Railroad to Newspaper to Fire Department
A new and efficient alarm system was put into use at Hartford, Conn., on September 9, as the New Haven Railroad, The Hartford Courant and the Hartford Fire Department joined in a game of “Pass the Word Along.”
The whole thing started about 5:00 p.m., as a New Haven Railroad freight train chugged out of Union Station, headed for New Haven. As the train rounded the bend near Bushnell Park, the head brakeman, Robert Bosquet of East Haven, spotted flames in front of a building on Hurlburt Street.
The brakeman tore a page off his inspection pad and scribbled on the back, “Fire on platform of Cudahy Packing Company,” then dropped the note off at the first gate crossing he came to, which was the Flower Street crossing, opposite The Hartford Courant building.
Gatekeeper John F. Welles picked up the message and ran across the tracks to The Courant, and hollered up to the boys in the paper’s composing room. Composing room employees heard Welles yelling, went to the window, got the fire message and relayed it to the editorial department.
Then a reporter reversed the usual procedure of telephoning fire headquarters for information on a fire and called to tell the dispatcher of the blaze at Cudahy’s. A pumper was sent to thescene. Firemen found some papers and boxes burning on the packing room platform and doused the fire. No damage was reported and the fire department sent a word of thanks backwards along the message route.