Trail of the Firewriter…
2010 Road Trip: Day Sixty-two

Yesterday I learned that many of the Union Locals that joined the International Association of Fire Fighters originated in the far west. Colorado Springs became Local 5 and Pueblo, Colorado. was number 3. It always warmed my heart to see Firefighters work together for a common good. If it were not for my Union securing a good retirement, I would not be on this road trip today.  It still galls me to remember how a group of new Firefighters fought against our promotional system in Detroit in the 1970s. They were an organization of Firefighters with close ties to the people who were in charge of Detroit at that time. They were really a puppet of the mayor’s political machine. Through the perseverance of Local 344 all Firefighters are receiving well earned promotions today without having to contribute to a political machine. For any of you who think I am being overly angry by mentioning this group of ambitious new Firefighters I will include another bunch of assholes who challenged our promotional system. They were a group of older officers who wanted to stay past the age 60 retirement age. Local 344 kicked their asses too.

Day sixty-two was a travel day. When I checked out of the motel I met a volunteer Firefighter. His name is Barry Gallant. He is a Captain on the Pawneeruck, Kansas Volunteer Department. The desk clerk said her dad was the Chief of that department. Barry said they were well trained but did not fight many fires. His last big fire was at a grain elevator. It was a smoldering fire that originated in grain dust that had dropped through the floor of a huge grain silo. The gears of the apparatus had stirred the grain and caused friction which ignited the dust after years of accumulation. Grain dust fires are dangerous because of the explosion hazard they present.

Barry said he found a small scuttle hole and tried to get into the pit. He said his Chief had to use his foot to tamp Barry through the hole. It was not until after the fire was out that they discovered the entire eight by eight floor was hinged and could be raised to make easy access to the pit area. It speaks about knowing your fire district and what is in it. Barry said it was a scary situation because many times a fire unit is operating alone. The fire load out on the broad plains of Kansas is not very big but the urgency of a fire emergency still requires Firefighters. I saluted Captain Barry for a job well done and told Jeannette the motel clerk to say hello to her dad, the Chief. I was out the door and headed for the ten hour drive to St Louis.

"Trail of the Firewriter" Posts

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


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