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General Category => History => Topic started by: JohnnyGage on March 24, 2019, 07:45:59 PM

Title: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 24, 2019, 07:45:59 PM




Hello Troops! Recently I had a nice conversation with the Grand PooBah Mr. Willy. Albeit, it was a little difficult chatting through the phone line connection, it seemed like I heard bags being ripped open, muffled crunching chewing sounds and what sounded like soda being slurped through a straw from the other side of this seemingly bad connection. Still we had a wonderful conversation.

I wanted to ask Mr. Willy if I could create a new thread. I have been thinking about ways to contribute to this fine network and I started recalling many interesting unique personalities, fantastic meals, amusing antics and experiences throughout my fire career. I began to jot what I thought might be interesting recollections from firehouses I was assigned or detailed to. Before you knew it, one memory retrieved would lead to another. My head felt like it was going to explode!

Becoming a new contributor, I did not want to “hijack” someone else’s thread and Mr. Willy liked my idea of creating a new one. He gave me his blessing. So without further adieu, I will begin a new topic, titled : GLORY DAYS. Inspired by the words of Bruce Springsteen’s hit, and a prolific statement from one of my favorite lieutenants that I worked with, that I will introduce you to in the near future.

Please feel free to jump in and add your thoughts, recollection or comments. I hope by passing along some of my memories, they may kick-start some of your own. Stay tuned. KMG 365.


Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 24, 2019, 07:48:33 PM
“TOUGH TIMMY (TT)”  Part 1
  Meet TT


“Tough Timmy”. It wasn’t Tim, it wasn’t Timmy, it was “Tough TImmy”. I called him Cap.

The first time I heard the name of my future boss was during the last few days of Proby school. My classmates and I were to graduate shortly, the fire department orders had just come out and we new shiney firefighters were anxious to see where we would be assigned. A lieutenant held the copy in both hands and began to read off the two page, double column order. I kind of knew I was headed for the Bronx, I was pretty sure I was going to E 45. As the lieutenant read the names of firefighters going to 45 my name wasn’t mentioned. Hmmm, I thought. Then he gets to my name, “Pot, your heading to 88”, the Lt  immediately looked up, with a grin and chuckle he says “Good luck, kid, you’ll be working with the famous “Tough Timmy”! 

That day we were allowed to leave early and go to our assigned firehouse. I pulled up to the Belmont Ave firehouse and introduced myself to the housewatchman. I was the only firefighter assigned to E 88 from that order. The housewatchman told me to go into the back kitchen where the day tour Lt was. I introduced myself, the Lt was kind and introduced me to my new colleagues. Then he told me I will be assigned group 14, the “Captains groups”. The kitchen erupted, “Tough Timmy”! Just you wait... because he is going to eat you up!”

I would not get to meet my new boss for a few weeks. Captain Tim Gallagher was recovering from a heroic rescue of a mentally disabled teen in a window trapped by fire. He safely removed her, but suffered severe burns. Later he would receive the Hugh Bonner medal for that rescue. But that did not let my fellow firefighters remind of the daily countdown until “HE” returns...But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Tough Timmy (TT) served with the Marines in Korea before coming to the FDNY. TT was the equivalent of the fiery NY Yankee skipper Billy Martin. Same build, same fiery temper. Look up in the dictionary the word “scrapper”, next to the word will be his photo. He was fearless in firefighting and earned widespread respect for his bravery. He was wild, he broke all the rules. He loved fire duty. He organized the FDNY Hockey league years ago and continued to play (mostly fight) well into his 60’s. He skydived. He loved you or he hated you, there was no in between, and he let you know it. He was the Captain of Engine 88, and nobody would dare tell him what to do. TT was old school legend, a war year firefighter to the core. A war year boss adjusting to the waning “war years”.

Throughout my career I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of firefighters and bosses with a kaleidoscope of personalities. The personality that impacted me most was Captain “Tough Timmy”. I had the pleasure of working literally side by side with this legend and witnessed some of the most incredible and zany ventures one would not expect. TT takes all the credit for molding me into the firefighter I became, I came to know him inside and out... It will be fun to share my recollection of an incredible boss and friend..and I have a few. Stand by.

Thanks for reading; KMG 365.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Fdvf15BJ/download-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/Fdvf15BJ)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 24, 2019, 08:34:17 PM
TOUGH TIMMY; Part 2
The Back step

It was the usual balmy summer morning in the Bronx that you expect. The role call was conducted by Captain “Tough Timmy” and positions assigned. As the guys headed in different directions to start committee work in the firehouse, the Cap pulls me aside with another firefighter, his name is Frankie. “Dan, it’s warm outside...you and Frankie ride the back step today. If we get anything run the line in, and leave your masks inside the cab...you won’t need them back there”. (The Cap had a firm "no mask" policy, but, more on that later)

“Aye, aye Cap, you got it”. Frankie and I comply without question and proceed to hang our gear on the hosebed of the American LaFrance pumper and go about our cleaning assignment.

Its the early 80's, the years of “riding the back step” are over with the new OSHA standards and the FDNY policy conforms to the regulation. But what does an OSHA standard mean to a “war year legend?”

The day proceeds on, half dozen runs here and there. Later in the afternoon as the rig rounds the corner near St. Barnabas Hospital the 7th Division Deputy Chief driving by spots us on the tailboard. Frankie and I do not have a radio, at the time as only the officer and MPO had portable radios... but we can see the Chief behind us talking on the radio as the rig pulls to the curb. He is a young looking DC.

Out of the car pops the young chief and coming toward the rear of the apparatus is the Cap. Frankie and I look at each other like two stooges standing on the tailboard. The Chief speaks first; “Hey Cap, c’mon now, you know the days of riding the back step over, get those men off the back step”. The Cap looks at us "bewildered", he puts a little shock look into his delivery; “You two know better than to be back there, get in the cab”. Frankie and I get down from the back step and proceed to the cab of the engine.

The DC now satisfied gets back in his chiefs car and takes off without a wave.

With the DC gone, the Cap comes over to me and Frankie with a grin; “...you and Frankie ride the back step. If we get anything run the line in…”

Back during the “war years”, the Captain ran the company. Captain “Tough Timmy” was not about to allow anyone to run his company…

Thanks for reading, more “Tough Timmy” stories to follow. KMG 365.

Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: manhattan on March 24, 2019, 09:59:26 PM
Keep 'em coming, JohnnyGage!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: enginecap on March 24, 2019, 10:01:23 PM
“Hey Cap, you want me to give a 10-75?  “
“Hell no, let the incoming units  be as surprised as we were”

Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on March 24, 2019, 10:33:13 PM

Hello Troops! Recently I had a nice conversation with the Grand PooBah Mr. Willy. Albeit, it was a little difficult chatting through the phone line connection, it seemed like I heard bags being ripped open, muffled crunching chewing sounds and what sounded like soda being slurped through a straw from the other side of this seemingly bad connection. Still we had a wonderful conversation.

Please feel free to jump in and add your thoughts, recollection or comments. I hope by passing along some of my memories, they may kick-start some of your own. Stay tuned. KMG 365.

 Dan, aka "JohnnyGage", yes it was good chit chatting on the phone with you. "Your Story Is Great". These are NOT Hollywood actors.

 I'm sorry you weren't able to hear me talking on the phone. But all that crunching and chewing sounds was actually coming from me eating "celery sticks". Each celery stick has about 6 calories each.

 Here's a story where the guy was about to quit his firefighter job. Plus his wife about to quit her job too.

 One of the largest lottery drawings is about to be announced. It is a firehouse with an engine and a truck. We would always write the winning number on a board we had in the kitchen. The Engine gets a run while the Truck stays in quarters. But one of the guys on the Engine leaves his lottery ticket on the kitchen table. A BIG MISTAKE.

 His name is Brad K., and by the time he gets back, the winning number is already picked. Of course what Brad didn't know was that one of those Truckies, got Brad's number from his ticket, wrote it on the board and put it back on the table where it was. Of course that was not the right winning number, but Brad didn't know that.

 Brad grabs his ticket and reads the numbers. He reads them again, louder this time. Then he reads them again - louder. He starts yelling: "I won, I won, I'm a millionaire". "I'm done, I'm outta here".

 He gets on the phone to call his wife and he tells her, "Quit your job right now - we're millionaires". "Tell your boss you are all done". "Leave the place now". "I'm leaving right now too".

 When things were really getting heavy, Brad would NOT believe us. "Brad you didn't win - you're not a millionaire". Finally, when we got him calmed down. He calls his wife to tell her NOT to quit her job. We didn't win. Fortunately she hadn't quit her job.

 For Brad, suddenly that million dollar vision disappeared into the air. He was mad at everybody. But as most firefighters learn: "today its your turn - tomorrow its theirs".

 Brad rose to the rank of battalion chief and is now retired. When it's all over, most retired firefighters would tell you; "they wish they could do it all over again". He didn't say it that day but he says that now.

 Great story too, "enginecap". Sometimes there's just No Mercy. But you gotta love it.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on March 25, 2019, 08:39:20 AM
 Here is a story that was told in a local newspaper just about three years ago.

 It's titled: "Once a Fireman - Always a Fireman".

 In the firehouse, this guy was GREAT. We always had a lot of fun with him because one of his favorite jobs was to cook the firehouse meal for the guys. He was really good at it. But of course no matter how good of a job he did, among a group of firefighters eating that meal, "it was never cooked right". "Cooked too much or not enough". "Too much salt or not enough salt". "We should of had mashed potatoes instead of French fries".

 This would go on all the time. I think anybody who has been a part of it, can probably relate.

 Here is a story about Retired Norwich (CT) Firefighter Ronnie LePage. A U.S. Marine, Korean War Veteran. We would still meet up with him every month for breakfast at a local restaurant, where of course, the stories would still be told like they happened yesterday.

 Sadly, Ronnie passed away this past Saturday 3/23/19. After his retirement in 1986, he played a part in the rescue of a civilian living down the hall from him. But despite his efforts, that civilian passed away about a week later.

 This is what happened that day, just about three years ago. I hope this link works.

 https://www.norwichbulletin.com/article/20160403/NEWS/160409873?template=ampart   
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: raybrag on March 25, 2019, 08:46:42 AM
I'm sorry you weren't able to hear me talking on the phone. But all that crunching and chewing sounds was actually coming from me eating "celery sticks". Each celery stick has about 6 calories each.

Willy is the only guy I know who adds celery sticks to his Big Macs "just to hear the crunch".  8) ;) :D ;D ::)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: fdce54 on March 25, 2019, 10:38:33 AM
I'm sorry you weren't able to hear me talking on the phone. But all that crunching and chewing sounds was actually coming from me eating "celery sticks". Each celery stick has about 6 calories each.

Willy is the only guy I know who adds celery sticks to his Big Macs "just to hear the crunch".  8) ;) :D ;D ::)
Ray, Willy never eats celery sticks. Those were cookies he was crunching on.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on March 25, 2019, 11:49:43 AM
Here is a story that was told in a local newspaper just about three years ago.

 It's titled: "Once a Fireman - Always a Fireman".

 In the firehouse, this guy was GREAT. We always had a lot of fun with him because one of his favorite jobs was to cook the firehouse meal for the guys. He was really good at it. But of course no matter how good of a job he did, among a group of firefighters eating that meal, "it was never cooked right". "Cooked too much or not enough". "Too much salt or not enough salt". "We should of had mashed potatoes instead of French fries".

 This would go on all the time. I think anybody who has been a part of it, can probably relate.

 Here is a story about Retired Norwich (CT) Firefighter Ronnie LePage. A U.S. Marine, Korean War Veteran. We would still meet up with him every month for breakfast at a local restaurant, where of course, the stories would still be told like they happened yesterday.

 Sadly, Ronnie passed away this past Saturday 3/23/19. After his retirement in 1986, he played a part in the rescue of a civilian living down the hall from him. But despite his efforts, that civilian passed away about a week later.

 This is what happened that day, just about three years ago. I hope this link works.

 https://www.norwichbulletin.com/article/20160403/NEWS/160409873?template=ampart

 Sorry guys. Link in Reply # 6, "Once a Fireman - Always a Fireman" above - corrected to:

 https://www.norwichbulletin.com/article/20160403/NEWS/160409873?template=ampart
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on March 26, 2019, 08:49:19 PM
“Tough Timmy”  Part 1

“Tough Timmy”. It wasn’t Tim, it wasn’t Timmy, it was “Tough TImmy”. I called him Cap.

The first time I heard the name of my future boss was during the last few days of Proby school. My classmates and I were to graduate shortly, the fire department orders had just come out and we new shiney firefighters were anxious to see where we would be assigned. A lieutenant held the copy in both hands and began to read off the two page, double column order. I kind of knew I was headed for the Bronx, I was pretty sure I was going to E 45. As the lieutenant read the names of firefighters going to 45 my name wasn’t mentioned. Hmmm, I thought. Then he gets to my name, “Pot, your heading to 88”, the Lt  immediately looked up, with a grin and chuckle he says “Good luck, kid, you’ll be working with the famous “Tough Timmy”! 

That day we were allowed to leave early and go to our assigned firehouse. I pulled up to the Belmont Ave firehouse and introduced myself to the housewatchman. I was the only firefighter assigned to E 88 from that order. The housewatchman told me to go into the back kitchen where the day tour Lt was. I introduced myself, the Lt was kind and introduced me to my new colleagues. Then he told me I will be assigned group 14, the “Captains groups”. The kitchen erupted, “Tough Timmy”! Just you wait... because he is going to eat you up!”

I would not get to meet my new boss for a few weeks. Captain Tim Gallagher was recovering from a heroic rescue of a mentally disabled teen in a window trapped by fire. He safely removed her, but suffered severe burns. Later he would receive the Hugh Bonner medal for that rescue. But that did not let my fellow firefighters remind of the daily countdown until “HE” returns...But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Tough Timmy (TT) served with the Marines in Korea before coming to the FDNY. TT was the equivalent of the fiery NY Yankee skipper Billy Martin. Same build, same fiery temper. Look up in the dictionary the word “scrapper”, next to the word will be his photo. He was fearless in firefighting and earned widespread respect for his bravery. He was wild, he broke all the rules. He loved fire duty. He organized the FDNY Hockey league years ago and continued to play (mostly fight) well into his 60’s. He skydived. He loved you or he hated you, there was no in between, and he let you know it. He was the Captain of Engine 88, and nobody would dare tell him what to do. TT was old school legend, a war year firefighter to the core. A war year boss adjusting to the waning “war years”.

Throughout my career I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of firefighters and bosses with a kaleidoscope of personalities. The personality that impacted me most was Captain “Tough Timmy”. I had the pleasure of working literally side by side with this legend and witnessed some of the most incredible and zany ventures one would not expect. TT takes all the credit for molding me into the firefighter I became, I came to know him inside and out... It will be fun to share my recollection of an incredible boss and friend..and I have a few. Stand by.

Thanks for reading; KMG 365.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Fdvf15BJ/download-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/Fdvf15BJ)


Firefighters turn out for 'Tough Timmy'
Posted November 25, 2015
By Will Speros

     (https://i.postimg.cc/xXKFBSR4/1448473153-2dca.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/xXKFBSR4)

A blaze was ripping through the third floor of 711 E. 183rd St. during the afternoon of May 28, 1982. Led by Capt. Timothy Gallagher, the Bronx’s Engine 88/Ladder 38 responded to the fire, according to a FDNY newsletter published this month. Mr. Gallagher, a Kingsbridge resident, soon saw the face of a mentally disabled teen named Aracelis Santiago in a third-floor window and raced up the fire escape to reach her. 

As the flames closed in and the ceiling began to collapse, Ms. Santiago broke away in panic. But with the help of his fellow firefighters, Capt. Gallagher was able to bring the 18-year-old to safety. The captain, who suffered severe burns, received awards including the FDNY’s Hugh Bonner Medal for firefighters who lead by example.

Friends and colleagues remembered Capt. Gallagher for a career full of bravery at his funeral at St. Margaret’s of Cortona Church on Nov. 16. Capt. Gallagher died of natural causes at the age of 86, according to a fellow firefighter.

Numerous FDNY members reflected on Capt. Gallagher’s career during services.

“Timmy was a legend on his job,” said Lt. Pete Critsimilios. “He embodied all the qualities good in this world.”

Prior to joining the FDNY, Capt. Gallagher fought as a Marine during the Korean War. After he became a firefighter, he helped organize the FDNY’s hockey team in 1968 with two teammates on a squad with players from the 14th Battalion, the Bronx Bums. The New York City Fire Department Hockey Team now competes around the world, and 96 of the city’s firehouses play in the annual “King of the Ice” firehouse tournament.

Remembered by many as “Tough Timmy” or “Terrible Timmy,” Capt. Gallagher earned widespread respect for his bravery while fighting fires out of Engine 88/Ladder 38 on Belmont Avenue.

“He was wild. He broke all the rules,” Capt. Gallagher’s friend Sheila O’Rourke recalled.

     (from The Riverdale Press)



     (https://i.postimg.cc/5Yjg9cB1/Gallagher.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/5Yjg9cB1)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 26, 2019, 09:20:28 PM
TOUGH TIMMY: Part 3
Da Caper

Working a day tour in L 38 with another brother, named Joey. On the apparatus floor heading to the kitchen he mentions something is odd, something missing. Walking in and out of the kitchen during the day for runs, etc we kept noticing something was missing. Then finally we figured it out. Over the door to the kitchen was a large key, similar to the 1620 key. It was handmade by a member, about 3 feet long, two foot wide. It was painted bright yellow with wording “Da Key to Da Bronx”. A pride ornament hanging above the kitchen door. Now it was gone, missing, stolen.

The night before L 38 caught a job, in the HW journal we noticed L 19 relocated. It was easy to detect...it was well known L 19 like to amuse themselves by copping something from any company they relocated to as a memento. We knew in an instant who was behind this theft, we were not about to let this gag go...and so we devised this plan!

Joey got on the department phone in the truck side kitchen... dials L 19’s department phone. “Listen in he says”. I put my ear next to his. The conversation goes like this:

L 19 HW: 19 Truck FF so and so…
Joey (acting Capt Gallagher):  This is Capt Gallagher of E 88, put the truck  boss on the phone.

Pause

L 19, Lt So and so.
Joey:...(In a gnarly voice only Joey can do)... Hey Lt, your company took a piece of property from MY firehouse that is very personal to me and I want it back, pronto.
L 19: I’m not sure I know what your talking about.
Joey: You know damn well what I’m talking about, the key sign that was hanging over the kitchen, that said “Da key to Da Bronx”... I want it back now.
L 19: I’m still not sure what you are talking about, Cap, but I’ll look into it…
Joey: Listen to me, if that key is not returned by tomorrow morning I’m going to come down and personally punch you in the nose! This is Capt. Gallagher...
L 19: YOU WHAT? LISTEN TO ME! I DON’T CARE WHO YOU ARE...I’LL COME UP THERE AND PUNCH YOU IN THE NOSE!
Joey: Go ahead, just make sure you bring my sign with you, I’ll be waiting!

With that Joey slams down the phone.

Wow, that was great, we let them have it!

Now toward the end of the day tour we are preparing to head home. However,  Capt Gallagher was coming in for the night tour and he is headed up to his office. All of a sudden we realize, we better say something to him...what would happen if L 19 showed up in front of quarters with a pretty angry and p-oed boss.

We slipped into his office where he was changing into his duty uniform. “Cap, something we should tell you…” , we go on and tell him about the phone call... “We don’t want you to be blindsided if this Lt comes charging in to punch you in the nose!”

Capt “Tough Timmy” lets off a howl laughing!... “Soon as I see him I’ll let him have it right between his eyes, I’ll punch him in the nose before he knows what's happening”.

Thankfully the next morning, the sign was propped up against the firehouse door without incident.

More TT stories to follow, stay tuned...thanks for reading! KMG-365.

(Thanks mack for above post! Outstanding.)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 27, 2019, 07:30:39 PM
MEALS; Part 1

Engine 88 and Ladder 38 has a reputation for being one of the cleanest firehouses in the city.The second floor could be considered a museum with historical house artifacts and photos promptly displayed in orderly fashion in the hallways. The “Original” bunks were reconditioned to look new. Clean? It would not be unusual to see someone cleaning the kitchen at all hours of the night. Some members would stay up, not rest and just clean the fridge or oven between runs. L 38 was considered a “senior truck”. There was only a handful of us young guns that learned from the senior masters. Heck, I wasn’t even allowed to wash the rig, I was shown how to wash the rims! Yes, it was a senior house...It is also well known to many that firefighters eat very well, some firehouses have guys that cook very well, some firehouses have outstanding Chefs. I was very lucky to work in both.

L 38 was one of those shops that had Chefs. I recall at least three very well respected "war years" firefighters that could have operated a four star restaurant in the City. What also would be an asset was that the firehouse was a stone's throw from Arthur Avenue, the Little Italy section of the Bronx where people come from all over to shop fresh produce, fish, meats, bread, pasta and pastry. We shopped there daily to procure our meals.

It was in “Little Italy” that I have to give thanks to a grandma type Italian woman that worked in a store on E 187 Street that made fresh pasta and ravioli. She showed this young lad the way she would  make a red sauce for her family and gave me her recipe (it’s a “gravy” when you add meat, so I was told). To this day it is a recipe that stood solid through my career especially when I cooked regularly upon my transfer to Bushwick.

Back to L 38 chefs. We had three Chefs with three distinctive styles; Senior man Gil made outstanding comfort food. To this day I recall his sweet and sour chicken dish. Fried medallions of white meat chicken, lightly drizzled with “Chinese Duck Sauce”, sauted onions along with thin sliced red, yellow and “hot” green peppers, chopped pineapple and a few maraschino cherries for color. Stir the mixture, then placed in the oven, covered. At just the right time, removed from oven and spooned over yellow fluffy rice. If Gil wasn’t working we had Senior man “Sidecar” Tom. Tom was a throwback fisherman, one of the four ladder chauffeurs...who would wear dark brown dockers instead of work duty black shoes!. He would create outrageous fresh fish dinners, never the same style, never fried...crazy delicious. Then there was Ray. Ray and his wife would eat at the finest restaurants. He would select something very different on the menu, ask how the chef prepared it and what ingredients he used. Ray was a very friendly guy, you met him you instantly liked him. The next day Ray worked, he had already shopped for the items he needed to replicate the meal he had the night before. It was exciting to see Ray come into the firehouse with bags and bags of the components he would need to assemble his dish. You could see the look of determination, the laser focus,  on his face as soon as he entered the kitchen with arms full, eager to get his meal going!

It got around the job about the L 38 meals. In fact we had Fire Commissioner Spinnato and his driver dine with us on many occasion...we even had a special menu created and printed when he came! Author and renown war years legend firefighter Dennis Smith ran a contest in his “Firehouse Magazine” for some kind of essay, I forget now the topic, however the first place winner won cash and a dinner at a NYC Firehouse. Yep, L 38. I worked that night the recipient guests walked into our kitchen. I could say their reaction was “amazing”...but that would not be descriptive enough.

Everyone working played a role during meal prep, you either sliced and diced, grated cheese, or  stationed yourself at the sink to wash used utensils, pots and pans. Basically it was known; “If you are not in the kitchen during meal prep, you are in the wrong place”.

All our meals were served with different styles of fresh Italian bread. We had a policy with “Sidecar” Tom... no knife would touch the bread, we ripped it with our (clean) hands. Of course the dinner did not just end. Afterwards was always fresh pastry from one of the many local pastry shops, Italian cookies or cheese cake. And what fine meal wouldn’t be complete with a hot espresso with a small sliced lemon peel?

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed...stay tuned for MEALS; Part 2, “Eating with the rats”...KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: bxengine on March 28, 2019, 08:35:51 AM
This is my favorite new thread. Its nice to hear these stories, especially now with the constant “the job has changed” stuff....its a reminder that although we may have more issues with who gets hired nowadays, some of these stories could have happened my last set in. Same circus, different clowns.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: Lebby on March 28, 2019, 12:05:21 PM
I once heard a story about Captain Gallagher being told to switch the ECC by a Battalion Chief and driving his desk over to him to give him what he needed to run his company. Do you know the full story?
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 28, 2019, 12:53:22 PM
I once heard a story about Captain Gallagher being told to switch the ECC by a Battalion Chief and driving his desk over to him to give him what he needed to run his company. Do you know the full story?

Sorry, don't know about that one, but I wouldn't be surprised. I have a couple more of TT stories coming soon, you aint seen crazy yet!...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on March 28, 2019, 01:32:41 PM
The inspiration to tell a firehouse story is coming from the best writer of this site (Johnny Gage). Never too late to start a new career Johnny - I think you could come up with a best seller.

Anyway, E37/L40 (125 St./Harlem) has always been a squared away house, though senior man laden L40 sorta ruled the roost. Back in the early 80s, a newly promoted "slashing Capt." from the Bronx was covering a vacation spot in L40. Cap is up in his office doing some paperwork, door opens and in comes one of the junior men in 40, looking to put in a mutual (swap a tour with another FF), the Cap looks at him and says "what do you need"? The guy tells the Cap that he is going to put in a mx. The Cap says "no problem, but first go back out and knock on the door before you come into my office". The guy says "ok Cap" and goes back out, but doesn't knock on the door, instead he goes down to the kitchen and tells his story to the men prepping the meal. One of the senior men in 40 tells him "don't worry about it, the Cap is working straight tours, you're working tomorrow, when he goes home in the morning go back up to the office and put in your mx". The following night the Cap comes in and stops in the kitchen for a cup of coffee, the same junior man is going home after his 24 and says hello to the Cap, before heading out the door.
Shortly after the night tour begins, the senior man working in 40 goes up to the office, walks in and tells Cap he needs to put in a mx. 

Cap: "no problem, but first go back out and knock on the door before you come into my office".
Senior man: "ok Cap" and he goes out of the office.
Senior man: "there's a small problem Cap".
Cap: "what's wrong".?
Senior man: "there's no door to knock on"
The Cap went to look at where the now missing door had been, then asked the senior man "where is my office door"? Senior man told him that the office never had a door as long as he had been in 37/40. Cap shook his head. A few more tours and his vacation coverage in L40 was finished. No sooner had he walked out onto 125 St. and the L40 office door was once again in place. The Cap never did cover in 37/40 again!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: turk132 on March 28, 2019, 02:22:46 PM
I once heard a story about Captain Gallagher being told to switch the ECC by a Battalion Chief and driving his desk over to him to give him what he needed to run his company. Do you know the full story?

It wasn't his desk, it was the company members personal folders which he gave to the Chief and said " Here..you run the company" ( That's the story I heard)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 29, 2019, 07:13:29 PM
MEALS; Part 2
“Eating with the rats”

In the spring/summer of 1992 I was detailed from L 112 to the rock to become a Ladder Company Chauffeur. Two weeks of training I was ready to drive the big red machine!

I was not the regular 112 Chauffeur, strictly back up. But I drove often. Today I would be detailed to Ladder 113 in Crown Heights, “Camp Rogers Rats”. I was excited to go. I liked 113, they were a gritty firehouse, outstanding fire fighting company, good fire duty,  and much like our joint, they were known for their pranks and antics.

I was given the “heads up” before I departed for the detail about the “dog bowl”. They served their meals in dog bowls, yes, dog bowls. My troops told me about meals served in dog bowls, and about an officer who refused to eat out of the dog bowl. No problem, they removed the dog bowl. The night meal, same officer working, story is, so  I was told...they drew plates on the table top and served the food on the tabletop. I was prepared, I love a good gag...

Walking into the firehouse I was greeted warmly. The ladder chauffeur going off duty showed me the rig. It was very similar to 112, piece of cake. I give the rig a good wipe down. I head to the kitchen, before I get my coffee I notice the pull handles have been reversed on the refrigerator, so that if you pull on the handle side that side of the “hinged” door does not open...very clever I say to myself...I poured myself a black coffee, and headed to the sitting room off to the side of the kitchen with the daily paper. In The sitting room was a large wooden cut out of a Ladder 113 maltese cross mounted on the wall with a rat in the middle. The rats red eyes would illuminate to the pulse of the computer when a run came in, I thought that was very cool.

We had a few runs, nothing significant. At 1300 hours the call goes out; “Chows On” . I proceed to the kitchen...most of the guys are sitting down...yes, with a brown plastic dog bowl in front of them. They are not directly looking at me, but I am clearly the focus of their gaze out of the corner of their eyes. They are waiting for my reaction. With not a twitch of facial expression I  grab my “dog bowl”, it is a penne pasta dish of some sort, and it actually looks good...I proceed to the middle of the table where there is an open spot and sit down. Nonchalantly I take my hand, and as you would scoop up a handful of M&Ms in a bowl, scoop up the penne bare handed and feed it into my mouth, like I have done this a hundred times before.

You could see the disappointment in some of their faces as they went back to their meal, however, I did over- hear one brother on the end say to the other; “effen 112 guy”.

Now, what did he mean by that? Well, stay tuned, I will give you a little background of a classic meal in 112 next in MEALS, Part 3: “Something’s in the air”.

Hope you enjoyed...Thanks for reading, KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/YjgxFvVS/Screenshot-2019-03-27-22-03-01-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/YjgxFvVS)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 29, 2019, 09:01:08 PM
MEALS Part 3:
“Something is in the air”

I remember it well, summer of 1992. It was the usual hot sticky night in Bushwick. Walking across the street from the parking lot where we parked our cars in a secured lot toward the firehouse, you could smell the rotting garbage from empty lots that permeated the thick air. I checked into the housewatch, looked at the incoming  riding list and was delighted, all great guys and officers working tonight. I had the feeling the stars were aligning we were going to have a special night tour!

The night tour started as expected,  the usual runs, abandoned derelict car fire here and there, food on the stove mixed with a few 92’s. We were working up an appetite, the Engine had the meal and served it promptly at 2100 hours...Normalcy ended at 2101 hours.

As I’ve explained before in another thread, the Knickerbocker Avenue quarters was designed for a single engine company, Engine 277. Ladder 112 was temporarily relocated to 277 until a new quarters for them was constructed. This was a few years ago. (Currently E 277 and L 112 share a state of the art new firehouse). This was way before the new quarters was built. The temporary relocation became permanent. The apparatus was positioned front to back with with a single bay apparatus door. Simply put, you had two companies living upon each other. Bathrooms were few, one portable shower was installed, rooms were way to small, locker room congested, the bunkroom tight. The kitchen was a typical galley type kitchen you would find in a small home and the dining room was probably 15 x 15 feet... attached to a small sitting room that could just about hold two couches one in front of the other in front of a wall mounted TV.

In the dining room, there was two tables. One in front of the other. Engine guys on one table, truck guys on the other. Two guys would sit in the middle against the outside walls of the room, someone on the ends , four would sit squished inside between the two tables. Seating for 12.

I don’t know what started it, maybe it was a flick of a string bean, maybe it was a toss of a bun that had a little ummph on it. But it started. A little more tossing of food from one table to the other. Guys were beginning to position themselves... for they knew what was unfolding and close at hand. Incoming artillery was striking guys on both sides. It got heated. The engine lieutenant who was sitting in the middle row trying to eat in peace and ignore the surrounding shenanigans was abruptly struck directly in the back of his bald head with a handful of mash potatoes with gravy. This usually very calm and collected boss became unglued in a flash. He jumped to his feet, and without directly looking at anyone demanded an immediate cease fire. Both sides shut down giggling and kindly went back to eating. We continued to “eyeball” each other as we ate.

I was sitting next to my truck buddy, Ira. Ira was the recipient of the first barrage of food from the other table, the engine table, namely Joey who fired the first round.

I prompted Ira as he was looking at the food that remained on his plate. “Did you see that?”...”No” said Ira. The instigator I am whispered in his ear... “Joey just gave you the finger and stink-eye while you weren’t looking”.  That’s all it took...

Timing could not have been better. The department phone mounted on the dining room wall above Joey’s head rang...Joey stood up on first ring to answer “Engine 277 …..”, Ira took a handful of the jelly cranberry sauce, and pitching from the stretch he threw a devastating direct blow to the right side of Joey's head not eight feet away with such accuracy and force it sounded like spackle being slammed and splattered against a marble wall. The results were uglier than “Custer's last stand!”. Poor Joey, he never saw it coming. Cranberry was everywhere. The telephone mouthpiece had to be taken apart to clean out the sauce that was driven into the holes. Of course, the kitchen and dining room was washed down and returned to good order. The engine boss, never said a word and headed upstairs.

Many outstanding fire officers and firefighters would call 277/112 home for their careers. I was very fortunate to work alongside these members. The fire duty and closeness of the firehouse made our bond between each other that much stronger. The camaraderie and razzing was unparalleled to any other firehouse I ever worked in. For a while the firehouse was called “The Ant Farm” for good reason.

That night we caught a kick a$$ first floor job first due off of Central Avenue towards Engine 252. Joey had the nob, like the solid firefighting machine he and the members of E 277 they moved in and knocked the fire down, as we went about our assigned tasks. Another night in Bushwick.

Something was in the air...cranberry sauce!

Thanks for reading...hope you enjoyed.  KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/gnyPkqPq/images-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/gnyPkqPq)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mikeindabronx on March 29, 2019, 09:31:17 PM
Dan, great stories, thanks
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on March 29, 2019, 10:52:19 PM
Going back to reply # 18 above ...i spent several tours Covering with the "Rats" always good ....i remember back then they had a painting on the wall that was a searchlight shining above a city skyline...it was a takeoff on the Batman / Gotham City thing however instead of the Searchlight projecting the Bat Signal showing a Bat over the City it projected the Rat Signal showing a Rat over the City.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 69 METS on March 30, 2019, 12:23:15 AM
MEALS Part 3:
“Something is in the air”

I remember it well, summer of 1992. It was the usual hot sticky night in Bushwick. Walking across the street from the parking lot where we parked our cars in a secured lot toward the firehouse, you could smell the rotting garbage from empty lots that permeated the thick air. I checked into the housewatch, looked at the incoming  riding list and was delighted, all great guys and officers working tonight. I had the feeling the stars were aligning we were going to have a special night tour!

The night tour started as expected,  the usual runs, abandoned derelict car fire here and there, food on the stove mixed with a few 92’s. We were working up an appetite, the Engine had the meal and served it promptly at 2100 hours...Normalcy ended at 2101 hours.

As I’ve explained before in another thread, the Knickerbocker Avenue quarters was designed for a single engine company, Engine 277. Ladder 112 was temporarily relocated to 277 until a new quarters for them was constructed. This was a few years ago. (Currently E 277 and L 112 share a state of the art new firehouse). This was way before the new quarters was built. The temporary relocation became permanent. The apparatus was positioned front to back with with a single bay apparatus door. Simply put, you had two companies living upon each other. Bathrooms were few, one portable shower was installed, rooms were way to small, locker room congested, the bunkroom tight. The kitchen was a typical galley type kitchen you would find in a small home and the dining room was probably 15 x 15 feet... attached to a small sitting room that could just about hold two couches one in front of the other in front of a wall mounted TV.

In the dining room, there was two tables. One in front of the other. Engine guys on one table, truck guys on the other. Two guys would sit in the middle against the outside walls of the room, someone on the ends , four would sit squished inside between the two tables. Seating for 12.

I don’t know what started it, maybe it was a flick of a string bean, maybe it was a toss of a bun that had a little ummph on it. But it started. A little more tossing of food from one table to the other. Guys were beginning to position themselves... for they knew what was unfolding and close at hand. Incoming artillery was striking guys on both sides. It got heated. The engine lieutenant who was sitting in the middle row trying to eat in peace and ignore the surrounding shenanigans was abruptly struck directly in the back of his bald head with a handful of mash potatoes with gravy. This usually very calm and collected boss became unglued in a flash. He jumped to his feet, and without directly looking at anyone demanded an immediate cease fire. Both sides shut down giggling and kindly went back to eating. We continued to “eyeball” each other as we ate.

I was sitting next to my truck buddy, Ira. Ira was the recipient of the first barrage of food from the other table, the engine table, namely Joey who fired the first round.

I prompted Ira as he was looking at the food that remained on his plate. “Did you see that?”...”No” said Ira. The instigator I am whispered in his ear... “Joey just gave you the finger and stink-eye while you weren’t looking”.  That’s all it took...

Timing could not have been better. The department phone mounted on the dining room wall above Joey’s head rang...Joey stood up on first ring to answer “Engine 277 …..”, Ira took a handful of the jelly cranberry sauce, and pitching from the stretch he threw a devastating direct blow to the right side of Joey's head not eight feet away with such accuracy and force it sounded like spackle being slammed and splattered against a marble wall. The results were uglier than “Custer's last stand!”. Poor Joey, he never saw it coming. Cranberry was everywhere. The telephone mouthpiece had to be taken apart to clean out the sauce that was driven into the holes. Of course, the kitchen and dining room was washed down and returned to good order. The engine boss, never said a word and headed upstairs.

Many outstanding fire officers and firefighters would call 277/112 home for their careers. I was very fortunate to work alongside these members. The fire duty and closeness of the firehouse made our bond between each other that much stronger. The camaraderie and razzing was unparalleled to any other firehouse I ever worked in. For a while the firehouse was called “The Ant Farm” for good reason.

That night we caught a kick a$$ first floor job first due off of Central Avenue towards Engine 252. Joey had the nob, like the solid firefighting machine he and the members of E 277 they moved in and knocked the fire down, as we went about our assigned tasks. Another night in Bushwick.

Something was in the air...cranberry sauce!

Thanks for reading...hope you enjoyed.  KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/gnyPkqPq/images-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/gnyPkqPq)

Ira T. ... A good friend. We buffed jobs together before getting sworn in on 7/11/81 by Mayor Edward I. Koch.(http://)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on March 30, 2019, 05:11:25 AM
 I enjoy reading these stories too. The Great and Funny entertaining stories of the FDNY during those Glory Days.

 But as a buff, when I read the name "Ira", I also thought of Ira T., a guy who I first met at Engine 290. I believe he also worked Ladder 111 and retired as a Fire Marshall.

 Ira treated me great. He had invited me to his home in Brooklyn and one day we went around to get a few rig shots.

 I haven't seen Ira in years. I hope he's doing okay and enjoying his retirement. I never forgot how great he treated me.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 30, 2019, 07:10:35 AM
I know Ira T worked in 103, then became an MPO in 290. Ira T from POSA, you met him, you never forgot him, great energetic personality...From what I understand, there was only two Ira's on the job. Both Ira T. I got to work with both of them in 112 on same night tour when Ira from 103 was detailed to Knickerbocker Av. Both outstanding, great guys!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 30, 2019, 07:47:31 AM
The previous two stories are comical. In my career, I was lucky to be assigned to L 112. We had a great area to cover, we responded to areas where there was only single engine coverage. Being located on Knickerbocker Avenue gave us a huge advantage of a quick response. The area really had no "Projects" to speak of, which I was glad about. Our coverage was pretty much row frame and Brownstones. Fires in RF and Brownstones are "quick and furious". You have to be aggressive and get ahead of them quickly. Both structures had what we called "the dead man's" room. It was a room, usually over the front door that only had one exit out of the building. In a fire, the occupant of that room could easily be trapped. Frames were designed to be supported on either side. You had to be "heads up" if a frame was unsupported on either side for fear of early collapse.

Like I mentioned, the RF and Brownstone fire could be fast and furious. Early and quick line deployment (get first line into operation was paramount) knocked these fires out quickly when only room and contents and be back in service for the next one in a couple of hours...BUT, If the fire got into the common cockloft of the frames you would be there all day at a multiple alarm.

It would not be uncommon to catch one or two jobs during a 24 in our area. Sometimes we did "the hat trick" with three jobs. (My definition of a job; when you turn the corner you don't need to look for the address). One night we did the "hat trick" on one box: we turned out for a top floor job on Knickerbocker Ave, about 3 blocks south of the firehouse. It was a good a$$ kicker, three windows showing fire, but we knocked it out pretty quick. The chief told us to go back to quarters for relief and a change of clothes. The LCC instead put us 10-8 "available". Then what followed, "Brooklyn to L 112, getting numerous calls for a Bodega on Wilson". Yep, all hands job. We were exhausted, told the LCC stay away from the radio and started up Putnam towards the firehouse. It is now early morning. A block from quarters residents are running in the street yelling to us to stop, there is a fire in the building. Sure enough, room and contents in the rear top floor of a frame.

Furious and fast, these fires could be devestating and cruel to the occupants. I saw some of the nastiest fires in my career there in Bushwick, and I keep those memories to myself... Maybe that's why when we had a little fun in the firehouse, we had fun....

Thanks for reading...next, more TT stories!  KMG-365

Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JOR176 on March 30, 2019, 10:40:25 AM
I know Ira T worked in 103, then became an MPO in 290. Ira T from POSA, you met him, you never forgot him, great energetic personality...From what I understand, there was only two Ira's on the job. Both Ira T. I got to work with both of them in 112 on same night tour when Ira from 103 was detailed to Knickerbocker Av. Both outstanding, great guys!


Ira T. also worked in L132 for awhile after E232, Ira was the original "Tin Man" in the Tin Man outfit.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 69 METS on March 30, 2019, 12:33:18 PM
I enjoy reading these stories too. The Great and Funny entertaining stories of the FDNY during those Glory Days.

 But as a buff, when I read the name "Ira", I also thought of Ira T., a guy who I first met at Engine 290. I believe he also worked Ladder 111 and retired as a Fire Marshall.

 Ira treated me great. He had invited me to his home in Brooklyn and one day we went around to get a few rig shots.

 I haven't seen Ira in years. I hope he's doing okay and enjoying his retirement. I never forgot how great he treated me.

I also had the privilege of working with Ira T. when I was assigned to St. John's East and he was assigned to The Eye of The Storm. Great guy as well.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on March 30, 2019, 01:15:48 PM
JohnnyGage's meals' stories bring to mind one of my own, not that it can compare to JG's....anyway, here goes

Back in the late 70s into the 80s, the houses that comprised the 16th battalion back then (69/28, 80/23, 37/40), all pretty much had the same meal policy - you were either in on all meals or out of all of 'em, no jumping in if it was a meal you liked or out when you didn't care for what was being served. 

The 3 houses all had a policy of not charging guys from the 16th for the meal if detailed or working OT. You were always glad if you were detailed or worked OT in 37/40 because their meals were sumptuous, and EXPENSIVE, but yours was a freebie. There was a guy (FF P.A.) who was out on the meals, never a popular thing, but even more so in 37/40.

In the early 80s, the 5th Division, in quarters with 80/23, was looking for a volunteer for a long term detail as a division aide - who should step up but FF P.A. Even though we already knew he was out of the meals on 125 St., we still got obligatory phone call telling us that he is outta the meals.

Back then, the 5th Division aides would relieve each other at 4pm for the 6x9 tour. The new aide quickly developed his routine, come in at 4pm, relieve his mx partner, make his way to the kitchen for a coffee. Now in most firehouses, the kitchen is fairly quiet around 4pm and P.A. started to alter his routine a bit. He was seen looking in the fridge and on the stove, presumedly looking for lunch leftovers. Now 80/23 had a courtyard between the apparatus floor and the kitchen, with 1 window looking into the kitchen. One day P.A. was spotted helping himself to some leftovers, luckily the guy who saw this, said nothing to him , but certainly passed the info onto the guys.

Net time P.A. was due in for a 6x9 tour, the guys buying lunch made spaghetti and chicken parm, but also bought 2 jars of alpo dog food, and not for McDuff the firehouse dog. After lunch, everything's cleaned up and put away - a pot of leftover spaghetti was still on the stove. The alpo was also heated up and mixed in with some leftover red sauce thus becoming a delicious looking, but foul smelling "meat" sauce. Not long after P.A. arrived at 139 St., he was in the kitchen, day tour guys made sure that nobody was in there. It wasn't but a couple of minutes and P.A. had a small bowl of the spaghetti and "meat" sauce heating up in the microwave, there must of been 6/7 guys all trying to look through that courtyard kitchen window. When he took the 1st mouthful, to this day, I don't know how he didn't hear the laughter from the courtyard. Damn, if he didn't scarf down that bowl full of spaghetti and alpo in record time.

Couple of the guys walk into the kitchen with McDuff's food bowl and start fiddling with what's left of the "meat" sauce, talking about how they cooked up an alpo "meat" sauce as a nice treat for McDuff - the look on the aide's face was priceless! For the remainder of his detail as an aide, whenever he walked into the kitchen, there were always a few barks from the guys - he was Italian and had a sorta long surname and Alpo replaced the first 4 letters of his name - he became known as P. Alpo......o.
Pretty sure he was glad when his detail was over.         
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 30, 2019, 02:09:59 PM
^^^^^Good stuff 8060! You can't make this up. It was genius of the brothers to send a simple message...We also called those who were out and trolled around the refrigerator "seagulls"...one brother used to be "out" and eat all the commissary peanut butter with a spoon.

Like you said, you are either "in" or "out" of the meal. When I cooked in Brooklyn  I'd ask; in or out. If he said "what are you having"  I'd say, "I'll take that as an OUT".
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on March 30, 2019, 04:00:14 PM
I enjoy reading these stories too. The Great and Funny entertaining stories of the FDNY during those Glory Days.

 But as a buff, when I read the name "Ira", I also thought of Ira T., a guy who I first met at Engine 290. I believe he also worked Ladder 111 and retired as a Fire Marshall.

 Ira treated me great. He had invited me to his home in Brooklyn and one day we went around to get a few rig shots.

 I haven't seen Ira in years. I hope he's doing okay and enjoying his retirement. I never forgot how great he treated me.

I also had the privilege of working with Ira T. when I was assigned to St. John's East and he was assigned to The Eye of The Storm. Great guy as well.
That Ira T. was in 280...232..290...111...103 then Marshall...a nice  guy .....when he went to the Tinhouse they told him he was the junior man so he had to be the Tinman at the Annual Tin house Run to greet people showing up so they wrapped him in foil & put some silver cream on his face & finished it off with a funnel for his hat.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 31, 2019, 09:38:42 AM
FIREHOUSE MANNERS 101: Covering lieutenant, and not a fan favorite of the troops... comes downstairs for his morning cup of joe. (In all firehouses, members coming in for day tours it is customary to bring in a choice of morning treats; english muffins, bagels, donuts, crumb cake, etc. Just don't come in empty handed). The kitchen is coming alive with fresh troops coming in and night tour guys heading for home.  This Lt notices a fresh bag of bagels placed on the table, he picks up one bagel, looks it over, nah, does it to another, and another, the guys are watching this incredulously! He must have manhandled a half dozen... until he found the one for him. One of the regular members walks over; "Got what your looking for, lou?" Then tosses the bag of bagels into the trash can.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 31, 2019, 09:52:15 AM
CAN'T MAKE THIS UP:  On Knickerbocker Ave you did not only need thick skin, you needed a shell.

One of the senior members has brought in a case of 12 new coffee mugs. We used to call them "toilet bowl mugs". They are the common thick white ceramic type mug usually served in resturants and can withstand daily abuse. Except for some reason at the "Ant Farm"... where none of them have a complete handle, only two stubs.  This trooper is happy to "present" a new case of mugs, because he is sick and tired of "drinking out of mugs with broken handles"...(you know where this is going, right?)...No sooner as he heads upstairs to change into work duty clothes one of the brothers is gleefully smacking off the handles, one by one, over the sink with the back of a heavy knife and placing them back in the case.

I am thankful that we could only work 24 hours. I don't think I could take another hour of my face hurting so much from laughing!

Hope you enjoyed...thanks for reading. KMG-365.


(https://i.postimg.cc/bd2ZLPvr/Screenshot-2019-03-31-09-52-54-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/bd2ZLPvr)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: STAjo on March 31, 2019, 02:51:37 PM
I enjoy reading these stories too. The Great and Funny entertaining stories of the FDNY during those Glory Days.

 But as a buff, when I read the name "Ira", I also thought of Ira T., a guy who I first met at Engine 290. I believe he also worked Ladder 111 and retired as a Fire Marshall.

 Ira treated me great. He had invited me to his home in Brooklyn and one day we went around to get a few rig shots.

 I haven't seen Ira in years. I hope he's doing okay and enjoying his retirement. I never forgot how great he treated me.

I also had the privilege of working with Ira T. when I was assigned to St. John's East and he was assigned to The Eye of The Storm. Great guy as well.
That Ira T. was in 280...232..290...111...103 then Marshall...a nice  guy .....when he went to the Tinhouse they told him he was the junior man so he had to be the Tinman at the Annual Tin house Run to greet people showing up so they wrapped him in foil & put some silver cream on his face & finished it off with a funnel for his hat.

 If it's the Ira T. I know - From Flatlands Brooklyn (?)... I worked w/him on ' The Yellow Chase Trucks' @ Chase Auto E.35 x. 'I' & Dead End. (Talk about your Glory Days!) He & I Chased as many Fires as MVA"s.
He Always wanted to be 'On The Job'.
Chief J.K. Probably knows this guy as Chief was a bit o' 'Chaser' his-self back in 'The Day'. That's how he & I first met.
Richie M., Sandy B., Tommy M. ('Reno') and bunch of others went to The Job from our Ranks. I didn't make it; (Long, Boring Story...).
Ira & Sandy usually worked together at Chase we/ me and most of the Talk and 'Action' was FDNY.
We'd have 'Occasional Cocktails' @ O'Halorhan's @ J & Nostrand. There was some FDNY talk there too; but most of the Attention & Energy at 'O's' was focused on Females & Drinkin'.
O's was a very Irish-Sounding Place but was owned by a Little Italian Guy named 'Sammy'.
Sammy Always put-on a Fantastic Spread & Feast w/ Irish Music all day on St. Paddy's.
Great People; Great Fun!
If anyone know's of Richie, Ira, Sandy, 'Reno'; I'd love to catch-up w/ their FDNY Careers Here...Thanks, Staj.  8)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on March 31, 2019, 06:09:53 PM
^^^ STAjo ...  Richie M. was originally a FF in ENG*205 back when he chased for "Alladin Auto Body" ....he later transferred to SQ*1 & is now Retired....  http://www.2040-cars.com/chevrolet/Silverado-2500/chase-truck-tow-truck-wrecker-scarp-cars-be-your-own-boss-859823/
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on March 31, 2019, 06:42:39 PM
TOUGH TIMMY; Part 4
Driving the Boss

I have been working in Engine 88 for a couple of weeks now assigned from proby school,  the new guy, fresh meat...Proby... And, I am assigned to the “Captains groups”. When the Captain works, so do I. Tonight Captain Gallagher, nicknamed “Tough Timmy”,  a no nonsense, gritty war year veteran...whom I’ve never met is returning from his injuries sustained at 183 St job a little while ago. It will be his first tour back. All the horror stories told to me, all the “just you wait”, all the “He’s going to eat you up”... anticipation is going to come to a head any minute as soon as he walks through the door. Today is the day of reckoning.

Checking the masks on the rig, Captain “Tough” Timmy Gallagher (TT) walks in, we meet eye to eye as he starts climbing the stairs to his office. He is in a happy mood, glad to get back to work, get back to what he loves to do, put out fire. He sees me...“Hey, you must be the new proby...come up to my office” he says...still smiling.

I put the mask back on the rig, give him a minute or so to change, and head upstairs to his office. I knock on the open door, we exchange pleasantries and a hand shake... he is “really in a good mood” I think.... I aim to keep my good fortune going and tell him I was looking forward to meeting him and working alongside with him. We chatted for a minute or two...his next remark surprises me. He’s glad to have me aboard, “I understand you worked in the DCFD for three years, pretty busy department...Do what your supposed to do, but...I’m not going to treat you as a proby”. WHAT??... We immediately hit it off. Can I say, “it was love at first sight”. I immediately felt a bond and honor to work with this  gritty veteran. I felt accepted into the FDNY that night….That night, we talked about fires, the old days, families and much more... he was very interested in the Washington DC Fire Department. As we got to know each other better, I realized he was a “BUFF”! And he loved buffs!...I went home the next morning, I just made a new special friend...

(Side note: My Uncle Jack, that I have mentioned before, who used to take me into L 31 as a lad to ride, watch me grow from a kid to become a DC firefighter, then appointed to FDNY.  I believe he had a hook and got me a spot in E 88. Jack and TT were cut from the same cloth, both war year legends...both worked together during the war years, too. I think Uncle Jack put in a good word for me too to TT... Thanks Unk!)

I had many late night conversations with TT... I told him about the DCFD Proby School, in part of  the DCFD proby school, everyone graduates as a MPO. One of your immediate assignments in your company is to drive your company apparatus and be qualified within three months as a MPO. TT thought that was very interesting.

The regular MPO for the Cap is also our union rep, Joe. Joe is very involved with union business and often times has to run out. Back then, the Captain could designate any of his members as “Company Qualified Chauffeur” to serve as a backup chauffeur if they showed promise. This was usually for a short stint awaiting to go to Engine Chauffeur School. I was his choice. I began driving him more and more often as Joe took care of union stuff. I started to cover Joes vacation spot as the day to day MPO. In six months I was driving Engine 88, the 1980 American LaFrance, with TT very often. The other firefighters in our groups were all senior men that had no desire to drive. Sometimes I would look behind me and realize I am driving well over 100 years of experience!

One afternoon we get a box: Southern Blvd and 187 Street, near the Bronx Zoo, it’s a 92. We take up and immediately get assigned to another Box; Monterey and 180 St, we're first due, this is one of our notorious 10-92 Boxes. Never does a day go by that this box does not come in. It is in the backyard of the Monterey Projects on the northwest corner of 180 Street. TT made clear to me previously that he takes in all alarms as if we received the three rings, no exceptions... I start heading down Southern Blvd, picking up steam, (the American LaFrance Engine had a slow acceleration, like driving a bus)... as the rig gained speed, the Captain would lean further and further into the dashboard as if he was leading with the handset pressed to his ear. I turned the corner from Southern Blvd and began heading west on 180 St. Every couple of blocks is a red light, I’m going at a good clip, but being careful, weaving in and out of the cars. About six blocks from the box we can see the lights of Engine 46 turning onto 180 St from Third Ave heading toward us. They are one block away from the box. Monterey is a small dead end street...one block east from Third Avenue...TT sees this, and not happy…Without looking at me and straight ahead  he commands in a direct voice ”DON’T LET THEM BEAT YOU IN”, he repeats as he leans closer and inches from the windshield now with the handset pointing at Engine 46; “DON’T LET THEM BEAT YOU IN!”....I’m still four blocks away... I sense him looking directly at me; “RAM THEM, RAM THEM, RAM THEM…”. Now my head is about to explode, does he really mean it, how am I going to ram a fire engine? In proby school they drilled it into our heads if you don’t follow orders you could be killed, worse, he is going to eat me alive...all this is going through this “Proby’s” head like an ice cube in a blender... . “Engine 46 to da Bronx, 10-92 Box XXXX”...Whew, gasp, relieved... I was saved... TT saw my effort. Sat back in his seat, looked over at me and says with a smirk "You were going to ram them, weren’t you?”. With a smirk right back I said “Of course, wouldn’t you?”... I drove back to Belmont Ave with a grin and an occasional glance at the boss...I love this guy…

(Side note: On January 1, 1988 while assigned to L 38;  Monterey Ave and 180 St. Box would be struck for one of the most horrific alarms I have ever responded to... reinforcing TT belief of never taking the job for granted.)

Next; MONTEREY AND 180.

Thanks for reading...Hope you enjoyed. KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/rdCtJv2d/20190331-131951-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/rdCtJv2d)
My Boss


(https://i.postimg.cc/wtf9gVhf/20190331-133926.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/wtf9gVhf)
Daily News: Capt G after being pulled out of a collapse at Tiffany and Fox, June 1969.


(https://i.postimg.cc/Bt2RCpXr/20190331-132540-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/Bt2RCpXr)
Engine 88; 1980 American LaFrance
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on March 31, 2019, 08:51:20 PM
Great stuff JohnnyG - probably like lots of others, can't wait for the next edition!

This one of mine doesn't have "Ramming speed" in it (I thought that was a great conversation), but here goes,
Once again - early 80s - working an OT tour in E69 (Harlem Hilton) - they have a Proby who is finishing up his 1st year and is due to take his Proby physical - the guys in 69/28 have been telling him that a medical officer will be coming to quarters to perform the physical.

Short time after lunch - the housewatch yells out that Car 32 medical officer has pulled up - FF John L. to the apparatus floor. Having already been clued into what's about to happen, I am already smiling. 69's apparatus door opens and outside is the 5th division van (stored in 37/40 quarters, but the Proby has no idea that it isn't car 32). Out of the van comes the medical officer (FF Manny F. 37/40 senior man) dressed in a long white lab coat with a stethoscope hanging from his neck, carrying a small black, what seems to be, doctor's bag. What a sight to behold!

Everybody working has now made their way to the apparatus floor, including the 16th Battalion chief, who I believe was BC George B. (RIP), man with a great sense of humor and arguably the biggest ball breaker in the Harlem Hilton. "Dr." Manny tells Proby John L. that he is in a hurry and it will be a very quick physical, so quick that he will perform it right on the apparatus floor. I don't know how guys weren't falling on the floor by now, the look on the proby's face was beyond incredulous. "Dr." Manny goes through some quick prelims, tells him his blood pressure is fine, heartbeat sounds normal, tells him he will draw blood right after he checks for a hernia.

Whatttttt - checks for a hernia!!!! He tells the Proby to drop his pants - guys are hysterical now - John L. asks him if he means "right here on the apparatus floor in front of everyone"? The chief says something like "do as the "Dr." said". The poor red faced Proby does as he is told, down go his pants - "Dr." Manny puts on a pair of rubber gloves - c'mon, for real? He actually reaches down into the general vicinity, I can't swear that his hand actually made contact, buttttttt - tells him to cough - he says "hmmmm, cough again". He turns to the Chief and says we have a problem, this man has a hernia and I am putting him on light duty immediately. The poor Proby is totally upset and in disbelief, asks "Dr." Manny if he is sure about the hernia. At this point the Chief tells him to take his gear off the rig and come up to the BC's office.

Proby John L. barely has his gear off 69s rig and an alarm comes in - 69/28/16 - everybody goes. The Lt. in 69 sees the Proby standing there while everybody else is gearing up, tells him "let's go, get your gear and get on the rig". John L. tells him that he can't - the Lt. says "what do you mean you can't" - "get on the rig". Once again, John L. says that he can't - that he is on light duty - the Lt. says "get on the F...ing rig, it was all a practical joke". Eventually, he was practically dragged, screaming and kicking onto 69's rig. This would have rivaled Paul Newman/Robert Redford's "The Sting".

Proby John L. went on to become an upstanding member of the Harlem Hilton and upon promotion, a Lt. in E60 "Green Berets"

As JohnnyG says - you really can't make this stuff up - beyond funny and no harm intended, but I wonder how that scenario would play out in today's FDNY?

Looking forward to Monterrey & 180!!! 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on March 31, 2019, 09:53:12 PM
 These stories are GREAT. It's better than watching TV. We used to laugh at some of the greats like "The Three Stooges", "Abbott and Costello", "Laurel and Hardy". But these stories are real and not Hollywood.

 As a buff, sometimes I was invited into the firehouse back then and I got to enjoy a small part of the show. I would sometimes be included in the firehouse meal but the guys would not accept my cash for my share of the payment. I was told "You are our guest". The food was great but many times the show was great too.

 Thank you guys. And by the way some of the companies that you guys talk about, E46, E60, E69, L28, L38 were some of my favorite areas. I'm sure we all crossed paths back in those "Good Ole' - Glory Days".

 

 

 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 69 METS on March 31, 2019, 10:28:40 PM
I enjoy reading these stories too. The Great and Funny entertaining stories of the FDNY during those Glory Days.

 But as a buff, when I read the name "Ira", I also thought of Ira T., a guy who I first met at Engine 290. I believe he also worked Ladder 111 and retired as a Fire Marshall.

 Ira treated me great. He had invited me to his home in Brooklyn and one day we went around to get a few rig shots.

 I haven't seen Ira in years. I hope he's doing okay and enjoying his retirement. I never forgot how great he treated me.

I also had the privilege of working with Ira T. when I was assigned to St. John's East and he was assigned to The Eye of The Storm. Great guy as well.
That Ira T. was in 280...232..290...111...103 then Marshall...a nice  guy .....when he went to the Tinhouse they told him he was the junior man so he had to be the Tinman at the Annual Tin house Run to greet people showing up so they wrapped him in foil & put some silver cream on his face & finished it off with a funnel for his hat.

 If it's the Ira T. I know - From Flatlands Brooklyn (?)... I worked w/him on ' The Yellow Chase Trucks' @ Chase Auto E.35 x. 'I' & Dead End. (Talk about your Glory Days!) He & I Chased as many Fires as MVA"s.
He Always wanted to be 'On The Job'.
Chief J.K. Probably knows this guy as Chief was a bit o' 'Chaser' his-self back in 'The Day'. That's how he & I first met.
Richie M., Sandy B., Tommy M. ('Reno') and bunch of others went to The Job from our Ranks. I didn't make it; (Long, Boring Story...).
Ira & Sandy usually worked together at Chase we/ me and most of the Talk and 'Action' was FDNY.
We'd have 'Occasional Cocktails' @ O'Halorhan's @ J & Nostrand. There was some FDNY talk there too; but most of the Attention & Energy at 'O's' was focused on Females & Drinkin'.
O's was a very Irish-Sounding Place but was owned by a Little Italian Guy named 'Sammy'.
Sammy Always put-on a Fantastic Spread & Feast w/ Irish Music all day on St. Paddy's.
Great People; Great Fun!
If anyone know's of Richie, Ira, Sandy, 'Reno'; I'd love to catch-up w/ their FDNY Careers Here...Thanks, Staj.  8)

I was good friends with Ira and Sandy growing up in Brooklyn. Sandy's father and my father worked together in L101. I dispatched at Vollaro's on weekends for a while. Ira and I were in the same proby class. Sandy came on the job about a year after us.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: STAjo on March 31, 2019, 11:37:44 PM

 Thanks, 'Mets' !  8)  (PM Sent. )
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on March 31, 2019, 11:43:33 PM
In regard to Johhny Gage's post in reply # 35 ....  The Joe he mentions as the MPO who also was the Company UFA Delegate is a friend of mine Joe B. who also later became a LT back in his Company (88) ...Joe was also very Active in the UFOA & has 2 Sons OTJ who are Chiefs.... awhile back on EBAY i saw an odd old FDNY Badge it was the standard FDNY Maltese Cross but in the center where a Badge Number would be it had a double number & encircling it were the words "PROBATIONARY FIREMAN"...i had not seen one before & thought either it was a fake or maybe they had been used by probies while in school "way back when"...i posted the EBAY ad on a few FD related sites to see if anyone had some history on it....a poster Ret from LAD*6 who i had never met personally sent me a PM on The Rant & told me that he had no history on what they were but he did have one that someone gave him but it had a different number in the center than the one in the ad....he then told me he would give it to me for free....i did not really want to accept it.....but then i asked him what  number it was & he said the number was 88....(you know where this is going) .....i told him i knew a well respected BROTHER who had been a longtime FF & LT in ENG*88 & i could give it to him .....he mailed it to me...it turned out soon after i received it we were having a get together at Maggie Mays (well over a hundred people) for 1st Deputy Commissioner Bob Turner (my friend & best mutual partner) & i knew Joe & at least one of his Sons were coming so i brought it there ....Joe B. did not know ....after Bob gave a little Thank You speech i took the floor & explained (to those that could hear since the sound system had failed) about the existence of at least 2 of these proby badges that i knew of & that someone had given me one...Joe was sitting there listening but not knowing about it & then i said the one that had been given to me was now being given to Joe.... he did not get why until i said the number was 88.....needless to say he was very excited to have it. .....this is one with a different number.... https://www.google.com/search?q=PROBATIONARY+FIREFIGHTER+BADGE+ON+EBAY&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=wqXwpsUL3vgo8M%253A%252CB6ju6_UXvrKj5M%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kRUyG1xLZwTWDg1ugaDdSSYCUyT7g&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiZnqCr_q3hAhWMg-AKHcHICJcQ9QEwA3oECAkQCg#imgrc=wqXwpsUL3vgo8M:
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mac8146 on April 01, 2019, 10:04:27 AM
In regards to post 40 I too have a story of Joe B. I was a fireman in L-38 and was promoted in 1996 and had a friend at badge desk and was able to get badge #88 as a lieutenant, 38 was not available then. Year or two later Joe B. Gets promoted and while celebrating his promotion over a cocktail or two I mention my badge and offer to swap since he was in 88 his whole career and deserved it. So we make a lunch date and off we go to HQ and swap badges so Joe B now has #88. I get to look at some available badges and lo an behold #38 was in drawer, so I have had the pleasure of holding badges #88 & #38 as a lieutenant. FYI Joe B got me again a few years later when I had been covering back in the Bronx and was in 88 ufo when spot came up and I was informed it was going to Joe B so I took another assignment as Joe went back as Lt. In Engine 88.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 02, 2019, 09:15:46 PM
MONTEREY AND 180 STREET

It’s New Years Day, 1988...I’m now assigned to Ladder 38. It’s late morning, we just had a run of some sort in Ladder 27’s area, as we cruise back to Belmont Avenue we stop by the quarters of 46/27 to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

We are not there long. The LCC “Sidecar” Tom calls us over the handi-talkie. “38 has a run, Monterey and 180, first due”...a day does not go by that this Box does not come in. We hurry to the rig, the tones are going off in 46/27, they will be right behind us.

Up Third Avenue, we make a right turn, heading east on 180 Street. Whoa! People in the street waving us down. Somethings up. Tommy stops the rig at the intersection, Monterey is a short dead end street...I have the can, the boss; Lt. Artie and I jump off the rig and follow the very excited residents running ahead of us and towards the courtyard of this nine story project. They keep waving back for us to follow...were running too. I climb the short staircase, I’m first in the project courtyard... and immediately see what I assume to be outside rubbish smoldering. I say to myself, “all this excitement for outside rubbish?” Then...I come up to the “rubbish” and it moans. (I will hold further description)... “Holy effen #$%, it’s a somebody!”. Instantaneously my senses go into that slow motion heightened awareness...WTF is going on. I put my finger over the can nozzle, gently I extinguish the smoldering person on fire. People are throwing down blankets. I cover this person and wet down the blanket to cool the burning. Other companies have arrived and immediately start to assist. To my right I see another victim, he looks like a teenager. He is sitting up against a cement walkway. He too,  is burned from head to toe, the front top of his sneakers and shoe laces have been completely burned off. I’m the only EMT at this point I help with the assessment. The first victim is being treated now by EMS, the second victim can speak and tells us there is a third victim!... He is in the elevator. I relay this info to my boss. Our hands are full with these two victims. Other companies are on scene and head toward the elevators in the lobby.

 A resident tells us he saw the three teens bringing down a Christmas Tree in the elevator from the sixth floor, thought he heard an explosion and suspects one of the teens lit the tree on fire.

The elevator is not in the lobby, it proceeded back up to another floor. Rescue is on scene and identifies the elevator, the door is hot to the touch and severely buckled by the heat. The hurst tool is started, the door forced and the horrific remains of the third teen is discovered.

That was a tough one. I got relieved that day...a few of us headed to a local joint, had a couple of cold ones and just looked at each other. What was there to say?...The next days newspaper headlines would say it all.

Thanks for reading...KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/cKzKhwFb/Screenshot-2019-03-30-14-40-55-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/cKzKhwFb)

Monterey and 180 St. "Monterey Project" courtyard...right rear


(https://i.postimg.cc/vcvcjpP9/20190331-130750-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/vcvcjpP9)

Two teenagers died. One in elevator at scene, the first victim I encountered, two days later.



(https://i.postimg.cc/FfYzY1hg/20190331-130724-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/FfYzY1hg)



(https://i.postimg.cc/ppPdDs2d/20190331-130143-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/ppPdDs2d)

JohnnyGage on right....Proby FF on left is George F. From E 48 (He would go on to be a super fine Lt in E 24 and Capt of L 29, now retired) Photo by Matty Daly
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on April 03, 2019, 08:12:27 PM
This 6th alarm fire in B'klyn, fire in the cockloft, brings to mind another short story.
E80/L23 are at a multiple in Harlem, people were pretty tough back in those days, sometimes you had problems trying to get them to leave the building. At this particular top floor fire in a "h type", the cockloft is going good, threatening to jump the throat, we're on the top floor with our handline - 23 has been pulling ceilings - we bring our line into this apt. where there is a little old lady, doesn't wanna leave - her apt. is immaculate, unlike most others on the top floor, probably in the b'ldg.. Makes you feel badly for what's about to happen here - we're telling her that she has to go and she's arguing, but finally she's convinced it's time to go, but before she leaves she comes out with a classic line - she says to the guys from E80, standing there with a charged line "you squirters ain't so bad" then looking over at L23, with their 6' hooks "but them sons a bitches with them wrecking sticks ain't no good at all". We almost fell over laughing, sorry to say that her immaculate apt. was indeed destroyed. Wondered back then, what ever happened to that poor little old lady, possessions/home gone. Same thing is happening today in B'klyn. Some things never change!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: manhattan on April 03, 2019, 09:50:31 PM
This entire site has to be edited into book format.  Remember -  you heard it here first!

Outstanding professions, callings and story-telling, everybody!

And special recognition to the Bendicks and our two unflagging moderators who never waver in their duties for all the work they do - Bravo Zulu!!  (Willy - did I say that the way you wanted?  If so, you owe me a Big Mac, fries and shake.  Yeah, I know - I'm easy but I ain't free.  After all it's New York.)

Seriously, thank you to everybody..
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 06, 2019, 08:09:05 PM
TOUGH TIMMY; Part 5
Leap frog

Roll call in Engine 88 was different from other companies I found out. When the Captain “Tough Timmy” was working at the change of shifts there was no “formal” roll call. Working with a senior crew, these masters just fell into the role; nozzleman, back up, door and control. They have done this hundreds of times before, 88 was a well oiled machine...there was no need for the boss to “assign positions”. The first member to the back step became the nozzleman, the next guy to the hose bed in effect became the back up and so on. On the rig, the senior men sat on the door in the rigs cab, they were first off the rig and naturally first to the back step. If either one wanted the nob (who wouldn’t) they had it. Being a “Proby” I would have to sit backwards in the jumpseat with my back either to the officer or MPO. Until I had a couple of years on, the challenge for the nob was difficult. On occasion, if we pulled up to a vacant, the senior man would give me a shot on the nob. On this one particular occasion with the boss, “Tough Timmy” I would learn the skillful tactic of “vacant building fire fighting”. This fire attack was done during the war years, now a  forgotten practice in today’s fire fighting tactics..

In my first TT article about riding the “back step”; TT also told us if we “get anything (fire) on the first floor of a vacant” he wanted me to “run in the booster”. Yeah, I knew better, but I was going to take my lumps and not disobey his order...oh yeah, and no mask (scba). TT had a “no mask policy”. He did not want you coming off the rig and delay the stretch while donning your mask, especially if you were the nozzleman. He wanted that line stretched and in operation pronto. (I made up my own policy when I was working with TT;  on vacants I would not wear a mask, on an occupied structure I would, but bury it as soon as the fire was knocked down, if not sooner). TT taught me not to rely on the scba, I took my lumps, but in the end...he made me a better fireman, just by that.

I never saw TT with a mask, nor boots...vacant or occupied,...no mask, nada.... Except; once when we had to go to the “Rock” for training and the instructors would not let him get away without wearing one while we had to do an evolution. He made like he was fumbling with the straps, getting tangled...didn’t know how to put it on…”is this where the strap goes. Dan?” He was a gem! The instructors were very patient, they knew better. TT was respected.

Back to the forgotten tactic for vacants. There was actually two tactics. The first was the boss would head to the floor below the fire with all the guys except the controlman, and drop the cut out “clorox” bottle with curled up (laundry line) rope inside. The controlman and MPO would watch the windows for the officer to appear, the officer would hold on to one end of the rope that had a brass clip tied on and drop the bottle to the ground deploying the rope where there is another tied on brass clip. The controlman would loop the rope around the nob and the rope then hoisted to whatever floor to be pulled in and tied off. The line in position was then charged. It was a quicker stretch than going around stairwells that usually were not  in good shape.

The second was the “Leap frog”. This was an organized attack by two engine companies. As I recall, 88 came in second due to a vacant on Vyse Avenue, four floors are on fire of this vacant pre-war brick apartment house….Engine 45 “Eagles” were moving in on the ground floor, I’m the back up, right behind TT and the nozzleman Jimmy S. (Jimmy S is a 20 year firefighter, Navy vet, Greek heritage and a firefighting robot)...we bypass 45 as they are knocking the fire down a long hallway as we stretch to the floor above where we have our hands full with same heavy fire situation. We move steady and swiftly through the apartment, I’m duck walking, the Captain and Jimmy are standing erect, I can’t see them above their waist from the smoke condition...Jimmy stops briefly to spray water on his shoes, (Jimmy does not wear boots, either)...his black navy style shoes literally caught on fire!.. Engine 45 has knocked down the fire on the first floor, immediately they back out, and start climbing the stairs to attack the fire on the third floor. Our apartment is knocked down, we pull the charged 1 ¾” and do the same and muscle it up to the fourth floor and repeat the process. This tactic, believe it or not elapsed  maybe ten minutes. It is performed quickly and aggressively, before the tower ladders set up!..I’m told 88 and 45 have done this many times during the war years...I was very lucky to be a part of this offensive tactic we deployed precisely...It truly was a work of  “art”.

Now TT was not too bad with you coming off the rig with a mask, once you had a little time otj. He believed that you should not solely “depend” on the mask as a crutch. He wanted to make sure you got a snootful, knew how to control your breathing and not panic. It was an old-school training tool. The couple of times I did get a good piece of the fire was when one of the senior members on the nob would need a “blow” after knocking down a room with no mask at an occupied. I would have my mask on, take the nob and catch the other rooms. TT was ok with that.

TT, boy, he was tough on the chiefs! Many times he would not come out of the building until the fire was out, there was no such thing as relief...evacuate? Forget about it!... Chief’s would have to physically enter the fire building, order and then “follow” him out.. In the street after a good snotty job, TT’s smiling white teeth would beacon, and he would spray nasal saline into is nose, he always carried the nasal saline in his top left pocket! There was nothing more exciting than working a job with TT,  he loved the fire duty and he couldn’t wait for the next job...

Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!  KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/PN3Z9Qtd/20190331-131951-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/PN3Z9Qtd)
L-R, Jimmy S, Frankie B (Backstep story buddy), TT, Jimmy C (strongest and nicest man on earth), bottom row L-R, Good friend Marty (siren caper), Joe B (MPO), 25 year old Proby Johnny Gage with Pumpkin Patch on head.



(https://i.postimg.cc/phdpRyvg/Screenshot-2019-04-06-22-05-01-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/phdpRyvg)

Typical pre war apartments, now vacant. Vyse Av.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 07, 2019, 08:51:30 PM
THOUGHTS ON VACANT BUILDINGS; Part 1

Urban exploration; that is a term used today of people who like to explore abandoned properties such as farm houses, churches, schools even fire stations! I did not realize back in 1982 surrounded by block after block of vacant apartment houses this would become a modern concept over thirty years later.

As a youngster riding with Uncle Jack in Ladder 31 during the war years I was fascinated with the unusually large apartment houses that lined the streets filled with life, it was exciting!... Laundry hanging out on window sills, people sitting on stoops and fire escapes, loud music, kids running around with no tee shirts on...Most apartments were still occupied at that time, but many were becoming vacant. I took notice of the changing demographics each time I came back to ride with Jack.THe change was obvious. Later I would observe street after street of these brick empty modern castles slowly decaying or burning down. I was intrigued!

During proby school it was the first time I was able to go into one of the vacant buildings for “overhaul training”. I was mesmerized...I found it fascinating thinking about the different families that used to live here, eat and sleep here, and call it a home...sadly now the future of this structure, void of life... is about to become a memory with the help of a wrecking ball.

I recall our company drills with Engine 88 that we held in these ubiquitous empty shells. Early in my career I remember after drill I grabbed another firefighter to “explore” with me the remnants  and remains of empty apartments. Years of debris, peeled paint, glass and plaster would crunch as we walked down hallways and into the vast amount of hollow uninhabited apartments. If you stopped and listened, you could almost hear the ghosts of the previous tenants talking and laughing.

These still beautiful apartment buildings made from brick, wood, lathe and plaster featured beautiful baseboard and ceiling crown moulding, single pedestal bathroom sinks and tubs with “claw feet”, beautiful herringbone parquet wood floors (one tenant showed me later on in another occupied apartment house several blocks away how he “red wood” stained his parquet floor, ahhhh). These buildings also featured solid wood doors, and glass paneled pocket doors that would slide into the wall and pull out on coasters to separate different rooms instead of regular doors.

Roaming around... entering a room, in front of me appeared a large clear diamond on the floor amid the rubble. I could not believe my good fortune, I’m loaded!….actually it was a glass doorknob.

The glass door knob was the preferred material used back in early 1900’s, even more so prior to World War II as metal was needed for the war effort. They came in different shapes, mostly clear, but some had color added to the glass. Apartment houses built during these times were loaded with glass door knobs.

I picked it up and looked it over, it was clear, not a crack or chip, very smooth and actually very beautiful. I held onto it and created a mission for myself to find more of these little gems….I soon found out...they were hard to come by, but as I went from apartment to apartment dragging my colleague I was determined to find one on a door with the square stem connected to the other glass door knob on the other side that was neither painted over or chipped. I thought to myself, if I could gather enough I would replace the boring metal door knobs in my house on Long Island. I was on an urban “Easter Egg Hunt”. Moving diligently from room to room I collected about a half- dozen sets or so, leaving the ones that were chipped or painted over. But the half-dozen sets would be a good start. 

My partner and I returned to the apparatus, drill time was over and we headed back to Belmont Ave. I showed TT my collection of the glass doorknobs. He got a chuckle out of my foraging and findings...told me to come with him...we walked to his car, he opened his trunk and showed me a milk crate full of glass door knobs he collected…”add these to your collection” and handed me the crate.

Years later when I sold my house, many people “viewing” would comment on the glass door knobs I installed on my doors and that were not common to the 1960 ranch style houses of Long Island.

Today,  most new homes and condos have handle type levers for better grasp. Yesterday's  glass door knob will become another memory of the Glory Days.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.   KMG-365


(https://i.postimg.cc/zbKkzTc3/Screenshot-2019-04-07-17-47-59-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/zbKkzTc3)


(https://i.postimg.cc/94qk9RkH/Screenshot-2019-04-07-17-49-13-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/94qk9RkH)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on April 07, 2019, 09:25:22 PM
The "TT" series is great reading JohnnyG - hope you can keep the memories coming. In the last part, JG mentions  "duckwalking"  - another quick story.

"Duckwalking" - I don't think I can remember more than a handful of times doing this maneuver, we were mostly advancing down on the knees.

Like it was yesterday - W147 St./Powell B'lvd. - fire out a few windows of a FP MD on a cold and windy winter's night. 69/28 1st due, 80/23 2nd due (pre-Barb days). Apt. door was left open by fleeing occupants, fire is like a blow torch coming well out into the public hallway. Ended up with two 2 1/2" lines off the standpipe side by side to push the fire back into the fire apt. Hallway was like an inferno and the water on the hallway floor was so hot that the guys who didn't duckwalk were scalding their legs - rubber boots and "dungarees" didn't do it in that hot water. For those that have no idea - duckwalking while advancing with a 2 1/2" handline is hard work made even more difficult when the water on the hallway floor is burning the legs - a number of engine guys were burned that night. I guess nowadays this would be a wind driven fire - back then it was just a really good job!

Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on April 08, 2019, 01:50:28 AM
^^^^ To add to Reply 147 above ....how about the old oval NYC Public School doorknobs with a "Public School #xxx" cast in the (brass?)  knob ? 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on April 08, 2019, 08:15:45 PM
Johhny Gage your new Frontpiece is in.... https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Cairns-Bro-Leather-Fireman-Helmet-Badge/323768752892?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131231084308%26meid%3Dc353229aa6524d59b139030344eee009%26pid%3D100010%26rk%3D6%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D183767014512%26itm%3D323768752892&_trksid=p2047675.c100010.m2109
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 08, 2019, 08:47:43 PM
Johhny Gage your new Frontpiece is in.... https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Cairns-Bro-Leather-Fireman-Helmet-Badge/323768752892?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131231084308%26meid%3Dc353229aa6524d59b139030344eee009%26pid%3D100010%26rk%3D6%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D183767014512%26itm%3D323768752892&_trksid=p2047675.c100010.m2109

Thanks JK, but me thinks something is a little fishy here... says "Vintage" and "used"...also no holes to mount facepiece onto helmet. Buyer beware!

(https://i.postimg.cc/4n7Lmhsg/Screenshot-2019-04-08-20-42-16-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/4n7Lmhsg)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on April 08, 2019, 08:51:53 PM
Yes never mounted.......there are a lot of fakes & put together stuff on ebay.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on April 09, 2019, 07:24:25 AM
It's also too clean to have seen any fire duty.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 10, 2019, 11:25:17 AM
It's also too clean to have seen any fire duty.


Very true, however...
I moved in with my new wife to Battery Park City early 1999,  our apartment view was to the east, from our 9th floor apartment I could see the southern half of WTC #2. (Used to marvel how they did outside window cleaning with a JWB in my hand from my recliner...) On 9/11 my wife left for work, I was headed to a Fire Tech study course on SI. Such a beautiful day, I left my sliding windows open about 3-4 inches. On my desk in front of the window is my first pre-chinstrap leather helmet with 112 frontpiece. I cleaned most of the carbon collection on the helmet, but left the ashen frontpiece alone. A reminder of my Bushwick Glory Days.

After the attacks my wife and I were not allowed back into our apartment (I did get in briefly to get clothes and valuables out that afternoon). Our apartment needed to have a thorough cleaning by a professional company paid by insurance adjusters. We were homeless for three weeks, but the very nice Leona Helmsley allowed us to stay "free" in the Park Lane Hotel on 56 St. (our insurance covered our stay).

Upon returning home at the end of September, every knook and cranny, countertop, knick knack, pot and pan was scoured, vacuumed and cleaned...including my helmet and frontpiece, both looked like they just came out of the box...But that was the very least of my concern and worries...I just thought about it after looking at the above posted frontpiece...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 10, 2019, 07:30:43 PM
“TOUGH TIMMY”;  Part 6
The Interview


It’s a comfortable spring afternoon. I have the 3x housewatch. I find the days Daily News and make a fresh batch of coffee, pour myself a nice hot black cup and head to the housewatch to relieve the 12x. With a double pen that is taped together half blue facing down, and half red facing up... I enter in the time column with the blue pen; 1500 hrs. Next column I enter FF Johnny Gage E88 relieves FF De Soto on HW. Dept PAQ (Property, apparatus and quarters) in good order...Firefighters write in blue ink... Only officers are permitted to write in red ink in the company journal. I hit the button to open the engine apparatus door from the desk console to enjoy the fresh spring air

In just a few minutes a nice looking, well dressed young man about my age enters quarters and walks over to the housewatch, where I am now standing in the housewatch doorway. He is another firefighter from one of the boro’s. I welcome him to the firehouse...He proceeds to tell me he heard all good things about “88” and wanted to speak with Captain Gallagher about transferring in. He knew the Captain was working from a previous phone call. I said the Captain is upstairs, go ahead up. On the intercom I tell the boss that a visiting fireman is headed up to see him. “OK, thanks Johnny”.

I go back to reading the paper. A few minutes later...just as I finish my final sip of coffee I hear the Captain's office door slam so hard I jumped from my chair as the building shook!...I get up and look out of the housewatch door towards the stairs, I see the visiting firefighter coming down the stairs, holding onto the bannister...he is visibly shaken. I stop him, tell him to relax, catch your breath…”what happened?” I asked...He told me the interview was fine, the Captain liked him...up to the point when he told TT that he wanted to spend a couple of years in the Engine then... “s l i d e”  across the floor to the truck.

Nobody, but nobody uses 88, Tough Timmy’s company as a door mat!

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 13, 2019, 04:14:59 PM
VACANT BUILDINGS; Part 2

The members of Ladder 112  just took up from a job on another warm summer afternoon in Bushwick, our scba compressed air bottles were all depleted and so we headed to the bottle depot at triple deuce (E 222) on Ralph Avenue to replenish.

After a few minutes restocking our scba we traveled a short distance south on Ralph Avenue where we came upon a three story brick vacant school that has seen better days. The property is surrounded by a chain link fence, but we found a hole in it and a few of us decided to commence in a little “urban exploring”. We wandered from various classrooms with blackboards, some rooms with school desks and chairs piled up in corners. Couple of the blackboards still had faint ghost like chalk writing still on them. We were not sure how long the school was abandoned but it was in real bad shape. Up on the third floor we looked into classrooms that had no roof over them, the floors were musty, moldy and damp.

We decided we had enough and headed back to the rig. Back in the street I take a look at Tommy H, “Hey Tom, there’s a bug crawling up by your neck”, then I noticed another. Tommy lifted his shirt and had a couple of dozen more scurrying around on his chest. “Check out yourself he said”, I did, and I too had as many bugs, which we determined were fleas. The two other members were also visibly adorned with the fleas. LCC John G saw us, “don’t you dare get inside, get on the backstep”. We raced back to quarters, I guess the boss somehow contacted the firehouse...before we entered the firehouse a big garbage can was filled with water where we dumped our work clothes into the can out on the sidewalk, sprayed down with garden hose on the apparatus floor and ran upstairs to the hot showers in our skivvies.

That would satisfy my quest of adventure for any future “Urban Exploration” ideas.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 13, 2019, 04:18:04 PM
PROFILE  I ; “Big Lar”

Big Lar, Larry. Lieutenant Larry McCarthy, senior lieutenant in Ladder 112. Larry was a big  guy, not “tall” big, but a big barrel chested jovial guy who was a bit of a prankster and instagator that sported a flat top crew cut and black rim glasses. When Larry laughed his shoulders would heave and shake up and down as he tried to suppress his outward laughter. Everytime I worked with him he always seemed to be in a good, buoyant mood. Larry was a firefighter in Ladder 120 during the “war years”, as some would rightfully call him; “a master”. Larry liked to regularly remind us about his glory days on “Watkins Street”,  with  anecdotal  accounts that started with “Back on Watkins Street…”. Larry was proud of his time there and it showed, rightfully so, and no wonder, “Watkins Street” was and still is an elite top-notch firehouse that has a very honorable and distinguished history of membership... You could always tell when Larry was working, he only used the hi-lo siren on runs, that was his signature call and an open turnout coat...I remember sitting opposite him during lunch as he meticulously deconstructed a BLT sandwich, then rebuild it with just the right smattering amount of mayo, well maybe just a little heavier than a smattering, perfectly aligned crispy bacon, not too much lettuce and two red ripe tomato slices on rye. He looked very satisfied and content taking that first bite. I was happy for him, I liked working with him...Larry was to retire later that year, and so we asked what he would like as a retirement gift and he mentioned a particular type of fishing rod caster.

My partner tonight is Gene H. Gene is the OV, I got the roof... Larry always got a kick when we both worked and like to call us “Ernest and Julio” much to his amusement...Tonight is a warm night, we are under the el on Broadway in front of a furniture store that has a water sprinkler break and is discharging the water in a back room of this business. The store owner is there and lets us in. Gene and I know the routine and we begin to head for the basement and water sprinkler shut off. But Larry, for some reason is in a foul mood, he seemed angry and crabby since the beginning of the tour and our crew noticed his unusual behavior.

“Where do you two think your going?” Larry barks. “To the basement, Lou, shut off the sprinkler system”. He made another growly comment under his breath that we couldn’t hear as Gene and I headed to the basement. We quickly found the OS&Y valve and proceeded to shut down the water to the broken sprinkler head above us. “OK, you got it” came from the handi talkie, but I could detect a little snarl as we closed down the valve. “Hold on Gene”, I said, “step back...maybe we should make sure we have the right valve and cool somebody down!”, Gene knew where this was going...slowly, I reopened the valve, one quarter turn at a time…my handi talkie exploded; “CLOSE THAT G%# #&^% VALVE DOWN!”. Gene and I doubled over laughing.

