Author Topic: My younger Buff years  (Read 497116 times)

Offline 1261Truckie

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #90 on: June 05, 2009, 05:24:17 AM »
That day I was hanging out in 280/132 (I hadn't begun to ride yet) and it was the first time I ever heard a dispatcher say "...are there any available units in the 15th, 12th or 10th divisions?"

The answer was silence indicating that no one was available. The picture in the 1963 WNYF is E-280 arriving at the job. 280 had been operating at Box 1703 and was reassigned to 2125.

Never heard so many bells. The dispatchers did a great job of maintaining order and the troops did a great job of putting out fire.


Nycfire.net

Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #90 on: June 05, 2009, 05:24:17 AM »

Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #91 on: June 05, 2009, 09:48:00 AM »
Reading about some of these stories sure brings back memories. I can remember hearing all the time, dispatchers saying things like: "Any trucks available in the Sixth Division", "Is there any Engine Company available in the Eleventh Division", or Any Engine Company available in the Bronx". This actually would happen quite often. And it didn"t matter if it was a weekend, or weekday, 1 AM or 1 PM. Generally speaking though, I think the nights were busier. But that"s just my own guess. It really didn"t matter what time of day or night it was.
   When I first started writing these stories, it was supposed to be about "My" Younger Buffing Days with the FDNY. But I soon realized while doing this, that the story really isn"t about "me". It really is about those Great Group of Firefighters who risked their lives every single day of the year, with "NO Let Up" to put those fires out and protect the people of that City. We need to remember what they did for that City during the busiest time in World History for fires. And we need to also remember those Fire Dispatchers during those busy years. They had no computers, and everything had to be done by hand. They had to decide which fire was the highest priority, answer each and every call, and somehow find the closest companies out there to send. For anybody who has ever done any fire dispatching, you know how it is when the phones light up for just "ONE" fire. Some of these places would see several in the same neighborhood.
   These people that did these jobs sure have my "HIGHEST RESPECT". And they earned it too.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 10:03:02 AM by nfd2004 »

Offline johnd248

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #92 on: June 05, 2009, 10:29:22 AM »
The old bell system: in my name at Engine 248, our primary boxes were in the 1000, 1500, 2400, and 3700 ranges.  We also had a few 2300, 3800, and 3900 boxes as well.  A zero was represented by ten bells.  We would sit, waiting for a box, and then the bell would ring; there was a selective alarm system so that most of the time you only heard boxes in your second alarm area.  If the first number was a one, we would wait to see if the second was a five or a ten.  If it was a five, we were almost certainly going.  The chairs would be pushed away from the table in the back room and we would be headed for the rig before the man on watch had time to announce the run.  What always seemed strange to me was how everyone had fine tuning in their ears at night when we were asleep in our bunks.  The same was true: if the first number stopped at two, you waited to see if the second number was a four.  If the bell kept ringing after the four, you automatically went back to sleep and never remembered hearing the box.  Multiple alarm fire were transmitted using the prefix for the borough, the level of alarm, and then the box number.  I was often amazed when I woke in the morning, went downstairs, and looked at the chalkboard.  I would see: 66-22-2358, 66-33-2358, 66-44-2358. I would realize their had been a fourth in the Bronx, but had no recollection of ever hearing the bells.  That was because if the first number was 6, we were going anywhere.

I also remember being at the Brooklyn CO helping out many times; I would file these strange metal cards with holes in them.  There was one for each box and they were filed numerically.  The holes decided which firehouses would receive the alarm from the selective alarm system.  When it got busy, the dispatchers would be pulling these metal cards as fast as possible and put them into a transmitting machine.  They didn't have time to put the cards back.  If it really, really got busy, they didn't use the cards and punched out the boxes manually.  In the firehouse, you could easily tell the difference between an automated transmission and a manual one because the manual ones were much faster.

Offline 1261Truckie

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #93 on: June 05, 2009, 01:31:46 PM »
To All,

Got another one for "youse guys".

