street once again as a Chief in Bn44!

Although Captain Wetzel was among the most decorated members in the FDNY during his day receiving (3) Class 3 Awards, (1) Class A, (1) Class B, Firefighter of the Month (1959), and of course a trip to Medal Day as the Bella Stiefel Medal Winner (1965), it was the work he performed off duty as an Ordained Deacon with the Catholic Church for 30 plus years which put an exclamation point on his storied life. Up until the very end, Ed was seen washing pots and pans in the soup kitchens or performing committee work in the shelters. If there ever was a life of service, it was that of our dear friend Ed Wetzel.

“The Tradition Continues…

Apr
21
2016

Watkins Street Lieutenant Pat Connolly Helps Raise $310,000 For Our Brothers In Boston Fire Department!

Lt Connolly Takes A Blow At Boston Marathon E33/L15 (Half-Way To The Finish Line)

Lt Connolly Takes A Blow At Boston Marathon E33/L15 (Half-Way To The Finish Line)

Boston Medal Lands on Watkins Street

Boston Medal Lands on Watkins Street

 

Watkins Street is very proud to send a tip of the helmet to FDNY Lieutenant Patrick Connolly E231 (L120 Cov) who recently competed in the 2016 Boston Marathon in support of the “Last Call Foundation”, honoring Boston’s Bravest (FF Michael Kennedy & Lt Edward Walsh) who together made the Supreme Sacrifice at a 9 Alarm Wind Impacted Fire on March 26, 2014. Boston Fire Officials have since labeled this inferno one of the toughest and most tragic fires in the history of the City of Boston, and one whose effects were felt nationwide.

The “Last Call Foundation was established to provide funding, education, and research in an effort to enhance the safety needs of the Boston firefighting community and further seeks to share the results of its findings with departments throughout the country in memory of two of Boston’s favorite sons who gave their lives doing what they love.

Congratulations to our Lt Pat Connolly (who we not only watched train vigorously in preparation), but also marveled at his tireless efforts to raise funds (over $310,000.00) for such a worthy cause. His is an example of Brotherhood at its finest and further insures the life stories of FF Michael Kennedy & Lt Edward Walsh will be remembered by those who knew them – and more importantly by those who didn’t.

“The Tradition Continues…

Apr
9
2016

Congratulations Captain Christopher G. Eysser (L120) Promoted To FDNY Battalion Chief!

Watkins Street Members Gather To Celebrate Following BC Eysser Promotion Ceremony

Watkins Street Members Gather To Celebrate Following BC Eysser Promotion Ceremony

"Going Out In Style" 10-77 Box 1698

“Going Out In Style” 10-77 Box 1698

The Officers & Members of E231/L120/Bn44 congratulate our Captain Chris Eysser (L120) on his promotion to the rank of FDNY Battalion Chief – following in the footsteps of his father (the late, great Chief George Eysser Bn35), a beloved figure within our Department who we recently lost to a WTC 9/11 illness. As a Chief Officer, BC Chris Eysser will have an angel on his shoulder “and a voice I can always refer to” which is sure to help create a safer environment for all firefighters under his future command.

Captain Eysser, (the 26th Company Commander in our storied history) conducted his final Roll Call on Watkins Street on April 8th, 2016 (which ironically happened to be the 111th Anniversary of Ladder Company 120 existence) – a number having special meaning since he began his tower ladder firefighting career (L111, L124, L120) as a member of the Nuthouse. Amongst the most respected Fire Officers in the FDNY (in addition to exercising prominent achievement during his tenure at L120), his closing remarks reflected a deep and abiding regard for the humbling experience having had the opportunity to serve on Watkins Street.

The final tour would feature special visits from Uncle Herb Eysser, The Brothers of years past, our friends – the fire buffs, neighboring Bn44 Companies including the fine men of Field Comm, a Voice Alarm tribute from the Brooklyn Dispatchers, a visit from Dispatcher 120 Warren Fuchs “The Voice of Brooklyn”, congratulatory phone calls, nosh, chow, coffee, and an “undetected” note of affection penned by the members of L120. Fittingly, at 2228 hrs, Captain Eysser went out in style as E231/L120/Bn44 responded 1st due to phone alarm Brooklyn Box 1698 for the address 414 Sutter Ave resulting in signal 10-77 “All-Hands on Arrival” in apartment 1G. In what was a memorable, old school night of fire duty with “last tours” all over the place, (at about the same time operations were taking place at 414 Sutter), Bn37 was giving “All-Hands for a fire in the basement at Marion/Saratoga”….which of course meant our old friends George, Ellson, and Howie were all smiles, looking down with pride from the great firehouse kitchen in the sky.

Congratulations to FDNY Battalion Chief Chris Eysser (who as our Captain) upheld and supported time honored traditions we hold dear. His unyielding pursuit constantly working towards elevating our performance on the fire ground will be felt around Watkins Street for a very long time.

