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Department Changes (Promotions, Retirements, New Postions)

State Fire Marshall Stacy McIntire promoted to Lieutenant

State Fire Marshall Stacy McIntire was promoted on March 17, 2011 from Detective to Lieutenant. He has been with the state for 6 years, is stationed at the Lake Wales Field Office, and is First Line Supervisor to Detectives. Lieutenant McIntire can be contacted at stacy.mcintire@myfloridacfo.com

The Littlest Firefighter
Fire News

 

The Real Story of Bopsy

 

aka Little Billy

 

 

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Over the last 20+ years, the story of "Bopsy, The Littlest Firefighter"  (sometimes referrred to as "Billy") has circulated  worldwide. It appeared in the first "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book and has also become one of the most circulated chain emails. Just search the word "Bopsy" in any web search engine, and you'll see just how many web-sites around the world contain the story.

 

The story is about a little boy with Leukemia, and his dying wish to become a Firefighter. The Phoenix Fire Department is featured in the story because of the exceptional customer service paid to this little boy and his family. One of the main charactersin the story is Fireman Bob,who is our Phoenix Engineer Bob Walp.

 

There is another child with a similar story in circulation as well. His name is Chris, and he wanted to be a Police Officer, both are listed on the Make-a-Wish foundations website. Christopher (Chris) is where Make-a-Wish traces its roots to, thought Billy and below Bob Walp were the first wish granting recipients.

 

 

The story of Bob Walp as told by Fireworks

 

In 1981, I was at the old downtown Station #1 on C-Shift, and I was also on the "Wallace and Ladmo"

television show everyday doing safety messages for the Fire Department. (If you don't know who Wallace

and Ladmo are, ask anybody who lived in Phoenix from 1954-1989)

I was contacted by a young mother who told me her young son had a terminal illness. I was told that

the 9-year-old boy's (Bopsy) dream was to become a Firefighter, and he just wanted to come down to the

station and ride on a fire truck. I said I would call her back and make the arrangements, I contacted Steve 

Jensen and Carol Gross in Community Involvement, and we decided that we would get him a real set of

Turnout Gear and a Badge, and make him an Honorary Firefighter.

I contacted some other people, and soon they started a new charity, now known as "The Make-a-Wish"

Bopsy (Billy) became the first Make-a-Wish child, and the organization has since become an international

organization.little_billy3 Anyway, we had Bopsy come down to Fire Station #1, and I gave him the grand tour.

We slid down the fire pole, rode on back of the engine, tillered the ladder truck, had dinner and met all the guys on C-Shift. Over the next few months, he came down 3 or 4 more times, always dressed in his gear. He had lunch and a great time.

I took Bopsy on the "Wallace and Ladmo Show" with me and he got the very coveted "Ladmo
 
Bag!" The Make-a-Wish Foundation was going to send Bopsy and his family to Disneyland, so I called some people at the Ahaheim Fire Department. They picked the family up at the airport and went to Disneyland with them. It just shows what a wonderful group of people they are!

little_billy6

A few months later, I was at home on sick leave with an ear infection, and Bopsy mother called to say that the doctors thought Bopsy would die that day. I was crushed but I told her I would be right there. I went to St. Joseph's Hospital and met his mother outside his room. I then talked to the hospital staff, called my Chief and had Ladder 1 C-Shift come to the hospital. We put the ladder up to the third-story window and I climbedlittle_billy2 up and into his room- followed by five other Firefighters who knew Bopsy. We put him with his IV into a wheelchair and took him down to the ladder truck. On the side, it said "Bopsy 1" where the "Ladder 1" sign was. We talked and took lots of pictures for an hour or so, then the ladder truck went back to the station. I stayed for several hours talking and just sitting in Bopsy's room, and later that evening, he passed away. It was so sad.little_billy4

 The next shift, I was back at work and the crew on Ladder 1 went to the funeral, where we were pallbearers. Bopsy was buried with his Firefighter gear on. The bottom line is that all the Phoenix Fire Station #1 personnel were involved and were so helpful, along with Steve Jensen (who has since passed away), Carol Gross, Sandy Williams(also passes away), Donna White, Elaine Hutchings, and the whole Community Services section in 1981. 

 

 

 I am very proud that we could help. the story has been embellished a little, and the name was changed to Billy, but the fact remains that the Phoenix Fire Department is the best... and we were being nice before we had to.

 

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