We climbed the stairs back to the street, composed ourselves, then nonchalantly started to put our tools away...we glance towards the front of the rig... there the big boss is standing next to the open door on the cab pointing at us, now with the usual big grin we were accustomed to and wet shoulders heaving.

RIP Lou, a very special boss who passed away not too long after retiring. Hope you got a chance to use your fishing gear.

Hope you enjoyed! Thanks again, for reading.    KMG-365



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Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 14, 2019, 01:30:53 PM
4,000 views!...WOW! Thanks for reading, your comments are very appreciative... it has been fun writing and remembering these special memories, I look forward to sitting in my recliner after dinner recording them on here while being transported back to those Glory Days...Thanks Willy for allowing me to download my memoirs and relieve my smokin' coconut!... stay tuned, more crazy stuff on the way...KMG-365.

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Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on April 14, 2019, 08:40:34 PM
This is my favorite new thread. Its nice to hear these stories, especially now with the constant “the job has changed” stuff....its a reminder that although we may have more issues with who gets hired nowadays, some of these stories could have happened my last set in. Same circus, different clowns.

 Dan, aka "JohnnyGage", you began writing these stories less than one month ago, on March 24, and you have reached about 4,200 views. That's a lot by any standards we've seen here.

 I think "bxengine" (quote above) speaks for most of us on how we feel about reading these stories.

 These stories are NOT from some Hollywood fiction movie. But actual real life situations involving Real People.

 Real People who presented their own True Character in living the life of some of the busiest fire companies in the city, maybe even the world.

 Beyond the Show, these guys were True American Hero's. They were Role Models and Family Members. Being a part of that special firehouse family was a rarity that few in life ever got to experience. It was a Firefighter Brotherhood that went beyond any other. "I know that because as a buff, I saw that for myself". "Those guys were tight".

 Thanks Dan for telling us these stories. Speaking for myself here, I sure enjoy tuning them in as the next chapter is played out.

 As far as some guy named Willy having any "special hook" to get you on here. NOT really, "he just likes to think so".
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: manhattan on April 14, 2019, 09:32:41 PM
HEAR, HEAR!!

"Speaking for myself here, I sure enjoy tuning them in as the next chapter is played out."  Not speaking just for yourself, Willy; speaking for a great many of us and hitting the nail on the head as you usually do (unless, of course, you hit your thumb instead of the nail, but why bother going there...?)!!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 17, 2019, 04:34:27 PM
COUPLE OF ODD COUPLES:  Part 1
The Blues Brothers

Summertime 1993, Ladder 112 is celebrating their 100 years of community service to the residents of Bushwick. The company is going to “march” three blocks north on Knickerbocker Avenue then turn west on Menahan Street two blocks west to Central Avenue and St. Barbara's Church for a Christian Mass. Both Engine 277 and Ladder 112 will be “out of service” for the day tour.

Back up a few months. Ladder 112 members are conducting a “Company Meeting” in the firehouse. Almost every member is in attendance as the topic is the upcoming “Centennial” and “what are we going to do?”.

The greater majority of members thought  a Mass and formal celebration is a little bit much. After all, we are “No Frills”, the name was appropriate. We discussed in length about donating to “a worthy cause” in L 112’s name. Most rejected the celebration and party aspect. How about just a nice lunch...toast the members before us, and those who are no longer with us...that was the direction the centennial would take the majority decided. Meeting adjourned...

Enter the “six who care”, these were five members and one officer who decided among themselves that we should have pageantry, a spectacle, a parade with all it’s trimmings, bells and whistles!...And so a parade through the streets of beautiful downtown Bushwick to the Church was planned by the “six who care”.

It is the day of the centennial, it is a beautiful warm but comfortable morning, everyone is dressed sharply in their Class A uniform, a solid turnout by the members...soon we will be stepping off from in front of the firehouse and head north on Knickerbocker Avenue lead by Captain H. Officers with their white hats are ahead and lead the forty or so members that make up both companies in a double column. Ladder 112’s apparatus is right behind us,  two of the “six who care” members; LCC John “Elwood” C and Lt. Tony “Jake” C man the front seat of the otherwise empty apparatus. (Empty being key word here). I’m pretty sure there was a police car protecting our rear.

Our small squadron of firefighters...dare I say... “march”...actually it is more like a “sashay” up Knickerbocker Avenue... first passing Gates Avenue, then Linden Street, passing the curious onlookers who sip from their brown bag. Some wave, most don’t even pay attention as we strut by. We make small talk amongst ourselves...Then…

From behind us the apparatus is blowing the horn. OK, a little noise to create a little drama and excitement...but the apparatus is closing in on the members, inch by inch, who are now becoming alarmed as the rig comes even closer now with siren and air horn blasting away. We all are looking back, and move closer to the west side of Knickerbocker Avenue up against the parked cars as the apparatus does an “end run” around our scrunched-up contingent, the rig heads further up the Avenue and makes a left onto Myrtle Avenue, out of sight, the siren now heard in the distance. Our gang is left abandoned on Knickerbocker Avenue looking at each other in disbelief, the bosses now scratching their heads, what the #$%^  just happened here? The old timer sitting on the garbage can swigging from the brown bag takes another swig...

In about ten minutes or so, the rig silently creeps back up behind us...The two front seat knuckleheads; Elwood and Jake seem forlorn and woeful. The dynamic duo heard over the rig radio a box come in about four blocks away and decided to “voluntarily take in” the alarm on their own!...Crashing through a parade!.. you would think that only happens in the movies...

The remainder of the day was uneventful, don’t remember too many details, except, however I remember an embarrassed Captain being po’ed, big time! You could fry and egg of his forehead... In another 100 years I will never see that mad, wild craziness again...unless I rerun a Blues Brothers episode.

Hope you enjoyed!  KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/sGVFNv4z/Screenshot-2019-04-09-22-17-22-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/sGVFNv4z)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 17, 2019, 04:37:38 PM
COUPLE OF ODD COUPLES: Part 2
Al Di La meets Norton

Both companies, E277 and L112 are backing into quarters from a taking up at a job, wasn’t a big job so we are not taking any time for R&R. The relocators that occupied our firehouse have left to return to their firehouse. As we clean our equipment and ready our turnout gear we notice all over the firehouse white copy paper with “Hi AL!”...The “Hi” on top,”AL” on bottom with exclamation point. These notes are taped every where the eye can see on the apparatus floor, the apparatus floor bathroom, the kitchen, the dining room...everywhere. They are all the same; “Hi AL!”.

Later we call the Ladder Company who had relocated to our joint and asked about the signs to find out what’s up with the notes... We were told that a recently promoted Lieutenant, who just happens to be a newcomer to E277 named Al is the beneficiary of the prank.

Story goes: Once upon a time, Al and a “study group” of the Brothers from the same Ladder Company were studying for the upcoming Lieutenants exam. Al did well and was recently promoted. He covered vacancy spots and shortly thereafter assigned to E277.  Prior to his promotion, the story goes, Al experienced some dark days, the same “study group” of Brothers stayed alongside him day after day until the days got brighter.

After his promotion, Al returned to his previous firehouse and spoke with the remaining members who were still waiting for promotion. When one of his previous “study group” members called him Al, he was immediately corrected; “Don’t call me Al, it is Lou, or Lieutenant...but not Al”.

Quicker than a speeding bullet, word shot out all over the Knickerbocker Avenue firehouse of this outlandish story...We left the signs up. It became the hot topic of discussion in the kitchen...our Lieutenant TK, a bit of an instigator, started to sing the first line of a 1963 Connie Francis/Jerry Vale hit; “Al di la…”. And the gag caught on...Whenever Lt. Al would come out of his office someone would break into song “AL (pause, hold the AL note...then, just as Lt. Al gave you the evil eye...continue) di la”...” da da da da-da….Al di la”...What? I’m just singing….

Of course there were other songs that worked too. Especially if you were behind Lt. Al, you might break into song, always pausing after the first note; Michael Jackson’s;  “I’LL (AL)...be there, I’LL (AL) be there…”. And of course the Christmas classic “I’LL (AL)...be home for Christmas.

One particular night tour we have a detail from L111 coming to L112. The detail is Firefighter TB. TB is a distinguished, very well respected, aggressive firefighter, one of the best I have every work alongside with. TB calls everyone “Norton”, and everyone calls him Norton, right back. It is an honor of sort, when TB is in full schtick and calls you Norton, a privilege...Coming from the “Nut House” nobody could touch the outrageous and entertaining TB, he was a good natured, card carrying “Nut!” and right now he was the jester holding court in our small dining room, everyone working the night tour was in attendance watching this spectacular performance. TB is bare chested and flexing his muscles to our amusement. He is on a roll!...Only one missing is Lt Al who has himself barricaded in the Engine office.

A short time later, Lt Al emerged from his confinement and came downstairs for a cup of coffee...we think. Lt Al takes a peek from the kitchen into the dining room and sees the floorshow...quicker than the groundhog who sees his shadow Lt Al disappears back upstairs and closes his office door. TB takes notice of this peculiar “non-conformity”...we “fill him in” about our special “shy” Lt.

In the middle of TBs artistic performance, he’s enlightened!...and takes off up the stairs in flight, bare chested and carrying a halligan tool. We can hear the office door kicked open, TB explodes into the office and breaks into song... “AL Di LA, DA DA DA DA-DA...”.

Like I’ve said before, on Knickerbocker Avenue you didn’t just need thick skin, you needed a shell. Lt. Al moved on shortly thereafter. “I’LL (AL) be seeing you……”

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!  KMG-365


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Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on April 17, 2019, 08:43:59 PM
 JohnnyGage, we appreciate your stories.

 So we hope you like this gift - FROM US TO YOU. As we take you back to those Glory Days of the Past.


 www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kcPlHGG-q4


 www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiWgKEFyY0A


 


 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on April 17, 2019, 10:39:18 PM
Willy, you're always spot on with these videos! Love the Ed Norton clip, he really was a "blast from the past".
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 19, 2019, 03:19:05 PM
KNOW WHEN TO SAY WHEN

Since the early age of the first American colonies, fire companies have shared friendly and sometimes not so friendly banter when running to alarms together. Pride, tradition and custom...this behavior  will always be a fire company culture and heritage. And sometimes untraditional results will occur.

And so it is no surprise to this day, L112 has had a few runs this day tour with our colleagues from the west, L 111 and wise cracking back and forth has everyone in good spirits. L111 is an elite Truck Company from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, they are proud to be called the “Nut House”. The Nut House has many colorful and dynamic firefighters on their roster. They are one of the very best truck companies that serve the FDNY, and their nickname suits them well.

This summer day tour, we shoot each other good jestered remarks, and then it's over....one of our members , FF Kayce,  seems to have developed testicular fortitude as he continues to shoot snide remarks at the members of 111 relentlessly. He thinks he is being funny...The recipients of the wise cracks are no longer laughing anymore and the smirk has been replaced with the stink eye... “Hey, uh, Kayce, you might want to tone the bull$%^& down a bit, little overkill, take it down a notch”.

Late afternoon, news from the truck office to the housewatch is tonight’s night tour one man from L112 detailed to, you guessed it, the “Nut House”....wait for it….and FF Kayce just happens to have the detail slot...A collision of instant karma awaits just around the bend!

My next tour in, I am told the following, follow-up story... it is the hot story in the kitchen and guy’s are tripping over themselves trying to tell it...

The next morning of Kayce’s detail... two woman approach the L 112 firehouse door and knocks on it, the house watchman cracks open the door. The woman states that there is a firefighter across the street in the firehouse parking lot and he says “he needs help”.

Across the street, dropped off and leaning helplessly against the eight foot chain link fence is FF Kayce... he has been duct taped every inch from head to toe with his arms against his sides. He looks like a cross between a lumpy HVAC duct and a silver mummy...For good measure an old trophy cup has also been duct taped to his a$$... Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Moral of the story;...“Know when to say when, pick your battles wisely and certainly don’t mess with any company that calls themselves “The Nut House!”.

Hope you enjoyed!  KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/yJdKHJYK/Screenshot-2019-04-19-14-14-44-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/yJdKHJYK)


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Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on April 19, 2019, 06:11:13 PM
Dan,  your TB/ Norton story was a Classic.  The LT must have been beside himself.  Tommy is the Only Fireman I know to be assigned to Ladders 111, 112 & 113.  Finishing his career in Squad 252.  We (when I was a Fireman in 111) used to say, if we were trapped, we want Norton to come and get us. I don’t recall the story of your detail to our place But both Companies had the Highest respect for each other. I look back to my Brooklyn time as a Fireman in TL -111 and the Captain of TL -120 (for 10 years) and think about the GREAT Trucks we ran in with and all the Trucks I covered in throughout the Boro, listed in order, Ladders: 102, 103, 105, 107, 108, 112, 113, 123, 124, 132, 147, 157, 159, 170, 174, 175, 176.  That is Some collection of Truck Companies. I hope I didn’t leave anyone in the “Hood” out. The level of Firemen was the highest and the quality of these individuals were even better. Told someone down in Florida yesterday, the ultimate compliment from the Brothers is,” He’s a Good Fireman”

As a side note,  I spent my first 11 years on the Job on the Mainland, the BX. Another day and another story...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 19, 2019, 10:02:07 PM
^^^^^^Hi John, thanks for jumping in! I know with your background and history you must have a cache full of great stories and memories, you worked in great shops and always very well respected.... TB was certainly one of a kind, if you met him one time, you could never forget him... even as I type I'm smiling thinking of him, it's very true, I thought the same thing typing about TB, if I was in a jam, I would hope TB was nearby! (Saw TB at a L112 old timers reunion a couple weeks ago, hasn't missed a beat!)...You and I were very lucky to be on the job during a special time and work with great truck companies and learn from the "Masters"...that is the perfect discription of those war year vets. You too John, a gentleman and one of the fine "Masters" of our time.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 20, 2019, 02:28:43 PM
FLASHBACK; 37 Years Ago

April 20, 1982, just four months before I am to be hired for the FDNY I was a firefighter for the Washington D.C. Fire Department. In a couple of hours of my night tour I would be half of a team to participate in a very extraordinary rescue, probably the last of its kind.

I was hired on August 6, 1979 an assigned to Engine Company 21, a single, two piece company in the Northwest neighborhood of Adams Morgan. Ambulance 2 is quartered there also. We are considered a busy, active fire company. The year before Engine Company 21 was the “Fire Company of the Year”, an annual award by the City administrators for all around performance and administrative duties besting 31 other engine companies, 19 truck companies and 4 rescue squads.

The firehouse is very old, has two green bay apparatus doors (now painted red), a architect designed the firehouse with a spanish style, specifically to look like the “Alamo”. Two blocks behind us was the National Washington DC Zoo. The firehouse was situated on a side street in the bedroom community. The two piece engine company concept was two pumpers, an old concept that has now been abandoned. Both rigs were set up exactly the same with pumps, hose lays, and hand tools...the first piece was called the “wagon”, the second piece, which was an older piece of fire apparatus was called a “pumper”. As I mentioned above, there are thirty-two “two-piece” engine companies in DC. The wagon was where the MPO, Engine Officer, Lineman and Layout man rode. The pumper followed close behind with just a MPO by himself. His mission was to locate the hydrant and supply the wagon from his apparatus. Washington DC streetscape was unique in that every block was dissected  with “alleys”. On a “Box Alarm” assignment, 4 engines (double pieces), 2 trucks, rescue and Battalion Chief would respond. (what a parade of equipment!). Alarm assignment went as follows, the first and third due companies responded to the buildings address in front. The second and fourth due were to respond to the rear, via alleyway. (The two piece system gave the companies the versatility in different types of hose lays, furthermore in the event of civil unrest, with a call back, the engine companies could break into single engines, affording the department sixty-four engines very quickly). Regardless of conditions showing, the first and second due companies “laid out” a supply line from nearest hydrant.

Washington had also experienced their “war years” and riots...I was working with many knowledgeable war year veterans during a special time. Our “first due” area was interesting, if we turned out to the left of quarters we ran into real rough neighborhoods, where we would catch good fire duty. If we turned out to the right and crossed the Calvert Street Bridge towards Woodley Park we responded to hotels and elite neighborhoods with big mansions where Congress representatives and Senators lived. During my three years (I would resign my position of firefighter for the FDNY on August 6, 1982, three years to-the-day I was sworn in for DCFD!) I witnessed President Carter going out, newly elected President Reagan coming in. Newswise the Iran hostage crisis for 444 days was daily headlines, then followed by a parade when they came home. I Was working the day tour when  President Reagan's attempted assassination on T Street, Sheraton Hotel (our Ambulance 2 transported the injured DC Police Officer, we stood fast in quarters). The Iran Embassy was to be closed down permanently and the Ayatollah evicted, we stationed deck guns around the embassy perimeter...word was the Ayatollah was going to blow the place to smithereens. And the Air Florida flight that crashed into the 14th Street Bridge. A very remarkable three years of action!

My proby class was packed with 24 Probationary firefighters! Full class. Class number 273. I was hired along with my very close friend and brother-from-another-mother Phil. We grew up together from little league baseball, Explorer Scouts and then joined our Long Island volunteer fire department. We started taking fire department entrance exams together in various cities, and amazingly we were hired simultaneously for the DCFD! Our class was very tight, we all formed a close bond quickly and many of us still stay in touch to this day!...I recall on our first day we were told to “brown bag” your lunch as there was no facilities nearby and you could not leave the training facility grounds. The next day, I showed up with my lunchbox which I liberated from younger sibling from home earlier, it was an “Emergency!” tin lunch box and thermos with the profiles of Johnny Gage and his partner Roy DeSoto standing next to their Dodge rig. It was a hit with my fellow classmates and training staff...(Fact; after graduation, the staff requested if I would consider donating the lunch box to the training facility museum collection of tools and artifacts...I did).

Our training was as expected, tough and grueling. Part of the early training curriculum you had to be proficient in the “scaling ladder” evolution. Instead of the ladders being stationary like in FDNY probationary school;  you had to climb to the neck, dismount into the window, pull the neck up, rotate ladder 90 degrees, heave twice hand over hand to extend to next window, turn ladder 90 degrees, mount, climb and repeat. This continued until you reached the roof of the six story double windowed tower. There was a net below. Another evolution was to climb an extended 100 foot unsupported aerial to the top rung, clip in your life saving belt buckle, and lean back totally supported by your belt with arms extended outwards away from your body. Both evolutions were confidence builders. (For graduation we had a competition on both evolutions that would be a portion of your final mark; Out of the twenty-four students I came in third doing the scaling ladder evolution, and second climbing the aerial...completed in 19 seconds...whew)

The DCFD works three day tours, 0900-1800 hrs. But due to heavy traffic in the city, the general rule of thumb had members report for work at 0700 and 1600 hrs. After three day tours you were off a day, reported for three night tours, three days off. DCFD did not employ a “roll call”. When you reported for “duty” you relieved the on-duty member...at whatever his/her position was, you assumed that position. So naturally, if you are not a wagon or pumper driver, you would  “Sign in” the company journal that you relieved the “lineman” (nozzleman), the choice position and that would be your assignment for that tour until you were relieved. The second position was “Lay-out”, essentially the back-up position. Chow was early. A man would be sent by himself to the local market, procure the meal and we would eat breakfast by 0900 on day tours (no lunch) and  dinner at 1830 hrs. After dinner, everyone (including the boss) who ate rolled the dice to see who would wash the pots, pans and dishes...hi/lo rollers, you were both in the sink. Sometimes the two finalist would roll off between themselves and loser got stuck with the whole works. That was common practice in all the DCFD firehouses.

It’s a little after 2100 hours, the city wide tone system pulses out two tones indicating a higher level alarm is about to be transmitted, “BOX ALARM” all ears throughout the 32 firehouses in DC perk up, “BOX ALARM: ENGINE 9, 21, 23 and 1, TRUCKS 6,3, RESCUE SQUAD 1 BC?, 1514 17th STREET FOR FIRE REPORTED ON 4th FLOOR.” The member on house watch starts banging on the house alert gong, we all hear the box coming in and start a rush to the apparatus...donning my three-quarter boots, yellow turnout coat with reflective DCFD lettering on the back, and yellow leather New Yorker helmet, the two piece engine company turns out of the firehouse within a minute of the alarm...the history of DCFD turnouts are very aggressive. (one time a boss lined us up and admonished certain members that they were not turning out “fast enough!”). The apparatus door was set on a timer and came down two minutes after the “door open” button was pressed from the housewatch, another button was on a coiled wire hanging down from the ceiling where only the MPO could press the button and activate the door to open during winter weather. The apparatus door was on a two minute timer and came down on its own. The Hahn “Wagon” roars out to the right on Lanier Place, the Ford “Pumper” following right behind. Left on 18th Street to the alley that dissects P and Q Street towards 17th Street.

21 Engine is second due, which means we will take an alley behind the address, drop a supply line and hand stretch a line from the rear if ordered. Engine 1 and Truck 3 will be in the alley, too. Radio reports have a confirmed fire in an apartment on the fourth floor of this large 7 story “E” shaped, ordinary construction, brick apartment house. There is a report of a woman trapped on the fire floor, smoke is showing in the rear as the first due company Engine 9 starts the handstrech to the fire location assisted by the third engine from the front of the building. A woman appears above us in the alleyway at a fourth floor window screaming that she is trapped, the fire is next door and the front of her apartment is on fire. A thirty five foot ladder has been placed at a third floor window, below where the woman is screaming, obviously a little short. Engine 21 teams up with third due Engine 1 in the rear to start stretching a handline... just then, scurrying around the corner, part carrying a scaling ladder hooked over his shoulder and dragging the rest of the ladder is firefighter Joe N from Truck 3. He is having trouble with the cumbersome ladder in the tight alley by himself. My boss, is a covering officer,  notices his struggles, nods to me...“give him a hand with that”...I pass off my folds, dump my scba and grab the bottom of the scaling ladder. And up-we-go! Joe N has the hook in his right hand, I have the lower half of the single rail in my right hand as we climb in tandem to the third floor. I assist Joe raising the ladder like we were taught in proby school, he hooks the neck into the fourth floor window and starts his climb, I follow right behind. This climb is a little more difficult with three quarter boots and turnout coat compared to proby school in sneakers and gym shorts!...Joe climbs into the window, as I move up and take a position level to the window with my knees banging away against each other from the adrenaline rush... lo and behold, this stocky, older woman is climbing over the window ledge without hesitation, I place her foot on a lower rung and firmly I embrace her as we slowly, rung by rung, hand over hand, descend to the third floor window...that is fully intact. My immediate thought as we get lower to the third floor window, should we go in there, or do I make the dangerous and awkward transfer of her to the thirty five foot portable ladder. I decided this was far enough, I kick through the screen and glass, able to remove the glass and without hurting ourselves I guide her into the apartment below for safe shelter. Joe N made his way down, all three of us in the apartment below, Joe N escorted the woman to the street as I climbed down the portable ladder and resumed my engine duties.

The following morning Joe N is on all the local morning television networks in dress uniform telling his rescue story in detail. Joe N received the highest DCFD award that year, the “Gold Bar”, he rightfully deserved . I received a “Chief’s Commendation Certificate” and a lasting memory of being a part of a rescue team to effect a scaling ladder rescue in the DCFD...for a few minutes there, I got to be JohnnyGage.

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading...I think I will pour me-self a nip of JWB, today!   KMG-365

Next: More TT!




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Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: fdce54 on April 20, 2019, 04:00:08 PM
Great story. Well done on the rescue Mr. Gage.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: raybrag on April 20, 2019, 06:09:23 PM
I agree with Frank.  Great story!  Keep 'em comin!   Where on Long Island are you from?
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 20, 2019, 10:03:32 PM
I agree with Frank.  Great story!  Keep 'em comin!   Where on Long Island are you from?

Thanks fdce and Ray for your comments, more stories on the way.
To Ray; Born in Brooklyn, grew up on LI in Brentwood, Suffolk County.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: manhattan on April 20, 2019, 10:07:27 PM
I know where Brentwood is, but I'm not sure about Brooklyn.   Isn't it located someplace east of First Avenue in Manhattan??
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on April 21, 2019, 09:21:33 AM
I know where Brentwood is, but I'm not sure about Brooklyn.   Isn't it located someplace east of First Avenue in Manhattan??

 "manhattan" you fit right in.

 Are you sure you NEVER worked in a firehouse before ? Because it sure sounds to me like you did.

 Those guys that have spent any time in one of those neighborhood firehouses are usually the Best when it comes to figuring out the answers to the Worlds BIGGEST Problems. "Only" because they know how to ask the Right Questions. Then putting it all together such as you did "manhattan", they can clearly come up with the correct answer.

 Thank you JohnnyGage and all the guys who have contributed to this. My next question. Could a MOVIE be in the Making called: "GLORY DAYS".
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on April 22, 2019, 05:59:13 PM
A quick BX story,  I am a young (27 y/o) Fireman in Ladder Company 48 in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. The locals used to say, “the Point is where it’s at”. So much for where it’s at, the Firehouse became the only occupied building on the block, losing the rest to fire. It’s probably 1979. We are in a tenement overhauling after a Job with 31 Truck. I have the Can position, as I did for probably one year straight when I transferred across the floor, since 48 was one of the Most Senior Trucks on the Job (lucky me). For some reason, we and 31 are in the same apartment and 31 Legend, Jerry Albert looks over to me and says, “hey Kid, give me your Hook”. I am with Eddie Scott, one of 48’s legends and I recoil in horror. I clutch the hook to my body and would Never think of parting with it, imagine. Jerry looks at Eddie, chuckles and says to Ed, “you taught him well “.  As Johnny Gage presented and I have alluded to, They were the Masters.  Several years ago we buried another South BX Legend, Gene Hessler and I saw Eddie for the first time in almost 20 years at the funeral. Glad I had the opportunity to speak with him. Eddie Scott died 6 months later...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: enginecap on April 22, 2019, 07:23:59 PM
Eddie Tegjian ( spelling) was the FF from Ladder 48 that I remember in that capacity.  I was a Johnny LT assigned to the 6th division and working the R group (94/48 and 71/55)  Eddie always treated me with respect as he did with every officer.  He took the irons almost every tour and he took “ the kid” with him on the can.  “The kid” may have had 15 years on the job.  Eddie may have carried the Rabbit tool, but there’s no way he was going to use it.  He was a fireman’s fireman.  RIP Eddie
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on April 22, 2019, 09:41:04 PM
Eddie Teijan was a little younger then most of the real Senior guys in 48 but we are talking about men with 25-30 years of South BX firefighting experience during the busiest time in the history of the FDNY. He became The Senior Man in 48 Truck and was revered by the members. I remember him as a helpful man to a young Fireman (me) and respected by all the members and Officers of 94/48 & the 3rd Battalion. I am thankful for him passing his knowledge to me but more importantly, befriending me. One of the signs of a Good Shop is how they treat the Covering Officers and we, 94/48, Always took care of them.  I was promoted to Captain the Sunday following 911 and covered throughout the city for 2 years so I have a good understanding of how a Covering Officer should and does get treated.  Eddie was a wonderful person and everyone who knew him was saddened by his loss...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on April 23, 2019, 08:18:11 AM
A quick BX story,  I am a young (26 y/o) Fireman in Ladder Company 48 in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. The locals used to say, “the Point is where it’s at”. So much for where it’s at, the Firehouse became the only occupied building on the block, losing the rest to fire. It’s probably 1979. We are in a tenement overhauling after a Job with 31 Truck. I have the Can position, as I did for probably one year straight when I transferred across the floor, since 48 was one of the Most Senior Trucks on the Job (lucky me). For some reason, we and 31 are in the same apartment and 31 Legend, Jerry Albert looks over to me and says, “hey Kid, give me your Hook”. I am with Eddie Scott, one of 48’s legends and I recoil in horror. I clutch the hook to my body and would Never think of parting with it, imagine. Jerry looks at Eddie, chuckles and says to Ed, “you taught him well “.  As Johnny Gage presented and I have alluded to, They were the Masters.  Several years ago we buried another South BX Legend, Gene Hessler and I saw Eddie for the first time in almost 20 years at the funeral. Glad I had the opportunity to speak with him. Eddie Scott died 6 months later...

 "jkal", a story not about a member of the FDNY, but of a young Con Edison Employee working on Hunts Point Ave. That young Con Ed guy working in dahood at the time is our very own site member "fdce54", aka Mr Frank Donohue.

 One day working on that Hunts Point Ave in one of those "then" occupied buildings, he is alone in there working by himself. When he comes out and the job is finished, a couple of Anti Crime Cops had been watching that building. Yes, apparently some kind of illegal activity was taking place in there.

 As he comes out the Three Anti Crime cops want to talk to him. They ask him what he's doing in there. He tells them; "I work for Con Ed, in fact there's my truck parked up the street".

 They then said to him - "You went in there by yourself" ? He tells them "yes".

 Then they said to him: 'You know what - when we go in there, there's THREE of us and we carry guns". "When the firemen go in there , there's six of them and they carry heavy tools".

 They then told him: "The NYPD is the Finest, The FDNY is the Bravest, But the Con Ed workers are the F##king Craziest".

 Many of us here know that "Crazy Con Edison worker" who goes by the name of "fdce54".

 Also, a good friend to many of us here, (I don't know if he goes on this site though), is Retired Lt Kenny Burbulak. I think he was at 94/48 back in those Glory Days. He usually has a few good stories to tell too.

 Let me also add, "I remember riding by 94/48 as a buff back in the day". As "jkal" says the firehouse WAS actually the only place left on the street that hadn't been burned out. Same story for the police pct on Simpson St. (I think 94/48 due there too).

 Those Glory Days and the stories that came out of them are GREAT. Thanks Dan, I mean Mr Gage, for getting it all started.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on April 23, 2019, 12:46:26 PM
Eddie Tegjian ( spelling) was the FF from Ladder 48 that I remember in that capacity.  I was a Johnny LT assigned to the 6th division and working the R group (94/48 and 71/55)  Eddie always treated me with respect as he did with every officer.  He took the irons almost every tour and he took “ the kid” with him on the can.  “The kid” may have had 15 years on the job.  Eddie may have carried the Rabbit tool, but there’s no way he was going to use it.  He was a fireman’s fireman.  RIP Eddie

     FIREFIGHTER EDWARD V. TIETJEN LADDER 48 November 25, 2003

          (https://i.postimg.cc/8fJNqZ3t/TIETJEN.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/8fJNqZ3t)

          Died as a result of WTC-related illness
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on April 23, 2019, 12:59:48 PM
FF Eddie Tietjen – Deeply Missed! By EDDIE BROWN - Fire Lines 2006

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"The year was 1982.  I graduated probie school along with another probie, Richie Straub, and we were assigned to Engine 94 in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx—vacant buildings, drug dens, prostitutes.  A life-long Bronx resident raised by my mother in an apartment, the youngest of seven children, my father passed away when I was nine months old. Nervously walking through the firehouse door for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect, since I was the first Firefighter in my family’s history. Richie and I were told to go to the kitchen where the guys were waiting for us, asking us everything you could imagine.  They had a lot of fun at our expense. During the next few months, we caught a lot of work.  Engine 94, Ladder 48 was a senior house.  The thing that amazed me the most was these guys were real professionals.  When it hit the fan, everyone stayed calm and did their job.  Guys like Bill Dillon, Dennis Golden, Dennis Pierce, Gene Hessler, J.P. Sullivan, Ed Scott, Ed Loehmann, Rod Downie, Big John Braunagel, Jim Henderson, Capt. Tom Collins, Capt. John Cunniff, and Eddie Tiejen.  We would go back to the firehouse and critique the job-everyone was in a good mood.  All these guys worked two jobs, raised families, and made me proud to be a Fireman. Eddie Tietjen, was THE guy who stood out in 48 Truck.  He was raised on 138th Street in the Bronx, and was a Vietnam veteran.  He came on the job in 1968 and was one of the best irons man in the job. Eddie was a Firefighter, a butcher, plumber, and a best friend when you were in need.  He and his wife Mary raised two great kids, Dennis and Nicole, in Mahopac.  Eddie passed away from lung cancer in November 2003 just when he was about to retire. One year Ladder 48 was having annual inspection.  The Chief of Battalion 3 was inspecting Eddie’s gear.  The Chief kept saying, “Eddie!” looking down at the beat up boots Eddie was wearing. Eddie kept saying, “but Chief, they’re your boots.” The Chief said, “Eddie, I need new boots.” Eddie, all the member of Engine 94, Ladder 48, and the whole Battalion 3 are all better men for knowing you.  We miss you and we love you."

Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on April 23, 2019, 05:16:48 PM
Thanks Eddie, said what I felt Much better then me...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on April 23, 2019, 07:53:08 PM
E80/L23 - years ago, hanging on the kitchen wall was a clock - wind it up and it would play a certain song. For awhile, whenever 80 had the meal and the call went out "chow's on" - an engine guy would wind up the clock and as the truckies came streaming into the kitchen somebody would always say "23's theme song, playing again" - "Send in the Clowns" by Judy Collins. As I said, that went on for awhile, a short while and mysteriously the clock disappeared!

Which brings to mind another "clown" story:
1981 - L23 has 4 probies assigned from the latest class (Billy B., Richie L., Rich N., & Al R.) - doesn't take long for Aldo to develop aspirations of becoming a ladder co. chauffeur, almost always reserved for the most senior men in the company, but he has been granted the privilege to assist the chauffeur, in washing the rig every day tour he works.  He seems to enjoy the cleaning and quickly takes to the rig like it is his own, taking pride in how the truck looks - usually not a bad thing!

I don't think a year has gone by and Aldo is already asking about how it works for guys getting to go to chauffeur school. He's been told a number of times that he has quite a ways to go before his name will even be in the mix. One 9x6 tour Aldo is working and L23 is going out on BI (building inspection) - the dispatcher is doing a roll call of the units going out on inspection - the Lt. yells down to turn on the perko switch and answer when the dispatcher calls for L23. Aldo happily jumps up into the rig andinstead on just turning on the radio, he starts the rig up - sits there patiently waiting and answers when the dispatcher calls L23. Now all is well until Aldo, for some unknown reason, takes off the maxi-brake and the rig slowly starts rolling forward, picking up a little speed. Guys are yelling for Aldo to hit the brake, well, that doesn't happen and WHAM - what a sight , the rig going right through the closed apparatus door, across 139 St. and into the iron fence of 504 W. 139 St. Luckily, no pedestrians or vehicles were passing by the firehouse at that very moment or it could have been much more serious. I think Aldo had to have his hands pried off of the steering wheel.

Lucky enough to be working that day, I ran up to the 3rd floor, got my camera out and took a few pictures to preserve the historical moment. Many years later Aldo finally got his wish (LCC), long after L23s Capt. from '81 was gone. If ******* is who I thinkhe is, I may be mistaken, but he might have been the Manhattan boro commander at the time or maybe he was the commander when 80/23 had the mid '80s firehouse cellar fire, I do recall the boro commander visiting the house, but not for a moment of glory!

It may take awhile, but I'll find those pictures.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 24, 2019, 06:13:36 PM
Great stories, there are a ton of stories out there! Thanks for your contributions to this site, I appreciate sharing these gems together and keeping them alive!...more, more, more!...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 24, 2019, 06:15:49 PM
TOUGH TIMMY; Part 7
Rubber

Tough Timmy calls me into the office after our night tour meal...he is sitting at his desk, looks up from his paperwork, swivels his chair to face me..next to his desk is “the can” a water pressure extinguisher that holds 2 ½ gallons of water. He tells me his last night tour a certain “Proby” firefighter was waking him up during the middle of the night screaming in pain. The “proby” firefighter happens to be a competitive weightlifter, he is big and he is strong...but sometimes he wakes up with muscle cramps and howls, thus disturbing the boss. TT plan is this; When the Proby FF goes into his howl, he wants “me” to “squirt him in the face”. “What, are you crazy, Cap?, he’ll kill me!...plus I sleep in the kitchen” (we have two extra long couches there). TT swivels his chair back toward his desk, “alright, if I have to do it, I’ll do it myself…”

In TT’s world, if he did not particularly care for you, you were a “RUBBER”, whereas if you were a member of Engine 88 and transferred over to Ladder 38 you were a “TURNCOAT”. TT never cursed, at least I never heard him. Now it was ok for you to transfer to another truck, in fact he would give you “his blessing”, you just couldn’t transfer across the floor. TT was  careful not to “wear out” his description of his two favorite derogatory words, he used them sparingly adding all the more significance,  they were reserved for special occasions and special people.

Recently at one of my retiree meetings I was speaking with one of Engine 88’s senior men, Bob W. Bob W is a energetic and hyped-up character, full of fun stories, he always makes me laugh with anticipation as I know an off colored remark is a breath away...Bob got along very well with TT. He told me of an incident where he and TT were on the roof of a frame putting out hot spots with a line. Suddenly, the frame partially collapsed under them, they dropped the line and held onto the side wall, feet dangling over a deep void below. To alert members of their serious predicament TT ordered Bob to throw his helmet to the street as a sign of “Mayday”... Bob responded back, “why mine?...throw your helmet”. TT replied, “if they see it’s the Captain’s helmet of 88, nobody will come!”.

TT organized the FDNY hockey league back in the 1960’ and was still playing full contact hockey after 60 years old. TT loved hockey, he was tough with his hands, too. On occasion during hockey season TT would come to work proud of his new  and obvious “shiner”, excited as if he was showing us a new pair of shoes.... he would have one every couple of months; “Look Johnny, some ‘rubber’ gave me a shot, I got him back pretty good too!...

And if that was not enough, he enjoyed skydiving!... (can I say this?) TT had a death wish, everyone who worked with him, knew it...used to tell us in the kitchen, and more than once, that he wanted to “go out in a blaze of glory, in a vacant building...let's have desert early, and get that out of the way...”, senior members would just roll their eyes, us young troopers would hesitantly chuckle, looking at one another questioning his conviction. When he would come in from a day parachuting I would chide him and say “I’ll bet you’re a little upset that your ‘chute opened”...I would get that big TT grin and head to the Engine kitchen for tea with my boss.

Thanks for reading...Stay tuned, TT Part 8 “Turncoat”...that’s me!   KMG-365



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Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on April 24, 2019, 07:09:03 PM
I was a Hockey Team member in the late 70’s and a couple of years into the 80’s. I met Timmy thru the Team and remained friends with him until his passing. I remember talking to him at a 911 funeral on Long Island. His daughter had just died and he was inconsolable. I told him we will all be together in the next life. He looked at me and said, how will she know it’s me. I loved Timmy as I did all the South BX Guys that broke me in. Yes we will all be together again. What a time in the Bronx...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on April 27, 2019, 07:49:14 AM
PROFILE; Chief Joe

2nd Battalion Chief Joe E  came to Sixth Avenue shortly after I became the Ladder Company 5 Chauffeur (LCC). Prior to him being assigned the 2nd Battalion the Chief was the captain of Engine Company 214, also well known as the Nut House, where they are quartered with Ladder Company 111 in Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant section. Originally B2 was quartered with E55 on Broome Street,  Division 1 was quartered with E24 and L5 before being relocated to L20’s quarters on LaFayette Street.. Chief Joe came about the same time B2 transitioned to E24/L5... I introduced myself to him in the kitchen, and we exchanged simple pleasantries over coffee. All that pleasantry was kicked to the side when he and I realized that we were from the same neck of the woods in Brooklyn, we instantly formed a tight bond and friendship... even to this day we keep in touch. In fact, his birthday is at the end of April and we’ll share a fun phone call and talk of the Glory Days together.

Chief Joe was a “War Years” veteran fireman assigned to the very busy 103 Truck, back when it had two sections. During his time there the company was one of the first units to receive the new K- 12 Partner Saw.

(Note: In one of our FDNY manuals somewhere, I forget now, but the manual states that the BC should oversee a Multi-unit drill and make sure members were proficiently trained operating the K-12 Partner saw. On Sunday mornings when the Chief worked, he would gather the troops around, remove his white starched shirt, hang it in his battalion vehicle and “roll the saw” to a piece of railroad tie he would cut…)

The Chief was always in good moods, he was a good storyteller and a straightforward boss. I noticed he was solid and cool under fire at all times. At jobs when things were a little hairy, he would “take a minute and let’s see what we got here”...nothing ruffled him, he was always under control. You did not want to make a mistake and take his kindness for weakness, even in the firehouse kitchen...both companies, 24 & 5 were just wrapping up dinner, a young disgruntled firefighter, who had a history of flares of hostility came into the kitchen obviously angry and threw his plate into the dishwasher...loud enough to create a scene, everyone turned to see what caused this disturbance. Chief Joe glanced at the disgruntled firefighters boss, immediately sitting to his left without picking his head up from his plate and ever so-calmly said to the Captain, “perhaps you can find a spot for that young man for the next thirty days or so to cool down and reflect on his good fortune”.

Chief Joe grew up in Far Rockaway near the water. At a young age he became a lifeguard and maintained his wiry and lean six foot plus lifeguard figure well into his later years, he was in great shape. He was patient, but he only told you once what he wanted done. I was told, that goes especially back to the engine days when other companies were jamming the stairwells trying inch by inch to get a piece of the action, if Chief Joe told you to “back down”, you needed to heed his advice because the Chief had a little Tough Timmy in him, too.

I had a ton of respect for the Chief, I liked and respected him tremendously, he liked me too! Did not matter how many times we ran into one another I always received a warm welcome and “HEY, DANNY!”... he always called me Danny...On occasion I was asked to fill in as his aide for the tour, I jumped at the chance, every time!

On this fall day, just after the nine o’clock roll call the tones activate and the computer voice alarm spits out; “ENGINE / BATTALION”. We are assigned to Broadway and Houston Street for rubbish burning on the subway tracks. The “rubbish on tracks” to this box has been a frequent nuisance. Today it ends.

We are only about eight blocks or so west from the location, I park the Chevy Suburban on the east bound shoulder of Houston Street just before the intersection with Broadway. The Chief puts on his white bell cap and heads down to the lower level with the assigned companies on the box. In a few minutes he calls me on the handi-talkie;

“B2 TO ADAM”  (almost every other officer and chief uses the more common phonetic term “Alpha”. And I believe Chief Joe is actually correct according to the Communication Manual. He insisted that you respond accordingly with “ADAM” or you were immediately corrected, on the spot.)

“ADAM; GO AHEAD CHIEF”, I reply
B2: “HAVE A MTA SUBWAY SUPERVISOR DISPATCHED TO THIS LOCATION FORTHWITH”.
B2 ADAM: “10-4 CHIEF”. With that I contact Manhattan communications and relay the Chiefs message.... A short pause, then the following:

“MANHATTAN TO B2, COULD YOU PLEASE ADVISE THE REASON FOR THE SUPERVISOR REQUEST, K”.
“B2 TO MANHATTAN, STAND BY, K” I then relay the message from Manhattan to Chief Joe as to why the request for a MTA subway supervisor is warranted. (I receive the response, in a measured tone, and calm voice back from the Boss...The response is classic and I can’t wait to transmit it for all of Manhattan companies to hear.)

“B2 To MANHATTAN, K”....”GO AHEAD B2”....
Now I deliver the news in a calm, measured tone: “B2 CHIEF E, REQUEST THE IMMEDIATE RESPONSE OF A SUPERVISOR BECAUSE NUMBER 1, HE’S THE CHIEF, AND NUMBER 2, BECAUSE HE SAID SO, K”

There was a pause on radio traffic, dead air. Then a simple “10-4 B2, WE’LL NOTIFY”, I heard with a slight chuckle.

Chief Joe retired just a few months before 9/11. The BC who took his spot perished. The Boss is now enjoying himself between his homes in Florida and Delaware in his Corvette with his lovely wife still sharing his wonderful stories, and Happy Birthday Chief Joe!

Hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365


(https://i.postimg.cc/94gMjDxg/Screenshot-2016-09-16-21-39-31.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/94gMjDxg)

Capt Pat R (L5), Capt Tony V(E24), Capt. McC (?), Wizard and Batt 2 Commander Joe E, LCC L5 JohnnyGage (1998 NYC Halloween Parade, Greenwich Village)


Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: enginecap on April 27, 2019, 08:04:28 AM
I think Fellini May have been in quarters at the time of the basement fire....temp div 5 quarters?
I didn’t get to 80 until just after 9/11, but Al was pretty reverted by then though.....in fact I had never heard your story before.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on April 27, 2019, 09:32:21 AM
The rig through the apparatus door I believe was  in 1982 - almost 20 years before you got there cap - most guys from that time were more than likely gone - Al R. wasn't the type of guy to be eager to tell that story - when I have a chance, I'll look for the pictures I took. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Matty Murtagh (RIP) was the D5 commander at the time, Fellini was still a BC then.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on April 27, 2019, 10:22:34 AM
E80/L23 - years ago, hanging on the kitchen wall was a clock - wind it up and it would play a certain song. For awhile, whenever 80 had the meal and the call went out "chow's on" - an engine guy would wind up the clock and as the truckies came streaming into the kitchen somebody would always say "23's theme song, playing again" - "Send in the Clowns" by Judy Collins. As I said, that went on for awhile, a short while and mysteriously the clock disappeared!

 "8060rock", let us take you back to those Glory Days of Engine 80/Ladder 23. Actually as I knew it, a very busy time for that Harlem Firehouse.

 But a time when those GREAT FIREHOUSE MEALs, cooked by the members of Engine Co 80 were ready to eat. 

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIqx5_w-dnk
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on April 27, 2019, 11:15:31 AM
Thank you Willy - still sounds the same after all these years - almost think I recognize those 3 dancing clowns - ohh, enginecap, the "Send in the Clowns" clock was long gone by the time you got there.

Also, thanks JohnnyG - another funny story - always a good read!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on April 27, 2019, 05:35:17 PM
In regard to Reply # 85 above.....Joe E. as stated was a great guy & FF/FIRE OFFICER...a quick story...back on Carlton Ave (before SOC) there was no Covering Officer pool for the Rescues ....to fill a vacation or for the "R" group an Officer was chosen from the DV to fill the vacancy....we (R*2) were in the old 10*DV...Joe E. was a LT in 122 & was one of the Officers who filled in at R*2 often & was always Welcomed by us...one Sat day tour in early December Joe was working & i was driving him... on the first run of the day as we were on the way back to Qtrs he leaned over to me in the Cab & very quietly (almost a whisper) said to me i would like to stop somewhere today & purchase a "Grave Blanket" to place on my Parents Grave for Christmas....now in his low tone i think he said a "gray blanket" (like wool) i figure it is some tradition in his family to do this at Christmas ....i say to him you don't have to buy one ....you will have one by the end of the tour...he says an emphatic Thank You....at lunch he says please don't forget about the blanket...the afternoon is spent criss crossing  BKYN w/a job thrown in...around 1630 we are in the area of Greenwood Cemetery & he says "i could get a blanket around here" ...i am still thinking wool & again say "i got it dont worry"....another run or 2 & we are back at Qtrs around 1730 hrs...i go upstairs to the ENG supply locker & take a brand new gray wool blanket out & place it in a shopping bag...Joe is on the apparatus floor getting his gear off the Rig & i hand him the bag & i say "don't open it in Qtrs the ENG does not have to know" ....he walks to his car & opens it & comes back in glaring at me....he said something like this is not funny i wanted a blanket today...i am dumfounded because up until after that day i had never heard the term "Grave Blanket" & honestly thought he said "Gray Blanket"....now i feel bad & tell him i REALLY thought he said "Gray Blanket" .....lucky for me he knows me not to be a clown & drops the subject & leaves....he would be one of the last guys that i would do something like that on purpose to....first because he was a Friend & a Gentleman & second (or maybe first) because i would not want to pi$$ him off.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on April 28, 2019, 04:45:27 PM
Danny & Jack, your Joe E stories are great.  I can hear him telling his Aide (Dan) why he wanted the MTA Supervisor, I chuckle thinking about it. I can also hear him trying to clear the stairway at a Job. For some reason, in brownstone firefighting, the stairs are packed. They (brownstones) are only 20x40 and 3-4 stories, don’t know how many Firemen you can fit in it. I had the honor of working in TL-111 for 5 years (89-94) and Crazy Joe E was the Captain of the Engine (214) during that time and was simply a great guy, good Fireman and an Excellent Fire Officer. We had a cast of characters in the NutHouse and strong leadership was imperative. He, along with Captain Frank P, in the Truck, did a nice job running our shop as there were several detractors. The NutHouse wasn’t an easy place to work in if you were faint of heart. I cooked most of the time I was working and Capt Joe was very appreciative of my efforts to put a good meal on the table. I also tried to keep the price around or under 5 bucks. Joe gave us life wisdom besides firematics because he was concerned about us as people. He was a very interesting man. When my daughter was born in 1991, he said to me, “take care of that little girl”. He came to my promotion to LT in 1994 and I appreciate him taking the time to be there for a Truck member. I remember when he got promoted to BC and went downtown, don’t know if they were ready for him. It was a pleasure working with him and being part of the NutHouse. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on April 29, 2019, 09:35:05 PM
 I sure enjoy reading these stories.

 Just a little side note here and I've told a few retired FDNY guys this before.

 Thirty or Forty years ago, I used to buff with a buddy of mine who is now 94 years old. His name is Ken Kelly and a few of the guys have met him a couple of years ago.

 Kenny would always tell me, "Willy, if we ever get the chance, all we got to do is get these guys to sit down and talk - the beers are on us".

 Glory Days and a few other topics here are just the kind of thing he was referring to. Just sit down and tell your stories. 

 Thanks guys.

 Kenny is still around, although he has some trouble with walking. But maybe over a Dunks Coffee, I'll read some of these stories to him. It'll make his day. He's gonna LOVE THEM.

 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on April 29, 2019, 09:52:28 PM
WILLY... it was an Honor when you brought WW2 Veteran Ken Kelly to my home & later spending an evening with him on Bell Blvd.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 01, 2019, 04:35:35 PM
TOUGH TIMMY; Part 8
Turncoat

(Que up “Matador enters bull ring” music…)
A light tap on the open Engine office door, I braced myself, “Hey Cap, I know you’re not going to like this, but I would like to transfer to 38”...

As soon as those words left my mouth I knew I needed to be prepared for holy hell. And it was coming my way, the clouds grew dark... TT slowly swiveled in his desk chair towards me standing in the office doorway...I saw a bull, head lowered,  staring at me, stamping his front foot into the dirt preparing to charge...just then, miraculously an utterance from my dry mouth tamed the snorting beast...a  “Hail Mary Pass”!

I was in the engine for four fantastic years with great officers and men. But I decided it was time for a change, time to move on into truck work. On the FDNY transfer form there was six company selections that you could submit for in priority order to your liking. At that time I did not know many of the Brooklyn Truck Companies, I knew of two, Tonka Truck L 124 and L 175 in East New York. I showed them to TT and asked if he would sign off on my selection. Now TT had no objection of me going to a truck company, as long as it was not 38. He did not appreciate members who transferred across the floor from his company. TT looked at my selection, “ah, good trucks Dan, you’ll like working in Brooklyn, yeah, good trucks, good luck” , with that he signs his name to my transfer application. Then TT mentions, “why don’t you put in for Rescue 2?, I know Ray, I’ll give him a call”... I didn’t know what to think, I never considered R2, but that sounded good…”Sure, thanks Cap”..

Years ago TT along with Captain Ray Downey, Captain of R2 started the NYFD Hockey League. TT was good friends with Capt. D….There was my HOOK! Dropped right into my lap... TT offered to speak to Capt D for me. Later that tour TT told me he spoke with the Captain and made an arrangement for me to have an interview with him. I thanked him.

My paper submitted for the two trucks in Brooklyn, I went to Rescue 2 Quarters on Bergen Street where the company recently moved into an old two story firehouse previously used by a salvage company. The firefighter on  house watch was very kind, and directed me to the stairs and Captain D’s office. Captain Downey was a very pleasant man, very distinguished with silver hair, he was very nice and cordial...I immediately felt relaxed and we had a nice conversation together. I gave him my background history, he knew of Engine 88 and Ladder 38, and I spoke about my experience of working in Washington DCFD Engine 21 and Rescue 4 for a period. Captain D gave me two options. But first he wanted me to experience at least two years in a “good” truck company. I told him about my application, he was surprised that I did not have L 38 on the transfer application…(could I tell him TT would have exploded?). He was impressed with my truck company selection and recommended in addition, I should take a scuba diving class. Doing so he would move my name from the middle of the pack of 15 or so, to 2 or 3...I was pleased as punch, things were moving along well.

The Department Order with firefighter transfers is about to come out any day... I received a call from the “Bronx Transfer Desk” at the firehouse, the woman handling the transfers is named Teresa. She proceeds to tell me that my overtime is “too high” and will not be transferred to Brooklyn, I cannot leave the Division and create more overtime, therefor, my transfer would be denied, squashed, canned. I would have to wait another six months or so for the next firefighter transfer period, submit another application  and take my chances then...Until Teresa suggests, “there is a spot in Ladder 38, why don’t you go there?”. I was surprised and jumped at the chance. Usually 38’s roster is completely filled with troops and with others standing by to get in... she told me to modify my transfer request and add Ladder 38. Easy peasy, right?....

(resume matador music…)
The bull is ready to charge, he snorts, my tongue is tied, I’m dead in the water,I know what is coming next... I offer…”But Cap, I don’t have any other option if I am going to have a shot at Rescue 2”....with that, divine intervention takes over my voice and I hear myself say…”Captain Downey thinks Ladder 38 is a good truck to learn from”...Whoa!, where did that come from? What a profound statement! Score!... TT stops in his tracks, “Ray said that? Ray said 38 is OK?”...TT cools down, sits back in his chair, then says that I’m a “TURNCOAT”, and he relents. He is still a little angry, but allows me to transfer across the floor, however there is a catch, he tells me my transfer to L 38 is “only good for two years!”.

The following day the Department Transfer Order comes down listing about a hundred or so transfers, including this one mid-page: FF JohnnyGage Engine 88 to Ladder 38. By the next set of tours, me and TT were amigos again...OLE!

Coming soon; Tough Timmy Epilogue

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed.  KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/wtdckGmm/20190501-160628-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/wtdckGmm)
Getting the Boss out of retirement. Many mornings we would pick up coffee and rolls, pick up TT and spend a day at Ground Zero (photo; with other good E88 buddy Marty O.)

(https://i.postimg.cc/yksHw1CQ/20190501-160512-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/yksHw1CQ)
Tough Timmy chatting it up with out of town buffs after a day digging in the pit. TT loved buffs, he would talk forever with them and swap stories, for he was a NJ buff too!

(Side note; the little old ladies at the WTC Ground Zero Red Cross station fell in love with Timmy, he would go home from the Red Cross buffet loaded down with "carry-out" everytime we were down there digging.)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on May 03, 2019, 06:38:15 PM
Johhny trade your SQ*51 patch for this ...... https://www.ebay.com/itm/FDNY-Ladder-38-patch/372660274410?hash=item56c44884ea:g:zvoAAOSwcnZcKRtg
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 03, 2019, 07:39:01 PM
^^^^^Hello JK, thanks for the heads up and posting...I was with LCC L38 Al M when he designed the L38 patch at the kitchen table, I was sitting right next to him. He started by taking a Maxwell house coffee can and making a circle, added the stars for our Lt who served with Patton in WW II....I have an original that I had sewn on my first denim jacket.
(https://i.postimg.cc/3WvBBY6W/Screenshot-2019-05-03-18-54-38-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/3WvBBY6W)
The L38 patch LCC Al M was made into an aerial sign and first used on this rig. After this decals were made for the next generation of L38 rigs.
(https://i.postimg.cc/w1Q2K2cN/Screenshot-2019-05-03-18-55-19-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/w1Q2K2cN)



I designed three patches during my time otj; The first was for E88. At the time 88 did not really have a patch that the members were happy about, it was a yellow patch with a lion riding a unicycle with 88 on its helmet. (I was told there was someone who was designing patches for companies, they all had the same theme, a cartoon character with a tool or nozzle...pretty dull and bland)... this came to mind, "Snarling Bronx Zoo Bear"...of course the troops also called it the "drooling bear". Anyway, they liked the idea and we had this for a period of time.
(https://i.postimg.cc/k6fBN6mL/Screenshot-2018-12-26-14-10-52-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/k6fBN6mL)


This was my sketch of the "Ant Farm", (notice the Maxwell house coffee can use again?). L 112 went through a period of time before "NO FRILLS" when we were known as the "Ant Farm"...I will give a detailed history in a  forthcoming "Profile" edition of Glory Days as to the relevance of this patch soon. Stand by!
(https://i.postimg.cc/Z9QQWj9Q/Screenshot-2018-12-26-09-54-58-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/Z9QQWj9Q)


This was my last and best patch! L5 at the time had a wimpy red apple with a 5 in the middle. During lunch our day crew thought up a rough sketch, we would like...however since Ladder 5 was also known as the "Phoenix", nobody actually knew what a Phoenix looked like! Any reference came from an encyclopedia (a what??)... Computer images back then were almost non-existent.

On BI one day tour, the troops were out inspecting buildings along 14th Street just west of 9th Avenue. Across from where we parked the rig we noticed a Harley Davidson sign hanging with a bird logo and decided it was going to be our "Phoenix". I  sketched the "Phoenix" image in the front seat of the rig on the back of a paper plate and made a rough design by the time the troops returned from BI. With two thumbs up approval from all we had 50 patches created...The patch is still used today, but it was modified by the new generation of troopers, rightfully so!

(Side note; If you saw the tv commercial years ago about the privately owned 9/11 Chevy Pick up truck that was used to transport the L5 members to Ground Zero, owned by a member, and heavily damaged on 9/11, but incredibly still ran!...the men removed the Ladder 5 sign from the destroyed aerial and fastened it to their new "transport vehicle"... The Ladder 5 sign had a depiction of the company patch. ...Chevy wanted to run the damaged but "Chevy tough" truck in an ad campaign. But they could not unless I signed a waiver for them to televise the patch I designed. I was happy to oblige.)
(https://i.postimg.cc/MXwGHYyH/Screenshot-2018-05-25-22-04-11-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/MXwGHYyH)


Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on May 03, 2019, 10:55:39 PM
…. At the time 88 did not really have a patch that the members were happy about, it was a yellow patch with a lion riding a unicycle with 88 on its helmet. (I was told there was someone who was designing patches for companies, they all had the same theme, a cartoon character with a tool or nozzle...pretty dull and bland)...

(https://i.postimg.cc/ThHTbnQ3/LOGO-3-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/ThHTbnQ3)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 04, 2019, 07:41:26 PM
Little side bar note...On the other thread concerning "War Year Lids"; concerning helmet inserts, I remembered a little gag we would pull on the probies coming off probation, or new firefighters who transferred into 88 that concerned the helmet frontpiece insert and the wrath of TT. We told the new troops to be extra careful mounting your "88" insert correctly, there was a very slight difference...God forbid you invert the 88's upside down, TT's biggest pet peeve. If TT saw that he felt it was the equivilant of hanging the American Flag upside down, a sign of company desecretion...and he would haul you off to the woodshed...it was fun to watch the troops show their helmet to us with new inserts;.."this is the right way, isn't it?...of course TT had zero concern...but why waste the moment and his reputation!

The correct way.
(https://i.postimg.cc/9DKf2c8K/20190503-092445.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/9DKf2c8K)


Ewww, that would be costly!...
(https://i.postimg.cc/9rfXqDss/20190503-092459.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/9rfXqDss)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 05, 2019, 03:28:22 PM
SNIPER FIRE

I was hired the summer of 1982, for the most part the historic “War Years” of heavy fire duty was over, but there was still some mopping up to do. Still there was what we, the new generation of firefighters might say, remaining “sniper fire” left in the neighborhoods. Areas now decimated block by block by the heavy duty fire plague was still evident. Neighborhoods around Engine 88 and Ladder 38 still bore the scars of burnt out apartment houses and empty blocks filled with shells and uninhabitable apartment houses. Vacant lots were as far as the eye can see on some blocks filled with rubbish. Some lots were surrounded by six foot fence, some had apartment doors side by side from the vacant apartment house that ringed the lot, other lots were loaded with old appliances, automobiles and mountains of trash.

I recall riding the phone booth of L38 returning from the quarters of E45 and L58, traveling up Vyse Avenue when a loud bang came from a hard object hitting the rig just in front of where I was riding, I looked out to see what made the noise and suddenly felt a heavy thud hit my chest, I got hit by a second missile, the turnout coat absorbing most of the force. Having the can position I was not equipped with a handi-talkie... when the rig stopped at 180 Street I banged on the side of the phone booth and yelled for the truck to stop and check out my chest. We went back and slowly circled the block, but the villains were long gone. I never saw the projectile coming towards and hitting me, I’m thankful it did not hit me in the face. I had a second close encounter while detailed to L 58...we were responding east on East Tremont Avenue just a few blocks from the firehouse, the rig was turning slightly under the el at Boston Road where East Tremont curved, I was riding on the turntable of the tower ladder on the officer side when just behind me I hear a crisp, loud thwack...looking back behind me I see an egg smeared alongside the tower ladder beam about two feet and head level.

Fire duty was still pretty decent. You could count on Vyse, Daly and Honeywell Avenues for vacant work, and the area over by Bathgate Avenue was a mixture of vacants and occupied dwelling fires. In the “Little Italy” holdout section we saw good occupied work. You could generally count on a taxpayer fire along East Tremont Avenue or White Plains Road during the coldest nights. I recall, one night tour, detailed to E 48 on Webster Avenue we responded to three all hands on Valentine Avenue, the "Hat Trick"... Valentine Avenue was filled with humanity, a very congested street of apartment houses, double parked cars, hydrants opened gushing water, music blasting from cars and apartment windows, people sitting on stoops and fire escapes, kids riding bikes... there was plenty of activity in the streets...Engine 48 was first due to an address on Valentine Ave (Between 183 St and 184 St) where we operated at an all hands fire. Later that evening we we turned out for another all hands job two buildings away from the first fire on same side of the street. And shortly after that job we turned out again to Valentine Avenue for another all hands/ second alarm in the same building we had our first job in. Sporadic sniper fire was still alive!

88/38 responded to our fair share of vacant apartment house fires, relentless false alarms, outside rubbish and adv (abandoned derelict vehicle) fires. Back then it was a rare occurance to receive an EMS run.

One particular night tour I worked, Engine 88 responded to over thirty runs before midnight, of course many  were 10-92’s followed by a mish-mash of other calls. (A few weeks ago at a reunion, I ran into the covering boss of the engine that night tour, Lt. Jon M...he reminded me, we had the usual adv fire and we caught a job during that 15 hour tour).

Yes perhaps the War Years were over, but no one told the the few holdouts still in the jungle….


Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!  KMG-365


(https://i.postimg.cc/nXcjrkf7/Screenshot-2019-05-05-15-19-12-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/nXcjrkf7)


(https://i.postimg.cc/5jB6mGxL/Screenshot-2019-05-05-15-19-58-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/5jB6mGxL)


(https://i.postimg.cc/GTT3mcQ4/Screenshot-2019-05-05-21-19-36-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/GTT3mcQ4)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on May 06, 2019, 10:02:12 PM
 While down there buffing and looking around, I would sometimes ask myself; "Am I really still in a civilized Country" ?

 Dan, aka "JohnnyGage", talks about being on the job there in the 1980s. Anybody who was there would tell you things really weren't much better. The 1980s had brought in a new decade of fires that had just spread to other areas of the city.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 07, 2019, 07:38:42 AM
^^^^^^Thanks Willy, you are correct, as the areas you buffed in and knew were decimated other areas started to see an increase of work, especially around E 75 and L 33. I saw the slow change around from 1985 on as the cement jungle of old vacants were knocked down and replaced with town houses on tree lined streets.  I remember officers keeping an eye on 79/37, they thought that would be the next hot spot, now northern Bronx covered by 39 Truck is the hot spot...Over in Brooklyn; Bushwick, Brownsville, Bed-Stuy and East New York remained very active but are slowly changing. Some areas are improving and selling million dollar homes now... Guys tell me Bushwick has changed much for the better! Cafe's replacing drug dens...Fast forward post 9/11, areas like Canarsie, Flatbush and lovely parts of Queens sleepy neighborhoods are seeing an increase of fire duty action.

(https://i.postimg.cc/hQr14Hcd/Screenshot-2018-10-26-07-39-39.png) (https://postimg.cc/hQr14Hcd)
Notorious Charlotte St and 170, then and now with new individual homes. Home ownership helped stabilize the community. Will the next generation of humanity believe how these destroyed neighborhoods even existed?
(https://i.postimg.cc/QV3Lt1j8/Screenshot-2018-10-27-10-30-10.png) (https://postimg.cc/QV3Lt1j8)


New Townhomes replaced large apartment houses. Townhomes would introduce the next firefighter hazard, lightweight construction.
(https://i.postimg.cc/3ysBtXtd/Screenshot-2019-05-07-08-58-06.png) (https://postimg.cc/3ysBtXtd)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 07, 2019, 01:04:18 PM
88/38 Apparatus floor. Outside phone rings. All ears perk up to see who it is for from housewatch.

From housewatch: "FRED FREDMAN OUTSIDE PHONE, FRED FREDMAN"
Response from back of quarters, obviously a displeased Fred: "THAT'S  'F R E E D MAN'  A$$HOLE"
From housewatch (without a beat): "FRED  'FREEDMANA$$HOLE'  OUTSIDE PHONE..."
(https://i.postimg.cc/qtRMPmTm/Screenshot-2019-05-07-12-52-34-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/qtRMPmTm)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 08, 2019, 07:31:56 PM
ADVs

One thing for certain, almost every night you could be sure of responding to the signal 10-23; ADV or  “Abandoned Derelict Vehicle” fire. ADV fires were a dime a dozen,  abandoned ADV’s were the wildflowers of the South Bronx, many streets with one or two parked at the curb in front of vacant apartment buildings and stripped, some vacant lots were littered with them….Alert tones would go off, and the housewatchman would say over the intercom, “ENGINE ONLY, ADV, 88 GOES”..

When I was first assigned to Engine 88 our typical operation was simple, the MPO would pull the rig as close to the ADV without the apparatus becoming an exposure, the first firefighter to the rear of the rig would grab the booster hose from the back step and stretch the 30 feet or so to the “dumpster on wheels”. Many surrounding vacant lots would have a few older vehicles in them, some overturned, most stripped down and sitting on blocks, some lots had quite the collection. There were lots that had the occasional dumped van... they were of concern because they were usually dumped by junk yards bulging with hazards in the rear. In the rear of the vans could be dangerous materials such as driveshafts and gas tanks that would fill the entire rear from floor to roof and be a severe threat when heated.  We approached the van fire from an angle and distance employing the longer reach of a straight stream. FDNY Procedure for ADV’s parked on the street was to position the line  between the ADV and any exposure. ADV’s were basically nuisance fires, during the summer we usually would simply wear our helmet and gloves, if you did not have the nozzle you grabbed a hook... Our American LaFrance apparatus had a 1 inch booster line on the rear tailboard that had to be “hand cranked” after the operation, so we appreciated the MPO getting the apparatus close to the operation.  Another notable difference of times that have changed... the officer usually stayed in the front seat and let the men take care of the simple task, confident that the troops had the situation under control, the other reason being that an ADV was a simple fire, the “War Years” boss, with hundreds of war year fires under his belt sat monitoring the radio just in case some other more serious alarm came over the radio and have us take up and respond.

ADV fires were very prevalent in areas where the surrounding buildings were vacant or in an industrial area with light traffic. The vehicles, usually stolen, still in good shape were torched, their value immediately squelched and ultimately “abandoned”. As soon as we extinguished the vehicle fire, local resident mechanics, adept at the art of disassembling a motor vehicle would move in, many times before we even left the scene, and proceed to strip every piece of undamaged parts for resale to the local body shops. The ideal business model, “supply and demand”. Car tires, batteries, antennas, transmissions, hoods, frenders, bumpers, shock absorbers, carbs and engine blocks would all be disassembled in the next few night time hours. The vehicle would be picked clean like a vulture does to roadkill.

DEPARTMENT MODIFICATION

Prior to 1984 an “ADV”,  would be handled as a single unit response. In 1984 a Queens firefighter from E 297 was struck and killed while operating at a van fire on the Whitestone Expressway when a drunk driver rear-ended the engine where the firefighter was standing. Shortly after that, the FDNY modified its policy and had all “vehicle type fires” now respond with an engine and truck...basically the truck would be the blocking force to oncoming traffic while the crews operated in a safe perimeter.

One warm Summer Evening, there was a television crew doing a feature about the FDNY and they had permission to film the daily activity of Ladder 38 as it responds to various alarms. I am detailed to drive the film crew in a chase car behind the apparatus. We respond to the usual false alarm runs, water leak, a small vacant job. Typical.  Later toward midnight we respond to 182 Street and LaFontaine Ave for a “vehicle fire”...right out of quarters, right on 182 street to La Fontaine Ave...the car is parked by itself in front of the bricked cobblestone wall of St. Barnabas Hospital, naturally in a no parking zone... the vehicle is a new model chevy, probably not more than two years old, “coincidently” there are no license plates. The passenger compartment of the vehicle is ablaze...MPO Joe B pulls the apparatus tight to the curb, just in front of the burning vehicle, the camera crew jumps from the Chevy Suburban with their camera rolling... the crew is excited to see the flames...quickly the engine members open up the booster line and the fire darkens quickly, smoke turns to steam. I point out to the camera crew of all the gathering “concerned” citizens rallying across the street from the incident. The residents have laid down their “tools” on the sidewalk under a carefully smooth-spread blanket to conceal them,in the event a local police cars happens by...they will be ready to pounce on the abandoned vehicle for spare parts as soon as we depart.  I tell the film crew; in the morning before you leave I will take you by this vehicle and you will hardly recognize it, they look at me quizzically. I explain that the citizens will proceed to strip every nut and bolt of this vehicle and most likely it will be unrecognizable in the morning. It was.

On occasion, when we would come upon an ADV with the battery still intact, our “good fortune” and we would remove it for “safekeeping” usually by the front of the apparatus door of the firehouse. There was many times members would be relieved of duty, unable to start their car because the battery was stolen. We maintained a small cache of four or five for just that circumstance. Sometimes, thieves would hit all our cars as we parked in a specially designated “fire zone” parking for firefighters in an unsecured spot on Belmont Avenue. When the thieves saw the apparatus responding they knew our vehicles were left unprotected. (In Bushwick; thieves penetrated the secured fence surrounding our private vehicles and removed every vehicle’s starter!).

ADV fires were a nuisance and sometimes you may have a couple a night, during my time in the truck, especially during early morning ADV fires half the crew would get off the rig to perform “overhaul”, the next ADV the other half crew would dismount. Years later when ladder companies began to receive the "hurst tool", the ADV became invaluable for local company training.

ADV fires were just another routine piece of the puzzle of  the “War Years” and “Glory Days” era with the FDNY, for the most part...are history.


Thanks for reading, hope you liked!   KMG-365

Next; TT Epilogue!



(https://i.postimg.cc/hQKwmCvd/20190503-092325-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/hQKwmCvd)

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(Photo by D. Poole)

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Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 09, 2019, 09:39:35 AM
Photo from Mr. WILLY'S collection; As the city began to clean up it's act and remove ADV's from streets and lots,  these concrete jungle wildflowers were deposited under, what appears to be, the FDR awaiting their fate to the big scrap yard in the sky. A 57 chevy appears in foreground, look closely to far left, Mack pumper. Thanks Willy for your contribution!
(https://i.postimg.cc/S2XwmJPX/Screenshot-2019-05-09-09-31-26-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/S2XwmJPX)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on May 09, 2019, 06:02:25 PM
When I worked in 94 Engine  & Ladder Company 48, in Hunts Point, we were in the " Ass End" of the South Bx.  The infamous Hunts Pt produce markets and meat markets (now the only real wholesale markets in the city)  were down the block from the Firehouse so there was constant tractor trailer driving activity in the streets (that's another story).  Since we were at the end of the line, ADV (abandon derelict vehicle) fires were constant. I believe at the time I was there (1978-1981) insurance incentives were in place for losing your car in a fire.  Similar to the apartment/tenement burning.   We would go to 6 car fires a night along with the illegal dumping fires down towards the end of the Point, since it bordered the water.  It was the Wild West City in NYC.  We had a preconnected 10' length of hose to the stang for the outside rubbish fires  (which was mounds of the illegal dumping waste) and we would "hit & run".  If you tried to explain to people what went on, they could Not possibly believe it and the Only constant in the Hood (neighborhood) was the Firehouse.  Proud Men, the Firemen, making a difference when Nobody else cared...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on May 09, 2019, 06:48:07 PM
How many of those tractor-trailers pulled into the market area with half or all of their goods gone. The trucks start coming into the area late at night and the wee hours of the morning from all parts of the Country. The unsuspecting driver stops at a red light and denziens of the neighborhood pop open the rear trailer door, if it was only secured by the seal, and as the truck meanders toward it's destination it's cargo is being flipped out to the rest of the miscreants on the street. That area kept the 41 precinct quite busy when their station house (Fort Apache) wasn't being attacked.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on May 10, 2019, 04:48:34 PM
41 PCT 1973.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0EMu2I_yoM
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on May 10, 2019, 08:19:08 PM
Back in the '70s there was a group on bicycles (who morphed into a Motorcycle group) in Williamsburg .....they would stalk tractor trailers stopped at lights all along Union Ave from the BQE to Broadway they would open the back door & one would get onboard & throw boxes out i even saw them with one kid on the handlebars who would manage to ride behind & grab onto the back of a moving TT & open it...this was done in the daylight sometime within a block of the 90 PCT....many times the TT drivers realized it but not want to stop & possibly get jumped .
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on May 10, 2019, 08:49:20 PM
In regard to car or ADV Fires when i was a LT in 332 we had more of our fair share of them....we had one of the first 1987 Macks without a red rubber Booster Line on a reel .....instead there was a regular length of 1 3/4" Polyester Hose on the extended front bumper that was hooked up to discharge outlet on the front of the Rig.... we were 1st Due to most of "The ENY Airport" ....after about a month of use the front length showed tremendous signs of wear from dragging it on glass & broken concrete areas repeatedly ......this never happened with the old red rubber Booster Hose ... i wrote a lengthy report explaining this & requesting a retro fit of a Booster Reel above the Hose Bed like what was on the earlier 1958 Mack's before the reel was moved under the hose Bed ...the reply to my request was "we are sending you 12 lengths of 1 3/4 use as much as you want" they went on to mention the Death of FF Tony Shands https://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/21/nyregion/firefighter-hit-and-killed-by-car-as-he-rolls-up-hose-after-blaze.html   ENG*297 which happened when a drunk driver crushed him into the back step as he was rewinding Booster Hose onto the reel below the rear of the
Hose Bed on 20th Ave by the now Target/BJs Complex....i wondered what the time difference was between re winding Booster Hose in the rear (especially with the later electric rewind) as opposed to the time taken to uncouple ..drain..reconnect & pack regular Hose in the front bumper tray (Booster Hose never had to be drained)  ....i felt the drunk driver could come from either direction....the correct thing was done by the Job after FF Shands Death by mandating a Truck to be assigned to "block" traffic for an ENG operating on a road incident whether Fire or an Accident....oddly enough awhile after this mandate Units were again operating on the same stretch of 20 Ave (no stores there back then & a lot of dumping of Vehicles) & a Woman hit the Truck blocking the ENG....prior to the 10-20-84 FF Shands incident.... on 1-20-76 there was also a FF named Kanavan in ENG*228 that was killed rewinding the Booster but nothing was addressed for quite awhile....CONTINUED REST IN PEACE TO BOTH.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 12, 2019, 07:20:28 PM
TOUGH TIMMY, Part 9
Epilogue

It’s a beautiful crisp afternoon, we have just had lunch and in the process of cleaning up the pots and pans when the tones alert the housewatchman of an incoming alarm, all pause as we wait to hear his command, (remember...this was before the computers “alerted you verbally”)... “ERS...ENGINE ONLY, GET OUT 88 ERS-NC 185 AND PROSPECT”.

(The ERS box has two round buttons on the face of the box with an overlapping hinged cover. You have to lift the cover and press the button to initiate a response from the dispatcher. One button is for the Police Department dispatcher, the other button goes to Bronx Communication Office on 180th Street. Press the button, wait, when the dispatcher acknowledges your call, you speak directly into the speaker that is also mounted on the face of the alarm box and state your emergency. Your “emergency” will dictate the level of response from the Bronx CO. If you press the button and walk away, it is deemed as “NC; no contact” and most likely a 10-92; false alarm...in this case the Bronx CO will send just the Engine to investigate).

Today is one of the last tours I drive Captain Tough Timmy Gallagher (A firefighter transfer order will be coming out shortly). As soon as the housewatchman yells out the box location we hustle to the rig. (Now, even though the NC will usually be false, TT responds 100% to all alarms aggressively, he does not ever take an alarm for granted). Today we have two of the three new probies recently assigned to 88 working due to manpower turnover...a couple of members were recently promoted and another member became a fire marshal leaving us a few vacancies on the roster. The three probies are affectionately tagged; “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”...(their new found names are interchangeable and substituted for the suitable condition at the time)... I fire up the 1980 American LaFrance pumper, right turn out of quarters onto Belmont Avenue against light traffic, left on 182, cross over Crotona Avenue and make the left onto Prospect. I slow the rig down after crossing 183 as we “eyeball” the surrounding landscape to see if there is any activity that would warrant our help. I approach 185, the ERS box is on the left of the sidewalk, I observe nobody standing there….Then... “Hel-lo!” I say...“On the left Cap, ground floor rear” of a partially occupied six story apartment building, we have two windows of flame lapping out. As I pull the rig to the hydrant on the corner, Captain TT transmits the 10-75, I transfer the driveshaft into pump while TT bounds out of the cab…(I notice) he turns, does a double-take and eyeballs  the two probies hopping out of the cab ready for action, eagerly awaiting for direction from their leader, out of his mouth...the Cap orders... “FIRST THING, GET RID OF THOSE MASKS”!

Ah yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same...

SIDENOTE: I met two lifelong buddies during my time in 88. Marty O and Ed K (who would go on to become B2 Commander). I am thankful and grateful to have two wonderful buddies like them. We have lunch regularly and speak passionately about our Glory Days, although Chief Ed was on the other side of TT friendliness during his tenure.

WTC GROUND ZERO

Long after TT retired, my other good buddy Marty O from 88 years ago and I  pulled TT out of retirement to assist with recovery at Ground Zero, TT’s wife had passed away and he was alone in his Riverdale apartment. He spent many days at the site working side by side raking and searching the broken down ruins of the WTC wearing brown Carhartt overalls, sometimes his 88 helmet or a white hard hat with Marine Corps emblem...Exhausted,  at the end of the day we would grab a quick bite at the Red Cross tent (aka The Taj Mahal). TT would sit with buffs and rescue workers from out of town and other states and chat away, little did they know the notorious TT they were dining with. Furthermore, he charmed the little ol’ Red Cross ladies, they plied him with “take out buffet... including extra desserts!”...

Timmy and I  were together on the final day of recovery operations May 2002 and stayed in touch thereafter, even going out to dinner on occasion, always the gentleman...my wife loved him!  I did too…

FINAL THOUGHTS

I remember my first days with the Captain reverently, he was spirited and old-schooled and I appreciated that. I recall watching from the front seat of Ladder 31 as a teen these “War Year Heroes” and yearned to be one of them. If part of that was learning to fight the red devil the old-school way down and dirty, I was all in. And what better opportunity than to be alongside with the “toughest!”... Since the first day I started to work with TT I learned first hand the valuable skills within an unimaginable work experience...I couldn’t help but think how fortunate I was being assigned to 88 and his groups. I am thankful that you were my boss. TT taught me to never take any part of the job for granted and is one of the reasons why I always tried my best, you were truly an inspiration. Thank you for guiding me professionally and personally, I learned a great deal from you. I would proudly carry what I have learned there on Belmont Avenue with you throughout my career, forever grateful.

I will forever appreciate everything deeply and will remember my time with Tough Timmy fondly. He was wild, he broke all the rules...Rest in eternal peace Boss, nobody was as lucky as I was to work alongside you... (November 13, 2015)

(https://i.postimg.cc/bDJTpM2R/20190501-160346-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/bDJTpM2R)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on May 12, 2019, 07:56:10 PM
Danny,  Timmy was the True War Years Legend, among many.  Their respect for our Job gave us the guidance to respect it the same.  I loved Timmy (as I did all the South Bx guys who broke me in) and can see him down at the Pit, doing what he did best, being with the Brothers.  What you have written will become folklore to his life and will carry on forever.  I look back to the Senior Firemen that I have worked with in 48 Truck, 59 Truck and TL-111 and could go on forever about them.  One in particular, Kenny C, the Duke, from 111.  J. Gordon Bennet and Archer award winning Fireman. Since I cooked all the time in 111 and Kenny was in my groups, he didn't really like my Italian flair of cooking.  I asked him what he wanted, he said steak.  So when I went shopping for the meal on Long Island, since there was really no place to do so in Bed-Stuy and I would bring the meal in with me, I would get Kenny a steak. I would make that for him because I wanted him to eat with us.  The meal is Very important in the Firehouse.  One of the other (lesser) members of the Truck complained to me that I didn't bring him a steak too.  I told him you are Not the Duke. I would be turning the stove off and trying to get my gear on and would be running to the rig on Hancock St to not miss the run that just came in. As they used to say in the old TV show, Naked City.  There are 8 million people in NY and 8 million stories. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on May 12, 2019, 08:02:53 PM
 Captain Gallagher, May You Rest in Peace. Thank you for your service to the City of New York during their toughest years. As told here, you were an inspiration to the members who worked with you. You were a "Firefighters - Firefighter". Captain Gallagher, you served your purpose well.

 Thank you to our friend Retired FDNY Dan Potter for telling us the story of working with you.

 I'm sure I saw you fighting fires in some of those Bronx neighborhoods many years ago. But I wish that I was able to meet you.

 Some people say that "we will meet again". Well Cap, if that's true, when my time comes, "I hope I get the chance to meet you then". 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on May 13, 2019, 12:54:29 AM
Well written Dan....CPT TIMMY was a MAN among Men...a True FDNY Legend....GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. ....RESPECT DUE !
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on May 14, 2019, 04:16:51 PM
... I look back to the Senior Firemen that I have worked with in 48 Truck, 59 Truck and TL-111 and could go on forever about them.  One in particular, Kenny C, the Duke, from 111.  J. Gordon Bennet and Archer award winning Fireman...

FF Kenny Connelly

     (https://i.postimg.cc/3ytzN99v/Connelly-Bennett-L-111.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/3ytzN99v)


     (https://i.postimg.cc/G8NNJ2W3/Connelly-1-Heroes.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/G8NNJ2W3)

     (https://i.postimg.cc/kD6LMQS2/Connelly-Heroes-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/kD6LMQS2)

     (https://i.postimg.cc/yJprsxYh/Connelly-Heroes-3.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/yJprsxYh)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on May 14, 2019, 05:50:34 PM
Yes, that's the Duke along with Mr J.  Both of them went to Medal Day that year.  Thanks for posting because otherwise Nobody would know.  The current Captain of TL-58, a long time BX guy may have been working when Captain TT made his grab the same year.  It was toss up for the Medal Board that year for unbelievable Firemen making spectacular rescues and who would get the Highest Honor.   The Bennet went to Kenny and the Brooklyn guys probably thought it was deserved.  I was working in the BX at the time and didn't have a "horse" in the race".  I am sure the BX guys thought Captain Timothy Gallagher deserved the Bennet.  But at the end of the day, We, the Brothers, know who did what and if people lived, we have fulfilled our oath to save them.  The Highest compliment the Firemen, the Brothers, can bestow on each other is,  "He is a Good Fireman"...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on May 14, 2019, 06:51:31 PM
Yes, that's the Duke along with Mr J.  Both of them went to Medal Day that year.  Thanks for posting because otherwise Nobody would know.  The current Captain of TL-58, a long time BX guy may have been working when Captain TT made his grab the same year.  It was toss up for the Medal Board that year for unbelievable Firemen making spectacular rescues and who would get the Highest Honor.   The Bennet went to Kenny and the Brooklyn guys probably thought it was deserved.  I was working in the BX at the time and didn't have a "horse" in the race".  I am sure the BX guys thought Captain Timothy Gallagher deserved the Bennet.  But at the end of the day, We, the Brothers, know who did what and if people lived, we have fulfilled our oath to save them.  The Highest compliment the Firemen, the Brothers, can bestow on each other is,  "He is a Good Fireman"...


(https://i.postimg.cc/YG4NT4fJ/Untitled.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/YG4NT4fJ)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 14, 2019, 07:45:39 PM
Great "Duke" story, thanks mack for posting... L 111 had some of the finest firefighters on our job...you could bet "The Nut House" would have one or two medal  winners celebrate Medal Day every year....

Da Prince was on the nob for TT's grab. (L38 meal prep...Da Prince, John Koller (Medal Recipient / RIP), JohnnyGage. There is a fun story coming soon about this meal)...See Reply #322 "Chicken L'Orange"

(https://i.postimg.cc/LYs3TZG2/20190406-085854-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/LYs3TZG2)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on May 14, 2019, 09:18:24 PM
Third from the right is Bob Johnson's Son ...he is a Chauf. in LAD*167 i see him around the neighborhood often.....   https://www.facebook.com/FDNY/photos/a.316291185728/10156778898495729/?type=3&__tn__=-R
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: scoobyd on May 14, 2019, 10:03:58 PM
An old timey photo of Da Prince standing over his favorite meal.  Might be worth something.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 15, 2019, 10:05:12 PM
MONGOMAN & CHING-A-LINGS

In addition to the many ADV fires we responded to outside rubbish fires, mongo fires and burn barrels.

Some outside rubbish fires could be huge mountains of stinky, foul garbage and debris that would be tedious and tiresome work; wet garbage down, pull hot spots, wet garbage down, repeat for an hour or so. Other Bronx companies would blast the mountain of garbage with the deck gun, a little hydraulic overhauling.

Mongo fires were many, too. “Mongoman” we used to call them, years ago they would have been called the “Junkman”. Mongoman would find a vacant lot and burn the tires for their steel belts, plastic coating of wires, car seats, mattresses for the recyclable scrap metal and brought to a junkie weigh station for cash. The rubber tires and  wire coating material would create ominous billows of ugly black smoke which look threatening and smelled awful, local residents would tolerate the Mongoman just for-so-long... And then the fire department would be called. This little game would be played out almost daily in many parts of the City.

A  late hot summer afternoon we receive a phone alarm for a “barrel fire” on Arthur Avenue in the vicinity of 180 Street, we know this “barrel” well, the barrel fire is not the first. It sits across the street on Arthur Avenue in a vacant lot opposite the Puerto Rican motorcycle gang known as the “Ching-A- Ling’s”,  a bike gang that was formed in 1966 with their headquarters on Arthur Avenue in a vacant building that they “illegally” occupy. When the Engine pulls up two bike members wearing leather vests adorned with their motorcycle logo are standing on the front doorway stoop in front of their headquarters building. There is loud music playing from within the structure. The two “sentries” seem uninterested in our presence.

The boss in Engine 88 today is  Lt. Kevin L...Lt. L is laid back, always calm... never in a rush for anything, I don’t think I have ever seen him upset...he has a que sera, sera... la-de-da persona. Today the boss appears unusually agitated as we stretch the booster into the middle of the vacant lot over rubbish and debris and extinguish the barrel fire for the umpteenth time. It doesn’t take us two minutes and we crank the booster hose back up. Just before we mount the apparatus and take up, Lt. L approaches the two gang members on the steps, they hardly look up, they express no concern. Lt. L tells them: “the barrel fire needs to stop, we can’t keep running back and forth for this bull$hit everyday”....Still the two gang members hardly pay the boss much attention until the boss clearly states, “You see these motorcycles lined up here? The next time I come down the block for this barrel fire (Lt. L points to the rig) I am going to have this big red fire engine run over everyone of them”... With that the boss turns back to the apparatus and we return to quarters.

