GLORY DAYS

JohnnyGage

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NOTE : EDITED: AUGUST 5 2020:

HELLO FRIENDS, PLEASE NOTE AS YOU READ MY STORY COLLECTION THAT THERE ARE QUESTION MARKS USED INCORRECTLY AND MAY CAUSE CONFUSION. THEY SHOULD BE APOSTROPHE PUNCTUATION MARKS. I HAVE TRIED REPEATEDLY TO CORRECT, BUT THE COMPUTER PROGRAM CONVERTS THEM INTO THE QUESTION MARKS YOU SEE. SORRY ABOUT THAT. HOPE YOU ENJOY.

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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.
 
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JohnnyGage

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TOUGH TIMMY; P 1
‘MEET THE BOSS’

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 know where we would be assigned. A lieutenant held the copy in both hands and began to read off the two-page, double column order of over a hundred names. When the Lt. gets to my name, “JohnnyGage; to 88”, then the Lt. immediately looks up and with a grin and chuckle he says “Good luck, kid, you’ll be working with the famous “Tough Timmy”!

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

That day we could leave the Rock early and go to our assigned firehouse. I pulled up to the Belmont Ave firehouse and introduced myself to the housewatchman. 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...he is going to eat you up!”

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

‘Tough Timmy’ (TT) was the Captain of Engine 88, and nobody dared to tell him what to do. TT was an old school, Bronx ‘War Year’ legend to the core who hammered a ‘no mask’ policy (SCBA) when he worked with you. He was fearless in firefighting and earned widespread respect for his bravery. He was wild, he broke all the rules, to say he loved fire duty is an understatement.

He served with the Marines in Korea before being appointed to the FDNY. TT was the equivalent of the fiery NY Yankee skipper Billy Martin with the same build and fiery temper, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his grinning photo in the dictionary next to the word “scrapper”. TT organized the FDNY Hockey league many years ago and continued to play (mostly fight) well into his 60’s and skydived as a hobby.

Throughout my career I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of firefighters and bosses with a kaleidoscope of personalities. The one that impacted me most was Captain “Tough Timmy”. I had the pleasure of working and driving him and experienced some of the most incredible ventures one would never expect, I went beyond capabilities that I could not have imagined. TT takes all the credit for molding this young johnny into the fireman I became.

Thanks for reading; KMG 365.

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JohnnyGage

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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 of Engine 88; ?Tough Timmy? and positions assigned. As the guys headed in different directions to start committee work in the firehouse, the Cap pulled me aside with another firefighter, his name is Frankie Bellew. ?Dan, it?s warm outside...you and Frankie ride the back step today. If we get anything run the line in but leave your masks inside the cab...you won?t need them back there?. The Cap had a firm ?no mask? policy even with new adopted firefighting safety standards.

?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.

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, a few 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 Frankie and me on the backstep of the rig. Frankie and I do not have a radio, at the time only the officer and ECC had portable radios... but we can see the Chief behind us speaking into the microphone of the radio as the rig pulls to the curb. He is a young looking DC.

The Chief pops out of his vehicle and begins walking towards the rear of the apparatus, from the front of the rig comes the Cap. Frankie and I look at each other like two stooges. The Chief speaks first while pointing to us; ?Hey Cap, c?mon now, you know the days of riding the back step are over, get those men off the back step?. The Cap looks at us bewildered and says; ?You two know better than to be back there! get inside the rig?. To our chagrin we both hop down from the backstep and proceed to the cab of the engine.

The Deputy Chief now satisfied gets back into his chief?s car and drives off without a wave.

With the DC out of sight, the Cap comes over to me and Frankie with a grin; ?you and Frankie ride the backstep. 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.

 

enginecap

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?Hey Cap, you want me to give a 10-75?  ?
?Hell no, let the incoming units  be as surprised as we were?

 

nfd2004

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JohnnyGage said:
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.
 

nfd2004

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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 
 

raybrag

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nfd2004 said:
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 ::)
 

fdce54

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raybrag said:
nfd2004 said:
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.
 

nfd2004

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nfd2004 said:
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
 

mack

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JohnnyGage said:
?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.


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

   

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)



   
 

JohnnyGage

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TOUGH TIMMY: Part 3
"Da Caper"

I?m detailed for a day tour to L 38. I?m with another brother, from the truck; Joey Daprince. We are both on the apparatus floor heading towards the truck kitchen when Joey mentions something is odd, something missing. We have been walking in and out of the kitchen all day for runs, etc. but we kept feeling something was not right, finally it dawned on us. Over the door to the kitchen suspended from the ceiling on chains was a large wooden key made in the shape of a 1620 key. It was proudly handmade by a member of L 38. The artifact was about 3 feet long, two foot wide and painted bright yellow with the wording ?Da Key to Da Bronx?. A proud ornament that has been hanging above the kitchen door for quite some time. Now it was gone, missing, stolen.

