Bugs Cause False Alarm

Bugs Cause False Alarm

A pile of dead willow bugs was responsible for a fire alarm on the night of June 27 and as a result four companies of firemen of the Quincy, Ill., department nearly went bugs. For those who have never lived along the Mississippi river, an explanation of a willow bug should be given. The bugs have thin, fuzzy bodies with flimsy transparent wings. They live about 48 hours after birth, which means they must crowd a lot of fun into a short life.

Willow bugs are common along the river, and about twice a year the call of the neon from the business district urges them to have their final fling. They infest the district by the millions, fly around bright lights, then flutter to the pavement, dead and stacked in piles. Some die clinging to sides of buildings and windows.

Frequently, after an invasion, a bridge spanning the river between Quincy and Missouri must be swept clean so automobiles will not slide on the slippery mass and c.rash. It has occurred once or twice when trains have been halted until rails are swept clean so wheels could get traction.

On the night of June 27, a big swarm landed on the roof of the Selby Implement Company, two miles from the river and an equal distance from the downtown business district. Two electric spotlights on top of the firm’s new modernistic structure of glass, stone and steel, had not been placed on brackets to illuminate a sign. They we.re left lying flat on the roof.

Thousands of bugs were piled around one of the powerful lights. Heat from the globe literally fried the stack, and smoke poured off the roof of the building. A passing motorist saw the smoke and transmitted an alarm to which Chief George Simon, John Heelan. first assistant, Lloyd Boden. second assistant Chief, three engine companies and the rescue squad responded.

The bodies of the flimsy bugs had burned. Fi.remen, scratching in the belief they had bugs, returned to quarTERS.

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