I don’t recall going back to the barrel for a couple of days, but it did not stop... anyway...who were we kidding?
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed....  KMG-365


(https://i.postimg.cc/dLChfVJK/Ching-A-Ling-MC-clubhouse-Bronx-New-York.png) (https://postimg.cc/dLChfVJK)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 811 on May 16, 2019, 06:33:38 PM
Fr. Kenavan's E228 death (Reply 108) was a long open stretch beside Green-Wood Cemetery. HQ took no specific action on responses afterward, however Brooklyn Chief Dispatcher Ramsey did issue orders that any further responses to that area (Box 1488) would require a minimum of 1x1.  Interestingly E282 (L148) would have been first due at the location of the ADV, but E228 [normally second due] got it as a verbal and was already on the way
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: turk132 on May 17, 2019, 10:50:43 AM
Box 3310,  on the corner of Webster Ave and E 184th Street, was a chronic false alarm response. As you made your way to the Engine, you would hear a shout from someone in the Truck... “Send out the scouts”. It was one long block from the firehouse at 187 St and Webster Ave. to  Box 3310 and the Engine would make the trip, check the area, rewind and reset the Box and transmit the 10-92. If you sat on the Chauffeur's side, you would get off the rig, get the keys from the chauffeur and R&R the Box.  As you did this, you might see the truck coming down Webster Ave., or it would be on the firehouse apron or you wouldn't see it at all. As the weather got warmer and the running picked up, it was a good bet that the  first run of the 6x9 tour would be there. When the 10-92's at 3310 were in full swing , one very intense ECC would hop off the rig, grab the can of grease, and smear it all over the handle. (One time we got the Box for rubbish, as we were putting it out a guy came up to me and put his  hand out and said “ There's stuff all over the alarm box”... What could I say) Another time this same chauffeur got off the rig, gloves on, picked up a pile of dog crap and wiped it all over the face of the Box. The one block bound by 184 St and 183 St from Webster Ave to Park Ave had one vacant tenement on the corner of 184 and Park Ave, nothing else. It was 5 stories, with a store front on the Park Ave side and was wide open. Middle of the summer, it is sweltering, it's the start of the night tour and on queue our first run, Box 3310. I am sitting in the spot so when we get there I get off the Engine, grab the keys and R&R the Box.(the Truck made it to the Box also) As we reach the corner of Park Ave and 184 St, an unbelievable stench filled the cab of the Engine. A resounding “Holy Sh*t, what is that” was heard through the rig. A huge pile of boxes and crates covered  part of the street, the sidewalk and spilled into the vacant storefront. What was in them... rotting fruits and vegetables...putrid. It was not a few, had to be a tractor trailer load, at least. A half hour later, we are heading back there, this time as I R&R the Box, I see a guy waving to us up on Park Ave. His problem... the terrible smell and what are we going to do about it. Our third trip there, more people in the street and at the windows of the MD on the corner, all screaming about the unbearable smell. On the rig one member commented, “I wonder how many times we will be back here” ; another said “ Let's start a pool”. My gut told me this was going to end. The sun had set and Box 3310 was in again. The Engine made the left on 184 St from Webster Ave but didn't stop at the Box...ahead on Park Ave orange filled the street. The whole pile, every box and crate, was on fire and the flames were as high as the 2nd floor. We stretched and knocked it down, probably spent a good 45 minutes wetting it down and trudging through the slop. The fire, all the water we used, and the cooler night gave the people the wanted relief from the smell and kept us from Box 3310 for the remainder of the night tour. My next night tour working, Box 3310 was our first run, amazingly the huge mess had been cleaned up, just a 10-92. Good times.....
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on May 17, 2019, 02:18:32 PM
Fr. Kenavan's E228 death (Reply 108) was a long open stretch beside Green-Wood Cemetery. HQ took no specific action on responses afterward, however Brooklyn Chief Dispatcher Ramsey did issue orders that any further responses to that area (Box 1488) would require a minimum of 1x1.  Interestingly E282 (L148) would have been first due at the location of the ADV, but E228 [normally second due] got it as a verbal and was already on the way

     FF Joseph Kenavan, Box 5-1488-228, January 25, 1976  FF Kenavan was killed by a drunk driver while extinguishing a car fire.  Driver also injured other members of Engine 228.

     (https://s17.postimg.cc/wtgwzrw17/E_228_LODD_Joseph_Kanavan_Jan_25_1976.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/image/wtgwzrw17/)

Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on May 18, 2019, 08:56:01 AM
 You guys, "Turk132", "*******", "jbendick", "68jk09", "8060Rock", "jkal", "JohnnyGage" along with the many others who took part in those Glory Days, "MUST" have seen me in the streets then. Sometimes I was down there by myself, park the car, and go charging up the street with scanner and camera in hand.

 The neighborhood citizens must have thought I was "nuts" for being there. Those streets were nasty and sometimes a dangerous place to be. Some of the people thought I was from the NEWS and would yell to me, "Hey newsman, take my picture". Maybe that's what kept me alive. Sometimes, I was alone, but for some reason, nobody bothered me or even touched my car. Maybe the fact that some felt I didn't have all my marbles in the right place, that gave me the right to be there without becoming a victim.

 As I mentioned many times on this web site, watching you guys work in places like the South Bronx, the West Bronx, Harlem, Washington Heights, Bushwick, Bed Sty, Brownsville, Williamsburg, not only taught me about the job but about life in general. Maybe it was also how to survive in a War Zone, right here in America. Only a few miles from the very rich and famous of Manhattan.

 I appreciate all of these stories. Even as a Buff, they really were the Glory Days. From what I saw, the moral was the "highest" I ever saw in any department. Whenever I was invited into the firehouse, the guys treated me great.

 To many of the guys here, I'm sure we met a long time ago. We just don't know it.

 I remember seeing guys ride the back step. I remember the smells. I remember those Glory Days that you guys talk about. Yes, they were the Glory Days. But they were the "GREAT Days" too.

 I just happened to go to the "School - of Glory Days". Best school around about life and fighting fires.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: turk132 on May 18, 2019, 09:44:02 AM
Drilling at 184 and Park......
(https://i.postimg.cc/XXpxL4qM/21816-691987687579459-3179289120887468277-n.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/XXpxL4qM)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 18, 2019, 05:10:20 PM
Handi Talkie Radio Transmission...you can't make this up...
Scene; L 112 and L 135 sitting on wires down, beautiful spring Sunday morning, just before change of tours....L 135 is first due.

Someone from L 135 to Battalion; "Hey, Chief, I'm a electrician on the side, I can tape these wires up and we can all be out'er here..."
Battalion Chief to whoever; "Wha? who is this?...negative keep your fat a$$ away, we're awaiting Con-Ed."
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 18, 2019, 05:14:44 PM
PROFILE; Gary T (L 112)

Firefighter Gary T, is a tough, lean firefighting machine. Give Gary a short handle mall and he would fight his way into the core of the earth. The small handle mall was Gary’s favorite tool...forget the back of an ax, or a sledge hammer...Gary could do more with less by rapid fire strikes of the tool. Gary is a hard working sandhog on his off time, he is of Polish descent (add favorite sandhog/Polish joke here). His hands are hard and calloused but he was super good natured and took every joke and prank in stride, Gary even laughed hard. When Gary partied, not often, but when he did, he partied hard, too.

There was a time when the FDNY gave up the group chart and we were working another chart that had a “mini vacation” implemented. Gary came into the firehouse from a shift from the water tunnel construction, he was beat tired and dusty... What he did not realize was he is to start the assigned “mini vacation” giving him five days or so off. Instead of leaving the firehouse, Gary poured himself a cup of coffee in a two stubbed broken handle mug and sat upright in the corner of the dining room on a blue plastic chair with one leg crossed over the other. Gary did not get a chance to sip his coffee, his head slumped forward and nodded off in the upright position, he remained in that position despite all the noise of a firehouse for twenty four hours. We knew he was exhausted, we were careful not to disturb him, we checked on him often...he did not move. His wife called a few times to check on his well being, we told her he was “safe and sound” and she was satisfied that he was secured and did not want us to bother him. The following morning, Gary woke from slumber, poured a fresh cup of coffee and went home.

Gary was also proud of his green thumb and his “square foot garden” that he had in the back of his Greenpoint home. Gary loved to talk gardening and was boasting about his tomatoes.

He brought in a sack of tomatoes one night tour. They were big, ripe and beautiful, the size of a softball, crimson red without a blemish...these should be on the cover of some gardening magazine!...you sure are a Mr. Green Jeans, the Farmer in the Dell!...We discussed a meal and decided to incorporate Gary's tomatoes into a nice tomato salad with onions, slightly tossed with balsamic vinegar...the works. But they were to juicy looking to pass up right now for a little nosh...we quartered two good looking ‘maters, a few of us popped those red ripe slices into our mouths....just then we all looked at each other, our faces twisted and contorted as if we bit into a duracell battery, and spit them into the trash can. “Gary, WTF, they are inedible”....We found out later that Gary fed his tomatoes twice a day with extra strength “miracle grow” increasing the acidity to a new meaning of toxic.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed...10,000 views! WOW, thanks!    KMG-365

(https://i.postimg.cc/cvdjvnc7/Screenshot-2019-04-27-09-30-25-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/cvdjvnc7)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 18, 2019, 05:35:36 PM
Drilling at 184 and Park......
(https://i.postimg.cc/XXpxL4qM/21816-691987687579459-3179289120887468277-n.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/XXpxL4qM)

Thanks Turk132, great photo!...Cutting sequence for a "Coffin Cut"*: first the top of a "7" (about 4'), then your second cut is the "knockout" (a small angle cut across the top of the 7 and across the next downward cut of the back of the 7, about 8' long) followed by making the 7 into a "9", then making the 9 into an "8"... pull accordingly!

* Coffin cut; as explained by Captain Farrell L 31 who helped create the Power Saw training bullitin. The cut was designed as a "coffin cut", 4x8', powers to be wanted him to change the name from coffin cut..but he couldn't...his LCC at the time the famous War Years Vet Jerry Albert, who smoked 4 packs of cigs a day would be coughing while he was making the cut, "Coughin' Cut"..the name stayed!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on May 18, 2019, 05:40:41 PM
Johny G your reply 125 above regarding cutting wires reminded me of a long ago story involving a BROTHER who is no longer with us .....RET FF PHILLIP MAHANEY....   http://obits.silive.com/obituaries/siadvance/obituary.aspx?n=philip-mahaney&pid=186273410       REST IN PEACE BROTHER.....THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE BOTH MILITARY (US ARMY) & FDNY......PRAYERS FOR THE COMFORT OF THE FAMILIES..... As a Cov Lt in R*5 late '80s i had the pleasure of having Phil as the Rescue Chauf on several occasions....as said in his Obit he was a very capable man....i remember one night we were at a job in a Queen Anne.....the Fire was in several areas all starting in the walls due to an electrical issue....we tried shutting power in the basement in the normal manner but the lines remained charged & the Fire continued to extend & it seemed like we were going to lose the whole bldg & there was no ETA for the Utility Company.....i thought about cutting the service where it entered the box in the basement since it was raining outside.....i went outside to tell the Chief & get electrical cutters as i was telling the Chief (with my back to the bldg) the Chief suddenly went WTF ? ...i turned to see what he was looking at & Phil (who unbeknown to me was a Licensed Electrician) was standing on the porch roof w/a small pair of cutters separating & cutting the service eliminating the problem......always a pleasure to work with....his Twin Brother Pat was also OTJ.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: turk132 on May 19, 2019, 07:30:25 PM
Drilling at 184 and Park......
(https://i.postimg.cc/XXpxL4qM/21816-691987687579459-3179289120887468277-n.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/XXpxL4qM)

Thanks Turk132, great photo!...Cutting sequence for a "Coffin Cut"*: first the top of a "7" (about 3'), then your second cut is the "knockout" (a small angle cut across the top of the 7 and across the next downward cut of the back of the 7, about 6' long) followed by making the 7 into a "9", then making the 9 into an "8"... pull accordingly!

* Coffin cut; as explained by Captain Farrell L 31 who helped create the Power Saw training bullitin. The cut was designed as a "coffin cut", 3x6', powers to be wanted him to change the name from coffin cut..but he couldn't...his LCC at the time the famous War Years Vet Jerry Albert would be coughing while he was making the cut....the name stayed!

The finished product......

(https://i.postimg.cc/142pT0NJ/11219412-691988154246079-4088136484629620912-n.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/142pT0NJ)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on May 21, 2019, 04:37:12 AM
SOME INTERESTING PHOTOS FROM YESTERYEAR INCLUDING SOME VERY RARE RIG SHOTS.... some have been previously posted as individual photos on some sites & some were not.... i will flag a few ...0.20 min 2nd from left nycfire.net Site Admin RET CPT John Bendick as a
FF in ENG*75..... 0.35 LAD*120 & SQ*4 behind them in the forefront of the shot on a Brownsville St. early 1970's ......1:20 our old 1981 Mack that we were forced to re use due to demands by the community to make everything the same as when ENG*41 was closed before the Unit was closed .... the shot is shown IFO of Qtrs along w/every box that we could bolt on to carry all our equipment instead of an available Compartmented 1987 Mack .... 1:22 SQ*41 in our opening days July 1990 left to right FF Tony LaMagna ..FF Bill Flynn..FF Ken Kassman... ME ...FF John Halpin ..FF Kevin Donovan..... 1:29 ENG*310 w/one of the two Squirts..the other was originally assigned to ENG*71 (then to ENG*43 ?).....2:11 one of the only two Mack RMs the other was LAD*132 (i had worked my first day tour as a Covering LT in 290 then my first night tour as a Covering LT in 132 w/FF Lenny Johnson driving the Mack RM)......2:32 R*2 with the last "walk thru" Mack Rescue Rig a 1967 pulling out of Qtrs W/210 at 160 Carlton Ave bet Myrtle & Willoughby Aves when the block was still mostly occupied.... 2.55 Mack High Ladder w/ the original 144 ft Magirus Aerial (later retrofitted w/100 ft Grove Aerials & assigned to TCU 712 & 731..... 3:04 the only FDNY American La France RM it was a 1969 & originally a Demo offered for trial to the FDNY & Maroon in color & assigned to TCU*732 when they responded from ENG*277 on Knickerbocker Ave then later after an FDNY purchase was repainted traditional FDNY Red by our Shops & later after the TCUs were disbanded it was assigned to LAD*176 when they were organized in The BKLYN Tin House w/ENG*232 on Rockaway Ave & Bergen St...(i had a mid tour detail to drive it one night due to the Chauf. being injured ...very powerful w/ 4 on the floor & a very loud Jake Brake plus one of the first real Federal Q Sirens in the FDNY ).....PS the 1969 ALF was the first FDNY RM.... the next was a Seagrave & went to LAD*27-2 & also had only two covered jump seats...the Job never bought anymore ALF RMs but after the original Seagrave for 27-2 which was later assigned to LAD*10 all the following Seagrave RMs starting in 1970 had fully enclosed riding positions but when the adaptive response started there was no inside riding position for the extra FF so our Shops cut out a Compartment midway on the Officers side & made a "phone booth" w/a rear facing seat on the original 1970 RMs & awhile after that Seagrave then incorporated the design into all their future Rigs for many years until the Staffing was again cut back negating the need for an extra enclosed riding position... .3:24 a shot of LAD*102 with the old Phone Booth riding position which some LADs used for the Can Man & some for the Roof Man ..... 0:32 a shot of SQ*1's ALF with the first experimental "roof painted white" to make a Rig cooler inside w/out A/C.. = BS..... 3:36 a shot of the BX Tin House Boston Road & 169 St formerly War Years ENG*85 RIP & LAD*59.. now an EMS Station as is the BKLYN Tin House..... 3:53 a shot of the disbanded ENG*278 RIP....4:12 ENG*70 equipped w/a retrofitted short Aerial Ladder ( a former Squirt Rig ?)..this Rig was used on City Island as a hair brained idea during the period LAD*53 had been disbanded.....   https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=BCtRC7EfaRI

Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 22, 2019, 08:09:46 PM
PARTNER SAWS

As you can see from the photo that turk132 posted, the firefighter cutting with saw is a southpaw! Starting a K-12 could be awkward for lefties because the “pull start” cord was on the left side of the saw. For safety reasons the saw was laid flat on a solid surface, flip up red cut off button and blue choke button, pull up the finger throttle trigger and lock it in place with palm of your hand. Insert LEFT foot into the trigger handle (back in the Glory Days before bunker gear, most Roofmen would wear black work boots, I certainly did. Wearing bunker styled boots makes this a little tricky), right foot back to stabilize, left hand firmly grasp crossbar with a straight forearm. Reach over and pull the “T Handle” start cord. That position was also the way you would cut, you did not straddle the cut.  Of course many of us “Roofmen” would just “drop start” the saw, although this practice was not condone by the higher ups. THe starting of the saw sequence is designed for right handed firefighters, I guess those who prepared this evolution never considered southpaws!

(That reminds me, my friend told his wife...should he die, she should date other men and go on with her life, in fact he could even have his golf clubs!....She said, forget about it, he’s a lefty.)


The saws were checked at the beginning of every  tour, usually by the junior man who would take the saw in front of quarters and fire it up, let it run for a minute or two then put it away. Gunning the saw was frowned upon, an unnecessary and unsafe action. Whenever I had the roof, and especially as a LCC I would join the junior member preparing to inspect the saw. I might pepper him with a question or two about the saw, see how quickly he could change a blade and maybe quiz him on saw cuts. I would also help him “tension” the belt that drove the saw blade.

According to Retired Captain Bob Farrell of L 31 “Fires in the Bronx on Facebook” collection the K-12 saw was originally designed for street work. The saw was manufactured in Sweden, the “K” represented “Kutter” and the 12 was the blade size dimension. Hence K-12. Kutter later became Husqvarna. The K-12 saw beat out other saws that were tested by Ladder 31 in the Bronx. The concept was to use them for ventilation purposes on “H” styled apartment houses, where they were plentiful. The K-12 was the only saw that would operate in a smoke environment. Originally only Rescue Companies had saws, then shortly 200 were ordered for truck companies.

Truck companies had three types of blades for the saw. The carbide tip was for cutting wood and mainly used for roof cutting operations. The blade was inspected daily to make sure all the tips were attached, if (I recall correctly) 6 tips were missing the blade was taken out of service.

The aluminum oxide was for cutting metal. The difference between the wood saw and metal saw, the wood saw you would rev to full throttle before cut. Whereas the aluminum oxide blade you started the cut slow, then revved up to full throttle after you got a bite. These blades worked great on roll down gates and padlocks.

And the third was seldom used, called Silicon Oxide, used for masonry and concrete cuts. We painted this blade yellow as to differentiate from the aluminum oxide blade.

Basically the Roofman made two types of cuts. First was the “Coffin Cut”. These cuts were made on flat roofs. The cuts were made during the growth stage of fire to alleviate smoke buildup and heat on the top floor and inside the fire building. The cuts were 4 feet by 8 feet (originally Capt Farrell suggested the 3’x8’ cut...theoretically a chief stated that a 24 square foot  opening was necessary to prevent a smoke explosion in a cockloft), cut in a 7-9-8 pattern as depicted above in turk132’s photos. Before cutting, the Roofman would take a quick look as to where the fire apartment was, he would guesstimate that his cut would cover two rooms below when the roof material was pulled. Once the coffin cut was completed and the knockout pulled, the rest of the cut would be pulled in one 4x4’ piece. Many times this would create a heavy fire condition emanating from the hole. If just smoke came out, we would use the cut roof planks to push down the ceiling below...it was easier and more productive than using the hook. If I had a dime for the many times I did this operation I could have bought Willy his own White Castle.

The other cut, much seldom used, but very helpful when warranted was the “Trench Cut”. The trench cut was a defensive maneuver to prevent the fire in the cockloft from extending from one wing of a building to another, or to localize the fire in one wing of a “H” type non-fireproof building. A cut, 3 feet wide would traverse the roof from one point to the other, usually where the roof has the least width. After completing the trench which was not pulled, observation holes were made ahead of the trench toward the fire. Observation holes were made by just dropping the blade into the roof surface, making a small triangle hole...When fire arrived at the observation holes, the trench was pulled, the ceiling below completely opened, windows on the top floor opened to prevent the fire from jumping through the trench to the unexposed side. Different from a ventilation hole, a handline with a bent tip could be deployed into the opening as a stop gap measure of the advancing fire. Hopefully containing the fire and preventing the fire from communicating to the other wing.

I remember a cutting operation assigned to L 112. We were operating at a fire near the “Nut House”, L 111, it had to be one of the coldest, blustery days I have ever worked, cold just went right through you. I had done some extensive overhauling roof cuts along with a member of 111. The fire was out, the Chief told the Boss of L 112 to “take up, good job”. Boss called me on the handi talkie that we were taking up, “10-4, be right there”... just then a member of L 111 inside the bucket says, “Hey Johnny, come in the bucket, we’ll take you down”. Cool I thought, I would not have to carry the saw and my tools six flights down an icy staircase. “Thanks, Bro, much appreciated” as I climbed into the basket with my tools. The basket pulled from the building, started to rotate clear of the building when the chief ordered; “L 111, finish washing down the building from the top down, make sure you catch all the hot spots...here comes your water”. “Fudge” I said to me-self (actually not fudge). I was stuck in the freezing cold bucket for another half hour delaying our company’s return to a warm comfy firehouse. When I got back to 112”s rig, there were some unhappy campers that gave me the “stink eye”...

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!"   KMG-365

Photos by Mike Dick (hope you don't mind me using these outstanding clips, Mike...Thank you)


(https://i.postimg.cc/nsVcmnLR/Screenshot-2019-05-22-20-22-29-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/nsVcmnLR)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Cn8F01v1/Screenshot-2019-05-22-20-22-09-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/Cn8F01v1)

(https://i.postimg.cc/crqxmRH8/Screenshot-2019-05-22-20-17-17-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/crqxmRH8)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: Signal73 on May 22, 2019, 08:31:58 PM
Willy D asked me to post these


(https://i.postimg.cc/LnVc1LZS/6-D23-D868-CAA7-4002-AE9-C-9-CCC8-BD36518.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/LnVc1LZS)

(https://i.postimg.cc/JGmw0P0K/C29-FD733-BB8-E-41-C7-81-F0-EF8315854147.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/JGmw0P0K)

(https://i.postimg.cc/nXc6YrvD/EC510-C56-BB0-C-4-A68-9-FE4-D1-EAC1337404.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/nXc6YrvD)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on May 23, 2019, 02:23:21 PM
Just reading today's Dept. Orders - coverage for Officer medical leave - brings to mind the first and maybe only time I can recall working out of title - early in the night tour Lt. goes on ML after a job - no surplus Lts. and I end up as act. Lt. - much later that tour we catch a 1st due job, in spite of my "leadership", as always the guys do a good job - that morning the kitchen discussion is of course about the job with the act. Lt. in E80 - I'm strutting around telling all that will listen about what can be done at a job when there is great leadership - for those who have ever been in a firehouse kitchen, as expected, I was shouted down in mere seconds - mind you, the 5th Div. was still in quarters with us at the time and the DC who worked that night tour came into the kitchen - he joined in the cascade of "accolades" being thrown my way - if I remember, he said that he was thinking of transmitting a 2nd alarm due to the act. Lt. in the 1st due engine - all said in humor, "I think"! We didn't know him that well - Chief Harry W. had recently been "sent" from the Bronx 6th Div. to the 5th Div. in Harlem - for those who remember - shortly after his run-in with E42/L56, when both companies were on Monroe Ave. - I don't want to get into that story - but he wasn't a bad guy when he came to Harlem (DC Harry W. RIP). 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 25, 2019, 06:52:05 PM
ROOFMAN; Part 1

“Johnny, you got the roof today”. That simple statement comes with a lot of responsibility not to be taken for granted. It comes with decisive decisions that you have to make quickly on your own, it comes with a personal responsibility and resolve that nothing will deter your achievement of making it to the roof, begin ventilation for the sake of the ground troops and trapped civilians unable to escape. The job requires experience, stamina, focus, determination and smarts. It is a very responsible position. It also conveys trust, faith and respect from your company officer knowing the mission assigned to the Roofman will be fulfilled. 

Other than Ladder Company Chauffeur (LCC) there are four positions in the truck company. The inside team; which consists of a “Can Man” and “Irons Man”, this team, along with the truck boss is responsible for locating the fire, force entry, primary search and remove any incapacitated victims and contain the fire until a hoseline gets in place. Each carry prescribed tools for their positions. The inside team rides on the officer side of the truck, usually with the “Can Man” riding backwards. The "Can Man" is usually the junior member working this tour, or sometimes a detail from another company. The outside team is the “Outside Vent Man” or OVM (or OV) and the “Roofman”. Both generally operate independently with assigned portable radios, unless, the fire is on the top floor. Theoretically the OVM and Roofman will team up with the second due ladder truck members who are assigned the same positions. The OVM is usually the tillerman on tractor trailer ladder trucks.

Basically the OVM operates from a fire escape opposite the fire location, mostly in the rear ( NOTE: The OVM position is far more complicated to just reduce into simple sentences), he forces the window of any obstructions and attempts to enter the apartment on fire to, vent and search... removing any victim that may be trapped between the hoseline and outside refuge. The OVM is a very demanding and laborious position, just trying to get to the rear of a building could be extremely challenging... the OVM may have to hop over fences, climb over garbage, deal with dogs...get to the rear fire escape drop ladder and hopefully get the rusted ladder to drop...climb the upright ladder, overcome obstructions on the fire escape and force open window gates... for starters!

The Roofmans job is to get to the roof as quickly as possible, especially on flat roof buildings where smoke, heat and lethal gases will begin to collect on the top floor and make its way down, suffocating anyone above the fire. Each truck position requires the firefighter to carry a certain tool and to be in a specific location. The first due company operates on the fire floor and the second due company generally operates on the floors above. Different type of buildings or emergencies dictate how truck positions may differentiate... buildings such as taxpayers, Queen Annes, row frames, private dwellings, high rise fireproof, and emergencies involving the subway will require different truck tasks and responsibilities from the typical ubiquitous Bronx apartment house tasks. The outside team rode behind the LCC with the “Roofman” on the door...riding this way the Roofman could do a quick size-up of the building upon entering the street.

In proby school, rudimentary truck work was touched on, as to educate and acquaint students in the full essence of truck work would take years of experience to understand all the unique possibilities and circumstances that affect truck work. One tenet implied at proby school and drilled into us about the Roofman position was that “nothing shall deter the Roofman of attaining his position”, meaning that no matter what is happening at the scene, the Roofman should not get involved or be distracted with another task, no matter the reason...but to achieve his mission of getting to the roof, and perform his assigned duties.

We are fortunate on this network, I am aware of  two very highly respected and distinguished truck bosses that have had remarkable Truck Company careers. I had the privilege of working with both. Captain “Jkal”...John C, the longest tenure Captain of the very prestigious L 120 for many years; Watkins Street... “Where the tradition continues”. The other was my boss, Lieutenant “TK” of L 112. Tom K,  was very well respected by the troops in a tough “No Frills” truck company. Both officers have been recipients of Department wide recognition on Medal Day. I am sure there are other well respected truck officers on this site, and I would invite them to share their thoughts and background concerning truck work. Jkal will tell you that truck work is a very special skill that takes time (years in fact) and experience before you fully understand and appreciate the nuances involved becoming a successful truckie. Jkal is absolutely correct.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365

Part 2: “ROOFMAN”...“Roof-FLOP-man”.

Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on May 25, 2019, 10:29:19 PM
 When it comes to Truck Co operations, I know of NO OTHER DEPT that has had it so organized and operated so well as a team. Organized Truck Co work has been a part of the FDNY for at least as long as I know of (from the late 60s).

 In fact I know that the FDNY devotes separate Truck Co operations to various types of buildings, including "row frames", "private dwellings", Multiple family dwellings", etc. From how to position the Truck on arrival to every detail for each member.

 I feel that the FDNY wrote the books long before any others gave themselves credit for doing it. No fancy terms or titles. Just plan simple facts of doing the job right from the start to finish. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on May 26, 2019, 02:22:11 AM
Some thoughts regarding JGs reply#134 on the previous page...being assigned "The Roof" has always been a prestigious & crucial position... (on a side note ...in my proby school Graduation Ceremeony there was the traditional simulated Fire excercise for the Families....i was selected to be the Roofman & on arrival at the smoked up training bldg i climbed the the '85 ALF Aerial to the roof then after simulating venting the same i leaned over the side & with a hook & pretended to "break" the top floor windows which were actually steel shutters )...when i was actually working as a proby in 108 i was schooled over & over on the importance of the Roofman doing his job & how to go about it ....initially as the Can Man i saw more Senior FFs "FLY" off the Rig & up an exposure to get the Roof...i always thought when my assignment might change i would be told ...OK next tour you will have the Roof or some scenario like that...well slightly before the start of a night tour about 5 months after i was OTJ a run came in & as was the custom then everybody in the FH before a tour jumped on the Rig nobody left early (could be 6 to 12 FFs) ....i had no assignment yet as it was really before the night tour Roll Call & i figured i would just do as always & follow the Officer... as we turned off Broadway onto Sumner Ave a large column of smoke was visible...just then CPT Bob B. RIP turned in his seat & said to me in the jump seat "kid you got the Roof" ...it was an OLT & i made my way up the adjoining bldg  & took the bulkhead door & the skylight over the stairs & made my way down the rear Fire escape....the Fire went out pretty quickly w/out incident....after being on the Can several tours later i was officially assigned the Roof at the start of a tour & i was happy ...a few Runs into the tour we have a real good job & i get on the Roof & it is a lot worse than the first Roof job ... it was a Box where SQ*3 then Qtr'd nearby w/230 also initially responded & arrived before the 2nd LAD ...one of the Senior SQ*3 FFs Sy Taylor RIP was their Roofman & got up there shortly after me & gave me a hand & some tips how to accomplish the duties on that zero visabilty Hot roof....lesson's learned last forever.       
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on May 29, 2019, 05:45:14 PM
ROOFMAN; Part 2

Of all the four truck positions, Roofman was my favorite truck assignment, I liked the emphasis and gravity attached to the position.

Roofman requires experience, structure knowledge and perseverance, you can never learn enough honing your skill. During my Glory Days in da Bronx most of our jobs were in vacant or occupied six story typical apartment buildings. With still a good consistent amount of fire duty you had time to work on your skill, discuss and compare your experience with others and improve your proficiency.  Getting to the roof had a few options; the first preferable option was to take the second staircase opposite of where the fire is reported in the apartment building and the hallway did not connect the two stairwells. The next choice was to take the staircase in the adjoining apartment house, providing it was attached and the same building height. The third selection would be the reliable aerial ladder. In the FDNY “books” using the aerial was the preferred method mentioned, it gave the chief officers a visible assurance that the Roofman was moving toward his objective. And the chief would be relieved when he heard the Roofmans report via handi-talkie "ROOFS OPEN". In Bushwick, our company Ladder 112 preferred the “Roofman” take any option before utilizing the aerial, to keep the aerial free incase of any unsuspecting emergency or immediate rescue where the aerial would be needed. (While in da Bronx, most often I was running up six flights of stairs to get the roof...in Bushwick, the first few times running up a three story row frame scuttle I felt like I was “shot out of a cannon”).

Reaching the roof in a row frame building my preference would be at least two doors down from the fire location to enter, sometimes force enter. Turning into the street I would “eyeball” the structure to gain entry from the proximity of the fire building, as soon as the rig stopped I took off for my objective...shoot up the three flights in the apartment hallway and pop out of the scuttle, transverse the roofs and begin my assignment. Not very often, but on occasion If the scuttle was compromised in the row frame I contacted the LCC via handi-talkie and told him to raise the stick to the roof and resort to the aerial. During those days, and before bunker gear, as the Roofman, I usually dressed in Lee dungarees and black laced work boots ( I tried Engineer Boots, did not like the bulkiness) in addition to turnout coat and helmet...with my assigned metal halligan hook mounted just outside the rigs door, and the halligan tool at my feet in the rigs cab I was  off to the races before the rig stopped...able to be quick and agile and confident of my ability to get in position very quickly. I raced against my personal best times to get in position, and start my assigned tasks.

 A Roofman could encounter many hazards, he had to be very careful crossing buildings for open light shafts, dogs, uneven roof setbacks, yankee gutters, laundry lines and druggies. Reaching my destination and if needed my first action was to pop one pane of the skylight, pause, and pop the rest of the skylight, this afforded the advancing engine company immediate relief...the brief hesitation alerted the troops below that more glass is about to rain down on them...and don’t look up!  Top floor fires required roof cuts, depending on the size of the building  and stage of the fire there could be two or more saws in operation at the same time. One of the interesting facts I noticed over the years was the tell-tale sign of another truck company Roofman... often his right leg or boot was covered in hardened black tar that was hot when he cut the roof spewing the hot tar to his right leg, and now became a hardened black fixture to his pants leg or boot. My jeans had black tar that I tried and tried through copious amounts of washes to remove to no avail.

Another concerning aspect was being prepared to rescue anyone appearing in the rear top floors when there was no fire escape and out of reach of a portable ladder by the “lifesaving rope”. I practiced and rehearsed every position and knot of the lifesaving roof rope evolution many times...I would step into the bowline-on-a-bite, and make the knot.  I practiced this knot and the clove hitch tie-off to substantial object knot in the dark to perfection.

There is a first time for everything...My first time I was assigned to the “Roof” I was detailed to Ladder 38 for a night tour from Engine 88. I was surprised as I usually got the “canman position”, even more surprised that this assignment was during a night tour. The officer briefed me about the roof position. Although I never had the roof, in anticipation of eventually transferring to a truck company I read as much as I can and asked a whole bunch of questions to senior truck members and walked myself through roof tasks during multi-unit drills carefully “visualizing” my process...I guess I had all the right answers for the officer, I felt prepared...“OK, you got it” the boss said. I was excited, I place my gear on the “Roofman” assigned seating, took the handie-talkie marked “ROOF” off the charger and hung it next to my turnout coat. One of the senior members from 38 has advice for me, he tells me in a stern, but joking manner, “you make sure you get your a$$ up there...if you need a mask, we’ll bring one up to you”...

As luck would have it we did catch an all hands in a typical six story apartment building on a lower floor. Everything went well as expected, I used an adjoining apartment building, hustled up the staircase six stories, crossed over to the fire building, popped the skylight (one pane, pause), quick peek over the rear for victims, forced open the bulkhead door and started to search stairwell landings on my way down. First one under my belt, without a hitch...

 ...Well, there was one little hitch...entering the adjoining apartment lobby filled with curious residents assembling and my gallant gung-ho quest to get the roof... I trot up the four lobby steps headstrong, swift and determined …”I’m focused, get the roof...I got this”...only I stub my toe, my right toe does not clear the top step by a hair...uncontrollably, my body pitches forward, it feels like I am suspended in slow-motion...in the air flying like Superman... arms forward sans red cape, my helmet topples off and both metal halligan tools hit the marble floor with echoing clangs of a dozen church bells...Residents mouths agape and awestrucked eyes wide opened in shock!... Briefly my mind flashes, and I know what they’re thinking, “That mope is gonna save us?"...For a few seconds I felt like a bumbling schmoe...I quickly gather the tools off the floor, slap my lid back on my coconut and resumed my mission, “nothing shall deter the roofman…”
( Still not sure if that was the intention behind that dictum…)

After the job the boss asked how I think I did on the assignment, “fine, just fine, went very well, smooth, easy peasy”.

Thanks for reading...Hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365

JohnnyGage, L 112 Roofman

(https://i.postimg.cc/rR1kFkjt/20190331-134408-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/rR1kFkjt)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 01, 2019, 08:13:09 PM
A NEW DAY

I remember the first time the word “fireman” was introduced into my vocabulary. I was about nine years old, and back then if you asked me what I “wanted to be when I grew up” I had two clear goals in mind, to be a baseball “catcher” like New York Mets Jerry Grote and if that didn’t work out a tailgunner on a B-17 Fortress, I had it all figured out...

However a casual remark by my visiting Aunt would rock my world!

 Back in the early sixties with the wayward movement of post WWII families moving to Long Island from the boros my parents bought a simple one story ranch house in Brentwood, almost smack dab in the middle of Long Island. I nice burgeoning blue collar community of simple hi-ranch, ranch or split ranch style homes with small postage stamp size plots in a development. Many families finished off their bare cemented walls basement with a bar, or recreation room, maybe with a pool table or perhaps a tv room. Neighbors would visit one house after the other for coffee, casual festivities and social events. Us kids would play in the finished basements where there was usually the “kids play room”.

My dad, knowing construction as an electrician had finished off our basement very nicely with a pool table on one half and bar on the other. Every now and then neighbors and relatives would come visit and dad would cover the pool table with the ping pong table boards... when placed together over the pool table it converted into a ping pong table. Mom would cover the ping pong table with a large table cloth and transform the table into a big “dinner table” to accompany visiting friends and relatives.

On this occasion, my dads best childhood friend Jack and his wife Irene will be coming to visit us for the day. They have a two hour trip from Northern Westchester to Long Island. My dad and Jack were best buddies growing up in Canarsie Brooklyn back in the day, they played sandlot baseball and football,  went to school together, joined the service together and dated together. Jack and Irene had three children that matched our ages too, so it would be a fun day for everyone and dear ol’ mom was making her famous lasagna.

Always respectful of our elders, we kids were told to call Jack and Irene;  “Uncle Jack and Aunt Irene" instead of the Mr. and Mrs. stuff. Unbeknownst to me, Uncle Jack is a NYC fireman.

Also living with us is my grandmother, Florence, she is deaf and disabled with an amputated leg and moves about in a wheelchair. Everyone is now proceeding down to the converted dinner table, but what about grandma?

The food is on the table, we are all finding our places to sit, my dad is contemplating how to maneuver grandma in the bulky wheelchair, then when my Aunt Irene states prophetically, “Let Jack carry her down, he’s a FIREMAN”.

Stop the presses!...What did I just hear?... This word “FIREMAN” pierced my sole, the word fascinated me, it got my full attention... Aunt Irene just made a powerful declaration that went unchallenged and agreed by everyone there, up to then, my Dad was the MAN of the house...Just the way my Aunt said “Fireman”, the word impressed me with assurance that the matter at hand would be accomplished proficiently, safe and skillfully, no need for concern, the situation was under control!... All of a sudden I felt there was a superhero in my house…”A Fireman?” ...Step aside Jerry Grote, Uncle Jack took the top rung straight away and a seed was planted.

After that, completely engrossed and mesmerized I often thought about what a fireman might be like, especially when I would be reminded when I would hear the local volunteer fire department neighborhood alert siren sound and the siren on the trucks responding. My interest was just beginning. But still there was baseball, go-carts, bike rides, and girls.

About two years later there was another revelation that my grandmother unintentionally launched.  Grandma Flo had passed away and her funeral was held in a funeral parlor in Canarsie on Rockaway Parkway, about a half mile south of E 257 and L 170’s firehouse. I remember clearly as the last daily funeral visit was winding down, family members and friends were milling about just outside the funeral parlor on the sidewalk catching a quick smoke, including Uncle Jack...we could hear sirens heading our way, gettin
g louder, all heads turned into the direction of the oncoming  comotion, conversation ceased...E 257 approaches, siren wailing and roars past us with its canvas cover over the open cab flapping and four firemen hanging on the back of the rig, closely followed by the American LaFrance 170  “dragster” tiller... A few brief moments of exhilaration!... Man, something is going on, my heart was racing!...Uncle Jack is there and he talks with my dad a little about the “job” and apparatus passing by. I am all ears and show a keen interest and Unk Jack notices, “next time you visit, we’ll take a ride and I’ll show you my firehouse”...

Grandma, unknowingly, you introduced me to a NEW DAY, twice!....

...and soon “A NEW WORLD”... stay tuned:  Unk Jack introduces me to a unimaginable South Bronx lifestyle and a slew of extraordinary characters on Intervale Avenue. But first, who is "Uncle Jack"?

Next: PROFILE; UNCLE JACK       KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 06, 2019, 08:25:03 PM
PROFILE; Lt. Jack Mayne   L38

Who is Uncle Jack?

Jack Mayne served the FDNY for thirty seven years, mostly in the hot Bronx “War Years” neighborhoods. He was the Captain of Ladder 32 when a company medical found a health issue that forced his reluctant retirement.

As previously written about, Jack was a childhood school friend of my father. He and my dad grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn., “Buddies” they were inseparable. They played sandlot baseball together, joined the service, dated together and remained very close friends to the very end. My dad was at Jack’s bedside when he died. Because of the closeness between Jack and my dad, we called Jack, “Uncle Jack” and his wife Irene, “Aunt Irene”.

Jack was hired by the FDNY July 1956 and assigned to Engine 204. Unfortunately due to a discrepancy about his Navy veteran points, Jack was laid off for almost a year and resumed his previous job as a butcher while he challenged the unfavorable decision. Coincidentally, his original test list number came up and Jack was rehired. During his brief time in E 204 Jack met officers that remembered him when he was rehired. With Jacks experience in the navy a chief officer suggested that he look into Rescue 3 which had vacancies and that he could assign him there. Jack took a spot.

He remained in R3 for many years. As the “War Years” began to develop, the noted hot spot getting attention was Engine 82 and Ladder 31. Then Lieutenant Bob Farrell met with Jack, asked him to consider transferring to Ladder 31. Jack found a home in Ladder 31. First due truck work is the name of the game! And there was plenty of it...Jack would stay in L 31 from 1970 until his promotion to Lieutenant in 1975. Jack confided in me, his best years on the FDNY was with Ladder 31.

As a young teenager, with a keen interest in the FDNY, Jack would bring me to Ladder 31 during my spring and summer breaks from school 1970-73. I would call him, have a short list of questions, pick out the days he was working and lock it in.  I would literally countdown the days on my calendar in my bedroom, I knew exactly how many days before I would be back at “La Casa Grande”, an unfathomable world that I yearned to be part of. Jack became my mentor. He encouraged me to be prepared for upcoming exams, he suggested I get a subscription to the “Chief Leader” for upcoming exams and how to prepare. One visit with Jack at his home he gave me his “retired” and battle scarred Rescue 3 helmet, it was priceless and an inspiration that kept me driven on my goal to become a FDNY fireman. I was also surprised to find a yearly subscription to WNYF magazine for the next three years! And I still have the 1970, 1971 1972 copies in the original yellow envelope that they were sent in. I’d read and absorb every inch of that quarterly mag... (Sidenote: I would be requested to take over the WNYF Division 7 “All Hands” column by E 45 legend John Koskie ...AND later 1st Division Chief Dave C requested I write the Division 1 “All Hands” Column!)

Jack was promoted, bounced around in Harlem for a short time, he submitted a request to transfer to Engine 45 and subsequently assigned. It was at Engine 45 in April 1977 that Jack rescued a Ladder 58 lieutenant at a job on Prospect Avenue. According to the Medal Day book; “Jack was able to remove an unconscious lieutenant from a super heated apartment fire”. His action was recognized by the FDNY and he received the “Third Alarm Medal” in 1978.

August 1979 I was hired by the Washington DC Fire Department, on graduation day, along with my parents Jack and Irene came to celebrate my new beginnings in the fire service. I would not see Jack again until I was hired by FDNY in August 1982 and assigned to E 88, the same firehouse where “Uncle Jack” recently transferred to L 38 and would now become “Lou”... How cool!, my mentor and I, would be in the same quarters! (First Milestone).

The next few years there would be a few other personal unbelievable milestones. The second was when I was detailed to L 38 and Jack was the boss who assigned me to the Roofman position (Read ROOFMAN, Part 2), my very first time as such, the pressure was on!...However the best milestone was to come, unexpectedly, and again, I was detailed to L 38...for some reason the LCC  “tapped out” early in the day tour, there was nobody to drive the Seagrave rearmount, L38 would have to be out of service until a LCC was found and detailed. Jack was not one that wanted to miss any alarms. Jack knew I had previous fire apparatus driver training in Washington DC, in addition my side job gig I drove an oil truck. Not that an oil truck compares to a rearmount...but I was comfortable driving trucks. During Multi-Unit Drills (MUD) I made myself familiar with setting up and operating the aerial. (So I was comfortable to take on the responsibility)... Todays day tour...Jack told me I was his “Ladder Chauffeur” for the remainder of this tour! I could not believe what I was hearing! I’ve gone almost full circle, from a thirteen year old kid sharing the front seat as a buff on the rig... now I am sharing the front seat with “Uncle Jack” in the big red machine with me behind the wheel!... This was a tremendous, unbelievable and exciting milestone that I never forgot! And to make it so magical and significant... It happened only once. Only one tour would I get to drive Uncle...er “Lieutenant Mayne….” What a reward!

It was a pleasure working with Jack, always a warm and gracious greeting. He spoke directly with you, as if you were the most important person in the room. He did not hunt or fish, not a big sports enthusiast, not heavy into politics...but he did like the southern rock of Creedence Clearwater. Jack was very well liked by most of the younger firefighters like me...he always demonstrated a positive attitude, always acted as a positive role model with a willingness to share his skills, knowledge and expertise, his enthusiasm and passion of firehouse facets was contagious...I don't think I ever saw him mad, upset or rattled, nothing seemed to bother him, except maybe when fire duty would trail off...

Jack was assigned to the opposite groups and I got a chance to work with him on occasion. Everytime I knew he was coming in to work I would look forward to seeing him walking in the firehouse and having coffee (he preferred tea) with him.. Jack got promoted to Captain in 1989, and left L 38... I had a transfer paper in to go to Brooklyn and shortly after Jack's departure I too left L 38 for L 112.

We spoke by phone here and there, not often enough...both caught up in our lives. Jack retired, September 1993 and did his thing traveling... I retired after 9/11. We lost touch for a period. In the spring of 2009, I reached out to Jack by a simple letter, we need to catch up, let’s have lunch. I really wanted to personally thank him for everything he meant to me, I am glad I was able to do so. In March, Jack and I met for lunch at the Eastchester Diner just before St. Patrick's Day, I recall because Jack was wearing green beads around his neck. He had tea and an english muffin, I had coffee and a bagel. We sat and talked about the Glory Days and the “War Years”. We exchanged stories, time went too fast...Jack was surprised that I stayed in touch with some of the “La Casa Grande” members from way back then. During our conversation I thanked him for being my inspiration and mentor. I hope he realized the impact he had on my life. I will always be grateful to Jack for guiding me on the right path.

Because of Jack, he will forever remain a major contributor behind my success and achievements.  I truly appreciate and value everything I have learned from him. Thank you for all that you have taught me in my early career. The knowledge and wisdom you have imparted on me has been a great help and support throughout my FDNY experience.  I believe my success is at least in part due to your sincere support and mentorship. You inspired me, trusted me to pursue my goals with hard work, passion and dedication.

Jack was a leader...How lucky was I to have such a mentor?

Five months after our lunch Jack died ( August 2009) just before his 80th birthday. His spirit and memory is forever with me in my daily actions and lifestyle. Jack introduced me to a man’s world where I was fortunate to grow up in. I visited him the day before he passed and thanked him for guiding me through my life's journey... Never a day goes by that I don’t appreciate another simple lesson in life brought to me by Uncle Jack. Never a day goes by that I think about how Uncle Jack would handle life’s curveballs, what would he do? What would he say?....Even today,  Uncle Jack stills lives within me.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365

(https://i.postimg.cc/2VqNGhP4/20190606-182212-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/2VqNGhP4)

(https://i.postimg.cc/vgkpDLyY/Screenshot-2019-02-20-21-12-40-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/vgkpDLyY)

Lt. Jack, John K (RIP), young "Flash" Dennis G.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: doneleven on June 07, 2019, 03:12:29 PM
If I recall correctly, whether it was the 1st...or 30th...run of the tour....he would always acknowledge it...."Engine 45, with pleasure". Legend.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on June 07, 2019, 04:01:50 PM
PROFILE; Lt. Jack Mayne   L38

Who is Uncle Jack?

Jack Mayne served the FDNY for thirty seven years, mostly in the hot Bronx “War Years” neighborhoods. He was the Captain of Ladder 32 when a company medical found a health issue that forced his reluctant retirement.

As previously written about, Jack was a childhood school friend of my father. He and my dad grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn., “Buddies” they were inseparable. They played sandlot baseball together, joined the service, dated together and remained very close friends to the very end. My dad was at Jack’s bedside when he died. Because of the closeness between Jack and my dad, we called Jack, “Uncle Jack” and his wife Irene, “Aunt Irene”.

Jack was hired by the FDNY July 1956 and assigned to Engine 204. Unfortunately due to a discrepancy about his Navy veteran points, Jack was laid off for almost a year and resumed his previous job as a butcher while he challenged the unfavorable decision. Coincidentally, his original test list number came up and Jack was rehired. During his brief time in E 204 Jack met officers that remembered him when he was rehired. With Jacks experience in the navy a chief officer suggested that he look into Rescue 3 which had vacancies and that he could assign him there. Jack took a spot.

He remained in R3 for many years. As the “War Years” began to develop, the noted hot spot getting attention was Engine 82 and Ladder 31. Then Lieutenant Bob Farrell met with Jack, asked him to consider transferring to Ladder 31. Jack found a home in Ladder 31. First due truck work is the name of the game! And there was plenty of it...Jack would stay in L 31 from 1970 until his promotion to Lieutenant in 1975. Jack confided in me, his best years on the FDNY was with Ladder 31.

As a young teenager, with a keen interest in the FDNY, Jack would bring me to Ladder 31 during my spring and summer breaks from school 1970-73. I would call him, have a short list of questions, pick out the days he was working and lock it in.  I would literally countdown the days on my calendar in my bedroom, I knew exactly how many days before I would be back at “La Casa Grande”, an unfathomable world that I yearned to be part of. Jack became my mentor. He encouraged me to be prepared for upcoming exams, he suggested I get a subscription to the “Chief Leader” for upcoming exams and how to prepare. One visit with Jack at his home he gave me his “retired” and battle scarred Rescue 3 helmet, it was priceless and an inspiration that kept me driven on my goal to become a FDNY fireman. I was also surprised to find a yearly subscription to WNYF magazine for the next three years! And I still have the 1970, 1971 1972 copies in the original yellow envelope that they were sent in. I’d read and absorb every inch of that quarterly mag... (Sidenote: I would be requested to take over the WNYF Division 7 “All Hands” column by E 45 legend John Koskie ...AND later 1st Division Chief Dave C requested I write the Division 1 “All Hands” Column!)

Jack was promoted, bounced around in Harlem for a short time, he submitted a request to transfer to Engine 45 and subsequently assigned. It was at Engine 45 in April 1977 that Jack rescued a Ladder 58 lieutenant at a job on Prospect Avenue. According to the Medal Day book; “Jack was able to remove an unconscious lieutenant from a super heated apartment fire”. His action was recognized by the FDNY and he received the “Third Alarm Medal” in 1978.

August 1979 I was hired by the Washington DC Fire Department, on graduation day, along with my parents Jack and Irene came to celebrate my new beginnings in the fire service. I would not see Jack again until I was hired by FDNY in August 1982 and assigned to E 88, the same firehouse where “Uncle Jack” recently transferred to L 38 and would now become “Lou”... How cool!, my mentor and I, would be in the same quarters! (First Milestone).

The next few years there would be a few other personal unbelievable milestones. The second was when I was detailed to L 38 and Jack was the boss who assigned me to the Roofman position (Read ROOFMAN, Part 2), my very first time as such, the pressure was on!...However the best milestone was to come, unexpectedly, and again, I was detailed to L 38...for some reason the LCC  “tapped out” early in the day tour, there was nobody to drive the Seagrave rearmount, L38 would have to be out of service until a LCC was found and detailed. Jack was not one that wanted to miss any alarms. Jack knew I had previous fire apparatus driver training in Washington DC, in addition my side job gig I drove an oil truck. Not that an oil truck compares to a rearmount...but I was comfortable driving trucks. During Multi-Unit Drills (MUD) I made myself familiar with setting up and operating the aerial. (So I was comfortable to take on the responsibility)... Todays day tour...Jack told me I was his “Ladder Chauffeur” for the remainder of this tour! I could not believe what I was hearing! I’ve gone almost full circle, from a thirteen year old kid sharing the front seat as a buff on the rig... now I am sharing the front seat with “Uncle Jack” in the big red machine with me behind the wheel!... This was a tremendous, unbelievable and exciting milestone that I never forgot! And to make it so magical and significant... It happened only once. Only one tour would I get to drive Uncle...er “Lieutenant Mayne….” What a reward!

It was a pleasure working with Jack, always a warm and gracious greeting. He spoke directly with you, as if you were the most important person in the room. He did not hunt or fish, not a big sports enthusiast, not heavy into politics...but he did like the southern rock of Creedence Clearwater. Jack was very well liked by most of the younger firefighters like me...he always demonstrated a positive attitude, always acted as a positive role model with a willingness to share his skills, knowledge and expertise, his enthusiasm and passion of firehouse facets was contagious...I don't think I ever saw him mad, upset or rattled, nothing seemed to bother him, except maybe when fire duty would trail off...

Jack was assigned to the opposite groups and I got a chance to work with him on occasion. Everytime I knew he was coming in to work I would look forward to seeing him walking in the firehouse and having coffee (he preferred tea) with him.. Jack got promoted to Captain in 1989, and left L 38... I had a transfer paper in to go to Brooklyn and shortly after Jack's departure I too left L 38 for L 112.

We spoke by phone here and there, not often enough...both caught up in our lives. Jack retired, September 1993 and did his thing traveling... I retired after 9/11. We lost touch for a period. In the spring of 2009, I reached out to Jack by a simple letter, we need to catch up, let’s have lunch. I really wanted to personally thank him for everything he meant to me, I am glad I was able to do so. In March, Jack and I met for lunch at the Eastchester Diner just before St. Patrick's Day, I recall because Jack was wearing green beads around his neck. He had tea and an english muffin, I had coffee and a bagel. We sat and talked about the Glory Days and the “War Years”. We exchanged stories, time went too fast...Jack was surprised that I stayed in touch with some of the “La Casa Grande” members from way back then. During our conversation I thanked him for being my inspiration and mentor. I hope he realized the impact he had on my life. I will always be grateful to Jack for guiding me on the right path.

Because of Jack, he will forever remain a major contributor behind my success and achievements.  I truly appreciate and value everything I have learned from him. Thank you for all that you have taught me in my early career. The knowledge and wisdom you have imparted on me has been a great help and support throughout my FDNY experience.  I believe my success is at least in part due to your sincere support and mentorship. You inspired me, trusted me to pursue my goals with hard work, passion and dedication.

Jack was a leader...How lucky was I to have such a mentor?

Five months after our lunch Jack died ( August 2009) just before his 80th birthday. His spirit and memory is forever with me in my daily actions and lifestyle. Jack introduced me to a man’s world where I was fortunate to grow up in. I visited him the day before he passed and thanked him for guiding me through my life's journey... Never a day goes by that I don’t appreciate another simple lesson in life brought to me by Uncle Jack. Never a day goes by that I think about how Uncle Jack would handle life’s curveballs, what would he do? What would he say?....Even today,  Uncle Jack stills lives within me.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365

(https://i.postimg.cc/2VqNGhP4/20190606-182212-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/2VqNGhP4)

(https://i.postimg.cc/vgkpDLyY/Screenshot-2019-02-20-21-12-40-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/vgkpDLyY)

Lt. Jack, John K (RIP), young "Flash" Dennis G.


     (https://i.postimg.cc/V57L5b70/Mayne.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/V57L5b70)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 07, 2019, 06:21:08 PM
^^^^^yes Mack, that's "Uncle Jack" thanks for the post! You always come through!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 07, 2019, 06:58:20 PM
If I recall correctly, whether it was the 1st...or 30th...run of the tour....he would always acknowledge it...."Engine 45, with pleasure". Legend.

Thanks Don, I can't believe I overlooked that. It did not matter how many runs, he acknowledged everyone the same way, "with pleasure". The story goes further, at one time both E 45 and L 58 were assigned the same box by Bronx CO, Jack gave his distinctive "with pleasure" radio acknowledgement, followed by L 58's response "WITHOUT pleasure".

The few times I buffed with Jack in the front seat of E 45 he would let me transmit the 10-92's to Bronx CO, he was one of the last few officers that used his name at the end of the transmission: " Box 1234, 10-92, Lieutenant Mayne, K"....The Bronx CO realizing the voice was not his, would respond "10-4 'Lieutenant Mayne' "...

Jack also had two other axioms that I recall. One was "Say no more", the other one I heard the night Jack was working at E 88 as the boss and we were running our butts off... after each run he would jokingly say "what are we, machines?" (that was my favorite axiom, I used it many times during my Glory Days...).

Speaking of E 45, Jack painted the Engine Office, he painted the ceiling a dark blue, not quite Navy blue, maybe a shade or two lighter...he then added "glow stars" which would glow when the lights were turned off, he was "sleeping under the stars"...the men of E 45 continued the pattern into their bunkroom. I remember being detailed to E 45 and sleeping under the stars...

Thanks again Don for the reminder!


And "THANK YOU" to all who have viewed and added to this thread. Your messages and kind thoughts are very much appreciated...I have received some wonderful and warm notes through PM...love hearing from you, thanks again!,
Best, Johnny
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: scoobyd on June 07, 2019, 08:39:06 PM
Did he also say- "E 45 are you available?"   "E45 is ALWAYS available!"

  There is a podcast out there with Capt. Bob Farrell.  He tells about how back in the day he bar-tended at a place on W. 181 near 93/45/R3.  Says he picked off several R 3 guys to L 31 by breaking their balls about doing "real work" or something to that effect.  And I'm told he was a notorious ball breaker in his day.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: FairfaxFirePhotography on June 07, 2019, 10:23:03 PM
These are great stories! I love reading every little bit of them. Keep it up!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 08, 2019, 09:54:41 AM
Did he also say- "E 45 are you available?"   "E45 is ALWAYS available!"

  There is a podcast out there with Capt. Bob Farrell.  He tells about how back in the day he bar-tended at a place on W. 181 near 93/45/R3.  Says he picked off several R 3 guys to L 31 by breaking their balls about doing "real work" or something to that effect.  And I'm told he was a notorious ball breaker in his day.

In Capt Bob Farrell's memoirs he mentions taking three members from R 3. He alluded that Rescue was like an "Air Force", either standing fast outside  after the fire or above all the action on the roof instead of  "first wave of battle...infantry", his first draft was Jack, told Jack L 31 was #1 in working fires. That's all it took, Jack agreed and transferred... Jack was followed by legends Tom Kennedy and Buddy Croce.

In the English Documentary "Man Alive, South Bronx is Burning", Jack is seen at the 30 minute mark (to the Chiefs left).

(https://i.postimg.cc/VdZ9bJXS/Screenshot-2019-06-08-07-38-09-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/VdZ9bJXS)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 09, 2019, 07:47:22 AM
NEWS FLASH FROM THE PAST TO TODAY:

Mentioned in Bronx All Hands thread, 10-77 ;  725 Garden Street. 16 story
Assigned to E 88, this was one of my first jobs on the nob! We had two new probies riding and old salty timer Jimmy "The Greek" S. I can't recall who the boss was though. Early day tour, springtime...We turned the corner onto Garden Street from 182 St, fire blowing out the window... Jimmy S did the standpipe hook up, the two probies flaked out 2  1/2" hose between stairwell and fire floor, I had the open bore knob. L 38 was forcing the metal door, once opened..."And away we go!"...fun job!

Todays job rundown

(https://i.postimg.cc/dkHY88BZ/Screenshot-2019-06-09-07-31-03-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/dkHY88BZ)

(https://i.postimg.cc/6yLNcJYN/Screenshot-2019-06-09-07-29-17-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/6yLNcJYN)

(https://i.postimg.cc/2bsfcCsC/Screenshot-2019-06-09-07-29-34-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/2bsfcCsC)

My job, circa 1984

(https://i.postimg.cc/yDX2mm66/20190606-181648-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/yDX2mm66)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: turk132 on June 09, 2019, 05:21:48 PM
I remember a job there, I was driving the Division, a day tour and we were out. The Bronx announced a Pull Box, one of E88's 1st due boxes. Tough Timmy was the Boss and I heard him give the 10-84. I am waiting to hear him give the 10-92, but he comes on and gives a 10-75. We headed over there and from a distance you could see the fire out the windows in the taller section of 725 Garden Street. L38's aerial was fully extended, and at a steep angle but just made the sill of the fire apartment. Watching one of the brothers climb the ladder and make the fire apartment was awesome. After the fire was knocked down, TT was in the street, his forehead and the sides of his face were burnt and blistering. The Chauffeur was trying to get him to go to an ambulance, but he wouldn't go sick! My next day tour I was the Division Aide again , the phone rang and it was TT. He sheepishly tells me he was down at headquarters and “they made him go on Medical Leave”. He gave me his info, effective date and return date to the Medical office, I thanked him and told him to take care. I went to several more jobs there over the years. Good times
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: turk132 on June 09, 2019, 05:25:17 PM
I think that last picture might be the job.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: res8cue_99 on June 11, 2019, 04:13:35 PM
John! Please keep the stories coming and i know you have been told this before but you should really think about writing a book. I would be one of the fist guys in line to buy it. Love the ones about 277 and 112. I had the privilege of buffing them in the mid 90s and I swear the kitchen was never the same color when we would come back for a weekend. What a great house and a great group of firemen. Also you might remember the guy that would come in every Saturday and ride the truck on the 9by6 tour I think his name was Bob but not sure. Think they said he was a honorary Chief. I think he kept a journal of every call he ran. Anyway thanks for all time you put into this site. God Bless and be safe
 
 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: lucky on June 11, 2019, 04:33:53 PM
The man you were talking about was named Larry M. He grew up in the neighborhood and moved in our response area in Ridgewood, Queens. Either of the companies would pick him up after a 7AM run on a Saturday morning as he never drove a car.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 11, 2019, 06:15:13 PM
John! Please keep the stories coming and i know you have been told this before but you should really think about writing a book. I would be one of the fist guys in line to buy it. Love the ones about 277 and 112. I had the privilege of buffing them in the mid 90s and I swear the kitchen was never the same color when we would come back for a weekend. What a great house and a great group of firemen. Also you might remember the guy that would come in every Saturday and ride the truck on the 9by6 tour I think his name was Bob but not sure. Think they said he was a honorary Chief. I think he kept a journal of every call he ran. Anyway thanks for all time you put into this site. God Bless and be safe

Larry Martin was a fixture on Sundays on Knickerbocker Ave, the day we had MUD.  Larry was made an Honorable Chief in 1986, he held the position of Aux Capt....Every Sunday (as mentioned) someone would pick him up and bring him in (and home), in his arms would be at least four cakes his sister would bake...that we devoured. Larry was a walking / talking knowledge of everything Bushwick. He recalled every firefighter, and officer. He recalled every significant fire, he knew the box alarm assignment down to the last company. Whenever we would get "Knickerbocker Ave and Schaeffer Street" he would exclaim "BEER BOX!", from the by-gone days...Larry was a beautiful sweet man, every man respected him. I sat and talked with him many times, just letting him reflect on his memories was fascinating...Sometimes our "out of control behavior" would amuse Larry, he saw everything...Larry had his corner spot on the couch and took in every single facet of L 112, every nuance locked into his memory, during the afternoon he would squeeze in a nap on the couch, upright. At the end of the tour, he would call his sister that he lived with, and tell her of his day...then say he will be home soon, could she "please draw me a bath"! ....God Bless Larry. At a recent 112 reunion just last month someone told me he passed away, he was one of the most gentlest, kind and sweet souls you could ever meet...Members on this sight would have loved his insightful encylopedia knowledge of Bushwick fires....Rest in Peace Larry, you were one of a kind! I am honored to post this message and photo of Honorary Chief Larry Martin in his office.

(https://i.postimg.cc/5HGTj46F/20190611-163300-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/5HGTj46F)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on June 11, 2019, 07:14:21 PM
^^^^^  Very nice...no matter how hard FFs are working they always find the time to extend a hand to make another's life brighter.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: res8cue_99 on June 11, 2019, 11:16:32 PM
Thanks John and Lucky. I knew somebody would remember and you are so right what a loving guy and so glad i got to meet him. So sorry about his passing, I do not think he will ever know how many life's he touched just to sit and talk with him was a honor. Thanks again John and Lucky and the others that keep this site up and going. It is an honor and privilege to be a part ot this site. May God Bless each and everyone of you. Be safe and thanks again. RIP Larry M gone but not forgotten. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 14, 2019, 04:22:36 PM
A NEW WORLD

It’s been a year or so after my grandmothers funeral, I have not seen or spoken with Uncle Jack since. But today it’s my family’s turn to visit them up in Northern Westchester County. The visit is nice, both families outside sitting around his picnic table...there is a commotion down the street from Jack's house, the local fire department is responding with a handful of apparatus, sirens filled the air. Jack, my dad and I peer down the street at the activity, there seems to be a small fire in a house about six doors down.  Curiously I ask Jack, “aren’t you a fireman?” He responds that he is, I follow up with another question; “so why are you not going to the fire?”

At this point in my life, the ripe old age of thirteen, I did not know the difference between volunteer firefighter or city career firefighter. I just thought everyone served their hometown. What do I know?...My indoctrination to the FDNY and A NEW WORLD lesson #1 was forty minutes away.

Jack realizes my enthusiasm and inquisitiveness, he seems pleased that I have this interest. He mentions to my dad that we could take a quick ride to the Bronx and stop by his firehouse, show it to me and be back for dinner. Yeah, sure, says dad. Jack, my dad and me hop into Jack’s Buick Skylark and we head to the South Bronx. I’m excited, I have no recollection of the ride, what highway or parkway we used, I did begin to notice the neighborhood changing within each block as we entered into the South Bronx. I was overwhelmed by the drastic environmental change and the differences of Long Island’s open air and green grass life verses uneven cobblestone roads... I was bombarded by busy and noisy streets filled with people and surrounded by these large six story apartment buildings that made it feel like a canyon, fire hydrants were pouring water out on almost every street...I never saw so many abandoned cars before....my eyes darted everywhere from the back seat of Jack’s car, my mind was spinning as if we entered another galaxy. But this galaxy was cool, very interesting, compelling, different and exciting. I tried to absorb every view, every minute and burn it into memory. I’m surprised my coconut didn’t explode or pass-out.

Jack stops off at the firehouse on Intervale Avenue, the red doors are down and the firehouse is empty. He finds out both companies are operating at a job on Hoe Avenue near Jennings Street (I researched this location years later to verify to myself of accuracy). Our carload pulls up to the curb, I start to take the scene in, I am transfixed and hypnotized at what I see before me, the air smells like damp smoke...fire trucks and firefighters crowd the entire street with hoselines, an aerial ladder has been placed on the roof of a three story frame house, wisps of steam rising from spots near the roof, fireman taking a breather, some smoke cigarettes, others drinking from a spigot attached to the engine where water pours out freely in a small arc to the ground. I notice two homes completely blackened and burned, destroyed. The surrounding noise is loud from the sound of the idling engines in the apparatus as we get closer. The three of us walk to the scene, as we get closer, the first rig I notice is an aerial ladder with a 6 inch yellowish white number on the door, the number “31”, Jack proceeds to introduce me and my dad to LCC Jerry Albert, (Jerry Albert is an L 31 Legend and the first guy I meet!). Jerry is a big bear of a guy, has a beer belly, white hair and a friendly smile. Jerry greets me warmly with a firm handshake, he has thick hands, he does the same to my dad. Jerry recounts the job to us, in a non matter of fact way, you get the sense this was a typical job...oh, and by the way, Jerry casually mentions to Jack, “FF so and so broke his leg getting off the aerial”. “Broke his leg”? Spoken as if this was a common occurrence...this sounds unimaginable to me, if a kid broke his leg back in school or playing baseball that would be a huge story.

I’m awestruck by the neighborhood surrounding us, I scan around at this gritty backdrop...added to the backdrop are firemen moving around us going about their business, they appear grungy, tired and sweaty, but smiling and joking...some smoke cigarettes while in the process of putting away tools and picking up hose...any fireman that passes by, stops and greets Jack with a big hello, then turn to my dad and me with dirty hand shakes and blackened smiles...I was amazed that I was this close to a fire scene, in fact we were in the center of it. I noticed other people standing on the corner watching from afar, but here I was, directly in the middle of this scene. I felt privileged standing alongside with these men and their rumbling equipment. It was intoxicating, I’m sure it was quite the adventure for my dad, too.

But hold on there’s more...Ladder 31 was just about finished taking up, the aerial lowered and jacks lifted... Jerry Albert tells Jack to “throw me in the cab” for the ride back to quarters ...WHOA! I’m going to ride in that fire truck!?... Before you know it I was in the front seat sitting next to the legend Jerry Albert as we are about to return to quarters. I noticed from my point of view, a steep cobble stoned hill that we would be making a left turn onto, Jennings Street. (That's how I recalled the fire location from that steep hill just before Southern Blvd and the “el” below).  I was concerned about the steep declining hill and remember asking Jerry if we can go down that hill? Jerry said, we’ll take it slow, we’ll be fine. He was very reassuring... what a gentleman!...I was engrossed with the big guy, sitting in the middle of the front seat of the cab next to him as he drove the rig back to quarters shifting smoothly through the gears... I do not recall who the truck officer was.

I felt like my experience was all a dream. One thing for sure...I became a FDNY buff immediately obsessed, engulfed and infatuated with anything FDNY. A NEW WORLD appeared before my eyes, there was nothing else to compare this experience with.

For the next year, Engine 82 and Ladder 31 would be in various news sources about being the busiest firehouse in the world. Engine 82 ran to 9,111 alarms. Magazine articles and Newspaper articles appeared. Even a color pictorial centerfold feature in NY Daily News Sunday magazine of Engine 82 and Ladder 31, complete with a clear photo of Jack operating a car fire... But one magazine, by chance,  would light the fuse for me...Thirteen years old, I am sitting in a barber shop waiting chair along the back wall, I glance over to my left at a  July 1970 “TRUE” magazine on a small table between the chairs. The cover has an airplane glider, on the left of the magazine cover is a list of five features inside this edition, the last feature article mentioned on the cover catches my eye: “Smoke Eaters of Engine Co. 82”, I quickly thumb through the pages to locate the article. The first introduction page is a full page of a “blurry” Ladder 31 cab image coming toward the reader you, the blurry-ness action shot makes it look like the truck is responding. “I know this truck! I was right there in the front seat”...I asked the barber if I could have the mag and he said I could, I couldn’t wait to get home and read the article. The article is a small excerpt from the future #1 Best seller; REPORT FROM ENGINE CO. 82 that has not yet been released...”Then it hit me"; I felt a connection to this budding lifestyle and exciting culture unfolding in front of me, the excerpt brings me back to that special day... I needed to get back to Intervale Avenue. Tonight I will call Uncle Jack.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!    KMG 365

NEXT;   INSIDE MY NEW WORLD; A Recollection of Intervale Avenue visits.

(https://i.postimg.cc/KK0Cb6bY/Screenshot-2019-02-10-22-18-58-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/KK0Cb6bY)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 14, 2019, 04:27:10 PM
SIDE NOTE:    TRUE MAGAZINE

Forty nine years ago, waiting for a haircut in a barber shop chair, a simple life altering event materialized, I’m a young 13 year old...and my life would never be the same again.

...While writing the above memory, I got to thinking a nice cover photo of the TRUE MAGAZINE  would be a nice addition to my story. I started to research online, I entered TRUE Magazine Covers for 1970. To my amazement not only did a photo appear, but another attachment lead me to e-bay where the mag was available for $13!...I could not believe my good fortune, I jumped at the offer and ordered the mag...I was waiting for a reply that it was not available or not in stock any longer...But yesterday I received the July 1970 Issue of TRUE magazine in my mail! It came in a gray envelope with the magazine inserted into a plastic sleeve. The mag still had an address label of someone that resided in Mineola, (Long Island) NY. The magazine was in very good condition, it did have a little of that “old paper” smell to it, otherwise, fine shape.

The article is written by Dennis Smith, before Dennis Smith was Dennis Smith! The article starts on page 50 and continues for almost four full pages with a few black and white photos. This is pre “Report from Engine Co. 82…”. The article is an excerpt for the soon to be published classic.

Carefully and gingerly thumbing through the magazine pages there are advertisements for “Columbia House Records”, remember them? A loose card to enroll into the club is still inside...just return the card with your selection of any 12 records for $3.98 and receive a transistor radio too!... Cigarette ads for “KOOL”, “WINSTON” tastes good like a cigarette should... and an actor with a black-eye for “TAREYTON”; we would rather fight than switch, on the back cover. A few fashion ads... double breasted buttons and wide lapels are cutting edge in 1970 (wait, did they go out of style?).

Looking back now, I believe this magazine, magically intertwined with a pre-school haircut and fate would become one of the most defining moments of my young life...imagine, who would think a sixty cent magazine could jump start and propel my future into the FDNY culture and tangible evidence of reconnecting to yesteryear?

TO ALL.....HAVE A WONDERFUL HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!     KMG 365

(https://i.postimg.cc/WhpWN99F/20190612-192113-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/WhpWN99F)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on June 14, 2019, 09:07:40 PM
SIDE NOTE:    TRUE MAGAZINE

Forty nine years ago, waiting for a haircut in a barber shop chair, a simple life altering event materialized, I’m a young 13 year old...and my life would never be the same again.

...While writing the above memory, I got to thinking a nice cover photo of the TRUE MAGAZINE  would be a nice addition to my story. I started to research online, I entered TRUE Magazine Covers for 1970. To my amazement not only did a photo appear, but another attachment lead me to e-bay where the mag was available for $13!...I could not believe my good fortune, I jumped at the offer and ordered the mag...I was waiting for a reply that it was not available or not in stock any longer...But yesterday I received the July 1970 Issue of TRUE magazine in my mail! It came in a gray envelope with the magazine inserted into a plastic sleeve. The mag still had an address label of someone that resided in Mineola, (Long Island) NY. The magazine was in very good condition, it did have a little of that “old paper” smell to it, otherwise, fine shape.

The article is written by Dennis Smith, before Dennis Smith was Dennis Smith! The article starts on page 50 and continues for almost four full pages with a few black and white photos. This is pre “Report from Engine Co. 82…”. The article is an excerpt for the soon to be published classic.

Carefully and gingerly thumbing through the magazine pages there are advertisements for “Columbia House Records”, remember them? A loose card to enroll into the club is still inside...just return the card with your selection of any 12 records for $3.98 and receive a transistor radio too!... Cigarette ads for “KOOL”, “WINSTON” tastes good like a cigarette should... and an actor with a black-eye for “TAREYTON”; we would rather fight than switch, on the back cover. A few fashion ads... double breasted buttons and wide lapels are cutting edge in 1970 (wait, did they go out of style?).

Looking back now, I believe this magazine, magically intertwined with a pre-school haircut and fate would become one of the most defining moments of my young life...imagine, who would think a sixty cent magazine could jump start and propel my future into the FDNY culture and tangible evidence of reconnecting to yesteryear?

TO ALL.....HAVE A WONDERFUL HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!     KMG 365

(https://i.postimg.cc/WhpWN99F/20190612-192113-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/WhpWN99F)

 Dan, this Glory Days story brings back some memories for me too. 

 I was in the library with my father who had been taking books out to study for the Lts job in the Bridgeport FD. I remember them being Fire Administration, The Fire Chiefs Handbook, Arco Lt Book, etc. They also would have Fire Engineering there to read but it couldn't be taken out. I would read it too.

 BUT - one day I noticed the same July, 1970 TRUE Magazine in that library that you talk about. I too read the story and I think it also talked about a new book coming out called "Report from Engine 82". The busiest engine company in the world. I had already been introduced to the FDNY and was riding with Rescue 2. Like Dan, riding with Rescue 2 opened up a whole new world for me. Later if I didn't go to Rescue 2, I was hanging out in East Harlem. Chasing Engine 58/Ladder 26 and Engine 35/Ladder 14 around because the streets were numbered and easy to learn.

 But when that True Magazine came out with the story, I started to hang out by 82/31. Dan, described the area - the cobblestone streets, the smell, and the surrounding area perfectly well. That's exactly how it was. It was an education you couldn't get from a book.

 I guess for some of us, everything just seemed to fit into place. I guess maybe we were just born under the right stars. Because the time and place was perfect. 

 Thanks Dan, aka "JohnnyGage", and all the others who have contributed your stories during this special time of the FDNY.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 15, 2019, 10:18:56 AM
THE ULTIMATE MILESTONE

I'm jumping ahead here.

July 2001 my transfer to L 31 has been approved. My first time back in this firehouse for decades, memories flashback, it "feels" like home. The cobblestone street is now paved smooth with blacktop. My emotions are carefully guarded, but I feel like a kid on Christmas Day. I have come full circle in my career, back where it all began. You would think this WAS my ultimate milestone, it's not...but very close.

A week or so goes by, just before this day tour starts TWO insignificant events takes place in one breath, but become my "Lifetime Achievment Awards"...The Boss comes up to me and hands me a red insert with a white 31, I am so proud to have this iconic piece in my hand as I think about how it used to look on Jacks helmet and the other legends during the War Year heyday, a piece of treasure. Furthermore, after he hands me the insert he non-chalantly tells me "You got the wheel today"! ...(stay cool Johnny, just stay cool I say to myself. But there is a mushroom cloud bursting inside my head!)... Thirty one years ago, I sat for the very first time in the front seat of L 31 next to the legend Jerry Albert as a young teen,  I would ride the next three years in the same front seat with other legends like Charlie McCarthy and Lt/Capt Bob Farrell. Today I will occupy that historic "SEAT", an unimaginable, full circle, complete ULTIMATE MILESTONE.

The day tour starts, I have just inspected the lights, tools, every nook and cranny of the tower ladder and as I have always done whenever I drove I begin to clean the inside of the cab and windows...reflecting on the magical times I rode as a kid here, I take a moment to relish my thoughts...I'm immediately brought back down to Earth as the housewatch printer starts spitting out a message and the voice alert says "LADDER..."


(https://i.postimg.cc/jL0htknK/20190612-192329-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/jL0htknK)

(https://i.postimg.cc/47V8sCPC/Screenshot-2019-06-12-18-07-12-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/47V8sCPC)

(https://i.postimg.cc/VJBNBsjV/Screenshot-2019-06-15-14-00-30-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/VJBNBsjV)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 1261Truckie on June 15, 2019, 02:15:27 PM
Shortly after that article came out 132 was relocated to 120 on a hot summer night that was absolutely nuts. We were the 3rd section of 120 when we got there and as we were coming down Watkins Street were sent to a job on either Herzl or Amboy.
As we were preparing to take up from that job one of our guys says " Man, my barber is gonna hate to see me, look at the scars on the back of my neck" As we laughed he was approached by a Daily News reporter who was buffing in Brownsville and would ultimately write a column of that night's fire activity.
Our guy shared the laugh and told him where the idea for the neck scars came from, a zinger at the Bronx. At that point we were special called to another job over on Chester Street. Ah, The Glory Days
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 18, 2019, 07:53:45 PM
Notice any difference between the two photos?  (Besides the flag)

(https://i.postimg.cc/0z4xJ4vc/Screenshot-2019-01-21-11-29-23-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/0z4xJ4vc)

(https://i.postimg.cc/WdzTzvBd/Screenshot-2019-06-12-18-32-30-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/WdzTzvBd)


Hint; check out over the bay doors.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: FDNYSTATENISLAND on June 18, 2019, 10:49:48 PM
82 and 31 are on both sides of the engine and truck in the older pic, in newer pic 82 and 31 are only on one side? From 82 engine 82, to 82 engine. Is there a reason why?
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 1261Truckie on June 18, 2019, 11:27:02 PM
Did they take the numbers off the house to mount them on the front of the rig?
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on June 19, 2019, 12:43:02 AM
Two sets of numbers in place up to 1960s then only one number since 1970s.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: grumpy grizzly on June 19, 2019, 10:29:00 AM
I have the Code 3 house and both sets of apparatus, sure hasn't changed much according to the color picture.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: t123ken on June 19, 2019, 03:31:09 PM
I've noticed that in a lot of places some of the letters/numbers have been removed, presumably by the members.
I hate to see any firehouse defaced like that.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on June 19, 2019, 04:08:40 PM
I've noticed that in a lot of places some of the letters/numbers have been removed, presumably by the members.
I hate to see any firehouse defaced like that.
AGREED.... http://nycfire.net/forums/index.php/topic,56501.msg176857.html#msg176857
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 19, 2019, 06:43:41 PM
82 and 31 are on both sides of the engine and truck in the older pic, in newer pic 82 and 31 are only on one side? From 82 engine 82, to 82 engine. Is there a reason why?
I don't have the answer, I happened to notice looking at the photos. 82 and 31 did not use the numbers from firehouse on their rig as far as I know. Mystery!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 19, 2019, 08:45:45 PM
LADDER 31:  DAYS OF RIDING
Part 1

Today I will be going in and spend the day tour  with Uncle Jack at Ladder 31. I had made plans for this visit a few weeks ago and numbered my calendar with anticipation down to the day. I have done this routine about half dozen of times starting back in 1970. Today is April 2, 1972 and Spring recess from High School. The counting down of days is over.

It is a typical April morning, I stayed over Jack and “Aunt” Irene’s house so that I can be ready and leave with Jack in the morning. Jack and Irene have a nice and well maintained 2 ½ story house with a barn shaped roof that was constructed in the early 1900’s...the house sits prominently on ground higher than the surrounding houses off a dead end street. I had a little trouble falling asleep, being all wound up for the big day... Finally morning comes...I’m up before anyone else, into the shower, teeth brushed, then I make the bed and sit on the corner waiting to hear Jack. I hear Jack coming towards me. He enters the bedroom quietly and we exchange morning greetings. Jack then gives me a blue L 31 tee shirt to wear today and tells me he will meet me downstairs for breakfast. I love the tee...it has a small maltese cross over the left chest, top leaf says LADDER, the middle circle 31 and bottom leaf F.D.N.Y.

All dressed and ready to go... I am sitting across from Jack at his breakfast table, it is just he and I, the rest of Jack's family is still sleeping, it’s about 7:00 a.m. Last night my parents dropped me off at Jack and Irene’s house, they make a social day of it, then head the two hour ride back home. And tonight, my Dad will do the two hour ride back to Jack’s house to pick me up after the tour. My folks were very gracious and accommodating. Because of the logistics, I am only able to pull off these visits during the summer and Spring recess. As much as I wanted to visit Intervale more often, I did not want to push my luck with this arrangement nor did I want to “wear out my welcome”.

Jack is having tea and toast, works for me, too. He is reading the paper, I notice the back page of the Daily News and the headline is about former Mets manager Gil Hodges who died yesterday...After glancing at the paper, Jack gets up and strolls over to the kitchen counter and brings back a small metal index card file. When Jack works he usually is the chef, so today he is thumbing through the card file to come up with an idea for lunch... He picks up a card, looks it over and replaces it, satisfied...he’s got something in mind. Sounds like a nice type of sandwich and a large pot of soup.

We leave his house and walked to his car parked alongside the curb on the dead end street. Jack has a 1965 light blue Buick Skylark, it's the same car he used to drive me and my dad to the Bronx a couple of years ago. He is carrying a shoebox full of study cards for the next lieutenant exam and places the box on the bench seat between us and tells me about them. He writes the questions on the front side, flip the card over for the answer on the back. I think it’s a great idea. He seems pretty excited about the upcoming lieutenants exam and dedicates as much time as he can study for it. The exams generally roll around about every two to three years. At this point Jack has sixteen years on the back step and looking to hopefully being promoted. (He will in 1974)

After I read the “TRUE” magazine I knew clear as day that the fire department would be my way of life...Since that first time back in 1970  when I was introduced to the FDNY culture and Ladder 31 I joined an Explorer Post sponsored by my local volunteer fire department. There was about twenty-four of us, teens the same age with a desire to be a part of the fire department society. We met weekly, had cool denim uniforms...many lifelong friendships grew from our common interest. I became consumed with the FDNY and now my local volunteer fire department. Joining the Explorer Post allowed me and other colleagues to take various firematic classes and learn various firefighting tactics...my conversation with Jack would now be more interesting and engaging as I always had a list of questions for him. I saved the questions while we drove to the firehouse from his home. Jack was always helpful, many times he would spend time with me showing the equipment on both the truck and engine. He demonstrated on an abandoned car how to pop the lock on the trunk, insert screwdriver and pop the trunk open. I remember taking that little ditty back to the Explorer Post buddies and explained how the trunk pop technique works...they thought it was genius!

 The last few trips into 82/31 I make a mental note on how he gets to Intervale Avenue as I continue to bombard him with questions... I anticipate the excitement once we get off the expressway and we make the turn onto Home Street, I know we are getting close. Jacks car makes the rumbling sound going over the cobblestone street. The South Bronx grittiness starts to come alive, I love the grittiness...every corner has a large puddle with rubbish ringing it, colors are gone, everything looks either gray or brown, nothing shines, the neighborhood seems quiet and empty, it is still early...Home Street is one of seven streets that intersect Intervale Avenue and 169th Street, the firehouse sits slightly off the corner...about two doors north on Intervale from 169th Street. As we head southwest on Home Street, about a block before Intervale Avenue I start to look for the firehouse and the red doors, blocking my view is Mother Walls Zion Church, a community fixture that stood throughout the War Years and is opposite the firehouse. Finally, the firehouse appears, the two red doors are open, inside the shaded firehouse I can see the glimmering chrome bumper and headlight trim from Ladder 31, something shines!...82 Engine is set back further in the house and I finally see it as we get a little closer. The two “War Horses” are taking a breather.

As we near the front of quarters Jack mentions the companies had a nice job the other day while he was off over on Prospect Avenue near Freeman Street, he suggests “why don’t we go check it out”?  since we have a few extra minutes to kill before we go into quarters. We make a quick left onto Intervale, pass the firehouse and a quick right onto 169th Street...go two blocks and make a right turn onto Prospect, another block or so we see the burned out windows on the top floor of an apartment building, the building doesn’t look good. It must have been a good job...(I’m thinking, Jack is quite the “buff” too!)

I’ve taken notice, from my first time riding with L 31 a change in the community, there are less occupied buildings, many more vacant buildings than previous times. Blocks and blocks are filled with hollowed out apartment buildings, it resembles a ghost town in some parts. Void of life, a moonscape with buildings upon empty buildings. One thing remains, open fire hydrants with water running out, a gentle flow of crystal clear water splattering onto the street.

We pull up in front of E 82 and L 31 quarters, Jack double parks his car. There is a car parked on the sidewalk, one alongside the curb and Jacks alongside that car, and we walk into the firehouse. It’s a little after 8:00 am, I say hello to the fireman on housewatch and greets me with a smile, I have not met him before, he looks tired....Laughter is coming from the kitchen in the rear, Jack enters the kitchen followed by me, and he introduced me to the guys back there. Some I have met before, like Willy Knapp, Vinny Bollon, Danny Gainey, Charlie McCarthy, Lt. Walsh, and a few others I know by sight but not by name, they welcome me. One member I met during one of my first days of riding is Mel Hazel.

(Mel would become a lifetime Brother to me. Mel Hazel Profile to follow)

When I first met Mel during my very first full day tour visit with Jack, Mel had just come off his probation, he is friendly, he is lean and tall, he shows me around the firehouse and we hit it right off...When I came in with Jack to ride, I usually did not leave the apparatus floor during my visit. Although much of the time we were out on the rig, I did not think it was appropriate to go upstairs or downstairs unless invited. Except when Mel was working, or when he knew I was in the firehouse, Mel would come in on his day off to visit me...we would shoot pool down in the basement between the runs.

Generally, my position would be standing or leaning in front of quarters taking in the everyday activity of the engrossing South Bronx lifestyle. With seven streets intersecting in front of quarters there was always something to see. Colorful Gypsey cabs would zip by, the occasional green, white and black fender police car would amble by, the yellow tow trucks would screech by and every now and then I caught a glimpse of a “low rider”. It was a good spot to see fire apparatus too, many times E 85 or L 59 would pass by returning to their tin firehouse on Boston Road. Anytime they drove by, the guys and officer on the rig would give a big, full arm wave hello to me and whoever was standing alongside the apparatus door. Hanging out at that front door was a tremendous learning experience, a front seat observing the different social culture I was not accustomed to back on Long Island. I was familiar with Canarsie Brooklyn, that was a unique culture too...but this was gripping ghetto culture. Mind-boggling and riveting to a 15 year old.