Hot August night, probably 1970. It's the 15th of the month and a full moon as well. I'm riding with 132 as the 6X9 starts with an all-hands in Brownsville. Someone else gets relocated to 120. I go to the store for the night's meal and by the time I get back to quarters (around 6:30), there are 4 all-hands going and we are now relocating to 120 (as 120's third section). When we get to 120's house, someone runs out and says "you're going to Herzl & either Newport or Lott". We can see the column of smoke from 120.
When we get there, it's a vacant building - fire on the first floor rear. E-249 had been relocated to 283 and had the first line on the fire. As we were getting ready to take up from that job, we get another one on Chester St. Top floor - vacant building. Plenty of fire and lots of smoke.
As we were finishing up there, a Battalion Chief approached our Lieutenant and said several other companies had been relocated to 120 after us, so he told us to return to our own quarters, wash up, have our meal and then to call 120 to see if they needed us back there. It was about 8:30 - 9:00 PM. So we went to our house and by the time we finished Brownsville had quieted down. Just another night in the 15th Division.

If anyone else remembers that night, please add on to this.

Regards,

Jim (aka 1261truckie)

Offline rdm258

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #94 on: June 05, 2009, 01:48:24 PM »
I'm Glad to hear that the dispatchers are also praised. SO much must go on behind the scenes. Its amazing you can request almost anything thats needed (porta johns,drinking water,or whatever else would be required at some long operations) and they will ALWAYS have an answer and usually find a way to get what the Chief needed. Hats off to them, considering no computers and like stated earlier the card system must of been confusing when busy.
  On a side note, when I hear brothers down here( Nashville) talk about there " War Years", makes me chuckle,to myself, still have respect for any senior guy from any Dept or Company. They might of had 3 fires at one time in the whole entire city. I try to explain to them about FDNY and the war years,but don't think they believe me. I grew up in Canarsie,Brooklyn from 77 to 96. All i can remember was 4th of July was fun for me to ride around on my bike and just wait for the smoke. Almost for sure the weeds were going to burn along the Belt Parkway or the Padergats. Watching 257 and 310 fighting what I thought was a massive brush fire for hours and they would let me help pack hose and I would ride home and fill up thermos with ice and water to give to the guys. I was like a 9 year old kid on my bike acting as a RAC unit.  :)
   Now I play them the old audios I find and watch them get the chills on there arms. They are amazed.
Thank you to all the dispatches for a great job and still continue to do a outstanding job.   RD

Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #95 on: June 06, 2009, 09:45:22 AM »
rdm258, Yes, those 4th of July"s. They are a story in itself. For anybody who wasn"t around for the busy "War Years", it"s the closest thing that I think can be compared to those Busy War Years. Right up until the late 90s, the 4th of July"s were Extremely busy. It would start around 9 PM and once the action started, it was non-stop until about 2-3 AM. All the Reserve Rigs would be manned (500 and 700 series). During the day, the City Parks would be jammed packed with people. Once the sun set, the party really began. Fireworks, M-80s, Cherry Bombs, I wouldn"t doubt even pieces of Dynamite, going off. I would ride through the streets and it was like riding in the middle of a "War Zone". We would have to keep all the windows in the car rolled up because of all the flying rockets taking off from one side of the street to another. Once it started the FDNY radio was non-stop. A lot of fires were started on the roofs because of the flying rockets. I remember catching five or six jobs, just in the Bronx, and that was pretty much all below Fordham Rd. The smell of smoke from the fires, and the smell of sulfur from all the fireworks covered the area. Some streets even got closed by the people themselves, as they took over to give their own fireworks display. Except for the Huge Celebration of Fireworks, the 4th of July"s were a taste of the War Years for the FDNY. What used to go on then, it showed what those FDNY members faced on a daily basis in those busy years.

Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #96 on: June 07, 2009, 05:42:41 PM »
I talk about My Younger Buff Years and how lucky I was to be around to witness what went on during that very busy time for the FDNY. But one very important thing that I forgot to mention about. For this I apologize to the members of the FDNY that fought these fires for those 10 or 15 years. For me, it was just a hobby. But the sad truth is that you can"t fight that many fires and not have injuries. And I"m sure some very Serious injuries that members, and their families, are still paying the price for. They went to work to do their jobs of fighting fires. They were there to save lives. And that"s what they did. Behind all these stories, we need to remember that people got hurt. Firefighters and friends of Firefighters. It was nothing short of a War. Innocent people that had nothing to do with starting these fires also paid a price. It took it"s toll over the years.
  Lets not forget these people. I have a Great Respect for what I saw those Firefighters do. But remember, a lot of those guys got hurt. Most have families, kids, wife's, but they all paid the price when something went wrong.

