Friday, June 29, 2012

Who will fill this retiring Fire Marshals Shoes?

His name is Jack Mason CFI  and he has been the Fire Marshal of Penn Hills  for over 30 years  and he is retiring this week after a very long and dedicated career to keeping the Penn Hills community and Western Pa. safe from fire.
Jack is much more than just your average Fire Marshal  he is also a Certified Fire Investigator  thru the IAAI International Assoc of Arson Investigators which means he brought to the community modern scientific based investigations not junk science and old wives tales and got solid answers and convictions in arson cases . He also serves as the community's Emergency Management Coordinator as well . As Fire Marshal he has made friends and plenty of enemy's as well because he has evenly enforced building and fire codes. Being a fire marshal is not an easy job your on call 24/7 -365 days a year . To handle everything from illegal burning to fire alarm inspections and approvals to fire and arson Investigations .
In Penn Hills Jack has changed the community from a Hooterville to a modern day safe community  with the implementation of the BOCA codes back in the early 80's .
When Jack first started as Fire Marshal the only fire fighting precautions that had to be taken in Apartment buildings in Penn Hills was having buckets of sand available to put out fires.
because Penn Hills in effect had no codes other than very weak state codes thats why he fought for and got BOCA codes implemented which have now finally grew  into the state wide ICC Building and Fire Codes .
Most citizens in Penn hills have no idea what Jack has done to make this community modern and safe I could right for days about it .
This is exactly  what I am very concerned about I do not want to see Penn Hills go back to its Hooterville days which is what many people want done where inspections are lackadaisical or not done at all  and yea go ahead and do that we will turn our heads attitude.   I know Jack is worried about it to  but he has done more than his share and he can not do it forever all he can do like me is lead by example and he now deserves to enjoy his retirement which I am sure will be spent sharing all his knowledge with others as he has authored hundreds of articles for the fire service.
So good luck Jack you deserve this time off to reflect and enjoy your senior years you really did earn it the hard way.
As for Penn Hills lets do the right thing not the Hooterville thing . But I have little doubt this will happen. Knowing the way Penn Hills officials have behaved in past and present as Penn hills will continue to be the Laughing Joke it has always been when you mention the community's name anywhere in Pa. or the Tri state with infamous incidents like when  fire dept  224  tied  the Inner tube and towed it behind the fire squad truck incident in Penn hills Park one snowy evening and the whole Sewage Dumping incident  which lead to the community pleading guilty to a felony  and has cost multi millions of dollars to fix and sewage fees that cost an arm and leg.
 At this point Penn Hills will probably no longer have a fire marshal and it will be all 3rd party inspection which  by law  their required to have a Fire Marshal as their a Home Rule community but following law and doing right has always been a choice around here. Sad but true.

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