Author Topic: My younger Buff years  (Read 334551 times)

Offline johnd248

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2009, 10:18:22 AM »
I believe in the 60s the Rescue went on some all hands and sometimes only on the second alarm, depending how close the fire was to their quarters.  There was no all hands BC in those days, just the Deputy.  Brooklyn for example had many more deputies back then: 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th, and for a while the 17th.

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2009, 10:18:22 AM »

Offline FDNY150

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2009, 10:39:06 AM »
The Maxi Water Unit was the rig that replaced the Super Pumper in 1982. If available, the SPS went out on the third, or a second in Lower Manhattan.

Satellites were manned at the time and went out on the 2nd Alarm. I'm not sure when the Satellites went to unmanned status. When I came on the job in 1997, Satellite with the associated Engine went on the 2nd, or an all hands in South Queens and SI. E-207/Maxi went out on the 3rd with another Satellite and its associated Engine. In October of 1998, Maxi Water was reorganized as Satellite 6, and all Satellites went out on the 2nd.
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Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2009, 12:27:13 PM »
  I think the Satellites and other special units lost their manning during a severe budget crisis sometime around 1976/77. That was right at the peak of the "War Years". At that time they eliminated manning on those units and closed several other companies. That was the time when the Second Sections, Squad Companies etc were all closed. If I remember correctly they closed about 50 companies. They also laid off 200 Firefighters. One guy I know of, who I believe is a Battalion Chief now, got on the job and even got the company he wanted after coming out of the Academy. He then got laid off and later took a job as a city bus driver, until getting hired back by the FDNY about two years later. I"m sure there are a few guys out there that remember that. I believe it was during Mayor Beame"s time.
  Along that same time, instead of sending 3 Engs and 2 Trucks to every pull box or structure assignment, The FDNY decided to send 2 and 2 only, plus the chief. Thats when the signal 10-75 came into play. If the 10-75 was transmitted or the dispatch was receiving numerous calls of the fire, ONLY then would a third due engine respond. This was a time when every available company was needed. It was also around the time that some Engines were being purchased that would be able to mix a chemical with the water. They were called "Rapid Water Engines". Using that chemical referred to as "Slippery Water" a 1 3/4 line could flow as much as a 2 1/2 inch line, thereby reducing the manning required for a 2 1/2. The problem was, it did flow the water, but everything was so slippery that guys were falling down stairways etc. So that finished the "Rapid Water" dream.

Offline grumpy grizzly

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2009, 04:12:05 PM »
Information is from Gus Johnson's Fire Buffs Handbook. Companies that were de-activated: Manhattan- Engines 15, 26, 27, 44, 47, Ladders 8, 9, 10. Bronx- Engine 89, Ladder 53, Sq 5. SI Engines 154 and 167. Brooklyn Engines 205, 212, 218, 232, 269, 278, Squad 3 and 4, Quens- Engine 263, 293, 294,306, 328, and Ladder 171. Marine units were reduced to 5 units.  The Super Pumper ceased to be a seperate unit. The unit was manned by Engine 207. :)
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Offline 1075thebox

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2009, 07:52:54 PM »
i believe that 89 engine was only closed for a few days and then reorganized

Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #35 on: May 11, 2009, 08:19:57 PM »
As the FDNY night shift members were arriving to their firehouse on Wednesday July 13, 1977, like most other hot summer nights they knew that it wasn"t a matter of will they catch "A" job, it was; "How Many Jobs". But I"m sure they had no idea of what it would actually be like. As darkness approached, at 9:35 PM the Lights went out. The entire city had lost all electric power. This had happened 12 years earlier in November, 1965. Then the Baby Boom came along 9 months later. But this "Blackout" would be quite different from the November, 1965 one. When the Blackout of 1977 occurred, it was a hot summer night. Everybody was outside. Most stores had already closed except for a few drug stores and package stores. By 10:00 PM the first stores were being broken into and looted. As the night went on, more people joined in and more stores were looted. It was beyond what the NYPD could handle. Then some stores were set on fire. As time went on, more stores were set on fire. Brooklyn and The Bronx were getting hit the hardest. Broadway in Brooklyn, which divides Bed-Sty from Bushwick certainly saw the most fire. In a four block stretch, every single store was burned out. In a stretch of 30 Blocks, at least one store was completely burned out in every block. Also in Brooklyn, Utica Ave and Pitkin Ave streets saw a huge amount of fire activity. In The Bronx, it was Southern Blvd around 163rd St and above, and East Tremont from Webster Ave. to Boston Rd. Of course there were other areas hit too, throughout the city.
   By the time it was over on Friday morning July 15th, the FDNY had 3,900 alarms, and fought 1,037 fires. Of the 3900 alarms, 1,677 never got answered. There were 13 Multiple Alarm Fires, and 40 All Hands. Brooklyn had 119 stores burned out, and The Bronx had 78 in about a 36 hour period.
   Brooklyn had 303 fires, of which 7 were multiples, and 20 were all hands
   Bronx had 307 fires, of which 3 were multiples, and 14 were all hands
   Manhatten had 209 fires, of which 1 was a multiple , and 3 were all hands
   Queens had 134 fires, of which 2 were multiples, and 3 were all hands
   Staten Island had 45 fires
      (It should be noted that all of the above statics were taken from a book called "Blackout Looting" published in 1979)
   I remember riding down there Friday afternoon. The first place I headed for was Broadway in Brooklyn. Several areas were still blocked off from vehicle traffic. The overhead elevated subway line had been reopened after being shut down due to the fires. I could still see some places with a light smoke condition and an engine and ladder still on the scene. The steel scissor gates were ripped off the store fronts. The streets were full of debris. Charred pieces of wood, empty boxes of melted ice cream, meats, and magazines were flowing down the streets and blocking up the storm drains. Flooding became a problem. I then headed to the Bronx where it was the same story. I remember hearing companies asking for help. If an engine on the scene of a fire, asked just for a truck, the dispatcher would say "well if you really need one, we"ll try to get you one".  If a fire went to an all hands you can bet, they had a huge amount of fire. Jobs were getting knocked down using just one engine and one ladder. There was no time to hang around and overhaul. Any overhaul was done with a tower ladder using the stream from the bucket.
   I only saw the "After Effects", and heard some of it on the scanner. I"m hoping that a few friends that actually lived there and remember it will join in. I"m sure you got a few stories about the historic 36 hours to tell. That sure would be great !!!
   And by the way, that Gus Johnson"s Fire Buff"s Handbook is great. If you can find one, in my opinion, its worth picking up.

