“BATTLE OF FLAMES” STAGED BY DENVER FIRE DEPARTMENT
Captain Saves Fireman’s Fife in Fifty-Foot Fall 25,000 People See Show
MORE than 25,000 people in Denver saw the “Battle of the Flames” that was arranged by the Denver fire department at the stadium of the University of Denver. Many more clambered outside of the gates in an attempt to get inside. The large number of people who were unable to see the show made extra performances necessary.
The show was arranged as an entertainment feature for the convention of the Colorado State Firemens’ Association, and to provide entertainment without taxing the local business men for the amusements. Any profits that will be made will tie turned over to the pension fund.
The immensity of the project can be realized when one considers that the stage was TOO feet long by 250 feet, and the curtain for the stage was 370 feet long and fifty-six feet high. It was held in place bv three-quarters of a mile of rope and onequarter of a mile of steel cable. Music was furnished by 300 musicians, and 1,500 performers took part in the show. Illumination was provided by 500 arc lights, and 3,000 feet of water mains were laid special for the occasion.
The committee in charge consisted of Reuben W. Harshev, safety director; Chief John Healy. Fid ward F. Layne and Captains William J. Martin and William E. Guthner. Julius Pearse of the Julius Pearse Fire Department Supply Company was managing director.
In brief, the story of the battle is as follows: A boiler explodes in the wee hours of the morning and gray smoke is seen curling up from one of the buildings. Two boy scouts, who for some unaccountable reason were on the streets that early in the morning, discovered the fire and sent in an alarm. When the apparatus arrives, a second alarm is immediately turned in. Various fire companies roll in and assume positions and go through the various evolutions as though they were combating a real fire. Mock rescues are made, but the lack of realism did not lessen the hazard of the stunts.
In the course of the show, firemen attached a hook on the belt that they wore, to slide, and they slid to the ground in safety. One of the firemen, for some unaccountable reason, did not engage his hook with the belt, and in leaping from the supposedly burning building, there was nothing to break his fall. Captain Koska, who saw the incident and realized that the fireman was probably falling to his death, ran below the falling body and with outstretched arms, broke the fall. The impact hurled the captain to the ground, but the severity of the fall was broken. Upon examination of a physician, the fireman was ordered removed to a nearby hospital, where it was found that he had a wrenched hack, a fractured rib and a broken wrist.
While the “Battle of the F’lames” was the main spectacle of the show, there was vaudeville and acrobatic acts, and entertainment arranged by members of the fire department. The performance ended with a display of fireworks.
1 he officers of the Colorado State Firemen’s Association are W. A. Shellbarger, president; F. H. Clark, 1st vice-president; F. W. Lindburg, 2nd vice-president; Ben Glaze, 3rd vice-president; IF _E. Reed, 4th vice-president; E. W. Furry, historian; Clinton Turnbull, secretary; Fred C. Vertrees, treasurer.
I he department feels indebted to Mr. Pearse, managing director, who shouldered the main burden of staging the show.