Remembering Our Fallen

Remembering Our Fallen

As we pause and reflect on the 10-year anniversary of the loss of Captain Robin Broxterman and Firefighter Brian Schira consider the impact this tragedy has had on individuals, families, organizations, and the firefighting profession. From this terrible day in our history many things have come to be and continue to be the legacy that serve to honor Robin and Brian. The price they paid, albeit the ultimate one, carries with it for this organization a significant responsibility to continuously learn and grow as an organization. Firefighter lives have been saved as a result of their sacrifice and no greater means of honoring their legacy exists (

As we continue to move forward, much work remains to be done. It starts with ourselves and not being afraid to say I am suffering; it starts with ourselves and the quest for lifelong learning and continuous improvement; it starts with leadership who grasps the consequences and puts in place measures to lessen or prevent behavioral health issues; it starts with leadership that is not afraid to find the root causes of near misses, close calls, and Line-of-Duty Deaths so as to put forth measures to lessen or prevent the possibility of it occurring again; and it starts with a profession that isn’t stuck in “this is the way that we have always done it”.

As firefighters, we face risks every day when we report for duty; we take on these risks knowingly and willfully. It’s good to remind ourselves, from time to time, why we signed up for the job that we’ve chosen to do. Perhaps we did it for two reasons: One, somehow we all felt called, to one degree or another, to become a part of this “noble profession”. Two, we know that we wouldn’t truly be happier doing anything else. But then again keep in mind, none of us are called to sacrifice ourselves unnecessarily. We assume these risks with our eyes wide open, but we also deserve to go home at the end of each shift.

Pay homage and respect on this, the 10-year anniversary of the loss of Captain Broxterman and Firefighter Schira, by considering the impact on the families and the ways and means of continued support for them. Take the time to consider the impact of what we see and do on a regular basis and the toll that it takes on each of us. Take the time to review the Preliminary, NIOSH, and Final Report documents ( and the recommendations to lessen or prevent a similar tragedy. Take the time to review Understanding and Fighting Basement Fires (, a cooperative effort between the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and the Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute. Take the time to be the best that you can possibly be and NEVER quit learning new and improved ways to do the “job”.

It has been ten years and we are still talking about, and learning from Squirrelsnest Lane. That is the truest definition of WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

F.W. Cook
Frank Cook, MPA CFO EFO
Chief of Department