Rest In Peace Lt. Richard Hamilton – FDNY (RET)

LT RICHARD HAMILTON-FDNY (Ret)

Lieutenant Dick Hamilton (F.F. L-17, R-3, R-4 & Lt. R-2) has passed away with his family by his side. Lt Hamilton was the most decorated FF in the F.D.N.Y. when he retired. He was the author of the absolutely outstanding book “20,000 Alarms”-now out of print and much in demand. He was also a WW 2 Naval Veteran.

Borrowed from the Secret List.

One of the best stories of out the book I use almost daily is something like this……..

There was a new Lieutenant assigned to the Rescue and they responded to a fire in a taxpayer. Dick Hamilton and another firefighter jumped out of the truck when it arrived and went into an adjoining store and began pulling down the vents to stop the fire spread. The Lt. chewed their ass.

Apparently this Lt got promoted to Capt and was assigned to a truck. His truck responded to a fire several years later and he ordered two of his men to go to the roof.

When the fire went to a multiple alarm, the Chief tried to figure out what went wrong. He discovered that the two firefighters assigned to the roof had never vented. So he asked them, in front of their Capt., why they didn’t vent. They stated, we received no order to vent Chief. We were ordered to go to the roof.

The Chief then asked, “You need an order to perform such a basic function?”

They replied, “Chief, in this company you need an order to go to the bathroom.”

So much for the Captain……

Strong SOPs and pre-determined assignments should avoid situations like the one described above from happening.† Unfortunately some Officers are unable to let go of the “Mother May I” mentality and feel they must micro manage even the most basic functions of their crews.

This leads to the Officers becoming over loaded with minor details and a crew that is unaccustomed to making it’s own decisions based on their size up and responsibilities.

11 Comments

  • Engine Captain Missouri says:

    Rest in Peace Lt.

  • anchorpoint1 says:

    RIP.

  • Lance C. Peeples says:

    Rest in Peace Lt. – I read his book, 20,000 Alarms years ago and it was OUTSTANDING. This guy was the real deal!

  • William Cahill says:

    R.I.P. Loo. I rode (buffed) with “The Loo on R-2 in the 60′s and 70′s. I remember his last night at “the Rescue”. There was a party at a local resturant on Myrtle Ave. The street was lined with apparatus fom all over the Boro. The Boro Chief that night was Chief “Torchy Tortirello (sic). The party lasted until midnight. When we were leaving the Chief told “Ham” not to go into any buildings for the rest of the tour. Then said to me ” Boston be sure he doesn’t go in. It was one night that there was not a 10-75 from midnight until end of shift at 0900.

  • William Cahill says:

    R.I.P. Loo. I rode (buffed) with “The Loo on R-2 in the 60′s and 70′s. I remember his last night at “the Rescue”. There was a party at a local resturant on Myrtle Ave. The street was lined with apparatus fom all over the Boro. The Boro Chief that night was Chief “Torchy Tortirello (sic). The party lasted until midnight. When we were leaving the Chief told “Ham” not to go into any buildings for the rest of the tour. Then said to me ” Boston be sure he doesn’t go in. It was one night that there was not a 10-75 from midnight until end of shift at 0900.

  • Sanq says:

    we had an oldfer retired guy “aldo” in our vollie outfit, he was mid 70′s but assisted the chief with Fire marshall inspections and like matters , he was Retired in 1960 Ladder 17 in the South Bronx years before The Real “war years” but he told the story about the comapny “johnny” or rookie , one day they caught a job in a 6 brick and were told to got to the roof and affect ventilation , upon arrival on the ropof The LT noticed a civilian In the Light shaft like a trapped rat in his cage the guy was beginning to freak out.. the tied the johnny into a bowline on a bite and lowered him into the shaft, as he reached the bottom 5 floors below the fire broke through a window above them,, he got hauled up and ultimately this was hamiltons 1st rescue, 1st decoration, and a few years after hearing the story from Aldo;s mouth , reading the very same story as Chaptter 1 of the book was pretty cool.as well as the other storys .. RIP LOO

  • Sherree O'Shea says:

    I’m not sure my Dad will rest in peace,having known him, he is saving someone in heaven as we speak. He dedicated his life to helping others, what a great lesson he taught my brothers and I. Your stories are very much appreciated since he was not one to tell us of his rescues, he considered it his job. Thanks!

  • firestudent1 says:

    Mrs. O’Shea thank you for your comments and God Bless you all.

  • Alan says:

    Rest in peace brother. Your book inspired me to become a volunteer firefighter in my community. You will live in the hearts of all those who knew you.

  • Waler says:

    I wrote to Dick several years ago and sent him my copy of 20,000 Alarms with a request for him to autograph my book. I also sent him an FDNY Rescue 2 t-shirt direct from R2. He signed my book and sent a personal letter along with copies of news paper articles. What a treasure! I was very fortunate to speak with Dick twice and his wife Ginny once. I absolutely enjoyed the conversations. Ginny told me that those were the worst years of her life because she was terrified everytime Dick went to work. She also told me that originally they wanted to make a movie from the book, but that the movie people wanted to change it too much and add a bunch of stuff that was not what Dick was all about, so he would not give his approval. He was a true gentleman and one of my reasons for becoming a firefirghter. Rest In Peace my hero!

  • Mark Oxtoby says:

    I’m a FF from Nottingham, England and 20 000 alarms has just been passed round every bloke on station. I was wondering if anyone could email me any copies of newspaper cut outs or pictures of this incredible brave man. It would be nice to put a picture to the stories we have read! My email is mark_oxtoby@yahoo.co.uk

    Many thanks

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at firefighterbasics@gmail.com

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