Offline johnd248

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #36 on: May 11, 2009, 10:05:48 PM »
Even though I am considerably younger that my friend nfd2004, I remember the blackout in 1965.  I was working in a bank at Flatbush and Church Avenues but also assigned as an auxiliary at Engine 248 half a block away.  The bank manager asked each male employee to escort a female employee home in the dark. (Like that would happen in this time).  I told him I would be more useful on duty at the firehouse and he allowed me to leave.  The blackout occurred right at the change of tours, but the day crew was not allowed to go off duty.  The result was, when the alarm bell rang, with the officer and five men from the day tour, plus me, plus the officer and six men of the night tour, no one knew who should respond; there was not enough room on the rig for everyone.  Somehow we worked it out but not everyone was happy.  Some of us went to a nearby store and convinced them all of their food was going to spoil and that we should have it for our dinner.  We spent the night going from call to call, extricating civilians from stalled elevators and subway trains.  It was a beautiful, moonlight night with a full moon.  In spite of the full moon, there were relatively few working fires.

What a night!  As I remember, the power came back on in Flatbush around 10 PM.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2009, 10:10:07 PM by johnd248 »

Offline truck4

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #37 on: May 12, 2009, 12:56:06 AM »
According to Jonathan Mahler's book, The Bronx is Burning, game two of the 1977 World Series vs the Kansas City Royals began with smoke over Yankee Stadium.

'An hour before the first pitch, a fire started in Public School 3, an abandoned elementary school a few blocks west of the ballpark.'

As game coverage began, an overhead shoot from a helicopter showed the fire with Howard Cosell stating- "There it is ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning."

Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #38 on: May 12, 2009, 08:38:16 AM »
  I am glad these stories are coming out. For me, it was memories of buffing the busiest and best Fire Dept in the world. It"s hard to imagine that anything like those busy War Years will ever happen again. These stories will preserve what happened and I hope the younger buffs and firefighters read these and realize just what "The Greatest Generation Firefighters" did during those busy years, in the busiet fire dept in the world.
  On a side note, I think my friend "johnd248" is counting his age backwards, or his mind is starting to slip. He"s been older than me last I knew. Poor guy, but I still love him. We were members of the same dept 35-40 years ago, when I was 100lbs lighter.

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2009, 10:43:08 AM »
NFD2004, if I'm not mistaken Rapid Water was originally called Slippery Water and the name was changed due the reason you stated about guys slipping in the water.

Offline rdm258

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #40 on: May 12, 2009, 01:46:40 PM »
What was the highest number of Sqauds operating in the City at any given time and did they operate the same as today, either an engine or truck.

Offline grumpy grizzly

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #41 on: May 12, 2009, 05:25:36 PM »
Late 50's early sixties: Squad 1 @ E-59. 2 @ E-73. 3 @ E-235, 4@ E-283, 5 @ E-5, 6 @ E-74, 7 @ E-212, 8 @ 243 Lafayette. Info from Ca;derone's book Squad Company Apparatus ;D
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Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #42 on: May 12, 2009, 09:23:39 PM »
Regarding mmattyphoto and "Rapid Water" companies. I could be wrong, but I do believe that the Engines that had Rapid Water capibility, used the term "Rapid Water" rather than "Slippery Water". The term "Slippery Water" actually came later as a sort of nickname for it. The reason I say that is because the rigs that were Rapid Water Companies actually had the words (Rapid Water) located on the cab of the engines, above the top center of the windsheild. And also on the each side of the rig a decal about 6" x 6" of a water drop and it said rapid water.
    The question from rdm258 regarding the Squad Cos, during the War Years, they were Engine Companies in busy areas mainly to respond as manpower squads. It was strickly a firefighting unit. The Squads of today are more diversified, with Haz Mat, Confined Space Rescue and High Angle Rescue, besides Firefighting. There is alot of information about the Squad Companies in "History" on this site. But during the years I was buffing, I only remember hearing Sqd 1,w/E59/L30, Sqd 2,w/E73/L42, Sqd 3,wE283 ?, Sqd 4 on Bristol St Brooklyn (?). Thats around 1968/70 until they were disbanded in 1975 (?).

Offline guitarman314

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #43 on: May 12, 2009, 10:46:48 PM »
The original Squads of the late 50's and early 60's were manpower units that responded in converted hosewagons (mostly 1940 Macks ;)) that had bench seats in the hosebeds. They only carried pike poles, axes, masks and a rescuscitator. They recieved van style vehicles in 1962-65 and then finally got pumpers during the "War Years". 

Offline R1SmokeEater

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2009, 10:20:41 AM »
Vintage Bronx .................. 
 


« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 03:54:08 PM by R1SmokeEater »