Fire photos getting Webbed together

Ryan Carter

It’s taking time, but Burbank firefighters are trying to put the

department’s 93-year history online.

As the Burbank Fire Department moved into its new headquarters and


a new fire station four years ago, workers found a box full of

black-and-white department photos.

Some were shots of old fire rigs and firefighters, others of

accident scenes and training scenarios.


It was the mother lode for firefighters interested in preserving

the department’s history.

A few years before, Capt. John Nare Jr. had taken on a project

started by his father -- to document the department’s history.

Nare’s father, a retired battalion chief, had documented that

history from 1909 to 1980.

And then the alarm went off in their minds.

“I was putting together these photos, and we just said, ‘Let’s put


this together,’ ” Capt. Ron Bell said.

Since the late 1990s, the two have been slowly combining their

findings to create and update the department’s history. Bell stressed

the process will continue to be slow, since much of the work is on

their own time.

At first, Nare and Bell envisioned putting together a book. But

excessive publishing costs made the project out of reach. Instead,

with the help of Web designers and editors, they plan to put the


department’s written history and illustrations on its Web site. None

of it is there yet, but Bell hopes in a few months, some information

will be on the site.

“A lot of us feel the Fire Department is created over tradition,

and it’s a very proud tradition,” Bell said. “A lot of us are

involved in that and we want to keep that going.”

Slowly, Nare has researched while off duty. He has already updated

the history to 2000 and is almost done entering it into his computer.

The many items Nare has contributed include major incidents such

as fires, the evolution of department companies such as its hazardous

materials team, the hiring of the department’s first woman

firefighter in 1997 and the Southwest Airlines crash onto Hollywood

Way in March 2000.

He also documented the appointments of personnel and the issuing

of new apparatus, just as his father did.