Jack heads upstairs to the locker room to put on his work duty uniform. I remain in the kitchen with a cup of coffee, guys are still joking and laughing...the television is on, news stories about Gil Hodges death and War in Vietnam.  I give up watching the news, and now enjoy the back and forth friendly banter...every now and then some gets directed to me and usually starts with “Did your Uncle Jack tell you about…”. I’m enjoying the good natured teasing, I take it all in…

I remember the first time entering this firehouse, it was the first time I entered ANY firehouse. Guys were walking around with shoes untied, shiny fire poles, the smell of diesel fumes and smokey gear was prevalent. I noticed fire gear tossed loosely on the backstep and hosebed of Engine 82 more gear hanging off door handles, rubber boots folded over and positioned standing next to the side of the rigs...I couldn’t get over the large pots and frying pans hanging in the small kitchen. There was always something amusing.

The bells ring, announcing the day shift has begun. If I remember correctly it was 15 bells, I’m not sure. I would attempt to help clean the kitchen, of course get chased out. Then I head over to the rig, L 31. It was pretty cool standing next to this “big red machine” (as Jack calls it), an American LaFrance tiller, it has a diesel smoke exhaust stack just behind the cab surrounded by a cage to prevent accidental burns. Over the tiller windshield is a red sign with white lettering “La Casa Grande”, THE BIG HOUSE. It was great to be back on Intervale Avenue!

End Part 1. Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for reading....  KMG 365

(https://i.postimg.cc/8FS4RRnj/1965-buick-skylark-model-444-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/8FS4RRnj)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Jy5qPs9K/20190122-152313.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/Jy5qPs9K)
(My photo, crappy little 110 instamatic camera. L 31 on left in quarters, E 82 centered, Squad 2 in quarters on right. Note cobblestone street in front of firehouse)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on June 20, 2019, 07:08:15 AM
"Johnny", it was 11-11 on the bells. 0900 & 1800.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 20, 2019, 07:22:09 AM
Thank you Charlie, much appreciated! ....I was a little foggy on that.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: CFDMarshal on June 20, 2019, 08:58:31 AM
I had a 65 Buick Special, 4 door and blue green. 65 MPH downhill!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on June 20, 2019, 12:19:48 PM
The Bells - Telegraph Alarm System Preliminary Signals
 
     (https://i.postimg.cc/0Mp6zVRX/The-Bells-Telegraph-Alarm-System-Preliminary-Signals.png) (https://postimg.cc/0Mp6zVRX)


Telegraph alarms noted on housewatch blackboard - Station and Time

     (https://i.postimg.cc/nMNHyvyC/FDNY-Alarm.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/nMNHyvyC)


Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on June 20, 2019, 12:27:34 PM
The Bronx - 1970s:

     https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+bronx+1970&docid=608034455966581464&mid=4B2FD8F581E4FA44D9B64B2FD8F581E4FA44D9B6&view=detail&FORM=V

     https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+bronx+1970&docid=607990316588797771&mid=19D5CC40C797445E31ED19D5CC40C797445E31ED&view=detail&FORM=VIRE
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on June 20, 2019, 08:37:38 PM
Dan, in reading your story in reply #168, "LADDER 31 - Days of Riding" Part 1, the details you give brings me (and a few of my buddies) right back to that Intervale Ave firehouse some 50 years ago.

I've told a few of those buff buddies of mine to check out these "Glory Days" stories and of course #168 makes it all seem to come alive again.

John Bendick, retired FDNY captain, administrator of this site was there too, riding with Squad 2. They spent every third night at that firehouse. The other nights with 73/42 and 85/59.

I am sure, without a doubt in my mind, that we had all met up some time in those streets, we just didn't know it. Other guys too like Mike Dick, aka mikeindabronx.

Dan, as a buff, I could also relate to the anticipation of my next buff trip. It seemed the more I got, the more I wanted. I was drawn to it like a magnet. 

Of course, it's kind of tough to tell somebody now, how it was then.

But who would ever think that 50 years later, a couple of guys like us would become good friends and the majority of the time, whenever we meet up, generally the conversation is about: "The Glory Days".   
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 1261Truckie on June 22, 2019, 11:13:58 AM
I grew up about a block away from 280/132, so when I wanted to buff there, I just walked to the house and there I was, no car ride from the suburbs or elsewhere. There was also no sense of change from a suburban neighborhood to an inner city neighborhood. To me the area where I lived was the same area where the firehouse was located. I used to pass the firehouse 4 times a day: on the way to school (St. Teresa of Avila); on the way home for lunch; going back to school after lunch and on the way home after school, so I would see the men frequently and they always seemed a friendly bunch of guys. After a while, and if the doors were open, I would stop off and ask questions about the rigs or about the job itself. The men always answered my questions. After a while, some of the men would say, if the doors are closed, knock and we'll let you in. On those days I would stand by the housewatch desk, ask questions or listen to the Department radio. After a while, I would run errands for the guys or do little things they'd ask. By the time I turned 18 and joined the Auxiliaries I knew most (if not all the guys) and was accepted as a house buff. Nevertheless, like Johnny Gage and Bill said, there was a real anticipation of what was to come whenever I walked down the street to the house to ride with them. As the neighborhood changed and the runs and workload increased for 132 there was even more anticipation that any night could be a busy night (and they usually were). I was also lucky, in that, not only did I ride with the company but also got invited to events like promotion parties, retirement parties, annual company parties  and picnics. All in all, it was a great time in my life and I would not trade that experience for anything.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on June 22, 2019, 01:16:40 PM
The Bells - Telegraph Alarm System Preliminary Signals
 
     (https://i.postimg.cc/0Mp6zVRX/The-Bells-Telegraph-Alarm-System-Preliminary-Signals.png) (https://postimg.cc/0Mp6zVRX)


Telegraph alarms noted on housewatch blackboard - Station and Time

     (https://i.postimg.cc/nMNHyvyC/FDNY-Alarm.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/nMNHyvyC)
If I'm not mistaken, that house watch photo is from the quarters of E273/L129. The eyeballs aren't as keen as they were but it looks like a plethora of 4400 boxes and their house watch was on the right side of the apparatus floor if you were looking in from the street.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 22, 2019, 02:13:52 PM
^^^^^^Charlie, I took a second gander at the alarm box board, tune into the lower right hand section, looks like the top billing says "WORLDS FAIR TRUCK ONLY" .
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on June 22, 2019, 04:46:18 PM
Dan, in reading your story in reply #168, "LADDER 31 - Days of Riding" Part 1, the details you give brings me (and a few of my buddies) right back to that Intervale Ave firehouse some 50 years ago.

I've told a few of those buff buddies of mine to check out these "Glory Days" stories and of course #168 makes it all seem to come alive again.

John Bendick, retired FDNY captain, administrator of this site was there too, riding with Squad 2. They spent every third night at that firehouse. The other nights with 73/42 and 85/59.

I am sure, without a doubt in my mind, that we had all met up some time in those streets, we just didn't know it. Other guys too like Mike Dick, aka mikeindabronx.

Dan, as a buff, I could also relate to the anticipation of my next buff trip. It seemed the more I got, the more I wanted. I was drawn to it like a magnet. 

Of course, it's kind of tough to tell somebody now, how it was then.

But who would ever think that 50 years later, a couple of guys like us would become good friends and the majority of the time, whenever we meet up, generally the conversation is about: "The Glory Days".

 Another member of this site who was also a part of that 1970s Era - Engine 82, Ladder 31, Squad 2, was Retired Chief Bob M., aka *******,. He was the captain of Engine 82 during those very busy days that "JohnnyGage" has talked about and that TRUE Magazine wrote about.

 As most of us know, Chief Bob M., has been a frequent contributor to this site who talks about his days working out of Engine 82 in the South Bronx. On this site, in the History section we can find the thread he started called: "Remembrance", plus he has also contributed to other threads here that talk about those days, such as "My Younger Buff Days".

 Chief, I must apologize to you for leaving you out when it comes to that firehouse on Intervale Ave.

 Although "Glory Days" is the focus of members of the FDNY who served during such a special time. Also, as we have seen here, it has drawn buffs who can tell their own personnel stories about the same time frame, in those same neighborhoods.

   
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on June 22, 2019, 04:59:27 PM
^^^^^^Charlie, I took a second gander at the alarm box board, tune into the lower right hand section, looks like the top billing says "WORLDS FAIR TRUCK ONLY" .
Pretty sure it is 129/273.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on June 23, 2019, 11:05:42 AM
I guess the eyesight and memories are better than I thought. Thanks Dan and Chief JK :o
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 23, 2019, 07:02:01 PM
LADDER 31; DAYS OF RIDING
Part 2

Intervale Avenue is a wide thoroughfare, the firehouse sits between two buildings, an apartment house on the left side closer to 169th Street, and a 2 story storage loft type building to the right. The firehouse is a three story building with large windows on the second floor, the brick looks to be a light brown or tan with red trim. A single door between the two bays allows entry into quarters. Over the left bay door metal lettering says “LADDER 31”, over the right bay door the same metal lettering says “82 ENGINE”. Although the firehouse has only two bay doors, five pieces, sometimes six pieces of apparatus would park and respond from it. The first few times I rode with L 31, even though the overhead lettering said; “Ladder 31”,  Engine 85, Engine 82 and TCU 712 would respond from that bay, Ladder 31 would be in the bay marked “Engine 82”. The reason was that the L 31 bay was much longer in length and could accommodate the extra apparatus. Positioned to the rear of the firehouse, E 85 would be parked alongside E 82 with just enough room to walk between rigs. Then the TCU would be parked in front of those pieces. At different times I was there, sometimes there was a Battalion in quarters. Battalion 27. The chief’s aide would park the car diagonally with the front facing outwards and exiting the “Engine 82” bay. Ladder 31 would be backed into the bay as far back as it could go. Remember, at this time, L 31 was a tiller. Behind L 31 was the kitchen. It was a tight fit, then on certain days Squad 2 would be at quarters. The nickname was appropriate “LA CASA GRANDE”. Unfortunately I never witnessed what it was like when re-locating companies came to cover the house units that were out of service or recuperating... but it must have been a fun madhouse!

Today, only L 31 and E 82 are in quarters by themselves parked in their respective bays.. I’m introduced to the Boss, Lt. Bob Farrell, Jack gets the ok from the boss for me to ride, up front...front and center of the big red machine!...coincidentally most of the times I ride it is with Lieutenant Bob Farrell who also became the Captain and remained at L 31. The other Boss I remember was a big guy, named Captain McCaffrey.

(Sidenote: The very first time I ride with L 31 I meet Capt. McCaffrey. The Cap is a big guy, reminds me of Oakland Raiders Coach John Madden, and there is really very little room in the front seat with him. He has me ride the jumpseat behind him in the rear of the rig, back with the guys, That was cool!...However, the following day tour, I am now back home...on the evening news is a story about L 31 being coaxed into a block, Aldus Street, with a rubbish fire in the middle of the street, L 31 was blocked in and bombarded with rocks and bottles from Gypsey Cab protesters. The following day is a Daily News photo,  the second page has Captain McCaffrey standing in front of L 31 pointing at the broken windshield. I called Jack...Jack was working, he told me everyone on the backstep squeezed into the jumpseats seeking cover, the same seat I sat the day before!...Close call for me!)

It is 0900, the bells toll 11 times indicating the change of tour. The bells don’t sound like ding, ding or clang, clang, it’s more like a clink, clink, clink in a steady toll eleven times.

I introduce myself to the Ladder Chauffeur, again, most of the other times I've come in Big Charlie McCarthy was behind the wheel. I offer to help with washing the rig, and he allows me to wash it  down with the hose after he brushes the rig with soap...Other chauffeurs I remember riding with was Richard “Dick” Bittles, and Vinny Bollon.

(Vinny would go on to become a long time labor leader with the UFA, UFOA and IAFF. I recall the day I rode with him, the troops were calling him “Balloon” unmercifully, mocking his last name, and he was a bit, should we say, portly...“it is balloon, VINNY BALLOON!...” was heard the whole day. RIP Vinny)

A few times I came to Intervale Avenue on a Sunday morning. The mornings generally started out quietly. One special time, the rigs have been moved out of the bay and the fireman on housewatch has two lengths of 1 ½” from the hydrant out front and is washing down the apparatus floor from the rear to the front. As a young “Explorer” firefighter with my neighborhood volunteer fire department we used to look forward to our training which consisted of running two lengths of 1 ½” line from a nearby hydrant. Donning full firefighter garb, we would learn how to position ourselves to back up the nozzle firefighter, taking pressure off him as he advanced the hoseline, third guy would make sure the hose moves forward freely. We took this training very seriously, we envisioned ourselves moving in on the gates of hell... Open the nob, try the wide fog pattern, move up a few feet, narrow fog pattern, a few more feet and then straight stream, close bale slowly so as not to create a water hammer. Everyone got a shot at handling the hoseline for a few moments, it was exciting when your turn came and it was big league to us Explorers then...Today I am watching this fireman, I don’t recall his name, but he’s from 82 and moving the hoseline by himself effortlessly washing out dirt and debris toward the street. I’m wondering, “shouldn’t he have a backup?”...Then he turns to me, “hey son, why don’t you grab this and finish washing down the floor, push the dirt towards the street”... He isn’t asking, kind of politely ordering me to take over. I like that I’m trusted and happy to be a small part of the team, “glad to help!”...he shuts down the line and hands it over to me,”got it kid?” and departs for something back in the kitchen. I now have this nozzle and hose in my hand and I’m thinking will I be able to handle it? And shouldn’t I have a backup at least?  But I just go with it, I pull the bale back slowly and open up the nozzle. I am in my glory, I’m moving this line with pressure back and forth sweeping out the bays...Wait until I tell the other “Explorers” when I get back!

On another weekend day visit both companies have Multi Unit Drill (MUD...if that’s what they called it back then). We mount up on the rig...E 82 heads out and makes the right turn leaving quarters, cross over 169th Street and onto Tiffany Street L 31 follows. We stop in front of a six story vacant apartment building, all the windows are removed, it is like a six story dump. Some windows actually have a tree or large weed growing out of them, it’s an odd thing to see, nothing like a tree growing from a vacant building window on the upper floor...The members of E 82 and L 31 are checking their breathing apparatus and the truck guys look over their saw. In the meantime  82’s MPO hooks to a hydrant and pumps water through the deck gun into an empty window. The MPO notices me in the street observing, he yells to the fireman on top directing the deck gun to come down, “we need to get some ‘youth’ up there”, guy’s milling around now catch the phrase and that becomes the day’s mantra like “it is BALLOON”... any topic of discussion that would require an answer…”WE NEED YOUTH”... it seemed like everyone was saying it and having fun with it... Operate the deck gun?... Again back in the Explorers, this was inconceivable since we were not allowed on top of the apparatus, nor were we allowed to operate anything larger than a handline... I eagerly hopped up to the deck gun, took control of it and aimed it from window to window, blasting the imaginary red devil to smithereens. I was having a ball!

Today, Charlie and I finish washing down the rig. Guys have completed their committee work and sitting and are now relaxing in the kitchen talking, there is less joking, more regular talk. I’m itching to start running. Just before 11:00 am the voice alarm alert tone sounds, it is a quick…”fwooop”... followed by the dispatcher announcing the companies as one long number: “82-85-31-59 into box…”. We empty out of the kitchen, half the guys head towards the engine, the other half including me hustle to the truck...and we are off to the races…

Back then the rigs had a mechanical siren, it had a distinctive pitch, rrrr- ARRR- RRRRR... there was no mistaking the unique sound of a fire truck approaching. The air horn also had a growl type pitch, not the loud “BLAP” you hear on today's apparatus...The day remains hectic, the runs come in a steady flow with different boxes coming in. Many times we pull up just in front of quarters and off we go again. I recall a few vacant building fires during days riding where 31 operated for a while, nothing spectacular though. Most calls of course were 10-92’s, outside rubbish and car fires. When the rigs would stop and the guys go to work, it seemed like the whole neighborhood came alive with kids climbing all over the truck like monkey bars. Young Spanish faces would curiously peer in at me sitting inside the cab or standing outside nearby. I did recall watching Jack drive the tiller and operate as the Outside Vent Man at a job, he worked the front fire escape, the windows were tinned up alongside the fire escape to prevent entry into the building and tough to open. It seemed with every tinned up window removed more smoke would come out. The fire was inside the vacant building and quickly knocked out by E 82.

Both companies have been running since this morning, it’s after lunch and my buddy Mel is at the firehouse. He has come in from his home to visit me.  I am honored to have this friendship with Mel, Mel is a very religious man, he is over six feet tall, and lean. We walk to the outside courtyard in the rear of the firehouse, there he introduces me to three guinea pigs in a large cage. Mel tells me that they were rescued at a fire recently, and holding them until the owner finds a new home for them. He and I catch up on stories since I haven’t seen him in a while. It’s good to see Mel.

Hope you enjoyed, stay tuned for part 3, thanks for reading!   KMG-365


(https://i.postimg.cc/p9zFLdWn/Screenshot-2019-01-21-11-29-23-2.png) (https://postimg.cc/p9zFLdWn)
82 and 31 squeezed in between an apartment building and loft style storage building

(https://i.postimg.cc/Z98WhDH8/Screenshot-2019-01-21-12-31-32-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/Z98WhDH8)
169th Street in foreground, firehouse is on left on a wide Intervale Av, Home Street comes in on an angle.

(https://i.postimg.cc/23Mr27Fr/20190623-164243-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/23Mr27Fr)
A good spot in front of firehouse with seven streets intersecting for watching a unique lifestyle go by in the South Bronx and the occasional rig like L 59 returning back to qtrs. The guys always gave a full arm swing hello as they drove by.

(https://i.postimg.cc/hf1ZfSG6/20190623-164522-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/hf1ZfSG6)
Jack backing in the tiller. "LA CASA GRANDE" across and above the tiller windshield.

(https://i.postimg.cc/VSjm1Yyf/download-1.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
"It is balloon!"  Vinny Bollon, LCC (RIP)

Two common sights:

(https://i.postimg.cc/xkDDGsHT/Screenshot-2019-06-29-06-06-26-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/xkDDGsHT)

(https://i.postimg.cc/zb8s6V0s/Screenshot-2019-06-29-06-32-23-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/zb8s6V0s)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 28, 2019, 11:13:04 AM
PROFILE: MEL HAZEL  L 31

Mel Hazel... I met Mel on one of my first trips to 82 /31 in 1971. Mel had just completed his probation at Ladder 31. Mel is a tall and lean man, he has a great sense of humor, very religious and a well respected fireman. Most times when I would visit  the Intervale firehouse with Jack, Mel would make it a point to come in and visit me. I really appreciated his friendship and always looked forward to seeing him. During the winter months when I could not get off from school Mel and I would exchange letters.

In 1973 Mel made a “Roof Rope” rescue. The rescue was one of a kind back during the War Years, at the time there was no “Lifesaving Rope Evolution” as we know it today. Truck company members back then were issued a personal harness that they wore as an accessory around their waist.  Later, his unique rescue would be a feature story in a WNYF magazine. Mel rescued the older teenager by doing a single slide and having the victim embrace him. The victim was about to jump from fire conditions into the courtyard below... Mel made the risky grab, and was recognized by receiving the Hugh Bonner Medal.

Mel and I stayed in touch during his time in L 31. As I got older and after the rope rescue Mel transferred to Rescue 3 then became a Fire Marshal and we lost touch.

Miraculously, Mel and I reconnected on the morning of September 11, 2001. I had just emerged from the Deutsche Bank on Liberty Street after the collapse of the South Tower, and onto Greenwich Street which is next door to L 10’s quarters, I was trying to make my way to the North tower where my wife worked. At the time I believed that she was safe, seeking refuge on the roof of the North Tower. I came out of the Bank, the gray matter still blinding and choking from the first collapse, a lone figure appeared from the dust, I recognized him immediately...but Mel spoke first, he saw my helmet frontpiece with the red insert and a white 31. “Hey 31, you ok?” was his first words. I followed up, “Hey Mel, it’s me Dan”. He recognized me immediately after that and we embraced...I told Mel I needed to find my wife, she was working and is somewhere in the North Tower. We discussed the best way to get there standing surrounded by the debris of the South Tower that was blocking our path and stagnant dust... Overhead we heard fighter jets passing, but we could not see them... Just then, a Police Officer rounded a corner with a radio ran by us, without stopping he yelled ro us the North Tower was about to fall!...and no sooner did he say that the tower began to crumble... Mel and I could not outrun the showering debris field about to rain down on us, we took immediate cover and positioned ourselves in an upright fetal position against the Deutsche Bank outer wall, our hands covering our heads, I had my helmet I was holding onto. We were barely covered by an overhang. Together we awaited our fate as we were pelted by rocks, cement, hot wind with embers and debris. Mel and I both thought the “big hit” was imminent. It was very close, but, by the grace of God we had survived. However, being so close we thought we would now suffocate as there was no air to breathe.

(For further reading...both Mel and I have given our full 9/11 account in Dennis Smith's Book; REPORT FROM GROUND ZERO)

In 2004, Mel, me, my buddy from E 53 Martin and a firefighter from the Eastchester Fire Department created a committee to have the Tuckahoe, NY Post Office dedicated to the memory of FDNY Fire Marshal Ronnie Bucca that was murdered on 9/11. With 100% affirmation from Congress, the PO was dedicated in the summer of 2005, Brother Mel officiated the ceremonies as Mel knew Ronnie very well from the Fire Marshal office. The ceremony was dignified and regal, streets were closed surrounding the facility that was well attended and supported by the community, local fire department and various military organizations.

Mel and I have never lost touch since, we continue to have phone conversations and try to connect during the 9/11 Memorials. Our friendship as Mel would often say “was baptized by fire”. I agree, Brother.

Thanks for reading!    KMG 365

Dennis, Mel and Me at Mels house remembering 9/11

(https://i.postimg.cc/YvYvPBS7/20190623-163139-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/YvYvPBS7)

Mel; Medal Day photo

(https://i.postimg.cc/MchqJv3r/HAZEL-1.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 28, 2019, 08:12:51 PM
HISTORIC STREETS OF SOUTH BRONX

Being in the front seat of the American LaFrance tiller I got a real chance to experience not just the War Year fires era, but also appreciated the demographics that went with it. Responding over the cobblestone and checking out the street sign of the box location was unique and brimming with history...there is more magic than meets the eye!

For instance the ubiquitous street sign, during the “War Years” was a different color than as we know it today. While Willy and many other buffs were referring to maps and checking out the street signs in the Bronx they were looking up at a blue sign with white lettering...and if they traveled too far west into Manhattan the sign color would change to boro coded yellow with black lettering. Yes, there was a time when you could recognize what boro you were in just by looking at the color of the street sign. Later, sometime around 1980 NYC standardized the street sign by eliminating the color code and keeping with the new federal regulation of a green background with white lettering for all boros. Queens County reversed the Bronx color code, white background with blue lettering and Brooklyn was a simple black background and white lettering. Staten Island simply copied Manhattans colors.

And, getting to these boxes over rough cobblestone streets was an experience, I can imagine fire horses trying to travel the same routes we were lumbering over with the rig some fifty years later. But we were not traveling over “cobblestone”, rather “Belgium Block”. Cobblestone was an early paved stone that was untooled and naturally rounded, not good for a street surface. However,  Belgium block, was tooled granite in a rectangular shape and used up to 1860. The block, came from quarries in New Jersey and Northeastern United States, not Belgium, and was much more resilient than cobblestone. They were uniformed in shape, 4-5” wide, proportioned to the size of a horseshoe that gave the horse carrying a heavy load a secure and firm foothold. The problem with the Belgium Block was that they became slick when wet and had a propensity to get out of level. In 1990, the American Disabilities Act mandated that “streets and sidewalks should be accessible for all”.  That did it for the Belgium Block as the irregularity made them challenging for accessibility. There are about 15 miles of Belgium Block that remains in various parts of NYC.

And what about those street names we became so familiar in Report From Engine C0 82? JENNINGS Street was from one of the earliest settlers in the region. Men of the Jennings family served in the American Revolution, War of 1812, the Mexican and Civil War...Sam LEGGETT founded NY Gas Light Company and his sister; CHARLOTTE married William FOX who owned large acres of land with the TIFFANY family, the street leading to their home was called, wait for it... HOME Street...During the 1870’s SOUTHERN BOULEVARD, the southernmost boulevard at that time was designed as a grandiose thoroughfare sweeping through the wide estates of FOX, SIMPSON and TIFFANY. A brook that flowed from Crotona Park to the East River became the boundary of Morissania and West Farms, the brook was called “Bound Brook” which flowed “In the Valley”, hence INTERVALE Avenue ...An Italian pressman by the name of ALDUS created the slanted italic style of print that we call “italic type”, and the inventor of the rotary press was Colonel Robert HOE...General Colin Powell grew up on Captain KELLY street, once a large tract of farmland...A lot of history criss-crossing and covering those mean streets of the War Years!

Next: RIDING WITH L 31; P3

Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!   KMG 365

(https://i.postimg.cc/K3GzbYs3/Screenshot-2019-06-27-13-44-39-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/K3GzbYs3)
Old Bronx styled street sign


(https://i.postimg.cc/xcqf3BrQ/Screenshot-2019-06-27-13-47-29-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/xcqf3BrQ)
New Federal Guideline style seen in all boros

(https://i.postimg.cc/NytvSzn5/Screenshot-2019-06-27-13-42-00-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/NytvSzn5)
Boro coded colors

(https://i.postimg.cc/NKh32nBp/Screenshot-2019-06-27-13-43-37-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/NKh32nBp)
A little something for you Doo Woppers


(https://i.postimg.cc/mt3wVp7d/Screenshot-2019-06-27-19-27-37-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/mt3wVp7d)

(https://i.postimg.cc/RNxd7xJ6/Screenshot-2019-06-27-19-28-55-2.png) (https://postimg.cc/RNxd7xJ6)
Not Cobblestone, but actually Belgium Block!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on June 28, 2019, 08:37:14 PM
Some of the most interesting old time street signs were the ones that had the main street the sign was on &  had the cross st above in a smaller oval form....another interesting style was the porcelain ones that had white letters on a deep blue background that were placed on the sides of bldgs above the first floor level.... i wonder where both these style signs wound up after they were replaced....i hope they were saved & not scrapped.....  https://www.ebay.com/bhp/new-york-street-sign
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on June 28, 2019, 08:53:15 PM
You're right JK, the above street signs were installed around 1964 replacing the street signs below that had the cross street in the "hump", as it was referrd to.

(https://i.postimg.cc/WdtY1LDd/Screenshot-2019-06-28-20-46-27-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/WdtY1LDd)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Sn5TXT8D/Screenshot-2019-06-28-20-47-13-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/Sn5TXT8D)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on July 02, 2019, 03:40:48 PM
LADDER 31; DAYS OF RIDING
Epilogue

The alarms kept coming in, should I take them in or hang with Mel?...I didn’t have to think long…”get going you have a run, I’ll be here when you get back” Mel says.... It was a remarkable day, on the way back from one of the runs one of the truck members has the truck chauffeur Charlie pull over near a rubble pile of bricks. The truck member has the other members including Jack form a bucket brigade type line to stockpile as many bricks on the running board of the rig...he wants to build a bar-b-que pit outside in the back of the firehouse. I watch from the front looking over my shoulder through the cab window as the bricks are passed hand to hand and carefully stacked alongside the truck. The fireman thinks he has enough bricks “for now” and he tells Charlie; “drive slowly back to the firehouse”...Luckily, no runs came in while we “slowly responded back” to Intervale Avenue.

(After rewinding and resetting boxes it was common for the companies to “respond” back to the firehouse with warning lights and a tap on the siren, not as aggressively as an alarm, but without delay, the apparatus seemed to just cruise back towards the firehouse without any traffic control interference. I don’t know, but I believe this was common practice from the real old day of telegraph signals. A company would not know if another alarm came in before radios were installed into fire apparatus and only know if there was another run when the company “tapped back in quarters”... so it was urgent to return as quickly as possible. I’m not sure if this was an old tradition, I did notice it though and mentioned it to Jack during the day. I was comparing the difference to the “other” fire department I was also involved with on Long Island during my Explorer years... the rigs shut down the lights and stopped at red traffic lights returning from alarms, but today, up front in L 31 we just cruised through…or perhaps, that was just the way it was, too)

Anyway, we unload the bricks safely and without incident. Mel has invited me downstairs with the guys. There are about six guys including Jack, some from the truck, some from the engine... Mel and I make eight. (This must be the way a batboy feels sitting in the Yankee dugout). All of us sit around a wooden picnic table in the basement on loose chairs...it's been a busy day, R&R 92’s, little job here and there, brick collecting, stories shared and relentless ribbing is at its best...the tour will be over in a couple of hours. 

Dennis Smith’s book ‘Report From Engine Co. 82' has been released and I must have read it a half dozen times already. I remember telling the lady in a small book store in the South Shore Mall (on Long Island) that ”this” book will be released shortly and please put my name on the waiting list when it arrives...Unfortunately during my visits Dennis was not working and I did not get to meet him until much later while assigned to L 38. But what was interesting is now I can place the stories and recognize the street names from the book into today’s responses. I notice as we drive by Jennings Street, the infamous 10-92 Box 2743 on Charlotte Street and 170, weaving under the “El” on Southern Boulevard and other cool Bronx Street names like Tiffany, Fox and Simpson. When we drive down Simpson Street I look for the 41st Precinct that Dennis mentions in the book...the feeling is like “I read the book, now I’m seeing the movie”.

The day is winding down, I say so-long to Mel as he heads back home, cars are pulling up outside the firehouse, I notice no one drives a “new or flashy” car, lest it become a target. Guys start to come in for the night tour, from the rear of the firehouse the kitchen becomes alive again with loud laughter...It is interesting to see the transformation from the guys coming in wearing civilian clothes, go upstairs to the locker room and change into a navy colored uniform with a small FDNY patch over the pocket. The transformation is just as interesting to see guys go from the uniform back into civilian clothes, the quick switch reminds me of Clark Kent...Jack has been relieved and I wait for him to come downstairs, in the meantime I chatted with a couple of the guys hanging by the housewatch who are now awaiting their relief guy to report for duty. They encourage me to keep my dream strong, hope I had a fun day and say nice things about Jack, too.

I can’t thank Jack enough for allowing me to visit the firehouse again, as we hop into his Buick for the ride home. I’m exhausted, I am sure he is too. But what a day. Our ride home is a brief recap of the days events with a couple of chuckles...Then “quiet time” as we leave the cobblestone streets and running hydrants behind.  I take one final look at the firehouse as it slowly fades from sight as we head down 169th Street toward Southern Boulevard, my last glimpse I notice both rigs have their emergency lights on and it appears the War Wagons are about to “get out” on another run **

In a few months I will call Jack and ask if I can visit Intervale Avenue again, we will pick out a date that works for him and my folks who will drive me. I will go to my calendar on the wall in my bedroom and pencil in backwards counting down the days to my next adventure and write down questions in my notebook to bombard Jack with. In the meantime, I have started a fire memorabilia collection that is fun, train with my Explorer buddies moving handlines around in a parking lot and will reread Dennis’ book another half dozen times, that should keep me busy until then.

(** Little did I know that “My Days of Riding in L 31” would be over, the last time I would see and ride on Intervale Avenue)

Next;  Days of Riding;  Day Tour with E 97


Hope you enjoyed, and thanks for reading!   KMG-365


Stock photos of the area:

(https://i.postimg.cc/vDsggypm/good-morning-teacher-c1980-perla-de-leon-h-2019.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/vDsggypm)

(https://i.postimg.cc/94900gbT/df06215eba3bf23242c289ff5161a564.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/94900gbT)

(https://i.postimg.cc/LnssL8vm/Screenshot-2018-10-26-07-39-39.png) (https://postimg.cc/LnssL8vm)
Infamous 10-92 Box location; Charlotte and 170

(https://i.postimg.cc/0zT5TdvN/ladder31.png) (https://postimg.cc/0zT5TdvN)
Lt / then Capt Bob Farrell, I would ride the frontseat and share my adventure with him, he was a very kind and welcoming officer. On my otherside would be Big Charlie McCarthy...I was "a teen sitting between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle!"
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mack on July 02, 2019, 04:52:27 PM
NYPD 41 Precinct - 1973:


     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0EMu2I_yoM
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on July 07, 2019, 01:17:17 PM
Legends... It's the early 90's and I am a Fireman, working in TL-111. Captain Frank Pampalone is our Officer and I have the Irons. 176 Truck is relocated to Hook & Ladder 175 and Captain John Vigiano is working in 176. It is a day tour and we get a Job at Saratoga & Halsey, on Halsey. 2 1/2 story Brownstone type of building. Right across from the park. Engine 222 is 1st due and Lt Ronnie Carritue (soon to become the Captain of 112 Truck, where he was a Fireman) is working. Triple Deuce gives a 10-75 for a "working fire".  We (111) are responding as the only Truck Company and hear the Vig on the Department Radio telling Brooklyn Dispatch they are available (it's right around the corner from their qtrs) and they, 176, are assigned even though they are on Bradford St. We have a fire on the 2nd floor, up the stoop and in, with a floor above. Someone tells us there are kids on the top floor. I end up there with Ronnie C. but of course, no one is there. My point is, 3 Legends, Captain's Frank Pampalone; John Vigiano & Ronnie Carritue. The 3 main players at this job. How lucky was I to be around to work with these type of Officers. What an honor and I will Never forget what they taught me and Who they were.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on July 08, 2019, 07:13:44 PM
I Thought I might just add a little twist before I continue with the "Days of riding..." compilations....


“GOTTA JOB!”

There is no comparison...nothing else that someone or something can do or say that will get your blood pumping while responding to a confirmed report of a working fire, a JOB...During the “War Years” the Masters on the backstep would look over the side of the rig to see smoke or get a whiff of burning wood and paint. From his observation or sense of smell, relay his hunch and let the other guys know it’s time to pull up the boots, cinch up the collar and clasp the top buckle of the rubber coat...It’s Showtime!

There were many other indications and clues to get a heads up on a “J-O-B”, JOB, a good JOB... When I first heard the term mentioned during my initial visit as a young lad on Intervale Avenue, I had no idea that a JOB meant a “fire”, a working fire. I thought maybe it referred to a task the company had to do...we had a JOB on Freeman Street...I thought, a “job”... what, like picking something up? An errand? Moving furniture? Construction?...Growing up in my house my Dad was an electrician, he would leave every morning and go to his “job”. So the term threw me off until I caught on. JOB, oh I see a working fire!  Got it…

Often the address description from the teleprinter would give you an inkling that you were going to catch work...on the ticket might be additional information such as;  “across from, to the rear of, next to or adjacent from” are all a pretty good indication that someone is reporting a legit fire. The time of day, especially early morning when you receive a “phone alarm” (versus an ERS Box) indicating that someone has phoned in the report of fire and actually observes a fire. On occasion the dispatcher would announce to the first due company over the intercom system that “you’re going to work” as the teleprinter spits out the message, or the dispatcher may even call the housewatch desk before the teleprinter begins to print out its message to give you a “heads up”.

During the War Years the housewatch fireman counted the bells and turned-out the company. Back then if the bells were tripping and the housewatch fireman received a “three ring” phone call that would pretty much confirm a job and get the blood flow percolating.

Certain Holidays you could generally count on catching a job, Halloween was a given, usually Fourth of July with errant fireworks and early New Years Morning after the party revelers have cleaned their home ashtrays of cigarettes, dumped the butts into the kitchen trash and head off to sleep.

Once and a while there was no clue of what to expect...During my Glory Days some corners still had a “pull box”, they were in the process of being replaced by the ERS box...as I wrote in a previous article while driving Tough Timmy, we pulled into the intersection of Prospect and 185 Street during the midday...no indication of fire, no smoke, no people waving...but “thar she blows!” as we inched closer into the intersection, a couple of windows of fire showing on the first floor rear of an apartment house... Hello! Showtime!

There were times while responding to an address, the dispatcher would tip you off on what you were about to encounter; “receiving multiple phone calls... we are filling out the box...reported people still inside, or on the fire escape”...you could expect a JOB after those radio transmissions, the dispatchers always spot on. Other good clues were a given, at night time if you spotted a glow in the direction you were traveling, and of course a smoke column during the day would be a good bet you had work. Many times responding during darkness, screeching down the main drag to the reported fire location and just before turning onto the block with the address, you could see the glow reflecting on a building opposite the fire building. That was always eerie...

Officers and some chauffeurs had a way to alert the troops in the back of the rig when a 10-75 was given or when the officer spotted a smoke column or something we couldn’t from the back. Depending on the officer, some would lightly tap the closed window separating the front of the rig to the back with the telephone handset, usually a few taps would do it...then there were officers who gave a few good arm and fist bangs on the rear window that shook the cab and got your juices flowing.

As a Ladder Company Chauffeur of a tiller, we did have an intercom where I could relay messages or additional information to the OVM tillerman, If we had a spare or the intercom was not working I stuck my left arm out and reached high from the window with a couple of arm circles and my thumb pointing up.

In “NO FRILLS L 112” as a Roofman, or any position for that matter riding in the back cab, if we confirmed a JOB, or a 10-75 transmitted by first arriving companies, the crew always made a point of placing one of our gloved  hands on top of each other over the engine compartment for a brief huddle embracing unity, spirit and Brotherhood seconds before we high-tailed it to our positions.

{Before I return to "Days of riding..." series, I have another little twist..."SURPRISE, SURPRISE!...memories, when you arrive at a JOB, without a 'heads up'"!...coming soon}

Thanks for reading!   KMG -365

Few stock photos....
(https://i.postimg.cc/GTchMLmD/Screenshot-2019-07-04-18-09-39-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/GTchMLmD)
Frame, very common in Bklyn, this one is on Honeywell (E 45 / E 88 area). Window over the front door was called the "dead man" room, as this room was easily cut off from fire...no other exit except out the window. These type fires were fast, fun and furious. Unless the common cockloft of attached frames were loaded with fire, then it was an all day affair!

(https://i.postimg.cc/hhgj4r1G/Screenshot-2019-04-04-18-16-31-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/hhgj4r1G)
Very typical Brooklyn job.

(https://i.postimg.cc/vDzm4V0t/Screenshot-2019-07-04-18-09-13-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/vDzm4V0t)
Good ol' vacant, where you learned to polish your craft!
(Notice box to right of door frame with slash through it)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on July 12, 2019, 10:15:59 PM
SURPRISE, SURPRISE!

Besides the surprise on Prospect Avenue and 185 Street I have written about before with E 88 Tough Timmy, and Monterey / 180 Street...there were a few other memorable incidents where there were no clues or indications of a fire arriving at the fire alarm box. Even though we always expect the unexpected, and fully prepared, there were instances that demand your immediate attention!...Especially “Pull Boxes” and “ERS-NC” were well known for the likeliness of a false alarm, once and a while they could be a bit of a surprise!

A day tour working in E 88 we receive a  ERS- NC run for LaFontaine and 181st street, with additional information being reported as a car fire...we respond as a single unit, after we made a right turn onto 182nd Street from Belmont Avenue we glance across the empty wasteland and vacant lots toward the box location. Behold, there is black smoke coming from the top floor of a five story walk up...unless the “reported Car fire is on the roof, we got ourselves a top floor job”...the boss transmits a 10-75 enroute...it was a top floor job!

Driving L 112 one morning we were out on the air when we received an ERS Box in E 218’s area and 218 is going to be delayed getting to the Box. As we near the Box from a block away we can see a six story vacant apartment building with about nine windows fronting the street. From the fourth to six floor, every window has fire showing, there is no exposure problem as the structure is surrounded by empty lots filled with rubbish. Since we are a rearmount, this will be a job for a couple of tower ladders and so it is my responsibility not to impede or block the positioning of the incoming tower ladders. Basically in this case, our job will be to stand by until the tower ladders have extinguished the fire and be used for overhaul, but that is going to be much later. Sometimes the chief would just send us away, go back in service...As I pull closer to the intersection, a man is standing at the box jumping up and down, waving his arms in a hyper excited manner and pointing to the obvious blaze.  I pulled the rig to the curb he ran toward us...knowing we would have to wait for the big guns who were on their way...I rolled down my window and asked him “if he saw a fire anywhere”...his reaction was priceless.

Flashback to da Bronx... I was detailed to E 45, the Eagles. For a night tour. It’s shortly after dinner when we are turned out by the housewatch for a car fire, Devoe Avenue and 180 Street as a single unit, the location is almost opposite the Bronx Communication Office, just a few doors down west of the CO. The “It isn’t easy being green” Mack pumper cuts down East Tremont Avenue and makes a left turn onto Devoe Avenue...in the meantime, one of the Bronx dispatchers decides to step out of the office to take a gander at the reported car fire. He turns, what he sees is not a car fire... and runs back in, we make a right turn onto 180 Street, Hello!...A frame house is almost completely involved and extending into exposure 4. We are by our lonesome...and quickly scramble to finish donning our gear...we  immediately split the crew, the first two members of 45 with the officer stretch a line into the fire building. I am part of the second team and we stretch a 2 ½” into exposure 4 as a defensive move, but after entering Exposure 4 fire has gotten a hold of the second floor.

NOTE 1: The fire went to  a second alarm, we knocked out the fire on the second floor of exposure 4 and held a defensive position from the fire trying it's darnd'est to extend fom the fire building. Eventually the first line had to be backed out and tower ladders finished off the remaining fire. A parking lot was born on 180 Street.   NOTE 2: Engine 45 received an Engine Unit Citation for this fire...me too, my first (and only, thanks Eagles!)

Next, Return to; Riding with E 97.

Hope you enjoyed, and thanks for reading KMG-365


Stock photos... but very typical JOBS.

(https://i.postimg.cc/WD0tbYMw/Screenshot-2019-07-04-18-13-01-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/WD0tbYMw)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Pp4x1LVL/Screenshot-2019-07-04-18-12-39-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/Pp4x1LVL)

(https://i.postimg.cc/FkHKp9wT/Screenshot-2019-07-04-18-11-27-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/FkHKp9wT)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on July 17, 2019, 07:06:26 PM
DAYS OF RIDING: Day Tour with E 97

I am awake before Jack comes in to get me for breakfast,  per my routine I mentioned in previous posts, my parents have dropped me off at Jack's house last night. Today I will be riding with Jack who has just recently transferred to E 97 in order to log more study time for the upcoming Lieutenant promotion exam. Transferring from L 31  to E 97 will cut his running almost in half, and that extra time Jack can focus on the subjects and study materials he will need to know and do well on the highly competitive exam. Jack and I head out this beautiful spring morning, Jack still has his Skylark and we leave from his Westchester County house after breakfast. Jack is committed to studying and shows me the bulging shoe box jammed with index cards he has hand written questions on. He says when ever he gets a few minutes he grabs a fistful of cards that have a question on the front and answer on the back, he reviews his hand written notes from the various study materials; FDNY Regulations, NFPA manual, WNYF articles, tactics, evolutions, building construction, circulars and procedures, plus many other topics he will have to remember to achieve a high passing score. Jack pulls out one of the cards, reads it and expounds adding a little more detail...I’m trying to listen, focus, it sounds interesting....but I am out of it...I woke up with a stomach bug. My head feels like it is on fire and I can feel heat around my eyeballs, they feel fuzzy and  I’m sure I am running a fever, my stomach is barking... But, no matter how sick I feel  I am not going to allow this opportunity to ride with Jack pass me by... The sickness pangs comes and goes, I feel a little relief for a few moments, then, bang... awful...I maintain a poker face and Jack has no idea I’m not doing very well this fine morning.

We exit from the parkway and make a right turn onto Astor Avenue in the northeast part of the Bronx. I do not know where the firehouse is as this will be my first time there, I am enjoying the very bucolic scenery, it is pastoral and peaceful as we drive through this section of the Bronx. Large homes are well kept, the lawns are edged and green, the shrubbery tidy, nice automobiles in the driveway...there are no hydrants running or belgium block streets, every apartment building we pass the windows are intact...I am anticipating the change from this beautiful countryside to the grittiness and dark side of the ghetto any minute now...Except, Jack pulls the car over in front of the firehouse on this beautiful tree lined street, the door is open and I can see the shiny Mack engine resting... No, we won’t be traveling to the South Bronx today. I remember saying to myself; “so, this is it?”...Where are the vacant buildings with trees growing from them, abandoned automobiles, garbage piles and knocked over fire hydrants? I am not totally disappointed and I dare not show my feelings, I am always grateful to be with Jack...but I can’t help to think about what is going on back on Intervale Avenue, the laughter in the kitchen and the turbulent neighborhood that was part of the adventure.

There are a few guys milling about the housewatch awaiting relief, the firehouse seems very quiet, clean and still. 0900 bells tap in. Jack has the 0900-1200 housewatch duties. We broom out the apparatus floor and straighten out the housewatch. I notice a paperboy making a delivery across the street. It is a very peaceful setting, yet I yearn and glance outside the quarters hoping to see and hear the racket of a Gypsey Cab or yellow tow truck racing by, but all is calm...Jack is finished sprucing up the housewatch area and now walks me around the older Mack engine...we open every compartment as Jack explains about the differences and uses of every tool, appliance and fitting. The rig is different from E 82, for one, the cab is rounded instead of square, it is an older version Mack pumper, the backstep and hosebed is uncovered and the guys riding the backstep hold onto what looks like subway handrails. There is no conestoga cover covering the hosebed... I try my best to focus and show interest as Jack describes the tools...Unfortunately I can only take in so much as I am literally about to pass-out. I try my best to pay attention,  white lights blind and I feel woozy as Jack describes the fittings... it sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown, whannnnt wahhhh, wahhh, wahhh, wahh, I’m trying to listen but I cannot hear.  I must have held the perfect poker face as Jack had no clue about how I was feeling...things were not looking good...at any moment it could be “lights out”. But I push forward. Shortly after committee work, Jack bought me a “Yoo Hoo”, a refreshing chocolate drink from the firehouse vending machine and fortunately I was able to get it down. After committee work, the members gathered into the tranquil kitchen, it is not raucous as I was accustomed to, or expected. I remember sitting on a chair off to the corner of the room, my stomach is boiling and yelling at me. I slowly got up, unnoticed and made my way to the apparatus floor bathroom that was immaculately cleaned, I shut the door...my lights went out... I literally passed out, I’m not sure for how long, a few seconds I suppose, but when I came too I was on my knees driving that porcelain steering wheel doing the heave-ho! I remember thanking God that I just had that Yoo hoo. After a few minutes I regained my composure and felt much better actually. I returned to the kitchen, we had lunch. I’m not sure, but either someone went out for groceries or it was brought in since the rig did not leave quarters until after lunch.

As I sat in the serene kitchen a couple of guys played a board game, another did crossword puzzles in the paper. The conversation was low keyed and pleasant...but in my coconut I was going batty. I think the lieutenant sensed that. The lieutenant was a heavy set older Italian looking guy, not tall, broad with a beer belly. He was very nice and cordial. I think he felt bad that I was sitting in the kitchen without a run or any activity. About 2:00 pm he told the guys, let’s go out for a ride and check some hydrants. The guys calmly put away the game board and folded up the newspaper and strolled to the rig. The lieutenant told me to ride behind him in the jumpseat of the old Mack. We left quarters, I was by myself in the jumpseat as Jack and the rest of the crew rode the back step. The jumpseat was a fun spot, you were right beside the engine as it roared...We cruised by hydrants in the district, but never stopped to actually operate and test them. If they were where they were supposed to be, that would suffice. We cruised for about an hour throughout the district and returned to quarters mid afternoon. I returned to the kitchen where the game board was brought back out and the guy doing the newspaper puzzle returned to his puzzle. I was feeling much better and strolled around the apparatus floor, I took notice of the thawing apparatus that was in quarters, the rig was a bit dusty.

It wasn’t until almost 5 pm when we were finally assigned a run and I jumped on the rig behind the officer in the jumpseat...oh oh, trouble ahead; the day boss was relieved by the oncoming officer, E 97’s Captain...he spotted me sitting on the rig as he was donning his boots and coat…with wide eyed amazement he bellowed ”YOU!... WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE?”...I was mortified (think Jackie Gleason; HUMMANAH, HUMMANAH)...I did not have time to answer…”GET OFF, GET OFF THE TRUCK”... To my chagrin, I hopped off the rig, stood next to the housewatch desk and watched as the engine whisked off to the box with Jack on the back step. It wasn’t long before the engine pulled back up to quarters and backed in, Jack was apologetic, but I was fine with it, I had time to adjust... Just being in the firehouse was fine with me, maybe a little embarrassed, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.

Jack got relieved, changed back to civilian attire and Engine 97 became history. I told Jack about my sickness on the way home, he was surprised, had no idea...I kept my poker face to the end and never tipped my hand!

Next: Days of Riding; The Best Bust


Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!   KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/QKFjZpDP/Screenshot-2019-07-03-18-26-05-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/QKFjZpDP)
E 97 had a similar Mack C series rig
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: turk132 on July 20, 2019, 08:25:39 PM
Pull Box 4762 was located on the west side of Park Ave at East 186 Street. East 186 St ended on the east side of Park Ave and the box location, on the west side, was not on a street corner but in the  block which stretched from E187 St to E 184 St. (Between the east and west side of Park Ave were the Metro North train tracks.) The Box stood by itself in front of a large empty lot which several buildings used to occupy. At 1745hrs, Box 4762 was pulled. It was a short ride from the firehouse, one block east on 187 St, right on the Park Ave to the Box. I got off the rig and grabbed the keys from the Boss to R&R the Box. As I was doing this, I hear a shout from down the street. A man is standing in front of the first building south of the vacant lot. He is pointing saying “Hey, there's a fire in the building”. It was late fall or early winter, so it was dark but I could see the front, the  rear and Exposure 4 side of the building but nothing was evident. I gave the keys back to the Boss and told him the guy is saying there's a fire in the building. I get back on the rig and we drive the ½ block to the building. The Boss headed into the building, we went to the backstep, still nothing showing, no excited people leaving the building, no odor. This changed very shortly when the Boss yelled to the chauffeur from the front door  “transmit a 10-75 and start a line to the 2nd floor”. Surprise, I grabbed my folds and the nozzle and headed into the building. On the 2nd floor the door to the fire apartment was open and smoke was rolling out from the top of the door jamb. The Truck was doing a search, I was positioned to the side of the door with the nozzle cracked waiting to hear the rush of air, followed by water. Suddenly banging and clanging from the fire apartment followed by the sound of a stampede: the Truck Officer, the Can Man, the Irons Man, bailing out of the fire apartment with fire venting out the top of the door into the hallway. After the Irons Man exited the door, he dropped right to his knees, pivoted around and grabbed the door, closing it. He looked at me and said “ hallway.. straight in..its a room all the way in the back”. We had our work cut out for us, but this is what the Engine lives for, fire at the door and an apartment  full of fire.  On the line that day were 2 probies, Andy Fredericks and Joe Stach. Years later Joe would comment “You dragged me down my first hallway”. I said “where was that”. He said “ you know, that job on Park Ave.” This was a “good” fire and a good learning experience for them. Andy Fredericks was killed on 9/11 as a member of Squad 18, Joe Stach recently passed from a 9/11 related illness. Two good men taken way too soon.......
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on July 23, 2019, 04:10:21 PM
DAYS OF RIDING; THE BEST BUST

...“It was raining hard in ‘Frisco, I needed one more fair to make my night…” Everytime I hear the song “Taxi” by Harry Chapin I fondly recall the time I spent at Jack’s house staying over to ride with Ladder 31 for another adventure. It is July 6th, 1972 and a new singer named Harry Chapin is making his debut on the Johnny Carson Show. The song will become a memory forever tattooed inside my coconut.

Jack is not home, and I sit with Jack's wife, Irene on the living room sofa. She is a very pleasant and lovely woman, she welcomes me into her home every time. But, a situation has come up and I will not be able to ride at Ladder 31 tomorrow. Bust, bummer. But I truly enjoy this moment with Irene. I will make the best of tomorrow by visiting his local community firehouse.

Harry continues ”....a lady up ahead waved to flag me down, she got in at the light”  I know the words to this song inside and out, and after all this time it brings me right back to that occasion, at 15 years old.

The following morning I head out taking in the local scenery and plan my adventure of visiting the local firehouse. Since riding with Jack, I have also developed a hobby collecting fire memorabilia. It all started when I saw a story in the Sunday Daily News magazine some months ago. The article was a two fold spread with photos about a young man, a little older than me that had this fantastic fire equipment collection in his home. The various photos showed helmets, nozzles, a wood ladder, a collection of badges, extinguishers. I was impressed. It must have felt cool to be around that stuff. So,  I broke out my Olivetti gray typewriter and composed a template letter of my new “fire memorabilia hobby” to be addressed to many, many, many fire departments. I was like a machine typing out letter after letter. I bought a book filled with zip codes of everytown and city in the US, major cities were highlighted and that's where I started by using a generic address; Anytown Fire Dept, Anytown, State, Zip. Sometimes letters would be returned, but not often.

My collection was up and running and growing everyday. I would receive in the mail envelopes with a bulge marked “please hand stamp” that was usually a badge of some sort, along with badges, I received patches, annual reports, frontpieces, helmets and more. Jack gave me two of his helmets he replaced and an insert from TCU712...My mailman was also the local fire chief, he was amazed at what I was being sent daily and surprised me one day with a helmet from my community with a brand new firefighter white globe lamp. Everyday was  like finding a Christmas package, I couldn’t wait to see what the mail brought in today.. Imagine, one day a box on my steps, marked from the Berlin Fire Department in Germany with a new firefighter's helmet inside!..Family members contributed, too, and my dad helped with the collection, since Long Island was a volunteer fire department mecca he often worked in construction with many volunteer firefighters who would give my dad some memento from his department. I amassed over twenty fire helmets of all shapes, colors and designs, a 6’ wooden hook (that was left behind broken in half at my Uncles business that had a small fire... we patched it up to make it look brand new). Travelling during vacation and Sunday morning jaunts my family loved to stop at flea markets and many times I found vintage fire equipment or helmets there. If we camped somewhere for vacation, I always made a point of stopping off at the local firehouse, check out the rigs and try to add to my collection. Very rarely I came up empty-handed. Since my dad was an electrician he would bring home bundles of old wiring that I would strip in the garage, amass a huge pile of copper and sell to a junkie. I would use my earnings to buy a few helmets from a vendor that lived on Staten Island and sold fire memorabilia from a handmade catalog. This went on and on for a few years, my collection overwhelmed my bedroom... and I have to say it was worthy of museum status. And it was cool hanging out in my “fire museum!”

But my favorite “score” of all time had to be that day!

Late morning I walked the few blocks to the community firehouse. The town had a brick firehouse facing the main street with two large glass doors that allowed you to see the apparatus. I rang the doorbell, a minute or so later a firefighter came to answer the door. He was very kind and I introduced myself. At that time I was also a young “Explorer” with my hometown fire department so I had a nice conversation with this gentleman about our respective fire departments and interests. Then I popped the question about my hobby, I remember asking if their were any “old helmets” not in use anymore that I could add to my collection. He said to give him a few minutes, he would go upstairs and look around to see what “he can come up with”. A few moments later he came downstairs...he said “no luck on a fire helmet, but would I like an old leather bucket?”...(SAY WHAT???)...I maintained my cool, but I was jumping out of my skin. Did he just say “an old leather bucket”...It was black, with #216 stenciled on it in white, about 15 inches tall, 10 inches round, with a black leather handle. The leather had become hardened and stiff over time... Trying to remain calm, I told the fireman that I loved to add that to my collection...as he hands it  over to me. It is love at first site! What a historic piece of fire memorabilia!  I remember looking at the Staten Island vendor list, back then, leather buckets were going for a couple of hundred dollars!

Completing our little transfer, the firefighter then offers: “do you want to see the trucks?”...Ordinarily I would say ”Love to”... however, knowing I have this golden oldie in my hands I’m waiting for someone to say “what are you doing with that?”...I politely tell him, perhaps another time, it’s late and I need to get back home. “Gotta go!”...He said so long to me, and I started my walk back to Jack’s house...gradually picking up the pace and trying not to look back over my shoulder... feet don’t fail me now...What a score!..
...”I go flying so high….” (Taxi)

That bucket became the centerpiece of my fire memorabilia collection!

Next up: Days of Riding; “T-riff-ic” E 45. Epilogue.

Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!


(https://i.postimg.cc/KkSKPV5n/20190604-090139-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/KkSKPV5n)
Leather Fire Bucket


(https://i.postimg.cc/tng9Wt83/20190604-090011.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/tng9Wt83)
Partial Badge Collection


(https://i.postimg.cc/5XzbBtKR/20190502-135542.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/5XzbBtKR)
Vintage High Eagle Leather Helmet from St. Paul Minn. FD (I bought from SI Vendor)


(https://i.postimg.cc/ZCGh5SYF/20190502-135559-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/ZCGh5SYF)
Berlin, Germany Fire Helmet mailed to me and found on my doorsteps in a box.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on July 29, 2019, 10:16:21 PM
DAYS OF RIDING; E 45...T-RIFF-IC !
Epilogue

Today is Sunday, July 6, 1975 and probably the last time I will be riding with Jack. Some things have changed, I am now 18 and have my drivers license, I just graduated from High School and  I will be joining my local volunteer fire department which I am excited about tomorrow night, Monday. I have been an Explorer with the fire department since 1970 and tomorrow I make the big leap to become a full fledged volunteer firefighter “Proby”. I have been with the fire department as an Explorer for five years and have grown to know many of the members, including NYCFIRE.NET “Memory Master” who was a dispatcher and member. The memorable years were special and it was there I was able to develop wonderful  lifelong relationships with friends that I would share with up to today!

I have ridden with Jack about three times at E 45, things have changed for him too, he did well on his promotion exam to Lieutenant, covered for a little while in various Harlem firehouses and now has a spot as Lieutenant at E 45. E 45 is stationed on East Tremont Avenue with Tower Ladder 58. Ladder 58 has just recently moved next door to 45’s quarters in a new two story modern firehouse, Battalion 18 would join them. The members park their cars in the rear of quarters where there is a large alleyway, it is only accessible from 178 Street, from there members then enter the rear door of E 45’s firehouse and directly into the kitchen. The kitchen has a long table with fixed bench seating that doesn’t move, the benches are affixed to the floor. Ladder 58 members cross over to their part of the firehouse to their kitchen, bunk room and sitting rooms from a cut out door opening between the firehouses. Engine 45 quarters was built many years ago, the “new” L 58 is a modern brick firehouse added alongside. Tonight I will be spending a night tour with E 45. I park my 1966 Chevy Caprice in the parking lot and walk up the steps into 45’s kitchen where I meet Jack. We sit for a while and catch up on family stories, the housewatchman announces “change of tours” and Jack prepares his roll call. I meet the guys, I will be riding with and the MPO John Koskie. John is the “Willy Knapp” of E 45, he is the head honcho and a very friendly, funny man, John has a good sense of humor. I recognize Johns name from WNYF magazine I have been receiving, John writes the 7th Division **All Hands Column in the back of the mag.

As I look over the rig, mounted on the front cab are large metallic numerals 45 that have been painted to resemble the stars and stripes of the American flag,  on the top of the windshield is a logo that says “T-riff-ic”, not sure of the meaning though...as I continue to look over the CF Mack, I notice the cab doors for the members riding behind have been removed.

It doesn’t take long before we start running. Jack has me riding the front seat next to him. I notice the dashboard on the officer side of the rig. It has a small block of wood that is maybe 3” x 2” glued to the dash with three small holes on top. One of the holes has a chopped down pencil, the type you would usually see in a bowling alley. Next to the block is a cut down clip board with small pieces of paper clipped down. They are the remains of the day tour with times and box numbers scrolled on it. Overhead on the visor is a cardboard copy of the FDNY 10 codes ...Not before long, we are off and running, different boxes start to stream in and we shoot from one box across the West Farms section to others. On occasion I get to see E 82 and L 31 on some boxes to our south. Anytime that the Bronx CO contacts 45 and assigns another run, Jack responds by saying “with pleasure”, and he means it! ...After a few runs, he turns the handset over to me to transmit 10-92’s to the Bronx CO, meanwhile he writes the time and box number on small slips of paper he keeps stuffing into his top right pocket. His pocket is starting to bulge.

Looking back on previous tours with 45, I remember we caught a second alarm job down in the Hunts Point section. The job came in just before lunch, turning east out of quarters unto East Tremont Avenue, then turning south near Bryant Avenue we could see the thick black column of smoke as we crossed over the Cross Bronx Expressway. It was a factory fire and 45 was first due on the second. We spent a good portion of the day there. This is the first time I see the new Tower Ladder 31,  it is positioned on the exposure #2 side and I click a photo. (This is one of the times I took a camera in, and below are some shots from that fire.)

Back to the firehouse. E 45 is stationed on the busy double yellow lined East Tremont Avenue. East Tremont Avenue is a well traveled east west thoroughfare that runs the length of the Bronx. In front of quarters and lining the avenue are the typical yellow and red awnings of bodegas. In many respects, the West Farms section is as gritty as I recall my first days in 82/31. It is still most occupied residences, but there are many blocks with vacants interspersed, the area is alive with a robust energy of humanity. Traffic up and down East Tremont Avenue is relentless.

Recently Jack has painted the company office and as a special touch added a day glow star effect to the blue ceiling...giving the effect like you are sleeping under the stars. Members of 45 apparently liked the idea as they continued the theme into their bunkroom. Tonight I too will be sleeping under the stars, and you do get the sensation that you are outside somewhere. In 1975 E 45 responded to just under 6000 runs and first among all NYC engine companies in workers with 5159. (I had “heard” that E 45 was the only company in FDNY lore to break 1,000 runs in a month, like I said, “I heard”...) We have done a lot of running...I hit the rack with the other guys around 2 A.M. when it seemed the chaos was calming down. It turned out to be a rather quiet night, but not for long... just as sunlight was breaking, the bunkroom lights were turned on as we turned out for a phone alarm near Bryant Ave and East Tremont. John Koskie makes the left out of quarters, and we quickly arrive two blocks down from quarters and pull up to Bryant Av... as John begins to make a right turn onto Bryant, Jack points upward, he sees three windows on the top floor of the six brick with heavy fire illuminating the new dawn light blue sky.

That would be my final run and final “Days of Riding” with Jack until I get hired by FDNY in seven more years!...But, what a way to end this journey, you might say; “T-RIFF-IC”!

**SIDENOTE: John Koskie wrote the WNYF “All Hands” 7th Division Column for many, many years. In 1988, John would hand the column over to me when he retired and I was assigned to L 38. The column has remained with a  L 38 member since (or at least until I stopped the subscription about five years ago). Fast forward...In less than ten years I would be detailed to drive E 45 for a day tour, and within the same time frame I would receive an Engine Unit Citation...my only one...working a night tour with the “Eagles”.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365

Coming next; "GORY" DAYS. A review of my experience with NYC EMS assigned to the “murder capital” of NYC 1978!


(https://i.postimg.cc/mcM1GZbd/Screenshot-2019-07-04-15-24-29-1-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/mcM1GZbd)

(https://i.postimg.cc/BLB8XhPH/20190729-195239.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/BLB8XhPH)

Job ahead, view from cab of E 45 heading to 2nd in Hunts Point:
(https://i.postimg.cc/SXpNC6hr/20190729-194827-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/SXpNC6hr)

42 Truck Operating at 2nd:
(https://i.postimg.cc/rK08Hnyj/20190623-163417.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/rK08Hnyj)

New Ladder 31, first TL:
(https://i.postimg.cc/YL4wJ070/20190729-195316-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/YL4wJ070)

Todays E 45 and L 58 Quarters:
(https://i.postimg.cc/BtdWjqs5/Screenshot-2019-06-25-21-28-41-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/BtdWjqs5)

"T-RIFF-IC"
(https://i.postimg.cc/njmfRVDp/Screenshot-2019-07-04-15-24-29-1-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/njmfRVDp)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on July 29, 2019, 11:12:04 PM
 Dan, THANK YOU for all those GREAT STORIES and EXCELLENT PHOTOS of your early riding days with some of the busiest companies of the FDNY. Of course during my buffing days of the Bronx, I'm sure that we were at a few of the same jobs together. 

 Reading these stories takes me back to those very busy days of chasing the rigs of E88/L38, E82/L31, E45/L58, and some of those other very busy companies throughout the area. It was an education that you couldn't get from a book.

 I look forward to reading about your EMS days coming up. I know at the time it was the NYC EMS before the merge into the FDNY. Like all of the city's services, they were stretched to the breaking point. It was almost impossible to get an ambulance due to the overwhelming number of calls going on. ETA's for EMS units of One Hour were not uncommon due the staggering number of incidents going on. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on July 30, 2019, 07:52:05 AM
DAYS OF RIDING; E 45...T-RIFF-IC !
Epilogue

Today is Sunday, July 6, 1975 and probably the last time I will be riding with Jack. Some things have changed, I am now 18 and have my drivers license, I just graduated from High School and  I will be joining my local volunteer fire department which I am excited about tomorrow night, Monday. I have been an Explorer with the fire department since 1970 and tomorrow I make the big leap to become a full fledged volunteer firefighter “Proby”. I have been with the fire department as an Explorer for five years and have grown to know many of the members, including NYCFIRE.NET “Memory Master” who was a dispatcher and member. The memorable years were special and it was there I was able to develop wonderful  lifelong relationships with friends that I would share with up to today!

I have ridden with Jack about three times at E 45, things have changed for him too, he did well on his promotion exam to Lieutenant, covered for a little while in various Harlem firehouses and now has a spot as Lieutenant at E 45. E 45 is stationed on East Tremont Avenue with Tower Ladder 58. Ladder 58 has just recently moved next door to 45’s quarters in a new two story modern firehouse, Battalion 18 would join them. The members park their cars in the rear of quarters where there is a large alleyway, it is only accessible from 178 Street, from there members then enter the rear door of E 45’s firehouse and directly into the kitchen. The kitchen has a long table with fixed bench seating that doesn’t move, the benches are affixed to the floor. Ladder 58 members cross over to their part of the firehouse to their kitchen, bunk room and sitting rooms from a cut out door opening between the firehouses. Engine 45 quarters was built many years ago, the “new” L 58 is a modern brick firehouse added alongside. Tonight I will be spending a night tour with E 45. I park my 1966 Chevy Caprice in the parking lot and walk up the steps into 45’s kitchen where I meet Jack. We sit for a while and catch up on family stories, the housewatchman announces “change of tours” and Jack prepares his roll call. I meet the guys, I will be riding with and the MPO John Koskie. John is the “Willy Knapp” of E 45, he is the head honcho and a very friendly, funny man, John has a good sense of humor. I recognize Johns name from WNYF magazine I have been receiving, John writes the 7th Division **All Hands Column in the back of the mag.

As I look over the rig, mounted on the front cab are large metallic numerals 45 that have been painted to resemble the stars and stripes of the American flag,  on the top of the windshield is a logo that says “T-riff-ic”, not sure of the meaning though...as I continue to look over the CF Mack, I notice the cab doors for the members riding behind have been removed.

It doesn’t take long before we start running. Jack has me riding the front seat next to him. I notice the dashboard on the officer side of the rig. It has a small block of wood that is maybe 3” x 2” glued to the dash with three small holes on top. One of the holes has a chopped down pencil, the type you would usually see in a bowling alley. Next to the block is a cut down clip board with small pieces of paper clipped down. They are the remains of the day tour with times and box numbers scrolled on it. Overhead on the visor is a cardboard copy of the FDNY 10 codes ...Not before long, we are off and running, different boxes start to stream in and we shoot from one box across the West Farms section to others. On occasion I get to see E 82 and L 31 on some boxes to our south. Anytime that the Bronx CO contacts 45 and assigns another run, Jack responds by saying “with pleasure”, and he means it! ...After a few runs, he turns the handset over to me to transmit 10-92’s to the Bronx CO, meanwhile he writes the time and box number on small slips of paper he keeps stuffing into his top right pocket. His pocket is starting to bulge.

Looking back on previous tours with 45, I remember we caught a second alarm job down in the Hunts Point section. The job came in just before lunch, turning east out of quarters unto East Tremont Avenue, then turning south near Bryant Avenue we could see the thick black column of smoke as we crossed over the Cross Bronx Expressway. It was a factory fire and 45 was first due on the second. We spent a good portion of the day there. This is the first time I see the new Tower Ladder 31,  it is positioned on the exposure #2 side and I click a photo. (This is one of the times I took a camera in, and below are some shots from that fire.)

Back to the firehouse. E 45 is stationed on the busy double yellow lined East Tremont Avenue. East Tremont Avenue is a well traveled east west thoroughfare that runs the length of the Bronx. In front of quarters and lining the avenue are the typical yellow and red awnings of bodegas. In many respects, the West Farms section is as gritty as I recall my first days in 82/31. It is still most occupied residences, but there are many blocks with vacants interspersed, the area is alive with a robust energy of humanity. Traffic up and down East Tremont Avenue is relentless.

Recently Jack has painted the company office and as a special touch added a day glow star effect to the blue ceiling...giving the effect like you are sleeping under the stars. Members of 45 apparently liked the idea as they continued the theme into their bunkroom. Tonight I too will be sleeping under the stars, and you do get the sensation that you are outside somewhere. In 1975 E 45 responded to just under 6000 runs and first among all NYC engine companies in workers with 5159. (I had “heard” that E 45 was the only company in FDNY lore to break 1,000 runs in a month, like I said, “I heard”...) We have done a lot of running...I hit the rack with the other guys around 2 A.M. when it seemed the chaos was calming down. It turned out to be a rather quiet night, but not for long... just as sunlight was breaking, the bunkroom lights were turned on as we turned out for a phone alarm near Bryant Ave and East Tremont. John Koskie makes the left out of quarters, and we quickly arrive two blocks down from quarters and pull up to Bryant Av... as John begins to make a right turn onto Bryant, Jack points upward, he sees three windows on the top floor of the six brick with heavy fire illuminating the new dawn light blue sky.

That would be my final run and final “Days of Riding” with Jack until I get hired by FDNY in seven more years!...But, what a way to end this journey, you might say; “T-RIFF-IC”!

**SIDENOTE: John Koskie wrote the WNYF “All Hands” 7th Division Column for many, many years. In 1988, John would hand the column over to me when he retired and I was assigned to L 38. The column has remained with a  L 38 member since (or at least until I stopped the subscription about five years ago). Fast forward...In less than ten years I would be detailed to drive E 45 for a day tour, and within the same time frame I would receive an Engine Unit Citation...my only one...working a night tour with the “Eagles”.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365

Coming next; "GORY" DAYS. A review of my experience with NYC EMS assigned to the “murder capital” of NYC 1978!


(https://i.postimg.cc/mcM1GZbd/Screenshot-2019-07-04-15-24-29-1-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/mcM1GZbd)

(https://i.postimg.cc/BLB8XhPH/20190729-195239.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/BLB8XhPH)

Job ahead, view from cab of E 45 heading to 2nd in Hunts Point:
(https://i.postimg.cc/SXpNC6hr/20190729-194827-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/SXpNC6hr)

42 Truck Operating at 2nd:
(https://i.postimg.cc/rK08Hnyj/20190623-163417.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/rK08Hnyj)

New Ladder 31, first TL:
(https://i.postimg.cc/YL4wJ070/20190729-195316-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/YL4wJ070)

Todays E 45 and L 58 Quarters:
(https://i.postimg.cc/BtdWjqs5/Screenshot-2019-06-25-21-28-41-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/BtdWjqs5)

"T-RIFF-IC"
(https://i.postimg.cc/njmfRVDp/Screenshot-2019-07-04-15-24-29-1-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/njmfRVDp)



Thank you Willy, it was really fun revisiting those years. As I type and retype the stories I feel like I'm right back there again, it's a magical feeling and I appreciate you, the gang and the readers for allowing me to share those days, the "Glory Days".  I have a few EMS stories in the can, that I am fine tuning, they are doozies!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on July 31, 2019, 07:41:27 AM
Hello Troops! I received this golden oldie FDNY 10-CODE card replica from Disp51 in a PM. I'm happy to pass it along! ...And please feel free to jump in on the thread here with your thoughts and memories, it is much appreciated.

A card like this was mounted to the visor of E 45 back in the day, how simple the codes were back then...
(https://i.postimg.cc/SY8hrL7L/Screenshot-2019-07-31-07-18-58-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/SY8hrL7L)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 04, 2019, 09:57:27 PM
‘GORY’  DAYS; Preamble

Sometime back in the spring of 1978 I filled out an application for NYC Emergency Medical Services Health and Hospital Corp as an “Ambulance Corpsman”, an Emergency Medical Technician. I was hired that summer and assigned to the Liberty Outpost in East New York, Brooklyn. The NYC EMS was operated solely by Health and Hospitals (H&H) and not affiliated with the FDNY at that time. I worked for NYC EMS thirteen months before my next appointment  as a firefighter for the Washington DC Fire Department. But... BIG BUT!...I’m amazed at what I witnessed and experienced... to this day the memories still seem a surreal mix of fact and fantasy. Fortunately, I had the wherewithal to take meticulous notes** when I got in the field, and if I did not write these notes in my own handwriting, I would doubt myself.

You have read on these forums exciting and stirring recollections from the FDNY and NYPD  “War Years”. I hope to give you a small inside scoop...the skinny... of a NYC Health and Hospitals Corpsman's point of view from the back of the ambulance, or what New York City Cops and Fireman call; “the Bus” during that turbulent period.

Caveat; Even though the above title is expressive, I’ll have to reserve a handful of anecdotes that even within the description would be to ugly and revealing...But, stay tuned... I have quite a few intriguing occurrences to which I made notes of and I think you will find very amusing.

(**Notes. I was told very early on from my EMS Supervisor that I should keep notes, just in case I would have to go to court. I bought a green pocket size 3x5” 100 page spiral notepad. The pad has sixteen lines per page. With the exception of allowing one space between each tour I worked, I compiled over 130 front and back pages of “job” entries with a small note of any unusual circumstances pertaining to that job. Each tour, I listed the date, time, weather and my partner. Below that entry would be the time, address, and disposition of the run. The date of my last entry was 8/1/79)

                                                                   **********

I should also point out that 69Mets Garrett and I shared a midnight-eight tour at Liberty Outpost together in a bus on Saturday, July 21, 1979. Garrett and I responded to six jobs; a collision, 2 different stabbings, an OBS maternity, sick and injured call. All logged into my notepad!

Memorymaster has a history with EMS. I invite Garrett and Charlie to jump in with some of their stories! It will make for some very compelling reading from a different time and service. Hope you enjoy!

(https://i.postimg.cc/KkxDDZRG/20190729-194730-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/KkxDDZRG)

(https://i.postimg.cc/2qfQCzdQ/1-e04c0e2b3f756905c1bdf0daffb6c29a.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/2qfQCzdQ)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 04, 2019, 10:09:09 PM
GORY DAYS; Part 1
Dodge

Early November morning 1978, weather is cool and calm and I am the driver of NYC EMS “Liberty 374” from the East New York Liberty Outpost. The ambulance or “bus” as it is referred to is a white, slightly beat up mid 1970 Ford 150 truck chassis with a square Gruman patient cabin in the rear, in place of a truck bed. The bus has an orange stripe that runs the length of the rig, with blue capital lettering on the box; “EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE”, “CITY OF NEW YORK”, HEALTH AND HOSPITAL CORP”.  On the door is the number 102, but it does not refer to anything.

My partner is a Corpsman like myself, we are both EMTs and have been hired together recently. His name is Joe, he is the same age as me and like me he is from Long Island, both of us are experiencing a new venture together. Joe is a bit of a pain in the ass, he is slow, lazy and arrogant. He speaks to me in a condescending fashion even though we came on at the same time. But that pent up annoyance inside me came to an abrupt end the last time he and I worked together...he handled a call that did not turn out well, and I let him know that his lazy behaviour and lackluster performance would never happen again with me...but more on that in another article. Anyway, tonight I take control of our assignments and responses... Joe and I are “roving” the ENY area, we are working the graveyard shift, the early morning weather is nice and comfortable. The “roving” protocol is similar to that of police sector cars, you “rove” in your area until assigned a call or you can stand fast at a certain location that usually provides a bathroom and coffee. Our hang out  location is Pennsylvania Avenue and Liberty Street, a few blocks from the garage, but right now I’m in the mood to cruise the neighborhood.

We have just completed a OBS (maternity) call on Hemlock Street in the eastern section of ENY and transported the mom to Brookdale Hospital without incident. It is a little after 0130 hrs now, slowly perusing the dark and quiet streets I notice a glow out of the corner of my eye as we cross over Glenmore Avenue, a few blocks down a van is completely ablaze and there is no fire apparatus there yet, the fire will provide us a little entertainment while the neighborhood seems quiet  I drive the ambulance toward the fire and park a block away awaiting the arrival of FDNY. The van fire is on the corner of Glenmore Ave and Essex Street and going pretty good now, lighting up the dark sky...an engine whisks past us to the scene as my partner and I “buff”  the fire from a block away.

I am watching the troops extinguish the van fire, sort or zoning out...when out of nowhere a police sector car comes to a screeching halt inches from my door and opened window...startled, I almost jumped out of my skin...the police officer on the passenger side sticks his head out of the window of his RMP and excitedly spits out that two people have been shot a few blocks behind us on Shepherd Avenue…”Got it!”, I flip the two toggle switches for emergency lights, one lights the clear gumball with a red and white lights on the roof, the other the two front red lights on the ambulance patient cabin along with the two lights on the rear of the rig. There are no warning lights on the side of the rig. I don’t bother to make a U-turn, I back the rig up the one short block and drive down Shepherd Avenue for two blocks while my partner calls in the “verbal” to EMS communications... there are two male victims lying in the middle of the street, both appear to be about 20 years old. One victim has been shot in the left shoulder and the other one has been shot in the head and hip. Since Joe is the “tech” this tour, he takes the head shot victim and I work on the other shoulder gunshot victim. My victim is conscious but the other guy not doing to well. We both work feverishly on both victims and in short order able to stabilize our respective victims quickly, with their wounds wrapped we apply oxygen to the head shot victim. I sit my victim on one of the benches in the back of the bus, and we pull the stretcher out for the second victim, get him loaded for the ride to Brookdale Hospital a couple of miles away.  I notify the EMS dispatcher by radio that we are bringing in two gunshot victims to Brookdale Hospital with one critical. Linden Boulevard is empty during this time of the morning and I make good time. Upon our arrival as I back the bus up to the emergency room ramp there is a small cadre of doctors and nurses at the ambulance emergency door. The Hospital team takes over and rushes our gunshot victims to the emergency department. Meanwhile Joe and I go about finishing our paperwork and restocking our supplies. A nurse walks by, tells us the headshot victim has died.

Sometime later in the night, we ran into the same cop who screeched up to my door,  I told him the victim died. He told us the two victims had just stolen the van, set it on fire and was shot running away from it...Welcome to Dodge!

Hope you enjoyed, Thanks for reading.   KMG-365

(https://i.postimg.cc/kV9bkT9w/Screenshot-2019-07-29-09-47-10.png) (https://postimg.cc/kV9bkT9w)
Liberty Outpost Garage, without the awning was our station.


(https://i.postimg.cc/62qyXSPV/20190729-194747.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/62qyXSPV)
One of three Ambulances operated from Liberty Outpost during day tours. Midnight to 8 am, sometimes only one.


(https://i.postimg.cc/1fBhGtXt/20190804-205618-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/1fBhGtXt)

Random entry from my notepad.  This is page 69, dated 2/24/79 a Saturday morning; notice the jobs; 2 stabbings at the 75 Pct, cardiac, man shot, another stabbing, collision, unconscious, chest pains, another collision, another cardiac and the last job an attempted suicide. 5 transports= 41 is Brookdale Hospital, 48 is Kings County Hospital. I have 130 pages of documented EMS jobs. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on August 05, 2019, 08:53:14 AM
‘GORY’  DAYS; Preamble

Sometime back in the spring of 1978 I filled out an application for NYC Emergency Medical Services Health and Hospital Corp as an “Ambulance Corpsman”, an Emergency Medical Technician. I was hired that summer and assigned to the Liberty Outpost in East New York, Brooklyn. The NYC EMS was operated solely by Health and Hospitals (H&H) and not affiliated with the FDNY at that time. I worked for NYC EMS thirteen months before my next appointment  as a firefighter for the Washington DC Fire Department. But... BIG BUT!...I’m amazed at what I witnessed and experienced... to this day the memories still seem a surreal mix of fact and fantasy. Fortunately, I had the wherewithal to take meticulous notes** when I got in the field, and if I did not write these notes in my own handwriting, I would doubt myself.

You have read on these forums exciting and stirring recollections from the FDNY and NYPD  “War Years”. I hope to give you a small inside scoop...the skinny... of a NYC Health and Hospitals Corpsman's point of view from the back of the ambulance, or what New York City Cops and Fireman call; “the Bus” during that turbulent period.

Caveat; Even though the above title is expressive, I’ll have to reserve a handful of anecdotes that even within the description would be to ugly and revealing...But, stay tuned... I have quite a few intriguing occurrences to which I made notes of and I think you will find very amusing.

(**Notes. I was told very early on from my EMS Supervisor that I should keep notes, just in case I would have to go to court. I bought a green pocket size 3x5” 100 page spiral notepad. The pad has sixteen lines per page. With the exception of allowing one space between each tour I worked, I compiled over 130 front and back pages of “job” entries with a small note of any unusual circumstances pertaining to that job. Each tour, I listed the date, time, weather and my partner. Below that entry would be the time, address, and disposition of the run. The date of my last entry was 8/1/79)

                                                                   **********

I should also point out that 69Mets Garrett and I shared a midnight-eight tour at Liberty Outpost together in a bus on Saturday, July 21, 1979. Garrett and I responded to six jobs; a collision, 2 different stabbings, an OBS maternity, sick and injured call. All logged into my notepad!

Memorymaster has a history with EMS. I invite Garrett and Charlie to jump in with some of their stories! It will make for some very compelling reading from a different time and service. Hope you enjoy!

(https://i.postimg.cc/KkxDDZRG/20190729-194730-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/KkxDDZRG)

(https://i.postimg.cc/2qfQCzdQ/1-e04c0e2b3f756905c1bdf0daffb6c29a.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/2qfQCzdQ)

 Dan, I THANK YOU for introducing the guys to your days of working within the NYC EMS Health and Hospitals before the days of the FDNY/EMS merger.

 Without a doubt these NYC War Years Hero's saved thousands of lives every single day. Yet they were NEVER recognized for the work they did. Just as the FDNY and NYPD was overwhelmed during those 1970s and 1980s, so TRUE was also the NYC EMS.

 I would see those ambulances going by and at so many calls. Very often the conversation between myself and other fire buffs would be; "What a THANKLESS JOB THAT IS". Many of us were also firefighter/EMTs and could relate in our own very small way, of what it must be like to ride and work those NYC Health and Hospital "BUSES". Seeing those ambulances in the street was like seeing a taxi cab in some of our smaller cities these days. They just pass by with no concerns from the population.

 I remember doing my fire buffing thing back in the early 80s and myself and another firefighter/EMT were hanging out around Clay/172 St (?) in the Bronx. Both myself and my buddy had just finished taking our first EMT class as we were told it was part of our job requirement as newly hired Probie Firefighters. So everything was fresh in our minds. Airway, Breathing, Circulation, then the secondary body survey. As we are sitting there, a civilian standing on the corner drops to the ground. My buddy says to me; "Willy, the guy across the street just dropped, we got to go check him out". As we go over to check him, he does seem to be breathing, but we don't have a clue what's wrong.

 As luck would have it, a NYPD car pulls up. We tell the cops to call an ambulance and that we are Firefighters/EMTs from Connecticut. The cops call and they tell us it's a one hour delay for the bus. Then they open the back door of the police car and they tell us, put him in the back and we'll take him up to Bronx Lebonon Hospital, which is only a few blocks away. So myself and the other guy load him in and off they go. No vitals taken, no oxygen given, just get him up there. We wondered if he'd be okay or not.

 After it was over we thought about how different things were in most cities. Even in Connecticut's largest cities like Bridgeport, Hartford or New Haven you could get an ambulance to transport a guy like this to the hospital without having a One Hour delay. A few weeks later we are back down there buffing from the same corner. Standing on that same corner is the same guy who probably had no idea of what had happened only a few weeks ago. So we were glad to see he was okay.

 A few years ago, I got to meet "69METS", aka Garrett L., while in Florida where he lives now. He was a part of that NYC EMS, and later became a firefighter in the FDNY like Dan, aka "JohnnyGage", who I also have met and consider a good friend.

 I have also been in contact with "memorymaster", aka Charlie T., who became a Lt within that NYC Health and Hospitals EMS, later merging into the FDNY/EMS. Take my word for it, Charlie has quite a resume and there is no doubt "he has seen it all".

 Also, before this site owner Tommy Bendick became a firefighter in NYC, "he also worked with the NYC Health and Hospitals EMS".

 These days we have guys like "Lebby", aka Phil D., and John Bendick's (site administrator), grandson, John T., out there saving lives just as those before them have. They are the Life Saviors of todays FDNY/EMS. We ALL APPRECIATE the Job "YOU" Do. Thank you guys and all your other Brother and Sister members of the FDNY/EMS as well. YOU are a part of the VERY BEST in OUR Society Today.

 And now we take you back to the old NYC EMS days of the Webster Outpost located on Webster Ave, I think around 165th St in the Bronx. It is no longer there, but these are some of their stories. 

 This CBS Special was made in 1986 and it was called "The Lifesavers", filmed from that very busy NYC EMS station called "The Webster Outpost". The video runs about 20 minutes.

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPfLeYtq7Ks 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 06, 2019, 07:44:15 AM
                                        ★★★★SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT★★★★

I would like to share with my friends this special day today: AUGUST 6... Today is my 40th Anniversary of being sworn into the Washington DC Fire Department in 1979, where it all started, the dawn of "Glory Days"...it is also the same day, three years later that I resigned from the DCFD AND hired by the FDNY in 1982. In addition, August 6, 2002 I had to retire from the FDNY...

Below is my graduation photo from DCFD proby school with my lifelong friend Phil. Phil and I played little league baseball together, joined the Explorer program at our hometown Fire Department, joined the volunteer fire department together, took fire dept entrance exams together and was hired together in the DCFD. The photo is "Uncle" Jack (FDNY), my dad, JohnnyGage, Brother Phil and his dad. Thanks for allowing me to share this special day with my friends at NYCFIRE.NET!

(https://i.postimg.cc/ZWNkcGxW/20190604-090401.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/ZWNkcGxW)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on August 06, 2019, 11:44:13 AM
^^^^^ Hope you have an enjoyable Aug. 6th today in 2019.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on August 06, 2019, 12:39:01 PM
Dan, you don't look a day older from that photo was taken. Be well my friend and be safe.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: entropychaser on August 06, 2019, 01:45:49 PM
Hal Bruno (the late national political correspondent for ABC News and Firehouse Magazine columnist) was a big DCFD buff. DCFD Radio was always 'on' in his office at the ABC News Bureau on Desales Street. He told me twenty odd years ago that DCFD was a great department brought low by chiefs brought in from outside the department. Tellingly, it is now DC FEMS.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 09, 2019, 07:37:48 PM
GORY DAYS; Part 2
Ambulance Corpsman

Toward the end of the Summer of 1978 I was hired by NYC EMS Health and Hospitals as an “Ambulance Corpsman”. I attended an orientation class and an EMT refresher course at the EMS Headquarters in Maspeth Queens with a small group of new hires. I was given a small envelope with a silver badge inside, number 2388 and my salary was 11k plus an extra 1k for night differential. The Corpsman program was relatively new. Prior to the Corpsman program, NYC EMS service was provided by a driver that was hired from the federally sponsored “Model City Program” and was known as a “Motor Vehicle Operator” or simply, MVO. The MVO wore a blue uniform a different patch and had no training or background for treating victims, his only responsibility was to get the ambulance, er “bus” to the scene. The guy riding shotgun was called a “Tech”, he was an Emergency Medical Technician, the person who was responsible to treat the victims...the tech wore white jacket, white shirt and white pants with the same patch as the MVO. He did not drive as his sole responsibility was to treat the victim. 

The Corpsman would be cross trained to do both EMS aspects, operate the “bus” and treat victims. The Corpsman had a distinct uniform; a light green shirt, with a half moon orange patch on the left shoulder, my silver badge over my left pocket and in my left shirt pocket I carried a small penlight that I bought myself to check pupils. On my left collar I wore a silver lettered “EMT” collar brass, and a silver caduceus with “EMT” on the right. I had dark green slacks with the same light green color stripe down the leg. In the winter I wore the shiny green coat with the option of a fur collar. Each tour I carried a large three cell battery flashlight, a pen light and a holster attached to my belt which contained a pair of surgical scissors and a set of regular medical scissors complete with a large red plastic bite stick.

Upon our “graduation” which really was not a graduation, I was given an empty black tech bag**, that actually looked like a wide briefcase similar to what lawyers carried transporting files back and forth to court. Inside was an orange colored stethoscope with a matching orange blood pressure cuff, a yoke for an oxygen cylinder and a maternity “OBS” kit. Oh yeah, a yellow hard hat with EMS stenciled in red on the side to protect my coconut.

(** The black tech bag was clumsy and inconvenient as every roll of gauze, sterile gauze pads of various sizes, airways, adhesive tape, etc all got jumbled up and tossed around in the bag, nothing remained orderly. It was frustrating to try and find anything you are looking for, especially when it had to be done quickly. Also the black bag was dicey, as the local clientele often thought drugs were carried in the bag. For those reasons, I bought a large metal fishing tackle box from Morsan’s Outdoor Store. I stocked the body of the tackle box with two boxes of 100 4x4 sterile gauze pads and a few large trauma pads, the double pull out tray holder had different size stretch gauze to wrap the wound(s) and three tourniquets with clamps.

(https://i.postimg.cc/zb4yYJXL/Screenshot-2019-08-05-19-48-09-1-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/zb4yYJXL)


I was assigned to Liberty Outpost in the East New York (ENY) section of Brooklyn, on the midnight to eight in the morning shift...Now, growing up on Long Island I had no idea where ENY was, I knew Canarsie and I knew parts of the South Bronx, but I was not sure where this ENY was until I checked out the good ol’ Hagstrom map... “Oh, I see”...not too far from Canarsie actually. As I recalled Canarsie was a nice neighborhood back then so I imagined ENY would be likewise since the communities were not too far apart... This 21 year old Long Island kid was in for a rude awakening!

The 75 Precinct was in the middle of ENY. The “75” was one of the most high-crime areas in NYC, their motto during the 70’s was taken from 1010 WINS News Radio script that said, “You Give Us Twenty-Two minutes, We’ll Give You the World”...except in the “75” the officers twisted the motto; “You Give Us Twenty-Two Minutes, We’ll Give You a Homicide”...ENY struggled with violent crime and back then won a citywide reputation for violence and death. ENY was often referred to as “the Killing Fields” and averaged over 100 murders a year making the precinct one of the deadliest. The neighborhood struggled with severe poverty and led the city in robberies. The 1977 Blackout destroyed many businesses in the community that never recovered and left scars and burned out shells. A Police source once stated that “Gunfire erupted so frequently they didn’t even bother responding to the sound unless someone was hit”. ENY had a “Wild West” atmosphere.

ENY is just about 2 square miles and is bordered by Queens. Four subway lines and the Long Island Railroad traverses through ENY with plenty of stations in between. Major roads intersect and  pass through; the heavily traveled Belt Parkway, Linden Blvd, Pitkin Avenue, Sutter Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, and Fulton Streets are major east west thoroughfares. The Conduit borders ENY on the eastern end while Pennsylvania Avenue dissects ENY that runs north and south from the Belt Parkway to Broadway and the Interboro Parkway... When I was a kid and my parents would return every weekend to Canarsie, our dad would take Pennsylvania Avenue as a shortcut, we called it the “bumpy road”. At the time Starret City was not built and Pennsylvania Avenue dissected high cattails that ran the length of both sides of the Avenue and due to harsh weather, Pennsylvania Avenue had these huge dips and swells that our family car would glide over like a rollercoaster giving us kids a charge, and of course, there was no such thing as wearing seat belts back then!... Later Starret city would be built on the marshland. ENY also featured a huge smelly dump on the southside of the Belt Parkway, that us kids would call “Poopeyville”.  We knew we were getting close to that roller coaster ride when we started smelling “Poopeyville” traveling west along the Belt Pkwy.

ENY is served by the FDNY 15th Division with historically consistent busy fire companies;  Ladder 175, Engine 332 and 236 are single housed units in the northern end. Engine 290 and Ladder 103 the western front and Engine 225 with Ladder 107 stationed in the southeast corner of ENY. The 75 PCT is almost directly in the hub.

I am assigned to Liberty Outpost with another Corpsman, that pain in the as Joe as I mentioned in the previous article. Our “station” which is referred to as “Outpost” and more like a garage is actually a one story converted garage at the corner of Liberty Street and Van Siclen St. It is large enough to hold three ambulances and our private vehicles. During the day and afternoon two ambulances are scheduled to be in service, the third bus is known as the “Throop” bus that will service the Bushwick area. On the “graveyard” shift, there are sometimes two buses covering ENY and many times due to manpower shortage, only one. I will be assigned to the graveyard shift after my one week “on the street” orientation. Ironically, just next door to our unmarked garage is a funeral parlor, they are always busy.

ORIENTATION:

During my first week I am riding with a veteran female Corpsman who will be training me in street sense EMS, her name is Barbara and she could be the twin sister of Diana Ross. She is very kind, very patient and very experienced. One of our first jobs is to respond to a “DOA”, the PD is on scene of a “DOA” (our code 10-83) at a residence on Wyona Street, not too far from the Outpost. In NYC, a NYC EMT can “pronounce” a victim as DOA and is often called upon by the NYPD to do so before a body is removed. This will be the first time of many that I will have to pronounce someone dead. Barbara and I head over to the address, I am the tech and we proceed into the house where there is a middle aged gentleman unconscious lying on the living room sofa. Family members are standing nearby in the kitchen and two police officers are near the victim. My heart is beating rapidly, all eyes are on me. The body is not cold or stiff, the victim must have just passed away not too long ago. I feel for a pulse, and I place my stethoscope over his bare chest...I think I can hear a faint beat. I gradually stand up so as not to alarm anyone, and ask Barbara to come into the next room so that I can tell her of my observations. She assures me that the victim is deceased, she reassures me that the beating I hear is my blood pressure banging in my ears. She also gives me this streetwise tip that I will use over and over again...she tells me to nonchalantly and gently touch the eyeball, as this is the last muscle reflex to leave the body. If the eyelid does not flitter, you can be assured the victim is 10-83. I go back and the eyeball does not flitter, I turn to the family and give my condolences, and then turn to the police officer with his pad open, I state; “DOA, Badge 2388”.

Next; DOA, where inches mattered.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365



(https://i.postimg.cc/WDH302Z9/Screenshot-2019-05-05-21-25-20-1-2.png) (https://postimg.cc/WDH302Z9)
Pitkin Avenue during the 1977 Blackout


(https://i.postimg.cc/kBm5QYVd/Screenshot-2019-07-26-07-31-21-1-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/kBm5QYVd)
75 PCT, Home to the "Killing Fields"
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on August 10, 2019, 11:39:49 AM
Dan, we used to call the black bag "the Fuller Brush salesman's kit."
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: entropychaser on August 13, 2019, 09:40:57 AM
Kevin Tighe is 75 today.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on August 13, 2019, 10:10:22 AM
Dan, THANK YOU for all those GREAT STORIES and EXCELLENT PHOTOS of your early riding days with some of the busiest companies of the FDNY. Of course during my buffing days of the Bronx, I'm sure that we were at a few of the same jobs together. 

 Reading these stories takes me back to those very busy days of chasing the rigs of E88/L38, E82/L31, E45/L58, and some of those other very busy companies throughout the area. It was an education that you couldn't get from a book.

 I look forward to reading about your EMS days coming up. I know at the time it was the NYC EMS before the merge into the FDNY. Like all of the city's services, they were stretched to the breaking point. It was almost impossible to get an ambulance due to the overwhelming number of calls going on. ETA's for EMS units of One Hour were not uncommon due the staggering number of incidents going on.

 Johnny, I'd like to go back to A Glory Day memory of mine that I would like to share with the members here. It certainly wasn't the FDNY but it was in the kitchen of the firehouse that I once worked in around June/July, 1975.

 I was a newly hired Probie and young Willy D is working a Day tour at the old fire headquarters on Chestnut St in Norwich, Ct. On this particular day, Willy D gets up a little late but still makes it in time for the 07:00 hours Day Shift to begin. In his hurry, he has no time to eat breakfast so in just a little while, "he's kind of hungry".

 The afternoon meal at the firehouse is going to be a pasta/sauce dinner, along with Italian bread/butter etc. The smell of that sauce cooking fills the entire second floor.

 But being the junior man and new Probie Firefighter with just a couple of weeks on, I know that I will be the last guy to sit down. My father, a Bridgeport (Ct)Firefighter at the time told me, "that's just the way it is". It was also before the firehouse had a dish washer and he told me as Probie, "it will be your job to clean those pots and pans after the meal".

 I finally get to dig in and sit down. I didn't take too much because I didn't think it was my place to do that. As I sit down, there is plenty left over. But I figure it's for the other guys, not for me. But I'm still hungry after eating my portion. Then one of the guys tells me: "if you want more, help yourself". That was just what I wanted to hear, so I load up again, and I think again.

 All the guys are pretty much still sitting around the table as I put down a couple more platefuls. Then another guy says to me; "You got some potential". I thought he meant about being a good fireman (firefighter). He said: "I'm betting on you". I later learned he was referring to "when it comes to an eating contest". Telling me I had some potential had NOTHING to do with being a good fireman. BUT, he was right, "I did win a lot of firehouse eating contest". I didn't disappoint the guys too many times.

 We now move the clock about 44 years ahead. My brother (also a retired firefighter) and I are at our favorite local restaurant. The waitress is also the sister of one of the current active firefighters, but we hadn't seen her in a long time. But she remembers us from one of our previous visits. She also remembered what I ordered. A chicken palm dinner that is HUGE in size. She was right, that's exactly what I ordered several months ago.

 I was amazed that she had remembered that, so I asked her, "how did you remember that" ? She says to me: "I remember that because NOBODY else has ever been able to finish the entire dinner and YOU DID".

 Well, I guess as they say: "Some things NEVER change". And I got to tell you, "that is one dinner that you sure won't walk away from hungry".

 THANK YOU GUYS. We give it back to "JohnnyGage" to continue with his great stories of "GLORY DAYS" as he has just introduced us to the stories of working the streets in the crime ridden area known as East New York in Brooklyn, during his days with the New York City Health and Hospitals EMS. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on August 13, 2019, 02:11:45 PM
I know this is mostly about other facets of FD ops but Willy has peaked "my appetite" with his FH food story.....i am generally not an exceptionally big eater but i will relate a story from yesteryear....we got a new FF in R*2 ...he was a young fellow who came from a nearby "rival" Busy Truck.... he was of course very eager to become accepted & on one of his early days there he volunteered to make lunch..... the menu was "Monte Christo" sandwiches which half of us did not even know what they were....he explained that each one was 3 slices of french toast bread with swiss cheese & turkey & ham ? between the layers then the thing was heated & covered with powdered sugar....it took a little work to make it ...i ate my 1st one & just as he was about to sit down for his first one i asked for another...he said "well in my old house no one could ever eat two....of course i had to reply "this is not your old house i want another"....he gave me the one he had ready for himself & went back to the stove...i ate it & as he was coming back with his first one again i said "let me have another"....(i really did not want another but since he had said nobody could eat two ).... he said you can't eat three...i said this is R*2 not LAD*1XX...give a third....he said if you can eat three i will pay for your meal....now i knew i was going to finish it & i did....1800 & the tour was over....driving home i was little uncomfortable...by dinner time i did not want to even sit at the table...by 2200 hrs i felt like my stomach was going to blast out of my body....these things were expanding exponentially....by midnight i went to bed as i was due back in the AM at the FH...got to the FH & after a few cups of Coffee i checked into "the head" & returned the remains.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: ladder197 on August 13, 2019, 07:18:53 PM
Chief that made me laugh. Thanks for sharing
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: CFDMarshal on August 14, 2019, 08:10:51 AM
I guess we now know the real Count of Monte Cristo!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 14, 2019, 09:23:29 AM
....and there it is...
(https://i.postimg.cc/rKpwJR7G/Screenshot-2019-08-14-09-20-27-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/rKpwJR7G)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: raybrag on August 14, 2019, 12:23:45 PM
There are actually 2 versions of the Monte Cristo, Dan.  The one you pictured is the one I'm most familiar with . . . basically a ham & cheese sandwich that is dipped in batter and then deep fried.  Served with powdered sugar and raspberry preserves.  The one Chief JK described is the other version (pictured below).  Maybe a little bit easier to put together, but probably just as good (especially if you add the raspberry jelly), and just as deadly on the digestive system.  As for you, Chief . . . payback's a bitch, ain't it?

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/75/Monte_Cristo_Sandwich-1.jpg/1200px-Monte_Cristo_Sandwich-1.jpg)

And Willy, stop drooling.  It puts a Big Mac to shame any day.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: fdce54 on August 14, 2019, 02:53:26 PM
Willy would eat us all under the table without blinking an eye.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 14, 2019, 03:35:31 PM
My top three favorite sandwiches while OTJ;

3: During 9/11 recovery stage days at the WTC there was a "volunteer" walking around the pile with a satchel of P&Js that a scout organization put together with the jelly weeping through the white bread just like my school days. The P&J was perfect and delicious and not a moment too soon!
2: Jimmy Amato (RIP 9/11) covered a day tour in L 112. We broke down sausages from their casings, pressed them together to make patties. He had a home made type mayo slathered on a seeded bun, fresh romain lettuce, lightly squeezed lemon and raw onion. Outrageous.
1: Early 90's the city and FD brass was making radical changes to the FDNY including closing down fire companies...in protest thousands of off duty firefighters wearing turnout coat and helmet walked across the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan in protest. When we arrived on the other side the protest disbursed and we headed straight to the local gin mill. One guy ordered liverwurst on rye with bacon, raw onion touch of mustard...soon there were twelve more orders. Good buddies, cold draft and that glorious sandwich... as close to a little slice of heaven I would ever know!

(https://i.postimg.cc/23SYC4zs/Screenshot-2019-08-14-15-51-54-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/23SYC4zs)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 14, 2019, 04:12:18 PM
Here, a young Proby Willy at the range attempting his first batch of Monte Cristos...

(https://i.postimg.cc/bStbdg4q/Screenshot-2018-12-05-07-21-38-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/bStbdg4q)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on August 14, 2019, 05:35:54 PM
That liverwurst concoction sounds good!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: raybrag on August 14, 2019, 07:28:04 PM
That liverwurst concoction sounds good!

Sure does!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 15, 2019, 09:11:57 PM
Gory Days; Part 3
DOA’s

I usually like to start my tour by cleaning out the back of the bus providing the Brooklyn Communications Office (CO) is not holding any calls at the time. The MVO would check the fluids in the vehicle and I would get a bucket full of ammonia and water and make the concoction strong enough that teardrops formed while mopping out the back of the bus. First task would be to remove the stretcher and wipe down the three leather benches. One bench was against the driver side wall with a small sliding window above it, the second bench would be up against the front of the rig with a small opened window to talk with the driver and the third bench was the long bench that sat alongside the stretcher with storage below it. After the seats, the walls inside would get a thorough wipe with a damp cloth plus the stair chair and finally the floor would get a good soaking with a final rinse with the mop... Many times we were unable to even get that far as the CO would be calling us as soon as we went into service. It was not uncommon that many times CO would be holding calls for hours, especially on weekends you would hear over the radio minor sick or OBS calls being “held” for two hours. In fact, I recall there was a time that the CO advised us that he was holding “calls” for almost three hours!...It was no picnic either when we eventually “caught up” with the calls being held as there were quite a few angry citizens that were more than a little angry with us when we did finally show up to there emergency.

The back of the bus held a stretcher with a small spinal backboard and the stair chair. Almost everyone went in the stairchair that was hooked onto the side door of the bus for convenience. Unless you were unconscious or seriously injured, you were transported in a stair chair. If you could walk to the bus, you walked, if you had difficulty walking you went into the stair chair.  Over the stretcher was four compartments that were filled with who-knows what for first aid supplies. The compartments were haphazardly stocked and jammed with short splints, gauze and 4x4’s in no special order, and every bus was different. The compartments were so disorganized that nobody really used the supplies that were held behind a clear plastic door that had no handles, the doors were closed by the use of adhesive tape. Manytimes, rounding a corner the adhesive tape would become unglued and the contents of the storage would spill out into the back of the bus. After mopping the floor, I would reinforce the adhesive tape holding the compartment doors closed. I never counted on the contents of those storage compartments for anything.

Concerning patients, my rule of thumb was that any patient sick or with a survivable injury would be transported to Brookdale Hospital, those more critical and less likely to survive I shot for Kings County Hospital a little further away, unless if the patient was in full arrest or not likely to survive the additional mileage. The “Sick” persons were seated on the small bench under the window next to my kit where I kept a supply of plastic leaf bags... anyone experiencing a sickness and likely to spew I pulled out a leaf bag, made a small hole in it and slipped the bag over their head... if they got “sick” I’d hold up the front end of the bag for the delivery...Drunks and overdoses were transported to a small hospital called Lutheran, now long closed, where the staff usually had to wake up the attending physician. Calls for a mentally disturbed person were taken to Kings County usually accompanied by a police officer where there was a facility called “G Building” that could house them. We brought DOAs to Kings County Morgue.

                                                              ****************

Tonight is extremely cold, polar bear frigid cold, it is early into the tour when we receive a job that PD is on the scene of a DOA and we are assigned to go to pronounce the DOA. The address is  3143 Atlantic Avenue, a block or so away from the only fast food joint in the neighborhood, a White Castle. I am working with Hall, the MVO for this tour, he has no EMT experience and drives me to the location in a non emergency mode. Upon our arrival there is a police car from the 75 and inside are two police officers, I leave the heated bus and walk over to the passenger side of the patrol car feeling the cold go through the layers of my clothing... the police officer slightly cracks his window slightly and states the DOA is on the other side of this car that is parked next to us in this small darken garage parking lot. With that the police officer closes his window and remains inside his car...Shining my flashlight beam and illuminating the ground I walk around the parked car, mist coming out of my mouth every time I exhale...In between the two parked cars is a civilian and he is on his knees with his ass arched high towards me, he is resting on his elbows and looking under the parked car. “I got it partner, slide over”, I announce, thinking the DOA is under the car and I’m going to wind up dragging him out…”Hello”, I said “I got it buddy” and with that I nudge the civilian with my foot...it felt like I was nudging a marble statue, the subject I was talking to and trying to nudge is frozen solid...I shined my flashlight into a  bluish face that is frozen in a small pool of frozen vomit with his head twisted facing the parked car... He was my DOA, died right there on the spot.

DOA’s were not uncommon, especially during my shift. The PD would get to a scene with an obvious DOA, then EMS would pronounce the DOA and sometimes come back later to retrieve the body after the PD investigation to remove to Kings County Morgue. There were times that a body was discovered days after it’s death, and of course we would have to pronounce it DOA...I remember walking down the hall and you would begin to encounter the foul odor of decay, the smell of death...with the first onslaught of this odor, I would reach into my tackle box where I kept a small jar of “Vicks, Vaporub”... with its medicated vapors I’d place a small dab under both nostrils to overcome the stench...One time I had to walk about a half mile or so with Transit police into a tunnel to confirm a DOA, another time up on the elevated platform...Then there were the early wake up morning calls for “an unconscious” that quite often turned out to be DOA’s as people were waking up to discover their loved ones who passed away during the night ...There were more than a few times we received the dreaded early morning assignment of “Unconscious Baby” that often resulted from SIDS; Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. I had my fair share of telling young parents that their “sleeping” baby had passed on, a disturbing and uncomfortable distressing moment.

                                                                   ****************

(https://i.postimg.cc/B8WWYCtj/20190729-194653-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/B8WWYCtj)

EMS Log: 6/18/1979;  2909 FULTON STREET;  2 VICTIMS SHOT

We are 53 minutes into a clear and cool Monday morning. I am working with a new partner, he came over from Kings County Hospital EMS and is a highly respected veteran of EMS,  I will introduce him later, but his name is Lawrence... But right now, our assignment is to pronounce two store owners DOA who have been brutally gunned down at close range by shotguns. Apparently the two store owners got into a beef with a couple of local gang members who awaited outside the store until closing then ambushed them with three blasts at close range inches away as the two store owners opened the back door of their building establishment. After the PD investigation it was my job to go inside this horrific vestibule and pronounce them, obviously dead, and removed to Kings County Hospital.

(https://i.postimg.cc/N9gzSCtj/Screenshot-2019-07-30-14-01-56.png) (https://postimg.cc/N9gzSCtj)
This is the address today, the vestibule where double homicide took place is the rear door under the "tax" awning.
 
                                                              ***********

EMS Log: 9/11/1978; 1671 E 17th STREET, CONEY ISLAND; CARDIAC

I am detailed to cover a midnight to eight tour in Coney Island, aka “Cardiac City”. I was working with another Corpsman from Coney Island, his name is Martino who knows Coney Island area very well. It did not take long before we received our first cardiac assignment; it was a little after 2 a.m. when we were assigned to a cardiac job at East 17th Street. The building is a typical “H” shaped apartment house, and the call is coming from a top floor apartment. As my partner and I arrive at the apartment door we both stand to one side and knock, you never want to stand directly in front of a door for obvious reasons. I knock again. On the other side I can hear a faint elderly lady, she is telling me she is having trouble breathing, she is gasping. OK I say, “let us in, we're here to help you”. There are a couple of deadbolt cylinder locks on her door that I can see from the hallway side. I can hear her as she flips one of the locks,  again she tells me that she can not breathe…”get the other lock” I plead with her to open the door. The lock sounds like it is trying to open from her side, then just silence. I call her again while knocking on the door, there is no response... “Hello!, Hello! How we making out in there?”...but there is no answer. With my portable radio I request the NYPD and FDNY to respond for entry. My partner and I try to force the door, but unable to...a few minutes later, two police officers are on the hallway floor with us, I advise them of the situation.  The one officer starts to mule kick the wooden apartment door open and just as a crew from the FDNY arrives the police officer successfully forces open the apartment door. There on the sofa, next to the door, with her arm stretch out toward the interior lock is an elderly woman, dressed in a nightgown and slippers, peacefully DOA. Inches away from help.

Thanks for reading and allowing me to share, I don't think I have ever told anyone about these stories. 

Next; Slicing and Dicing.        KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 69 METS on August 15, 2019, 10:24:50 PM
Great stuff Johnnie G. Working for EMS back then certainly provided me with an education in life on the street. I spent 1978-1981 counting the days until my appointment to "The Greatest Job on Earth"!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on August 16, 2019, 07:10:30 AM
"Johnny" was that Coney MVO, Mike Martino?
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on August 16, 2019, 08:34:23 AM
 Thanks Dan for all these stories.

 Your latest story you told in "GORY DAYs" Part 3 tells us what just one single tour of working with the NYC Health and Hospitals EMS was like. Not only yourself, but so many other Life Savors like "memory master", "69 METS", and the thousands of other NYC Health and Hospitals EMS people who were out there, every day, doing the same kind of life saving work. Yet, it was such a THANKLESS JOB, as I saw during my buffing days. Few civilians seemed to appreciate the work you guys did and there was very seldom a "pat on the back" for a job well done.

 I wasn't chasing the NYC EMS like the FDNY. Yet many times I would see them operating at a totally separate incident, just down the street. Maybe a drug overdose, a car accident, or carrying a civilian out on a stair chair from one of the apartments in those large multi family buildings.

 During those days, ALL of the necessary emergency services, the FDNY, the NYPD, the NYC EMS, were beyond the breaking point. There were huge areas of the city that were completely out of control. I remember somebody telling me it reminded them of the Days of the Wild West.

 "69 METS" says here; "Working EMS back then certainly provided me with an education in life on the street". How TRUE that must be. I didn't work those streets but just watched, and only on a part time basis. But what that taught me - there is NO Classroom that can ever replace it.

 I must admit that I enjoyed watching you, "Johnny Gage", on your TV show "Emergency" back in those 70s. BUT it sure WASN'T like watching you guys work in parts of NYC during those years. I'm just glad that you have taken the time to tell us your stories of just what it was like then during those "GLORY DAYS" or as they are now called; "GORY DAYS".
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 16, 2019, 09:31:47 AM
Thanks Willy, it sure was a crazy, unbelievable wild time with sights and experiences us young guns like Garrett and myself who were in our early 20's were smack in the middle of! And I'll bet MemoryMaster has a slew of stories, too...More crazy stuff coming, stay tuned!

                                                                                                   ☆☆☆☆☆

Note to MM; Charlie I'm not sure of Martinos first name, in my log he was actually a Corpsman (I made the correction above from MVO) badge #1581 if that helps.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on August 16, 2019, 10:23:35 AM
"Johnny", it probably Mike. He was a Lt. in Coney Island when I worked with him during my short stay there before going over to Staten Island.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 18, 2019, 08:15:10 PM
GORY DAYS; Part 4
Slicing / Dicing and a Salad Bar

Depending on the schedule, I either work with a MVO whose surname is Hall or another Corpsman named Lawrence. I’ve noticed that within the EMS structure people call each other by their surname...Hall and Lawrence are both EMS veterans, but they are both complete opposites in every aspect. Hall is an MVO, a very nice older gentleman, a church going man that lives in the neighborhood, but he is slow, cannot make a decision while driving and terrible at backing up the bus which sometimes drives me crazy, especially when we need to unload someone at the emergency department. Many times I have to motivate Hall into helping me with a stretcher or getting equipment, EMS has a term and moniker that is  accurate for him, he is called a “bus watcher” and will not engage in any assistance unless told to do so, there were many times when he does not get out from behind the wheel on assignments, I have to politely order him for help. He is not proactive in that sense, but proactive in the sense that he antagonizes the CO dispatcher or other units by interjecting unwanted comments over the radio and this annoys me to no end, because I will pay the price...if we have not been assigned a call, the CO will now send us anywhere for a junk call that he is holding, especially somwhere out of our area to spite Hall’s interrupting remarks... When I work with Hall our unit is called “Liberty 375”...When I am with Lawrence, Hall works with another technician and in this case Lawrence and I become a second bus in service with our call sign  “Liberty 374”.  Otherwise when I work with Hall, we are the only bus covering ENY, Liberty 375 and I am the ONLY Emergency Medical Technician in all of ENY.

Lawrence is a Vietnam vet, and lives in Manhattan he wears his pants inside his spit shined combat boots and he wears dark green prescription sunglasses during our graveyard shift. Lawrence reminds me of my old L 31 buddy Mel Hazel, they could both be brothers, (a double for Richard Roundtree) both have wisdom, grace, strength and style. Lawrence would be invaluable to me, I’ll observe and learn the “street sense” that he masters, he has a way of disarming even the most aggressive patients and defusing an ugly situation. Lawrence refers to everyone, including me as “partner”. “Partner” is a nice touch, you immediately connect with that friendly good natured  and approachable salute, I still use that friendly form of address today!... Lawrence transferred over to Liberty Outpost a couple of months after I was hired, he came from Kings County Hospital after that pesky first partner I had “Lazy Joe” left when he requested 8x4 day tours.  I feel very comfortable working with Lawrence, we have a good time working together, a real partner and mentor.

One of the first things Lawrence establishes with me was not to cross over into each other's business. If I drove, I drove...whichever way I wanted to go and how fast. If he was the tech for the night, he asked the questions, and vice versa if he drove and I was the tech. I liked that idea, we never stepped on each others toes, it demonstrated professionalism and it was a lesson of a lifetime for me, be respectful of others positions and one person is the boss at a time.

During the weeknights we could expect the average of about eight jobs a night. Weekends you could easily respond to an average of about thirteen. Just like the FD we had “our 92’s” but with our codes; “10-90 unfounded”, “Refused Medical  Aid (RMA) a 10-93, or Gone on Arrival 10-96. Between them would be easy jobs, annoying jobs, run of the mill jobs and crazy jobs, like any emergency service, you did not know what awaits you until you arrive. The busiest night I had from my records was on January 1, 1979. Working with Lawrence we responded to seventeen jobs between midnight and eight. Collisions, a cutting, difficulty breathing a shooting, unconscious and cardiac among the seventeen. Of course many were unnecessary and a few unfounded one being a rape, but with that we transported five different jobs to local hospitals.

                                                                       *********

ENY Has four different subway lines with many stations. The Livonia and Fulton lines are elevated, others underground... Hideous crime events seemed to happen outside and inside the stations. I responded to numerous assaults, rapes and beatings inside stations early in the morning. Young adults returning from Manhattan after an evening of celebration headed home to Queens would get off at the wrong stop along Livonia Avenue into awaiting prey that would ambush, pounce and shellac the unknowing suspect outside the stations.

Stabbings and shootings as you might guess were just as common routine assignments as sick and injured. I used to carry a small scanner so that I could monitor the 75 Precinct. With the scanner I could get a “heads up” if the "shooting" job was confirmed from first arriving PD units and respond accordingly. You did not want to get to a shooting job before the PD was on scene, I did one time, and it was not a very smart thing to do, that story soon...Stabbings, cuttings and shootings, hardly a tour would go by that you did not get one or the other and often multiple times. The ugliest cutting I witnessed was with a box cutter, and I’ll have to leave it there…

                                                                         *********

(https://i.postimg.cc/BLPLtgDQ/Screenshot-2019-08-16-07-46-50-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/BLPLtgDQ)


Hall and I are sitting quietly in the garage lounge, resting our eyes, it is an early Sunday morning and the radio is quiet...it is around six in the morning as the sun starts to rise. We are “allowed” to return to the barn after 3 AM. Until then, you either rove the neighborhood or stand-by at your designated spot, which for my unit tonight “Liberty 375” is at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Liberty Street. It is a well lit corner with a 24 hour diner  located on the southwest corner. We sometimes park alongside the diner on Liberty Street and wait, the location affords us a bathroom, coffee and safety... But, back inside the garage is a small “lounge” room, that separates the small male and female locker rooms, each locker room has about ten lockers. There is no television but a couple of old leather chairs, a small beat up couch, and a kitchen table to do paperwork. A large window looks out to the garage floor....this is our “lounge”. The lounge also has light green colored  NYPD call box phone mounted on the wall. The Brooklyn CO will call us on this phone when we are off the “air”...  With that, the phone rings from the CO, and we receive a job on the corner of Livonia Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue for a stabbing, I jot the info as Hall heads towards the parked bus and fires up the rig and flips on the lights... we make a right turn out of the garage, down a few blocks and hang a left onto Pennsylvania. Every now and then he “chirps” the siren, no need to have it on continuously as traffic is very light...You can see Livonia Avenue El train station as soon as we make the turn as the El runs overhead of Pennsylvania Avenue on Livonia Avenue. 

(https://i.postimg.cc/yk8JZs0b/Screenshot-2019-07-29-09-49-15-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/yk8JZs0b)
(THIS IS STAND-BY SPOT, USUALLY WE PARKED WHERE THE NYPD VAN IS, BACK THEN THIS WAS A DINER)

We approach and notice there are three male teens sprawled on the corner, two are rolling back and forth in obvious pain, the other dormant.  Popping out of the bus and I quickly observe all three have been severely stabbed in multiple spots on their bodies, I  grab my first aid box from the back of the bus and a handful of 4x4 pads, quickly  assessing the worse, it’s a tie. As I frantically attempt to suppress multiple stab wounds at once, I notice Hall, my MVO is standing with his hands clasped behind his back rocking on his heels and he offers advice to the injured youths; “Ya’ know if you were in church this morning…” I look at him, “Hall! Get me another bus and the stretcher” I ordered. I packaged the three the best I could, plugging holes and stopping the bleeding like the “Little Dutch Boy”, then proceed to load the victims into the bus... Brooklyn CO advises there are no buses available at this time... I’ve already loaded two into the back of my bus on the bench seat, and the third on a stretcher as NYPD arrives. The three teens were fighting over a cigarette lighter they stole from someone on the train...Many times you handled a "multi casualty incident" by yourself...we did not call it that back then, we called it "your hands are full!"...you were on your own, and you had better be quick on your feet!

Treating victims back then we never wore rubber gloves or face masks, when your hands got nasty you simply washed and rinsed off at the nearest hospital or open a clean bottle of saline water at the job. When our uniforms became blood stained and you did not have another uniform in your locker, which many of us did not, (as you reported for duty wearing it) you rinsed the blood off the best you could at the hospital or “acquired” an orderly scrub to finish off the tour. At home, to get the stain out, you would wet and soak the spot then pour peroxide onto the dried blood, into the washer and be ready for your next tour…. But what about olive oil?...

                                                                   ************
A HOME REMEDY

“Liberty 374, respond for overdose 524 Ridgewood Ave”... When we arrived a man speaking with a spanish dialect comes out of his house and meets us in the street at the bus, he is very excited and he tells us his young daughter has overdosed...but he does not know on what the substance is. However, he reassures us he does know how to correct the condition... Inside we find the young female teen; slumped in the wooden kitchen chair naked, semi-conscious and crying...on the kitchen table is bottles and bottles of olive oil that has been poured on her from her head to the toes, the kitchen floor is slick with this oil and the whole house reeks of a salad.

Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!  Next; COPS AND COLLISIONS.      KMG-365




Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on August 19, 2019, 06:30:05 PM
And then there were certain neighborhoods where Vick's Vapo-Rub was the cure all for everything. It was always fun trying to pick a patient off the floor who had been slathered from head to toe with the aforementioned universal antidote.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: Lebby on August 19, 2019, 11:01:44 PM
Don't forget Milk the cure all from overdoes to seizures, of course only if administered topically.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 21, 2019, 08:39:32 PM
GORY DAYS; Part 5
Collisions and Cops

EMS LOG:   9/25/78   0830 hrs; Collision; Interboro Pkwy.

“Liberty 375; Collision, Interboro Parkway half mile eastbound from Pennsylvania Avenue”.
For those who don’t remember, the Interboro Parkway between Queens and Brooklyn was a windy and treacherous parkway, that was made even more dangerous by a center concrete meridian that was about two feet high and just high enough for a car to mount, ride and crash head on into oncoming traffic. Such was the instance in this case, we arrived to find a car, that mounted the meridian, cruised several feet and hit head-on into the windshield of another car going in the opposite direction shearing off the top of a sportscar type motor vehicle. The driver, a popular doctor from Kings County Hospital on his way home was decapitated, his head in the back seat...his passenger badly injured.

                                                                    **********

Today I am working an overtime day tour and I have a friend riding with me today, John...he is a good buddy that I have worked with prior to being hired by NYC EMS when we were a team on a private ambulance service on Long Island. We tendered to mostly elderly patients that had doctor visits or needed to be transported to the hospital if they were in distress or not feeling well from private nursing homes... Today John is riding along, he will be starting a future career in nursing the next semester at NY Skidmore College. John’s interest is in nursing and he wanted to experience a NYC EMS point of view.

It has been a routine day tour, as expected...so far, we have handled the usual type of calls; sick, obs (maternity), cardiac, injury, etc. However, one call you could always expect was a collision and we did not have one yet... With all the highways and intersections in ENY there was almost no tour that would go by that I did not handle a couple of collisions, for you see, in lawless ENY a stop sign is only a mere suggestion and we handled collisions by the bag full.

Cruising down Stone Avenue the bus was stopped at the traffic light on Sutter Avenue, John is in the back of the bus talking through the small open window between the back of the bus and the cab where I am sitting shotgun. The sky is dark and it begins to lightly rain. John peers through the window, “rain?” he inquires and suggests “maybe we should head back to the Outpost for our rain gear?”...”Nah”, I said, “we’ll never make it”...and just as the last word left my mouth you could hear the sound of tires skimming over the wet asphalt with a loud “KaBoom”. Two cars smacked up right in front of us, one almost careening into our vehicle...we treated three injured and transported to Kings County Hospital.

There were times we would be called to Vandalia Avenue off of Fountain Avenue for the weekend drag racers who raced during the late evening and early morning hours at this open road area of swampland and eight foot cattails. The avenue would be alive with souped up cars and young folks drinking beer lining both sides of the empty street, once every couple of weeks we could expect to get an assignment for a wreck of one of the unlucky drag racers who slid off the drag strip into the weeds and rolled over.

Speaking of Vandalia Avenue; It is interesting to note that in this vicinity of cattails, desolation and swampland was an old incinerator that was out there by itself with no surrounding buildings, just cattails and swamp...there were a few times, usually in the early morning, we would get a call for an unconscious in the street and know what that means...You see, Canarsie had a large Mob element, the isolation and desolation near the lonely incinerator made for a good dumping ground of reputed mob hits…”Liberty 374 respond to an unconscious in the street, Vandalia Ave…”

Back to the wrecks...You knew you were about to get a collision assignment when  a yellow suped-up tow truck, many times two, would pass you by...sometimes into an oncoming traffic lane, they would whisk right by, you see, the policy of NYC at the time was that which-ever tow truck company arrived first, they would get the choice of damaged vehicle to tow back to  their yard for lucrative “repairs”. This arrangement created a mad market for tow truck companies to race to the scene with death defying maneuvers while damning traffic laws... busting through intersections to be the first to arrive and stake claim their prize. It was not uncommon for one or two of these maniacs to breeze by our bus responding to the same incident. When we arrived, the tow trucks would almost be hooked up to their bounty. Funny thing was, if the smashed up vehicle was worthless, the car would be pushed to the curb and left abandoned for many months.

                                                                    ***********

EMS LOG:   5/25/79   0034 hrs.  Belt Parkway @ Pennsylvania Avenue. Collision

“Liberty 374, Collision, Belt Parkway in the vicinity of Pennsylvania Avenue”...From our standby post on Liberty and Pennsylvania Avenue Lawrence and I respond down PA Ave to the Belt Parkway. Heading east on the parkway we notice a police car on the westbound side of the parkway with its roof lights flashing, that must be the spot.... Lawrence is driving and we travel down to where we can cross over the parkway safely and affect a u-turn. Lawrence negotiates the traffic and within short order we pull up behind the police car, through the high ten foot cattails a police officer is summoning us in over the crushed cattails the car has made as it veered off the road, tonight I am the tech and as I get closer I can see taillights that are still illuminated and recognize the vehicle as the type of car I drive, a Dodge Dart...only this one has overturned. Within the overturned sedan are eleven injured, luckily none very serious, but still many slight injuries that will have to be dealt with. There are six children and five adults, they are “large adults too” crammed into this upside vehicle, fortunately the abundance of mass humanity created a human cushion softening the blow and sudden impact injuries you could expect with this type of collision.  Between Lawrence and I we handle all eleven. Lawrence requested another bus from Brookdale and between the two busses we transported all eleven happy campers to Brookdale Hospital for evaluation.

(https://i.postimg.cc/jDWdvWb3/Screenshot-2019-07-30-10-49-24.png) (https://postimg.cc/jDWdvWb3)
Brookdale Hospital Emergency Department

(https://i.postimg.cc/qgkJSDr3/Screenshot-2019-07-26-22-30-15-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/qgkJSDr3)



COPS 1

I am transporting a perp in the back of the bus towards Kings County Hospital. The perp tried to attack a “Housing Cop”, somehow he got himself banged up a little and I am now transporting him with another Housing Cop in the back of the bus. The perp starts to become aggressive towards the PO. I am sitting on the front bench towards the front of the cab, nothing for me to do as the PO monitors the perp... However as the perp starts to become more agitated the officer begins to wrestle with him and begins to smack him with his “slapstick” in an effort to bring him under control. The perp becomes more aggressive and the back of the bus is way too small for me at this time. The police officer wrestles the perp onto the stretcher, the perps face facing the foot of the stretcher with his head stuck under the frame of the stretcher. The PO has now drawn his gun and sitting on the perps shoulder while pressing his head under the frame and holding his gun to the perps head, the PO tells him if he has to use a bullet to shoot him in the head he will “bill” his family for the thirty-seven cents to recoup the loss of the bullet.

COPS 2

We have just started our tour, Lawrence is driving and I am the tech. We head out to our stand by location at Liberty and Pennsylvania Avenue, Lawrence and I feel like a cup of coffee to start our night tour off so I’ll go fetch the coffee as Lawrence monitors the radio in the bus. Inside the diner is a Police Officer from the 75, he is getting coffee also, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. I recognize him, I have worked many jobs with this officer, I don’t know his name, but he is one tough s-o-b and “all” business, all the time. He was the PO who told me about the frozen DOA at the garage... The PO is wearing the black leather motorcycle jacket uniform that was customary at the time. The owner of the diner is telling the PO that the guy near the door has been harassing him and the customers all night. The officer doesn’t even look at him, not a glance...meanwhile I grab our two coffees and head back to the rig, telling Lawrence about what's going on inside this greasy spoon...Seconds later, the door is flung open with the harassing perp being held firmly by the collar of the PO with his left hand while being pushed through the door, simultaneously the PO's right hand is balancing two hot coffees while the cig stills dangles... the PO twirls and flings the perp back onto the sidewalk without saying a word, and proceeds back to his sector car, mission accomplished... One tough cop I’ll never forget.

COPS 3

9/8/78; Cardiac. I am working with my pesky partner Joe. In the back of the bus we are performing CPR, I am doing the compressions and Joe the airway. Joe and I are still kind of new to all this. A PO from the 75 PCT tells us to continue CPR, he will drive the bus to Brookdale Hospital. Joe and I agree, works for me...The officer proceeds to drive like a lunatic, we are both tossed about the cabin like ping pong balls along with another PO who is riding along. All of a sudden the driving PO screeches the brakes at Alabama Avenue and Linden Blvd, for what we will never know, but all three of us become plastered into the front wall of the bus, the riding PO has now become our second patient, injured at the abrupt stop, meanwhile we resume the CPR process and get to him after we arrive at Brookdale Hospital. Never a dull moment.

(https://i.postimg.cc/DWrhYLY6/usa-harlem-new-york-city-april-1978-harlem-african-american-in-c.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/DWrhYLY6)

Back in the day, NYPD Leather Uniform Jacket


Thanks for reading! Next; CPR jobs and Delivering Newborns.    KMG-365

(https://i.postimg.cc/r0hdSZfw/Screenshot-2019-08-27-13-34-24-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/r0hdSZfw)
Found this 60's cool shot of Interboro deadly "center divider" that killed KCH Doctor.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on August 23, 2019, 11:38:47 AM
 Dan, without a doubt, "Your Stories Are GREAT". They would be a leading box office hit if made into a movie. You could then put all those royalties into your pocket. Maybe treat us guys to a Yonkers Pepe Pie or those GREAT Bayside Maggie Mays Burger's and Fries Specials they got there.

 Actually Dan, THANK YOU for telling us your many stories. Without a doubt you have earned your pay. Besides the fact that you, like so many others here, have HELPED SO MANY PEOPLE and even SAVED THIER LIVES. It sure doesn't get much better than that.

 As I read some of your "GORY Days" stories of East New York's Liberty Outpost, I can relate as an FDNY buff of seeing the kind of conditions you talk about in those streets you mention here. The Interboro Parkway, Sutter Ave, Vandalia Ave, Penn Ave. One very nasty and dangerous place to be. Often carrying my scanner and camera, today as I think about it, I am amazed that they weren't stolen from me. OR the fact that I somehow came out of the place ALIVE. I can only imagine what it was like working in some of those streets or buildings.

 Dan, of course we met about 20 years ago, while you were the chaffer of Ladder 5 at the Rock. It was a brand new rig and I was collecting FDNY apparatus photos at the time. We had then lost touch until just recently and you joined our Nycfire.net team.

 But Dan, aka "Johnny Gage", I will ask you the same question as I asked Retired FDNY Captain John Bendick, this sites Administrator.

 "During your days working in those streets, didn't you ever notice me standing there with my scanner in one hand and camera in the other" ? Of course the response I got from John Bendick, I consider a CLASSIC. He said to me: "Well Willy, if you weren't wearing a skirt, we really didn't pay too much attention".

 So Dan, with that said, if you never noticed me, I can certainly understand.

 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 24, 2019, 07:47:32 AM
Thanks Willy for the kind post, Brother John's answer is pretty much spot on...It has been a real treat for me to write these recollections, I look forward to my quiet time and typing later in the evening...and for the time doing so, I actually feel like I am back in time reliving the events, thoughts stashed away and preserved in the coconut memory bank!, especially fun is when I pull out a smidgen detail I haven't thought about in ages, kind of cool. But for now, I am waiting, I know someone one this sight is working on a "time tunnel" and we will all pass by each other and hang ten!

Couple of more "Gory Days" ahead and then something special before I kick off my time in DCFD. Thanks again Willy, the Bendicks, and to all my friends who have joined me on this "Glory Days" journey by reading, "PMing" me and adding their comments, it really is appreciated and has been fun! Peace and love.  KMG -365.

(https://i.postimg.cc/PpdjKGDt/Screenshot-2019-08-24-07-18-42-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/PpdjKGDt)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 27, 2019, 06:56:16 PM
GORY DAYS; Part 6
CPR Jobs and Babies

...One and, two and, three and...I am on my knees and applying CPR to an older gentleman by myself...

It is 9/26/78, a clear and warm night, I am working with my partner MVO Hall as “Liberty 375”, we are the only bus out there in the East New York neighborhood.  I am still learning the ropes of EMS, only a few weeks working the streets...Hall and I have just treated and transported an asthma patient from Georgia Avenue to Kings County Hospital, taking up from that job we are immediately assigned another and now we have responded across ENY to an epileptic from Nichols Avenue in the Cypress Hills section of ENY that went unfounded. A few minutes to grab a cup of coffee at the greasy spoon diner we park next to on Liberty Street. I get coffee, Hall wants a container of French fries, his favorite. The diner serves the fries in a large coffee cup instead of those flat “boats” that fries usually come in.

At 0224 hours we receive an assignment for “difficulty breathing” at 432 Montauk Avenue. We shoot from Liberty Street across the blocks to Montauk and within a few minutes Hall and I pull up to the two story semi attached home, the front door is open and we both proceed inside. The DB has now become a ‘“full cardiac arrest” as I realize a family member is applying a strange type of chest compressions that resembles CPR to the victim. The victim is an obese older man, he is wearing a dirty “wife beater” tee shirt and boxer shorts, he is on his back, unshaven and missing a handful of teeth, the teeth that remain are discolored and his jaw drops into his mouth without the teeth. The smell of mold, body odor, stale beer and cigarettes permeate the home. A family member on his knees attempting CPR tells me that the victim has “just keeled over”. I quickly feel for a pulse, nada.

I have alongside me my trusty fishing tackle box full of first aid supplies and airways, also a small oxygen tank. When we graduated from the Health and Hospital Ambulance Corpsman program we were given an oxygen yoke regulator with a gauge, however we did not have a demand / positive pressure regulator attached, simply a facemask. I grab the right size airway from the top shelf of the first aid kit, twist it one quarter turn, slip it over the tongue and twist it back one quarter turn to fit correctly without pushing the tongue backwards.

...Eleven and, twelve and, thirteen and...

I tell Hall go fetch me the “ambu bag” on the bus in between compressions.

...Twenty seven and, twenty eight and, twenty nine and....but, no Hall


I keep my compressions steady, rocking back and forth on my hips delivering deep compressions on his bare chest squeezing the heart against his spine. The old timer has drool coming from his mouth and remains unresponsive laying on his back on this filthy tacky carpet...Where is Hall with the Ambu bag?...at this point I have done more than thirty compressions...

Back in EMT school we were taught the ratio between single CPR (if I’m not mistaken, long time ago…) was thirty compressions to two rescue breaths. I have taken two CPR classes,  the one before we were taught to give the ol’ precordial chest  thump, but today this practice has been discontinued. The compression count to breathing ratio remained the same...however, I am thinking twice to “seal his mouth with my lips”. My mind is racing with all types of infections I can be infected with....

I am still waiting for Hall to get his arse into the living room as I continue compressions. Another relative in the room says “you have to give him mouth to mouth!”, (Yeah, yeah I know!)...But, I’m desperately searching out for Hall or the other family member who was giving CPR when we arrived but there is nobody in sight other than this person who is demanding I start rescue breathing.

...forty-two and, forty three and…

The remaining family member reiterates loudly, “HEY!, you have to do mouth to mouth!”...and so yes, here we go!...I wipe the slobber from the old timers mouth, place my mouth over his tilting his head back and pinch his nostrils, I place my open mouth and lips over his, just before I breathe my lungful of air into him he belches into my mouth. Stale beer, stinky cigarettes and whatever he ate is now filling my sinuses en masse... I’m doing everything in my power to not gag, but blew two good rescue breaths into his lungs...Finally,  Hall appears with the ambu-bag, this glorious ambu-bag!...I continue with compressions and give the old timer two more blasts now from ambu-bag...Meanwhile, Hall goes back to the bus to retrieve the stretcher. I perform CPR almost to exhaustion as we transport the victim to Brookdale Hospital. Even though the Paramedic program was in existence, it was very rare that a Paramedic bus was seen in ENY!

Unfortunately the old timer died at Brookdale Hospital. But his belch was alive and well remaining inside me as I was trying with all my might to keep my stomach contents down. After leaving Brookdale Hospital we were traveling up Rockaway Parkway towards Kings Highway headed back to ENY. Up ahead was an open bodega, I asked Hall to pull over at the corner store. Inside I looked for a mouthwash but the store did not have any, so I got a large bottle of orange juice, brought it back to the bus and gargled with it to try and replace the foul, nauseating and repugnant aftertaste inside my nostrils and mouth.  I needed something harsh...I gargled once, twice and spit the fluid out. I took a few gulps of the juice, the acid from the juice made my stomach worse, I dry heaved a few times, but I hung in there.  For the remainder of the tour, the old timer’s belch stayed with me, I could not clear his rancid residue from my senses.

Street wise lesson learned; I made a promise to myself, never again would I leave the bus without the ambu-bag for any difficulty breathing or cardiac assignment again. Each tour I would find the ambu-bag from the back of the bus, place a clean facemask on it and hook it into my side pocket as a new appendage.

However, that would not be the last time I would do mouth to mouth rescue breathing.

                                                                     *******

EMS LOG: 1/8/79,  0623 hrs.  Unconscious Baby

“Liberty 375 respond for unconscious baby, 6XX New Jersey Avenue”.
These assignments were always tough, and the results usually not pleasant. Tonight I am working with Hall and we respond from the Outpost to New Jersey Avenue, the location is not too far away and within minutes we are at the scene. I hustle into the first floor apartment, the first thing I notice is a young couple...they are the  mom and dad and are crying and hugging each other...the woman states the baby has just stopped breathing... I feel the baby, the baby is wrapped in a pink blanket and not breathing, turning blue without a heartbeat. I immediately grabbed her from her crib, make sure she is not choking and has an airway while heading to the back of the bus I start performing CPR and rescue breathing...I tell Hall to head to Kings County Hospital Pediatrics Emergency Room. Hall takes control of the bus and wields the bus to the hospital emergency room masterfully. And we arrive to a couple of doctors and nurses standing by... Sadly, the baby did not survive.

                                                                   *******

NOT ALL WAS LOSS...I did have a save though!

EMS LOG:  4/15/79;

It is a Sunday morning and my partner is Lawrence, he’s driving tonight. The weather is cool and rainy but it must have been a full moon as we responded to some wacky calls:

“0058 hrs; Liberty 374, respond to Jerome and New Lots”... A perp tried to shoot a PO and he himself was shot in his a$$ cheek that exited from his right thigh.

“0211 hrs; Liberty 374 respond for a young boy who has caught his penis in the zipper of his pants”, and yes he did...that’s all I will say. I carried him to the bus like I was carrying a satchel of fragile expensive champagne glasses in my arms, slow and easy peasy!

Included with the above jobs mentioned we responded to the ubiquitous collision, a “man down” and an assault.

0405 hrs; “Liberty 374 respond to a man down, 9 Schenck Avenue”. Upon our arrival we found an elderly female, most likely early 70’s that has a severe head trauma from a fall on the sidewalk, she is semi-conscious and unresponsive. Being the tech, I carefully wrap the wound as Lawrence stabilizes her head then proceed to check her vitals. Her breathing shallow, eyes unresponsive, but has a faint heartbeat. Lawrence and I load her into the back of the bus and head for Brookdale Emergency Department while I monitor her vitals and place an oxygen facemask on her. As we haul across ENY towards the hospital I notice she has now stopped breathing and muscles relaxed...I have Lawrence stop the bus to recheck her vitals. Nothing. “Take off partner she’s checking out” I said to Lawrence and begin to bag her with my trusty ambu bag getting two good shots of air into her lungs while being bounced around in the back of the bus and performing CPR. After two rounds of compressions, miraculously both her eyes are opened up and staring up at me to my amazement...From what I heard my next tour back, she survived. Lawrence and I responded to twelve jobs that kookie night.

                                                                   ********

BABIES

During my time with EMS I responded to numerous “OBS/ maternity” jobs. Although I did not actually “catch” the baby as it was delivered I was on the scene within seconds after three sucessful deliveries and caught the “other stuff’, cut the umbilical cord and made sure the baby was breathing. Unfortunately I also responded to many miscarriages, and again I’ll have to leave it there. But here was the good news:

EMS LOG:   1/2/79,  0700 hrs  Sutter Avenue...female baby born.
                  4/8/79,  0525 hrs  Blake Avenue...male baby born.
                  5/3/79,  0730 hrs  Hinsdale Avenue...male baby born
And in case you’re wondering, none of them were named Johnny Gage, the nerve!

Next: Some “Gory Days” quick snapshots of wacky EMS stories.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!    KMG-365


(https://i.postimg.cc/N9FpR1Lt/download.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/N9FpR1Lt)
My "Best Friend"...don't leave home without it...the Ambu bag!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: STAjo on August 28, 2019, 09:19:55 AM


  Great Stuff, 'Johnny' ! Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.   8)

  After a Thousand or so EMS Runs in the Greater Binghamton, NY Area; they all kinda'
  run together ... I do remember that it always seemed that w/ EMS I had plenty of help
  on the Routine Stuff, but I remember being quite lonely on the Late-night/Early Morning
  CPR Runs... .   ;)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on August 28, 2019, 09:46:16 AM
 Dan, regarding the above Gory Days story, I'd like to jump in with a couple of somewhat related stories about mouth to mouth CPR and child birth.

 This goes way back to the very early days of CPR. My father, who was my Role Model, was a firefighter in Bridgeport, Ct. He used to smoke a lot of cigars and being a firefighter, I nicknamed him "Smoke". I think somewhere way back, I wrote about him on this site.

 Anyway, CPR is just coming out and Smoke finds out about a one day class being held in Norwalk, Ct and open to the public to attend. I'm still in my high school days and Smoke brings me along too.

 About a year or two after that short one day class, Smoke is working a night tour and gets a job in a reported vacant frame. He goes in and finds a guy in the second floor bathroom, unconscious and not breathing. He gets him out into the street. At that time, the only rig in the city that carried any oxygen was their Rescue called Squad 5. But on this narrow street, Squad 5 is parked too close to a parked car and they can't get the doors on the compartment open to get the oxygen unit out. So Smoke begins mouth to mouth breathing and after a few breaths, the guy starts to breathe on his own.

 That simple one day class that showed Smoke how to do this new thing, saved the guys life. There were no practice manikins to work on either.

 Smoke was awarded the Bridgeport Fire Depts Highest Medal for that rescue called: "The Gold Star". Interesting, about a year or two later, while waiting for a bus in downtown Bridgeport, a homeless guy tries to hit me up for a little donation. Instead we go across the street to a diner and I buy him a coffee. As we sit there talking, the fire trucks are going by on a run. He says to me: "those guys saved my life". Of course I ask him where was that. He tells me at a fire on Fulton St. I then asked him his name and he says: Eddie Martin. That was the guy that Smoke rescued and used mouth to mouth breathing on him.

 Another story regarding child birth. Myself and two other guys are on the rig responding to a maternity call. On our way dispatch tells us "her water broke" and we will be there in about a minute or so. I tell the guys "We're going to do our thing on this one".

 The mother is lying on the living room floor with an upstairs neighbor helping here. The baby is already coming out and the guys join in. The paramedic from EMS shows up and everything is going GREAT. I then tell the mother: "Oh you got a baby GIRL".

 What happens next is what we least expect. The mother tells us: "Well I DON'T WANT HER". It's UNBELIEVEABLE. We are all just suddenly at a loss for words. Almost in shock over this huge let down. Why ? Why did it happen this way ? Our first and ONLY birth delivery and this is the result. A healthy baby girl and the mother doesn't want her.

 We get back to quarters and the day shift guys are there so we all can go home.

 My wife is home and she's getting ready to go to work for the day. My wife and I never had any children, at her request and I was okay with that. (I guess that's how I got the time to do all my buffing back then).

 But that morning I tell my wife, maybe we should look into adopting this little girl. I guess there's no sign of the father around either. But my wife tells me, she doesn't want to do that and I respect that. Before we were married, we agreed to that.

 The year that happened was around 1992/1993. So I guess today, she would be about 27/28 years old and maybe have a family of her own. That incident was just one of those things that you just never forget. I just hope she had a good family that adopted her.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on August 28, 2019, 01:10:49 PM
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-of-2-Fire-Fighter-Memorabilia-Print-Convention-Bell/153619524103?hash=item23c46fea07:g:pJYAAOSw2-9dZAG7
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 28, 2019, 01:57:37 PM
^^^^^^^^Thanks JK, never too early to start Christmas shopping for that special someone!

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Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on August 31, 2019, 08:29:32 PM
GORY DAYS; Part 7
Snapshots

GET MY BABY! 

Hinsdale Street and Williams Avenue were always two notorious blocks that seemed to have the most violent and vicious assignments that I recall. Whenever one of the two street addresses came in I would mentally prepare myself for anything possible and be on my guard. Both streets were dark, large apartment houses formed a canyon and there seemed to be shady characters lurking at all times of the night.

“Liberty 375; Child with asthma” the location is on Hinsdale Street, it is about 0342 hrs and tonight  I am working with the MVO Hall. We pull up to the reported address and notice the building is a four story walk up apartment house. The street is dark,  the street lights lining Hinsdale are either all dead or have been shot out, but it doesn’t make a difference... it is dark!. As I exit the bus I shine my three cell Eveready flashlight into the darkened hallway where the front door has been left open, the  light beam is absorbed by the darkness and is virtually useless. Hesitant about entering the building I glance into the hallway, Hall does not get out of the bus and warns me “it looks dark in there!”... the only light on the street is from our headlights and the revolving bubble gum red and white light on the roof of the bus...Suddenly, from an upper floor a woman starts yelling down to me; “Come up here and get my baby!”. I look up, trying to see who is shouting at me... again I hear a woman yell, “I said, get up here and get my baby!”...Now I can see a silhouette figure in an open window on the top floor,  I respond back...“Bring your baby down!”. Meanwhile, Hall continues to look out his window from the safety of the bus...he is not budging from the front seat... Again the woman bellows with slightly more agitation in her voice...“YOU Get up here and get my baby!”.  I give her one more ultimatum, ”bring your baby down or I’m leaving”...From above, the final volley, “BULL$%^&,  COME GET MY BABY YOU MOTHERF&^%$#!”...and with that, I climbed back into the bus, told Hall; “let’s go” and radioed; “Brooklyn;  Hinsdale Job is 10-93 RMA (refused medical attention)....Liberty 375 is 98 (available)”. And that was that.

NEW LOTS AVE SHOOTING   

Another tour with MVO Hall; we are returning from Brookdale Hospital from clearing our last job, our tour almost over and will be heading back to the Outpost. Brookdale Hospital cafeteria in the morning has a wonderful buffet breakfast of pancakes, eggs, omelettes, ham, sausage...you name it, and the price is right, for us EMS personnel there is no charge. Hall and I load up with a styrofoam container of breakfast to take back to the garage and eat since we will be off duty by the time we get back to the Outpost...Hall drives down New Lots Avenue and makes a left turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue... “Brooklyn to Liberty 375 K”...I respond “Liberty 375 K”...“Liberty 375, Man Shot New Lots and Georgia Avenue”. Hall and I look at each other…”no way, we just drove by five minutes ago.'' Streetwise protocol was to wait for a “confirmed” shooting from the PD before we entered the street, or at least make sure PD was on scene. Since we just drove by the site and did not see anything,  we whip the bus around and respond back to the location...On the sidewalk is a man shot and writhing in pain, the dog next to him has also been shot and not alive...Grabbing my first aid kit from the back of the bus I start a quick assessment of bullet entry and exit, then begin to treat the victim while awaiting the arrival of the PD. While preparing to bandage the victim I hear a voice behind me, the voice speaks clearly and deliberately…”Yo man, if I wanted him to live I wouldn’t have shot him”... I don’t turn around, I ignore the voice, and realize the monumental mistake of not waiting for PD confirmation...but my eggs were getting cold!...out of the corner of my eye I see the sector car from the 75 pulling up. The voice is now gone...I breathe a sigh of relief.

I made a mistake, and one I would never make again. Street protocol was for the EMS to wait for a “confirmed” shooting from PD, or at least wait until their arrival. If you were assigned a shooting, before committing yourself into the street, you checked for a sector car to be at the scene, and If not you waited.

The eggs got tossed.

I mentioned in a previous post about my pain in the ass partner Joe who was driving the one night we received a call for “man shot, PD on scene”. Joe sat idle, the bus did not move. I said to Joe, “lets go, PD is on scene”. The address was only a few blocks from where we were sitting and we could have been there in less than a minute. “We’ll wait to see if the shooting is confirmed”. “Brooklyn to Liberty 374, put a rush on your call, confirmed shooting”. Now I’m stewing, we could have been there minutes ago. The shooting is confirmed, I attend to the male that was shot, there is a small bullet hole in his chest. His breathing is labored, I’m figuring a collapsed lung, there is no exit hole. I get him into the back of the bus, place an oxygen facemask on him and tell Joe to head to Brookdale to play it safe as I am not sure if he will survive the ride to Kings County Hospital. The victim keeps gasping to me; “I’m going to die, I’m going to die”, I try to reassure him; “hang in there, we’re almost at the hospital, hang in, breathe”..Just as we pull up to the Brookdale Hospital Emergency Ramp the young male goes into cardiac arrest and subsequently dies. I’m angry and upset that we could have been there a few minutes sooner. I was steaming, my partner’s laziness and arrogance was unacceptable. Later, I will make sure to rectify the situation and let him know that his slacking and presuming attitude will not be tolerated by me ever again. Thankfully, he transferred a few days later to the day shift.

RUBY STREET;  “The HOLE”.

Lawrence and I responded to a “sick” job near the southeast border of Brooklyn and Queens near Linden Blvd. The address is on Ruby Street where this area of ENY is referred to as “The Hole”, a partially flooded five block neighborhood where chickens run freely in the streets.  It is a low-lying area about thirty feet below grade than the surrounding neighborhood, the area is run-down, and suffers frequent flooding. Abandoned homes and broken down cars fill empty lots, piles of trash, tires and old kid’s toys slowly decay in murky puddles. Constant standing water and deep puddles are all over the streets because there is no drainage system. The area has been described as a “lost neighborhood” and resembles a border town from the Wild West. Sparsely distributed houses rise from densely overgrown marshland and large Weeping Willow trees where stray dogs, feral cats and ramshackle structures dot the streets. It is hard to believe you are still in Brooklyn. This area was also a special spot for the “mob” to drop off bodies in empty lots with abandoned vehicles as this section was hardly serviced and neglected by the 75 Pct of Brooklyn and the 106 Pct in Queens where their borders overlapped.

Lawrence and I pull up to this rickety, partially corrugated shack-of-a home. Inside is dark, only a lamp without lamp shade on a night table emits light, the small room has dark paneling a low ceiling with old dusty cowboy artifacts and off kilter hanging wall art. Empty pill bottles and open cans of dried food sit on the countertop of a kitchen sink filled with dirty pots and pans.

There is an old black gentleman and he is laying naked on a bare soiled mattress, in a fetal position, he is weak, but he is alert and responds to questions Lawrence asks. The uncased pillow and mattress is soiled filthy beyond belief. The bed is pushed up against two walls in a corner, the top of the mattress has no headboard. There appears to be no other family members or friends when we arrive...Lawrence is the tech tonight, he shows true compassion as he helps the gentleman sit-up and then clothes him. I assist Lawrence, and admire his empathy. We wrap the old timer in a sheet and sit him down on the stair chair and strap him in so does not fall out.  Just as we begin to remove him from his home he wants to grab some cash. He tells us his moolah is “under” the mattress!...Lawrence and I look at each other, we don’t have any gloves... so I find a couple sticks to lift the mattress with Lawrence...and ungodly odor emits...but lining between the two thin mattresses are numerous dollar bills in different denominations laid out flat, they are soggy and discolored. Lawrence takes a few less stained bills from the mattress edge and puts the bills in the old timers pocket.

Till this day, after handling dollar bills and coins, I wash my hands!

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed…    KMG-365

The “HOLE”, Brooklyn NY. Not much has changed from my EMS days.

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Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on September 01, 2019, 01:07:32 AM
The Hole ...remember it well although not normally assigned there i wound up responding there at times when closer Units were out when i was a LT in 332..... as far as the guy who told you "not to save the victim as he was trying to kill him".....i had an incident outside 108 when we were still on Seigel St....daily there were skirmishes on the block ...one night someone knocks on the door & myself & another young FF open it & the knocker points to a guy on the ground 2 doors away....mistakenly the 2 of us just walk outside figuring the vic is probably just drunk...as i kneel down to assess his airway etc i am slammed to the ground by someone jumping on my back & at the same time plunging a knife over my head into the vic to finish what had transpired prior to our clueless arrival...the other FF pulls the stabber off me & i jump up & we disarm him ...as we are holding him down & telling the other residents to alert the other FFs in the FH to turnout an old man the Father of the vic appears & pull's of his Garrison Belt with a "Razor Sharp Edged Buckle" (who remembers these from the gang era of the '50s.. you could wear it & as long as you did not stroke the edges it was OK) .....the Father is flailing the belt & my self & the other FF are trying to hold the original perp & avoid the belt swinger .....the rest of the Brothers turnout & not knowing who the players are (beside us) proceed to start jacking up the stabber ...the belt swinger & one or two close by onlookers until me & the other FF regain composure & ID who was who.....we actually took the belt away & let the vics Father (the belt swinger) go after a neighbor we knew ID him as the Father of the vic....the stabber was arrested by the responding former 87 Pct...... another close call was one Christmas Eve in 1970...we (108) had a covering LT & a young ENG Detail from another FH...the Day Tour LT made out the Riding List & i was assigned the Irons & did not know the Cov LT or the detail so i guess being full of piss & vinegar i was ready to show them "how we did it on Seigel St"...about an hour & a half into the Christmas Eve night tour we get a 1st Due Pull Box (in the now Truckless Triangle maybe 714 Stanwix & Montieth or 716 Bushwick Ave & Arion Place) but we get in before anyone else & people at the Box are pointing up the block....it is a Tenement & there is a large crowd outside on the stoop & sidewalk who all seem agitated ......(to me even in the absence of any visible smoke or Fire the crowd on a chilly night is taken as an indication of a job)....it is December 24 & the Rig is open so we respond dressed...no mask's are taken normally so as we pull up i grab my Irons in one hand & jump of the Rig running past the occupants on the sidewalk & stoop & in my haste to get upstairs first i ignored my minuscule "Street Spanish" just getting direction that it was the 2nd fl....i enter the 1st Fl & people are still coming down so i am figuring something is definitely going on as very few panic around this area over nothing ....at the top of the stairs is the door to an apt that is wide open & i rush in & about 8 ft straight ahead  i see a fellow on the floor in large pool of blood ......i was expecting to see a smoke or Fire condition so this throws me off...for some reason i guess thinking out loud i just say "who did this"...  i don't know why i said this out loud but i get a reply "i did it" & i turn around & there is a guy with a Rifle across his lap sitting in a chair in the next room going toward the front....this all happened so fast that the Cov LT & the Detail have not got up there yet....now i have to decide ....the door to the hall & stairs are much closer than the perp but maybe he could shoot me as i ran down or the COV LT or the detail coming up ....  not knowing his motivation but thinking the worst.....i decide to go for the perp figuring if i can just grab the rifle & fight him for control the LT & the Detail will be there soon...i body slam into him on the chair & grab the rifle as they enter the room ..... Thank God he did not resist or try to pull the trigger....he then started crying & as PD was arriving from 9-11 calls about a shooting (that we were not privy too) he said the rifle was a Christmas gift he was showing to his friend the deceased vic & it went off.         
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: lucky on September 01, 2019, 10:27:29 AM
Chief JK, is that the area that used to be known as Cedar Lane?
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on September 01, 2019, 03:25:44 PM
Chief JK, is that the area that used to be known as Cedar Lane?
Cedar Lane was outside of the actual "Hole" area & a little farther East on the Conduit just over the QNS line...it is Cedar Lane Stables the HQ of the Federation Of Black Cowboys who ride horses out of there & dress in full cowboy outfits.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on September 03, 2019, 09:49:28 PM
GORY DAYS; Part 8
Snapshots, continued

MAN HIT BY TRAIN...1

With four subway lines intersecting ENY there was plenty activity both above grade on the elevated, or “El” and underground in the stations. Numerous fights, stabbings and rapes were common jobs that were assigned.........
11 /17/ 78;  0225 hrs: “Liberty 375, Man Injured, struck by train. Pennsylvania Avenue and Livonia Avenue Station.”

(Flash forward to today; an assignment like the one mentioned above would initiate the response of the Cavalry from all the emergency agencies. In 1978 it was just Liberty 375).

Back to 1978...“Liberty 375, 10-4” My partner is Hall and we know the intersection very well, when we arrive a Transit Police Officer is with a teen who is laying on his side on the platform next to the tracks, it appears to be a fractured leg after being hit by a train is his story. He continues to tell us he jumped onto the tracks to retrieve his red baseball cap when it fell off his head and onto the tracks as a train was approaching. The teen jumped down, grabbed his cap and was clipped by the passing train while fetching his cap thus fracturing his lower left leg.

“OK, I said”...Unbelievable but true, there is no train in the station, the platform is empty and all is calm except for the teen, the Transit Cop, Hall and myself. I splint his leg with a small greenish blue wooden splint about eighteen inches long that has a little bit of a plastic cushion and have him sit in the stair chair to take him down to the street. The teen insists he can hop to the bus... so “hop” he goes on one leg, I hold his other arm as he steadies himself down the handrails of the El.

When we arrive at Brookdale Hospital, we then transfer him into a wheelchair and as I begin to push him into the emergency department, his treasured red hat falls off again, I bend over to retrieve it, and the teen says: “Forget the hat”…I remind him “but you were almost killed trying to retrieve your hat a few minutes ago”. He says “F$%* it, Let it go, who needs it”....

(https://i.postimg.cc/cvK1qPL5/Screenshot-2019-09-03-18-15-27-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/cvK1qPL5)


MAN HIT BY TRAIN...2

Lawrence and I are pulling out of Brookdale Hospital, Lawrence is driving and I’m the tech. I grab the telephone like radio handset and transmit to Brooklyn CO; “Liberty 374; 10-98” (available); it is 5/ 31 /79; 0409 hrs...Immediately Brooklyn CO has a job for us, “DOA on the tracks”, additional information is for us to meet transit police at Kingston Avenue and Eastern Parkway. Lawrence and I respond the few blocks to the location and pull up behind the black and white Transit Authority Police car, where we are met by a couple of Transit PO’s. I go to the back of the bus and get my tackle box first aid kit, one of the Transit PO’s says I won’t need it, the victim has been DOA for a long time, and we are here to pronounce the DOA and collect the body. Down the steps Lawrence and I follow the two Transit POs.

(HISTORICAL NOTE: During my period with EMS, there were three Police Agencies covering NYC; the Housing Authority Police who patrolled the Projects, the Transit Police who patrolled the subways and bus lines, and the City Police, NYPD. The three agencies merged into one during the Rudy Giuliani administration).

The power to the tracks have been turned off and all four of us proceed through the station to the end, we walk single file along the “catwalk” a brief distance alongside the track bed, Lawrence and I are behind the PO’s, I point my flashlight slightly ahead of me to make sure of the dark footing.  We have reached the end of the catwalk and are now on the tracks about a football fields length from the station where the PO points to what looks like a dusty black knapsack without shoulder straps lying adjacent to the outside of the track and against the cement wall. Shining my flashlight and looking closer, I notice there is a couple of broken bones protruding from this dry and dirty satchel. It’s a DOA alright,  that must have been hit numerous times by trains over a long period of time and the body has been reduced to a small rucksack made from twisted clothing. The PO has a body bag with him, the PO and I lift the body, it is not heavy at all, and place the remains in the body bag. The body is carried upstairs and into the back of the bus where Lawrence and I transported the unidentified victim to Kings County Morgue for identification.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Cn1TGfZ6/Screenshot-2019-09-03-18-12-46-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/Cn1TGfZ6)

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Below are two headlines from the Daily News of jobs I handled. The headlines say enough!

(https://i.postimg.cc/WF5x1b9m/20190729-194724-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/WF5x1b9m)

Thanks for reading...hope you enjoyed!    KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on September 06, 2019, 08:29:31 AM
 Mr Gage, in your last sentence in the above post of "Gory Days", (added to G"L"ORY DAYS), "you" thank us for reading...hope you enjoyed.

 Well of course, I can't speak for EVERYBODY here, but I hope that my vote does count. Without a doubt in my mind, as I read these stories they are GREAT. Not only that, the pictures that you have posted along with it, are CLASSICs that take us back to those days when parts of NYC had hit rock bottom and those firefighters, police officers, ems members, or those doctors and nurses working the emergency rooms in those over pack hospitals, were caught right up in the middle of it.

 Back then, my primary care physician was in her early school days working in a major NYC inner city hospital emergency room. Whenever I visit her, our conversation is more about "back in those days", than of my own health. She usually just tells me, "You're all set Willy (Thank the Good Lord), then the next five or ten minutes of my scheduled visit we talk about the GLORY and GORY DAYS, that Mr Gage has been telling us about. In fact, I think she might enjoy reading these stories too. So when I see her next January, I'm going to pass this onto her.

 I gotta also tell you that there's not too many other patients she has that live around here, that can relate to those NYC days of the past, like Mr Willy D. I guess our yearly incomes are kinda different but we can still talk the same game.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on September 07, 2019, 07:44:53 AM
"Mr. GAGE?"....please, all my friends call me Johnny, "Mr. Gage" is my pops... Glad to hear you're fit as a fiddle (your special secret diet is paying off!...more Big Macs and a Pepe pizza please!)...yes indeed, turn your Doc onto the wonderful Nycfire.net stories and recollections found on the hundreds of posts and threads contributed to this net, by all means.

(https://i.postimg.cc/fJNRfhf4/Screenshot-2019-09-07-07-45-41-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/fJNRfhf4)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on September 07, 2019, 06:55:21 PM
Hello Troops, I'm going to switch gears for now and resume the finale of "Gory Days" after this column in a few days as I begin a solemn observance of the upcoming week and will be out of service.

9/11 carries a heavy burden of memory and it is right that it should not pass from our memory. We remember the heroism of the many who lost their lives in saving others, we grieve still for those who suffered and died, friends and strangers, family and and friends. We remember the death and devestation our eyes were not meant to see. And we remember the feeling of emptiness when our "world stopped turning, that September day"*. Never forget.

                                                                 *********
REMEMBERING "THAT" SEPTEMBER


It is the end of August, 2001. I am currently assigned to Ladder 31 and I am sitting at the kitchen table of “The Big House”, awaiting roll call and enjoying a cup of coffee before committee work starts. Lt Luby, the boss of the day comes down from his office and joins me. “Johnny” he says, “the Battalion has informed us we need to detail a man down to the First Division to reinforce the lack of manpower in downtown Manhattan,'' He continues,” it is not your detail as you have seniority over the next selected member, but the detail would be difficult on the junior member as he lives a distance away, and don’t you live in the area?”... I get the message, and I’m not about to make any waves, “No problem, Boss, I’ll take the detail”.

The detail is for ninety days, and I will have a choice to which company I will take the detail to. Anyway, by taking the detail the reduced travel commute will afford me extra time to study for the upcoming lieutenants exam scheduled for October.  I suggest to the boss that I would prefer to do my detail at Ladder 10, in the shadow of the WTC South Tower and only a few blocks from my apartment in Battery Park City that I can walk to work... Furthermore, being assigned to L 10 for the next few months, the night tours are usually very quiet as city workers vacate lower Manhattan and back to their homes in outlying suburbs leaving the World Trade Center area desolate and quiet, another perfect opportunity for me to cram in additional quality study time. The detail will benefit me and my studying.

My detail starts September 7, a day tour. The Captain of L 10 has asked me to go to the South Street Seaport firehouse, E 4 and L 15, they need a Ladder Chauffeur for the day tour to drive their Mack Tower Ladder, “10-4 Boss, on my way”.... A young firefighter, named Scott Larsen  helps me with inspecting the compartments and tools. He is a jovial young man and I can tell by his spirit he loves the job, he is just off his probation and we have fun together going over the tower ladder and inspecting tools. I’m in luck too, the boss is my old buddy from our training school days, Joe Leavy. Joe and I stood shoulder to shoulder in ranks during our time at the “Rock”. Joe is the Lieutenant today and it will be fun driving him and catching up on old times. Joe is very meticulous in everything he does, he even speaks clearly and confidently. Joe loves working downtown Manhattan, he has an interest in building architecture and the area certainly has plenty of that.

The following day I am off, and will now report for my first night tour September 9th into the 10th, second night tour 10th into the 11th at L 10 as I have no mutual partners at this time and working straight tours. So tonight, my first night tour, I am the Ladder Chauffeur of L 10 for this tour and driving the Captain; Paul M., Lieutenant Greg Atlas from E 10 welcomes me to the firehouse, “a little slice of heaven” as he describes the joint.... I get a good jump on studying upstairs in a small quiet back room carved out of the firehouse to study. The night has been very quiet and I am looking forward to the premier of Steven Spielberg's “Band of Brothers” on tv...Just before the epic starts, the Captain stops by the apparatus floor tv room and tells me that my temporary detail group assignment is loaded with manpower, he is going to adjust “the chart” and I will be moved to another group for the remainder of my detail to fill vacancies. So, tonight will be my last night and I will go on a three day leave, the 11th, 12th and 13th, and report for the day tour on the 14th. Sweet I think, the next few days I will be off, head over to Staten Island for the lieutenant prep class on the 11th...it is all going to work out!



SEPTEMBER 10th

BRIAN

On September 10th, my colleague and good buddy Brian from L 38 will be returning from a serious fire in Queens where he fractured his leg at the infamous “Fathers Day Fire”. Brian is the boss of the elite Rescue 4.  on Father's Day a fire in a hardware store in Astoria Queens exploded and killed three firefighters, two of the firefighters from Brian's company. Brian was inside when the explosion occurred and suffered a fractured leg and placed on medical leave...But now his fracture has healed and Brian is chomping at the bit to do what he loves to do, fire duty.

It wasn’t only a few weeks ago that I invited Brian and his wife Donna to join my wife an me for dinner near our Battery Park apartment. We decided to dine at “Tall Ships Bar and Grille” at the base of the Marriot hotel next to the WTC South Tower #2. During our conversation Brian asked me to consider transferring to R 4, which I politely declined ...again...we laughed, dine al fresco and felt alive in the cool brisk air next to the towering WTC. Brian surprised me by telling me that he is looking forward to going back to work shortly, in fact the next week.

I worked with Brian during our Ladder 38 days when he transferred in from a Harlem Engine Company. We were both the same age, had a side business painting homes, young children with the same age...often there were times we would enjoy each others company while cleaning our paint brushes together at the apparatus floor slop sink... and wonder “does it get any better than this?”. We were assigned to the same groups and worked together almost every tour. Brian was passionate about studying for promotion, I knew he was going places!  Brian, was a tough and aggressive firefighter despite his laid back relaxed demeanor, he was always smiling. Many early mornings after runs Brian turned me onto peanut butter english muffins. Brian and I parted ways, he wanted more action at R4 and I was looking for more work in Bushwick. During our time separated we stayed in touch... Brian asked me for a photograph of me in fire gear, I dug one out and gave it to him. Unbeknownst to me Brian was in the process of producing the exciting “Brothers in Battle” video... where he did incorporate my photo!

On September 10th Brian left his new dream home he and Donna had just moved into. He had been “eyeballing” this house for some time, when  the home went up for sale, Brian and Donna jumped all over it. Tonight Brian has been called in for overtime, he will be the covering boss of the Bronx Rescue 3.

(https://i.postimg.cc/fJ02hjDc/Screenshot-2019-08-02-09-55-29-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/fJ02hjDc)
Future Legend Proby Brian E 36


MIKE

I was assigned the groups to drive Lt. Mike Warchola and Lt. Vinny Giammona. Mike was a fun and interesting, but complex character. He had a dark, funny warped sense of humor and we got along just great in the front seat of the rig, in fact we often shared intimate conversations especially during building inspection when the troops would be inspecting buildings for the assigned three hours and we would sit monitoring the radio together with a cup of coffee.

During my time driving Mike, the company was  just recovering from the Watts Street fire where the Captain of Ladder 5 John Drennan, Chris Siedenberg and Jimmy Young died horrifically at the Watts Street fire. Mike almost died in a fire as a proby from smoke inhalation and he would be very upset during a period of time when the FDNY was experiencing line of duty deaths almost every few weeks. I accompanied Mike to one of the funerals of a Brother who died at Father's Day fire, standing side by side with him in formation he confided how distressed he was of dying so horrifically. I consoled Mike, as terrible as it was, I reassured him it was an unfortunate accident...Mike would agree, and feel better. Mike was divorced and a voracious reader, he would read a three inch paperback novel in two days sitting at his home, and tell me the next day how he hated the book, but felt compelled to finish it. He was super smart, too, I have heard people describe Mike as mensa smart probably the smartest person I ever met, although he was not a big conversationalist, when he spoke his depth of knowledge on any subject was amazing especially his insight of travel and science was staggering.

Mike could be a little high strung to, and I knew the right time to push his buttons...every now and then, when a run would come in I’d look at him climbing into the rig and ask “you know where this box is, I haven’t a clue?” a look of despair with a hint of panic he would exclaim “Ain’t my job to know where we are going!! it's your job to know!!”.

Mike was divorced, but had a girlfriend. He would prepare for date night as he would go clamming out on Long Island near his dad's house in Southampton and rake in a couple dozen clams, run into the nearby supermarket and buy whatever linguini pasta that was on sale and make linguini and clam sauce dinner for his girlfriend...oh yeah, he would rent a movie at the local video store near his home in Queens, usually a “Godzilla” type genre as he was a big fan of those creatures, especially Mothra. The next tour we worked together he would love telling me about his date and especially how “frugal” he was. I said he was a “cheap bastard”.

Mike often worked up a good sweat on the treadmill in the firehouse, as soon as he as done he would bum a cigarette from someone nearby, rip off the filter, turn the cig around and light the torn off filter side and smoke the cig without a filter...he was a character!  Mike was a passionate traveler of the US parks, like his dating custom he also was a frugal traveler driving cross country to national parks in his blue and gray duct taped Datsun pick up truck packed with sandwiches he made at home instead of stopping off at restaurants. Mike in a sense was frugal, and I chided him often, but he was saving every nickel and dime for his two young children's education.

Today is  September 10th, a day of mixed emotions for Mike, reflecting upon his career...tomorrow morning he will count down his final twenty four hours as a FDNY lieutenant at Ladder 5. He has twenty four single dollar bills in his pocket and will peel one off each hour as the countdown begins.


VINNY

September 10th Vinny is working a straight up twenty-four hour tour, meaning he reported for duty at 0900 hrs and will be relieved by LT Mike Warchola the following morning at 0900 hrs, a special day awaits him. Along with Mike, depending on the tour I chaueffer either Mike or Vinny. I couldn’t ask for better colleagues to share the front seat of the rig with.

Vinny is one of the most energetic firefighters I have ever met, he could run circles around the energizer bunny. Already wound up when he reports for duty, he and I like to start off the tour with a cup of double espresso! Vinny is a real gym enthusiast and physical fitness fanatic, his dedicated workouts reveal he is in great shape. Whenever we would get proby firefighters that just graduated proby school and most physically fit of their lives, Vinny would offer a friendly challenge to race them up ten stories with full firefighting gear including breathing apparatus in a local hi-rise. It never failed, Vinny would be up at the top floor waiting for them.

Vinny was genuinely funny, his wit and remarks were humorous and came naturally. Special night-tours he would conduct the shift change “Roll Call” in an Elvis costume complete with beer belly...he had a wonderful exuberant personality on top of a great sense of humor. Vinny's sense of humor also extended to his family; he had four daughters whose name could be converted to become a boys name, for instance Nicoletta was called Nicky, Daniella was called Danny and same for the other two. He would introduce them as “His boys” to newcomers. Vinny was a relentless participant at his daughters soccer games, his abounding energy had him running up and down along the sidelines in front of the other parents. I can only imagine a young Vinny who must have been a terror to his school teachers...but a dream to his wife's mother.

Vinny had a serious side when we were responding to a job or turned the corner and saw work ahead. Vinny was fearless and  gutsy on the fire floor, a true leader... the younger members trusted and  loved working with him.  And in just twenty four hours, when Mike comes in to relieve Vinny he will be headed straight home to celebrate his fortieth birthday where his wife will be setting up for his special day and special birthday party just as all big kids want.

The last tour before I transferred from Ladder 5 and driving Vinny, I'm backing the tiller truck into quarters from an early morning job and noticing a beautiful serene spring sunlight starting to rise over the buildings in front of the firehouse... now parked inside the firehouse, activate the air brakes and shut down the motor...the cab is quiet and I take in the beauty of the new day...I notice Vinny is doing the same and Vinny says to me with his smiling face; “Danny, y’know, these are our “GLORY DAYS!”.

(https://i.postimg.cc/HrnwbbkJ/Screenshot-2019-08-02-09-49-37-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/HrnwbbkJ)
Birthday Boy Vinny

0846. 1028.

0846 hours the following morning, September 11, 2001 fate will not be kind to Brian, Mike and Vinny.

Captain Brian Hickey (R4 working OT in R3) starts responding to the WTC with his company of Rescue firefighters. Lieutenant Vinny Giammona is filling in Lieutenant Mike Warchola of the days scheduled events as the firehouse computer alerts “all companies” to the WTC. Vinny quickly calls his wife that he will be home late... “off duty” he jumps into the empty seat of Ladder 5 as the heroes roll out under the big red overhead apparatus door to a rapidly changing world.

1028 hours. Brian, Mike and Vinny have perished in the heaping smoldering wreckage of the collapsed towers that plummeted in ten seconds at over one hundred miles per hour. Along with them is Lt. “Slice of Heaven” Atlas, L 15 Proby Scott Larsen and my training school buddy L 15 Lt. Joe Leavy.

Only Brians helmet and a small bone fragment was found among the tons of debris. Mike, who I had to calm down and reassure that previous Line of duty deaths were such freak accidents and his premonition of dying a horrible death, slowly suffocates in the stairwell not too far from trapped Ladder 6 members, transmits a call for help dies an agonizing, slow death...on the desk back at the firehouse is twenty four single dollars, untouched.  Vinny was last seen, his face with confidence, focus and determination climbing the stairs in WTC 1 to help rescue trapped workers on upper floors instead of heading home to enjoy his special birthday is never recovered...One could only surmise that Vinny kept climbing the stairs faster than anyone straight into heaven.
                                                                     
                                                                      ********

September 11. Today we pray for the families and remember the victims of 9/11. I will take this day off, have an English muffin with peanut butter, find a peaceful quiet place to pray and never forget the many lives murdered and special friends lost on this day, remember those who served, and those who carry on.

