The WATCH DESK
Overhauling the firemanic news of the day
This Is ‘Magner Month’
Tom Magner, erstwhile Captain, Bridgeport, Ct., Fire Department and now reporter for the Bridgeport Post culled and clipped these gems:
CHESTER, VT.—“If the ‘durn’ thing could have waited for a while things would be different, I’m sure.” Chief Albert Damore was speaking.
It all happened on November 6 in the small town of Chester, Vt. The main mill of the Vermont Mineral Products, Inc., caught fire and, despite the untiring efforts of the Chester fire fighters, the building burned to the ground. Here’s the main reason:
The brand new fire apparatus purchased by the town sat on a railroad flat-car in the nearby town of Gassetts. Fire Chief Damore said the new engine was not ready for delivery while fire swept the mill with a loss estimated unofficially at $50,000.
FAIRFIELD, CT.—Here’s a story with a “fire” angle to it on all sides.
On Oct. 18 fire broke out in McIndoe’s Lunch, Fairfield Woods Road, Fairfield, Conn., doing damage of $800. The business is owned by Leslie McIndoe, a Fire Commissioner in the Stratfield District, and the building is owned by Joseph Strolin, Chief of the Stratfield Fire Company.
NEW HAVEN, CT.-A false fire alarm was sounded from Box 712 at 3:05 P.M. at New Haven, Conn., on Nov. 8.
A false fire alarm was sounded from Box 712 at 3:05 P.M. the following day.
A little before 3 P.M. on Thursday, the next day, an inspector was detailed from the office of Fire Marshal Eugene Mulligan. The inspector hid in a gas station across the street from Box 712.
At 3:06 P.M. he saw a false alarm turned in from the box—by a six-yearold boy.
UNION, S. C.—Magistrate J. Lee Gregory was watching television at the fire station when an alarm came in.
“I’ll just sit here and answer the phone until you fellows get back,” said the judge to the departing firemen.
“You’d better get on this truck, it’s your house,” yelled the driver.
Firemen found a badly burned roast in the judge’s oven and a badly scorched pot of beans on the stove.
ATLANTA, GA.-A fire station caught fire Oct. 24th, last, and firemen from another station put out the blaze.
The firemen at Station 12 in the northeast section were too busy saving equipment and personal property to do any fire fighting (so says the news report). So men from Station 6 responded and extinguished the fire.
The blaze started when a gasoline tank on a stalled truck exploded and sprayed burning gasoline over the twostory building.
“For Whom the Bells Didn’t Toll—
Story to End All Back Seat Driver Jokes.” That’s the way the press headed this yarn which has to do with a fire fighter who shall remain anonymous, one of the crew of Ladder 9 of the Springfield, Mass., Fire Department, a most respected and admired fire force.
Fireman Blank—as we’ll call him—is, or at least was tillerman on Ladder 9 at its Armory Street Station. He was in fire quarters on the day of this incident when the unit received a telephone alarm at 6:32 to respond to the home of a citizen on Liberty Street, where meat was smoking up the oven.
With Fireman John F. Meaney, Jr., at the wheel of the ladder truck, the rig pulled out of the station and negotiated a sharp right turn into Armory Street without mishap, or Meaney getting any hint of portending trouble.
At the intersection of Liberty Street, Meaney took another right turn, and the unattended tail end of the aerial swung across the street, crashing into a parked 1955 model sedan. This car was in turn shoved into another auto and both were badly damaged.
Brother Meaney, whose view of the tillerman’s seat, it is explained, is blocked by ladders and equipment on the truck, was entirelv unaware that nobody was steering the stern section of the big vehicle. One can figure his puzzlement, to put it midly, when the steering gear appeared to go haywire—and there was no Fireman Blank in sight!
Fortunately, both autos were unoccupied at the time of the crash. Nobody on the fire truck was injured—physically. Mentally, however, there was some perturbation, to put it mildly.
District Fire Chief Dennis Murphy and police investigated the accident, after the smoky stove had been “extinguished” by other companies, and reported on the accident to Fire Chief Rene J. Patingre.
It is said the ladder unit is not required to respond to all fires in its district. The missing Fireman Blank, the report concludes, assumed that because of the nature of the blaze the truck would not respond—and it pulled out of the station before he could adjust his thinking—and actions—and get aboard.
As condolences for Brother Blank, let it be said this isn’t the first time such a mishap has occurred, as the Watch Desk has reported in the past!—Thanks JAMES FROST.
Education Needed Here?
One has only to read the “Letters to the Editors” columns of most of the nation’s newspapers to appreciate the lack of knowledge of fire protection and prevention possessed by Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public.
For example, consider this item clipped from the Newark, N. J., Evening News of October 14. last, and forwarded by Chief Charles H. Acker, of the Fire Department of The New Jersey State Hosptial, Greystone Park:
To the Editor:
Sir—Everybody talks about the parking problem, but, like the weather, who will do something about it?
Parking space could be greatly increased overnight by permitting parkingin front of fire hydrants. All that need be done is to turn the fire plugs around, the outlets to face the sidewalk.
Fire hoses can be connected up and operated just as efficiently from the sidewalk as from the street. A parked car in front of a hydrant would make no difference at all once the outlets face away from the street.
Half a century ago, when the parking prohibition was first enforced, there was no parking problem and the small oldtime fire engines could just about squeeze into the “no-parking” space in front of fire plugs. The theory was, apparently, that traffic could continue undisturbed while the fire was brought under control. Needless to say it never worked quite that way. Human nature being what it is, passers-by would stop and watch the fire and traffic had to be rerouted anyway. Furthermore, giant modern fire trucks cannot by a long shot fit into the relatively small space in front of the hydrants.
By the way, any revenue which the city might lose from handing out fewer parking tickets would be more than compensated for in cold hard cash by parking meters which could be placed in front of hydrants.
Impatient customer: “I’m in a hurry. I want two pounds of liver.”
Butcher: “Sorry ma’am, but there arc three ahead of you. You wouldn’t want to get your liver out of order, would you?”