Offline rdm258

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #97 on: June 07, 2009, 07:27:58 PM »
AMEN Brother. Perfectly stated!!!

Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #98 on: June 11, 2009, 12:05:29 PM »
Around 1978 or so, things started to level off some for those South Bronx Companies. Don"t get me wrong, they were still fighting fires, just not at the huge pace they had been over the previous years. I guess that was probadly due to the increased number of Fire Marshalls that were put on, and the fact that blocks of buildings had been burned out, and were just gone or empty burned out shells.
  And sure enough, just as everyone had expected, the West Bronx was starting to pick up. Companies like E92/L44, E68/L49, E42/L56 (L56 was with E42 at that time), E48, E75/L33, and E43/L59 were showing signs of an approaching War Years II. Battalions 17, and 19 were becoming the busiest battalions. So it was time for me to learn a whole new set of streets. I don"t think I ever chased a fire, West of Webster Ave prior to that.
   My first trip to this strange land came right after a very serious fire that occurred on Morris Ave, just down the street from Eng 92s firehouse. I think about 25 civilians had been hurt, mostly from jumping out of the upper floor windows. I think it was around 167 St and Morris Ave. I remember stopping by the firehouse (92/44) and talking with a few guys about it. They had also told me how the work was starting to pick up in the area. They took me on a run with them, and on the way back they stopped by that fire. They showed me all the outside metal awnings with large dents in them where people had been jumping out of the windows onto those awnings.
   So my new hang out, became Teller Ave near Clairmont Park. I now had to learn a new set of streets. Grand Concourse, Jerome Ave, Walton Ave, Morris Ave, etc. Still, it wasn"t that bad to get over to 82s area, or other parts of the South Bronx. And this West Bronx area had the same conditions as the South Bronx. Occupied 5 and 6 Brick M.D.s, rows of Taxpayers, and some wood frames. The difference now was that these buildings had Not yet been burned out. But it was about to change as those companies begin the fight of the FDNY War Years II.

Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #99 on: June 14, 2009, 09:20:05 AM »
As the War Years were starting to come to an end, several changes for the FDNY were starting to take place. Because of Budget cuts several companies had been closed down. Engine 85 from the "Tin House" had been closed and Ladder 59 had moved from the "Tin House" to Sedgewick Ave with Engine 43 where the activity was picking up. No more Tactical Control Units (TCUs) from 3 PM to 1 AM, No Manpower Squad Cos (The Bronx lost Sqd 2, Manhatten Sqd 1, and Brooklyn lost Sqds 3 and 4), The Super Pumper and Satellites were no longer manned. And No More Second Sections.
  The FDNY had been experimenting with a new color of Fire Apparatus. There had been studies done that a Lime Green color firetruck would be seen easier than a red firetruck, thereby reducing accidents. The FDNY had about 20 Mack Engines painted this color as a trial basis to see if this cut down on the amount of accidents. This was also becoming a trend throughout the country. Some cities like Boston and Newark even painted over their red fire trucks. In the Bronx, I remember Eng 41 (now Sqd 41), Eng 45, Eng 85, and Eng 94 (I think), were all the Lime Green Color.
  My favorite Lime Green Engine was Eng 45. They had a big picture of "Kermite the Frog" on it, and it said: "It"s Not Easy Being Green". I sure wish I had a few pictures of that, because it was such class, on such a busy outfit.
  Shortly after this the FDNY purchased several American La France Pumpers. Somebody on this site said about 80 of these, to be more accurate. The only Lime Green American La France Engine was Eng 65. All the rest were all painted Red. The FDNY was about to try another experiment. Remember, there was NO Air Conditioning in these rigs at the time. In the summer, riding in those rigs was really hot. As a result, several of these ALF Engines had their roof area"s painted "White". I think Eng 50 and 82 were two of them. It was hoped that the White Color Roof area would reflect some of the heat and this would make the cabs cooler. I would have to guess that it worked, because as a result, all the FDNY rigs have white roofs as of this date.
   And as far as the Lime Green went, I think the FDNY was the first to come out and say, there was no difference in apparatus accidents, red or Lime Green. (Some called it Slime Green). So much for the FDNY Green Fire Trucks.

