Clarence "Gene" E Murray

Portland, Oregon

April 15, 2010

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
58 Air Force MSgt

304th Air Rescue Squadron

Portland, Oregon

 Gene touched the lives of thousands, retiring as an officer with Gresham Fire and as a Master Sergeant in The United States Air Force, operating in a variety of capacities, most of which involving combat rescue. Gene Murray literally spent his adult life serving others or our country. It would be impossible to describe Gene Murray without using the words “unconditional love, absolute integrity and selflessly giving”. 

For Memorial Service Snapshots, Click photo below:

April 21, 2010

From The Fire Rebels article, at June 2005:

Gene "Mad Dog" Murray suits up with Station Number 71 at the Gresham fire-training facility and prepares to fight another Hartin inferno. Every week, Hartin builds a made-to-order fire and sends his crew in. Recently, he told them to sit on the floor of the container as the fire roared all around them. They sat for 15 minutes in silence, simply looking at the flames.

Murray, a 20-year department veteran, readily admits that he thought Hartin had lost his mind when he got back from Sweden. "We're firefighters," Murray says. "We don't observe fire, we fight it. For a long time, we just thought he was crazy."

For today's exercise, Hartin ignited a stack of wood, particleboard, two-by-fours, and shipping pallets at the back of the container. Clouds of black smoke roll out of the cracks at the top of the container's door. Today's lesson: seeing the invisible.

Murray lifts a $10,000 thermal imager. It's a rounded, handheld device with a penny-sized sensor on one side and a color screen on the other. Point it at the container and the device reveals the shape and temperature of the streams of hot gases seeping out of the door cracks.

Before he started listening to Hartin, Murray says, his approach was to "crawl low till you find the glow, and just hope that it doesn't blow." The fire that Hartin has brewed up today is meant to reveal the weakness in that technique. Using the thermal imager before entering, Murray identifies the fire source within the container and then tracks the gases streaming along the ceiling toward the door. If he doesn't try to cool the gases - if he just crawls low - there is a risk that the gases will ignite when he's halfway down the corridor, causing the entry door to turn into a wall of fire. He'd be trapped in a very hot and narrow passageway.

Instead, Murray makes his way into the container behind rapid fog bursts, inching toward the source of the fire while he cools the overhead gases. The cooling condenses the smoke, lifting it closer to the ceiling and improving visibility. "Fire sharks" - pockets of igniting gas - nip at the edges of Murray's fog clouds and retreat backward. When he is within 15 feet, he hits the fire source with a solid stream of water, which extinguishes it immediately. "I used to just react. Now I actually control a fire," Murray says. "You look back at it, and you wonder why we weren't doing this 20 years ago." ...

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