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Economist turned Author Says Firefighters are no heroes!

by Chris Sorensen |

Book sales must be down for Douglas Gantenbein's book " A Season of Fire: Four Months on the Firelines in the American West.

He has written a piece o Slate trashing the Fire Service. Among his allegations:

  • Firefighting is a cushy job.

  • Firefighting isn't that dangerous

  • Firefighters are adrenalin junkies.

  • Firefighters have excellent propaganda skills.

  • Firefighters are just another interest group.

In July 2001, I witnessed the tasteless spectacle of Washington state firefighters staging a massive public display to "honor" four young people killed in a forest fire

(one absurd touch: hook-and-ladder rigs extended to form a huge arch over the entrance to the funeral hall).

For the families of the four dead firefighters—three of whom were teens trying to make a few bucks for college—the parade, the solemn speeches, and the quasi-military trappings all were agony.

"It's just the firefighters doing their thing," one bystander said to me later with a shrug.