International Fire Buff Associates Meet

International Fire Buff Associates Meet


Bells, Buffs and Blazes

QUITE a ring-a-ding time was had by a record number of 400 fire buffs and their families who attended the 13th Annual Convention of the International Fire Buff Associates in Baltimore.

The air was hot but not from the speeches when Convention Chairman Charles C. Price of the host Box 414 Association dashed into the meeting room.

There was, it seemed, a late entry to the convention program. Not far from the Lord Baltimore, a third alarm hail been pulled for a fire in a multistoried industrial building.

Paul C. Ditzel

Whang went the gavel arid in a swirl of twirling coat hangers, out through the lobby stampeded the buffs to the consternation of the management, to say nothing of the guests.

Among those caught up in the vortex of this hurricane was an Associated Press reporter who was later to tell his version of the story on the national wires.

Thanks to the efforts of the buffs and, incidentally, to a six-alarm assignment of Baltimore Fire Department heroes, the fire was quickly contained, controlled and the somewhat odoriferous buffs returned to more mundane pursuits, such as lunch, where Deputy Fire Chief Frank J. Trenner was the speaker.

If enthusiasm helps to put out fires, then that six-bagger must have been snuffed swiftly, after the buffs hove onto the scene to lend their moral support.

Baltimore, not exactly a city known for such things, may be a long time recovering from the sight of the IFBA’ers grabbing cabs, commandeering trucks and racing on foot to see a fire in a city where big fires do happen. Chief John J. Killen believes that no fire would be complete without buffs present.

IFBA President Henry G. Nathan and others responsible for what everyone termed the “best ever” convention, were hard put to top the Friday morning spectacular. in living color, during the remaining three days of the meeting.

Business action included modification of the IFBA constitution and by-laws to strengthen regional activities and to provide for a permanent executive vice presiDENT

lt was also decided that next year’s convention (in Detroit) would include group workshops on canteen service, fire prevention and fire department public relations.

Other action included the welcome of a new member, the Box 61 club of Portland. Maine, and the reinstatement of the Friendship Fire Association of Washington, D.C. The FFA had dropped out of the IFBA several years ago.

Associate members accepted were Eugene E. Sechler of Salem, Ohio, and J. Frank Jonasson of Corvallis, Ore.

Individual associate memberships are available only to those qualified persons who reside in an area in which, for one reason or another, a fire buff group has not or cannot be formed.

Also, to qualify for associate membership, a prospective joiner must reside in an area too far to commute to the nearest organized club, whether it is an IFBA member group or not. The distance is set at about 50 miles. Annual dues are $10 and include the IFBA newsletter, “Turnout,” published three or four times yearly. This column obtained associate membership information from A. J. Burch, 5752 Courville Road. Detroit, Mich. 48224.

Delegates and their families had available to them a full program of social activities. including a harbor cruise which was saluted by the Marine Division of the Baltimore Fire Department with a display of water streams illuminated by varicolored lights.

Other tours included visits to new fire stations and the Baltimore City Fire School where visitors were treated to a parade and demonstrations. The Kodak Company reportedly declared a dividend after the spools of film and used flashbulbs were totaled up.

As part of convention activities, the Anne Arundel Alamiers, an IFBA member, dedicated their new quarters and hosted a buffet luncheon.

Baltimore County Fire Department also dusted off the welcome mat. Chief W. H. Wineholt and his men. assisted by the Box 234 Association of Pikesville and the Central Alarmers of Tow-son, saw to it that their favorite department put its best foot forward.

Visitors were treated to an exhibition of a new foam extinguishing agent, toured the County’s Station No. 1, and visited the communication center.

Despite the heavy program of activities, there was still plenty of gusto left for the buffs to turn out for their annual banquet. Chief speaker was Francis L. Brannigan, Atomic Energy Commission safety engineer and himself a buff Baltimores Mayor Theodore R. McKekhn was also featured as a speaker.

Before the fire fans trudged home with a stop-off in Washington for a visit with FFA for some of them) they elected new officers, including:

Albert J. Burch of the Detroit Fire Buffs Association, president; Edward A. Massman, Newark Bell & Siren Club, treasurer; and William A. Brennan, Trenton. N.J., Signal 22 Association, secretary.

Regional vice presidents elected were: Richard C. Weixler, Boston Box 52 Association; Jack F. Cole, Jersey City Gong Club; John B. Sachen, Washington, D.C., Friendship Fire Association; Edward R. Damaschke, Detroit Box 42 Associates; Pat S. Holz, Cincinnati Box 13 Associates and E.C. Orth. Racine, Wis., Fire Bell Club.

Until the bells go down again next month, please continue to send your reports and club anecdotes to me at: Box 66337, Los Angeles, Calif. 90066.

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