                                                                                              “GLORY DAYS, well, they'll pass you by…"


(https://i.postimg.cc/sG1jTfQJ/Screenshot-2019-09-07-15-58-39-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/sG1jTfQJ)
"Slice of Heaven"; Lt. Gregg Atlas E 10

(https://i.postimg.cc/4m74tdTf/Screenshot-2019-09-07-16-07-32-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/4m74tdTf)
Jovial Proby; FF Scott Larsen L 15

(https://i.postimg.cc/4HKGz8qL/Screenshot-2019-09-07-16-06-16-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/4HKGz8qL)
Proby School Buddy; Lt. Jim Leavy L 15


(https://i.postimg.cc/hJSqC4N7/Screenshot-2019-08-02-09-55-55-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/hJSqC4N7)
Brother in Battle, Great Friend; Capt Brian Hickey (Cov, R3)

(https://i.postimg.cc/grL1H6rT/Screenshot-2019-08-02-10-04-18-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/grL1H6rT)
Frugal Best Boss; Lt. Mike Warchola L 5

(https://i.postimg.cc/qt75hN9Q/Screenshot-2019-08-02-09-49-56-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/qt75hN9Q)
Elvis Impersonator and Best Boss x2; Lt. Vinny Giammona L 5

(* "Where were you" by Alan Jackson)


                                                                             KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: raybrag on September 07, 2019, 08:04:31 PM
Thank you, Dan.  You are a great writer.  You already have a huge chunk of a book written . . . just download it (if you don't already have it on disk), rearrange some of it, get yourself an agent, and get it published.  Maybe I'm naive, but it think it would do just as well as Dennis Smith's.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on September 08, 2019, 03:43:15 AM
I do not want to piggyback on Dan's sincere recollection's but since we "Never Forget" i would want to add to it....as stated Brian Hickey was a FF in ENG*36 then LAD*38 then R*4 ......he & his Brother (not OTJ but involved in video productions) had produced the great "Brothers In Battle" video ... i was a LT in SQ*41 & Brian was a FF detailed from R*4 to 41....i had not seen the video but he brought a draft copy with him & we got to view it in between runs....a  few years later Brian was Promoted to LT & after awhile got a LTs spot in 126 while i was the CPT of 275....we had many jobs together & before the organization of 133 126 was our 1st Due Truck on a lot of our boxes ....when i transferred to 126 as the CPT Brian was already there as a LT & was ready to step up & get involved with any projects .....i wanted to move some stuff around in the office & he said "tell me what you want"....Brian being a painter on the side brought all his stuff in & painted the whole office after we rearranged it ...about the same time the Job was moving into the computer age which was totally foreign to me (i was just getting past using the fax machine for the daily manpower) .....Brian was already a wiz with the computer & taught me a lot on the keyboard & screen....as said by Dan Brian was badly injured at the Fathers Day Fire...i remember Brian leading the Procession to the Church for his Chauffer Harry Ford's Funeral Mass & being bent a little with a sideways limp as his leg was not fully healed .....as said on 9-11-01 he was working OT to cover an opening for the CPT of R*3....that morning as we were at the site guys said Brian was working in R*3 .....& later (as rumors fly) some said he had been transported by boat to a Hospital in New Jersey alive which proved to be erroneous.....at Brians Funeral Mass his Dad Ray Hickey a great Man (who always spoke up for the Fire Service & wrote many "Letters To the Editor" published in The Chief  gave the Eulogy & stated " i had 2 Sons ...both died ...one from cancer but before he lived for several months & got to say goodbyes to all while suffering & my other Son did not get get the chance to say goodbye as he died in several seconds at the WTC....which was better ? ".....the Church was silent for quite awhile.......   I did not know LT Mike Warchola LAD*5 but i came OTJ with his Brother Dennis who was assigned to 230 & myself to 108 in an adjoining FH....LT Vinny Giamonna LAD*5 was a Baseball Player along with my Son on the same team at St Kevin's  .....Vinny was OTJ a serious FF/LT but also reminded me of Adam Sandler at times  ....Vinny had a way to lighten things up.... as Dan said about Vinnys  children's names his Sister (Married to a FF & survior of both collapses ) have a Daughter named Vincenza in Honor of Vinny. ......Continued Rest In Peace To All.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: memory master on September 08, 2019, 07:01:51 AM
18 years have passed and yet it's going to be a very hard day again. To those who are no longer with us may God Bless you and your families and to those ailing as a result of the cowardly attack may St. Jude heal you.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on September 08, 2019, 07:33:58 AM
 I remember going to classes at the FDNY Fire Academy. Those classes would be given by members of the FDNY who would donate their time to share their firefighting knowledge and experience with others. Those classes would be given every three months charging a small fee. The money collected would in turn go to the FDNY Burn Center.

 Two of the most frequent contributors (FDNY Members) who gave those classes were Ray Downey and Andy Fredricks. They were TWO of the 343 FDNY members who were murdered that day.

 We will NEVER FORGET

 Where were you ?

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPHnadJ-0hE 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on September 15, 2019, 08:36:58 PM
GORY DAYS; Part 9
Fires / Epilogue

It wasn’t often, but once and a while we would be called to stand by at a fire, however I do not recall or have recorded anytime I had to treat a firefighter.  But a few of the fires I recorded were interesting.

EMS LOG: 7/20/79   0417 hrs  STUYVESANT ST.   FIRE/DOA 

Lawrence and I were assigned to a fire that has been extinguished on Stuyvesant Street off of Gates Avenue, the FDNY has recovered a DOA and it is our job to transport the body to Kings County Morgue. Lawrence pulls the bus up to the heavily fire and smoke damaged three story Brownstone style home, most of the fire apparatus has left the scene and the house is a smoldering ruin. The Fire Chief has requested Lawrence to back the ambulance up as close to the steps of the home in preparation of removing the body as there is a large crowd gathering and becoming a little rowdy. Inside a room on the parlour floor, appears to be a small boy, seven years old burnt beyond recognition, and it's hard to tell its a young boy with all the burnt debris around and covering him. With the help of the remaining firefighters we take the young boy, wrap him delicately in the sheet... carefully carry him out and place his remains on the stretcher in the back of the bus and  transport him to KCH. The crowd is loud, they are not violent, but very upset. I remember praying for his soul, and I always remembered his full name, his first name was Sam.

EMS LOG:  3/12/79   1317 hrs   FULTON ST.   CHILD BURNED

This tour I am working overtime after my graveyard shift, I am working with another Corpsman that I have never worked before, it is a woman and she has been with EMS for a long time, so she drives and I tech. Day tour Liberty 374 has been assigned to a job on Fulton Street for a Burn Victim. We turn the corner onto Fulton Street,  Fulton Street has the “El” running overhead and you need to be careful of not colliding with the “el” stanchions that holds the structure up...I expected to see fire apparatus, but there is a single engine at the scene and a Chief's car. My partner and I walk up a flight of stairs, wondering where was the fire, there is no smoke or water on the steps or floor...however, sitting on a kitchen chair is a ten year old boy who was left home alone. He was playing with the gas oven knob and was standing in front of the open door when the oven went “poof!”...He looks badly sunburned, all his eyebrows and half the hair on his head is scorched or singed... My first thought treating the boy was of the dopey coyote on the Roadrunner cartoon who holds the stick of dynamite when it goes “Poof”.

EMS LOG:   6/23/79     0708 hrs  E 98 Street and KINGS HWY    MALE JUMPER at FIRE

It is just about the end of our night tour, I am working with my partner Lawrence and we are assigned to a fire over on E 98 and Kings Highway almost across the street from the quarters of Engine 283. The reported fire is in a large six story apartment house. Additional information coming to us from the Brooklyn CO is to expect a jumper from the fourth floor. Lawrence is driving and parks the ambulance a short distance away from the operating fire apparatus and hose lines. Soon as Lawrence stops I hop out to open the two back doors of the bus... reach in to push the release mechanism holding the stretcher and remove it from the bus...While focusing on the stretcher release there is a voice behind me, “Man, you gotta get me to a hospital”, however I am just about to release the stretcher and thinking what other equipment I’m going to need for the jumper…”Man, you gotta get me to a hospital”...I tell the “voice” without turning around... “in a minute, I’m a little busy”...With that he responds again, “You gotta take me to a hospital…” This time I turn to the “voice”, the “Voice” IS the jumper, his charred skin hangs from his outstretched arms and hands, his shirt has been burnt off and he only has pants on just barely. He is completely burnt over most of his soot darkened body with a few small pink patches. “You Jumped?” I ask incredulously?...he told me he had to, from the fourth floor!...“Well, my good man, let’s hop into the back of the bus and lay down on the stretcher!”.

EMS LOG:    7/ 21/ 79     Saturday; Clear, cool.  My Partner is (NYCFIRE.NET); 69METS Garrett L.

On this night  I am working with Garrett, future FDNY Rescue 3 member and long time member of this forum. I recall most of the night having very interesting and enjoyable conversations while sharing the front seat of the Liberty bus with Garrett and chatting about our similar future FDNY endeavors... Just a quick 23 years later we would reunite at a pension forum just before we both retired. Below I recorded how Garrett and I spent the graveyard shift covering East New York.

0048 hrs:  Pine and Blake for a collision.
0143 hrs:  2045 Union for a stabbing.
0230 hrs:  325 Van Siclen for a maternity.
0406 hrs:  Autumn and Liberty for a sick person.
0620 hrs:  E83rd and Ditmas for a person injured.
0713 hrs:  75 PCT for a stabbing

MY LAST ASSIGNMENT
EMS LOG:   8/1/79    0735 hrs     PENNSYLVANIA AVE & LINDEN BLVD   COLLISION

Tonight is my final night tour with the NYC EMS. I have been called to join the ranks of the Washington DC Fire Department and I am scheduled to be sworn in on August 6, 1979.

It's fitting that my final assignment would be in the heart of East New York, the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and the heavily traveled Linden Blvd.  Only a little more than ten years earlier my dad would drive us over the swells between the cattails and marshland bordering Pennsylvania Avenue (that would later become Starret City) while heading to my grandparents' home. My brothers and I hooped and hollered as the swells were many and deep, the 1961 Ford Falcon station wagon would glide over them like a roller coaster and we would get a lift from our seats...This morning my final act as an NYC EMS Ambulance Corpsman would be treating a minor injury on this magical Pennsylvania Avenue and leaving the confines of the 75 PCT and ENY behind for my new adventure!


“GORY DAYS” Epilogue:

In the spring of 1978, a young lad from the suburbs of Long Island casually filled out an application to join the ranks of NYC EMS Ambulance Corpsman. For thirteen months I witnessed and was assigned to unimaginable amazing jobs with “Liberty 375 and 374”, smack dab in the middle of a notorious wild west neighborhood...memories that still seem inexplicable. I was also very fortunate to have worked with amazing and incredible professional veterans of NYC EMS that continue to deliver excellent results. I am grateful for their valuable lessons of savvy street sense, finesse and empathy...humbly indebted to them for sharing their streetwise expertise of medical knowledge and proficiency. Had I not kept a daily activity diary I would have to question myself of what I actually experienced during those graveyard tours... It certainly was an awesome journey, I was lucky to be a small part of it...but now it is time for the next one!


Thanks for reading!  Hope you enjoyed.        KMG-365

(https://i.postimg.cc/mhysFY4p/Screenshot-2019-09-15-20-53-08-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/mhysFY4p)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on September 15, 2019, 10:24:20 PM
 Johnny, Thank you for presenting us with your NYC EMS "Gory Days" Stories.

 As I read through every word, I felt like I was right there following you guys around. Those who work any EMS System are often "The Forgotten Hero's". Yet they save lives EVERY DAY. Of course we have members here who are a part of busy EMS Systems and we are all very THANKFUL for the GREAT JOB they do.

 Your stories also presented some of the dangers you faced. Never knowing what's behind the door you are about to enter.

 It is a very tough job which requires strength as well as the ability to communicate directly with citizens from all walks of life as well as family members.

 I can tell you that our friend Garrett L (69METS) was always a respected firefighter from what I hear. I'm sure it was the same thing while he worked the NYC EMS as well.

 We have other members here who also worked the NYC EMS before the merger into the FDNY/EMS. As you know Dan, another good friend, Charlie T., known here as "memory master" was a part of it, I believe retiring as a Lt. 

 I don't know if many guys knew this but this site owner, now an FDNY Lt., Tommy Bendick, also worked in the NYC EMS Health and Hospitals as well. I believe he was on duty and on the scene with the NYC EMS Health and Hospitals during the attack of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

 These days we have "John T"., grandson of John Bendick and nephew of Tommy Bendick working the FDNY/EMS system out of a busy EMS Station in the Bronx.

 We also have Philip D., aka "Lebby" working within the FDNY/EMS

 Whether it was 1979 back in the "Gory Days" of the NYC EMS Health and Hospitals, or some 40 years later within the FDNY/EMS, lives are still being "SAVED" because of people like them.

 THANK YOU TO ALL FOR WHAT YOU DO. Thank you as well to Dan, aka "Johnny" for telling us your stories. Should a book ever be written or a movie ever made, we were all lucky enough to get a sneak preview. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on September 15, 2019, 11:45:30 PM
^^^ Thank You to our EMS Crew's .....  i took my last "Official Ride on an FDNY Rig"  which was an FDNY EMS Bus taking me to a Hospital.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: raybrag on September 16, 2019, 09:54:21 AM
Well said, Willy. I agree with you 100% . . . and as I have told Dan, he HAS to put it in book form. ;)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on September 22, 2019, 09:04:32 PM
HOUSEWATCH

If the kitchen is the soul of the firehouse, it is safe to say that the housewatch is the heartbeat. Inside the housewatch (HW) all the daily activity is recorded in a journal, telephone calls are answered, visitors and chiefs received and alarms dispatched. The HW is where the group chart is displayed, the department radio monitored and department orders are maintained in a binder.

(https://i.postimg.cc/DW0LQc81/Screenshot-2019-09-14-07-41-24-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/DW0LQc81)

In pre-war firehouses, the HW area was a small space in the front of the firehouse on the apparatus floor that was designed to receive alarms and monitor the telegraph system. The houswatchman would record incoming bells on a chalkboard. Usually the area was opened and exposed to heat during the summer and cold during the winter, a small desk with a straight back wooden chair wood be placed on the slab of concrete about a step up from the apparatus floor and the area surrounded with brass railings and poles. The firefighter on HW duty had to wear a dress uniform shirt with tie, the bell cap and have his name plate with rank affixed to the side of the HW somewhere viewable.

(https://i.postimg.cc/tZP1Dvyn/Screenshot-2019-09-14-07-40-54-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/tZP1Dvyn)

(https://i.postimg.cc/n9GXfsXH/Screenshot-2019-09-14-07-39-58-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/n9GXfsXH)

Since the days of the horses, these small HW areas started to transform into small rooms with walls and ceiling and climate control. With the apparatus floor usually hot during the summer and cold during the winter doors were added to these crude makeshift cubicles where firehouses began to convert these makeshift cubicles into a more hospitable environment that required three hours of attention. Some HW’s were updated by firefighters themselves with creative brick work, cedar shakes, texture plywood with added pocket doors and a “bench”. Newer type firehouses built around and after the late 60’s were designed with a larger HW incorporated that resembled an office with ample room like Ladder 5 and Ladder 20.

(https://i.postimg.cc/bsFtyt6J/Screenshot-2019-09-14-07-41-55-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/bsFtyt6J)

FORBODEN! Years ago a bench was strictly forbidden, you were not permitted to have a couch or anything that resembled a bench in the HW lest you be caught in the horizontal position during the early morning...Now of course a bed was not allowed, but the cleverness of the guys would create a bench seat for others to join you and be able to “sit” at the HW. For many years the Chief would not approve of these additions, but slowly members added slick ideas to be a little more comfortable during the early morning HW shift. In addition to bench seats that “doubled” as a you-know what...In 88/38 we had a long “study table” that was hinged onto the back wall during the day tour and could be “lowered” during, ahem, much later hours...supported by chains from the leading edge affixed to the wall...when lowered it became a bunk, er, I mean desktop.

TV’s were also not allowed at one point. In many older HW’s throughout the city you could still find a small “cabinet” over the desk with a cover that could contain a small portable TV...if a Chief arrived for roll call or unexpectedly the hinged front cover would quickly flip up hiding that dastardly TV and cut off viewing the "Honeymooners".

ENGINE 88 / LADDER 38: Originally the firehouse was designed with two seperate entranceways and HW’s, an inside wall that ran the length of the firehouse seperated the the two companies. At one point in time, the members breached a small hole between the two housewatches to be able to speak to the firefighter on the other side and have a little company during the lonely late watch.  Finally, the members broke through the wall so that  both companies shared the responsibility of HW and only one member needed to stand HW at a time.

INSIDE THE HW: Inside the HW is a group chart board,  desk panel, HW journal, dispatch computer, telephones a binder of department orders and route cards.

HOUSE WATCH ASSIGNMENTS: HW duties are alternated monthly by each company, each company takes a shot at covering the HW...Usually the company that has HW duties does not have the responsibility of procuring the meal. A FF is assigned HW for three hours according to the group chart to be fair. The day tour is covered by the first three incoming firefighters according to the group chart. The night tour has five HW assignments, the firefighter that has the first 6x9 HW also has to do the 6x9 morning HW too!

GROUP CHART BOARD: Inside the HW of every firehouse in the city you will find a “group chart board” of some sort. They may not all be alike, yet their functions are the same. The chart is adjusted daily to the incoming groups for both day and night tour... For the day tour, the first three spots on this chart will indicate who has a particular “watch” or "detail". Each watch is for three hours beginning at 0900 hrs. When you are assigned to a watch, it is your responsibility to perform the duties required; maintaining the HW journal, receiving Chiefs or visitors, promptly answering the department phone, turning the fire company(ies) out on alarms and making sure the front of quarters is clear of any obstacle that may hinder response.

(https://i.postimg.cc/kRbk28Qm/Screenshot-2019-09-14-07-42-12-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/kRbk28Qm)

DESK PANEL: on the HW desk panel is the department phone, colored push buttons to open the bay door, push button for bells, a red phone from the Boro CO and the department radio and intercom system. In the middle of the desk is where the HW journal is maintained and kept.

HW JOURNAL: All daily activity of the company is recorded line by line in the 500 page journal. Each page is numbered, no pages are ever ripped out and no line is skipped recording entries. Runs, fuel deliveries, complaints, significant events, are recorded by the firefighter on HW. The journals are kept for twenty years. Each Company officer makes his entry at 0900 and 1800 hrs depicting the manpower assignment or any changes thereof.

All firefighters share in the responsibity of performing HW except for the Battalion Aide firefighter. A member begins his day tour 0900-1200 HW duties (which is called the 9 by, followed by the 12 by, etc). Immediately after the officer enters his “roll call” for the day tour the HW FF enters his name into the HW journal in blue or black ink. Only the HW FF writes in blue or black ink, anyone else that makes an entry, whether it be another officer, visiting chief or fire prevention employee signing out, will only use red ink...So great minds came up with the idea of taping a red pen to a blue pen with points facing opposite! The pen was left in the fold of the journal.

The 9 by HW FF enters the next line directly below the officers signed roll call; i.e.  “Firefighter Gage, E88, relieved FF DeSoto E88 on HW. Department PAQ (property, apparatus, quarters) in good condition”.

THE COMPUTER: Back during the “Glory Days”, the dispatch computer was not a touchscreen then, nor did the computer “voice” announce what company had to respond...You had to read the ticket, acknowledge the run by pressing the correct corresponding company button, press the 10-4 button, and finally the “send” button to acknowledge a run...immediately after doing so, the following sequence was done in double time; announce the run (either by public address system or in a loud voice... “GET OUT 82/31, PHONE ALARM…”), tap-out the required number of bells, open the bay door, rip off the double rolled carbon print out from computer and hand to the company officer, then quickly gear up. (When I ws the LCC, I used to like intercepting the print out before the company officer got it so that I could focus on the address and cross street for a few seconds, before handing it over to the boss).

If you were on HW and someone knocked on the door or wandered into quarters to report a fire or emergency, this was called a “verbal”. In this instance you turned out the company by hitting the bells and announcing over the public address system the “Verbal”. On the computer you would press the company ID number, then the “verbal” button on, followed by pressing the “send” button.... As the apparatus rolled out of quarters, the Boro CO would contact the officer via apparatus radio to ascertain information about the verbal and assign a box number to it, alleviating delay for a quicker response.

TELEPHONES: There were three types of phones in the HW. The regular telephone that was the business line for non-emergency calls. Some of the department phones could either be attached to the HW panel or loose on the desktop. When a call came in on the department phone, you immediately picked up and answered it; “E 24 / L 5 Fireman Gage”. Another phone that had no dial or numbers, just a small red light was the red phone mounted on the panel that went directly to the boro CO. Years ago if the dispatcher sensed from incoming calls that you were headed to a job, he might call ahead while another dispatcher typed in the "Box" info being sent to the computer. We called this “three rings” as that was how the phone was designed to alert you, three short rings in rapid succession.  The third phone was the outside phone where you answered the outside incoming phone calls usually for a member and then called said FF over the PA system. This was usually a coin operated phone mounted somewhere in the firehouse with an extension line directly to the HW, where you could only receive the incoming call...Don’t forget,  prior to 9/11, the individual cell phone was scarce and most people did not carry one.

CHIEF VISITS:  When visiting chiefs would visit quarters the HW FF will announce “Chief in quarters!” and will greet the chief at the HW desk with a hand salute. By this time, the company officer will come to the HW and greet the chief as the chief records his entry in the rear section of the journal designated for “Chief Visits”...sometimes the Chief will ask for a roll call. In this instance the HW FF will announce a roll call and the on duty  members will  assemble, form ranks in front of the apparatus. The company officer has a set procedure for roll call as per department guidelines...and will then start reading the names off his riding list...we say “here” when our name is called.. upon completion "all present and accounted for", the company officer then salutes the chief. Usually the chief will speak to the group at this time if he has something to say, if not, the formality concludes and the HW FF returns to the HW.

ROUTE CARDS: Inside every HW was a tin index card holder with cover. Whenever a company would “relocate” to another quarters and the response area was unfamiliar to the covering crew, the Officer or chauffeur would locate the tin box in the HW. When the company received an alarm, you could refer to one of the many index cards that was sorted numerically by box number. The index card gave you directions to the box.

DOING HOUSEWATCH: I enjoyed doing HW, in fact I usually spent most of my time in the HW at  E24/L5 during the months the truck was assigned duties. The HW office was very comfortable with a large glass window looking outside onto Sixth Avenue, the HW did not have that confined feeling and it was usually quiet. I’d settle in during the day tour, fresh cup of coffee and the NY Post and monitored the department radio. The quiet time afforded me time to study for the Lieutenants exam. (I began studying for the exam two years before the test was announced as generally the Lieutenants exam was given every two or three years). During the night tour, the early morning nightwatch was very conducive to studying. I’d take the watch from midnight all the way through till morning. Around 4 am I’d fix myself a nice fresh pot of coffee, open my study books and absorb the material for the next couple of hours. Around 6 a.m. it was time to flip on the FM radio to WCBS 101 oldies and listen to “Harry Harrison, the Morning Mayor” and catch the sunrise. It was a peaceful time.

NOTABLE HWs: Ladder 8 had a small narrow HW in front of quarters,  passerbys or a visiting guest got a treat to see the melted telephones that adorned the outside of the HW for display.

(https://i.postimg.cc/GTCjjy0r/download.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/GTCjjy0r)

E 88 / L 38 had the HW between the two companies, each company on one and the other side with two sliding doors for each side. I remember being assigned to the HW on January 1986, while having the TV on  in the background I saw the space shuttle Challenger explode. Most firhouses have a bell alert system, however, in 88/38 we did not tap out bells for alarms, all alarms were communicated over the house PA system from a microphone that was similar to something a DJ would use.

E277 / L112 had the most confining and tight HW. You were squeezed into a small box about the size of a double phone booth...you could barely lean back on a chair from the desk. Thankfully, before the new firehouse was built, guys got together and modified the HW and made it a heckava lot more comfortable and accommodating. The joint wasn't called the "Ant Farm" for no reason!

                                                *******************************

There is a tale about a young firefighter covering one of his first early morning HW details. The firehouse is very still, apparatus floor lights turned down...all is quiet except for the occasional creak and moan from the fire apparatus as the resting rig settles. Later that morning the young lad mentions to the senior firefighter about his HW ordeal...it was very quiet, in fact the only thing he heard was the occasional creaking from the apparatus. The senior firefighter told him the sounds he heard were made by Brothers who had worked in the firehouse years and years ago that have now passed, but return for a visit and climb aboard the old rig one more time...

Thanks for reading!...Hope you enjoyed, Next; Remembering DCFD.     KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on September 28, 2019, 07:54:20 PM
DCFD; Part 1
Probationer

November 1979...After a shave and shower I put on my navy pants, black belt, navy blue shirt with “DC” collar brass on my right collar and “FD” brass on the other and pin a blue plastic name badge over my right pocket. New black navy style shoes with a bag full of new turnout gear I acquired from the quartermaster I’m ready for the drive from my small apartment in Maryland into DC, a forty minute trek to the firehouse down the Baltimore Washington Parkway into the confines of DC. As a condition of employment, a DC firefighter must live within a fifty mile radius from the Capital, a DC firefighter is not a Federal firefighter, but a civil servant of the district...This morning, I am a brand spanking new “probationer” firefighter, the term DCFD uses for their probationary firefighters...having just graduated from the Washington DC Fire Training Academy yesterday, this morning I will report for duty and start my very first day tour as a career firefighter. I pack my Plymouth Volare and proceed to drive from my small apartment in Maryland into DC, it is early morning...I weave my way through DC and turn down the one way Lanier Place, slowly I drive looking for the firehouse...the firehouse is set back in the middle of a tree lined bedroom neighborhood. Sidewalks run end to end in front of three and four story pre war apartment houses shared with nicely maintained federal style townhouses and Victorian homes on each side aligning the block. The firehouse is a two bay structure built in 1908 as a Spanish Colonial Revival style, and looks very similar to the Alamo. There are two units assigned there, Ambulance #2 and Engine Company 21.
(https://i.postimg.cc/2L7f5cxr/20190928-182310-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/2L7f5cxr)
It is a very comfortable early fall morning, the two green bay doors are open as I eagerly and anxiously enter the firehouse I am assigned.. Engine 21 a single, two piece engine company, I notice the doors are open on the rig and firefighter gear hanging off of the rig in anticipation of a run...it is early, the change of shift is occurring...there are a few firefighters hanging around the HW to meet the “new guy”, I am one of two newly assigned... I am assigned to Platoon #2, the other proby to Platoon #3 who is scheduled to report for duty in another day or so. Today, I’m the fresh meat... the guy from “New YAWK”...”I’m surrounded by seasoned veterans, their confidence is reassuring and encouraging, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, praying that a run does not come in until I settle down, I note that soon I will have that same feeling of confidence displayed and it’s relieving.

I greet the new Brothers at the HW...The HW is located in the front of quarters, there are no walls or barriers, just a crude makeshift desk top with black plumbing pipes holding the desk up against the wall...the top of the desk has a clear plastic protector top covering the entire desk, underneath the plastic is an old yellowed map off the first due area and old Department orders and hand written notes. The desk is about four feet wide and extends about three feet from the side wall. A black swivel chair that has seen better days is in front of the desk. DCFD does not use the term HW, but desk, or front desk. The desk has an opened journal for recording personnel on duty and runs, a “vocal alarm” intercom system from the DCFD dispatcher with printer for alarms and a telephone. There are two push buttons on the front corner of the desk, one button is pressed to “acknowledge” an alarm, the other is to ring the “gong” that all firehouses have to alert the troops of a run. There is no particular cadence for ringing the gong. Just bang out enough gongs to alert the troops.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Wdhb9VnZ/Screenshot-2019-01-08-11-56-38-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/Wdhb9VnZ)
(guys hanging around the "HW". Notice the two buttons in forefront, one is to acknowledge a run, the other to activate the house gong.

Immediately, I am introduced to the Captain of the Engine, a very nice and cordial man named Captain Mac Fleming, he has a nice smile and is very welcoming, he reminds me of Uncle Jack... My new boss details what my duties will be for the near future... and what he expects from me. One of my duties he explains like this: “See this here desk (it is a rhetorical question as he continues…) this is “YOUR DESK” for the year you are on probation” (as he taps the desk proudly). He continues,  “During the day tours, this will be your place” maintaining a grin and goes on... “however there are three instances you can take a break from the desk. First, of course, when nature calls, second to make sure there is fresh coffee in the kitchen and last to watch a “GOOD” football game with us in the TV room”  Cool I’m thinking, then the Boss adds, “...oh, and I’ll let you know if it’s a “GOOD” football game”...

But I digress…
It was just about two years ago, July 11, 1977 that I took the Washington DC Firefighter Entrance Exam. Prior to that date in 1975 I had joined my community volunteer fire department along with three friends; Phil, Mac and Mike...we all had the yearning to become professional firefighters. After an attempt from my dad to get me into the local electricians union I told him I wanted to pursue a career with the NYC Fire Department. Although I could see he was a little upset with my decision, he did offer me profound advice: “Don’t put your eggs in one basket”... I heeded his trustworthy and solid advice and I passed my thoughts to the other three amigos. We began a letter writing campaign to take entrance exams in various fire departments that we could drive too. It did not matter who they were, we were organized and determined, we applied and took exams from Connecticut to Cleveland to Virginia...of course we also took the NYC Firefighter Exam together in 1977.

Oddly, The DCFD exam was given in New York, but to be safe, we four amigos car-pooled to Washington DC to take the exam. The exam process was peculiar... I encountered other entrance exams where I had to fill out an application, have a driver's license, a high school graduation and a copy of your birth certificate before you could even set foot into the facility to take the exam. However, the DC exam was a “walk in”...walk in, grab a seat, fill out the exam and good luck. And, the exam wasn’t that easy as I recall, it wasn’t your typical civil service one hundred question exam. There was the usual math, history, geography, pulley equations, spelling, etc...then there was a part called the “Aptitude Verbal Reasoning”. Verbal reasoning tests check if you can recognize the difference between facts and inferences...it assess your comprehension and logic skills, the ability to extract the correct meaning from complex information, quickly. The test is given by a monitor who recites explicit verbal instructions that you have to follow, then make a correct decided answer...This test ensures a candidate has strong reasoning skills. I never encountered an exam like that before, it was mind-blowing.

For FDNY, Unfortunately Mac, Mike and Phil did not do well on the NYC Fire Exam physical agility part,  subsequently I was the only one to pass, only to be held up because of litigation between the FDNY and women applicants. During this period, Mac and Mike were hired by the DCFD in the fall of 1978 together. The DCFD hires twenty-four recruits at a time for a full class. At that time, I was still employed with
NYC EMS, in August 1979 Phil and I both received notice that we were called together for the summer class in…In a short time, we four amigos would be all working for the DCFD!

I resigned from my position of NYC EMS Ambulance Corpsman...Together Phil and I relocated to the DC area from Long Island a few days before we were to be sworn in. Our Buddy Mac, who was already established in his bachelor pad offered to put us both up while we started proby school in his apartment in Laurel, Md.

On August 6, 1979 my career as a career firefighter began, the inception of “Glory Day’s”...Phil had the better car so Phil was the designated driver for he and I as we headed to DC Fire Training Academy to be sworn in. I remember wearing a nice pair of slacks, navy sport coat, white shirt and tie...I also remembered as we crossed the parking lot lawn, an uncomfortable feeling of wet dew from the lawn under my right foot sock getting wet. The sole on my old “navy” shoe had a hole the size of a dime... Phil parked his Chevy Monza outside the gate of the training school, we approached the front door of the academy where there were about twenty other candidates nervously waiting... Shortly, we were greeted by the Sergeant who would be our training officer, he was welcoming...a very jovial and cheerful man, he immediately assembled us in alphabetical order and we all began to relax with his kindness. There were twenty- four of us, we had a full class of candidates including Phil, myself and two other guys, actually all four of us came from Long Island. There were two women were in my class and the rest were made up of guys who lived in the DC neighborhoods or surrounding Maryland/ Virginia area. The class bonded pretty quickly.

Our first order of business was to board an old school bus to the DCFD fire chief's office in another part of DC, we marched single file into the large office of DCFD Fire Chief Jefferson Lewis, he welcomed us, gave a little scoop on our future and then sworn us in as “Probationers”.  On his desk was  twenty four envelopes with two maltese cross badges with eagle on top inside, I was assigned Badge # 823...From there we hopped back into the bus for a ride to the quartermaster to get our uniforms and equipment.

All our turnout gear was brand new and bright yellow, the color of gear the DCFD wore. In addition to the usual turnout coat and pull up boots we were also given turn-out pants as they were called (Bunker pants) with short boots for night turnout. We also received three pairs of work duty uniforms, winter and summer work duty uniforms (no shorts), measured for a dress uniform and cap. Like I said, everything received was brand new except for the yellow MSA plastic helmet that was previously used, but not in bad shape. Back at the training facility we went through orientation and filling out mounds of paperwork. We were also given a daily committee work type assignment; windows cleaned, apparatus floor cleaned, offices cleaned, toilets cleaned, garbage pails emptied, etc. I was tasked to maintain the old late 1960’s Pirsch tiller war horse that was retired and maintained at the academy, my first tiller!.  I was now all set, except for one thing...on the way home I had to buy another pair of navy type shoe.

Class #273 reported the following day, twenty four brand spanking new wide eyed and ambitious  probationers, I was stoked and eager to get going and become a part of the DCFD. Phil and I reported the first day together, inside  my “EMERGENCY” lunch box a P&J sandwich.

(https://i.postimg.cc/s1YBS36D/Screenshot-2019-09-28-19-05-37-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/s1YBS36D)
(I was assigned this tiller, the wooden cab was removed. It was my responsibility to keep the reserve rig clean and ready for our training evolutions.)

Proby school was a couple of months, I don’t recall exactly how many weeks, I’m thinking about twelve...Training school was typical; calisthenic exercises first thing in the morning followed by a casual jog. After that we practiced throwing ladders, various hose evolutions, oil pit fires, climbing scaling ladders, operating various tools and appliances and classroom instruction. Part of the training curriculum was successfully completing engine chauffeur school (although DCFD does not use the term chauffeur but driver or technician), here we learned to draft, friction loss, pumping, single, reverse and dual hose lays, etc... When you graduated you were a competent engine chauffeur, er, driver...part of your continuing education was to be qualified to drive the company apparatus you eventually would be assigned within your first six months of probation. The final couple of weeks of school was an Emergency Medical Technician course that all probationers had to pass...

(https://i.postimg.cc/GBnt9NFs/Screenshot-2019-09-26-19-21-07-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/GBnt9NFs)

 The DCFD employs “civilians” as EMT’s to man the ambulances which are stationed in various firehouses throughout the city. If a “civilian” EMT taps out, a firefighter is detailed to cover the spot. You could count on being detailed to the ambulance when the weekend rolled around, as the EMT conveniently would go sick. DCFD had a sickness policy plan; MIP- minor illness plan. If you tapped out, you were placed on sick leave for three days without having to see the department doctor. You could do this three times a year. Also, engine companies responded to certain level medical calls, so everyone graduated as an EMT.

Our class was tight, many of us were former volunteer firefighters and had a genuine interest in becoming career firefighters, we shared stories and experiences, a new found friendship was forged... We all looked forward to the end of the week, Friday afternoon, when class let out there was about ten of us who would meet at a local beer joint, belt a few back, exchange stories, laugh at each other, make fun of the instructors in a good natured way, and continue to form a tight bond, a Brotherhood...To this day I still stay in touch with a few of my classmates.

The day before graduation we now became full fledged probationers,  this final day all members of our class will have to complete overhauling and cleaning of the equipment and training materials we have used for the next class. During a break the Sergeant enters and gathers us in the classroom with the department order for company assignments. I am assigned to Engine Company 21 located in the Northwest quadrant of Washington DC. Engine 21 has an outstanding reputation as an aggressive engine company in a single house.

The neighborhood that Engine 21 covers is called Adams Morgan. It is a community with a growing influx of immigrants from many countries, this lead to an increase in boarding houses and a diverse commercial shopping mecca. The neighborhood hit it’s low point after the 1968 riots. Today, Adams Morgan is one of the oldest and nicest neighborhoods in DC, still diverse, a community involved and contemporary.

However, the future would turn out to be a very interesting and historic time working a couple of miles from the White House. In 1979 Jimmy Carter was the resident at the White House, his administration was struggling with the energy crisis that ended a period of growth... both inflation and interest rates rose while economic growth, job creation and consumer confidence declined sharply. A month after graduation, the country would be embroiled for the next 444 days with The Iran Hostage Crisis standoff that November. Indeed...It would be a very interesting time to work in the Capital as more newsworthy events was about to unfold!.

Both my parents were at my graduation, “Uncle” Jack and his wife Irene joined the festivities. Jack suggested we go visit my new firehouse, he seems very excited and proud of my accomplishment, mentoring me from my early buff days on Intervale Avenue... He and Irene present me with a silver ID bracelet, it has a small DCFD badge replica with my badge number 823 in the middle of the maltese cross, I still keep it shined in my small jewelry box... Before leaving to check out my new assignment, the training school sergeant who was our lead instructor asked that I “donate” my trusted “EMERGENCY” lunch box to the academy museum, it was a hit during the weeks of training that provided fun jabs... I was happy to do so.

But, tonight would be a special night of celebration, the following day I will report to my new assignment and begin an exciting new journey with the DCFD Engine 21 “Alley Rats”.

(https://i.postimg.cc/gXrCpcxy/Screenshot-2019-08-06-10-36-22-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/gXrCpcxy)
Unk Jack at my graduation with my dad, close buddy Phil and his dad. The start of "Glory Days".

(https://i.postimg.cc/cvb7jsNG/20190928-182842-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/cvb7jsNG)
PROBATIONER tag.

(https://i.postimg.cc/7bnWRTtv/Screenshot-2019-09-25-07-38-34.png) (https://postimg.cc/7bnWRTtv)
Proby Manual that will be carried and maintained for the year I am on probation...that next!

Hope you enjoyed, more DCFD stuff to follow, thanks for reading.    KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: FairfaxFirePhotography on September 28, 2019, 11:53:10 PM
JohnnyGage I am excited to read what the future holds with these DCFD stories. As my username suggests, I live and buff in the DC Metro area and have frequently been to calls and buffed the District, as well as the surrounding areas. This one is close to home and I am excited to read the future installments!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on September 30, 2019, 11:18:33 PM
 in '72 after the Boston Hotel Vendome Fire & Collapse we stood in the rain outside the Church during the large Funeral Mass paying Respect from the FDNY.....the Boston FF Union went to a factory & got thousands of disposable plastic raincoats & gave them out .....the Mass was long as all the nine FFs killed at the Vendome were included in the same Service ....afterwards we went to Florian Hall (a little soggy despite the welcomed raincoats).....at the time i was in LAD*108 & we had a good relationship with several Members of the BFD Holy Name Society who used to make a yearly pilgrimage to NYC to attend our Annual Holy Name Society  Mass & Breakfast (always some good times the weekend they came down)...  i remember meeting the FF who got shot on duty in the BFD)...... Arty O'Leary (who died way too soon at 57 yrs of age) was a good friend ....he originally was a Staten Island resident who went on the NY Fire Patrol in the early '60s & also was a longtime Buff in FDNY LAD*26 back then.....he then became a FF in Hartford Conn for several years but at the same time was an Active Buff in LAD*23 BFD (in Boston back then Buffs were allowed to not only ride but to enter bldgs & work with the Units) .....one time around maybe 1970 Arty invited me & another NYC Friend Larry B. former NY Fire Patrol & now Hartford FF to go to Boston to meet some of the Members of the BFD & look around  .... i drove to Hartford & Artie drove us to Beantown....Artie wanted to make a stop at BFD LAD*4 to pick something up....as we pulled on to the apron there was a FF looking thru the apparatus door window & Arty said what i thought was "this guy is a real jerk" ....the FF opened the door & we went inside & Arty got what he was there to pick up while we had a cup of coffee ....when we got back in Arty's car he seemed annoyed & said "why did you give that guy the cold shoulder " ....i replied  "you said he was a REAL JERK"......Arty said "NO i said he was a REAL JAKE"... i then learned that in the BFD a "JAKE" was the term used for a well respected & accomplished FF. ..... Later over Dinner at another FH we got to meet Chief Bolger a BFD DV Chief & a Gentleman.....Arty later was Appt to the Boston FD & worked in ENG*24 ....LAD*23 or 26 then Rescue before his untimely off duty heart related death at age 57 while participating in a Motor Cycle ride to a Charity Event......i have said before that i always thought that if i had  not gotten  to be a Member of the FDNY that Boston FD would have been my next choice.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: grumpy grizzly on October 01, 2019, 10:59:03 AM
68jk09. The firefighter you met was my uncle, Lt Joseph Donovan. On June 3, 1967, Ladder 4 responded to Box 2141, Warren and Rockville. On arrival at the box they reported nothing showing and Lt Donovan went to wind the box and as he returned to Ladder 4's Seagrave 9 shots ran out, the first hit him and rendered him unconscious.  Several members of Ladder 4, with complete disregard for their own safety dragged Lt Donovan to the other side of the apparatus. They placed him in the apparatus and raced to Boston City Hospital. Lt Donovan's wounds to his wrist and hand prevented him from returning to active fire duty, he became a top-notch instructor at the Training Division. The members who risked their lives received the Walter Scott Medal for Valor, FF John Gaddis, and FF's Pero and Austin were placed on the Roll of Merit.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: grumpy grizzly on October 01, 2019, 11:34:16 AM
Lt Donovan was also a members of Boston Fire Department "Dandy Drillers".
(https://i.postimg.cc/HVmm9Hg9/Andy-Uncle-Joseph-Ladder-8.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/HVmm9Hg9)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on October 01, 2019, 11:54:36 AM
 Certainly a very interesting story as told by "68jk09" and "grumpy grizzly".

 Amazing also that well over Four Decades later, two members of this site, who I guess have never met, living half way across the country, would be able to tie their stories together.

 Certainly a very heroic job done by those members of Boston's Ladder 4. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on October 06, 2019, 08:20:54 PM
DCFD; Part 2
Alley Rats

Engine 21 Commander Captain Mac Fleming has just finished introducing me to my new fellow  firefighter platoon colleagues. Senior man Mickey Bridgett is the Wagon Driver (WD), he drives the first piece of Engine 21, a 1973 Ford pumper, followed by the other senior member Tommy “Neugie” Neugebauer, he is the pumper driver (P), the second piece of Engine 21, a 1968 Ford pumper that follows the wagon on all assignments. Both Mickey and Neugie are working their last year before retirement, the pair served in the Navy  during WWII and were war veterans on the homefront during the 1968 riots that decimated the area. But after that comparison, they are completely different; Mickey has “ants in his pants” and cannot stop fidgeting for a second, always pacing with a cigarette in his hand like a caged tiger, he speaks quickly and always looking for something to do on the rig...he’s fun to watch. On the other hand...Neugie is a laid back good ol boy from West Virginia. Nothing rattles him, he sits calmly with a newspaper in hand, feet propped up on the desk looking over the lense of his black half rimmed glasses. Neugie’s go to food is a Snickers candy bar. (I enjoyed working them both, they were very amiable, helpful and kind, they loved hearing my New Yawk speak... Mickey was an outstanding WD, he knew every hydrant location and alley entrance in our response area, a fine senior man).

(https://i.postimg.cc/D8vVH4XP/Screenshot-2019-09-29-21-19-59-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/D8vVH4XP)
Engine 21 "Alley Rat" Commander Captain Mac Fleming

(https://i.postimg.cc/CzLtmy3v/Screenshot-2019-09-29-21-22-36-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/CzLtmy3v)
Antsy-pantsy Outstanding WD Mickey Bridgett

(https://i.postimg.cc/xJ55z819/Screenshot-2019-09-29-21-19-19-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/xJ55z819)
Good Ol' Boy Neugie

The brief introduction and conversation is interrupted; two loud short boops over the vocal alarm indicates the communication office is about to dispatch a high priority “Box Alarm”, (whereas; single “boops” are for a lesser alarm requiring typically a single engine and truck, or just engine). There are thirty two firehouses in the city, all dispatched from one communication office. Across the city every firehouse has now heard the two “boop,pause, boop”…..everyone stops in their tracks and lends an ear to the alarm coming over, ready to respond. Just before the dispatcher announces the four engine, two truck and rescue response the desk computer “chirps”...and the Box alarm assignment is about to be delivered...since only the companies that will respond on this alarm will receive the computer print out, at the sound of the first chirp, members are off and running to their position and gearing up. DCFD prides itself on a quick turnout, within seconds during a day tour... Mickey turns his focus to the computer, he is on watch, announced over the vocal alarm by a woman's voice; “BOX ALARM; ENGINE 11, 21, 28, 24  TRUCK 6, 14,   RESCUE 2...RESPOND 1839 NEWTON STREET”. I hurry to don my gear laid out by the officer side of the wagon; Captain Fleming tells me to “run the line”, the “pipe” (nozzle) position, commonly referred to as the “Lineman” or in FDNY lingo, the “nob”. Mickey presses down the black “acknowledge” button on the desk once advising the CO we are responding, followed by pressing down on the other button which is red, a rapid three or four taps triggering the large house gong that is mounted on the wall upstairs in the bunkroom, the large gong can be heard all throughout the house. After donning my bright clean yellow turnout coat with DCFD lettering on the back, I hop into the modified cab extension behind the rig’s cab, behind the WD rides the “layout” firefighter. The lineman firefighter has a fifteen minute sling mask, you simply throw it over your shoulder and cinch up the strap. It’s like wearing an indian arrow quiver. Mickey hits the “OPEN” bay door button...the “OPEN” bay door  button hangs suspended from the ceiling on a coiled wire, like a telephone cord, and ends next to the window of the cab, the wagon driver simply reaches out and clicks the door button. The door is on a two minute timer, as soon as the door fully opens, both pieces of apparatus hi-tail it to the box location, Neugie is following close behind with the 1968 Ford. We are long gone before the door closes.

(https://i.postimg.cc/PP7Mn07r/Screenshot-2019-09-26-20-01-00-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/PP7Mn07r)
Engine 21 Wagon  1973 Ford

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Engine 21 second piece, 1968 Pumper

The two piece concept is what the DCFD uses. Both rigs are set up exactly the same with pumps, hose lays, and hand tools...the first piece is called the “wagon”, the second piece, which is an older piece of fire apparatus is called a “pumper”. There are thirty-two “two-piece” engine companies in DC, The wagon is where the WD, Engine Officer, Lineman and Layout man ride. The Layout firefighter’s job is to go to the backstep of the rig when it stops at a hydrant or alleyway entrance, following the WD command he will “layout” one of three layout evolutions according to what the WD tells him to do, then do the same for the pumper (when he completes that task, he rejoins and helps advance the line). The pumper follows close behind with just the driver. His mission is to locate the hydrant and supply the wagon from his apparatus, a positive water source.

On a “Box Alarm” assignment, 4 engines (double pieces), 2 trucks, rescue and Battalion Chief are assigned to respond. (what a parade of equipment!). Alarm assignment went as follows, the first and third due companies responded to the buildings address in front. The second and fourth due were to respond to the rear, via alleyway. The two piece system gave the companies the versatility of different types of hose lays. (Also: During the period of civil unrest, if the Chief requested a personnel call back, the engine companies could break into single engines, affording the department sixty-four engine companies very quickly). Regardless of conditions showing, the first and second due companies “lay out” a supply line.

Since we are second due, Mickey knows where the alley starts on the block, he pulls into the alley and stops the rig, turns and yells to the “Layout” firefighter to “split lay”. (Split lay; The Layout firefighter will take the supply line from the Wagon and the Pumper, then connect the two lines together) As soon as the Layout gives the WD the signal to go,the pumper proceeds to a hydrant and the wagon proceeds down the alley with the hose peeling off the hosebed. In the alley we notice a shed on fire, it is attached to the rear of a townhouse. I shoulder the inch and a half line, (textbook training school evolution) drop and flake out the hose as Mickey gives us water, the fire is quickly extinguished. Capt. Mac is right there alongside me and he welcomes me to 21, the “Alley Rats”. Reloading the hose is just as quick as we deploy it. The one hundred fifty feet of preconnect is re- loaded quickly, Mickey then starts backing the rig down the alley in a nice easy pace, without stopping, we load the supply line back on and we are back in service in no time.

Engine 21’s first due area is rather small, E 21 is wedged in between E 11 and E 9, two very busy engine companies. In our western part of our first due area is “Rock Creek Park” and the DC Zoo that covers a large portion of our area...and half of our first due boxes is in the prestigious neighborhood of Woodley Park, many Senators and Congress personnel reside there. The area is very clean and quiet with not much FD action required. But when 21 heads east we get our work and since we are “second due” to E 11 and E 9 our assignments are in the alleys...hence; “Alley Rats”.

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2nd due engine in alley

Back at the firehouse I get to meet and chat with my group of firefighters. DCFD has a three platoon system. I am assigned to Platoon #2 along with six other firefighters and the Boss Captain Mac. These will be my colleagues everytime I work, it is not a revolving chart and the DCFD does not recognize twenty-four hour shifts. We work three day tours, from 0900-1800 hrs, a day off, followed by three night tours. Each member is assigned a “Kelly Day”, (similar to a “Chinese 72” in FDNY) which rotates through your schedule. So, basically you work two days and three nights or three days and two nights depending on how your “KD” is scheduled. Little confusing, but it keeps your hours acceptable. The two other platoons are also staffed with six firefighters and a Lieutenant. The officers switch platoons annually, every year you get a new officer as they are rotated among the house platoons.

When a company officer is on any type of leave, to fill the open spot, a “Sergeant” is assigned. The Sergeant is assigned to a truck company and he has two roles; as mentioned he covers a spot when the company officer is on leave, whether it be a Lieutenant or Captain. If there is no position to cover, he becomes the “lead” firefighter on the truck, usually the “bar man” (In FDNY that would be the Forcible Entry Firefighter). The DCFD does not employ a "can man".

***********

On my second day tour, I was sitting at the housewatch desk, filling out the housewatch journal. The DCFD journal is filled out by the housewatch (desk) firefighter. Lines may be skipped, and alarms are entered with the Box number in red, followed by the address and description of the alarm in blue. If hose was stretched, ladders thrown or pumps operated the feet and time were recorded accordingly in the body of the paragraph. The HW duty firefighter filled out the riding position and HW assignment list. The company officer covered the 9-12 HW, but of course the junior member covered the time... After each name was the  riding position and the time of  the FF HW duty. HW duty during the day tour was split among the four members after 12 noon. In the journal entry,  a line was left next to the firefighter for the incoming relief firefighter to sign in. In other words, the incoming WD firefighter who was from the other platoon would sign in a relieve the WD from my platoon.  And, since the favorite choice for a firefighter was to run the line, the first firefighter in would relieve the other firefighter assigned to run the line...consequently, the second in firefighter had no choice but to become the less desired layout firefighter. There was no roll call, the position you signed in for was yours. Basically the guy who came in earliest, got the nob. Change of tours did not happen until 0900 and 1800 hrs. But it was very typical of being relieved at 0630 and 1600 hrs, respectfully.

If you happened to be detailed to another firehouse, you were assigned the least desirable watch, especially during a night tour...and you could expect to be the last guy to be relieved.

During my second day tour, filling out the company journal there is a firefighter sitting next to me who has been detailed into E 21 for the day tour. He introduces himself and I enter his name into the journal. We chat and he comments on my “New Yawk” accent. We continue our conversation and swap stories... I tell him about my experience with the NYC EMS, and he mentioned to me about his cousin who is a nurse in Kings County Hospital. Stop the presses!

(FLASHBACK...)...The last night tour before I left NYC EMS one of the Emergency Room Nurses from KCH wishing me good luck before I departed says her cousin is a firefighter with the DCFD, and his name is Bill Chackwood…”OK, I’ll keep an eye out for him”. I recorded his name into my green  EMS log notebook…just in case we should cross paths.

You guessed it, my second day tour I record into the HW journal, detailed FF Bill Chackwood, Layout firefighter. Small world.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed.    KMG-365

Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on October 13, 2019, 08:55:04 PM
DCFD; Part 3
68 Riots

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“Here's the gun, junior, be careful now or ya gonna make a mess of yourself”... with that Wagon Driver Mickey hands over to me the grease gun, it’s my turn to grease the officer’s side front wheel of our 1973 Ford engine, the task is done monthly. This morning both Mickey and I are grease monkeys shoulder to shoulder under the forward cab of Engine 21, we are both in the supine position rolling around on a mechanics creeper greasing the many grease fittings of the apparatus. There are over twenty grease fittings on this rig and per my probation manual I am required to know where each and everyone is and be able to point them out when asked by the Company Commander Captain Mac. And it’s not only on this rig, same goes on the second piece, our 1968 Ford pumper which everyone fondly refers to as “Baby”. Before the 1973 arrived, “Baby” was E 21’s first piece and an older rig took the place of the pumper. As each new generation rig came into service, the first piece subsequently became the second piece, the “pumper”. The senior men take care of “Baby”. If for some reason the pumper will be out of service for a period, the company would receive a spare from the “shops”... the spare rigs are usually much older models.

21 had a 1960’ish spare rig for a month I recall while “Baby was out of service”. The rig was a beast to drive. As the “Pumper” Driver, you operated the rig alone and followed the first piece all the while without power steering, double clutching, operating the radio and siren ...you had to be quick like a “one armed paper hanger”. Since the first piece Wagon was newer it was naturally much faster than the older rigs, so keeping up with the Wagon was a real challenge sometimes.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Z02V4WW4/Screenshot-2018-11-09-21-39-18-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/Z02V4WW4)
"BABY"

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THE BEAST!

“There's another fitting here, junior, and try not to “eff” this one up...think we’ll be done sometime today?”...Mickey is having a fun time with me, E 21 second platoon has not had a proby on its shift for about four years, and both senior men Mickey and Neugie are enjoying breaking my chops in tandem, I’m the new guy, the “New Yawker”.  (Mickey actually almost became like a father figure to me, during his last year we carpooled together and became very close). My bright white tee shirt is now blotchy with the brownish green grease as we move from the front of the cab and proceed to the dual rear wheels. After finishing the grease job, Mickey will show me how to check the oil and water on the rig which is another part of my required assignment.

As my probation progresses, as well as the other twenty three members of my proby class in their respective firehouse, we have to fulfill pre arranged tasks and reading assignments that will be reviewed by the company commander monthly. The Battalion Chief will review my progress on the sixth and final month of my probation.

During my first month I must know the street address of all thirty-two DC firehouse locations and their phone number (DCFD now has 33 firehouses). In addition I am required to describe and recite the way the city streets are designed. (The streetscape starts at the Capitol, the Capitol is like the hub of a wheel. The city is divided into four quarters from this point into NE, NW, SE, SW to the outer edge of the City. The dividing line (street) to the north is North Capitol Street, tothe east is East Capitol street and so on. Numbered streets run north and south, the street number increases from the dividing N/S street and increases toward the outer edge of the city. Streets running east and west are alphabeticalized A-Z, when the letter system runs out,  to conform with the general planning, the streets would be given one-syllable names in alphabetical order. When the one-syllable series ended, two-syllable names would be used, and then three-syllable names. Many of the diagonal streets and avenues in Washington are named after states. Some of these streets are particularly noteworthy, such as Pennsylvania Avenue, which connects the White House with the U.S. Capitol and Massachusetts Avenue, a section of which is informally known as “Embassy Row” from the number of foreign embassies located along the street.

Furthermore. At the beginning of “every” month I am assigned by the company commander ten fire alarm street boxes within our box alarm assignment... I have to remember the exact address of the box, the running route from quarters to the box location and where the four nearest hydrants are to that box. I am also given five short streets that I  must know the running route and nearest hydrant location. Not done yet... I will also need to know  five commercial structures in our Box Alarm area which could be a school, factory, nursing home, etc...I will have to follow instructions from within my proby manual with regard to reading monthly assignments about general orders, rules and regulations, pump formulas, ladders, drill manual, evolutions, ropes and knots, smoke ejectors, salvage equipment and so forth. The reading assignment will conclude with twenty five questions that must be answered and memorized when asked by the boss, and of course for good measure, he will have a few of his own. That’s why my position during my probation is the front desk, head in the books.

Another proby requirement is that I must drive and be qualified to operate both pieces of the company apparatus within six months. A part of the proby school curriculum you took a driving training course where everyone learned pumping fundamentals...at your company assignment you became proficient on your apparatus and started driving it back from alarms within your first couple of months.

As Mickey and I find and locate the various fittings the conversation turns to local DC Fire Department history. Mickey mentions that back during WWII, the rigs were not red due to color pigmentation resources that had to go to the war effort, leaving the rigs a pale red, almost pink back then. Secondly, even though the rigs had a mechanical siren mounted on the fender, the firefighters were forbidden from using it because it could have been confused as an air raid siren.

I mentioned to him that I remember as a young lad, the 1968 riots...I sensed that Mickey was surprised that I brought it up and was pleased to expound and give a personal account of the turbulent time...Engine 21’s quarters was a half mile from the hotbed activity of the riots and within the Box Alarm assignment of the 14th Street and U Street corridor where most of the rioting activity took place for four days in April after the death of Martin Luther King Jr...The DCFD was mobilized, the call-back protocol is called “Plan F” which is a total recall of every one of the 1,400 firefighters back into service, the members were split in half, half working during the day, followed by the other half for the night. The DCFD responded to over 1,200 fires, almost five hundred buildings involved in fire and two hundred stores looted, Black store owners mark their front windows with “Soul Brother” with hopes that looters will pass by their establishment...Firefighters were stretched thin, hundreds of fires rekindled over the next few days...Hostile crowds lobbed bottles, rocks, bricks and paint cans at the firefighters responding.

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Then President Johnson dispatched 14,000 Federal troops to assist the overwhelmed Metropolitan Police force. Marines mounted the capitol steps and the White House with machine guns, the occupation of Washington was the largest of any American city since the Civil War.

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The aftermath... on many blocks rubble remained for decades.  Crime and violence in the destroyed neighborhoods rose quickly as white flight from the city accelerated and property values plunged as fire activity grew. At the time, fire apparatus had open-air cabs, after the riots the shops would install protective plywood coverings and caging on all rigs. You could probably say, the “War Years” have commenced!

I valued and appreciated my chat with MIckey, I now found it very interesting to be in the hub of a very historic geographic area where not too long ago a prosperous thriving community was forcibly displaced and replaced by dilapidated vacant shells of buildings that still  bore witness of rioting and fires… From the point of my conversation with Mickey going forward, everytime we responded to the hot bed area where the riots happened, it had the same nostalgic impact feeling as if we were driving through an old battlefield.

The DCFD should have included that history in my probationary manual!

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                                                    *************

E 21 had a notable distinction among fire and city officials of being a very reputable and prominent Company. With senior men like Mickey and Neugie and other respected senior men assigned to the other platoons under the command of esteemed officers, E 21 received recognition of “Company of the Year” in 1978. Then Senator John Glenn presented the company with a “Proclamation of Excellent Service” to Capt Mac. during a small ceremony. I was fortunate to meet and shake the former astronauts hand.

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Senator John Glenn. Capt. Mac at right.

Moreover, that November, Washington DC and then President Jimmy Carter will become the focus of a historic event that will be followed by millions of Americans across the United States as the “Iran Hostage Crisis” unfolds. It’s an exciting time to be working in the Nation's Capital.

(RIP FF Mickey Bridgett; 2015)

Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!              KMG-365



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Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on October 14, 2019, 10:04:42 PM
 Dan, aka "Johnny", I think this might take you back to some of those DCFD Glory Days you're telling us about.

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nac0l7OorC8
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on October 20, 2019, 09:35:32 PM
DCFD; Part 4
Smiley, a new lid and Stuffy

During my day tours I arrive extra early, although change of tours is at 0900, it is not uncommon to have guys reporting for duty by 0700. The technicians relieve the going off duty technician, but for other firefighters your two options are either “run the pipe/line”, the preferable option or perform “Layout” and thus become the back-up firefighter, the not-so-desirable position. Basically, whoever gets in first among the firefighters usually relieves the going off duty lineman and will “run the line” for the shift. There is no “roll call” assignment. Since DCFD firefighters wear their uniform to and from the firehouse, you sign into the log book,  put the other firefighter’s gear away, replace with yours, and you’re ready to go.

After relieving the night tour group the first order of business is to procure breakfast. Since relief is usually accomplished by 0800 hours, firehouses in DC have breakfast in lieu of lunch. Being from “New Yawk”, I am introduced to “scrapple”, “grits” and “SOS”. I will also enjoy the best pancakes I have ever had that was made by one of our Lieutenants. Lieutenant John Hammond covered our Platoon when Captain Mac moved on for promotion. Lt. John made what he called “Hunters” pancakes. For his pancake mixture he used a can of beer instead of water, sour cream and baking soda. To this day, I have never tasted pancakes as light, moist and fluffy...the yeast in the beer is the secret! Oh yeah, he topped it off with warm blueberry compote.

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Lt. John Hammond, not only made the best pancakes in the world, but a fine gentleman and superior fire officer I ever worked with...more stories about him soon! We still stay in touch, too!


Recently I have become the “Coffee Club” honcho. Since many members in the firehouse do not drink coffee, the house tax does not cover the purchase of coffee, this arrangement goes for many of the DC firehouses as well. As the coffee honcho I maintain a logbook and collect $5 a week from members that drink coffee and make sure we have plenty of coffee stocked. This day I volunteer to procure breakfast at the nearby Safeway supermarket that is one block away from the firehouse, an alleyway between the firehouse and supermarket  makes it a short walk. There I’ll pick up breakfast items for today's shift and a case of “Chock Full o'Nuts” coffee for the coffee club.

(https://i.postimg.cc/pyRHFPzy/20191020-172849-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/pyRHFPzy)
a young JohhnyGage sitting in front of quarters.

 Across the street from the firehouse is a private half-way house for special needs adults. There are about ten senior residents that reside in the converted brownstone styled home. The residents cannot wander far from the property, they mostly shuffle up and down the sidewalk in front of the home. However, a few are allowed to cross the street to the firehouse where there is a coin operated soda machine towards the back of quarters. And like clockwork two of the residents march robot like to the rear of the firehouse for their fifty cent sugar fix, rain, sleet or shine like a moth attracted to light. The two start early morning...during the course of the day they may make four or five determined pilgrimages for the bottled soda. the first is “Smiley”, he doesn’t talk, he is about fifty years old, very well dressed, always sporting a tie and sweater, sorta like Mr. Rogers character, and always in a happy mood with a fixed grin. Like Mr. Rogers he has the same sneakers, too. Only problem is that unwittingly, Smiley walks up behind you without making a peep, there he will silently stand with his hands folded behind his back rocking on his feet. Eventually you become aware of a “presence”,  turn around...jump, blindsided and startled... “Jesus, Smiley make some noise!”. Once he has your attention, he moves on to get his soda. If it is early morning when the bay doors are down, you’ll eventually notice a human shadow standing at the front door of the firehouse where Smiley peers through the wired window until recognized, he doesn’t bother to knock. The second character is a heavy woman that always wears a frock dress in anytype weather. She is robotic, does not make eye contact or noise, when the apparatus doors are open, she just marches through the firehouse, drops two quarters into the soda machine, punches the same soda selection, retrieves the bottled soda, does an about face and marches out. At times when the bay doors are closed, she will stand in front of them until they are open and then march by. It does not matter if you are drilling, doing hose change, hosting a school class, or washing the rigs...both God Blessed characters are committed to fetching that soda pop at all costs.

Another character from the halfway house does not come into the firehouse, we call him  “Captain Jack”, the seafaring type captain. He wears an old blue sailor hat with the gold lifesaver and rope embroidered to the front. He paces back and forth across the street and only stops to hand roll a cigarette. It is not uncommon for us to sit in front of the firehouse between runs in the late afternoon or early evening. But when the Captain stops pacing, we all watch...he holds his left hand palm up with a piece of cigarette rolling paper, with his right hand he distributes the right amount of tobacco onto the paper, then he magically “rolls” a perfect cigarette by just manipulating his left hand, licks to seal the paper with his tongue. The act is amazing to watch. That old salty codger!

                                                          ***********


Today I am putting my new leather New Yorker helmet into service. When our class was sworn in and we received our firefighting turnout equipment, all items were distributed new except our MSA plastic helmet. I received an MSA plastic helmet with plastic frontpiece that had a Washington DC Fire Dept badge decal in the center, over the badge another arching clear decal that said in black “FIREFIGHTER”. On the side of all DCFD’s helmets are reflective stencils with your company number. Engine Companies received a white reflective background with red lettering that stated “E-21”. Truck companies had a green background with white lettering and Rescue companies had a black background with white lettering.

If you bought a leather helmet, you were given the option of wearing it instead of the MSA job. My helmet was given to me as a parting gift from the volunteer fire company I was with on Long Island. During my time employed by NYC EMS I had moved closer to the city line cutting down my commute from my hometown. There I joined the local volunteer fire department that bordered Queens, NY called Valley Stream, Truck Company 1, The company had a Mack Tower Ladder and a good group of young eligible future FDNY firefighters, I immediately felt right at home. I was with the VSFD for about a year when Washington DC Fire Department called early August 1979 and told me I was scheduled to be appointed. At the time Truck Company 1’s policy was to purchase a leather New Yorker helmet and present it to you as a parting gift.

The helmet was purchased by a VSFD member and friend of mine who worked for a local firefighting supply company named Mike Moran. Just before I left NY and headed south, at a local gin-joint with VSFD members attending my “hiring” celebration...Mike presented me with a brand spanking new black leather helmet with Bourke shields and a Black frontpiece that had a blank insert. Along with the helmet I received a signed “Good Luck” card a little cash and a fine going away party that was well attended and very memorable.

(https://i.postimg.cc/hJ291Dhg/20191020-173014.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/hJ291Dhg)
E 21 Third Due apartment house fire "well off", term DCFD used instead of "JOB".

                                                                   ***************

I am now off probation, and at this point I have almost two years on with the DCFD. It is early morning and through the firehouse bay doors, I can see the red streaks of the sun as it is about to break through the dark sky, the ‘crack of dawn”.  I have been on watch for almost three long, boring hours, the only thing that keeps me awake and company is the vocal alarm announcing runs to other companies throughout the city. I could have awaken the other firefighter that would have the final watch... but what's the sense, now, both of us will be up. At the desk, I am wearing my bunker pants and knee high boots with a short sleeve sweatshirt as the apparatus floor is very cool this December morning, wearing my turnout pants is custom to DC firefighters, this will also afford me a quick response... I decide it's time to make a fresh pot of coffee for me and the incoming troops. In the kitchen, I'm careful to spoon out the correct amount of coffee into the filter. Too little coffee and the pot is weak, too much and the pot becomes bitter and strong. I eagerly await the first cup, it seems to take forever... After the final drip I grab a nice hot cup and head back to the desk at the front of the firehouse, it is close to the time that the fresh troops will be reporting in for their day tour. The first sip of coffee is remarkable, a simple pleasure of life. The night has been very quiet and there is peace and tranquility in the air, just the radiator on the apparatus floor hisses on occasion. Time for another sip of joe….

The first firefighter through the firehouse door is “Stuffy” Wilkens. He greets me and about to sign into the journal affecting my relief since I’m running the line...Simultaneously the vocal alarm blurts…”BOOOP, BOOOP”, the desk computer starts to “chirp” and the department phone rings (very rarely does the department phone ring so early in the morning. But a “light-duty” member from E 21 is assigned to the Communications Office and gives the firehouse a “heads up call” when he is sure we will be going to work)..The vocal alarm comes alive; “BOX ALARM  ENGINE 21, 9, 11, 28  TRUCK 9, 6 RESCUE SQUAD 2 and CHIEF 5; RESPOND 2611 ADAMS MILL RD FOR FIRE IN THE BUILDING”... I press the acknowledge button that goes back to the communication center telling them we are responding then bang the gong four or five times to awake the troops and activate the lights in the bunkroom, then quickly answer the department phone; “Engine 21; Firefighter Gage…” on the other end is our light-duty member; “You’re going to work!”....I slam the phone down and announce to the WD and officer the address and information, the box location is at the end of the street and we will be there within seconds. From peaceful serenity, the firehouse explodes with activity.

After I finally turn out the company, I run to my spot on the apparatus where my gear is in standby to “run the line”... however,  incoming firefighter “Stuffy” has grabbed his gear and tossed my gear on the floor, “I got it” he states as he mounts the rig in my place... “I’ll put your gear away when we get back.''... He is relieving me on the line, snookered!...Now, all night long, anyone who wants to put out fire, yearns for this moment and I’m now I’m going to be shut out, and quite frankly a little pissed, but I’m not going to make a scene. “That’s the way the cookie crumbles” as they say…

As the engines fire up I grab my gear from the floor, I remember that the front seat of the pumper is open!... Wallah! I’ll ride with the pumper!  The members slide the poles and scurry to their position as the WD fires up the rig and the company turns out. One block from the firehouse is the location, the building is a large six story apartment house, the rigs whip out of quarters, it has not been a full minute. And, since the location is just up the block from the firehouse the other companies will take a little time to arrive... in the meantime the line is being prepared to be stretched by “Stuffy”. On the back of the Engine are three pre-connect lines of inch and a half hose. There is the three hundred fifty foot pre-connect, the two hundred pre connect and the one hundred fifty feet of pre-connect. A single firefighter can stretch the two hundred and one fifty pre-connect by throwing the load over a shoulder, advance to fire by letting the lengths peel off. However, the three hundred fifty requires two firefighters to employ the line.

The wagon pulls up to the location and the pumper locates a nearby hydrant to pump from, but oddly, nothing is showing. “Stuffy” goes to the backstep and shoulders half of the three hundred fifty feet load of inch and a half, while the layout firefighter shoulders the other half with anticipation of stretching to the top floor, the officer and two firefighters stretch to the front of the building...All of a sudden, a couple of single pane windows on the first floor burst and erupt with fire, a flashover has occurred. Two windows on the first floor now push out bright billowing orange flames, the first floor apartment is “well off” (the term DCFD uses to define a “job”). The engine officer now realizes that they have stretched way “too much” hose for a fire not more than a length or two from the apparatus and tells Stuffy to drop the folds.

I’m watching this confusion unfold  not far from the backstep of the wagon...I previously donned the pumper drivers SCBA and made sure the whole bed of three hundred fifty feet of hose clears, now I’m standing by just below the one hundred fifty feet of pre-connect, just in the right spot... The engine officer sees me, “Start that 150!” ...with that I shoulder the load and proceed to the front of the steps...of course firefighter “Stuffy” is trying to pry the lengths and nozzle from my hands. But I got a solid grip! I say with determination and conviction...“Maybe tomorrow, but not today”

Into the vestibule the first due truck has now arrived and gaining forcible entry, on the apartment door...once opened, the vestibule is now banking down with black, angry, hot smoke...with the door  popped, the hose-line swells with water. Stuffy is my “back up” much to his chagrin with the engine officer beside me...I crack the nozzle handle to expel the rush of compressed air and turn the nozzle tip to straight stream (even though proby school professed “narrow fog”), being the FDNY buff that I was, I was a firm believer of straight stream. Now, with the powerful water flowing, inch by inch the officer and I crawl methodically into the blazing apartment, the hot steam enveloping and stinging us through our heavy gear. Ahead of us looks like a blazing sun of flame, I swept the straight stream in a tight clockwise circle. The fire was super hot and not letting up much, we encountered another room to the left completely ablaze...I turned the nozzle into that room to knock down the fire as the extreme heat continued to shroud us, I can feel the heat compressing through my turnout coat and bunker pants. Recently I purchased a hood, and was thankful that I now had that covering my ears as they were scorching through the hood protection... Inch by inch the boss and I moved forward on our knees as a team,  his confident remarks supporting my advance…”you got it Johnny, another inch...yeah, you got it...how ‘bout another inch, that’s it keep movin’ in, steady now, almost there”... The fire was remarkably hot, everything in the room was consumed with a bright orange flame, ventilation was limited to a few small windows, with the reach of the straight stream, slow and steady advancement we finally knocked down all visible fire. Whew, it was now time to take a blow, a sense of relief comes over us, except for Stuffy, he is not too happy that I got the “pipe”...well, maybe tomorrow, but not today!

(https://i.postimg.cc/xk5WGzKC/Screenshot-2019-10-11-08-20-22-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/xk5WGzKC)
Typical DC fire.

(https://i.postimg.cc/MMht16rH/20191020-172807-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/MMht16rH)
Engine 21, "Alley Rats" operating in the alley as usual.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed! Next DCFD Truck work!    KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on October 21, 2019, 10:02:48 AM
 Thank you Johnny for these DCFD stories.

 As we had discussed, I too took the DCFD written exam back in 1974/75 (?). I was allowed to take that written test at the main post office in Bridgeport, Ct.

 I did pretty good on that test and I think what helped me the most was the last question. I was advised that I would be required to write a two page essay on a subject that "they" picked. I was doing my best to try and keep up with current events, etc. They could ask me "anything".

 The first part of the test was the basic multiple choice on math, mechanical aptitude, reading comprehension. When it came time to do that essay question, I feared that the most not knowing what to expect.

 The topic of that essay question was; "Why do I want to be a Firefighter" ? WOW, I had no problem telling them about that. I probably could have wrote ten pages on that if they asked.

 After getting my written test results, I went down to DC to check out the place. I stopped at the busiest firehouses. In fact I think Engine 21 was one of my stops. I talked to the guys about the job and they told me that as the junior guy, I would be assigned to an ambulance, which the fire dept operated those days. They also told me that they were working a 48 (?) hour work schedule.

 Then I went to the DCFD Fire Academy where I talked one on one with the Batt Chief in charge. He told me, it looks like you will be getting called for further testing. Then he took out their Probie Manuel, threw it down on the table and told me "if you get this job, you better know this cover to cover", just as Johnny Gage had told us earlier here, along with the streets, certain buildings, etc  throughout the city. He put a scare into me, that's for sure.

 At the time, 1974/75, the FDNY War Years were in full swing. I was going to NYC sometimes, two days a week and I was hooked.

 I addition to that, I had taken the test for the fire dept in Norwich, Ct. Things were moving along pretty well there and they had a work schedule that I was more familiar with. It was abut 120 miles to NYC so I could still do my fire buffing thing.

 As it turned out, Norwich, Ct offered me the job in May, 1975 so I took it and stayed. I think DCFD had sent me a letter asking if I was still interested in going further with the job and I told them, "I am no longer interested".

 Then I guess around 1995 or so, I am at the "Rock", aka FDNY Fire Academy, taking fire apparatus photos before I begin my buffing duties. Johnny Gage, aka FDNY Firefighter Dan Potter, is the chaffer of Ladder 5, a brand new, tractor trailer tiller. I had to get a picture of that rig so I ask the chafer if he and the tillerman would pull it in the perfect spot for that special photo op. Of course they do that for me. As far as I'm concerned, "they made my day".

 I talked to Dan for a little while. Then maybe 20 or so years later, that picture shows up on a fire dept web site. A friend of Dan, who I also knew at the time was a Fire Captain in Eastchester, NY., showed Dan the picture and he said he knew me. Small World, Dan and I get in contact after all those years. But I didn't know that Dan had been a DC Firefighter and worked with the NYC EMS in the hard 75th Pct area of Brooklyn.

 Thanks Johnny for all these first hand stories that you write. With over 80,000 views in a short time, "I guess I'm not the only one that enjoys reading them.

 Uncle Wilfred

   
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: raybrag on October 21, 2019, 11:51:13 AM
Thanks Johnny for all these first hand stories that you write. With over 80,000 views in a short time, "I guess I'm not the only one that enjoys reading them.

 Uncle Wilfred

 

You most certainly are not, Willy.   ;)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on October 27, 2019, 08:58:54 PM
DCFD; Part 5
Mike, Iran and Truck Ops.

(https://i.postimg.cc/7CBThfGh/20191027-175111-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/7CBThfGh)

Even though, I was hoping to be hired by the FDNY around 1980, a class action suit was filed by a women's organization back in NY protesting the FDNY Entrance Exam physical agility test, and all hiring came to a stand still after a few classes were processed. Thankfully, I took my Dad's advice of not putting “all my eggs in one basket” and just rely on one fire department, but to have other options. With that sage advice I proceeded to take other Fire Department entry exams wherever I could, so with the FDNY on lockdown I was fortunate to have “irons in the fire” and I was then called for the DCFD. The time with the DCFD afforded me the sensational opportunity and  fortuity working three years with this historic fire department and alongside seasoned masters...that I might not have had the chance if I were called immediately by the FDNY.

After proby school, I asked Captain Mac if I could swap out my plastic MSA helmet for the leather New Yorker helmet, he was fine with it. That evening after my day tour, back home,  I retrieved the black helmet from a box and went to work on converting the black color to yellow.  I lightly sanded the black to take off the gloss, sprayed on a primer base, allowed to dry, then applied a couple of coats of high-gloss yellow Rust-Oleum spray...I had a blank black FDNY style frontpiece with no insert, I immediately ordered  “21” insert and received it shortly, a black background with a white “21”, I liked the way the lid looked complete with frontpiece.

A few weeks later after putting my helmet into service I received a phone call from one of my friends back in Valley Stream FD; Mike Moran, the friend who “bought and presented” my gift helmet was killed with another Firefighter Named John Tate at a Synagogue fire on November 22, 1979. Mike and John were advancing a hoseline into the Synagogue when the roof collapsed on them. John died immediately, Mike died on December 7th from injuries and burns. Mike was twenty three, he was a year older than me at the time and also on the FDNY eligible hiring list.

(This year will be over the fortieth anniversary. God Bless Mike and John, continued prayers for eternal rest).

                                                                 ************

It is early November, 1979 and Americans are tuning into a new nightly news show hosted by Ted Koppel called “Nightline”. Fellow Americans watch earnestly to updated reports of the “Hostage Crisis” in Iran where fifty-two American diplomats and citizens are being held captive. This impasse would amount to 444 agonizing days.

Because a stalemate of negotiations between Iran and the United States, that December, President Jimmy Carter announced the US would be breaking diplomatic relations with Iran and that all diplomats and officials “vacate” the “Iran” embassy located on Embassy Row at 3003 Massachusetts Ave NW. 

(https://i.postimg.cc/2LLH2pRd/Screenshot-2019-10-27-20-41-09-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/2LLH2pRd)

In response to an obvious threat, the final day Iran was to occupy the embassy a Box Alarm assignment was transmitted for the embassy as a precautionary measure with the anticipation that Iran may blow up the joint when the last expulsed diplomat left. Since the DCFD is not always permitted on certain Embassy grounds, such as Iran’s, Engine 21 was assigned a section of a perimeter surrounding the embassy where we laid a supply line from a nearby hydrant. I was “running the line” that tour and assumed the position of standing on top of the rig manning the deck gun. Other engine companies assigned to the box were doing the same. But, the diplomats left peacefully, and we returned back to quarters where I resumed my studies and making sure there was fresh coffee in the kitchen like a good proby.

                                                                    ************

Engine 21’s quarters designed in 1908 was specifically to accommodate a “longer” ladder truck and built a little deeper than other fire houses at the time, for many years Truck 9 was assigned and responded from the Lanier Place firehouse. Engine 21 and Truck 9 became one of the most desired firehouses to work in. Only a few years before I arrived Truck 9 was relocated into a new and modern firehouse with Engine 9 on “U” Street. Thus Engine 21 became a single house with Ambulance 2. However in  1981 we got word that Truck 14 would be relocated to our firehouse while their quarters was being renovated.

The DCFD has seventeen truck companies, T 14 is perhaps one of the least active companies in DC, it would have to rank in the bottom five of truck companies for fire activity, but the guys are all professional and competent. It will be interesting to work in a double house with the added personalities. Their response area is west from our firehouse and covers mostly high end homes owned by congress and senate people, so fire activity is just not there.

The Captain of the truck company takes to me, Captain Joe, he’s a little overbearing and has odd mannerisms, he’s polite, gruff, straight forward and doesn’t have much patience, he certainly does not put up with bullshit...he looks like a typical German WWII officer personified in war movies with the blond comb over hair and distinguished facial features, only he’s Irish... but we become friends quickly, especially when he is not hyped up!...He is a father with about nine children, drives into work with a large station wagon with that fake wood siding. During our “down time” he enjoys oil painting on a canvas held up by an easel. I sit in the truck office near him as he describes the methodology of painting a scene from a photograph or postcard. I enjoy watching him painstakingly detail every nuance. He’s good and I appreciate him sharing his knowledge. Captain Joe also makes a wicked “Crab Cake”, one of my all-time favorite firehouse meals. When he has the desire to treat all of us, he rolls up his sleeves in the kitchen and makes these tantalizing, tasty light, fluffy and golden crab cakes the size of hockey pucks, two per man... and he accompanies the crab cakes with a nice chilled three bean salad, a gourmet treat that is unbelievably scrumptious!


(https://i.postimg.cc/grbg32gj/20191020-172904-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/grbg32gj)

(https://i.postimg.cc/gxjsGX2S/Screenshot-2018-11-09-21-44-57-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/gxjsGX2S)
The "Barman" ride behind officer on trailer, the "Hook" firefighter rides near Tillerman. SCBA's are mounted on side of rig.

The seventeen trucks in DCFD have an array of apparatus manufacturers. All truck companies are tiller rigs, with the exception of Truck 10... Truck 10 is a straight chassis Sutphen 100 foot tower ladder and stationed in the SW section of DC. It may be “special called” to any alarm city-wide. The remaining trucks are a diverse manufactured type of tiller. Most tillers are early 60’s Pirsch type rigs in service around the times of the 68 riots, they have the  tiller steering wheel removal, flip over seat and windshield feature. There are a few mid 60’s Seagrave tillers and a handful of late model American LaFrance tillers like FDNY deployed. Two individual newer trucks are in service, a late 1970 model Sutphen cab forward tiller assigned to upper NW Washington as L 11 and a late model Pirsch cab forward served in the NE section of DC is L 17. Quite an eclectic collection.

(https://i.postimg.cc/WDRkxhFJ/Screenshot-2019-10-01-16-48-25-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/WDRkxhFJ)
Truck 10 only Tower Ladder in DCFD

(https://i.postimg.cc/fJpt0Jvg/Screenshot-2019-01-22-21-28-44-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/fJpt0Jvg)
Good ol' dragster American LaFrance

(https://i.postimg.cc/zH3vyrHr/Screenshot-2019-10-09-07-44-47-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/zH3vyrHr)
Sutphen Tiller served NE part of DC

(https://i.postimg.cc/YGDqKsny/Screenshot-2019-10-15-07-38-50-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/YGDqKsny)
Last "Pirsch" Tiller purchased by DCFD.

The operating technicians of the ladder companies are called “Truck Driver (TD)” and “Tillerman (T)”. All “technician” positions (WD, P, TD, T) require you to pass an exam given by the company officer to attain that position. There is a slight bump in salary for those who become a “technician”. The TD and T responsibility was to ventilate the roof or outside vent. During my tenure, DCFD did not have a vent-enter-search  (VES) protocol, therefore the T often just vented from the outside .

(https://i.postimg.cc/3k86mxJm/Screenshot-2019-10-26-07-29-27-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/3k86mxJm)
Tillerman performing outside ventilation

Positions on the truck...Of course the boss rode shotgun, the truck boss responsibility was to be “fluid” and not necessarily proceed to the fire location, but to “rove” about and make sure all positions were covered.  There were three other riding positions on the Truck. The first was called “The Barman”. On the older Pirsch rigs he rode on the side of the trailer just behind the officer. This was the choice position for the truck. As the Barman you were responsible to gain entry to the occupancy, with the Engine officer. Your “tool” was the halligan bar and flat head ax. The DCFD did not employ the “can” concept... If a Sergeant was working and not assigned to cover an officer vacancy somewhere, he usually assumed the “Barman” position.

The second was the “Hook” firefighter who rode on the same side of the trailer behind the Barman, closer to the T. The third position was the “Axe” firefighter. He rode on the opposite side of the trailer behind the Truck Driver. The “Hook” and “Axe” firefighters were primarily tasked with throwing up portable ladders and then carry, place and activate the exhaust fan to ventilate. Subsequently,  the two positions morphed into more of a utility source for miscellaneous tools, salvage covers and chores that the truck officer requested.

At a fire scene, search was conducted by the Rescue Squad assigned on the box, the “Squad” as they were referred to would split into two teams; one team would search the fire floor, and the second team the floor above.

                                                                              *********

I would have two “Close Calls” that involved the “Truck” and my very close buddy Phil from Proby school and Long Island almost ended his career while assigned to a truck company. That’s next.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!                      KMG-365
                         
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: CanadianFireman on October 27, 2019, 10:17:59 PM
Hey JohnnyGage thanks again for the awesome ongoing stories from your career, it sure has been fun to read and imagine them from back in the day. I am curious when DCFD went away from the two-piece Engine concept...or are they still running that way today?
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: fdhistorian on October 28, 2019, 01:44:35 AM
Hey JohnnyGage thanks again for the awesome ongoing stories from your career, it sure has been fun to read and imagine them from back in the day. I am curious when DCFD went away from the two-piece Engine concept...or are they still running that way today?
The pumpers of the wagon/pumper engine companies (34 at their peak number in 1987) attritioned out by their apparatus not being replaced.  The last one ended January 31, 1992.

Six 'water supply' engines were created (one in each battalion) about 10 years later to address water supply issues re-discovered during major fires.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JOR176 on October 29, 2019, 12:35:14 PM
JG, I went to school with a guy who went to DC and worked for the DCFD his name was John Caffrey, would be about my age 77 now  ??
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on October 29, 2019, 05:57:40 PM
Sorry J-176, doesn't ring a bell.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JOR176 on October 30, 2019, 12:09:22 PM
Sorry J-176, doesn't ring a bell.

Thanks.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on October 31, 2019, 06:42:06 PM
Dan get this & start saving for our next nycfire.net Dinner........   https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1960s-Ceramic-Fireman-Helmet-Bank-Number-5-Made-in-Japan/264509170333?hash=item3d95f9a29d:g:DRgAAOSww0ZdsRQO
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 01, 2019, 07:27:00 AM
^^^^^^^^^Don't laugh JK, but I have one of these since I was a kid, still on my shelf with the coffe mug....

(https://i.postimg.cc/56Fggy4s/Screenshot-2019-11-01-07-20-12-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/56Fggy4s)

(https://i.postimg.cc/0MQdw2Xd/Screenshot-2019-11-01-07-19-55-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/0MQdw2Xd)
(This was on ebay, too)
I got this mug as a gift when I was a teenager and I became a junior fireman 1970ish, it is a heavy duty type gloss ceramic. I used it everyday for my morning coffee for many, many years and it still looks new.. It has been with me through all my travels. I retired it about twenty years ago and it now proudly sits in my hutch with my small collection of memoribilia and two lids.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on November 01, 2019, 09:28:36 AM


(https://i.postimg.cc/0MQdw2Xd/Screenshot-2019-11-01-07-19-55-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/0MQdw2Xd)
(This was on ebay, too)
I got this mug as a gift when I was a teenager and I became a junior fireman 1970ish, it is a heavy duty type gloss ceramic. I used it everyday for my morning coffee for many, many years and it still looks new.. It has been with me through all my travels. I retired it about twenty years ago and it now proudly sits in my hutch with my small collection of memoribilia and two lids.

