Fire Buffs promote the general welfare of the fire and rescue service and protect its heritage and history. Famous Fire Buffs through the years include New York Fire Surgeon Harry Archer, Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and - legend has it - President George Washington.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

CHIEF FOUGHT 1914-2005

Chief Fought

Retired Battalion Chief James ``Jimmie'' Fought of the Arlington County Fire Department, a founder of the Arlington County Fire Department Historical Society, died at his home in Arlington, Virginia, on Dec. 16, 2005. He was 91.

The chief was a member of a firefighting family. His father served as a sergeant with the District of Columbia Fire Department, and his late son served as a captain in the Arlington County Fire Department.

Fought's career as a firefighter started as a volunteer in the 1930s with the Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department and later the Clarendon Volunteer Fire Department.

The county hired Fought as a full-time paid firefighter in 1943 and he advanced through the ranks to become one of the county's first battalion chiefs in 1956.

He spent his career ``on the road'' as he liked to say, supervising fire and rescue operations.

``The fire won't wait for you!'' the quintessential chief would tell his firefighters.

Major Fires

Fought helped supervise firefighting operations at a general-alarm fire in the basement of the Pentagon on July 2, 1959. That fire was listed as among the nation's worst in a book published by the National Fire Protection Association in 1976 to commemorate the bicentennial. A number of firefighters were injured at the 1959 Pentagon fire.

He also supervised the daring rope rescue of a 12-year-old boy who fell into a deep well at a construction site in Rosslyn on June 11, 1959.

Earlier as a fire captain, Fought was in charge of the county's old ``Squad 5’’ that responded to a pair of disasters in Washington on Jan. 15, 1953 - ``Black Thursday'' - the day a runaway Pennsylvania Railroad train plowed into the concourse at Union Station, and a later unrelated explosion at the Standard Tire and Battery Store in Northeast Washington that injured a number of D.C. firemen.

He was also among Arlington firefighters sent to the district for the riots in April 1968.

Active Retirement

Fought, a member of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2800 in Arlington, retired in 1972.

He remained active in firefighting circles until his death and co-founded the Arlington County Fire Department Historical Society with the late Robert ``Cuz'' Carpenter, also a retired battalion chief, in the 1990s.

The chief helped with the compilation of the historical society's ``Red Book,'' a history of the fire and rescue service in Arlington County. He also contributed to the ``Arlington Fire Journal’’ newsletter.

Fought was also an active member of ``The Chowder Club'' and ``The Lunch Bunch'' - social clubs for retired members of the fire department.