In 2001, retired Chief Fire Marshal Carmine Speranza published a collection of true stories with black and white photographs about his first 10 years on the line as a Stamford, CT firefighter. The stories took place mostly in the 1970s. It was called “Captain, He Bought Eggs”.
The book plays an important role in SFD History as things have changed quite a bit since then. It serves as a historical record of how things were for firefighters in the 70’s. The friendly hazing and pranks of long ago have mostly faded away over the years. This book permanently records those fond memories that so many current and former members can instantly connect with.
The books is still available from a variety of online sources including Amazon.com. A copy pf the book has been added to the Historical Holdings of the Stamford Professional Firefighters and the Stamford Fire Department.
Below is the Forward for the book as published by Photographer and writer Beth Reynolds.
I admit I knew next to nothing about firefighters or fire science when I started this project. I thought I would have to do an endless amount of research to educate myself. I was wrong. All I had to do is listen — listen to the stories of a man who has dedicated his life to being a firefighter.
I thought Carmine Speranza was a special firefighter. I was wrong again. Over the 10 months it took to produce this book I met many firefighters and they were all the same — heroes.
This is an accurate word; you’ll see it in many of Carmine’s stories. Firefighters are men and women who knowingly risked their lives for us. They all speak the same language, and they share a passion that runs so deep that it cannot be changed or erased from their genetic makeup. They did not take a job. Most firefighters are born to it.
Carmine said he had always wanted to do a book about his career and the politics involved in being a chief officer, but the stories he told about his days on the line were so visually stimulating to me that I knew I had to put his words and my images together. His memories are so clear and fresh in his mind, that he can almost relive each day of his career and smile while doing. He loved every single minute he was a firefighter.
I believe that my passion for combining words and images runs as deep as Carmine’s passion for fighting fires. Like the heroes of this book, I cannot imagine having another career. I combine photographs and words rather than single images because this process takes me through time and create a more complete story. Projects may take up to a year creating a bond and a sense of trust between photographer and subject. I have a strong desire not only to take pictures but also to share the experience of my subjects and hopefully to give something back to them through the act of recording their lives.
I would like to thank Carmine’s programs are for his stories, Clint page for his editing, and Robin Voshardt and Sven Humphrey for the design, which makes us all look good.
Chief Fire Marshal Carmine Speranza