It was time to investigate, the previous night L 38 caught a job, Joey and I checked the HW journal and noticed L 19 had relocated to our firehouse. The mystery of the missing key was  resolved...it was common knowledge and well known that L 19 amused themselves by copping a memento from each company they relocated to as a souvenir and brought back to their firehouse. With the mystery solved we were not about to let this gag go and so Joey devised this brilliant plan!

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

L 19 HW: 19 Truck FF so and so?
Joey (acting as Capt. Gallagher):  This is Captain 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 you're talking about, Cap?.
Joey:  ?You know damn well what I?m talking about, the key sign that was hanging over the kitchen door, that said ?Da Pride of Da Bronx?... and 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, Mister!?
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! The joke is on them.

But now toward the end of the day tour as we were preparing to head home we noticed Captain Gallagher 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 pissed off boss ready to punch you know who in the nose?

Joey and I slipped into the  Captains office where he was changing into his work duty uniform. ?Cap, er, there?s something we should tell you?? , we go on and tell him about the phone call and warn him; ?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!  And says; ?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 happened!?.

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

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!      KMG-365


(Thanks mack for above post! Outstanding.)
 

JohnnyGage

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MEALS; Part 1 
COOKS and CHEFS

E 88 and L 38 was a neighborhood firehouse, It was customary to welcome any visitor, detailed fireman or covering officer with kindness and respect and a reputation for being one of the cleanest and orderly firehouses in the city. I have heard other firefighters and officers refer to Belmont Avenue as the ?Flagship? of da Bronx. It was easy to see why.

The firehouse and apparatus was remarkably clean, despite all the activity.  It was not unusual to see a few of the senior members scrubbing down the stove or cleaning out the refrigerator during the middle of the night. I remember watching a senior member ask a proby if he would like to ?drive the rig one day?? Of course the proby excitedly responded; ?Yes, sure!? whereupon the senior member gave the proby a broom and told him to practice driving ?it? around the apparatus floor.

The second floor could be considered a museum with many historical house artifacts, news clippings and photos adorning the hallways in an orderly fashion. The original bunks have been reconditioned to look new and original wooden floors polished and reconditioned. Brass poles shine.  L 38 was considered a ?senior company?. There were only a handful of us greenhorns that began to infiltrate the roster and we took direction from the senior masters. Heck, I wasn?t even allowed to wash the rig, instead I was given a particular brush and shown how to use it on the rims!

In addition to the cleanliness of the firehouse and rigs it was well known for our meals. Many firehouses have guys that can cook and prepare a meal very well and some firehouses are lucky to have maybe a ?Chef?. We had both. Fortunately our firehouse was a stone's throw from Arthur Avenue; the ?Little Italy? section of the Bronx where people came from all over to shop fresh produce, fish, meats, bread, pasta and pastry in small mom and pop markets. We shopped there daily to procure our meals as did many of the surrounding companies.

For the meal prep; the rule of law in most firehouses was for everyone to partake in the preparation of the meal; you either sliced, diced, chopped, 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?.

We had fine cooks on Belmont Avenue, however, L 38 had three outstanding Chefs that could have operated a four star restaurant anywhere in the City. Each had a distinctive flair and cuisine. LCC and Seniorman Gil Crucci made outstanding comfort food. His special entree was a sweet and sour chicken dish. Fried medallions of white meat chicken, lightly drizzled with ?Chinese Duck Sauce?, sauteed onions with thin sliced red, yellow and ?hot? green peppers, chopped pineapple with a few maraschino cherries for color. Stir the mixture in a large bowl, place in the oven, covered. At just the right time, remove from the oven and spoon over yellow fluffy rice. This meal stuck to your ribs.

Next was Tommy ?Sidecar?. Tommy was a throwback fisherman, also one of the four ladder chauffeurs along with Gil. Tom would wear dark brown dockers instead of work duty black shoes, but that did not stop him from creating outrageous fresh fish dinners. Everytime Tommy cooked his fish meals they were crazy good, never the same, and never fried.

Then there was Ray Brentway. Ray and his wife would dine at the finest restaurants, he?d select something a little different on the menu, ask how the chef prepared it and what ingredients he used. Ray was a very friendly guy, had a great sense of humor and charm, if you met him you instantly liked him. After dining out with his wife the next time Ray worked he would come into the firehouse with arms filled with bags and bags of trimmings he needed to prepare his dish. You could see he had a look of determination and eagerness to get his meal going! 

With the good fortune of being close to so many bakeries our meals were served with different styles of fresh Italian bread. ?Sidecar? Tom had a cool policy; a knife could not touch the bread, we ripped it with our (clean) hands. Of course the dinner did not just end. Afterwards we enjoyed fresh pastry, Italian cookies or cheesecake from one of the many local bakeries. And what fine meal wouldn?t be complete with a cup of hot espresso garnished with a small sliced lemon peel from our own espresso machine?

