Redles Gets Model Surprise From Name on Firehouse
Bells, Buffs and Blazes
Philadelphia Buff Al Redles is probably the first enthusiast to have a fire station named after him. It came as a surprise to him—by way of Hong Kong, no less—when a model train equipment factory sent him the first production model of an N-gage fire-house with the words, “Redlesville Fire Dept.” emblazoned across the front.
Redles, secretary of Bachmann Bros., Inc., 1400-1438 E. Erie Avenue, Philadelphia, is a world-traveled buff during trips for his firm, which supplies model equipment for the hobby industry.
While vice president and chairman of the public safety committee of the Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Redles wrote letters to legislators urging implementation of the Fire Research and Safety Act, signed into law by President Johnson in 1968.
Sen. Richard S. Schweiker of Pennsylvania recently wrote Al: “You will be pleased to know that the White House has informed me that the members of the commission will be announced shortly … I am delighted that our urgings have been successful and know that this is good news to you as well.”
Two other buffs who are going stronger than ever, despite their years, are John Weisberger and Clarence Meek. John is recuperating from surgery which followed his recent visit to Chicago. Clarence suffered back injuries during a mugging, reports Buff Kirk Rosenhan. Both would enjoy hearing from their legion of firefan friends. John’s address: 1970 E. 18th St., Brooklyn, N.Y., 11229. Clarence’s mail should be sent to 5 Vine Rd., Larchmont, N.Y., 10538.
Recent mentions in this column of water towers prompted Gil Jory to report that he recently prepared an updated chart of the apparatus and locations in Baltimore and Washington. Gil says he’ll be happy to send free copies to those writing him at 34 E. Wheeling St., Baltimore, Md., 21230. I suggest readers enclose 12 cents postage.
Devotees of antique fire apparatus— which American LaFrance defines as rigs manufactured before 1940—will be intrigued by that company’s free registration plan, which is designed to help those desiring to restore old apparatus.
“We at American LaFrance receive hundreds of requests for information and help from buffs who have purchased an antique American LaFrance apparatus,” says the company’s public relations director, T. Sloane Palmer.
“You can appreciate that a company as large as ours cannot forever supply parts (for 136 years in our case). The best we can do is to try to put them in touch with others who own similar apparatus,” says Palmer.
American LaFrance has undertaken, therefore, a free registration plan. Owners of rigs who submit data on a small card (supplied by the company by writing Box 333, Elmira, N.Y., 14902) will be supplied with what Palmer describes as a certificate “from the original manufacturer.” The certificate registers the owner in the Classic American LaFrance Coterie.
Palmer says the company plans to circulate ownership lists at least twice a year to all registrants and hopes to eventually develop a newsletter.
As this column goes to press, we are notified of the antique muster sponsored by the Fairchester Hose Haulers Association, comprising Fairfield, Conn., and Westchester, N.Y., County members of the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America, Inc. Information about the group can be obtained from Trustee Gilbert J. Stanley, 64 Pinewood Gardens, Hartsdale, N.Y., 10530.
There are those who say that word travels all too slowly in the fire service, but when it does, it travels fast. Seems that Fire Buff Stevie Redick, 10-year-old son of Captain Warren Redick of the Chicago Fire Department (and late of Snorkel Squad 3) went to the library and somehow got his finger stuck in a water fountain. It took a squad of firemen to do its usual good job of disassembling the water fountain in order to free Steve. Warren is not much on talking about such things, but the last we heard firemen were talking of the incident at departments located some 40 miles north of Chicago.
A professional firefighter who has long been an avid buff is Captain Hillis Baker of the Los Angeles City Fire Department. Hillis joined the LAFD about a dozen years ago after building an outstanding record as a member of the Washington, D.C., Fire Department. He’s always been rated tops in the LAFD, too, which was all the more reason everyone was so concerned when Hillis received major injuries when an elevating platform toppled during a dotvntown fire. The incident caused fatal injuries to another fire fighter and serious injuries to a third.
Doctors at Los Angeles Orthopedic Hospital say only Hillis’ physical conditioning and strong will to survive brought him through the ordeal, which probably would have been fatal to a less determined man. Hillis has long been known for his devotion to duty and frequently showed up at major fires when off-duty to offer help in whatever way he could.
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 814, Northridge, Calif., 91324.
August Fire Losses
Fire in the United States caused an estimated loss of $200,930,000 in August, the National Insurance Actuarial and Statistical Association reported. This was an increase of 16.7 percent over the August 1969 figure of $172,137,000 and a 13 percent increase over the July 1970 total of $177,854,000.
Fire losses in the first eight months of 1970 now total $1,519,467,000, which is 15.6 percent above the $1,314,843,000 registered during the first eight months of 1969.