DALLAS DIAMOND JUBILEE
OCTOBER 1960 marked the 75th Anniversary of the Dallas Fire Department as a paid fire fighting organization. As it happened, this was also the Diamond Jubilee year for other Texas institutions as well—The State Fair of Texas and the Dallas Morning News —and the three events were celebrated together.
The Dallas Morning News published an eight-page tabloid section featuring the Dallas Fire Department, and at the State Fair of Texas, the department featured three separate units, namely, a thrill show or rescue demonstration ,a fire prevention booth, and our official western-style string band, the Fire House Rhythm Kings. The month of October was picked to celebrate because that is the State Fair of Texas Month in Dallas.
rhe thrill show or rescue demonstration was part of our training program and also part of our effort to educate Dallasites on their fire department’s role in rescue operations. A giant scaffold, 24 feet by 36 feet by 63 feet high, was furnished by a local company and erected on the fair grounds to serve as a drill tower. One fully equipped, heavy-duty rescue unit and a 100-foot aerial ladder truck were employed.
The men who put on the thrill show were all rookie firemen. None of them had ever worked a day in the fire department. The demonstrations were ably conducted under the supervision of Chief F. J. Douglas who is an assistant to Chief Training Officer R. Roy Simmons.
The rookies showed how lives can be saved even when people are trapped high up in a building engulfed by flames. Also demonstrated were some of the less spectacular rescue work such as assisting at drowning, first aid for heart attack and rescue at wrecks.
According to those accustomed to judging crowds, more than 172,000 people viewed the 56 fire department performances during the 16-day run of the fair.
At the end of October the fire department received a letter from the United States Department of Commerce expressing interest in the show staged at the fair as a possible prototype for a demonstration at the United States Exhibit which was entered in the International Trade Fair in Poznan, Poland, June 11-25, 1961. Naturally the entire department was very proud to have been recognized in this manner. □□