Hoopie World is an independent web site dedicated to the volunteer and career Fire, Rescue, EMS, Police, and Dispatch professionals from Pittsburgh and all over western PA. The site originally concentrated on just the North Hills but the beyond part had to be added after popularity of the site just exploded. It’s amazing how fast and far word of mouth travels. The idea for Hoopie World was developed over 10 years ago when the founder wanted to develop a web site showcasing local incidents and apparatus. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the skills needed to create a web site. So, he learned. First launched in February of 2003, Version 1.0 was pretty lame. But the idea caught on and cult following formed. Bureaus were developed in the City of Pittsburgh, Armstrong County, Butler County, and Washington County and pictures poured in from elsewhere as well. Others may try to imitate us, but none will ever be the original Hoopie World.
In March of 2004, Hoopie World entered into a partnership with a hoopie site from the Mon-Yough Area, www.monyoughfire.com. The alliance was created to expand coverage into geographic regions in which each site was not as strong. While remaining independent of each other, Hoopie World and Mon Yough Fire website founders Mike Krysik and Jeff Bertok forged a strong network by exchanging pictures and information between sites, allowing visitors to see more incidents which they normally may have missed.
Also in March of 2004, The Western Pennsylvania Emergency Services Page (also known as The AK Valley Whacker Page) merged with Hoopie World. Founder of the WPESP, Chris Negley, decided to direct his efforts elsewhere and semi-retire from the website publishing business. With this addition, Hoopie World is now a strong presence in the AK-Valley area and Chris, who came on to Hoopie World as the AK Valley Bureau Chief, has become an integral part of this expansion.
In August of 2004, the leadership of Hoopie World changed. Founder and Editor-in-Chief Mike Krysik stepped down to finally finish his college degree at Arizona State University. Long time contributor and staff member Brian Craig was given the helm to carry on the Hoopie World legacy. In January 2005, Mike Krysik resumed the role he once denied and was once again in the driver’s seat of Hoopie World.
In May of 2006, Jeff Bertok from MonYoughFire.com purchased the site from Mike Krysik. Mike needed more time to complete his undergraduate degree and work on an MBA. Since there was a lot of duplication between MonYoughFire.com and Hoopie World, Jeff decided to consolidate MonYoughFire.com into Hoopie World to improve efficiency.
In August of 2014, HoopieWorld.com was transitioned and rebranded into WPAFireNews.com (WPAFN). This was to better inform potential visitors what the site was about. Over the years, too many people were confused by the Hoopie World name, or had a bias against the site based on the name prior to visiting.
Its been a wild ride at times over the last 11 years, and we are excited on where we are headed in the future.