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Sons continue fireman's collection to keep father's passion alive

Greg and Bill Boocks continue to add to and maintain the collection of first responder equipment started by their father in the early 1970s.

SCRANTON, Pa. — From the fire hats to the badges and even some old rubber boots — this is the private collection of Mark Boock that honors the first responders of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

"He started in the late '70s collecting, and he started going out videotaping to document the history," said Greg Boock, the youngest son of Mark Boock. "Because he was saying that no one was really documenting the fires."

Greg Boock's father, Mark, was never a firefighter but used to capture the roaring flames of as many fires he could get to no matter what time of day or night.

The unofficial Scranton firefighter photographer's passion for our area's first responders grew as his coverage of the many fires continued until 2009.

Mark Boock suffered a heart attack while on scene, doing what he loved, photographing a fire. 

"I guess if you had to write it up, that would be the way you would want to write it up," said Greg. "You know, plan out how you were going to leave, doing what you loved, and being around everyone you do love, and love what you're doing."

But while Mark Boock has passed on, his sons Greg and Bill continue doing what their father loved. 

"He was always open to share what he's collected," said Bill Boock, Mark's oldest son. "It is locked up in someone's private residence, but it's not a secret; it's not private where you can't come and take a little time and learn from it."

Bill is living the dream his father always wanted. He's a Scranton firefighter of 20 years, working on Engine 7. 

As for Greg, he spends time maintaining the collection, keeping away the dust and grime, and preserving history — whether it's a fourth-generation firemen's uniform or a year's worth of pictures of orange-lit skylines crammed into a picture book.

For them, it's more than just a collection; it's a continuation of their father's memory and a long history of the first responders of Scranton's past.

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