Tales of the 7th Battalion 6

Junk Yard Goat

One of the hazards of the job in the 7th Battalion was watch dogs. It seemed everybody was getting a German Shepard or a Pit Bull to protect their property. When responding to a junk yard fire you could be sure of an encounter with a junk yard dog. These dogs were the derelicts of the world. They were mean beyond reason and aggressive as hell. You had to be careful when moving about a salvage yard. If you had a charged red line you could roll these dogs up and keep them at bay. These dogs were clever. They loved to attack from the rear. If you were not being observant you were subject to being bitten. Most of these dogs could count, so if you moved in with a lot of Firefighters they would run behind an old car barking and wait to bite another day.

I remember a run we had to a junk yard in Engine 48s district. I believe Adrian Locke and Carl Anderson were riding the back of Ladder 13 that night. I was the company officer. Central office told us there was smoke coming from the location. It was dark that evening as we investigated the scene. We found a bunch of grease smeared good old boys burning the insulation off of a pile of electrical wire. They were drinking Red White and Blue beer. I called it in as smoke from an industrial operation. I heard something behind me. There was a clanking and clinking sound that was moving toward us. Looking up we saw an amazing sight. A scroungy, dirty, grease streaked Billy goat was bounding down a pile of wrecked automobiles. The sound we heard was his hooves hitting the metal of the roofs and fenders of the junk pile he was charging down. His eyes were blood shot and blazing with anger. He was headed our way.

Adrian said, "Lieutenant, we better get out of here."

I agreed but it was too late to run for the gate. We darted behind the good old boys. One of the men jumped up and caught the Billy goat by the horns as he charged by. The smell of the goat was awful. The goat was bleating and kicking when one of the other guys stood up and emptied his beer can on the goat’s back. That calmed Billy down. He started licking the beer off his coat. All the men were laughing. They were drunk and having fun. “This goat is better than any dog we ever had,” one of them told us. My crew and I headed for the gate. It was a strange encounter. It was a group of guys enjoying life and drinking beer with a goat. It was a night to remember down in the 7th Battalion.

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