“THIS IS OUR SECOND FAMILY.”
Photo by RON JEFFERSNew Jersey firefighters and authors celebrated retired FDNY Deputy Chief Vincent Dunn's (center in maroon sweater) 88th birthday at the home of the New Jersey Deputy & Battalion Fire Chief's Association President Charles Lind, Jr., in June.
Photo by RON JEFFERSDeputy Chief Dunn enjoying his birthday celebration with an officer's helmet that could write its own book!
On a comfortable Saturday afternoon, some forty active and retired firefighters and fire officers assembled in a Dumont backyard to celebrate the 88th birthday, and the many life-saving accomplishments, of a man that's known in the fire service as, “a legend”.
Retired FDNY 3rd Division Chief Vincent Dunn is known for his firefighting and life-saving tactics through his lectures, magazine articles and his many books. He was the guest of honor at the home of retired Jersey City Battalion Chief, and President of the NJ Deputy & Battalion Fire Chief's Association, Charles Lind, Jr., in June.
“You've saved so many lives through your books,” Lind said. “This is our second-family,” Dunn added.
Chief Dunn explained how he and the New Jersey chief bonded. It was through social media that the two initially connected through, of course, fire related topics. At one point, both were dealing with personal issues, and they became closer. Dealing with their problems, they got deeper into the fire service and proper firefighting procedures. A form of mental therapy, or “salvation,” as Chief Dunn described it.
Chief Dunn attended, and spoke at fire education seminars held by the New Jersey chief's organization. The chief not only spoke, with full attention of the audience, but he later autographed his books for lines of firefighters who were honored to meet Chief Dunn and/or get a “selfie” with him.
Not only were their firefighters in attendance, but retired Hackensack Deputy Chief Pete Danzo pulled up with his privately owned Mack CF model pumper. The rig saw original duty with the FDNY before it was sold and refurbished. Chief Dunn was thrilled to sit in the officer's seat of a veteran Mack. In addition, Chief Dunn's former aide, retired Firefighter Bill Hamilton, a 42-year veteran of the FDNY, was also in attendance.
“This is a very special day for all of us,” Lind said. “This is the greatest fraternity in the world.”
Chief Lind reminded Dunn of a story that was brought up at a past organization seminar. In 1989, Jersey City Deputy Chief Denis Oneal, also a famed author, read Chief Dunn's book, “Collapse of Burning Buildings.” It wasn't long after, that he was the incident commander at the scene of a burning wood-frame structure. He noticed indications of a possible collapse, that he had learned from the book. He ordered all members out of the building and, moments later, there was a collapse.
In attendance at this celebration was retired Jersey City Firefighter Larry Cureton. He was operating in that building and confirmed that the order to evacuate saved him and his fellow firefighters.
There were other nationally known authors among the well-wishers. This included former chief officers Anthony Avillo, Glenn Corbett and Jack Murphy.
Chief Dunn is working on two more books, conferring with Corbett. Chief Avillo is nearly complete with his next publication. Their live-saving work continues.