From the earliest days to the modern era, volunteer firefighters have always placed the lives of their neighbors and the well being of their community above their own, continually striving to find faster and better ways to reach and extinguish any threat of fire. For them, doing so is a source of honor and pride, and from the first day the second fire truck came to town firemen have been competing with each other for that honor – both on and off duty. In New York State, these friendly firematic contests between “drill teams” of volunteer firefighters have reached a level of competition that is unique in the entire world; there is nowhere else in terms of speed, technique or sophistication that even comes close.

Chariots of Firefighters chronicles the birth and rise of these contests, from foot races and fistfights between neighboring fire companies in New York City to the formation of the New York State Volunteer Firemen’s Parade and Drill Team Captain’s Association and the over 350 teams from over 260 fire districts that make up its 200-year history. From simple hand-pumping duels to modern-day drills of speed and refined technique on specially-built tracks with custom apparatus, the story of how these competitions evolved – through wars, riots and celebrations, public scorn and the wild praise of cheering throngs – is one that anyone with any interest in the fire service – or even sports in general – will want to read.

To visit a dedicated website that explains more about the book, including sample pages from each chapter, follow this link:

To see a selection of the author's photographs from the modern-day sport of firematic drill team racing, follow this link: