(From The Journal-News, Nyack, N. Y., Feb. 2, 1939)
Thomas C. Shannon
Thomas C. Shannon, superintendent of the New York Fire Patrol, died yesterday at his former home in the Queens at the age of 67 years. He was an honorary member of the Nyack Fire Patrol in recognition of the aid of the New York patrol in forming the local salvage company.
“So live that when thy summons comes…” (Bryant)
“Salvage Work Isn’t Fire Fighting!”
I’ve heard that so often in the past (admittedly not so much lately) that I just want to call your attention to a couple of news items in the New York dailies.
The first article appeared in the papers New Year’s Day, 1939, and related experiences at a fire in one of those darned “Taxpayer” buildings, the one story, undivided (technically speaking) multiple commercial occupancy class, always of flimsy construction. It was a threealarm job, and took three hours to subdue it. Twenty-five men were overcome, among them my very good friend, Capt. William S. Cashman, of Fire Patrol No. 6. It was said that Capt. Cashman was sizing up his conditions in the basement and, but for the training of his men, who followed him in, he would have been trapped and lost there by falling debris, smoke and fumes. As a result, he was under medical treatment and off duty for several days.
The next article appeared a couple of weeks later and reported that at a loft building fire in the lower East Side of Manhattan, two members of Fire Patrol No. 8, of Brooklyn, were knocked out and removed to hospitals. (Incidentally, the location would, I believe, have been stamping ground for old No. 1, recently disbanded.)
I have always maintained that salvage men take all the risks endured by ordinary firemen, and so it must be. Often they are in worse positions than most of the extinguishing forces, because they must work mostly at the “under” side of the fire, where things are dropping. I recall how nearly I had a nice, new helmet and a perfectly satisfactory (?) skull cut in two by a large piece of plate glass falling from the upper floor of a fire building, while working in mid-town Manhattan with the New York boys. It just missed me by the thickness of a piece of toilet paper.
So, don’t let me hear anybody saying that salvagemen aren’t firemen.
Well, well! Congratulations to my old friend. Deputy Commissioner Elmer Mustard, who raised himself by his own boot-straps (literally) to this position from high private in the rear ranks of the New York Fire Department. Always a good fireman, always a strict disciplinarian and always courteous to visitors, especially dumb insurance inspectors, as witness his kindness to me when I covered the Brownsville route, and he was a “Battlin” Chief.
Everybody’s friend, Dr. Archer, seems to be getting in the wrong side of the news lately, and here’s hoping his recovery is swift from his recent operation.
All set for next lesson in folding covers? It’s too easy, You just give it another flop in the same general direction and as per Diagram No. 5 herewith, you achieve the effect of the solid lines. Don’t forget to put footie in the middle, where the fold occurs.
Speaking of “foot,” and while it is not strictly salvage work, it seems to me kind of fun to tell.
You’ll recall I mentioned a while back that these “Squad” companies out my way are forming an organization like the New Jersey State First Aid Council, to co-ordinate rescue calls and operations.
Well, my Buddy, Ray Ackerman (Blanket Folder), always has new ideas and whereas it is the practice among volunteer fire companies, etc., to pass the “Red Hat” for refreshment money, or what will you have, he felt that first aid and rescue men should not be so much interested in headgear as in the pedal extremities. So as President he gets him a nice hollow dummy foot from a local merchant and passes this around at the Council meetings. Well, last meeting he forgot and left it at the town where we met. But not being sure he left it there, or dropped it enroute home, he solicited the aid of the County Police Radio and now one of the Directors is holding onto his foot until next meeting. Ray says he always tries to start off on the Right Foot, and that’s just what the darned thing is.
By the way, if there are many fire companies or other groups maintaining rescue squads, ambulance corps, etc., out your way, you ought to investigate this Council business. It is spreading like the proverbial forest fire, and promises to be a very big, important and powerful national movement right soon. Being Scratchetary of the local group. I’ll be glad to tell you all about it, if you’ll write me.
And next month I want to take apart those fellows who sav:
“LET THE INSURANCE COMPANIES DO IT!”