Mike Wilbur


Leo E. Duliba, a retired Jamestown fire lieutenant and nationally recognized fire historian, died Thursday in UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa. He was 70.

Born in Dunkirk, the youngest of seven boys, he grew up across the street from a fire station. He began to take photos of fires and firefighting equipment by the time he was 13 and became a volunteer with the Dunkirk Fire Department at the age of 18. Within a year, he was promoted to second assistant foreman at Murray Hose Company No. 4.

He moved to Jamestown in 1968 to take a full-time position with the Jamestown Fire Department. He became certified as an emergency medical technician and in 1976 received a degree in fire protection technology from Erie Community College.

He set up a dispatching center when the Jamestown Fire Department moved to its new headquarters in 1972 and trained the first group of civilian dispatchers. Later that year, he became the official Chautauqua County fire photographer. He also was appointed historian of the Jamestown Fire Department and was promoted to lieutenant in 1983.

Mr. Duliba acquired a huge collection of fire helmets, slide photographs of fire apparatus, and movies, stamps and books related to firefighting. He collection of nearly 80,000 slides is ranked among the top three in the world. He was renowned as an authority on fire apparatus and contributed to many magazine articles.

He wrote a book-length history of the Jamestown Fire Department, “A Transition in Red,” in 1976 and updated it for a second edition in 1986. He compiled the first complete history of the Dunkirk Volunteer Fire Department in 1980. He also compiled two books of photographs, “Young Fire Equipment Corporation: 1932-1991 Photo Archive,” with Tom Shand, and “Industrial & Private Fire Apparatus: 1925-2001 Photo Archive.”

He spoke about the fire service at many fire departments and colleges across the nation. Recently he gave guided tours of Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown, where he highlighted the roles of six pioneering firefighters buried there.

Survivors include his husband, William J. Brudz, whom he married in 2011; a brother, Leonard; and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral service will be led by Jamestown Fire Department Chaplain Peter Dawson at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Lind Funeral Home, 805 W. Third St., Jamestown.

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