THE WATCH DESK
overhauling the firemanic news of the day
Philadelphia Firemen Star on TV
Television viewers were thrilled by a dramatic news picture in which Philadelphia fire fighters played stellar roles late in April. A 70-year-old widow protested the parking of funeral cars in front of her house. She raised such a ruckus that police were called. The woman then locked herself in her home and armed with a shotgun, threatened to shoot anyone who tried to remove her. After she
turned a deaf ear to please of the clergy, the police and her son, plans for a teargas attack were made.
Firemen were called and gas masks issued. Gas cartridges were fired into the third floor and the unfortunate woman hurled most of them back into the street.
Policemen guarding the interior were forced out even though they were protected with masks. One collapsed and he with two companions were rushed to the hospital. Fire fighters donned demandtype equipment and stood fast.
At 6:15 p.m., the woman came running to a front window and collapsed over the sill, her arms outstretched. Firemen quickly laddered the building and Lieutenant Victor Mitura and members of Engine 26 went after the victim by way of the ladder and the interior stairs. . . Firemen and policemen seized her and the gun, and attempted to pull her back into the room. But in spite of the foul air she had inhaled, the crazed woman fought all hands. It was then decided to lower her by rope down the ladder.
Firemen tied a life rope around her, passed her through the window to the lieutenant and his helpers, and she was brought to bay after three hours of turmoil. Treated at the scene with oxygen, and later at the hospital for gas inhalation, the woman was put in a psychiatric ward and charged with a long list of crimes.
Hot Off the Tape
Governor Brown of California has signed a bill which makes possible the prosecution of a person for misrepresenting himself as a fire department official while selling fire fighting equipment. . . . In Stillwater, Okla., police found three cylinder containers and took them to an oil well servicing company to see if they were explosive. They were. The windows of the company were blown out during the test. . . . A homemade rocket roared out of a field in northeast Des Moines and cut partly through the top of an unoccupied station wagon parked in a heavily populated area quarter of a mile away. The 30-inch rocket had a wooden nose fashioned from a broomstick and an aluminum tube. A big bunch of boys were seen going into the field before the blast; police couldn’t find them afterwards. . . . A Los Angeles woman was reported injured seriously in San Diego when her car slammed into the side of Engine 4’s pumper responding on an alarm which later proved to be false. None of the four fire fighters was injured. . . . When a derailed propane gas tank car sprung a leak June 5 at Iowa Falls, Iowa, the entire east half of the city, including the municipal hospital was evacuated in fear of an explosion. . . . The San Francisco Fire Department estimates that 17 false alarms of fire in a three-hour period to which some 500 men and scores of units of apparatus were dispatched cost the city a total of $8,500.
. . . Because her mother wouldn’t let her go on a picnic, a 15-year-old girl touched off a vandalism spree at a Denver high school. Aided by two 17-year-old boys she did $8,000 damage, including starting a $5,000 fire. . . . A suitcase full of dynamite—capped and fused by an expert, according to authorities—was placed on the Rock Island Railroad tracks in Des Moines, June 5, shortly before a Rocket passenger train carrying 200 persons was due over the spot. But the charge failed to explode, apparently because the train cut the fuse. . . . The entire complement of Engine Co. 22 of the San Diego Fire Department, including Lieutenant HarI vey Harmelink were poisoned by food eaten at the station and hospitalized. Seems they ate Chinese food leftovers from a picnic of the previous day, which were brought in by one of the victims. Deputy Fire Chief A1 Penrose said all men would recover. . . . New York City has statutes which prohibit sale and use of fireworks. But a Brooklyn svoodshed loaded with the explosives blew up Ae night of May 31, damaging some 14 surrounding homes. Police say shed contained a $1,000 cache of illegal fireworks intended for July 4 bootleg trade. . . . A miniature cannon made by two Chico, Calif., high school boys, exploded while they were loading it in the kitchen of Carl Geear, Jr., one of them. Geear’s hand was shattered; the other boy was peppered by flying pellets and bits of metal.
Fire Chief Buys Jail for $5
It takes Fire Chief Charles I. Clark to put anyone in fail in the Village of Woodstock, Champaign County, Ohio.
The chief bought the Champaign County hoosegow for $5. Not just for the fun of locking up false alarmers (a rare species in this village), but rather to get rid of it! Seems the jail is in a corner of the village fire station, where it’s in the way of firemen and fire apparatus. Chief Clark, who has been a local fireman for 40 years and head of the department for a dozen years, says he doesn’t know fust what to do with his private jail. “I may board it up and use it to store coal in,” he said.
Enough Is Enough
San Angelo, Tex., City Commissioner G. T. Trusler acquired a very active jinx last spring which burned him out of two homes and got a good start on the third in a space of 10 days.
Arson investigators didn’t believe that one man could be that unlucky, and searched for a “jinx” that had a grudge against the commissioner.
On March 9 the Trusler family first discovered a fire in a bedroom of Aeir new home. Firemen did a fine job and kept the damage minor, as they did later the same afternoon, when a blaze was discovered in another bedroom while the Truslers were out visiting.
Three days later the family was not as fortunate. A fire broke out in the living room, seriously damaging the house and destroying the furniture. Trusler rented their old home, bought new furniture and moved Ae family back into it. While the decorators were redoing the new house on the 17th, fire broke out in the old house, destroyed the new furniture once again, and made the house uninhabitable. Trusler put his wife and family up with friends and took a room with his uncle. When he returned to the room on the 19th, a window curtain, window frame and empty baby bed were blazing away. Ten days, five fires.