It is with profound sadness that I have to pass on the news that Philadelphia Firefighter Jack Slivinski of the elite unit Rescue 1 passed away this morning. It’s no stretch to say that Jack will be profoundly missed by everyone who knew him and who he leaves behind. When I got the news early this morning, an otherwise glorious day here in Philly turned dark and sad. My father, a retired Philly firefighter, reacted similarly. Although he didn’t know young Jack, he knows Jack’s father well – having worked with him over the course of his thirty-plus years on the job. That’s how things are in the world of professional firefighters. Friends are more than friends, family is extended over generations. I know Jack Sr. as well and know their family will be devastated as are his brothers in the department.

I first met young Jack shortly after he came on the job. It was right after another tragedy, the line of duty death of Lt. Derrick Harvey, Jack’s Lieutenant at the time. He died as a result of injuries received in a house fire that Jack barely survived himself. Having no permanent assignment at the time I was sent to fill in for Lt. Harvey. It was the very first shift after the tragic fire when we were dispatched to a dwelling fire. Jack and the rest of the members of his platoon went right back to work, charging straight into the fire without so much as a hesitation. I really couldn’t believe it. But somewhere deep down inside I knew they were doing it because of Lt. Harvey. They didn’t want to let him or his spirit down. Firefighters are that way. To a firefighter, the job will never be just that, a job. It is a deeply held calling. Jack lived the calling as does his father, as did mine and generations before them. I could tell right then and there Jack would be a great firefighter. I was right.

I knew Jack from work over the years. I’m too old and crabby to hang with the young, good-looking firemen. Mostly we would cross paths in the station or out on the street or often enough on fire grounds when his company, Rescue 1 showed up to provide much-needed help on some ass kicking job or other incident. It was always a pleasure to see him and we often laughed at whatever was going on. His easy-going nature and big smile was hard to miss. That’s why his loss will be so deeply felt throughout our small circle. The good guys are always gone too soon.

Recently Jack became famous for an unintended scandal: he posed shirtless for a charity calendar wearing his firefighter pants. As usual the department brass blew it wildly out of proportion and Jack was reprimanded.

Imagine trying to raise money for widows and getting into trouble for being too handsome? But the scandal became more of an embarrassment for the department when the media got wind of it. Jack’s big heart and pure intentions riled up the public so much the department had no choice but to rescind his transfer (but not without a slap on the wrist first). Whatever, it was the right thing to do and everyone supported Jack. I can say that it was my distinct pleasure to know Jack. I grieve for his family and friends as well. The world is a much sadder place today. Rest in peace brother. You will be missed.


Working with Jack on the roof of a burning building in Center City.



  1. Wyatt Earp says:

    What a terrible shame. Prayers going up for him and his family.

    And you watch: Commissioner Ayers will try and give Jack a great eulogy in the press despite the fact he treated him like crap when he was alive. Sickening.

    • says:

      I will not let him. I will make him issue an apology instead. And Jack WILL live on in this calendar. It is something he stood by and I will keep my promise.


  2. Kellyjeanne says:

    Oh god Jack, I am so sorry you felt you had no other way out. This break’s my heart to know your pain and anguish in life made you feel this was the best thing for you. You seemed like such a good man. I hope whatever has brought you pain has now subsided.

  3. Bob Orr says:

    Prayers for Jack. Bleep the commish. Sorry but that’s how I feel.

  4. He Said His Telephone Number Was 911 says:

    Such a tragic loss, my prayers go out to Jack’s family, friends and brother firefighters.

  5. Heartbreaking.
    Prayers for Jack and his family.

  6. Rich G. says:

    Katherine. Does this mean that you will honor Jack by featuring him in your calendar with proceeds going to the Widows Fund? I know firsthand how much the Widows Fund means to the Men and Women of the PFD….

  7. That calendar picture should be printed and make sure comiss gets one too..the ()^#%^$& !

  8. Jack Van says:

    May your soul know peace and happiness. And hopefully the department leadership might gain an appreciation and deeper sense of caring for those they lead.

    Those that provide emergency service know the stress and pain that the workday can provide. I hope Chief Ayers, and other leaders will pledge to be there, and be considerate and fair. Never again!

  9. Dawn says:

    My heart aches for all Jack’s family and friends. I found this article by accident looking up weather online for Delaware. Tears for Jack and his family – I feel your pain. My brother committed suicide after a similar rejection at 33 years of age just two years ago. These tough looking men have big hearts and very sensitive souls. Even two years later he is still in our hearts and minds as Jack will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who “love” him. I hope the commissioner learns from his judgemental arrogance. Words and actions can hurt deeply to the point there is no going back. He must have felt so unappreciated and humiliated. Please print the calendar. This handsome young man was trying to do what he could to help those who are hurting and sometimes forgotten. Since when is a photo of a man shirtless selling sex? Its selling masculinity – let men be men for crying out loud. Shame on the commissioner – I have one word for him – Karma!

  10. Randal Graves says:

    That’s a true shame that his life was cut short. Everything written about him described as a great firefighter.

    My only question is: Why are some people assuming that his took his life because of the calendar issue? We may never know why he chose his fate.

    Oh, and Ayers said today “”All of that was over.” How the f- does he know?

    • Wyatt Earp says:

      The calendar kerfuffle probably had a little to do with it, but I highly doubt it was the only reason. Not that it’s any of my business.

      As far as Ayers goes, he is a complete and utter disgrace with a history of questionable actions and statements. How he has remained commissioner for so long boggles my mind.

  11. dazey says:

    I can’t believe that such a good looking, strapping guy can be gone in a flash… but he is. I send my condolences to all who knew and loved him…

  12. Thank you for this tribute to my Cousin Jack…he truly was a wonderful guy and I still can;t believe he is gone

  13. Brian Turner says:

    I knew Jack when we were teens. He’s always been a honest, caring guy. He had a good sense of morals and treated everyone as a friend whether he knew them or not. That smile was genuine and always on his face.

  14. Chrissy Marino (Holt) says:

    I grew up across the street from Jackie and his family. Our parents were friends & he & his sister used to always hang out & play with me, my sister & my brother(who is the same age as Jackie). I was completely shocked when I heard of his passing. What a horrible & sad tragedy! May you rest in peace, Jackie…..

  15. mattimage says:

    I just saw the new on WTEN Channel 10 news Inside edition. And saw the news they had about Fire Fighter Jack Slivinski. It made me cry especially seeing his mother crying and saying she love him and misses him. He was a hero, and the shirtless photo shoot he did was a good thing. If only he knew it was not bad, after those dam idiots made him punished him for no good reason. This fire chiefs should step down from there authority in shame. It’s just sad. I’m sure they feel bad for what they did. It’s hard to not blame those dam fire chiefs. God bless Jack Slivinsky, God bless his Mom, family and friends.

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