Word circulated around the job about the L 38 meals. In fact we had Fire Commissioner Spinnato and his driver dine with us on many occasions, once we even drew up a special menu and had copies printed when the Commish came!

Author of ?Report from Engine Co. 82? and renowned war years legend fireman Dennis Smith ran an ?essay? contest in his ?Firehouse Magazine?;  I forget the topic, however the first place winner won a wad of cash and a dinner at a NYC Firehouse ?to be selected?. Yep, L 38 was selected. I happened to be working that night when Dennis, the successful essay writer and guests walked into the firehouse and kitchen. After their dinner and dessert, I could say their experience was an ?overwhelming delight beyond expectation?.


Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed...stay tuned for MEALS; Part 2, ?Eating with the rats?...KMG-365
 

bxengine

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Mar 30, 2011
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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.
 

Lebby

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Feb 27, 2015
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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?
 

JohnnyGage

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Lebby said:
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!...
 

8060rock

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Feb 9, 2018
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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!
 

turk132

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Nov 3, 2007
Messages
544
Lebby said:
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)
 

JohnnyGage

Active member
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
699
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




 

JohnnyGage

Active member
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
699
MEALS; P 3
?SOMETHING IS IN THE AIR?

I remember it well, summer of 1992. It was the usual hot sticky night in Bushwick. Walking across Knickerbocker Avenue 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. And, because it?s summer you have to keep a vigilant eye on the upper floor of the firehouse for the bucket brigade that loves to catch you ?not looking?. I checked into the housewatch and  looked at the incoming riding list. From the riding list I could tell we were going to have a good group of guys working tonight.

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. The troops were working up an appetite, the Engine had the meal and served it promptly at 2100 hours...Normalcy ended shortly after.

As I?ve explained before in another thread, the Knickerbocker Avenue quarters was designed for a single engine company, E 277. L 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). The temporary relocation became permanent. The apparatus was positioned front to back behind a single bay apparatus door. Simply put, you had two companies squeezed together, not the best living condition. Bathrooms were few, one portable shower was installed on the third floor locker room, day rooms were way too 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 accommodate two couches, one in front of the other in front of a wall mounted TV. The second couch was raised a few inches to view the television better.

In the dining room there were two tables. One in front of the other. Engine guys usually sat at one table, truck guys on the other. Two guys would sit in the middle against the outside walls of the room, one on the ends and  four would sit squished inside ?no man's zone? between the two tables. Seating for 12, barely.

I don?t know what started it, but ?whatever? it could be didn?t matter; perhaps it was simply a flick of a string bean, maybe it was a toss of a bun that had a little uncalled ?ummph? on it. But it started and escalated. A little more tossing of food from one table to the other. Guys were beginning to position themselves... for they knew what was close at hand.

Incoming artillery was striking guys on both sides. It got brutal. The engine lieutenant who was sitting in the middle row of ?no man?s land? trying to eat in peace and ignore the surrounding shenanigans was abruptly struck, taking a direct hit to the back of his bald head with a handful of mash potatoes and gravy. This usually very calm and collected boss became unglued in a flash. He jumped to his feet, and without looking at anyone demanded an immediate cease fire.

Both sides shut down the attack, a truce, giggling and kindly went back to eating. However, we continued to ?eyeball? each other as we ate.

I was sitting next to my truck buddy Ira against the back wall. He was the recipient of the first barrage of food from the engine table. The culprit was the diabolical Joey who fired the first volly.

I goaded Ira as he was looking at the food that remained on his plate. ?Did you see that?? I said in a surprising fashion. ?No,? said Ira. The instigator that I am disclosing, ?Joey just gave you the finger while you weren?t looking?.  That?s all it took, I pressed Ira?s button...

Timing could not have been better, the stars were lining up, just then the department phone mounted on the dining room above Joey?s head rang. Joey stood up, grabbed the receiver to answer ?Engine 277 ?..?, It was then that Ira took a handful of the jelly cranberry sauce, pitching from the stretch he threw a devastating direct hit to the side of Joey's head at close proximity with such accuracy and force it sounded like a ?thwack? of spackle being slammed against a marble wall and splattering everywhere. The results looked uglier than ?Custer's last stand!?. Cranberry was everywhere. The telephone mouthpiece had to be taken apart to clean out the sauce that was driven into the mouthpiece holes.

Of course, the kitchen and dining room was returned to order. The engine boss never said a word and headed upstairs, ever the gentleman.

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 E 252. Joey had the nob, he is a solid firefighting machine as are 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 alright...cranberry sauce!


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



 
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