“The Tradition Continues…

 

Mar
30
2016

1954 – The Watkins Street Kitchen

Below is a famous photo of the Watkins Street kitchen taken about 64 years ago in the year 1954 featuring several historical significances…
Special thanks to John “Jack” Fortmeyer (L107 Ret) who recently presented the firehouse with a copy of the photo and was able to identify the members for us. Jack’s father (John Fortmeyer Sr, pictured 2nd from the right reading the paper) was a member of L120 from 1944 – 1961. The cartoon mural which is painted on the back wall by world famous cartoonist Ham Fisher apparently depicted specific members of Watkins Street during that time period (which we are in the process of trying to learn more about).
Pictured (left to right):
Ed Haug
Bob Cooper
Emil Fedunic
Charles Barkhaus
Charles T. Smith – standing below TV (has most time ever in L120) 1937-1967
Louis Gasperin
Charles Busch
BC Walter Fricke (FF L120/BC in Bn44)
Frank Lalia
John Fortmeyer
Captain Peter Burns (L120) 1953-1958
Nicholas Baudo

“The Tradition Continues…

Remembering The Brothers from yesteryear

Remembering The Brothers from yesteryear

(If anybody has further information about this photo and/or the members in it, please contact us)

Mar
28
2016

Our Friend, FDNY Lieutenant Bobby Alford (E231)

The Watkins Street Family gathered to celebrate the life of our good friend, FDNY Lieutenant Robert Alford (E231 Ret) who passed to a higher level as lingering health effects of 9/11 finally took its toll. Lt Alford, who was appointed to the FDNY in 1981, was a highly decorated Fire Officer retiring with honors in 2002 following 21 years of distinguished service to the City of New York.

Bobby Alford was assigned as a Probationary FF to E236 in East New York, one of the busiest (and best) Engine Companies in the City. There, he had the good fortune to learn from future Watkins Street legends (Captain Joe Coniglio and Lt Pete Ioveno), men who would shape his career while becoming life-long mentors and dear friends. After several years, he decided to try his hand at truck work by transferring to L123 on St Johns East where he remained until his promotion to Lieutenant.

Seeking a skilled Fire Officer to fill a vacancy (after conferring with top Lt Pete Ioveno), E231 Captain Joe Coniglio made a direct call to FDNY Headquarters, ultimately reuniting the former 236 trifecta who would team with Lt Bobby Higgins (future 231 Captain) to help mold two decades worth of E231 firefighters. Establishing as a gritty Fire Officer, “The Big Swede” (as he was affectionately called) quickly made a home on Watkins Street and was beloved by all.

On September 11, 2001 Lt Robert Alford took part in the greatest rescue effort our Nation has ever witnessed. An integral part of the Watkins Street Command, he proved a calming influence to the dynamic and high stress situation. In addition to providing key leadership and always getting his hands dirty, he launched “maximum effort” edicts to all members of his unit and accepted nothing less.

Although the effects of 9/11 may have caught up with him, it’s a safe bet that he would not change a thing. His was a career of service and one would be hard pressed to find a more aggressive Fire Officer in the City of New York when fire was blowing out the windows…Rest easy big fella….
You’ve done your share.

“The Tradition Continues…

Lt Bobby Alford Our "Big Swede"

Lt Bobby Alford Our “Big Swede”

We will Never forget

We will Never forget

Mar
24
2016

The Newest Addition(s) To The Watkins Street Family!

The Proud Papa - Lt Dave Woods (E231) with Olivia and Maya

The Proud Papa – Lt Dave Woods (E231) with Olivia and Maya

Congratulations to our Lieutenant Dave Woods (E231), and his beautiful bride Emma as they welcome their TWO bundles of joy (Olivia & Maya) into the world! The new Watkins Street beauties are sure to create quite the stir at future Company Picnics and Christmas Parties.

Congratulations to Dave and Emma….and of course to Olivia and Maya – a great big welcome to the Watkins Street Family ladies!

“The Tradition Continues…

Mar
23
2016

Welcome To Watkins Street – FDNY BC Mike Lee (Bn44)

The Officers & Members of E231/L120/Bn44 would like to formally welcome our newest Chief Officer, BC Mike Lee who was recently assigned to Battalion 44. Chief Lee (whose dad was also a proud member of the FDNY working 20 years at E276) has been a part of our firehouse for several years (UFO) and becomes the 92nd Chief Officer in our storied history to adorn his collar brass with the “44″ insignia.

Mike joined the FDNY as a firefighter at “The Jolly Rogers” serving in both E255 and L157 as a firefighter. After being promoted to Lieutenant, he was assigned to E249 where he was a proud member of “The Rats”. As a Lieutenant in 1994, he was the recipient of one of the Departments highest honors, receiving the Brooklyn Citizens Medal at the FDNY Medal Day in 1995. A career Brooklyn firefighter, upon promotion to Captain, he became the Company Commander of Engine 236, one of the best in the business.

Known in the firehouse kitchen to have a penchant for being “overly subdued” (and of course never the life of the party), we salute our newest Chief who is “always in” as we welcome him and his family to Watkins Street.

“The Tradition Continues…

BC Mike Lee (Bn44) pictured with grandson Teddy at 2016 Saint Patrick's Day Parade!

BC Mike Lee (Bn44) pictured with grandson Teddy at 2016 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade!