Lighter moments

By Chris Harris

Dave gets “chalked up”

“We had a structure fire one night,” said David Quinn, Jr., “and I was sailing through the fire station door when my feet went out from underneath me. I ended up in a huge heap on the floor, with all my gear. I slid right down underneath the truck. I’m just lucky I didn’t hit my head on the floor and kill myself. Somebody screamed, ‘Are you all right?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m fine,’ and I jumped into the truck and went to the fire. Well, when I came back from the fire, many hours later, they’d drawn a chalk outline on the floor of a firefighter with a walkie-talkie flying out of his hand in one direction and his helmet gone in the other direction! They said they’d had a reconstruction team there and they were looking into it because the cement floor in the fire station was cracked and they wanted to know why!”

A new fire truck gets broken in

“You got to remember, when you get a fire call, you’re pretty excited,” explains life member Walter Anson. “Well, before we got electric garage door openers, when you threw a door up, it would come back down a bit because the springs were weak. Anyway, we had a new truck, hadn’t had it very long at all, and one of the guys throws the door up, jumps in the truck and takes off. Well, when he did, the door started to come back down; took all the lights and everything right off the top of the truck on its way out. Brand new truck. But the funny part of it is, he had to call the chief and tell Skip what had happened. They still don’t let him forget that!”

Fireman’s Muster

“When Eddie first got his new uniform—the pants and the jacket and the boots and the helmet and everything,” remembers Ethel Doolittle, “he’d go upstairs and he and Gail would have ‘fireman’s muster.’ Gail was about seven years old then. He’d go upstairs and lay on the bed and Gail would holler ‘Go!’ and he’d hop out of bed, pull on his pants and boots and things and run down the stairs and out the door into the car while Gail timed him. I thought for sure he was going to tumble down those stairs! Over and over again they would do this, and they’d get such a hoot out of it! Once, all Sunday, that’s all they did!”

Easter morning in Hell’s Kitchen

“One time I was taking inventory at the fire station with Skip and the telephone rings,” recalls life member Ted Powell. “He looks at me and says, ‘You’re coming with me!’ Three days later I came back from a horrible forest fire in Hell’s Kitchen.”

“It was Easter weekend,” says Chief Floyd M. “Skip” Dunnell, “and it involved a pretty good acreage, very hard to get to, a lot of real tough hand work. We had to make sure it didn’t take off again, so we put a crew there for the night. We’d get up every hour and walk the perimeter to put down any hot spots before the sun rose and the wind picked up the next day. I think there was six of us, including myself. It had to have been just about daybreak when Ted Powell started telling stories and jokes, and we were just rolling around—our stomachs hurt, we were laughing so.”

“Ted’s an excellent storyteller,” agrees David Quinn, Jr., who was also there.

Ted was also the one who, when the occasion demanded it, was called on to say grace, and he rose to this occasion as well. “It was Easter Sunday morning, after all,” said Ted recently, “so I said to the guys that were with me, ‘Don’t you think since it’s Easter morning we should have a short prayer?’ They all said, ‘Sure.’ So I said, ‘Let’s bow our heads for a moment” and we had our own Easter Sunrise Service out there in Hell’s Kitchen.”