Offline guitarman314

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #100 on: June 14, 2009, 04:07:38 PM »
  There were 10 lime green Mack CF's that originally went to E10, 41, 42, 45, 46, 58, 85, 94, 236 & 277. Later on E73 & E263 received reassigned lime Macks. Engine 45, E46 and E10's [when it was reassigned to E4] were repainted white over red.

Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #101 on: June 14, 2009, 09:57:14 PM »
Thanks Guitarman314 for giving us the complete line up of the FDNY Lime Green Pumpers. Now I remember seeing the other ones too. Mr Guitarman314 is a friend who I can tell you, could certainly tell a lot more stories than I can. He grew up and lived there. And let me say, during those busy War Years, we heard some of the very Best Fire Dispatchers the world has known. They may not know me, But I sure remember them. Even the Brothers on the FDNY had great respect for these guys. One name, Warren Fuchs, Brooklyn Dispatcher 120. Another great was, I believe his name is Herb Eysser, Manhatten Dispatcher 124 (I think). And of course, George M......, Brooklyn Dispatcher 247. I believe he is still on the job but has a different number. (Please forgive me George, I"m not sure on the spelling of your last name). But anybody who heard you, knows who I"m talking about. I"m sure there were many other Greats too. But I remember you guys. Thanks for doing such a Great Job, and we sure loved listening to ya. (I"m sorry if I messed up on any of the names I spelled).
   I"m sure guys like Guitarman, Johnd248, and a few others who have been around for awhile, and heard you, would also agree.
   And Thanks Guitarman for helping us out with the FDNY Lime Green Pumpers. 

Offline johnd248

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #102 on: June 14, 2009, 10:46:25 PM »
Willie D- George Munsch was # 247 and is currently #102, showing his seniority on the job.  A long time friend of mine.

Offline nfd2004

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #103 on: June 15, 2009, 08:38:45 AM »
Thanks John, I knew that you would know him. I hope he gets the message of what "us" buffs thought of him. My brother (georged4997), and I met him several years ago. A Great Guy and a Great Dispatcher.

Offline guitarman314

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Re: My younger Buff years
« Reply #104 on: June 15, 2009, 03:53:01 PM »
   At around 3 P.M. on a Sunday afternoon in the Summer of '69 I happened to be walking along E. 149th St. near St. Mary's Park when I saw a plume of smoke to the east. I could hear the sounds of sirens and airhorns in the distance so I start running towards it as Engine 41 and 41-2 pass me by. The fire was at Union Avenue & 151st St. and it involved a whole city block of mostly occupied 2-1/2 story frame buildings threatening two occupied 5-story brick tenements at the corners. I got there just as the 2nd alarm was called in and watched it go all the way to a 5th Alarm with special calls for Tower Ladders 14, 1 and the Super Pumper. This fire completely wiped out almost every house on Union and Tinton Avenues from 151st to 152nd Streets. By around 6 P.M. most of the buildings were leveled and the Super Pumper Tender tractor was uncoupled from its trailer and sent into the rubble where it resembled an army tank more than a fire truck as it maneuvered through the rubble firing water from its giant deck monitor. Ladders 17, 28, 31, 42 and 48 all had brand new 1968 and '69 American LaFrance rigs and there must've been 4 ladderpipes, one tower ladder, numerous master streams from Satellite 2, the Super Pumper Tender, portable stangs and multiversals in operation. Below is the correct [dated 8/69] box card for that incident showing both sections of E41 on the 1st alarm leaving normally 3rd due E83 home. BTW, back then Satellite 2 was quartered with E83 ;) so it didn't take long for it to get into this job.