Boston Sparks Improve Clubrooms

Boston Sparks Improve Clubrooms

Bells, Buffs and Blazes

Members of the Boston Sparks Association are boasting of their refurbished clubrooms which are highlighted by a spanking new console equipped with monitor controls for various fire frequencies and a set of wall-mounted loudspeakers.

The quarters were recently visited by fire chiefs during a session of comraderie which has long marked the excellent relations between the area’s fire service and the Boston Sparks.

Member Dick Bangs brought a set of photos of the “Chief’s Night” during a recent visit to Los Angeles. The photos were indicative of the happy occasion and, even more, showed that some Boston area fire chiefs have extreme tastes in haberdashery. One tie, in fact, is said to have cracked the lens of Dick Card’s camera.

Boston sparks also are wishing the best to the new Boston Chief of Department, George H. Paul, who was promoted from the rank of deputy fire chief upon the retirement of another good friend of the buffs, Joseph F. Kilduff.

The Boston Box 52 Association’s “Newsletter” reprinted a tribute to Chief Kilduff which appeared in the Boston Globe.

“Almost from the time he could walk, Kilduff was what is known in the trade as a ‘spark’ or fire buff,” says Writer David Taylor. Chief Kilduff told the Globe that “back in the days of the horse and buggy, I’d see engines go out and run after them, sometimes hitching a ride if I could. It has been my whole life. I did what I wanted to do and I hope I did it well.”

During his 41-year career, Chief Kilduff received a number of commendations, including the department’s highest award, the John E. Fitzgerald Medal, for rescuing a child from a blazing apartment.

As a Naval officer during World War II, Chief Kilduff led a fireboat crew in 1943 in boarding a burning gasoline tanker which had collided with a loaded ammunition ship off Cape Henry, Va. He saved both ships and was awarded the Navy Marine Medal for heroic actions.

Across the country, another highly respected chief, Bill Murray of the San Francisco Fire Department, was honored at a testimonial banquet in the Grand Ballroom of the San Francisco Hilton.

Around 1,500 guests gave Chief Murray and his wife, Alida, a standing ovation during celebration of his 50th year in the SFFD. Many state and local leaders attended, including Mayor Joseph Alioto and two former mayors.

Many members of the Phoenix Society attended the banquet and presented Chief Murray with a plaque “in affectionate appreciation of his 14 years as an honorary member and in recognition of his high standards, rare and unusual devotion to duty and the high caliber of service rendered by him.”

(Editor’s Note: Paul Ditzel regrets he is unable to personally answer letters. Material and questions with the widest appeal to readers will be considered for publication in his column and should be sent to him, c/o Box SI4, Northridge, Calif., 91324.)

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