Positively Philadelphia: A Philadelphia firefighter’s 37 year journey

Lauren Lipton
February 16, 2019 - 10:32 pm

Courtesy of Robert Marchisello's family

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Robert Marchisello spent 37 years with the Philadelphia Fire Department and from day one he kept a journal. Now, all those notes are in a book: “A Firefighter's Journal: Thirty-Seven Years on the Firegrounds and in the Firehouses of Philadelphia.”

"The book starts with a dream that haunted me for years,” he explains. “We were responding to a fire and I heard this man screaming as he died in the fire and every few years I would get that haunting dream in exact detail."

Courtesy of Robert Marchisello

Marchisello says he started writing because things were different at that time.

"Back then there were no debriefings, he said. “After big events, like the gulf oil refinery fire where eight firefighters died, we just went back to the firehouse and then went home.”

Marchisello went on to talk about his first time using a fire pole.

“I had 15 years on the job when I finally worked at a firehouse with a pole,” he said. “The mistake I made was, I was wearing a flannel shirt and it offered no friction and I went down a lot faster than I should have. I had to hobble to the fire truck and then, we took off after the fire.”

Courtesy of Robert Marchisello

During another run, he became known as the airborne firefighter.

"I walked right into a hole in the roof during one fire and I landed right on the head of another firefighter," he said and fortunately neither of them got hurt.

One of Marchisello fondest memories were meals at the firehouse.

"Some of these firemen were like gourmet chefs,” he said. “One of the great things is that you get to taste all different cuisines. I would sometimes cook but things had to be pretty desperate for me to fill in.”

Courtesy of Robert Marchisello

Although his Mrs. Marchisello says he makes some of the best home fries ever

The book is an inside look at the life of the heroes who are there for us every day.