 Johnny, I had one of those cups too. Now, I just wish I still had it
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 01, 2019, 02:48:01 PM


(https://i.postimg.cc/0MQdw2Xd/Screenshot-2019-11-01-07-19-55-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/0MQdw2Xd)
(This was on ebay, too)
I got this mug as a gift when I was a teenager and I became a junior fireman 1970ish, it is a heavy duty type gloss ceramic. I used it everyday for my morning coffee for many, many years and it still looks new.. It has been with me through all my travels. I retired it about twenty years ago and it now proudly sits in my hutch with my small collection of memoribilia and two lids.

 Johnny, I had one of those cups too. Now, I just wish I still had it

Tis the season, Santa's listening...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 03, 2019, 08:13:41 PM
DCFD Part 6
Brother Philly and a few Close Calls

Moving from Brooklyn to Long Island as so many military veterans families did in the late 50’s there was no shortage of us kids growing up together in the neighborhood. New ranch homes for first time home buyers were popping up all over Long Island creating new communities and roads, I recall the Long Island Expressway being constructed when it cut through my neck of the woods. My dad bought a three bedroom ranch in a growing development called Brentwood, about a forty minute ride east of NYC. He had the choice of buying any number of homes in the area, the area grew almost overnight with more and more new home buyers entering the neighborhood and more homes under construction. Boy and Girl Scout troops were formed and filled, then formed again, little leagues were created, school districts expanded and broke into smaller divisions to accommodate the urban sprawl, shopping centers sprang up with strip malls. And new friendships formed with all the outdoor activity, most were simple childhood and school friendships, and some of those friendships would last a lifetime. I was fortunate, My “Brother from another Mother” is Philly, to this day we consider and call each other, “Brothers”.

Philly and I met when we were eight years old playing together on the same Little League Baseball Team called “The Robins”. My Dad was the manager of our team, we wore yellow baseball tee shirts and hats with gloves to big for our hands. Philly was a die hard Yankee fan and I was a Mets fan, little did we know a fun rivalry would grow into a lifelong friendship. Philly was in a grade higher than me, although we did not go to the same school since he lived about a mile away from me in the same community but in another part of the school district...a smidgen too far for an eight year old to bike ride. However, we remained friends through little league, during the summer riding our bikes and hopping into backyard pools together, always comparing the Yanks vs the Mets and forever playing streetball and trading baseball cards. Later, Philly was involved with the Boy Scouts and I joined a “Junior Fire Department Explorer Post” that was being organized at our towns volunteer fire department. After not seeing Philly for a few years, I was happy to find out that he too would be joining the Explorer Post and we would be hanging out together again going to meetings, activities, drills and camping as “Junior Fire Department Explorers”.

When we became eighteen, we both joined our community Volunteer Fire Department together while working in a private ambulance business driving seniors to medical appointments. It was during our time together at the volunteer fire department we decided to focus and put all our energy into becoming career firefighters, somewhere...anywhere... Along with two other volunteer firefighters from our company who were friends of ours, Mike and Big Mac, the four of us decided to share information, pool our resources and start taking fire department entrance exams together. In 1977 we discovered the DCFD would be holding an entrance exam and carpooled to DC to take the exam. Fortunately we all did well on the DCFD exam, Mike and Big Mac were the first to be called for the DCFD Training Academy,  and almost a year later Philly and I would be hired together for the same proby class in August 1979.

Of course we could not believe our good fortune, Philly and I were ecstatic to have been hired by the Washington DC Fire Department at the same time! The proby class size was twenty-four candidates, it was comforting to know Philly and I would share the training experience together and car pool for the duration of the training school. During our proby training we both rented apartments in the same apartment complex outside DC near Laurel, Maryland.


On October 19, 1979 Philly and I graduated the DCFD Training School. Philly was assigned to Truck 13 located in NE section of DC. It is quartered with E 10, the firehouse is very active, in fact, one of the busiest in the DCFD. And, of course I was assigned to E 21.

(https://i.postimg.cc/qzfXGzZx/20190928-182651-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/qzfXGzZx)
Graduation Day, Oct 19, 1979. "Me" top row left, Brother Philly, bottom row right.

(https://i.postimg.cc/wyL3xTc9/Screenshot-2019-03-26-14-36-56-1-3.png) (https://postimg.cc/wyL3xTc9)
Me and Philly visiting the old Volunteer Fire Department this year. First time back in almost 40 years!


And we both shared a couple of close calls that could have ended our happy careers quickly.

During a recent chat with Philly, he shared this story with me again.

DECEMBER 22, 1979: Two months on the job, Philly is riding the side of T 13, a late 60’s Seagrave tiller...his position is “Hook” and so his riding position would be on the officers side of the tractor trailer, back toward the tillerman where the “Hook” firefighters SCBA is mounted and covered in a protective covering from the weather on the trailer. It is a typical blustery, freezing December night, three days before Christmas. The truck is riding short and another firefighter is detailed in to fill the vacant spot. In the meantime, the firefighter running the “Bar” or “Barman” position is a senior firefighter Donald “Donnie” French. Since it is the choice position of the truck, usually the Sergeant or senior man that assumes the position. But tonight, Donnie asks Philly, “why don’t we switch and you run the ‘bar’ tonight”...as a proby, you very rarely get this opportunity to work in this position as you are often required to work by yourself alongside the engine company. Philly is delighted to swap positions and now moves up to the “Bar” riding position, still on the officer side but just behind the turntable and Donnie moves back closer to the tillerman.

During the course of the night tour, T 13 has been responding to many alarms in the area due to cold conditions and various emergencies attributed to the freezing weather. A familiar Box Alarm assignment has been transmitted again for T 13, the TD and Officer know the address well, there has been a recent spat of violence at the address with repeated attempts to set the structure on fire, this time a molotov cocktail has been thrown into the two story apartment house... the dispatcher advises all units responding over the radio that “children are reported trapped”. The TD is pushing the old Seagrave, every corner is another stop sign, the TD painstakingly keeps grinding through the gears getting the rig up to speed...Philly is hanging onto the side with his SCBA on his back, his collar pulled tight he tucks his chin against his chest, protecting his face from the pelting onslaught of the freezing air.

(https://i.postimg.cc/t79x5w37/Screenshot-2018-11-09-21-40-07-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/t79x5w37)
Seagrave tiller similar to T 13

T 13 is barreling against the wind toward the location and trapped children, only a couple of more blocks to go... the truck crests a hill on Blaine Avenue and is now heading downward toward a four way stop sign on the cross street, Division Street ...Posthaste racing down Division Street toward the officer side of T 13 is E 19 responding towards the same fire and the same four way stop sign…”LOOK OUT!” screams Donnie French from the back of the trailer as T 13 busts through the four way stop sign and notices E 19 also entering the intersection. E 19 tries slamming on the brakes, tires squealing... a “T-bone” collision is imminent…

Alerted from Donnie’s yell, Philly sees out of the corner of his eye the screeching Ford Wagon which is about to collide and hit him, he attempts to climb onto the turntable as E 19 smashes broadside into the middle of the trailer just behind him, “Hook” Firefighter Donnie French tries to climb up and over the ladder from his position to avoid the impact, but he does not clear the front of the Ford cab as it strikes the trailer severing his leg above the knee. Philly is tossed upside down from the blow and now hangs upside down, suspended on the SCBA bracket mounted alongside the rig. Members rush to his aid, he is lifted off and laid on the ground and awaits EMS, while other members go to the aid of Donnie.

(https://i.postimg.cc/YGrC6c5H/20191020-172742.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/YGrC6c5H)

Philly was very lucky, he was placed on Medical Leave for a few weeks for back strain. Firefighter Donald French lost his leg and had to retire. Philly went on to have a very successful career with the DCFD.

                                                               ************

As mentioned before, Engine 21’s quarters  was designed to accommodate the newer and larger ladder trucks that were being designed during that era. Recently we have acquired an old Pirsch tiller spare that is parked in the second bay behind Ambulance 2. The protective wood coverings added after the 1968 riots over the cab have been removed and now the old rig is resting quietly.

Today is the start of “spring cleaning” for the firehouse and in preparation for “Annual Inspection”. After the New Year, the DCFD policy is for company officers to rotate to another platoon. Captain Mac has now been assigned to the third platoon and my new boss is Lt. Hammond. Although I did not get a chance to work with Lt.Hammond while he was assigned to the third platoon, as a young firefighter I was impressed with his youthful style and Robert Redford good looks, I admired his ambitious drive and hoped someday to work with him. Now I will get my chance and looking forward to this opportunity. When Lt. Hammond first came to our platoon, he had a line up in front of quarters...he told us one of his main objectives is a quick and swift turnout, “I want to see hustle when the tone goes off”...I liked the style, I liked his drive and aggressiveness. I thought we usually turned out very quick on all alarms, but he demanded that extra push, fine by me! 

(https://i.postimg.cc/mtvZd1vV/Screenshot-2019-09-29-21-19-10-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/mtvZd1vV)
Lt. Hammond

This spring morning, Lieutenant Hammond, he has made his famous “hunter style” pancakes for us and now it is time to roll up our sleeves and get to spring cleaning work. The first order of business is to move the rigs out of the station. WD Mickey and P Driver Neugie move their rigs onto the ramp of the firehouse. Now the old Pirsch needs to be moved, Lt. Hammond asks if I ever “tillered”. I have not is my reply…”Well, ok, anyway...hop up  there and do your best, keep the wheel straight and just don’t hit anything”. He shows me the chrome push button buzzer located on the left side of the windshield. I’m instructed, press “once” if you start to swerve toward the side of the garage before you "hit it", he says with a smile. I know he has full confidence in me and I know this will be a piece of cake...The uncovered tiller assembly is the old type, the chair and windshield are released and flipped over the ladder, the steering wheel pulls out and placed into a metal bracket on the side of the trailer so that the ladder is clear to raise.

Lt. Hammond fires up the ol’ girl, black smoke belches from the exhaust as he lets the rig idle for a bit. Both of the firehouse green colored wooden overhead bay doors are open, they are old and heavy...the bay door where the Pirsch tiller sits is broken and in the fixed “up” position. In DC firehouses with tiller rigs, the overhead doors must be either completely opened, or closed...they cannot be in a half or any other partially opened position. Since the bay door is broken, and that is where Ambulance 2 responds from the bay door is left in the open position during the warm spring like weather awaiting repairs.

(https://i.postimg.cc/7bcq6TZD/Screenshot-2019-01-22-21-38-48-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/7bcq6TZD)
Pirsch Spare Tiller

Lt. Hammond presses from the cab the “go” button with two quick “beep, beeps” , I return the same “beep beep”, he then releases the hand held brake, the rig has a throaty roar when he lets off the clutch and we start to pull forward from the rear of the firehouse...the cab clears and all is well...however, as we get closer,I began to notice an “L” shaped bracket hanging from the middle of the broken door, suspended, it is the “door lifting” bracket that attaches to the door frame and chain that lifts the door, only now it is not attached to the chain and is suspended in mid air. The rig starts to move a little quicker, I am concerned as I notice the bracket is hanging low and dead center of the door and tiller windshield... the rig approaches the bracket, with my left hand I attempt to push the bracket up and out of the way to clear the windshield but the metal bracket is fixed and does not move...the rig continues to move forward...I press hard on the chrome button to stop the rig “BEEEEEEP!”...By the time Lt. Hammond reacts, the “L” shaped bracket is crushing and driving the windshield onto me, splintering glass as the windshield gets hung up on the bracket. I duck and crouch into the tiller seat as the windshield and bracket shatters and showers me in glass coming closer towards my face and head, still with my thumb solidly pressing the stop button the large bay door comes crashing down on top of the aerial as the rig comes to a jolting halt.

Lt. Hammond runs to my aid, I am sloped backwards as far as I can go in the seat partially covered by the destroyed windshield assembly. The other members hearing the commotion and loud crash come to help. Other than a laceration to my left hand, I was fine and transported to the local Hospital. I received twelve stitches in my left hand behind the thumb. Lt. Hammond, of course upset and apologetic then told me later he was thinking about having a little fun with me in the rear, he was going to “blow” out of quarters... give me a ride! But decided not too at the last second. Whew! Who knew this job could be dangerous!

                                                                  ************
 I am now in my third year OTJ and taking my turn at details, today I have been detailed to T 2 located on M Street with E 1, not too far from Georgetown, DC’s oldest and charming historic neighborhood for tourists. My riding position on the late 1970 model American LaFrance tiller is the “Hook” behind the “Barman” on the officer side of the rig. During the afternoon T 2 is toned out for a Box Alarm reporting an unknown condition on an upper floor at a residential hi-rise in the SW section of DC. We will be second due to Tower Ladder T 10. By city code, structures in Washington cannot be over thirteen stories, doing so this keeps the Capitol and Washington Monument towering over the skyline from afar.

T 10 arrives first due and the members have already proceeded into the building when we arrive and park behind T 10,  there is no alley for us to report into and nothing is showing. I grab my hook, and I follow the officer, he enters an elevator with the other firefighters from the engine companies, it is full and he tells me to wait for the next elevator. There is an unknown condition on the seventh floor of this nine story residential hi-rise.

The “Hook” position firefighters primary task is basically a portable “ladder thrower” with the “Axe” firefighter, they throw portable ladders, then place a vent fan in a window from the outside, seldom does the “Hook” or “Axe” firefighters position require an SCBA...so, typical of the other “truckies”, I follow their lead and I am not wearing a SCBA either on this alarm. The second elevator comes down to the lobby (In 1980, DC did not have a similar Local Law 5 that NYC had recently incorporated which regulates fire service elevators, fire wardens, etc...furthermore, during that time the DCFD did not have a “Hi-Rise” Procedure).

I catch the next elevator with two firefighters who have entered the lobby from Rescue 1, they are the only two firefighters wearing an SCBA. The three of us board the elevator, one of the firefighters punches the seventh floor elevator button, where the emergency condition is reported...the elevator stops at the seventh floor...in the meantime, the unknown condition is now apparent, an apartment  fully involved with fire that has vented into the hallway with black swirling dense smoke, heat and fire...the black oily smoke is thick and compacted down to the floor. The elevator door opens to a solid wall of black smoke, the two Rescue firefighters immediately don their facepiece and ask if I will be ok, thankfully, the smoke does not enter the elevator as the elevator shaft must have a positive air flow and keeps the smoke from entering...I am beyond grateful, the smoke stands still in front of the opened elevator door like a black curtain, and does not enter. The Rescuemen disappear into the dense smoke as I immediately slam my thumb into the elevator button for the lobby below to get my SCBA...It seems like an eternity before the door finally closes.

 I returned to the rig to grab my SCBA and glance towards T 10... it has the bucket up and I now notice  the heavy fire venting from the terrace of the apartment on the seventh floor. That was a close call and a lesson learned the hard way about “hi-rise” residences, that I never forgot.

(https://i.postimg.cc/qN4SMky4/20191020-172937-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/qN4SMky4)
Upon arrival, "nothing showing"...fire now erupts from 7th floor apartment.


Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!      KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 10, 2019, 07:52:48 PM
DCFD Part 7
Ch Ch Ch Changes…

There have been changes at E 21. We recently received a new Hahn Engine that will replace the Ford Wagon, we will keep the second piece, the 68 Ford as our pumper. The DCFD went on a spending spree to update much of their fire apparatus and Hahn Fire Apparatus was the choice. The rigs now had automatic transmission and were fast, there would be no more riding in a makeshift box behind the cab. Lieutenant Hammond has been promoted to Captain, Mickey and Neugie have since retired and Lieutenant Tommy Dolner is my new boss replacing Lt. Hammond...The old Pirsch spare has been removed from quarters and soon T 14 will be joining E 21 as their quarters will start a renovation project that is going to take at least a year and so the Lanier Place firehouse will be a double house once again. On the National front, President Jimmy Carter has been defeated by Ronald Reagan and the hostages that were being held by Iran have now been brought back home. Some things haven’t changed, Smiley and the old lady in the frock dress still come through the firehouse everyday  like clockwork on a mission to get their soda from the soda machine in the rear quarters.

(https://i.postimg.cc/f3TqQhMC/20190331-131519-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/f3TqQhMC)

                                                             *********************

T 14 has now been relocated to our quarters and the firehouse is alive with the extra personnel and getting a little cramped, but in a good way, no one minds the company. T 14 has the same old model Pirsch spare that was just removed, since T 14 is one of the least active of Truck companies, they will be one of the last to get an upgraded rig, not a new rig, but one of the later model American LaFrance dragster type that FDNY uses from another company. The quiet of a single engine house has now transformed into a continuous beehive of activity. Even though the firehouse was designed to accommodate the longer ladder trucks, the living conditions are tight. The kitchen was extremely small, almost the same size of a ranch style house, the sitting room with television on the first floor could have been a small living room in the same ranch house. The sitting room had a four by eight dining room table with six chairs to eat, and a single couch up against the wall. The closeness was way too confining for two companies plus the ambulance crew to sit and comfortably eat. We acquired another large table about the same size and placed it on the apparatus floor between the rigs and a short distance away from the pool table that was usually covered with boxes, coats and other daily paraphernalia. Sitting on the apparatus floor was more comfortable, it seemed to have more leg room with better ventilation. The basement of the old firehouse was damp, dark and cavernous with low ceilings... unusable except for a pinball machine that was placed at the base of the stairs.

On the second floor was a full bunk room with old styled beds on original old wooden floors, a small two stall bathroom next to a small room of lockers. Two Company offices filled up the second floor. It appears the firehouse was designed more for the comfort of the horses than the manpower. During the evening, many of the guys hung out in front of quarters since there was no policy about sitting in chairs in front of quarters, in fact many DC firehouses had wooden benches in front of the firehouse. On any comfortable evening you could find a handful of guys just sitting in a half circle in front of the firehouse chatting between alarms or sitting by the front housewatch desk.

(https://i.postimg.cc/dZK8v88F/Screenshot-2019-11-01-21-26-25-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/dZK8v88F)
T 14, notice the SCBA mounted on frames outside the cab

Tonight I have been detailed across the floor to T 14. Now that they have been relocated to E 21 local boxes have been modified to include them and their fire activity has increased. T 14 has mostly senior men, they are stationed on Connecticut Avenue with E 28 and Fifth Battalion Chief.  It is hard to keep younger firefighters on the roster due to the sluggish activity of the company while the senior men who have worked in other busier companies appear to enjoy the slower pace.

Since I am detailed I’m expecting to be assigned to an outside position on the truck, either the “Hook” or “Axe”. However, the senior man would prefer tonight to be assigned the “Hook or Axe” position and offers me the chance to “run the Bar”,  the forcible entry position. I’m delighted  and excited to do so!

I’m in the process of conducting my apparatus check “walk around” inspecting the truck and going through all the compartments and notice a two and a half gallon dusty air pressure water extinguisher sitting in a compartment. I decide to take it out, dust it off, test it, top it off with water then fill with air. Through the task I’m having a flashback to my buff days with Uncle Jack and learning about the “can man”. I decide to take the can and place it in a position near to me on the side of the trailer.

Both companies have now finished dinner, dinner is served about six o’clock. One of the “soul” Brothers assigned to 21 is JB. He is a black firefighter and a good friend. And I refer to him as “my soul brother”,  JB has a motorcycle as well as I did and we used to ride together during our time off. JB is a good chef, he makes from scratch a delicious southern fried chicken meal complete with collard greens, mashed potatoes, gravy and cornbread... After dinner, the policy in every DC firehouse is that everyone, except the cook, and including the officer(s), rolls the dice that are kept on the blackboard shelf. Names are placed on the blackboard and as you roll the dice your number is recorded, whoever has “high and low” will do the pots, pans, dishes, cups and silverware since the firehouse does not have a dishwasher. Sometimes, among the “high and low” winners they will do a “roll off” and the loser gets to do the whole detail himself.

It’s about eight o’clock, some guys are sitting outside, I’m sitting by the front desk with a few other firefighters...all of a sudden we hear a little commotion coming from the private house that abuts against the firehouse desk wall. Running down alongside the concrete apron of the firehouse and dividing the firehouse from the neighbors house is a small brick wall that runs down to the sidewalk. Certain bricks that have been stylishly removed to allow light to show through them. But instead of light, we notice black smoke that starts seeping through the brick and instantaneously a loud yell from the resident “FIRE, FIRE!”.

The firefighter on the desk turns out the companies by banging the gong a rapid succession about a half dozen times while  announcing a fire next door. In the meantime I run to the Bar position,  in a flash my gear is on, instead of waiting for the rig to pull out of quarters, I grab the “bar” and the can while running next door, the first to arrive. In the basement floor is a narrow small den that has been converted into a library, maybe twelve by eight feet, the books on the shelves are rolling in orange flame and the smoke vents over my head. Squeezing the handle of the can the water knocks the fire down as JB and crew from E 21 comes in with the line. There is a look of awe emanating from them and my T 14 colleagues...The DCFD does not employ the “can” concept. Later, the conversation turns to the “can”... the common thought was that many could not believe the amount of fire that “little thing cut put out”.

After the fire the Fifth Battalion Chief takes the opportunity to stop by quarters and chat with the officers while members continue to clean the gear, top off the booster and I refill the can. The fire was contained in the library, the one hundred fifty foot inch and a half was used to wash down the hot spots has been drained and repacked, a fresh hot pot of coffee is on the way down and both companies are back in service.

Within minutes; “BOOOP, BOOOP” BOX ALARM ENGINE 21, 9, 11, 28  TRUCK 14, 9  RESCUE 2  BATTALION 5….”

The fire is reported about six doors down from the firehouse on the opposite side of the street and diagonally across the street from the earlier fire. This time I jump on the truck as it makes the left out of quarters behind the wagon and pumper and proceeds halfway up the street to the front of the reported address. With the Battalion Chief at quarters, he jumped into his car  (in DCFD parlance the chiefs car is referred to as “Chiefs Buggy”) and was first on the scene as we followed. The house is an old three story row frame that is set back from the street, as the truck comes to a halt I’m off with the bar and can, hopped up the three steps from the sidewalk to the brick walkway where another set of six steps will take me into the front door of the building.... There is a noticeable light haze of smoke that is lazily drifting out of the front door.

By the second set of steps stands the Battalion Chief... he notices me carrying the can and stops me in my tracks, “Whoa, where're  going with that?” he did not wait for my reply and orders... “you can leave that right outside here”. I complied and continued to the front door ahead of the line that was being stretched behind me. Inside the first floor living room the fireplace has a hot roaring fire, about ten inches of the leading edge of the oak floor in front of the fireplace has begun to smolder and shows the beginning stage of pyrolysis...a perfect can job!...Meantime,  E 21 stretched the line into the living room and took care of the issue cracking the line just enough to douse the singed floor. Oh well, like they say in the fire service... “A hundred years of tradition unimpeded by progress!”

(https://i.postimg.cc/XpbT1mBH/Screenshot-2019-07-21-07-49-43-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/XpbT1mBH)
Tight quarters, but it's ok, we sit on apparatus floor. E 21 and T 14


                                                                       *************

With my probation year behind me,  I joined the department “duckpin” bowling league that meets every Wednesday afternoon. Duckpin is different from regular bowling, the ball is about 5 inches in diameter, just a little larger than a softball,  the pins are smaller and lighter which makes it difficult to achieve a strike, so the bowler has three attempts per frame.  It is a good chance to meet many other DC firefighters that I might not have met from different shifts and firehouses. In addition, I also became a “Charter Member” of the Washington DC Emerald Society, marching in various local parades down Constitution Avenue that had deep exciting crowds viewing along the sidewalk. During my time on the DCFD there were about twelve hundred DC firefighters and in a short time I got to meet many through extra curricular activity.

One of the firefighters that I met during the bowling league was assigned across the city to another ladder company, tonight he happens to be detailed to T 14 for the night tour. His name is Freddie, he is stocky, brash and bold kind of guy...Freddie has a hobby, likes to break cojones, and today it’s my turn. He and another firefighter from T 14 are shooting pool in the back of the firehouse and Freddie repeatedly keeps calling me; “Yonkers”, I looked at him quizzically, I think I’m getting the joke, is it because I’m from New York? Should I tell him that Yonkers is not part of the city? No big deal, he’s a good guy and I just play along, he gets a charge every time he calls me Yonkers... “Hey Yonkers, say ‘warter’ for me...”Hey Yonkers, get me a glass of warter, will ya Yonkers”. OK, I get it, with my Brooklyn brogue he is having a fun time while the other truck guy smiles along. Again, “Hey, Yonkers, say New Yawk” he asserts with his best exaggerated NY accent. This goes on for a brief time and  I humor him. Freddie likes to chew tobacco as do many of the other firefighters. In fact, there are many ‘Redman’ chewing tobacco pouches laying around the firehouse and in the cabs of the rigs, many times during committee work during the day tour I often came across a disgusting dried spit can with tobacco that was forgotten and I had to toss it out.  (I have to admit, I did place a pinch in between my cheek and gums ...found it utterly repulsive!) Tonight Freddie is putting on a little show for the T 14 guy and having a little fun with the boy from New York City…”Hey Yonkers…” and I am about to turn the table on the good ol’ boy...

In the kitchen is a little reserve for “clean” spit cans that have not been used yet, they are the small Del Monte corn or green beans vegetable cans that have the paper label removed, rinsed out and kept in a corner for the tobacco chewers...Freddie is using one of those cans tonight and I come up with this idea.... In the kitchen, I get the same type can he is spitting into and pour a drop of black coffee into it, when Freddie and the other firefighter is not paying attention, I swap the spit can Freddie has placed on top of the small workbench that is by the pool table with my smidgen amount of coffee.  I keep a close eye on it… Just then, as Freddie starts to  approach his way to the spit can, I intercede and grab “his” spit can...with the other firefighter looking on I take the spit can, (that has coffee in it) swirl so Freddie can see the dark brown liquid, and down it like a shot of whiskey...Freddie and the other firefighter eyes bug out!, there is a brief WTF moment...nonchalantly  I toss the empty can into the nearby garbage can, glance at Freddie whose smirk is now gone, looks bewildered and dumbstruck, and say…”Nobody ever heard of Yonkers...it’s New YAWK, New YAWK, so big they named it twice... Country Boy!”

Next: Rescue Squad 4 and Epilogue       

Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!       KMG-365


(https://i.postimg.cc/QFg84RmS/Screenshot-2019-11-12-13-39-42-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/QFg84RmS)
Today, the Brick wall (behind soda machine) where smoke came through remains the same as 40 years ago)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: FDNYSTATENISLAND on November 11, 2019, 11:44:18 PM
Found this pic on Instagram today. Caption said it is DCFD back in the day. Johnny, are you familiar with this fire? If you zoom into the left side there are street signs. Also cool to note: looks like they attached a handline to the deckgun? Figured this would be the spot to post this picture lol. Keep up the great stories, us younger guys love it!


(https://i.postimg.cc/gnTM7zWj/353-CEAFB-24-E7-4363-AB4-A-326-CC3-E2-C703.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/gnTM7zWj)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 12, 2019, 02:03:55 PM
 Thanks FDNYSI !.....Yes, I remember the Pumper Driver at E 21 "Neugie" telling me during my probation that hooking up to the deck gun would afford you another discharge, the rigs only had 750 gpm pumps and three discharges... If I remember him telling me correctly, using the 4th discharge like this was common during the 68 riots where additional lines were stretched from rigs as needed and remained a tactic DCFD employed when necessary up until we got the new Hahn pumpers. Thanks for sharing the great photo and kind words, I appreciate it!
Best, JG
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: raybrag on November 12, 2019, 03:01:12 PM
FDNY is not the only department that innovates.  :o ;) :o
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: lucky on November 12, 2019, 03:11:43 PM
The late 40s Ward LaFrance pumpers only had two discharges although they were 750 GPM. The deck pipe discharge was used out of necessity.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on November 12, 2019, 03:35:15 PM
I remember at Multiples way back seeing Pumpers with a Line off the Deckpipe as an additional discharge (of course way before the convoluted "no more than 2 Lines off a Pumper").....at MUD i used to set up a scenario where if a Pumper in proximity to a bldg that collapsed alongside & against one side of the Pumper opposite the Pump Panel negating using the discharge on that side & possibly the rear & or front discharge but this Pumper was in a key position to supply needed Handlines....my question to the Junior Men was what could be done ? ...very few thought of coming off the the piped in Stang as a discharge..... an oddball scenario but it could be a Lifesaver in certain instances...... as far as the "no more than 2 Lines" thing yes this is what is taught in more recent years but my point is "are the 2 original Lines actually flowing water & knocking down Fire or are they in a standby mode during overhaul ?" .....if the 3rd Line is immediately necessary it should take precedence.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 12, 2019, 04:33:52 PM
Here is one of the New Hahns we received pumping away...looks like four lines discharging and two on the intakes:

(https://i.postimg.cc/k6hhd44v/Screenshot-2019-10-10-20-18-02-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/k6hhd44v)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 17, 2019, 10:47:04 PM
DCFD: Part 8
Rescue Squad 4 and EPILOGUE


Engine 21 is assigned to the Fifth Battalion along with E 28 and T 14 that are stationed on Connecticut Avenue, Engine 20 and T 12 located on Wisconsin Avenue and Engine 31 a combination company that serves also as Rescue Squad 4, all three companies are located on the western side of Rock Creek Park and further north in the upper NW section of DC, a relatively wealthy quiet bedroom type region and with that the fire duty is sluggish as you could expect. Lucky for me, E 21 is the busy company within the Battalion and most sought after to work in as it is closer to the action and fire duty east of Rock Creek Park.

My probation is behind me and I am now well into my second year on the job and finding myself being detailed within the Battalion to E 31 and RS 4 quite often, in fact I am even filling in vacation spots for some of the regular members assigned to the company.

E 31 and RS 4 is a combination company as is all of the other Rescue Squads, or “Squads” as they are referred to in DC. There are a total of four RS companies that serve the District. Rescue 1 is the “Flagship” Squad, and responds to fires and emergencies mostly in the business and commercial sections downton. Rescue Squad 2 and  Rescue Squad 3 cover large areas of tough neighborhoods in NW and SE Washington, you could say they are the real workhorses of the department. And Rescue Squad 4 covers the upper NW section.

(https://i.postimg.cc/w1YPgZG9/Screenshot-2019-01-08-11-48-24-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/w1YPgZG9)
E 31 and RS 4

A combination company is both an Engine Company and a Rescue Squad, they are assigned a wagon and pumper and acts as a first due engine on all first due boxes. On any other assignment the company responds as the Rescue Squad. So it is not uncommon to see members store their gear between the apparatus on the apparatus floor awaiting alarms.

Years ago when the Rescue Squads were formed they were not an engine company but a distinct unit that had two pieces of apparatus, the second piece to the Rescue truck was an ambulance that followed the Squad. The RS members responsibility was to aid any injured firefighter,  in lieu of waiting for an ambulance, the RS transported the injured firefighter rather than waiting for a civilian ran ambulance to arrive.

RS 4’s rig is an older model Ford Bruco, the officer and driver ride in the cab while members ride in the back of the box. I was wondering why I was being detailed more often to the company more so than other firefighters in our Battalion and was told by the company officer it was because I had a working knowledge of the “Hurst Tool”... (While training once or twice with the company and their Hurst tool), so then when a detail pops up from RS 4 I got the heave ho from 21, but I never minded, the men there were all senior guys and they were very welcoming and cordial. Unlike other practices for “detailed” members I was not stuck with a watch or last to be relieved. They’re a good bunch of guys and I welcomed the detail whenever it popped up.
                                                       
(https://i.postimg.cc/zyDCCkLn/Screenshot-2018-11-09-21-38-06-1-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/zyDCCkLn)
RS 4

                                                               ***********

A little background on my Hurst Tool knowledge. When I joined my neighborhood volunteer fire department in 1975 I joined the only Truck Company that covered the community. We had two pieces, a mid mount American LaFrance eighty five foot aerial and an old Ford “floodlight” truck. As far as I can recall, the term “Rescue” to Long Island Volunteer Fire Departments referred to the Ambulance service within the department. So, as fire departments and communities began to expand, more special services were required and special operations were prescribed. Our volunteer fire department was one of the first volunteer fire departments to purchase a new exciting tool on the market, called the Hurst Tool that was designed to extricate vehicles from the victims. Since our response district covered the Long Island Expressway and various State Parkways along with secondary roads that had speed restrictions we responded to many emergencies reported as “Hurst tool assist” calls. Those days cars were not made of plastic and passengers were not obligated to wear seatbelts... a violent wreck could have some gnarly effects on people in the crumpled car.

During my time there in the volunteer fire department, our old floodlight truck morphed into a Rescue Truck as our company began a  vigorous training program with the new Hurst Tool, effectively retiring our antiquated porta power tools. In short order, we all  became very proficient and accomplished with the new device.

My first “pin job” came very soon after we received the tool. An early spring morning our company along with the local Engine Company was “toned” out for a “Hurst Tool request” by the Suffolk County Police Department for a motor vehicle vs. tree in the middle of town. In the back of the responding Rescue Truck it was “my turn” to become the tool operator, as it was our company policy to swap positions between Hurst tool request jobs. Ahead, Police car revolving lights lit up the eerie scene; a lime-green colored early 1970’s Barracuda has crashed head on into a large tree along the avenue at hi-speed, the car front end and engine has been crushed back onto the two semi conscious passengers in the front seat, they are squished alongside the crumpled car frame and engine block, pinned. Both victims have long hair and I recall thinking they were girls but later realized they appear to be young guys my age. In fact, I knew both of them from school. The driver happened to be a very close friend of mine during our High School days. After High School we parted and went our different ways, this early spring morning I am now cutting him out of the vehicle. Sadly he died enroute to the hospital. The passenger survived.

                                                                 ************

Anyway, back to RS 4. So knowing that I was able to handle the Hurst Tool, I found myself getting detailed there on many occasions. We did respond to many traffic accidents as their response area was huge with many cross streets and avenues, we also responded to smells and bells to the new hotels that were popping up in the area as DC was seeing a noticeable increase in visitors.

However, during the spring of 1982 I received two significant phone calls, the first was from my FDNY investigator who I recently contacted when I found out the lawsuit was settled concerning hiring women candidates. He stated that I would be a probationary candidate in the next class that would be amassed in the upcoming summer. The second call came from Captain Hammond who has now been assigned to the busy Rescue Squad 2 as their new commander. He asked if I would consider transferring into his new unit. What an honor I felt as to be asked to join this prestigious company. Unfortunately I had to decline the offer and tell him that I was being considered for the next upcoming FDNY class.

(https://i.postimg.cc/0K8YVGWR/Screenshot-2019-11-02-10-05-53-1-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/0K8YVGWR)
RS 2

And so...In a short three months from my conversation with Captain Hammond, August 1982 I was sworn into the FDNY, there standing with my hand up taking the oath in Cadman Plaza... later that day I called Lt. Tommy Dolner at E 21 and said that he could submit my official letter of resignation of the DCFD. I was sworn into the DCFD on August 6, 1979 and resigned three years to the day on August 6, 1982.

(https://i.postimg.cc/4HNc6fyX/Screenshot-2019-09-05-10-23-54-1-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/4HNc6fyX)
Lt. Dolner, crew of E 21 and a young JohnnyGage center.

                                                          *************

EPILOGUE

It was an astonishing and amazing three years for me assigned to the DCFD, in addition, I also became a new dad. 

During my three years working in DC all eyes were on the Nation’s Capital during a handful of historic National events which provided me a front seat to history; namely, a new Hollywood actor named Ronald Reagan would be elected President of the United States, the US diplomats being held hostage in Iran was over and the hostages were now on their way home, a horrific plane crash striking the 14th Street Bridge and then plunged into the icy Potomac River killing seventy-eight souls during a wintry mix snow storm, the assasination attempt of President Ronald Reagan that took place at the Washington Hilton Hotel about a mile away from E 21, President Reagan firing the Air Traffic controllers who continued to strike, Senate confirming the first female US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor...And if that wasn’t enough exciting National news emanating... the Washington DC football team the “Redskins” with legendary quarterback Joe Theisman leading his team to consecutive Super Bowl appearances was captivating the Nation. (NOTE: Whenever the Redskins would play a Sunday afternoon game, the streets in DC were virtually empty, you could hear the town roaring with excitement from all corners from touchdowns and sensational plays).

(https://i.postimg.cc/bGhs0yV4/Screenshot-2019-09-26-20-11-02-1-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/bGhs0yV4)

Coincidently I witnessed a tiny part of history when President Reagan was elected...There were approximately seven different “Presidential Inaugural Balls” being held throughout the city on the evening of January 20, 1981.  Since the Shoreham Hotel was one of the venues, and E 21 was nearby I was detailed in dress uniform to perform a “fire watch” for a Ball that was mostly made up of U.S. Senators to celebrate President Reagan's Inauguration. My position was standing at “Parade Rest”  to the left of the incoming double doors, with another firefighter on the opposite side...we both had water pressure extinguishers hidden behind the open doors. Since I had the first shift I was able to see many Senators walk right by me within arms reach like Bob Dole, Howard Baker and Barry Goldwater... Then all eyes turned toward my direction, well not at me, but to my left as Senator John Warner entered with his beautiful bride and actress Elizabeth Taylor on his arm. Subsequently I was relieved after an hour or so and never had the chance to see the new President and his wife arrive much later in the evening to join the festivities.

(https://i.postimg.cc/xkwg3zVn/c149-23.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/xkwg3zVn)

Living in Southern Maryland while off duty I enjoyed blue claw crab fishing with another buddy from my proby school Al who lived nearby. Once in awhile,  early morning Al and I would set out for the Chesapeake Bay, Al would steer his aluminum boat while I would easily fill four bushels of blue claw crabs with a net as the crabs hung onto our bait of chopped up chicken necks. Since Al worked in a double house he took two overflowing bushels into his firehouse and I would bring my bushel in for the guys in E 21 (before T 14) night tour...the fourth bushel, well that was our lunch for me and Al.

It was difficult leaving my buddies from the Long Island Volunteer Fire Department we all joined; But, Big Mac, Mike and Philly would go on to enjoy very successful careers with the DCFD. Big Mac retired as a well respected and beloved Battalion Chief, Mike as a Lieutenant and Philly was awarded “Firefighter of the Year” for “FIREHOUSE” Magazine for a daring rescue of a child in a house fire when he was assigned to Rescue 3 and is now enjoying his time retired in North Carolina with a beautiful home and family. To this day, we still all stay in touch.

I am grateful that I still stay in touch with Captain John Hammond through e-mails and enjoyed catching up with him a few years ago during lunch while reminiscing about our time together. He now lives in Tennessee enjoying his BlueGrass music and probably still making those outrageous pancakes.

Working in DC was thrilling...It was impressive being surrounded and noticing the unique buildings of our government, ...just seeing the Capital building was always stirring, especially when lit at night. Driving by the White House was intriguing... I wondered what the President was doing just then when I cruised by...and seeing the Washington Monument was majestic, don’t forget The FBI Headquarters where Efrem Zimbalist Jr worked out of...On occasion during the summer months between night tours I would take a book I was reading and sit along the Mall on a bench between the Monument and Capital, sometimes not even reading but just thinking about the history I was surrounded by.

It was immensely rewarding working as a firefighter in our Nation's Capital and I will continue to have a fond recollection of a scaling ladder rescue assist in an alley off 17th Street. Moreover, I had the pleasure of working with a very dedicated and professional Brotherhood of firefighters from a very well competent, skillful and experienced fire department that shared their skills and experiences with this young “New Yawker”. I often have to thank the women's organization that held up FDNY hiring, had the women's organization not held up my FDNY hiring, I would never have had the opportunity to work in this dynamic town, our Nation's Capital. Forty years later, I still have a personal connection with DC and splendid memories of my time there.

Next; Return to NYC and FDNY

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed my DCFD recollection!      KMG-365

Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on November 19, 2019, 10:31:57 AM
 Dan, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for telling us your DCFD stories. I remember some of the incidents that you talked about. Particularly the plane that crashed striking the 14th St Bridge.

 All of the pictures you posted are amazing. As well as telling us the history of your time with the DCFD. And earlier of course your "GORY DAYS", with the very busy NYC-EMS. Now known as the FDNY/EMS.

 Thank You Johnny, aka Mr Gage. 

 I guess (??????) your next series begins with your FDNY Probie Days. I'm sure that I am not the only one looking forward to that. When that time comes and you tell us about your days with Ladder Co 5, don't forget, "you know who", while you were at the Rock. And how you got to meet up with that FDNY buff again many years later.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: CanadianFireman on November 19, 2019, 12:51:43 PM
This thread is amazing, thanks so much for all the memories of your career it sure is a real pleasure to read along!!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 19, 2019, 02:27:41 PM
Dan, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for telling us your DCFD stories. I remember some of the incidents that you talked about. Particularly the plane that crashed striking the 14th St Bridge.

 All of the pictures you posted are amazing. As well as telling us the history of your time with the DCFD. And earlier of course your "GORY DAYS", with the very busy NYC-EMS. Now known as the FDNY/EMS.

 Thank You Johnny, aka Mr Gage. 

 I guess (??????) your next series begins with your FDNY Probie Days. I'm sure that I am not the only one looking forward to that. When that time comes and you tell us about your days with Ladder Co 5, don't forget, "you know who", while you were at the Rock. And how you got to meet up with that FDNY buff again many years later.


Dear Willy, CanadianBrother and those who have PMd me, thank you for your kind thoughts and words, it has been fun shaking out the ol' cobwebs in my coconut reminiscing about those Glory Days...and, you bet Willy, we will get to L5 soon and of course the magical Photo op!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 24, 2019, 06:55:56 PM
THE “MAGICAL” DAY

It’s a Magical Day...August 6, 1982 has finally arrived and it is a cool early Friday morning. I did not sleep well and so I am up extra early enjoying an English muffin and a cup of coffee, I glance over to my faithful recliner chair where I laid out a freshly ironed white dress shirt, black slacks, gray sport jacket, conservative tie, and shined black shoes on the floor. The sun is beginning to break, it’s days like this I’m reminded of a comic strip called “Ziggy”, in this one panel cartoon Ziggy is clapping his hands and cheering; “GO GOD!”...it is that type of day...I slide into my car for the hour drive towards Brooklyn Boro Hall on Joralemon Street to meet Lieutenant Francesse from the FDNY Candidate Investigation Unit for further details.

(https://i.postimg.cc/hXnTJdtj/il-340x270-2101435873-mf4b.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/hXnTJdtj)

So, finally, today’s the day,  back to my birthplace; Brooklyn, to be sworn in as a Probationary Firefighter for the FDNY. It has been almost five years since I took the entrance exam for the position of FDNY Firefighter and it seems so long ago I thought this day may never come. Recently the hiring process has started again after a hiatus that occurred because an injunction was brought on by a women's group concerning the unfair testing practice given by NYC, and all hiring was suspended, but now the case has been resolved and the hiring commences...time to get down to business.

Leaving my apartment early the traffic is very light while heading towards Brooklyn on the Long Island Expressway, during my travel I have a chance to reminisce and reflect on all the other exams I took over the past few years to get on board with a career fire department. Taking the perceptive advice from my Dad when I told him I was interested in becoming a New York City fireman during my early teens, he advised me to “not” put all my eggs into one basket. I heeded his wisdom and as soon as I graduated High School began a writing campaign to local fire departments that had career firefighter positions inquiring about future entrance exams, I kept a meticulous log with responses from the recipient city. By the time I was twenty I was on a few lists, namely; The Anne Arundel County Fire Department, I was standing by for a year, my list number was five, but that list only hired four then expired. In  New Haven I was fingerprinted and all set to go into the next class except the City Mayor only wanted women to be hired and nobody from “out of town” as explained to me by a wonderful and friendly New Haven Fire Chief (Who went on to write reference letters to other departments I had applied to)... In Cleveland, Annapolis and Philadelphia I was still on their list to be hired, and, of course I was fortunate to be hired by the DCFD. Great advice Dad, thanks.

When the FDNY entrance exam was announced by the local civil service newspaper “The Chief” (the paper Uncle Jack suggested I subscribe to) my buddies, Big Mac, Mike and Philly from our local volly house took the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station, from there we then hopped into a cab for a ride to 49 Thomas Street, the home of NYC Civil Service Office. This was the location that the paper stated in the announcement you could pick up your application, or you could have an application mailed to you. However, it was rumoured that in the event of a tie, the tie would be broken and favor would go to the person with a lower application number.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Js7tVchb/Screenshot-2019-11-23-07-09-53-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/Js7tVchb)
CHIEF CIVIL SERVICE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER

Nobody had any idea that there would be close to fifty thousand applicants, but non the less, we wanted whatever the best edge was for us. So we four amigos arrived at Thomas Street arriving just before midnight, prepared to sleep on the sidewalk and be the first to file when the doors opened in the morning. Upon our arrival we realized we were not the only ones to have the idea of submitting an early application as there was a small group of guys who had already arrived ahead of us, with more who began to show up as the night progressed into the wee hours. Everyone hunkered down against the wall of the building reserving your spot. By midnight there were about sixty or so guys lining up along Thomas Street waiting for the office to open in the morning for the golden ticket, an application. I remember it was a comfortable night, but long, many of the guys were from different volunteer fire departments, so conversation was lively until everyone started to crash from exhaustion and begin nodding off along the wall. In the morning we heard the doors being unlocked, we all rose from our contorted positions along the sidewalk while a surprised and gleeful employee began to hand out the application, I remember I was number thirteen... Later on we found out, the tie breaker would not be your application number, but some other method none of us were privy of.

(https://i.postimg.cc/ftMMmM0Y/20191123-172513-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/ftMMmM0Y)
YOUNG JOHNNY GAGE ON 49 THOMAS STREET, 3rd ON RIGHT FROM LIGHT POLE.

With the application now filed, us four amigos enrolled into the “Delehanty FDNY Prep Course” that was given once a week at night in a Hempstead commercial building that was designed like a classroom. I think it cost us fifty dollars per month to enroll.

At Delehantys we were learning how to take and prepare for the highly competitive exam. We reviewed mathematics, local city history, general history, current events, spelling, pulley ratios, identifying abstract diagrams and memory recall among the popular topics.

I also bought myself the “ARCO FIREMAN FD” book that was supposed to give you an edge on civil service exams with previous questions and exams from other fire department exams that I immersed myself into.

(https://i.postimg.cc/p9X0F7Lp/Screenshot-2019-11-23-07-08-59-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/p9X0F7Lp)

Eventually when the open competitive exam was given the questions were remarkably simple and not what we expected. As an example, one question showed you the head of a screw with a cross-shaped slot for turning...you then had to select that corresponding screwdriver from three other tool options, the other questions were very similar and not complicated as well. Since the test was very elementary, a couple of points off the exam made a real difference. The part that many of the test takers had trouble with was the memory recollection. Here I was very thankful that I attended the Delehanty prep course...with just a few years out of High School I did not have many opportunities taking civil service exams yet, just a couple perhaps and I did well. Fortunately none of the previous exams I took had a memory recollection part, but the FDNY exam was a possibility, so Delehantys coached us with a very helpful strategy; the strategy was to focus on the image, take the five minutes allocated to review every nuance and detail then burn a memory into your coconut. When the proctor collected the paperwork and allowed you to begin the exam, the very first thing you did was to redraw the image on the scratch paper provided before you did anything else...not even look over the questions or write your name! Solid Gold advice!...Lo and behold, the FDNY entrance exam did in fact have a memory recall part (which was a semi-intricate floor plan with windows, rooms, hallways, doorways, furniture, and victims), and I aced all ten questions pertaining to the floorplan...Later on I heard many students talking after the exam that they “blew” that portion of the exam and did not do well, as simple as it was.

After the exam us four amigos were relieved and now it was time to celebrate, the stress now behind us we pulled into a White Castle parking lot and loaded up on belly-bombs! Later we would all go home and be glued to a local NYC radio station that divulged the answers for the written test later that night.

After the written exam us four amigos would go to the physical agility practices that were set up at various places and designed to make sure you are training properly in anticipation of the upcoming agility exam.

So, 49 Thomas Street was where it all began for me, the first act of applying for the job I coveted for years as a young man from my shared experiences with Ladder 31, and Uncle Jack during the War Years...ironically a few blocks south is where my career came to an abrupt halt after the attack of September 11.

Among us four amigos, I was the only amigo fortunate to pass both written and physical agility exams. And now here I am, back in the Big Apple and driving down the Long Island Expressway to be sworn in at Brooklyn Boro Hall by Mayor Ed Koch. Monday I will report to Randall's Island at the FDNY Training School. That's next.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed... Happy Thanksgiving to all!     KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: t123ken on November 25, 2019, 06:14:54 PM
As I recall, there were over 7,000 men on that list. 
Do you know if they went through the entire list and when the last from that list were hired, or when the first from the next list were hired?
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 27, 2019, 07:53:05 AM
As I recall, there were over 7,000 men on that list. 
Do you know if they went through the entire list and when the last from that list were hired, or when the first from the next list were hired?

Hello t123ken, not sure what the final list number hired from exam 3040, next exam 1162 final physical agility was given Spring of 1984, hiring started after that. The womens organization held up hiring on 3040 for almost two years. Hope that helps.
Best, JG
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on November 27, 2019, 11:50:21 PM
CHOWS ON JOHHNY....   https://www.ebay.com/itm/Emergency-Squad-51-vintage-antique-lunchbox-lunch-box-Johnny-Roy-TV-Aladdin/283689807040?hash=item420d3aecc0:g:tv4AAOSwfrld3cL9
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: kidfrmqns on November 28, 2019, 10:49:39 AM
CHOWS ON JOHHNY....   https://www.ebay.com/itm/Emergency-Squad-51-vintage-antique-lunchbox-lunch-box-Johnny-Roy-TV-Aladdin/283689807040?hash=item420d3aecc0:g:tv4AAOSwfrld3cL9

I had this lunch box in 1st or 2nd grade
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: fltpara16 on November 28, 2019, 03:01:55 PM
Johnny Gage,

Thank you so much for the great stories of your time with the DCFD.  I grew up 50 miles south of DC in Fredericksburg, VA.  My close encounter with DCFD came in the spring of 1982.  I was picking a girlfriend up from a relatives apartment that was on Columbia Rd. in Adams Morgan.  As I approached the area, I noticed a large column of smoke in this area and heard the sirens heading in on the box.  There was a fire in an OMD located behind the building I was heading too.  I got to the building just as an Engine Company was laying out with their wagon and a pumper was hooking up to the hydrant to supply the wagons 3" line.  The two piece engine company was something new to me and held my interest watching them get set up.  I soon realized I needed to get out of the way so I headed further up Columbia Rd.  As I approached an intersection, and Engine Co, Truck (a Hahn Tiller) and RS 4 with the Ford Bruco rescue wagon turned onto Columbia Rd. in the opposite lane of traffic and heading directly at me.  I knew that in this situation I was on the losing end, so I quickly found a parking place on the sidewalk for my little Chevy.  These units proceeded in and took their positions for work.  I picked up my girlfriend from the apartment, and headed around the block for a little buffing but could not get close to the scene.  I did note E21's Ford pumper hooked to a hydrant suppling the wagon down the block. I wanted to park again and get a little closer to observe the action, but this girlfriend wanted nothing to do with my interest in the fire service.  She was not my girlfriend for long!  It was great to see how DCFD operated and how quickly they went to their positions and controlled the fire.  I wish now I had made a few more trips to the Big City (other than to the Georgetown Bars) during this time.  It would have been great to capture some of the action of this aggressive fire department.  I did return a few years later to attend some training with DCFD, but at this point the crack wars had taken hold of many neighborhoods and there were places you did not venture out into, especially Southeast where we were.  Looking forward to the next installment of your early FDNY days, and thanks for bringing back good memories!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on November 28, 2019, 10:10:47 PM
Thanks Brother Fltpara16 for your kind thoughts, yes, DCFD was a wonderful experience and I am grateful to have been a small part of it from 1979-1982. With two piece engine companies, and four engine companies assigned to a Box that was eight pieces of apparatus, NOT including the two trucks, Rescue and Chief assigned too! If you stood on the right corner it would be like watching a fire parade as the apparatus whizzed by...with all that apparatus on one Box the surounding area got congested very quickly. DC Engines first and second due dropped a supply line whether there was any indication of fire or not. Since the DCFD did not have a real problem with false alarms, almost every call generated by telephone, therefor, lines were dropped, and picked up just as quick if not needed. It was an awesome experience working in the Nations Capital, some super firefighters too!

E 21's neighborhood was Adams Morgan and Columbia Rd was the main drag, the firehouse was one block north of Columbia Rd. Adams Morgan (no hyphen) was two local schools that combined their resources in the 50's to enhance the neighborhood childrens education and racial differences.

Thanks for checking in! Best, JG
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: lucky on November 29, 2019, 12:23:13 AM
Downtown and midtown Manhattan used to have a 4 engine response but not every unit had a hose wagon. The Fire Patrol also responded with a unit in those areas so there was almost as much apparatus responding to initial alarms.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on December 01, 2019, 10:27:59 PM
PROBY SCHOOL

After last Friday’s swearing in at Brooklyn Boro Hall and now with the weekend behind me, this Monday morning our class is to report to the Training Facility on Randall’s Island, the “Rock” we have been told to park on the gravel section of the parking lot and not on the blacktop, my first order as a NYC Fireman!...Arriving in the designated parking area I notice a hundred and fifty new clean shaven faces, all with that confused and apprehensive look...everyone is scanning the unfamiliar grounds, looking around, eager to meet new friends and share an exciting unknown journey ahead. Some guys seem a bit edgy, but all seem enthusiastic about getting the “show on the road”. Immediately a Lieutenant approaches the group and introduces himself, he is soft spoken and kind manners as he welcomes us...He informs us; when he calls your name you are to line up on the yellow lines painted on the blacktop in front of the first training structure and begin forming the first of two platoons of seventy five guys, each platoon has three squads of twenty five men...when your name came up, you fell in place next to the previous named recruit. One by one guys were falling in, there were only a few of us still standing on the gravel stone as the last squad was forming in the second platoon, finally my name was called, I was in the third squad, second platoon. My partner immediately to my right  was Joe Leavey (RIP 9/11), we became friends right away. The Lieutenant (I cannot remember his name, but I remember him telling us stories about 17 Truck) asked for anyone with a military background, those who had raised their hands and volunteered to become our squad and platoon leaders. I remember our squad leader was Sidney, a very cool and calm vet, quick to laugh and with a warm genuine smile.

(https://i.postimg.cc/56b359Hd/20191130-170543-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/56b359Hd)
Our squad, why is it in every group photo someone has to "give the bird?"

(https://i.postimg.cc/Hcbw5Fdk/20191130-170346-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/Hcbw5Fdk)
JohnnyGage next to Joe Leavey (RIP 9/11)

The first day was a whirlwind, the exciting notion that you were now at the training school and  being bombarded with orders, greeting new faces, absorbing new sights, navigating confusing criss-crossing hallways and classrooms, made the day go by quickly. But the instructors knew how to turn the chaos into order before we even left the tarmac to head inside and begin filling out paperwork and receiving lectures. Different squads would head off to have your head measured for a leather helmet, (a machine that formed around your head and then translated the data to a helmet mold specifically for you (we would not receive our helmets until we graduated). After that you tried on for size a turnout coat and given the option of either a duck canvas material coat that seemed very popular or a rubber coat. I had the duck canvas style in DCFD, it held water and was cold during the winter and not so crazy about it, so I decided to select the rubber coat...and I’m glad I did! (I do not recall getting very wet inside as the rubber repelled the water instantly). Everyone was issued a black round hard plastic/ fiberglass type helmet, three quarter rubber boots, a used yellow slicker and heavy light blue fire resistant shirt to be worn underneath the slicker for the smoke house. Our class was the first to wear the new dungaree pants and blue tee shirt. The white silk screened “Florian Cross” (The Florian Cross is the actual Firefighter Cross, often mistakenly called the “Maltese”) was stenciled in the wrong location on many shirts, instead of the cross being over your left breast, it was stenciled too low and almost under your arm, in the middle of your chest, or left part of your upper stomach. On your helmet you had to run masking tape along the side just above the brim and then write our last name for identification on front and back. On our boots we had to mark them as per department orders, there would be three lines, the top line you wrote NYFD, the middle line your name and the bottom line your Badge number. When I received my badge, there were two “used” Florian style badges in a small yellow envelope. I received Badge number 10617, I liked the fact that it was a five digit number, same as Uncle Jacks whose badge number was 10324. Of the two badges, one was a hat badge and the other you could wear (but nobody did) on your dress uniform. (My dress uniform badge rounded arch that displayed the hydrant was partially snapped off, but I did not intend to wear it on my uniform anyway and so it sat in my jewelry box until I retired).

(https://i.postimg.cc/WtjW8wKH/20191130-170525-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/WtjW8wKH)
Notice location of Florian Cross stenciled incorrectly on work duty tee shirt

Within a day or so, everyone fell into the daily routine and becoming more comfortable, we were becoming a solid paramilitary organization. As we got to know one another most of us were able to hook up into carpools quickly. On my first day I recognized one of the recruits as a former High School colleague and volly fireman from another nearby local fire department, his name was Stevie. Stevie was an electrician by trade, and coincidentally used to “carpool” with my younger brother to their Union affiliated Electrical night school, now Stevie and I would start car pooling. Stevie and I then met another fellow who lived nearby, Santo, who preferred to be called “Chicky”, he had one of those long four syllable Italian last names that were easily mispronounced that began with “Cicc”... Santo had just bought a new compact sedan and offered to do all the driving. During our first week riding back and forth we picked up a fourth rider, Paul, a former transit cop who was switching over from Transit Police to the FD. Paul, is a real nice guy, but a little aloof...he never made eye contact with you when he spoke to you, he kind of glanced over your shoulders and rocked up, down, back and forth on his heels... At the end of our Proby training I still don’t think Paul knew our names (But he did retire as a Captain, Stevie retired as a respected Engine Chauffeur after twenty years and Santo retired with a disability five years on the job after he was hit by a car in front of his assigned quarters).

The first few weeks of proby school seemed to go by fast, we were scheduled to graduate in October but that still seemed so far off. It was only a short time ago that I completed the DCFD Training School...With that experience behind me I was not overly apprehensive about the scaling ladder or aerial ladder climb confidence courses, and I sought of knew what to expect of the smoke house...the days seemed to blur by, we had a good squad and new friendships were forming, the officer instructors were getting to know us little by little and started to lighten up on the drill sergeant schtick... And we were getting to learn who the instructors were too, the ones you could have a little fun yukking it up with, which were most, but a few of the others you avoided. Some of the more colorful instructors we mimicked  behind their backs for a quick laugh...However,  everyone, and I mean everyone, feared the Captain who ran the proby school!... Captain Saccomanno... to be called up to his office or singled out by him was to be avoided at all costs. Captain Saccomanno was gruff, stern, hardened and intimidating...and he let it be known that he set the standard; exemplary. Of which he, in turn,  demanded the highest standards from us recruits, no excuses. Captain Saccomanno  had a lean wiry build, not very tall, but he stood ten feet tall in his impeccable uniform, he walked with a purpose when we observed him walking around the training facility, all eyes following him. (Little did I know he could have came from the same mold that Tough Timmy came from!).

(https://i.postimg.cc/hhP8hyNc/Screenshot-2019-11-21-21-37-36-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/hhP8hyNc)
Outdoor Training Stations
(https://i.postimg.cc/pyT8P9nd/Screenshot-2019-11-21-21-38-16-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/pyT8P9nd)

Another Lieutenant , we’ll call him Lt. Snarl; which actually rhymes with his real name, was a relentless pain in the ass and bad tempered, always with a scowl on his face...he was ruthlessly unkind bashing and insulting recruits and he never let up, unyielding even to the last day, he seemed miserable...So now, when your squad went from one outdoor training session to the other you did so in formation and belted out a cadence. One ingenious member of our squad began incorporating Lt. Snarl’s name in vain into our favorite cadence, other squads loved it and they too picked up on the unflattering ditty and began using it too..I forget how the song went, but I remember distinctly the last line as we accentuated it loud and clear jubilantly;  “...you grumpy fat f*&% !”...(He had a large beer belly).

(https://i.postimg.cc/mzqrLg0c/Screenshot-2019-11-21-21-49-01-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/mzqrLg0c)
Even todays Proby's employ a cadence between training sessions

During proby school the name of the game was of course not to be highlighted or bring attention to yourself. I had a few turns in the barrel as well as everyone else. But we were somewhat fortunate, among our twenty five squad members we had one recruit that was always screwing things up and not getting it right, despite all of us trying to pitch in to help him, ‘til the very end he was hopeless. It bode poorly for our squad as we acquired extra cleaning details, but the good thing he was like a lightning rod for the instructors, taking the heat... and that let the rest of us slide under the radar.

However, eventually you get nabbed, and I did a few times. My first was toward the end of a warm summer August day… Since all recruits had to assemble in the auditorium for the daily lecture towards the end of the day, it was tough to keep your eyes open and you could see many recruits start to nod off, bleary-eyed trying to remain awake. Lieutenant instructors were along the sidelines looking for the culprits, and as soon as one saw your head drop or roll, they would come down the aisle, tap you on the shoulder, do the “come with me finger thing” and make you stand in the rear of the auditorium for the remainder of the lecture...which could be almost an hour. Many times there were more than a dozen recruits standing in the rear, many repeat offenders. I was doing my best, I was exhausted and I was doing so well hanging in there...when suddenly a tap on my shoulder I opened my eyes to see Lt. Larklin looking me in the face, “let’s go son”, he whispered kindly. I was embarrassed and mortified, not only because I was caught  with my head rolling, but I noticed on his left collar brass was an E 45. “Holy $&*#”, I said to myself!  This intolerable infraction (drama added) is surely going to get back to “Uncle Jack!” who was assigned to E 45 at the time, furthermore this was the company I presumed I was heading for after graduation. I stood in the back, all wired up thinking how am I going to explain this to Unk Jack when he calls me after he finds out from Larklin on my impromptu siesta during training school lecture?... Of course nothing ever happened, soon enough there were a bunch of us standing in the rear. But that was the only time I was nabbed for that offense, as a preventative measure I made sure I had a couple of swigs of hot coffee in the cafeteria before we assembled for the lecture.

(https://i.postimg.cc/K4xbTL5Z/Screenshot-2019-11-21-21-16-53-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/K4xbTL5Z)
End of Day lecture

During two other outside training sessions I became the unintended focus recruit of our squad, the “lucky one”. At one training event we were practicing how to slide down the pole that was mounted on the outside of one of the training buildings by itself, here we climbed up the stairs in single file and when it was your turn you “slid” the pole. I’ve slid the pole hundreds of times in DCFD, and there was nothing to it. When it was my time, I simply slid the pole with no fanfare and proceeded to walk toward the end of the line of our squad to repeat, until I heard “Just a minute there Mr. Gage, where do you think you are? Back in the DC Fire Department?”... I had no idea how the instructor knew of my previous history, but he wanted to have a little fun with me and he insisted I slide the pole again and again while he had my squad stand by to watch. I must have gone up the steps and slid down the pole five consecutive times while he stood to the side smirking.

At another session not to far from the sliding pole we had to handle a deuce and a half with another Instructor. Everyone would have a chance on the nob, the line was charged with high pressure that required all your strength and grit to maintain control with a backup firefighter. To make it more difficult we were kneeling on loose gravel and it was a struggle to maintain solid footing to support the line advancement. Now, It was my turn on the nob, and I had a good back up firefighter (Joe Leavey), we duck crawled as instructed, then advanced on our knees, the Lieutenant instructor standing next to me we used to call him (Unbeknown to him, of course) Yogi, as in Yogi Bear, ( and we noticed that he hung around another instructor that was rather short, so we called him “BooBoo”...Yogi and BooBoo, the tag fit for both). Yogi was tall, large and beefy, he had thick curly hair and was a bit goofy, but usually a calm demeanor. Today, though, uncharacteristically he was being a hard ass toward the squad. I took my place on the nob and got a firm grip, carefully pulling the nozzle bale towards me the line comes alive... Yogi is yelling into my ear over the loud water gushing from the nozzle ...”MOVE IN, MOVE IN !”...I continue methodically duck walking forward, whipping the nozzle clockwise with a straight solid stream. Yogi is yelling louder at me: “IT’S OVER MY HEAD, THE FIRE IS OVER MY HEAD, OVER MY HEAD, I SAID !”...With all my strength I pull the arms length of hose with the nozzle straight up into the air, above us, the water cascading down onto the squad...but that’s not enough, he continues to bark into my left ear,  “OVER MY HEAD, OVER MY HEAD…!”...with that, I leaned back even further and with all my ability and vigor I swirl the nob further backwards, still in the circulating motion..when all of a sudden it happened...to this day I can still hear the slapping sound of solid stream smacking a solid object, that would be Yogi’s forehead and propelling his helmet high into the afternoon sky, landing some distance away..Oh, Man! Did he explode!...I shut down the line...Yogi, now red-faced, wet and flustered threatened to keep me for the next three proby schools; “YOU AIN’T GOIN’ NOWHERE, GAGE!” he kept berating me over and over loudly...Our squad had a great time remembering that instance for the remainder of our training, it afforded us a lot of laughs.

(https://i.postimg.cc/wRTnGXWL/Screenshot-2019-11-21-21-43-42-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/wRTnGXWL)
Notice gravel rock off of sidewalk and surrounding building.

Anyway, our day of reckoning came and our class of one hundred fifty probationary fireMEN graduated, the last class of all males, the next class will have the first twenty-five female recruits in attendance.

(https://i.postimg.cc/w7nbXYdh/20191130-171220-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/w7nbXYdh)
First Official Mugshot for ID Card and "Newspaper" if......

 ************

A couple of years ago the Retiree Group I belong to was organized, lo and behold Captain Saccomanno and Lt. Larklin eventually joined our group...To this day I see Captain Saccamanno and Lieutenant Larklin at my monthly retirees group meeting, in fact I sit with them both at the round table sharing coffee and chatting with them...I did not know that Captain Saccamanno was a former member of E 88 before he was promoted and we have a fun time exchanging stories!... One time I reminded Larklin how we met back in proby school and my concern of him ratting me out to Unk Jack when I nodded off during lecture and was handpicked by him to stand in the rear of the auditorium... We laugh, and he says…”He should have called Jack!” Both guys are sweethearts, mellow, cool and real fine Gentlemen..

But, WOW, they were both HOLY TERRORS back in ‘82!


Thanks for reading....  Hope you enjoyed!                 KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on December 01, 2019, 11:37:57 PM
 Dan, during your Probie Days at the Rock, I probably had you and the other Probies under surveillance once or twice a week back then. I would usually make a visit to the Rock before I hung out in the streets chasing the FDNY rigs.

 Actually, I enjoyed going over to the Fire Academy watching the guys train and I would often pick up a few "tricks of the trade" that I couldn't wait to show off to my local Connecticut Brother Firefighters. But I really owe it all to you guys and those GREAT FDNY Fire Instructors.

 I remember seeing the guys with those helmets having their last names written on that masking tape. I remember the gravel lot and the sign that said: "No Probie Parking Beyond Here".

 But Johnny, there's more. One day when walking around, taking pictures, I asked a boss some questions regarding the Probie Training. That boss turned out to be Captain Saccomanno. He invited me into his office and he explained to me about the FDNY Probie Training and how it is set up. But he also gave me a copy of an FDNY Probie Manuel, which I believe, I still have today. I think it was his copy because his name is written on it in pencil.

 That Probie manual opened the door for me to understand the tactics of the FDNY. I added the updates every three months to it which I would get at the FDNY Fire Academy. Later I would add all of the FDNY Manuals like Ladders Vol 1-6 (?), Engine Co ops etc. What Capt Saccomanno gave me that day was a tremendous help to me in doing the job and in helping other guys I worked with to do the job.

 So Dan, I hope you will pass this on to him. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on December 02, 2019, 12:54:29 AM
Thanks Dan for your recollections of a Great Time in an FDNY FFs early life.... i have never personally met Richie Saccamanno  but i remember a WNYF picture of an impending  BX collapse that DC Vinny Dunn later had said to us that it was Richie as a FF holding the Nozzle in 88 maybe a cover photo ?  ....maybe someone can post it ?
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: turk132 on December 02, 2019, 08:31:10 AM
Thanks Dan for your recollections of a Great Time in an FDNY FFs early life.... i have never personally met Richie Saccamanno  but i remember a WNYF picture of an impending  BX collapse that DC Vinny Dunn later had said to us that it was Richie as a FF holding the Nozzle in 88 maybe a cover photo ?  ....maybe someone can post it ?
(https://i.postimg.cc/18KMPxfz/Collapse.png) (https://postimg.cc/18KMPxfz)

Maybe this cover?
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on December 02, 2019, 09:20:00 AM
You got it Turk, thanks!...Richie with the nob, notice 88 frontpiece on Brother at multi- versal.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on December 02, 2019, 04:25:59 PM
^^^^ Thanks Turk that's the photo...Vinny Dunn also pointed out that the LT Danny Maher was running to get the guys on the Multiversal who were in danger & may not have been aware......he also said if i remember correctly that the wall collapse was caused by sloping hip rafters at the end of a bow string heavy timber truss roof.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on December 08, 2019, 08:05:56 PM
WELCOME TO BELMONT AVENUE!

Just before graduation, one afternoon during proby school, a few officers from 54 Truck came down to the Rock looking to “recruit” a couple of probies for their company. It sounded interesting to me so I called Uncle Jack that evening when I got home from Proby School and told him that 54 Truck was seeking probies, and what did he think of the company? Up to that moment, I did not know that Jack had “plans” for me...he said to forget about 54 and “that I was coming with him”. As I understood at the time, Uncle Jack was a Lieutenant at Engine 45. However in our brief phone call he did not mention that his new home was at L 38, transferring from E 45 a few weeks ago. So as the final weeks of proby school began to wane I was under the impression that I was going to E 45, and that was real cool for me as I buffed there many times,  knew the house and some of the guys, I was sitting pretty...

Finally department order number 131, September 16, 1982 came out...a couple of copies are being passed around the cafeteria tables and I grab hold of a copy and start looking it over with my squad members...the order starts off with probies assigned to an engine company, names are next to the engine company number. The company numbers run in numerical order from low numbers to high and are in two columns on the front and back page... a guy from my class is going to E 45, but it ain’t me...looking further at the front page of the order I then spot my name,  and next to my name is 88, to my surprise I’ve been assigned to Engine Company 88....Engine 88? A quick thought ran through my coconut, must have been a mix up somewhere...The only time I ever heard of E 88 was from reading a small blurb from “Report From Engine Co. 82” where E 88 was casually mentioned stretching a line in Dennis Smith's book.

I remembered during proby school, one instructor was wearing a covering officer E 88 insert and spoke to him in the cafeteria near the coffee machine... Engine 88? Where is that?...The first thing the officer asked me, “who did I know?” which confused me more, then he began to fill me in, ending our conversation his mouth spread wide with a grin and the first of many to come...“Wait to you meet Captain Tough Timmy!”.  As soon as I got home I had two missions, the first, dig out some of my old WNYF magazines and look up the Runs and Workers. I was grateful to note Engine 88 was right in the top engine companies, that was cool...My second was to give  Jack a call thinking there might have been a mix up, but that’s when he told me that he had recently transferred to L 38, in the same quarters with E 88 and didn't realize he forgot to inform me...followed by a chuckle he went on to tell me I would be working with “Tough Timmy!”...again with “Tough Timmy”, who is this guy?

(https://i.postimg.cc/K3THHszP/20191208-173949-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/K3THHszP)

During proby school I was carpooling with my three buddies in Chicky’s new compact Chevy chevette. When I left DCFD I was driving a Black 1955 Chevy I bought from another firefighter that he had rebuilt, it was in fine condition and ran well,  it was a fun car to drive and with a 327 cubic inch motor in it, it was quick. Since the car was sitting at home during the day my younger brother asked to borrow it, and of course he did what all younger brothers do, he rear ended another car along the Long Island Expressway service road, and then he in turn was rear ended. Good by 55. Lucky for me, while in proby school I received my pension check from DCFD, not much of course, but I was able to buy a sleek looking 1977 Silver Mercury Cougar from a used car lot. The car handled like a limousine with all the extra features that I never had before in any of my cars.

(https://i.postimg.cc/9DLJJjb3/download.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/9DLJJjb3)

Driving the first day to Engine 88 I remember how comfortable the plush car seats felt, sitting back gliding over some of the rough Bronx Streets and riding in style with FM radio! I made sure to arrive extra early at the firehouse, turning right from 182nd Street onto Belmont Avenue I noticed the three story firehouse ahead of me in the middle of the block of row frame detached homes, my heart started thumping quicker as I cruised closer.... I slowly drove passed the firehouse toward the ten parking spots along the street reserved for fire department vehicles, I noticed the Engine Bay door open with an American LaFrance engine standing at the ready, two white 8’s on the front cab...there was a senior-looking fireman leaning against the open apparatus door frame with his arms crossed nonchalantly passing the time. After I parked the car, I grabbed the two cakes I bought at my local bakery (you hear repeatedly at proby school, do not go your firehouse “empty handed”, but  “knock with your elbows”) and started my way to the firehouse. I was greeted by the fireman standing by the door, upon seeing me he had a welcoming smile, “Hello Kid!...Welcome to 88, I’m Ralph, the nicest guy in this firehouse!” as he laughed out loud. (NOTE: I so loved that line I kept it for myself during my career and used it every time a new face came into my firehouse). And his statement was true, Ralph was certainly a nice guy, too!...the senior man and one of the four ECCs of 88.

(https://i.postimg.cc/HVpN23my/20191208-174821-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/HVpN23my)

Engine 88 is quartered with Ladder 38 in the Belmont section of the Bronx, both companies were organized in 1908. Geographically, the firehouse is further North from E 82 / L 31’s quarters by about thirteen blocks. During the later years when I buffed with Jack at L 31 their response area was almost burnt out and decimated, rumors circulating among firefighters was the next neighborhood “hotspot” that would become victim of fire and arson would be Belmont and partially that was true. Although most of the Belmont area did see widespread devastation along the southern and west area of coverage, spared was  the immediate area surrounding Arthur Avenue and 187 Street, known as “Little Italy”.

Even today, this area is well known as “The Little Italy” of the Bronx, and compared to the Manhattan “Little Italy” a real challenge for notoriety. Arthur Avenue is the backbone of the community was, and still is a thriving shopping mecca. Flourishing businesses owned by Italian merchants line Arthur Avenue with exceptional restaurants, cafe’s, markets with fresh produce, live poultry, fresh fish and the finest Italian bread and pastry shops you could ever find in this country!  Along 187th Street there are more phenomenal  restaurants, fresh pasta and ravioli shops, meat and cheese markets are mixed with specialty shops and religious artifact businesses. When companies head out to procure the meal, it is not uncommon to see a half dozen rigs parked along the street while the firefighters gather meal provisions.
 
It was known that “Dion and the Belmonts” a local leading American vocal group of the 1950’s  originated their sound on the corners of this neighborhood. The group called themselves the “Belmonts” since two of the four members of the group lived on Belmont Avenue, the other two nearby.

Surrounding the Belmont area to the east is the Bronx Zoo off of Southern Blvd. The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest zoos in America with over four thousand animals and more than two million visitors a year. Engine 88’s motto is “First Due At The Zoo”. (The Zoo is part of E 88’s “Administrative” District, part of our responsibility is to make sure the hydrants work on property, I’ve done that a couple of times, it was always interesting to spend a morning at the Zoo flushing out hydrants while tigers and gorillas eyeball you). One of the members from 88 had unique collar brass made up, instead of E88, we had a “ZOO”  pin that we wore on our dress uniform shirt collar for company identification.

North of the Bronx Zoo and directly opposite on Fordham Road is the “Bronx Botanical Gardens”, a 250 acre landscape that supports over one million living plants. One block west of the Botanical Gardens is Fordham University campus, Fordham University's ranking in the latest edition of Best Colleges is #74.

Since I had already stopped by the firehouse a few days earlier during our last day of proby school to drop off my equipment, I was assigned to one of twenty five groups and given a locker for my work duty uniforms. I was assigned to group fourteen, one group away from thirteen which was “Captain Tough Timmy’s” group, and of course the warnings about working with him continued to en masse from the members (At that time, Captain Tim Gallagher was on medical leave recovering from serious burns he received in the performance of rescuing a person with disabilities).

(https://i.postimg.cc/tYMzxz4y/20191208-174655-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/tYMzxz4y)

After greeting “the nicest guy in the firehouse”, Ralph, I proceeded quietly up the stairs to the third floor passing the dark second floor bunk room where the members were still in the racks. I was eager, excited and anxious all at the same time as I fumbled around with my lock and dressed into my work duty jeans, blue tee shirt with the misaligned Florian Cross and black work boots. I noticed the hallways and locker room was very neat and tidy, there are about twenty dark oak wooden wall lockers that are inserted into both walls, and about a dozen metal lockers placed together at the far end of the third floor, that’s where my locker was. The wooden lockers were for senior men, they were a good size, about six feet deep and four feet wide, a wood bar to hang your uniform and a small dresser inside.

Quietly I tip-toed back downstairs...Grabbed my new rubber coat off the rack, it was hard to miss since it was the only one with bright yellow stripes. Our “sized” helmets did not arrive before graduation so we were told to take the ugly round pot lids to your assignment and use them until your official helmet was delivered. I had no intention of wearing that odd shaped ridiculous chapeau, so I repainted my DCFD leather helmet back to black from yellow. The DCFD insert was the same style of FDNY and so I just replaced the 21 with the orange “pumpkin” proby insert. When my helmet did arrive, it was too freakin’ tight on my head. I resorted to different techniques attempting to stretch it slightly larger for comfort. Remember, in proby school we all had very short hair, but once we graduated, most of us let our hair grow out, and that little extra hair made all the difference. Anyway, I did get it to fit more comfortable, but it was still tight. 

Now downstairs in the quiet firehouse and in the kitchen I started immediately to clean the sink and began meeting new colleagues. The Belmont firehouse was considered a “Senior House”, most of the firefighters I would work alongside were War Year Officers and Veterans, but the last few years 88 was beginning to receive a bunch of us young bucks from the latest test. I would meet and work alongside two newfound special friends in E 88 when we shared the back step during our budding career…(Retired B2 Commander) Ed Kearon and Fireman Marty O'neill...all three of us served as young firefighters under the tutelage of Tough Timmy Gallagher. Even today we continue to enjoy each others company and friendship, in fact we often have lunch together and recall the good ol’ Glory Days.

As a recycled proby I was fortunate I already had a heads up proby experience with the DCFD and completely understood what a proby should be doing... I wouldn’t need a learning curve. My first couple of months I was not allowed to do mutuals or work twenty-fours, just straight tours. My philosophy was simple enough, if anyone did not like whatever menial task had to be done, that was my que to step up. First in the sink and last out, last to sit at the dinner table and first to get back into the sink, throw out the garbage.. Last into the bunk, get up during the night to cover the watch when the Truck went out, be the first up in the morning to clean the kitchen and get the first pot of coffee brewing, throw out the garbage, strip the beds during committee work, wash, dry, fold sheets and put away, throw out the garbage, do change of tour inspection of self- contained breathing apparatus , throw out garbage, sweep, mop,  polish brass fittings and poles, keep moving...did I mention throw out the garbage?

E 88 has been a distinguished and highly respected company, we were also in the top ten “Runs” category for Engine Companies for many years. As I recall, the busiest night tour I had on-the-job was with 88; in addition to our usual adv fires and emergencies, we responded to thirty runs (Prior to EMS calls) before midnight due to a disgruntled person of the community who was riding a motorcycle and pulling boxes in the neighborhood. Recently I met up with the covering officer at a retirement party who worked that night in E 88, Lieutenant Jon, he confirmed my recollection and even added that we caught a good first due job later that tour, too!.

(https://i.postimg.cc/c6YWjFPk/Screenshot-2016-09-10-20-19-39.png) (https://postimg.cc/c6YWjFPk)
Forever good buddies to the end! FF Martin O'neill and BC Ed Kearon!

I remained with E 88 for four years until I made first grade. I am humbled and honored to have worked alongside some of the most respected and admired firefighters and officers of the FDNY. But, now I have transferred across the floor to Ladder 38 (Department Order 115 dated September 5, 1986); the “Flagship of the Bronx”;  L 38 is a well greased, skillful and experienced ladder company loaded with “Senior Members” and Uncle Jack, er, make that Lieutenant Mayne.

(FOR ADDITIONAL E 88 STORIES REFER TO PAGE 1 OF "GLORY DAYS"

NEXT: "YULE LOG", Remembrances...

Thanks for reading, Hope you enjoyed!     KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on December 08, 2019, 08:20:46 PM
^^^^^ Very interesting & well written as always..... PS shirts are almost sold out..... https://www.ebay.com/c/24022394222?iid=132635678012
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on December 10, 2019, 09:20:48 AM
^^^^^^Thanks JK, your post triggered another memory; After I started a few weeks in at E 88, one of the Brothers advises our Commisar that Modell's on Fordham Rd is selling the new "Job" tee shirt, like the one I have. We board the rig to investigate...sure 'nuff, people are walking along Fordham Rd, "FDNY" across their back and the St. Florian Cross misaligned on their chest.  Modell's must have bought the imperfect lot of tees and was now selling them on  a clearance rack for $2.99. E 88's commissary bought the remaining shirts.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on December 15, 2019, 09:58:46 PM
TIS THE SEASON...CHRISTMAS TIME REMEMBRANCES

A NEW TRADITION TAKES SHAPE;

One morning watching the local news station in the L 38 kitchen, a story comes on about the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree that will be cut down today and then transported to Manhattan to be set up, decorated and displayed, continuing a NYC tradition that goes way back to the first Christmas Tree that was erected during the Depression Era of 1931. One of the senior men in the Ladder Company states he has a few “overgrown” large pine trees on his property back home that he would like to cut down...and suggests a company “tree cutting” party at his house. The first Christmas tree was cut down at this member's home, since then this annual ritual  has become a thirty year plus tradition for Ladder 38 members and still going strong.

                                                               ************

HOLIDAY MEALS;

Christmastime was always a special time, and more so in the firehouse, If I was scheduled to work Christmas day I usually swapped my day tour with one of the young single bucks who did not have any kids for New Years night tour. In the firehouses I worked the Christmas meal was bought by the commissary for the working tour members and most likely either a turkey or a fresh ham with all the trimmings and dessert. During Christmastime the firehouse would be loaded with fresh pastries, pies, cookies and baked goods from family, neighbors or friends, there never was a shortage of dessert in the kitchen. Almost every New Year that I can recall working we would have surf and turf...lobster and steak, again with all the fixings, some of the greatest festive meals I ever enjoyed!

                                                                 ************

O TANNENBAUM;

After my first year at E 88 we received three new probies and I was off the hook, for the most part. Jimmy, Mike and Joe came to 88 on the same order, all three were super fine young men and outstanding probies...Tough Timmy liked them all.

One proby, Joe was previously a New York State Trooper that was assigned to a Barracks that covered Putnam County. He resigned his position as a Trooper when he was called by the FDNY, Joe and I worked very closely together in the same groups and we got along fabulously. At the end of his year, he mentioned to me he had regrets and was going to return to being a Trooper, he mentioned that was more of his desire and I wished him well.

One morning, snoozing in my bunk at E 88 I am unaware that Joe is quietly sitting next to me like a church mouse wearing his NYS Trooper uniform. I awake startled...“JESUS, Joe!”. Joe had a few minutes and stopped by the firehouse to say farewell to me, but did not want to wake me, that's the kind of guy he was. Joe was a great guy, and I missed him, he was a very good fireman too, hung in there with Tough Timmy. We had a quick cup of coffee before Joe had to leave...As Joe was departing he grabbed me on the side and said to me; “Listen Johnny, I patrol the Taconic Parkway up near.. (I forget some town in Putnam County)...and if you ever want to cut down a nice Christmas Tree along the parkway, here’s my phone number!”...
       
                                                                ************


[****** NOTE: THE NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT…******]

A YULE LOG TALE…

The “Yule Log”, is a Nordic tradition...the Yule Log was originally an entire tree that was carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony, the larger portion of the trunk was cut off and laid into the fireplace thus becoming the Yule Log, the remainder portion of the tree was set up in the house. One superstition to capture the true magic of the “Yule Log” is it must burn for twelve hours…

I’m ready for action, having just changed into my work duty clothes and coming down the stairs from the locker room to begin another night tour, while wandering over to the gear rack to locate my turnout gear I’m smelling gas, not natural gas, but gasoline. I grab my gear from the rack and relieve the day tour Roofman who greeted me by the housewatch looking to scoot out early. I’m the first guy into the firehouse for this tour and so I know nobody started the roof saw, or spilled gasoline anywhere, but I know I smell gasoline...a quick check under the rig, nothing dripping from compartments.

After placing my gear on the rig near the roof riding spot and completing my inspection of my SCBA and hand tools I head to the back of the firehouse for a cup of coffee. The gasoline smell is getting stronger, that’s when I notice in the far corner of the apparatus floor where the smell is coming from. There is an inverted metal garbage pail lid that is propped up to hold the lid evenly, inside the lid is a small layer of gasoline and soaking in the gasoline is a trimmed wooden log about ten, maybe eleven inches round by about sixteen inches long with the bark removed. Just then, the kitchen door opens and one of the Brothers comes from the kitchen and catches me noticing the bizarre display. “Oh, that’s Bobby’s, he is in the process of making a Yule Log”, the Brother says casually and keeps walking to the front of the firehouse. “Hmmm, OK, whatever” I think. Inside the kitchen I grab my coffee and banter with other guys hanging about.  The bizarre display comes up in conversation...“Yeah, Bobby wants to try out the Yule Log later”, I asked if he thought this through, but Bobby was a senior man and “knew what he was doing”... I just shook my head in affirmation and commented “what a great idea” and we left it at that.

Later on after dinner guys are prompting Bobby with teasing quips…”when are we going to sit around and enjoy the comfort and glow of this Yule Log?”... It is time, Bobby sets the Yule Log up, he looks proud of himself...heck, this may even become a new company tradition!...he drains the inverted garbage cover of gasoline, the log now sits on and across a couple of bricks, newspaper is crumpled up as kindling and placed under the log in the space the bricks have created...Bobby goes to strike the match...we all see it coming and take a giant step backwards...Bobby hardly gets near the crumpled newspaper as there is a quick “FWOOOMP!” flash of flame and bright light...as quick as you can say “Flambe” Bobby springs backwards... minus half of his eyebrows from the bursting fireball. “WOW, that was spectacular, what’s next? Bob!”...The log now sits in the inverted garbage can lid and smolders...What could we do? So we applauded and returned to the kitchen.
(https://i.postimg.cc/p5DBhvQm/wile-e-coyote.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/p5DBhvQm)

THE FESTIVE CELEBRATION;

Days before the Firehouse Family Christmas festivity “all hands” would wash and clean the joint from top to bottom, even go as far as power washing the apparatus floor and scrubbing the diesel exhaust off the walls, more than we would do for “spring house inspection”.

Throughout my career I have never missed a single firehouse Christmas party for the families, they were spectacular, the apparatus floor filled with families, even my parents would come in to join the festivities, watching excited young kids of different ages receive a special gift from Santa, opening the gift and playing with them...little boys pushing trucks along the apparatus floor, little girls with dolls, everyone had smiles. It was also interesting to see how each kid grew between Christmas parties, too.

Some firehouses had a unique spin with their merriment, I knew of one firehouse that liked to have their Christmas tree hung upside down, but the results were still the same.

(https://i.postimg.cc/34GXVhct/20191215-180739-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/34GXVhct)
(One of the Brothers had a little fun decorating the spare rig with "instant snow" spray can)

On the apparatus floor the boombox would be belting out Johnny Mathis’ Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Burl Ives Holly Jolly Christmas, in the sitting room the television running a Christmas VCR tape of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer... tables and tables were overflowing with food, fruit, cakes and pies, cookies and pastries...every dish imaginable, candy was placed on the tables in bowls next to potato chips and pretzels..it was a feast!

We would hire magicians and clowns for the kids entertainment before Santa’s arrival. One year we had a Pee Wee Herman impersonator, the kids were mesmerized by his goofiness and magic, he looked and sounded like the real thing, too.

