FDNY Foam Coordinators

Joined
May 21, 2009
Messages
185
I do not remember if I posted this FDNY history on this site before, if so; sorry for the repeat, last time. A tribute to a great firefighter and friend, Pete Valenzano, B56 retired, now deceased. In 1985 fairly new on the staff as a DAC I was assigned to the Brooklyn Boro Command as one of the two Deputy Boro Commanders. My car # was 7B. As deputy boro commanders you are assigned projects, boro responsibilities etc. One of the duties of Car7B was the L. I. Pipeline Coordinator.

Summer day a second alarm comes in for the pipeline in S. I. As coordinator I respond. Pipeline work crew knocked off a pipeline valve while doing a repair. There was a 40 foot geyser of gasoline erupting from the now missing valve.  Wind was blowing the spray over a large area of homes, stores, cars etc. Later the pipeline said the loss was 21,000 gallons of gasoline, I believe that was a low estimate. A large wooden plate was placed by the pipeline crew over the geyser, leaving a river of gasoline flowing down the blvd. into the Arthur Kill by the storm drains.  We started to put foam on the river and did keep the flow from igniting. John O'Rourke (RIP) was Chief of Department at the scene. At one point I grabbed a newly reporting in Lt. from an engine company and told him that he was to insure the foam supply as units reported in, then report to me. I never saw him again. Incident went to 4 alarms. Everyone went home, no homes lost, great job by the brothers.

The next day I was in headquarters talking to AC Harris (RIP) (Asst. Ch. of Ops) and Homer Bishop (RIP) (Ch. of Ops). Told them about the foam problem and then did something stupid, said we needed a Department Foam Coordinator. The next day I was the Department Foam Coordinator. I knew as much about foam as the next guy, put the nozzle on the line, dip the wand into the big can and hope foam comes out. Asked around and was told that there was a BC in the 56th Battalion who loved foam, his nickname was bubbles; Pete Valenzano. I had seen him at a few jobs when I was a covering DC in the BX but other than that didn't know him, but he was always great at the fire I had with him. I called him up and asked him if he would take a detail to Training to put together foam procedures etc. He said sure. I went to O'Rourke and asked him for Pete. John said I could have him for two weeks, Pete was there for 6 years until he retired. He was such an asset to Training in many fields that they fought to keep him there.

As was said to me Pete put the FDNY's foam program "on the map." He designated and trained the foam coordinator battalions/chiefs, additional foam units were established, theory for foam attack, color coded the cans for different type foam (which went industry wide after),  foam procedures eg. TL foam delivery, 10-86 signal was born. Other cities sent reps to Training to learn Pete's system.

Pete retired around 1991 or 92. Pete spent most of his years, FF, Lt, Captain and BC in the Bx, through the war years. As with so many of these great men Pete developed cancer shortly after retiring, lived only a painful year or so, then passed away. The next large scale FDNY foam incident, think of Pete Valenzano, bubbles. May he continue to Rest in Peace. FDNY history.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
5,652
Chief that is certainly a great story. I remember reading about Foam in one of the operations Manuel's I used to read. I would make a trip to the Rock every three months and buy any updates.

I remember reading about using the right kind of foam at the airports etc. I might be wrong but I think it was protein foam first and then AFFF. Whatever it was I learned it from my days of buffing the FDNY, those training manuals I used to pick up, WNYF Magazine and sometimes just talking with the guys.

 
Joined
May 16, 2008
Messages
800
I will forward this to DC Jonas and the D7 Newsletter.  They have been doing a great job preserving and recording our history.  This is something that could easily be lost.  The modern Foam bulletin is requisite knowledge- like it or not- for the modern company officer.  Interesting to know where it came from. 
 
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
15,895
scoobyd said:
I will forward this to DC Jonas and the D7 Newsletter.  They have been doing a great job preserving and recording our history.  This is something that could easily be lost.  The modern Foam bulletin is requisite knowledge- like it or not- for the modern company officer.  Interesting to know where it came from.
scoobyd ...Is there a way to get DC Jonas's great DV*7 Newsletters on this site?...i read them & think they are very informative both in FDNY History & also in reminders on lessons learned...i am not that computer literate to do it but i think it would be appreciated & helpful to many of the Fire Service followers on the site. 
 

811

Joined
Mar 12, 2009
Messages
288
memory master said:
Thanks for the history Chief. I presume that was Mobil on Arthur Kill Road?

There was also a serious incident with the Long Island/later Buckeye Pipeline on Staten Island, probably late 1970s, or 1980s,  It was in a new construction area near Victory Blvd approx. E166 district when contractors dug into the pipeline.  There was no ignition, but I understand a "geyser" of gasoline was spewing into the air and neighborhood for quite some time.  Surely before all the modern-day foam procedures were in place, but the LIPL procedures - Box 222 - were already on the books and used. 

Bureau of Communications afterward used the audio tapes of this operation as a training tool for Dispatchers.
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
28,226
68jk09 said:
scoobyd said:
I will forward this to DC Jonas and the D7 Newsletter.  They have been doing a great job preserving and recording our history.  This is something that could easily be lost.  The modern Foam bulletin is requisite knowledge- like it or not- for the modern company officer.  Interesting to know where it came from.
scoobyd ...Is there a way to get DC Jonas's great DV*7 Newsletters on this site?...i read them & think they are very informative both in FDNY History & also in reminders on lessons learned...i am not that computer literate to do it but i think it would be appreciated & helpful to many of the Fire Service followers on the site.


Here is Chief Jonas' Division 7 July 2016 newsletter:

http://www.fdnysbravest.com/July2016.pdf
 
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