Two of the only fire station sliding poles you’ll find in Hampton Roads are in Newport News, reports The Daily Press.
Neither of them is operational.
The holes in the floor for the brass poles are both boarded up, relics of a time when many of the city’s firefighters slept a floor above their trucks and used gravity to get down.
Theoretically, the method shaved precious seconds off of response times, cutting out stairs entirely.
But department officials eventually decided sending groggy firefighters down poles late at night was a safety hazard and a bad idea.
But some fire department veterans nevertheless remember the poles fondly.
“When school children came to visit the fire station, they blew the sirens, and did this and that, and somebody always slid down the pole so they could see what firemen do,” said Bill Lee, who volunteered at the historic Hilton Fire Station in the 1950s.
“The image of a fireman sliding down the pole is probably what caused many to want to be a firefighters,” Lee said.
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