One of my firehouses it was not uncommon to see the off duty dads ride in the cab of the engine or truck with their kid when an alarm came in, the working Brothers hopped up on the back step...and usually one of the wives could be found in the front seat between the officer and chauffeur. The rigs were kept outside under the watchful eye of the proby. Only strict rule that day was no children on the stairs to the upper floors.

When families arrived it was understood that for the children to receive a “gift from Santa” they should bring an appropriate gift that didn’t exceed twenty five dollars, the gift wrapped and had the child's name in plain site so that Santa could call the child up for his/ her present. The present was brought upstairs to the bunkroom and placed in a large leaf bag by Santa’s helpers...sometimes there might be two or three large filled leaf bags!

Now, as we all know, Santa usually arrived by reindeer and an announcement over the firehouse that Santa has landed on the roof of the firehouse would be made. Since we were not a tower ladder company, we always had to rely on a nearby company with their Tower Ladder who would stop by and “offer” to take Santa down from the roof as the kids watched from the sidewalk... Except sometimes the logistics didn’t pan out too well, if the weather was cold or raining it could be a bust, sometimes the availability of the nearest TL was unavailable or the company might get a run just as they were setting up... Although, most times it worked out and the kids got a kick seeing Santa being lifted off the roof into the bucket and lowered onto the bay floor of the firehouse.

(https://i.postimg.cc/rKffSVX4/christmas07-038.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/rKffSVX4)

However, one year we had a vision to try something different and not have to depend on the Brothers with the Tower Ladder.

And, if I go to the next one thousand firehouse Christmas parties, I will never believe what transpired at this; “my” most memorable Family Christmas party for the kiddies...

...Yakking it up in the kitchen a couple of weeks before the Christmas Party one of the Brothers came up with this great idea to frame out and transform a sliding pole into a “fireplace and chimney” using one of the sliding poles we hardly used in the back of the firehouse... In short order, we framed out the pole from the top of the apparatus floor pole hole down to the apparatus floor with two by fours. After the wood frame work was completed we stapled  “red brick” corrugated paper to the columns that created a red brick finish and walla! A chimney for St. Nick...In the front we left room for “Santa” to duck out after he slid the pole. It was a brilliant idea!...what could go wrong?

The Brother playing Santa was one of our characteristic senior members, he always played Santa for many years and everyone got a charge out of him. He was amusing and jovial, a little cross between Dom Deluise and Jonathan Winters rolled into one, no padding required. Santa lived in Queens, oh yeah, almost forgot... and he was a bachelor.

T’was the day of the party, Santa was expected to arrive around 2 PM. Santa left his home early and decided to stop by a couple of watering holes for a pinch of eggnog before his arrival at the party...Well, Santa arrived in plenty of time but he was also a little deep in the sweet beverage, and insisted the “show must go on”. Santa was doing fine otherwise, he gargled, brushed his teeth, gargled some more and was ready to go. The announcement over the firehouse intercom alerted everyone that Santa has landed on the roof and about to “come down the chimney!”

With great excitement the families, guests and kids surrounding the “Chimney” pole hole, all eyes fixated on the one spot Santa will come ducking out any minute, the children start to chant “We want Santa, we want Santa” over and over again. And so it is “SHOWTIME” for the big fella to make his grand appearance…

Santa grabs the pole, wraps his arms and legs around the pole and slides down, just as Santas foot hits the rubber pad that surrounds the pole his foot awkwardly hits the edge of the pad...Santa stumbles, losing his balance, the big Jolly Elf trips and falls through the right side of the make-shift brick paper chimney tearing a large gaping gash into the side. Smiles have turned into jaw-dropping amazement, kids frozen in place...startled and shocked at this unexpected twist... Poor Santa, but he quickly rebounds and pulls himself together and grabs the pole to straighten his beard and right jolly old self out...But, the “Elf” helpers in the bunkroom, noting that Santa has cleared the pole hole, it is their queue  to “drop down the bags of toys” as planned...only they haven’t noticed that Santa is steadying himself back upright in the “chimney” where Santa is about duck out to greet the somewhat spooked children and guests....the toy bags fall with a crash onto Santa's coconut now driving him forward through the remaining “brick paper wall” as the kids now scatter for the hills! This planned “graceful entrance” has turned into a Benny Hill comic skit. The makeshift chimney is now half destroyed, torn and tattered... but a hasty retrieval of a staple gun and quick repair brought back order.

Finally, Santa recovered from the blows and redeemed himself, the children reappeared and Santa was gleefully escorted by a couple of Brother Santa helpers to his special chair to give out gifts to the good and understanding children...when the children all collected their prize, it was time for all the wives to receive a nice wrapped bottle of bubbly from St. Nick.

Heard as Santa was leaving; “Ho Ho Ho! A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good and safe night!”

                                                                     ***********

EPILOGUE;
L 38 Members have continued their tradition of cutting down their Firehouse Christmas tree... No, I never took Joe up on his offer to cut a tree down along the Taconic... Santa was played every year by Santa, and we went back to having a visiting TL take the Jolly ol’ Elf down... and no, the “exploding Yule Log” sadly never became a tradition but a one time event.


Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!

"GLORY DAYS" will resume after the New Year!...       

To my friends at NYCFIRENET; 'Tis the season to wish one another joy, love and peace...and to a year of blessings and beyond. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!   Best,  JohnnyGage                 

(https://i.postimg.cc/gLkTWnbY/Screenshot-2019-12-12-14-33-28-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/gLkTWnbY)

KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on December 16, 2019, 08:24:52 AM
 Thank You Johnny for all the GREAT GLORY/GORY Days Stories you have told us throughout the year. With over 150,000 views since March, it is clear to see that there is NO Shortage of interest in these stories.

 When I read the story of Santa Clause it kind of brought back one of my own fond memories.

 Every Christmas Eve, one of our guys would dress up like Santa Clause and visit the kids in the local hospital. The guys would get a count and the ages of the kids spending Christmas Eve in that hospital. They would go out on a last minute shopping spree to get some gifts and then wrap them up. It was a small hospital and usually about a dozen or so kids. Around 6:30 pm Santa and his helpers would load up the rig with the wrapped gifts and head up to visit those kids.

 Our original Santa Clause had retired so I offered my services that night to be Santa. I would be the first to put on this brand new Santa Clause outfit as I head out for the ride.

 As I bend over to tie my shoes, I hear a big ripping sound and of course the guys watching break out in laughter. Santa just ripped his extra large sized draws right up the center. It was too late to do anything about it now, so the SHOW MUST GO ON.

 People wondered why Santa was walking so funny bringing those gifts to the kids. But Santa and everybody had a good time and those kids still loved Santa even with that big rip in his pants.

 Santa never forgot it, and neither did those other guys. I still hear about it, 16 years later.

 I have a picture that "mack", aka Joe M., had posted on here last year. I'm going to ask "signal 73" to repost it here for me.

 Again, Thank You Johnny and Merry Christmas to all you guys.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: Signal73 on December 16, 2019, 08:29:01 AM
Uncle Willy asked me to post this


(https://i.postimg.cc/PPXkhGbr/A0459476-C78-C-4640-8093-115-DC9-DE2-A87.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/PPXkhGbr)
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on December 19, 2019, 06:51:13 PM
Johny you must remember this Rig...  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Matchbiox-Kitbash-Emergency-Mayfair-Ambulance/143454570708?hash=item21668f08d4:g:1aUAAOSwTR9d3uct
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on December 19, 2019, 10:27:42 PM
^^^^^^ Right on JK, this one one they used, there was others too. What the tv series never showed were the medics and EMTs getting tossed around in the back of the rig.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on December 24, 2019, 03:33:11 AM
^^^ Thank You for all your very articulate recollections of days gone by in some Great FDNY Units & some names from an earlier memory bank. 
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on December 25, 2019, 12:25:08 AM
CHRISTMAS....I remember back in the '50s when i was in 4th Grade on the last day of school before the Christmas Vacation the Teacher was wishing the Class a Merry Christmas & she said "be careful around the Christmas Tree...these days it is safer because people use electric lights on them...She further said that back when she was a kid people used lit candles on them but luckily that practice has stopped."...a classmate raised his hand & said "we still put candles on our tree" ....the teacher said " not real ones that are lit i hope ?".....  the kid said yes we do have real lit ones" i don't think she really believed him....he & his Twin Sister lived in a corner MD around the block from me...on the morning of the day after Christmas i was in my Families apt when i saw my 1st Due E&T go screaming by then the Sirens stopped so i figured they stopped nearby i grabbed my coat & ran out...as soon as i got to the street i could smell a job ...i ran around the block & there among many residents in the street were my classmates the Twins....the Fire started from lit real candles on their tree .....he wasn't BS,ing the Teacher....it was a quick knockdown but several windows were broken & the living room heavily damaged & smoke damage thru out the apt ...no one was hurt but they then had to move away & did not come back to the School after New Years.....years later when i was a Covering CPT i was working a day tour & in the afternoon we were all sitting by the HW discussing a recent Fire when there was a knock on the door ... i was closest so i opened the entrance door & a young boy was standing there....he said "can i ask a question ?"...i said sure ...it was the end of December & i noticed he had no coat on so i said come inside the FH ....i thought he would be enthused seeing the inside of the FH with all FFs sitting around in front of the big Rig but he paid no attention ...i said what's your question ?  he said sheepishly in a low voice" if a Fire started by accident could someone get in trouble for it " ...then he started crying & i started to put 2&2 together ....i said where do you live ? ....crying even more he said "over the deli on the corner" ...at the same second before i could open the door & look down towards the Deli someone started really banging heavily on the door & at the same time the teleprinter went off...the boy who was home alone had set his Christmas tree on Fire....again another Family in search of a new apt...again thankfully no injuries.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on January 04, 2020, 06:10:15 PM
https://www.ebay.com/itm/EMERGENCY-final-public-show-of-Gage-Desoto-July-14-2018-California-CA/254471372720?hash=item3b3facffb0:g:W~kAAOSwpmhbvc-2
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on January 05, 2020, 09:23:49 PM
LADDER 38, WELCOME "JUNIOR"

After four rousing and gratifying years with the members and officers of Engine 88 I have now transferred “across the floor” to Ladder 38, even though Captain Tough Timmy was not too pleased. So, between Washington DC Fire Department and FDNY I have served seven years in an engine company and now I am eager to learn truck work...Ladder 38 has a very stellar and distinguished reputation job-wide, the “Flagship” of the Bronx in the “West Point” of firehouses. L 38  is a good, solid fire fighting company, one of the few consistent truck companies in the top twenty-five of Runs and Workers for many years, especially during the “War Years”...there are no problems among the members besides a squabble now and then, the quarters and apparatus is kept meticulously clean, a strong tradition prevails of order and continuity. The meals are bona fide restaurant quality and any covering officer or visiting guest gets the red carpet treatment. In fact, one of the senior truckies insists on washing the visiting chiefs vehicle whenever a chief stops by the firehouse.

(https://i.postimg.cc/302zbY8H/Screenshot-2020-01-05-17-55-11-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/302zbY8H)

It is because of the Belmont firehouse reputation many officers “eyeball” and jockey for position to transfer into 38 whenever there is an opening, even going as far as calling upon favors from higher ranking officers who have been old colleagues, or maybe they are “owed” a favor...anyway, on the job  we call them “hooks”. If you got a good “hook” you can usually land a spot in a prestigious company, but you have to use the “hook” with utmost discretion as it is usually a one time promise fulfilled... L 38 is also the company “Uncle Jack” is assigned, so not only will I get to work alongside him, I will achieve a couple unbelievable milestones along the way!

Ladder 38, is well known as a “Senior Truck”, most members are closing in on twenty years, a few more nearing thirty years. These “War Year” vets have worked with each other for a long time, they know one anothers tics very well... the company is a well oiled machine!

Not just fire officers but firefighter vacancies are extremely rare and usually occur when a firefighter gets promoted to lieutenant, but when they do…just as an officer ”contracts are made...if you have a hook” and deals are struck to fulfil the open spot...In fact, the last time L 38 had a probie assigned from Probationary Firefighter School was almost nine years before they received another one. When I transferred in there were no probies assigned at that time, nor the two years while I worked there. It’s not much of a secret that past company officers and Chiefs use their “hooks” to get their sons or relatives into the Belmont Avenue firehouse...I was one of the  very lucky benefactors of knowing someone who had a “hook”, Uncle Jack had a connection, I don’t know who, but the next thing you know, presto Engine 88...

Ladder 38 is well established with an impressive roster of accomplished seasoned officers along with the senior members. At the helm was Captain Joe Moravan, he was soft spoken with an easy peasy likable demeanor. He was slender, average height and sported  clean-cut white combed over hair, always with a generous smile...he could have been cast to play a Catholic Priest on television. Captain Joe always had a warm friendly greeting and a hand out to shake.

Senior Lieutenant Leo Fracassi was not your “typical idea of a tall gnarly truck boss”, Leo is about 5’8” and quiet, a tough WW II veteran who served with General Patton’s Third Army during WWII... In honor of Lt. Leo’s service, Senior LCC Al Mankowitz detailed the L38 apparatus with white “Military Stars”, thus starting a tradition of rigs that had military stars decorated on the cab. Lt. Leo was affectionately called “grandpa”, he was soft spoken, cordial and very easy going, the perfect “grandpa”, a Norman Rockwell figure. Leo grew up in the Belmont section of the Bronx a few blocks away from the firehouse. I never saw him upset, although there was one time we torched the old Christmas tree in the back of the apparatus floor and he came roaring down from the upstairs office like a dragon!... Today, a street in the Belmont section of the Bronx has been dedicated the “Leo Fracassi Way”, I would be assigned to the “Grandpa” groups, working with Leo.

Lieutenant “Uncle Jack Mayne” is another Lieutenant. From watching him as a young teen through the war years at Ladder 31 and Engine 45 I finally get to work with Uncle Jack, my mentor...uh, I mean, “Lou”, it’s kind of strange to call him that in the beginning...working alongside him I will reach a couple of milestones a kid would never think of, imagine, now I am working beside him, my boss!... Jack worked in what we casually called the “Fish” groups, the guys working the chart in these groups enjoyed outrageous seafood meals prepared by LCC Tommy “Sidecar”. There were many times I would work those groups through mutuals, overtime and various details. It was exciting to know that tour I’d be working with Jack. And I admired Tommy “Sidecar”, he was a fantastic chauffeur and chef... he was a seafaring type, thick-headed sometimes and always wore boat deck shoes with his work uniform, I liked his style.

The third Lieutenant is Lt. Pat Welley, who has a very distinct “Irish brogue” and sometimes can be hard to understand. He is a War Year vet having worked in various squad companies during the war years, sometimes he tries to come off as a “tough guy” to us “kids” as he liked to call us, but we could see through his persona... he wasn’t Mr. Warm, but more “business like” friendly. When assigning truck positions to us young guns that require you to wear a portable radio he would forewarn us in his Irish tongue “...don’t be callin’ me on der radio fer nuttin’ unless yer dead or somethin’”.

Senior LCC is Al M who drives Lt. Leo. Al is the point man for the company. What he says goes for us young guns, when he wants your attention he calls you “junior”...all it takes is a stare from Al to know if you effed-up. Al has the company under control in an underlying fashion, everyone knows Al is the straw that stirs the drink and anything or idea has to pass by Al first, Al is a nice guy, too...He is very well respected by the senior members and especially by us new troopers. Al takes meticulous care of the truck, and he does not hesitate to let you know it’s “his truck”...there are special brushes for washing the apparatus and brushes for just the wheels, as a young gun I was only allowed to wash the wheels for a time! Al does body work on the unavoidable scratches and dents the rig attains while between runs. Moreover, when 38 would get a spare for a few tours that displayed the usual abuse a spare would receive, Al would patch, sand and repaint the spare with body shop quality! The rig looked great when it was returned to the shops, and the shops appreciated it, and in fact  even took notice. In 1983 L 38 received a one-of-a-kind  Seagrave rear mount aerial, the first minus the phone booth that was featured at a New York State Fire Chief Convention. The rig had chrome bumpers and fenders, gold leaf painted “FDNY” and “38”, back then this was unheard of!... this rig was the first of the kind...and we believed a reward because of Al’s  devotion taking care of any FDNY apparatus that spent time on Belmont Avenue... I was with Al when he designed the circular L 38 company patch with a coffee can, then added the military stars and lettering.

(https://i.postimg.cc/0KvVjmsL/Screenshot-2020-01-05-17-52-54-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/0KvVjmsL)
[The rig we received from NYS Fire Chief Convention with chrome bumper, wheel fenders and gold leaf lettering, no more phone booth. This is the first rig to get a "bell" added, a new L 38 tradition.] Jay Walsh photo (thank you)

Gil Cruciano was another LCC who drove the Captain. Gil was the strong but quiet type of guy, he looked like a stereotypical “Prize-fighter” from one of the old black and white movies...even into his later years toward retirement Gil worked a side job with a moving company,  moving boxes the old way, by carrying them on his back with a sling. Gil was a fantastic cook too, he created a hearty special “Hawaiian Chicken over rice” dish that is still mouth watering to this day when I think about it. Gil retired after thirty years with Ladder 38.

On the backstep...senior man Jim Merlino, who looked like a twin for Tony Bennett affectionately called us young guns “punks”. Jimmy had perfected a very dry, wry sense of humor and loved his crossword puzzles with coffee. Jimmy always had the “irons”, that was his position. He would be very helpful explaining different forcible entry techniques to us punks and shared his experience regularly. He also did not hesitate to give you fatherly advice. I recall leaving the firehouse after my tour, I stopped by the kitchen to say so-long to the guys working. On the end of the table, doing the daily crossword, where Jim always sat, looking over his half rim glasses he calls me over with a smirk, “Hey punk, come here”. It is not a request...I walk over to him, he notices I have ripped jeans that have a small split across the knee. He tells me in a fatherly and joking way..”look at you...have pride in yourself son, you are a fireman now!  And firemen don’t wear tattered clothes, ya hear? Don’t be wearing ripped Jeans when you come to this firehouse”. Now I know he was playfully wisecracking in front of the troops, but as the saying goes, there is a “lot of truth said in jest”, I ditched those jeans when I got home, and to this day never owned another pair that were ripped or torn.

There are many other formidable and admirable characters in Ladder 38, working  with these senior members certainly rounded off the rough edges of my youth, collectively they instilled profound lessons in my life that I am certain refined me as a young man and help me understand the world around me a little better. I became a better fireman and person because of them. I was a lucky guy to be assigned to this Belmont firehouse.

Hope you enjoyed, Happy New Year! Thanks for reading.     KMG-365


(https://i.postimg.cc/y3WykTGp/Screenshot-2018-01-25-21-56-59-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/y3WykTGp)
Some of the senior men: Standing L-R; Bobby Gaynor (RIP), LCC and Head Honcho Al M (retired), Covering Lt, Tommy "Sidecar" (retired). Kneeling L-R Future Joe Spinnato Commissioner Assistant Joe Cody and future Captain Sammy H (retired).


(https://i.postimg.cc/HrSWt4v9/Screenshot-2020-01-05-17-55-58-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/HrSWt4v9)
Decommissioned L 38 from above. NOTE: The rig serial number was 8307, coincidentally backwards for communication identification code 7038. Bell was first mounted on this rig, on officer side. Subsequent rigs had bell mounted on LCC side. LCC Al also installed an "ahhh-oooga" horn on this truck.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on January 06, 2020, 02:44:06 AM
THANKS.... Another great post detailing what it was really like when you worked in a Great Place.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on January 12, 2020, 09:17:53 PM
Johnny immortalized in pulp......  https://www.ebay.com/itm/1976-Charlton-Comics-EMERGENCY-firefighter-tv-show-comics-1-2-3-4-FULL-SET-1-4/372527462459?_trkparms=aid%3D555021%26algo%3DPL.SIMRVI%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D40719%26meid%3Dcd9da78419e349c0a298eaf37e9d367f%26pid%3D100752%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D5%26mehot%3Dpf%26sd%3D402034812271%26itm%3D372527462459%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100752.m1982
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on January 12, 2020, 09:59:29 PM
PROFILE; Lt. Jack Mayne (Re-visited)

“Uncle Jack”

(https://i.postimg.cc/9zwm6wRD/Screenshot-2020-01-12-19-01-02-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/9zwm6wRD)

John “Jack” Mayne served the FDNY for thirty seven years, mostly in the hot Bronx “War Years” neighborhoods. He was the Captain of Ladder 32 when a company medical found a health issue that forced his reluctant retirement. I want to say Jack was a mentor to me, but actually he did more than coach me, he was an inspiration. I observed carefully as a young teenager how he talked and listened, I noticed how he calmly handled stressful situations and his vision about life in general.

Jack was a childhood school friend of my father, he and my dad grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn as “Buddies”, they were inseparable. They played sandlot baseball together, joined the Military during the Korean War, dated together and remained very close friends to the very end. My dad was at Jack’s bedside when he died. Because of the closeness between Jack and my dad, we called Jack, “Uncle Jack” and his wife Irene, “Aunt Irene”.

Jack was hired by the FDNY July 1956 and assigned to Engine 204. Unfortunately due to a discrepancy about his Navy veteran points he was laid off for almost a year returning to his previous trade as a butcher while he challenged the unfavorable decision. Coincidentally, his original test list number came up and Jack was rehired. During his brief time in E 204 Jack met officers that remembered him when he was rehired, with Jacks experience in the Navy as a diver a Chief officer suggested that he look into Rescue 3 which had vacancies and  he could assign him there. Jack jumped at the opportunity.

(https://i.postimg.cc/k60mJw6B/download.jpg) (https://postimage.org/)
(Photo of Jack doing mouth to mouth on child behind future UFA President legend Mickey Maye with Rescue 3)

Jack remained in R3 for many years, but as the “War Years” began to develop, the noted hot spot getting attention was “La Casa Grande” Engine 82 and Ladder 31. Then Lieutenant Bob Farrell of Ladder 31 recruited Jack and asked him to consider transferring to Ladder 31. Jack found a home in Ladder 31 along with the action of first due truck work and there was plenty of it ...Jack remained in L 31 from 1970 until his promotion to Lieutenant in 1975. Years later after we both retired Jack confided in me, his best years with the FDNY was with Ladder 31.

I was a young teen developing a keen interest in the FDNY, Jack noticed and offered to bring me to Ladder 31, I would make arrangements to visit during my spring and summer breaks from school 1970-73. Since Jack and his family lived a distance away from mine, I would give him a call,  bombard him with a short list of questions, then we would pick out the days he was working and lock it in. I would literally pencil onto my calendar a countdown to the days I’d ride with L 31, I knew exactly how many days before I would be back at “La Casa Grande”.

Jack was a mentor, he encouraged me to prepare for upcoming exams with many helpful suggestions, one was to subscribe to the “Chief Leader” weekly Newspaper for upcoming exams and information. I was also surprised to find a yearly subscription to WNYF magazine from Jack  (Note: I still have the 1970, 1971 1972 copies in the original yellow envelope that they were sent in.) On one of my visits to Jacks home he gave me his “retired” and battle scarred Rescue 3 helmet...  I  showcased it in my room above my desk, whenever I looked at it the gift kept me motivated and focused on my goal to become a FDNY fireman.

(https://i.postimg.cc/fJb6G6gB/Screenshot-2020-01-09-22-27-18.png) (https://postimg.cc/fJb6G6gB)
(Jack speaking on TV Documentary "Man Alive" the Bronx is Burning, circa 1972)

Jack was promoted, bounced around Harlem for a short time and found a spot at Engine 74 in Manhattan. When a vacancy opened for a Lieutenant at E 45 he submitted a request to transfer and returned to the South Bronx. It was at Engine 45 in April 1977 that Jack rescued a Ladder 58 lieutenant during a job on Prospect Avenue. According to the Medal Day book; “Jack was able to remove an unconscious lieutenant from a super heated apartment fire”. His action was recognized by the FDNY and he received the “Third Alarm Medal” in 1978.

August 1979 I was hired by the Washington DC Fire Department and on graduation day, along with my parents Jack and Irene came to celebrate my new beginnings in the fire service. I would not see Jack again until I was hired by FDNY in August 1982. During my time in proby school Jack transferred to L 38 and shortly I would be assigned to E 88. He and I would now “work” together and Uncle Jack officially became “Lou”...the first milestone to now be working alongside Jack.

It was a pleasure working with Jack and I always looked forward to seeing him, he had a warm and gracious greeting and whenever he spoke with you, it was as if you were the most important person in the room. He did not hunt or fish, nor a big sports enthusiast...but he did like the southern rock of Creedence Clearwater.

Jack had a way with the younger firemen and it appeared Jack was surrounded by the younger troops, he conveyed trust and confidence in the young guys and they returned the favor. He thought “young” and his nonconformist thoughts energized the younger crowd..He had a passion for the Firehouse and “The Big Red Machine” with a profound willingness to share his skills and experience. “Just doing my thing” he would say.

The next few years at the Belmont firehouse there would be a few other incredible milestones for me. The second was when I was detailed to L 38 for a night tour,  Jack was the boss who assigned me to the Roofman position (Read ROOFMAN, Part 2), my very first time as such, the pressure was on, but Jack had faith...However the momentous milestone was yet to come unexpectedly!... Again I was detailed to L 38 for a day tour, unbeknownst to me the assigned LCC “tapped out” (go sick) just as the tour started with nobody to drive the Seagrave rearmount. L 38 would be forced to go out of service until another LCC was found and detailed which could take some time. Jack was not one that wanted to miss any alarms. So, Jack knew I had been driving Tough Timmy at 88, in addition I had plenty of fire apparatus driver training in Washington DC, and my side job gig I drove an oil truck. Not that an oil truck compares to a rearmount...but I was comfortable driving and handling trucks and knew the area. Furthermore, during every Multi-Unit Drill (MUD) I made myself familiar with setting up and operating the aerial. Jack had confidence in me, and I was comfortable to take on the responsibility...Jack told me I was his “Ladder Chauffeur” for the remainder of the day tour! I could not believe what I was hearing!...Can you imagine from a thirteen year old kid sharing the front seat as a buff on the rig and now I am sharing the front seat with “Uncle Jack” in the big red machine? Ihad the biggest $hit eating grin behind the wheel!... This was a tremendous, unbelievable and exciting milestone that I never forgot! And to make it so magical and significant... It happened only once. Only one tour would I get to drive Uncle...er “Lieutenant Mayne….” What a reward!

Jack was promoted to Captain in 1989, and left L 38...

We spoke by phone here and there but not often enough. Jack retired, September 1993 and did his thing traveling, he especially loved visiting China. We lost touch for a period. In the spring of 2009, I reached out to Jack with a simple letter; we need to catch up, let’s have lunch. I really wanted to personally thank him for everything he meant to me, I am glad I was able to do so. Jack and I met for lunch at the Eastchester Diner in Westchester County just before St. Patrick's Day, I recall because Jack was wearing green beads around his neck, always the young embodiment of vitality. He had tea with an english muffin, I had coffee and a bagel. We sat and talked about our “Glory Days” and the “War Years”. We exchanged stories and time went too fast...Jack was surprised that I stayed in touch with some of the “La Casa Grande” members from way back then. During our conversation I thanked him for being my inspiration and mentor and I hope he realized the impact he had on my life. I will always be grateful to Jack for guiding me on the right path.

Five months after our lunch Jack died ( August 2009) just before his 80th birthday. His gusto and memory is forever with me, reflected in my daily actions and thoughts. Jack introduced me to a man’s world where I was fortunate to mature and achieve success, his knowledge and wisdom he shared was invaluable throughout my FDNY career. I visited him in the hospital the day before he died, he was semi-conscious, but still I thanked him for guiding me through my life's journey...

Never a day goes by that I don’t appreciate another simple lesson in wisdom brought to me by Uncle Jack's impact. Never a day goes by that I wonder how Uncle Jack would handle life’s curveballs and think; what would he do? What would he say? ....Even today, Uncle Jack still inspires me.

(https://i.postimg.cc/hQX1rbpb/Screenshot-2020-01-12-19-01-37-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/hQX1rbpb)
Captain John "Jack" Mayne, Ret 1993 L 32

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 8060rock on January 12, 2020, 10:41:15 PM
JohnnyG that's a great tribute to your "Uncle Jack" - any man would be proud to have somebody look up to him the way you did with Jack. I'm sure he must have known what he meant to you and there can be no doubt that in return, he found you to be a very special young man, way back when. Thanks so much for sharing your stories of "Uncle Jack" and yourself, truly something special!
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on January 13, 2020, 01:00:31 AM
8060 ^^^^ Well Said.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on January 13, 2020, 09:08:26 AM
Dan, regarding the above Gory Days story, I'd like to jump in with a couple of somewhat related stories about mouth to mouth CPR and child birth.

 This goes way back to the very early days of CPR. My father, who was my Role Model, was a firefighter in Bridgeport, Ct. He used to smoke a lot of cigars and being a firefighter, I nicknamed him "Smoke". I think somewhere way back, I wrote about him on this site.

 Anyway, CPR is just coming out and Smoke finds out about a one day class being held in Norwalk, Ct and open to the public to attend. I'm still in my high school days and Smoke brings me along too.

 About a year or two after that short one day class, Smoke is working a night tour and gets a job in a reported vacant frame. He goes in and finds a guy in the second floor bathroom, unconscious and not breathing. He gets him out into the street. At that time, the only rig in the city that carried any oxygen was their Rescue called Squad 5. But on this narrow street, Squad 5 is parked too close to a parked car and they can't get the doors on the compartment open to get the oxygen unit out. So Smoke begins mouth to mouth breathing and after a few breaths, the guy starts to breathe on his own.

 That simple one day class that showed Smoke how to do this new thing, saved the guys life. There were no practice manikins to work on either.

 Smoke was awarded the Bridgeport Fire Depts Highest Medal for that rescue called: "The Gold Star". Interesting, about a year or two later, while waiting for a bus in downtown Bridgeport, a homeless guy tries to hit me up for a little donation. Instead we go across the street to a diner and I buy him a coffee. As we sit there talking, the fire trucks are going by on a run. He says to me: "those guys saved my life". Of course I ask him where was that. He tells me at a fire on Fulton St. I then asked him his name and he says: Eddie Martin. That was the guy that Smoke rescued and used mouth to mouth breathing on him.


  Dan, aka "Johnny Gage", please add my appreciation to the list of members who have enjoyed reading your stories.

  I watched your Uncle Jack dozens of times on this youtube video where he is seen on the right of the chief who is talking. He was your Role Model and as you describe, "he taught you a lot about the job". I'm sure he was certainly a respected member of the FDNY as well.

 As a young wanna be fireman, I had a Role Model too and that was my father. A Bridgeport Firefighter who I wrote about earlier in this thread.

 Uncle Jack and my father "Smoke" were some of the GREATEST. Each served their purpose in life well. Not only did they risk their lives fighting fires and saving people but they BOTH were Role Models as we watched and learned from them as we grew up.

 I also know that Dan and I are NOT alone when it comes to Role Models and members here. There are many others among us who learned from guys like Uncle Jack and Smoke. Each with their own individual stories.

 Here is that video in which Dan's Uncle Jack is seen. He is at the 30:00 minute mark of this story.

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygF3NJvy3bY
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on January 19, 2020, 09:48:28 PM
L 38 and BRIAN;  Part 1

“GET OUT 38, TRUCK GOES!” with that announcement from the housewatchman the lights come on in the bunkroom and I can hear the apparatus bay door opening, I feel a little groggy as the lights and sound interrupts my beauty rest, it only takes a second or two to realize it’s time to go to work and get my ass in gear. I sleep with my pants and socks on, so I do not need to dress and I am now alert and fully functioning as I hit the pole for the slide down to the apparatus floor. Tonight I have the roof position and my partner sitting in front of me is Brian Hickey who has the outside vent position. Brian transferred into L 38 from Harlem E 36 a few months before I transferred across the floor from Tough Timmy’s E 88.

The housewatchman on duty from E 88 hands L 38’s LCC Tommy “Sidecar” the ticket while announcing “Motor Vehicle Accident Cross Bronx Expressway Involving a tractor trailer”. The firehouse truck door is now open, Tommy fires up the rig and flips the lights on as we make a right turn against traffic on Belmont Avenue, peering easterly from the apparatus as we make a right turn onto 182nd Street I notice the light blue streaks of the morning just about to break from the horizon but it is still dark as we head down Third Avenue. The accident is reported on the Cross Bronx Expressway eastbound somewhere between Third Avenue and Sheridan Expressway. Usually this is L 27 first due area, but I guess they are tied up somewhere else for the moment, we’re the only truck going in.

On the other side of the rig riding behind the officer in the “Can position” is a new member who has recently transferred into L 38 from E 45, his name is Eddie McCan, he is tall, wears aviator glasses and has long disheveled reddish hair, you could say he resembles the actor Denis Leary with a droopy untrimmed mustache. Ed has a most distinguishing characteristic, and that is every other word is “Fouk or Foukin’ ”, there could be ten words in a sentence he uses, eight of them will be some form of “fouk”. So we call him Eddie “McFOUKIN’can” or simply McFouk.

When McFOUK transferred into L 38 I pulled out my small camera and had him point to his new 38 frontpiece on his helmet while he was wearing it and took a photo of it. When the photo was developed we all had a good chuckle, he had this $hit eating grin gleefully pointing to the new red insert with the bright white 38. Great minds think alike, so we thought it be a giggle to ship the photo off in an envelope to his old firehouse, E 45 and L 58, with a note on the back of the photo…”Finally a place I can call home, don’t call me, I’ll call you, Love Ed!”. A few days later he was detailed to L 58, he had no idea what he was walking into and was almost skinned alive...I found out the photo was posted in the middle of a bulletin board of E 45’s kitchen by itself for all to see!

(https://i.postimg.cc/zy8Njmc3/Screenshot-2020-01-02-15-40-14-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/zy8Njmc3)
(L 38, Billy McD (RIP), Brian Hickey (RIP 9/11) and Ed McFouk)

Riding in the Irons Position behind McFOUK is the senior man for the tour Bob Gaynor. Bob is the Union delegate of L 38 and he looks like a twin brother to Rush Limbaugh. Bob has the wittiest sense of humor, he is quick-witted and entertaining. Whenever Bob works he holds court in the kitchen, demands attention and amuses us with his very sarcastic schtick that would make Don Rickles act anemic. However, Bob’s weakness is his hair, he has hair plugs that are neatly inserted into his head in rows. He is very vain when it comes to his hair as he constantly makes sure every piece of hair is where it is supposed to be. I remember there was a school visit and Bob decided to show the excited youngsters around the fire truck and fire pole. When he bent over to show the kids his boots, a young boy noticed the cornrow plugs and announced to his classmates, “check him out, the dude got a Barbie-doll head!” ...the kids became fixated on Bob’s head, could care less and forgot all about the visit and safety message. Every kid now stared transfixed to Bob’s Barbie doll head. It didn’t take long as Bob cut the school visit short and ushered them through the firehouse door…”Goodbye, now”...it had to be the quickest fire prevention and school visit I ever witnessed.

(https://i.postimg.cc/vxrjgTMh/Screenshot-2018-01-25-21-56-59-1-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/vxrjgTMh)
(Ringmaster, Bob Gaynor (RIP))

Riding shotgun is Lieutenant John Hickman, he’s the new Boss who has transferred into L 38 from a Harlem truck company and he is a seasoned “War Years” vet who has replaced Uncle Jack after Jack got promoted to Captain. He is a dead ringer for the actor Charles Bronson but speaks like Clark Gable. He’s no nonsense, a little rough around the edges and a little gruff when he speaks, but a nice man, otherwise.

The truck is heading down Third Avenue and turns east onto the Cross Bronx Expressway entrance, Tommy “Sidecar” is an outstanding chauffeur and skillfully maneuvers the rig through the early morning intersections slowing down at red lights before he proceeds through the intersection. Tommy turns left onto the entrance ramp of the Expressway, not more than a half mile from the entrance we pull up to a tractor trailer on the shoulder of the expressway and a second one that is stopped slightly ahead of the first but in the passing lane with his four way flashers on. The Cross Bronx Expressway is a six lane expressway, three heading east, three heading west and one of the major shipping routes through NYC, it is heavily travelled road and often congested. Pulling up to the first rig that is on the shoulder Tommy stops the truck in the first lane, protecting us from the passing by traffic, a quick size up of the accident doesn’t seem too bad, we all cautiously hop out of the rig. There is only one lane opened now, traffic still moves through the two banged up rigs, slowly, they are both conventional type semi-trucks. The Police have not yet arrived on the scene. K

(https://i.postimg.cc/dh1Hv474/Screenshot-2018-01-25-21-56-59-1-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/dh1Hv474)
(LCC Tommy "Sidecar", always calm and cool, fantastic seafood cook, wore only boat deck shoes)

Lt. Hickman has Brian and me go to the disabled rig in the passing lane and check the conditions. Brian and I cautiously cross the one lane that is open, the driver is still buckled into his seat, he seems dazed and confused but otherwise does not seem injured, the damage to the front passenger side of his truck is substantial. It appears the driver must have fallen asleep, crossed over slightly onto the shoulder and hit the other truck driver side rear with a glancing blow and stopped in the third lane. There is not much for us to do. The next thing Brian and I calmly hear over the portable radio, “Got a 45 here”. Brian and I look at each other, first we thought maybe we were picking up a radio transmission from L 27, then we realized it was Lt. Hickman. It is still dark and the traffic continues to creep slowly between both disabled rigs, the NYPD Highway is still not on the scene, Brian and I walked over to the other rig to see if we can lend a hand... I’m shining my flashlight on the ground looking for the “45”, but I don’t see anything, then my light shines onto a pair of brown cowboy boots and blue jeans standing upright...my flashlight travels further upward, I notice a brown belt and a red plaid flannel shirt tucked neatly into the jeans, I assume it’s the driver of the rig and say “how you makin’ out partner?” only to realize that his head has been completely severed when I shined my flashlight up towards his face...there was no gore except for some blood on the front of his shirt, but I noticed his tongue sitting still on top of his neck, the truck driver was decapitated...Evidently he was on the side of the road repairing his rig under the lifted engine cover when his rig was rear ended by the other truck, the force knocked the truck engine cover down like a guillotine decapitating the driver and sending the rig forward pinning him in an upright position between the guardrail and the truck. The NYPD arrived,assumed control of the scene and relieved us. We never found his head.

On the ride back to Belmont Avenue Brian and I just shook or heads of the unfortunate “twist of fate”. It was a quiet ride back, all of us with our own thoughts.

Brian transferred into L 38 just before my transfer from E 88, we became buddies right away. Brian had this catching upbeat and energetic personality with a devilish crooked smile. We were assigned to the same groups and worked together often. Both he and I had a common side gig painting houses and would compare paint stories while we shared the slop sink in the rear of the apparatus floor cleaning our brushes. He and I decided to freshen up L 38’s bunk room with a fresh coat of paint and did it one day tour. Brian lived about forty minutes from my home, his children were the same age as mine, so every once in a while during our time off we would visit each others' home for a backyard barbecue and let the kids swim in the pools. In the firehouse Brian was an ardent studier for promotion, he was extremely focused on the upcoming Lieutenants exam. I was not studying at the time, but nevertheless Brian shared with me his study system; he had a bunch of spiral notebooks, each one was listed with a different category of study material. One notebook had “always/never”, and listed  anytime a fire department manual mentioned “always/never” he copied the sentence in this one book. Other notebooks had “daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, annual, etc”, another had every numerical reference, another with all “color codes”, his system was quite remarkable. Brian also had subscribed to various firefighting trade magazines and cut out the articles that were related to certain subjects, for instance in a notebook listed “Engine Operations” he would cut out topics such as “different hose lays, or stretches”  punch three holes into the page and catalog the article for future reference. Brian was on the ball and his enthusiasm was contagious, he was well liked and respected by all the guys in the firehouse.

We worked alongside each other for two years together and as I mentioned in another memoir, Brian enjoyed english muffins with peanut butter. Often when we worked and it was our turn to procure and cook the meal, we would buy a few packages of english muffins for breakfast, toast them up and have them with peanut butter before we headed home or during the night tour when we were running around.

(https://i.postimg.cc/1gMDtZLF/download.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/1gMDtZLF)

One night it was just Brian and me sitting in the kitchen, Brian confided to me that he was going to transfer to R 4, there was a spot for him. It was funny because there were some significant changes happening at L 38 that I was not happy about, kept it to myself and thought about moving on too. The first was that Uncle Jack was gone and the novelty of working with him was gone too, but that was to be expected. However, some other unfavorable changes were happening that I was not crazy about. 38 received a disgruntled firefighter from another company because of a Chiefs order, and that changed the atmosphere of the firehouse when he worked, especially as he was placed into my groups where I would work with him. In addition our runs and workers were beginning to slack off due to three untimely circumstances; the first was due to a baseball bat attack on rival gangs in the neighborhood, the NYPD put up a “temporary” command trailer in the middle of the Belmont community and had a Police Officer on almost every corner posted, that went on for many months, Immediately after the NYPD closed up shop, the FDNY arson group “Red Caps” took over the temporary command trailer and saturated the area. And then there was an internal conflict with L 56,  the powers to be had them removed from their quarters with E 42 and relocated to E 48 absorbing most of 38’s good working first and second due boxes. In a short time, L 38 had a huge change in landscape. When Brian told me he was packing, it was the last straw and I thought it might be a good time for me to reconsider my yearning for Brooklyn, but leaving 38 would not be easy.

(https://i.postimg.cc/v1P6ytVL/20200119-184022-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/v1P6ytVL)
(Bob Gaynor and Tommy "Sidecar" newspaper clipping from Daily News circa 1986. Bob and Tom rescued two children from a apartment fire on East Tremont Avenue, one died enroute to hospital.)

Next; L 38 and more Brian.

Thanks for reading!  Hope you enjoyed.    KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: manhattan on January 20, 2020, 12:12:53 AM
JohnnyGage -

I've been off The Site for a bit and have  greatly missed your postings.

Well done!

Thank you.
Frank
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: 68jk09 on January 20, 2020, 02:43:49 AM
Brian Hickey after transferring to R*4 was on one night tour  sent on a detail to fill an open FF spot in SQ*41....i was the LT working ....he brought a copy of the movie he & his Brother had produced about FDNY Brotherhood  .....we watched it during dinner & in between Runs... i enjoyed getting to sit around & talk with Brian....down the road aways (time wise) i was assigned to 329 but was on a UFO detail to LAD*126 as a LT ....Brian was a covering LT there at the same time.....later when i was the CPT of ENG*275 Brian was an assigned LT in 126 so we worked together often....when i Transferred to 126 as the CPT Brian was very happy that i was there...he was always enthusiastic....   the Truck Office was lets say reminiscent of an other era & i said to Brian "i would like to somewhat modernize it" ....he was 100% into that....he & i made plan to move the desks & lockers etc into a more functional work space...Brian being a painter said he would also handle that....one day i came in to work & he had already single handedly repainted the Truck Office as well as the Officers locker area (all while working one 24 & at that time we were running like crazy so all he did in between Runs that 24 was paint).....one day he said to me (that he prior to my being assigned there) while there was no interim CPT he had submitted paperwork for the Truck to be considered for the "Company Of The Month Award"....this was a sort of short lived mid '90s thing involving Modell's giving a FH some excercise equipment & a check for $1,000.00 .... i thought it was a promo by Modell's & also i would not want to get involved with stuff from HQ especially with the then FC being a presenter however Brian had already started the ball rolling before i was Assigned there & aside from that he was such a good FF & LT & generally all around great guy  & so enthusiastic i could do nothing but say "that's cool"....i was not sure if we would get it or not but we did... now the pomp & circumstance (w/HQ ) that i did not want was in full swing...there was a Ceremony at The Rock & all of us were requested to attend in Class A Uniforms & The Job scheduled the working Groups to The Rock for training that afternoon so "almost" every single Member was there....they had the hoopla with the then FC & Modells & myself on stage for the presentation & photo ops....as i said i would not have initiated it but seeing Brian & many young FFs beaming it was all good plus we had new Gym equipment & the $1,000.00 .....not every body in the FH were real gym user's so i said lets use the Thou $ to buy a drill press & some new tools to update the FH work bench that Members could use for themselves & we did.... now backtracking a bit when i previously said "almost" every  Member was at The Rock.... missing was our Senior Man ?..... after the Rock Ceremony we relocated to a watering hole just out of the So Jam area on Atlantic Ave in Richmond Hill....we are all still wondering where the Senior Man was ? ....(cell phones weren't really that big yet back then)  ......about an hour after we were there the door opens & in walks The Senior Man....he is in a Hospital gown (ass crack in the back) with an IV in his arm pushing the wheeled pole w/an IV bag on it & his head wrapped in a BX party hat (turban)....he says to me "Cap sorry i am late can you pay the Car Service i think my wallet is still in Jamaica Hospital".....long story short ...he was on his way much earlier in the day to the FH in his car to get his Uniform & had an incident with a Car Service guy as they were passing each other on a narrow St...the Car Service guy called a "gypsy cab 10-13" & he got batted by the responding drivers....he did not even wait for the X-ray results he was just determined to catch up with us....getting back to Brian at his 9-11 Funeral (he was the CPT of R*4 then but that day was working to fill an opening in R*3) his Dad Ray Hickey  (a true FD supporter  who wrote numerous letters to "The Chief" the Civil Service Newspaper advocating for us)  gave the Eulogy at the Funeral Mass & it was profound.....he said "i had 2 Sons & they both died ....one died from cancer & lingered suffering but got to say goodbye during that period to his Friends & Family....my other Son died at the WTC in seconds & did not get to say anything.....BUT he did not suffer....then Ray the Dad put out both hands palms up like weighing something & said which is better....you could hear a pin drop .....total quiet in the Church ....a profound moment....some of my R*2 BROTHERS  who come to an impromptu lunch once in awhile in Bayside used to bring Ray to join us.....one of Brians Sons was a FF in LAD*126 & is now & FF in R*4.......Brian Hickey ..Gone But Not Forgotten. .....not that i feel i could predict the future but i would bet that today Brian would have been at least a RESCUE*BN Chief & maybe higher in the SOC Chain....on a side non FDNY related issue Brain at one time was pushing very hard on long Island for legislation to make all Long Island FDs actual paid Departments....it never went anywhere  & certainly  not because he did not try.
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on January 26, 2020, 08:34:57 PM
L 38 and BRIAN; Part 2

During the summer of 1987 the FDNY announced through Department Orders what was called a “Career Path Program”. The idea was to give members a chance to work in the First Division and experience Hi-Rise firefighting and other unique type emergencies that were symptomatic to  large complex skyscrapers.  I was curious about that aspect and thought I would broaden my skills, so I volunteered for a ninety day detail to Ladder 10.

Ladder 10 and Engine 10 is also known as “The Ten House”, a little spin from Brooklyn's “Tin House”, the firehouse is located on Liberty Street directly across from the World Trade Center # 2. When my detail started, WTC #2 was  just fifteen years new at the time. I enjoyed the ninety day detail and worked with some very fine aspiring young firefighters and experienced officers, namely the Captain who welcomed me to his company, he was a congenial gentleman and respected fire officer named James “Jim” Corrigan.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Y4bbgQGk/20200126-171045.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/Y4bbgQGk)
Ladder 10 returning to quarters. WTC #2 15 years young, notice "World Financial Center" under construction.

(https://i.postimg.cc/K3zzjhXx/Screenshot-2020-01-26-19-49-20-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/K3zzjhXx)
Ladder 10 Captain Jim Corrigan...Jim retired 1994, became Safety Director for WTC #7 (RIP 9/11)

When my detailed started, I noticed the firehouse roster was loaded with very young firefighters, most with only a few years on the job and not first grade yet, there was only a handful of others that had more than ten years. The guys with more time were "lifted" from their companies if they were on the Lieutenants promotion list and basically "just passing through". It was a tool the department used to fill manpower shortage. Although I had only five years on at the time, the Captain was relieved to have an “older” experienced Bronx fireman for the summer months.

After my detail, I returned to L 38 with a valuable education and memorable venture learning about Class E alarms,  Hi-rise procedures, HVAC systems, elevators, manhole, water and subway emergencies. We even took a trip by bus to Philly to watch a Mets game. The officers and members of “TEN HOUSE” were very accommodating, knowledgeable and gracious. I enjoyed my detail and the opportunity to have worked downtown Manhattan sharing experiences with the First Division Brothers, I’m glad I did it.`

                                                                   ***********

August 23, 1988   

It’s a warm summer afternoon, I am detailed to Engine 88 from L 38 for the day tour and we are operating at a smoldering mailbox fire on Third Avenue near 187th Street, Captain Tough Timmy is the Boss. He doesn’t bother getting out of the cab, I grab the handle of the smoldering mail box and pull it down as Fireman Jimmy Harold uses the dry chemical extinguisher, he gives three good blasts of the powder into the mailbox. From the front seat, monitoring the radio the Captain tells us a Box just came in not far away and to wrap things up quickly, we may be going...the fire in the mailbox has been extinguished, we wrap up and make a quick stop at the Post Office that is nearby and advise the Postmaster of the fire.

Not too far away a dimly lit underground club on Jerome Avenue called “El Hoyo” or “The Hole”  which is about a mile north of Yankee Stadium is turning into a choking inferno where over a hundred party revelers are whooping it up. An accidental fire near the front entrance has erupted in the below grade area of the taxpayer which incorporates this “illegal social club”, exits to escape are almost non-existent. The FDNY is on scene as the horror unfolds, heroic life saving attempts by the first due companies are made, but later we find out the daytime fire kills six victims and injures over forty.

Engine 88 did not respond to the fire, we monitored the deadly job back at the firehouse waiting for the bell. But it never came for us.

Because of the “El Hoyo” tragedy, a few weeks later the FDNY initiated a surveillance program to monitor other “Illegal Social Clubs” operating throughout the City and to prevent them from opening. At 0100 hrs  L 38 is detailed to keep a watchful eye on the illegal social club that is popular in our administrative district, the social club is called “Happy Land” on Southern Boulevard just north of East Tremont Avenue. Tonight I have the “can” position and opposite me is Brian Hickey who has the “irons”, ...“grandpa” Leo is the boss. We sit and while away the hours keeping a close eye on the shuttered front door of “Happy Land” from 0100 hrs to 0300 hrs making sure the illegal occupancy does not open. There has been zero activity at the social club tonight, we hoped for a run to break the monotony, but all was quiet, the three hours went by very slowly. We could never imagine the horror that would take place here in a couple of years.

Later that morning with Brian back in the firehouse kitchen we are toasting up english muffins when he lets me in on his secret, and that he will be going to transfer to R 4 where a spot awaits him. I’m startled for the moment, his remark has started me thinking, too, and I began to revisit my idea about working in Brooklyn which I gave some thought about during my time in E 88, a transfer to Brooklyn would also put me on the radar to get to R 2...yet I was unsure what truck companies I should select for transfer.

I remember from Dennis Smiths; “Report from Engine 82” Dennis wrote that when he wanted to transfer he opened up the WNYF magazine to the annual list of “Runs and Workers”, it was there he decided and ultimately selected the top engine company of that year to transfer into. I decided to do the same, except for a ladder company. On the transfer request I had the option to select four truck companies, so I got my hands on the latest “Fire Bell” Club newsletter with a list of Runs and Workers for the past year and started to fill in the top companies for “workers”. My first option was L 103, the second L 120, the third L 176 and the last L 123. I really did not know much about the firehouses so I decided to reach out and speak with an old buddy that was assigned to L 112 for his thoughts. He said they were all great selections, but wondered why did I not select L 112? I didn’t have a reason...and he suggested I eliminate one company and add 112, he also mentioned that at this time, Bushwick had an arsonist running rampant and plenty of fire duty. I used liquid white to cover 176 and added 112, and submitted the transfer.

I knew it would be hard to leave L 38, there were some remarkable characters that I really enjoyed working with at 38 and learned a lot simply by observing the senior War Year Vet mentors in their unique way, noticing their good habits and rituals made an influence and profound impact on me and I’ll bet on the other young guns as well.

There was Duke, a very humble and quiet gent who never slept during the twenty-four hours. He would stay up all night scouring the kitchen, quietly moving the stainless tables and washing the walls or cleaning the stove. There was Joe who we called “The Big Sissy”. Everytime we had a visit from a chief The Big Sissy would ask if “Chiefy needs a hug, today”, with a firm bark like command “NO” the Sissy would attempt to hug and kiss him. The Chiefs name was Short, and he was short in height and short on humor. But the Sissy, who was pretty tall and stocky would grab him and try to kiss his bald head, the chief would have to wrangle himself free and snap “GET AWAY FROM ME YOU BIG SISSY!”...While the Chief would speak with the company officer during his visit, the Sissy would get out a bucket, soap, hose and proceed to wash the Chiefs vehicle, he too, was always cleaning something. The Sissy painted his helmet every year for inspection with at least two coats of paint, he had the heaviest helmet I ever came across. Another vet was the literal definition of “Cranky”, Jimmy O’Lowery, a tall and lanky grouch, resembling Donald Sutherland with white wavy hair, a  bachelor with over twenty years in L 38 he used to crank up the crotchety act with us youngsters. Always ornery until one time three of us hoodlums going home after a day tour decided to make a pit stop at the bar he frequented in the East Bronx called “Rota’s” an old hot spot many years ago that saw its heyday, we piled into the near empty joint and gave him the business. He loved us from then on, he became a new man, he could not maintain the crankiness without laughing along with us.

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Rota's on East Tremont Ave, hot spot during 60's, now closed.

Another unique character who deserves his own paragraph was nutty Vinny Albanese, not only was Vinny a stellar firefighter and superb LCC who served in Ladder 38 for 38 years, he was a longtime Army National Guardsman who flew helicopters and rose to the rank of brigadier general…

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Bonafide "Nut"

Vinny had a ravenous passion for shenanigans and forever plotting the next gag. Vinny maintained a “Kamikaze” outfit complete with “rising sun” bandana, thick round eyeglass-goggles and funny protruding gag teeth. When a covering officer was covering in 38 for the first time, Vinny broke out this outfit and wore it on the first run to the shock of the officer, the stunt was priceless. And, should anyone be celebrating a birthday and there was a birthday cake to be found somewhere in the firehouse, there was a good chance the birthday-boy would wind up wearing it. Seniorman Bob Gaynor had the perfect nickname for him, he called Vinny “Major Child Brain”, I still get a chuckle thinking about the nickname used when Vinny was a Major in the National Guard at the time... I have to admit, probably one of the greatest clever nicknames I ever heard!

On one occasion we were discussing dinner and nothing seemed appealing. However, I recently ordered “Duck a L’Orange” at a restaurant and suggested we replace the duck with chicken, walla “Chick L’Orange”. Vinny loved the idea, but of course needed to go one step further, so each accouterment on the dish would have to be another color by adding food coloring. The members sat down to the finished product; Orange chicken, green rice and blue cornbread. It was the most bizarre meal I ever had in a firehouse, but tasted pretty good, though.The troops used to call him “Senior CITIZENman” before he retired..

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(In this photo we are evacuating from second floor as fire is heading our way and blocking our path at a vacant, we are ordered to evacuate, however Vinny "gooses" Lt. Mayne as he tries to come down ladder, even though close call, we have to laugh. Young JohhnyGage in center...note whistle I used to clip to top D-ring of turnout coat.)

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God Bless Vinny, 38 years in 38 truck...tons of laughter. Vinny died from effects of 9/11 shortly after he retired.

                                                       ************

In 1992 while Brian was assigned to R 4 where he and his Brother Ray created “Brothers in Battle”, a 45 minute documentary about FDNY firefighting. I did not know Brian was making this video, but when he was editing the video he requested a photo of me, I was not sure why at the time so I sent him a snapshot photo of me (with L 112).  Brian graciously added my photo to the final version where I make a brief “still shot cameo” appearance just when the music starts, “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother”. I was honored to be a small part of his and Ray’s creation.

(https://i.postimg.cc/9zsfYSZg/Screenshot-2020-01-19-20-23-16-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/9zsfYSZg)
Best FDNY video, Brian and his Brother Ray captured the FDNY "Glory Days".

(https://i.postimg.cc/dDrbgSgx/20190331-134408-2.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/dDrbgSgx)
Snapshot I submitted to Brian at his request. I am deeply honored to be a small part of this historic video.

Brian’s study paid off, he was promoted from R 4 and became a Lieutenant in Ladder 126, a very active Queens truck company. A few years later, Brian was promoted to Captain and bounced around the city for a short time when Chief Ray Downey offered Brian the Captains spot at Rescue 4 which was available.

Brian was working when a fateful five-alarm fire that occurred on “Fathers Day” in a hardware store in the Astoria section of Queens, NY, on June 17, 2001, that  killed three FDNY members – Lieutenant John Downing, Firefighter Brian Fahey and Firefighter Harry Ford – and injured numerous others, the fire became infamously known as “The Father’s Day” fire..Brian was injured at that fire suffering a broken leg after the building exploded…

As time healed Brian's fractured leg, I invited Brian and his wife Donna to come into the City and join me and my wife Jean for a nice dinner at the end of August to reminisce and talk about the good times ahead. We had a wonderful “Al fresco” dinner at a pleasant restaurant at the foot of the World Trade Center Marriott Hotel and South Tower which was called “Tall Ships Bar and Grill”, a restaurant Jean and I knew very well and frequented since we lived only two blocks away. We dined together enjoying the comfortable night air surrounded by the big city bright lights that were beaming brightly. Brian mentioned that he was eager to return back to the firehouse now that his recovery is almost complete from that hardware store job, once again he tempted me to join him at R 4, where I told him “I’m honored, and thanks…” but I was “too old”...

Brian returned to work just before September 11th for his first tour back and was scheduled to be off and home in his new house he recently bought, when he received a call that there was an overtime spot in Rescue 3 the nightour of September 10th.  Brian jumped at the opportunity and was last heard climbing the South Tower on that fateful morning... not more than fifty yards from where we had our memorable night time dinner laughing and enjoying the surrounding big city lights and excited about the future.


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Photo of Brian in sweater, me behind him on the left. We are celebrating Medal Day where Lt. Grandpa Leo has received a Department Medal for his rescue of a child. With him is Pat Conway...Pat has a vey projective gusto theatrical voice, we used to say his voice could scare of coyotes. It is Pat's voice you hear narrating "Brothers in Battle".

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!
Next; Remembering L 38 and onto Brooklyn!               KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on February 02, 2020, 04:47:20 PM
“YOU’RE GOING TO 112”

I just dumped a pitcher of cool running Bronx tap water down the coffee machine to make a fresh pot of Joe in L 38’s kitchen, it is toward the end of an uneventful twenty four hour tour and the night tour guys will be coming in shortly. In the meantime, the firehouse is quiet and I thumb through the newspaper. I think of myself as a “coffee connoisseur”, I make sure the pot has been freshly rinsed (without soap), fill the pot with cool clear water and allow the coffee to drip until the pot is full, the important trick is to give the freshly brewed coffee a quick stir with a spoon because coffee brews “in layers” and a quick swish of a spoon will balance out the brew.

The department phone rings, over the intercom the fireman on housewatch casually announces “Gage department phone”. I put my coffee down then get up from my seat to grab the phone receiver in the kitchen, “38, Fireman Gage”, on the other end is a woman from the Brooklyn Transfer Desk and she has a question for me.

Yes, so after deep thought, I decided to transfer to Brooklyn and the transfer order will be coming out in a few days, but I have not heard anything and can only anticipate if the request was either approved or denied. Sometimes you only find out when the order comes out from headquarters and is delivered to your firehouse “through the bag”, the mail delivery system of the FDNY. Knowing that Brian and a few other guys I was chummy with are moving on to other companies or being promoted I thought that I should revisit my desire to work in Brooklyn. However, where to go was a dilemma... decisions, decisions. Then after speaking with a friend from L 112 Bob MacLaughlin who encouraged me to transfer to Brooklyn originally and as an incentive he added info about a neighborhood arsonist and the extra work 112 was catching... I was sold, I then decided to make a correction on my transfer request. In the interim I’ve listed L 103 as my first preference, and L 120 as my second followed by L 112 in the third spot of four selections... And, that is the reason for the phone call.

“Hello Fireman Gage” the woman says, she has a very polite soft spoken voice and introduces herself  (forgot the name, maybe Teresa?) from the Brooklyn transfer desk, she says she has my transfer paper in front of her and mentions that even though I have listed L 103 as my first preference “would I consider L 120 instead?”. At first I was excited just knowing that my transfer will be approved, but I never thought I would have a shot at 120.

(I recall during the EMS  “Gory Days” my partner and I used to park the ambulance on Pitkin Avenue near Watkins Street toward the end of our midnight shift to grab a cup of coffee and egg sandwich at one of the local greasy spoons. Many times I watched as the tower ladder raced by and thinking about the War Years “Runs and Workers” where it was either L 31 that would top the list, or L 120).

Yeah, so if the opportunity was grabbing a spot in L 120, that certainly was fine with me. I was happy to explore the “Brooklyn Fire Department” style…Within a half hour from that phone call from the nice lady in Brooklyn, the department phone rings and once again over the intercom from the housewatch; “ Gage, department phone”, now I’m thinking oh, oh...something is up with the transfer and it will be denied, my bubble is about to burst.

With a pinch of trepidation I answer the phone, “38, Fireman Gage, Hello”, I hear another woman's voice, it’s just as pleasant as the first woman's voice but not the same woman I spoke to a short time ago. “Hello Johnny, this is Maryann from the Bronx transfer desk”. (It was Maryann who helped me to get from 88 to 38 two years ago). After pleasantries, I began to tell her that if I had the option, I wanted to change my preferred choice from L 103 to L 120, but she politely cut me off…”You’re going to 112” she stated very nicely but factually, “there are four spots and you have one of them, OK?”...Wow, my wheels are spinning, 112? “Sure, yeah...sounds great to me,'' was my reply. Now I’m a little befuddled, I knew where L 103 and L 120 were located and what the firehouses looked like, but L 112 I had no idea, the only connection I had with 112 was through my friend Bob. I had to find the firehouse location on the Hagstrom. I knew Bushwick was north of East New York, but I was never in the neighborhood before. This was going to be interesting.

My days were now numbered in L 38, maybe three at the most. The Captain also received a phone call advising him that I would be transferred to Brooklyn and advising him he will be receiving a proby from the class that is about to graduate...the first proby L 38 would receive in almost nine years!

On the back wall of L 38’s kitchen an American Flag has been painted that takes up the whole back wall. The top is a field of blue with white stars that are about ten inches tall across in rows, the red and white stripes are wide and hung vertically below the blue field. The company policy has been that any fireman or officer who has worked in L 38 and was either promoted or transferred, their names were permanently written on one of the stars. Probably about twenty stars were adorned with names of previous members. My star said “GAGE” with “L112” below it, next to my star was “HICKEY, R4”. A couple of stars away was Uncle Jacks, “MAYNE, CAPTAIN”. There was one “Gold” star, and that was the center star with Lt. Leo’s name on it. I was in good company amongst the many stars who spent time in L 38.

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Venting with Brothers from TL 33. This was a freezing cold night, I broke out an old pair of yellow bunker pants from my DCFD days to stay toasty.

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Venting now complete, TL 33 can now do its thing....

Well the orders came down, DO # 125 dated October 6, 1988, there are about 250 names on the double column two page order and it is broken down into categories, the first bunch of guys are categorized under “Engine to Engine” transfers, as the list moves further down through the names the category changes; “Engine to Ladder” where another bunch of lucky fellas are listed. On the top of the second page is “Ladder to Ladder” and I notice my name; “Johnny Gage L 38 to L 112”... it is official and today I am working my last tour in the Bronx, it is a night tour and I buy the meal for the guys. There are a few melancholy recollections and funny moments while we eat. One funny story is remembered about the “colorful” Chicken L’Orange dinner not too long ago with “Major Child Brain” Vinny. Within my own thoughts I think back to the crazy Christmas party with Santa falling through the chimney and the dopey Yule log stunt. Later I had a flashback to the ugly fatal New Year's Day fire on Monterey and 180 Street  (revisit reply #42) where three teens brought down a dry Christmas tree in an elevator and lit it off joking around. I smiled as I thought about the time Jack assigned me the “roof” position for the very first time and of course that unique special day tour, a once in a lifetime opportunity as his ladder chauffeur.

While at L 38 I was asked to take over the WNYF “All Hands” Column for the 7th Division as long time contributor and legendary Fireman John Koskie (E 45) was retiring. I was glad to accept his offer and It was an honor to have my name top the page, under the 7th Division. Fortunately I was able to pass the column responsibility to another L 38 member after finding out about my transfer and so, to my knowledge, the WNYF All Hands Column has remained in L 38 to this day.

After dinner and straightening up the kitchen I headed upstairs to the locker room on the third floor and began to remove the contents from my metal locker and place them into several boxes. With the last item neatly packed I sit in front of it, the locker is now empty except for my clothes to change into and looking at it empty gives me a mixed pensive and emotional feeling.

We had a few runs during the night, but nothing to report on. I was relieved from my final tour of L 38 by McFouk. After I showered and put on my new jeans (with no rips across the knee),  I headed down for a quick cup of coffee before I packed up my pick-up truck with the boxes. I sit for a few minutes with the guys one more last time when the dual tones sound off, from the housewatch the fireman yells “get out 88 and 38, Saint Barnabas Hospital...first due”,  the men all pile out of the kitchen leaving me behind, most wish me a hasty “good luck”.

With the apparatus out, I can back my Ford pick-up truck into the open apparatus bay and load up quickly. Now all packed up I take one more stroll through the firehouse. The Bunkroom where Brian and I painted looks nice, refreshing and clean, I pass the company office where Jack and I talked sometimes, it misses Jack’s presence...I’m passing through Tough Timmy’s office and remembering the day I dodged the bullet when I told him I was going to transfer across the floor, as I make my way through the engine bunkroom lightly traipsing down the stairs into the Engine kitchen where I spent my first four years learning how to fight fires, learning life's finer points and introduced to the magic power of the kitchen. It was in 88’s kitchen where I would meet colleagues Ed and Martin and form a lifelong friendship, both became my closest friends to this day. Ed went through the ranks and retired as Battalion 2 Commander Ed Kearon and Marty transferred to Engine 53 where he battled Harlem fires until he retired. To this day we make time for lunch and speak about the Glory Days on Belmont Avenue with fondness. I am very grateful for their friendship.

I take note one last time of my “star” on L 38’s kitchen wall and feel extremely honored to have worked here. It is time to hop into my pick-up and leave the Belmont firehouse behind, taking a quick glance at the favorite shopping spots while driving through the wondrous Italian neighborhood. It is a clear October morning as I travel over the Whitestone Bridge heading for “Broken-land” the Dutch term for Brooklyn to meet the new Boss and cohorts! Any apprehension I had is now gone and is replaced with excitement and adventure, this is going to be good.


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Photo of L 38 SL#8307, once the "Flagship of the Fleet" with chrome bumpers and gold leaf FDNY lettering now decommissioned and awaits her fate on Randalls Island.

Next: "Half of a firehouse?"

Thanks for reading... Hope you enjoyed!                 KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on February 10, 2020, 08:56:03 PM
NO FRILLS  P 1
“HALF OF A FIREHOUSE”

I am in a tightly-balled crouched position leaning into a hallway wall being a heat sponge, just in front on me there is an apartment door slightly ajar with flames roaring out from behind, with the help of my six foot hook I am able to pull the wood door closed, the top portion of the door is burned off and flames are fiercely licking out from the totally consumed apartment on fire behind that door.

From my position, like a sniper, I cautiously but quickly pop up into the super heated confines of a small vestibule and quickly aim the nozzle toward the ceiling from the water extinguisher simultaneously squeezing the handle for a quick five second blast. The blast of water into the inferno upsets the thermal layers and drives the flames back for a few seconds. The water turns into steam instantly penetrating my rubber coat and linings. Immediately I return to my crouched position for protection in the small vestibule, the searing heat bearing down is testing my body and endurance, I’m as protected as I can be with helmet flaps down, collar pulled tight and facepiece on, still my entire body feels the searing prickly pain like a hard hand slap against bare skin.

Again the flames begin to pop out overhead licking the ceiling and top of the walls, I take a quick glance backwards, the engine is getting ready to push down the hallway, I carefully pop my head up again and squeeze of another quick blast, it’s af if me and the fire are playing a game.

I have been hunkered in this untenable position for what feels like a long time waiting for the engine to take over, but the time is actually a mere very hot few minutes...I’ve been in Brooklyn not more than twenty four hours.
 
The transfer order I was waiting for finally came from headquarters and I have just completed my final night tour with L 38. This morning I am headed toward Bushwick Brooklyn to meet my new commander of L 112. Driving northward on one way Knickerbocker Avenue there are traffic lights at almost every corner and I peer intently ahead for the first sign of my new firehouse with intrepid anticipation. Another block ahead, coming into focus I notice on my left the firehouse, it is situated in a fenced off school playground, the side of the firehouse is heavily decorated in graffiti and only the front portion of the firehouse is exposed, and with more graffiti. It is a rather narrow firehouse, one suitable for a single company. It is a slender three stories, heck, there isn’t even a front door! I slow down, look over the apparatus door for the company banner but there is none whatsoever. The apparatus door is open and I notice a lime green mack pumper with the red and silver 277 numbers. This must be it I figure, but where is the rest of the firehouse? It’s half of a firehouse.

(https://i.postimg.cc/XZbRdP35/20200126-171624.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/XZbRdP35)
Single door, no front door and no "Company Banner" overhead...Welcome to "No Frills"

I introduced myself to the fireman on Housewatch, who told the Captain I was here and shooed me up to the Captain's office. The Captain is a very nice affable Italian man, Captain Serge Giovanni, he likes to chat and he liked telling stories, in fact, he rambled on like we were old buddies...he definitely was blessed with the gift of gab. I immediately liked him, he was a fine gentleman and he made me feel welcomed. The new Boss gave me my group number, after leaving his office I ran into another old friend from my days as a volunteer fireman at the Valley Stream firehouse who happens to be assigned to the engine, Kevin. Kevin escorted me to the third floor where I found an empty locker to move into. It was good to see a friendly face.

(https://i.postimg.cc/gwp0j4TS/serge.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/gwp0j4TS)
God Bless him, Capt Serge could chat your ear off!...

The firehouse is very tight and the living conditions are extremely close. Before I headed upstairs to the office I noticed L 112 was parked behind E 277 with maybe only two or three feet of separation between the two rigs, the only unique apparatus arragement in Gotham. After procuring my locker I took a quick tour of the new joint. I first noticed that the kitchen was extremely small, in fact it was the size of a galley kitchen in a small house. One wall was made up of the sink and six burner stove, the opposite wall was an opening to enter the dining room, there was a small table with a coffee machine, a microwave oven sat on a shelf above the coffee pot and the refrigerator squeezed in, that was it! The dining room was just as small, two tables were side by side, blue plastic chairs surrounded the tables, with the chairs between the tables touching. On the wall was a table to ”flip down” and held by chains, this was the table to place the food and plates on. Two beat up sofas that saw better days sat one in front of the other in the other half of the room to watch the television that was mounted catty-corner on a shelf. The dining room, tv room and kitchen would be very “charming” for one company, however two companies peacefully shared this “single” firehouse cohesively. And, that was the secret magic of Knickerbocker Avenue!

It became that way when L 112 was relocated from their single house three blocks away on Madison Street to E 277 as a “Temporary Detail” while upgrades and modifications were to be implemented in their old quarters. However, the following night L 112 original quarters burnt down. The temporary detail remained, despite other ideas from the Big-wheels of FDNY as to relocating L 112 with E 222 but failed because of resistance from the community. The temporary detail became permanent and a few years ago, E 277 and L 112 moved into a new state of the art, double bay firehouse at the same location... still in the school yard.

My first tour was a day tour. I arrived early with a dozen bagels and cream cheese and left them on the dining room table while I headed upstairs to change into my work duty uniform.  I gingerly cut through the bunkroom which was totally in the dark searching for the door that led to the third floor locker room. The bunkroom is completely dark, the walls have all been painted a dark brown and there is not an inkling of light. I have to be careful to locate the door in the dark to go upstairs without tripping over something I can’t see. All I hear is snoring.

I remember the day as being uneventful, I worked with a nice  lieutenant that had “Elvis” type hair complete with a pompidou named Marty Helmen. That day we responded to a few vacant lot fires. The vacant lots are dotted all over and on every street where homes and businesses used to be, the lots are stocked and stoked with garbage debris and makes it the perfect target for the local kids to start rubbish fires. It seems like the vacant lots have their “specialty”, certain lots would have stacks of refrigerators, another stoves and still another old window air conditioners, of course, a lot would not be complete without plumbing debris, mattresses, tires

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and at least a few crushed car skeleton remains abandoned. Some lots have a “Mongoman”, who is an unfortunate entrepreneur resident that would burn tires for the steel belts and wire for copper to cash in with the local metal junkie. Every neighborhood had their favorite Mongoman.

In between the rubbish fires and water leaks that afternoon after lunch we had hydrant inspection duty. It was a nice dry cool October day and I was able to see the type of neighborhood and different structures I would be working in. One structure I was familiar with was noticeably missing, the ubiquitous six story Bronx apartment building. Bushwick was noted for block after block of attached two and three story “Row Frame” type homes that shared common cocklofts and small apartment houses. Dotted along Bushwick Avenue were “Queen Anne” type mansions where once upon a time affluent doctor offices used to operate from. Almost every corner has a bodega with a yellow and red awning pumping out loud Spanish music. The main thoroughfares are lined with taxpayers, the elevated “M” line runs above Myrtle Avenue and “J” line above Broadway.

During the 1970’s Bushwick saw a transformation, blockbusting caused residents to flee and  local businesses began to close including the Rheingold brewery that employed many residents. Then during the blackout Bushwick was hit extra hard, many businesses along Broadway were decimated by fire and rioting that never recovered. Abandoned buildings became vacant after residents fled the neighborhood.


My second tour was my first night tour. I met my new lieutenant, he is a young looking handsome boss, he’s tall, thin and  looks like the “All American Ivy league” jock, he has a great smile and warm greeting. We exchange stories chatting at the rear of L 112 by the backstep. He is the first young lieutenant I have ever worked with and his name is Ed Kilduff, the future COD. Tonight he has assigned me to the can. The night tour is exciting, it is a crisp autumn night and we are running to the usual rubbish fires, food on the stove, gas leaks and ADV fires. During the early morning we are toned out to 331 Cornelia Street for a reported fire with somebody still inside. Brooklyn Communications is advising us over the house intercom and radio of a person trapped.

(https://i.postimg.cc/KKh5zSb6/Screenshot-2020-02-03-14-49-34-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/KKh5zSb6)
A young Ivy League All American nice guy and future COD

The firehouse is now alive with activity as guys hustle to their turnout gear and the apparatus fires up. All signs indicate we are going to a good job. The Engine is in front and turns out making a right against the one way traffic and heads to Cornelia Street which is five blocks south of the firehouse, L 112 follows close behind. About five houses into the block is a two story row frame type house with heavy smoke showing. Lt. K jumps from the rig, our inside team is at the front steps and we can see the fire down the hallway. Lt. K orders me to take the can and hold the fire behind the open apartment door as he and the irons man race to the top of the stairs to search for the missing occupant.

I have been hunkered in this untenable position for what feels like an eternity, but actually mere minutes maintaining control of the door and attempting to hold back the angry red devil. It’s imperative I have enough water until the engine gets here to protect my boss and irons man above. The heat is bearing down and I crouch tighter to protect myself, then squeeze off another shot. I can hear the engine as they crack the line expelling the air down the hallway, they are about twenty feet or so and making progress, with that there is just enough water left in the can to take one more final shot at the fire, the can is spent. The engine brothers are now at the half burnt door ready to move in and I’m in their path and squeeze out of their way...they’ll take care of business now. With the fire now being pushed back I commence a quick primary search wherever I can, it is a small apartment flat. Meanwhile In the front of the building Lt. K has removed an unconscious 51 year old woman he located from the second floor above the fire without the protection of a handline. With the fire now under control I am whipped, snotty and completely exhausted and return to the cool crisp morning fresh air while I catch my breath sitting on the back step of the truck with my crew...this is just what I was looking for...And just my first night tour in L 112.

Lt. Ed Kilduff received the Columbia Association Medal on Medal Day 1989 for his heroic actions that night tour.

(https://i.postimg.cc/4m5GwZL5/cornelia-st.png) (https://postimg.cc/4m5GwZL5)
(331 Cornelia Street today)


                                       *******************************************

Readers may want to revisit previous stories about L 112, see:  “MEALS” (reply #19), “CAN’T MAKE THIS UP” (reply #32), “BIG LARRY” (reply #56), “AL DI LA” (reply #61), “KNOW WHEN TO SAY WHEN” (reply #64), “PROFILE, GARY T (reply #126).


Next; More “NO FRILLS” yarns and stuff...
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: res8cue_99 on February 11, 2020, 09:16:06 AM
Thanks John!! Was waiting for the stories of 277 and 112. Great job keep up the great work. Stay safe and God Bless
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on February 11, 2020, 06:38:31 PM
Johnny Gage and I have similar starting points, I was appointed to the FDNY on 12/17/1977, I was 25 y/o.  Our Fireman list was held up in Federal Court for 2 & 1/2 years.  I took the entrance test in 1971, at the insistence of my Father, who was “On the Job” from 1939 to 1960, along with my best friends Dad, LT Bill Spinelli, who at the time was a LT in L-24 (and also very good friend’s with Father Mycal Judge).  I was assigned to Engine Company 94, in the Hunts Point section of the South BX in Feb.1978. Spent one year in 94 and transferred across the floor to Ladder Company 48, much like Johnny Gage. I spent 2 & 1/2 years in 48, working with the Best and Most Experienced Fireman ever.  I am honored and humbled to have been part of that Firehouse.  In Mid-1981, I transferred to Ladder Company 59, the Blue Devils.  When I left Hunts Point, the Firehouse was the Only occupied building left on the block. The fire duty in the BX moved north & west.  The West Bronx burning experience started in the late 70’s and by the end of the 80’s, the same level of destruction that had happened in the South BX was done to the West BX. We (the Fireman) thought that if the BX burning went past Fordham Road, the Borough was doomed.  For whatever reason, it stopped at Fordham RD.  In 1989, it was time to move on, just as Fireman Gage decided, even though it is a difficult decision. I transferred to Tower Ladder 111, the NutHouse, in the Borough of Brooklyn, where I was born. My former LT in 59, Frank Pampalone (RIP) became my new Captain. Great time with Great Firemen.  We were part of the 37 Battalion, were I met Johnny G.  At the time the 37 consisted of Engines 214, 222, 252 & 277. Along with Ladders 111 & 112. Not too shabby.  I was detailed many times to 112 Truck and at that time, we ( Hancock St) called it the Ant Farm. Couldn’t ask for a Better group of men and Tremendous Firemen. I was a Firehouse cook and 277/112 was one of the few places I would “travel” to and cook for them. That was the level of respect I had for them.  After 5 years in TL-111, with the Greatest Fireman and Officers, I was promoted to LT. February 1994.  As Danny says, stay tuned for another chapter...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: mikeindabronx on February 12, 2020, 09:38:05 AM
jkal, thanks for sharing your story
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: nfd2004 on February 16, 2020, 06:35:49 PM
 This is part of the great video titled "Brothers in Battle". As posted here earlier, briefly at the 2:40 min mark you will see FDNY Firefighter Dan Potter, then of Ladder Co 112.

 I'm sure there are others on here that many of you recognize and I know in some cases, others who are no longer with us.

 Here is the last few minutes of the "Brothers in Battle" video.

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIiqorN9ppA
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on February 17, 2020, 09:17:26 PM
NO FRILLS   P 2
"THE BIG BANG"

I immediately fell in love with L 112 and found a new home. L 112/ E 277 was a very unique firehouse with some extraordinary characters and outstanding aggressive firemen, plus they were all about my age. I found so much more in common with my new Brothers and friendships flourished immediately, it felt like I worked in this firehouse forever and did not take me long to adjust to this crazy joint.

(https://i.postimg.cc/TyXNC4Yp/Screenshot-2020-02-08-18-58-43-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/TyXNC4Yp)
(A few of us got together at the kitchen table to discuss a "sign" for the side of the aerial for identification. All the TL's had a name, number or logo and the aerials did not at the time. I presented the idea of a "License Plate" that was bold and easily read. The guys loved the idea and I painted the first license plate sign that was eventually professionally reproduced.)


I’ve described some of the small rooms and cramped kitchen already, the apparatus floor was very tight too. With both rigs parked front to back there was minimum clearance between the two rigs, maybe three feet. The apparatus to park in the back almost touched the slop sink that was mounted on the back wall and there was just enough room to squeeze through if you needed the small toilet in the corner of the apparatus floor. We used to call it the “skel” toilet, you used it only to pee, even with a daily cleaning the old plumbing and over usage made the facility ugly and nasty.

Along both sides of the rigs mounted on the walls were black metal pipe coat racks, overflowing with coats, boots and helmets. No one had a specific “spot” singled out with your name, you simply found a spot somewhere on the coat rack that you used to stow your gear when off duty. Only the officers had a specific spot on the first rack. My spot was on the officers rack where there were vacant spots and other firemen used, too. Space, any space was a premium.

Both rigs were parked front to back, of course the back position was the favored choice especially during the early morning night tours. If a run came in for the other company and you were in the back spot you did not have to pop out of the rack to move the rig. It was comical on occasion when we were busy running late nights and sometimes the chauffeur would forget if he was in the front spot or rear only to be yelled at by the housewatchman, “Truck (or Engine) Chauffeur move your $hit”!

If the house responded and the truck was in the front, the LCC would pull out into the street for all of us to board, then pull over so that the engine could wisk by with us close behind. But returning from alarms especially at night was a different ballgame, first company back to quarters got the “primo” spot in the rear. I remember riding the truck with the LCC and ECC racing parallel on different avenues back to the firehouse in order to get the coveted rear position.

When you assumed duty you took your gear and placed it on the floor near your riding position. If you placed your gear on the truck, it had better be “inside” because if the truck was in the front and had to clear out for the engine to respond your gear wound up on Knickerbocker Avenue. All the doors on the front apparatus were kept shut to expedite clearing for the back apparatus to respond. The tight quarters feature made the house dynamic and unique.


(https://i.postimg.cc/QH1p0xBJ/20200126-165756-1.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/QH1p0xBJ)
(Young Johnny Gage, photo from L 112 Centennial yearbook)

Even our coverage area was dynamic, besides the different structures I described earlier in the previous article, we were surrounded by active single engine companies that expanded our response area. Certain company response areas have large blocks of parkland, cemeteries, college campuses, waterways, zoos or other natural boundaries that reduce the potential number of alarms. Our area was just stoked with blocks of row after row of homes, businesses and small apartment houses full of potential. And the location of the firehouse on the corner of Gates Avenue and Knickerbocker Avenue afforded a quick response into any part of our box assignment. In the late 80’s and early 90’s the Bushwick area was gritty and hardcore, hydrants running, abandoned ADV’s, vacant structures, drug dens with burnt out storefronts that brought back memories of my buff days with Uncle Jack during the War Years with L 31 in the South Bronx. The “War Years” might be over, but in Bushwick we were still receiving “sniper fire”.

Work was plentiful and consistent too. Among the several car fires you could expect during the night tour we responded to many emergencies too. There was a certain time when we “knew” we were going to catch a good job, it was “in the air”, you could sense it. Maybe several tours would pass by without a good job, while you would hear on the department radio other Brooklyn companies going to work...we would be chomping at the bit. But when it was “our time in the barrel” you could expect to go to work almost every tour, and we did.

Now let me define what I mean about a “job”, the simple definition and explanation would be; when you turned the corner of the reported address, there would be no need to “look” for the house number, the reason for your response was clearly obvious. I never considered “food on the stove”, dryer fire, electrical short, trash in the hallway, mattress, etc as a job. On occasion we did three jobs during the twenty four hour shift, which we referred to as the “hat trick”.

One particular night tour L 112 did the “hat trick” on one Box. We turned out for a reported top floor fire a few blocks south of the firehouse on Knickerbocker Avenue and sure enough, three windows of fire... it was a good kick a$$ fire. While taking up the LCC put us back “in service” instead of taking time for a brief respite ordered by the BC. The Brooklyn dispatcher immediately assigned us to a fire reported in a bodega not too far away from where we were operating and of course the bodega was another snotty job. Upon completion of the bodega job and while taking up the boss took the radio out of the LCC’s hand and advised Brooklyn CO that we were returning to quarters for a brief rest, a cup of joe and to change clothes...however, during our ride back to Knickerbocker Avenue we were flagged down in the street, a “verbal” reporting a fire in another top floor apartment, we “turned off the fire”...that’s how residents ask us if we “extinguished” the fire... “Yo firemans, did you turn off the fire?” Yes, we turned it off, it’s now off. Three “J-O-B-S” on one Box, the hat trick...so to speak.

(https://i.postimg.cc/3d5G45L4/Screenshot-2018-12-26-16-38-09-1.png) (https://postimg.cc/3d5G45L4)
(NO FRILLS TRUCK, Original License Plate design)

I remember one of the most outlandish runs during my time with the “No Frills” truck...Early night tour, and we are taking up from a Box near Putnam Avenue and Broadway, the El trains rumble overhead.  I don’t recall what the incident was but a full Box was assigned to the location; E 222, E 252, E 233, L 176, B 37 and L 112. The companies are in the process of taking up and getting ready to head back to our respective firehouses. Then, over the handie-talkie a member of L 176 has spotted an unusual piece of hardware laying against the steps of a vacant building and notifies the BC that he thinks he has spotted an “incendiary device”.

The Battalion Chief working is a bit of a pesky Chief, he is not a very friendly man... he’s stern, stiff and often likes to find menial faults with any of the troops under his command. He is a very handsome man, his uniform is clean, sharp and crisp... his tie straight and tidy, he has neatly white combed over hair with a white trimmed military mustache, he is meticulously groomed. But on the whole...annoying.

The Chief wanders over to the site to investigate the report from the fireman of L 176. Following department procedures he dutifully orders his aide to pick up the “incendiary device” very carefully with a shovel and place it in the back of his GMC Suburban Chief vehicle to take back and secure at his quarters with E 222.

The following morning, the BC has his aide go around the corner to the Police Precinct that is actually a part of the firehouse and share the same walls. The aide is to have a police officer take a look at the device and remove it. 

The police officer walks around the corner to the firehouse, whereupon to his amazement he recognizes the “secured” incendiary device is actually a “PIPE BOMB”! The firehouse and attached police station are evacuated immediately and now have to await the arrival of the Bomb Squad.

From then on, many of us referred to the pesky Chief as “Chief KaBoom, the Bomb Transporting Chief”
(https://i.postimg.cc/5H0QdxtG/cartoon-pipe-bomb-lit-fuse-260nw-100358492.png) (https://postimg.cc/5H0QdxtG)


Next: “Ant Farm, Mole Hole and No Frills”

Hope you enjoyed...Thanks for reading!        KMG-365


Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: jkal on February 18, 2020, 04:21:15 PM
Danny, it was BC Donny K.  A Blockhead.  He would come over to Hancock St to “talk” with Capt Frank Pampalone (TL-111).  They would be up in the Truck office and you come hear the screaming as you walked by. We, the Members, thought it was pretty funny. Donny was also the Captain of 96 Engine, when I was a young Fireman in 94/48, so I knew him then. Overall the 37 Battalion Chiefs left the Brothers alone. We were doing a considerable amount of fire duty then and these fires were being extinguished. I was “drafted” for a month to drive the 37 when I was a Fireman in 111. Good experience but I told the Chiefs, if we were driving by and saw something, I was going in.  Ironically, I ABC’ed in the 37 many times when I was a Captain in the 15th Division. Best part of it was they were in with Triple Duece (222 Engine), one of my favorites...
Title: Re: GLORY DAYS
Post by: JohnnyGage on February 18, 2020, 06:53:11 PM
You nailed it John!...Boy, he could be a real pain in the arse at times...glad to say he was "one of a kind" in that regard.

(https://i.postimg.cc/cvDpBN2m/Screenshot-2020-02-18-18-45-12-2.png) (https://postimg.cc/cvDpBN2m)
(Likeness of 37 BC Don K)