Tales of the 7th Battalion


I ran in the 7th Battalion for most of my 30 years on the job. The scariest place to get a fire run to was the Marathon Oil Refinery. I must say the safety crews working at that complex were experts in their field. In all my years on the job I only responded there three times. Each time the Marathon people had things under control by the time we got there. I thank them for that. A man named John Lapoint would periodically call in Detroit Fire Companies for training. He prepared us well.

The only bad incident I can recall was an overflow of a huge field tank near the I-75 freeway. The air was so contaminated with fumes that it stalled a car entering the on ramp to the expressway near the tank farm. The driver got out to see why his car stalled. It was at that moment the gas fumes detonated in a blast creating a fire ball 50 yards across. When the arriving Fire companies got to the scene they found the poor man wandering around naked with severe burns. He died an agonizing death at the hospital. Detroit fire crews cooperating with the Marathon staff quickly brought things under control. Lessons learned at this fire were to be in full turnout gear when you arrive at the scene. Listen to the industrial experts when fighting a fire in their complex and sometimes fate has a hand in matters. That poor civilian was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Any of you old 7th Battalion guys out there with a story please contact me at .

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"Fire Horses" book authored by firefighter R.J. Haig.


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