Time for some recycled stories for Lou "Old Dog" Rezak.
More from the Old Dog.
The early evening "structure fire" alarm turned out to be a small fire in a trash can inside of an attached garage. It was quickly extinguished by a fast responding attack team on E-2, our 1964 Ford-Sanford 1000 gpm pumper using one of the two top mounted booster reel lines, 200 ft. of 1 inch high pressure, hard rubber fire hose with a 35 gpm flow. Support teams from R-5 our 1968 Gerstenslager heavy rescue, A.K.A. "White Whale" [also known as "The Axle Buster"] using our other two air pacs, opened doors and windows and set up a smoke ejector. Fire Chief George Skelton was in command.
As the initial action wound down, and with ventilation and clean up in progress, Chief Skelton checked in with the fire house on the Porta-Mobil radio, the departments first combination vehicle / portable unit. It was about the size and weight of a 12 pac of coke and had a 6 ft. whip antenna. The chief wanted to know if we had a stand-by crew or if he needed to request a mutual aid company. His call was answered by Past Chief (1953-55) Charles Carey who replied that himself and another 1940s vintage fireman, Elbert Craw were the only ones at the station.
Then, as now, the old guys keep responding to the station, partly from discipline and habit, but mostly because the little boy in all men love the sound of the siren, the smell of smoke in the air, and red fire trucks.
The chief paused for a moment, then without missing a beat, ordered Carey and Craw to respond and stage with E-1, our 1949 Ford-Sanford; the first new apparatus purchased by the department.
Now everyone on the scene, and probably most of the people monitoring the call KNEW that we didn't NEED that truck at the scene, but one gracious officer allowed two grateful men the opportunity to respond to one last fire. It was a class act all the way!
There was no concealing the pride in Charlies voice when he called E-1 10-7, responding, as Craw double clutched the red engine down the road, siren wailing, and the smell of smoke still in the air.
Both Craw and Carey died in 1981, a few months apart, and as far as I know that was their last ride.
The next time you're in the small truck room, take a real look at Engine 1. It's not just an old antique or parade truck, but the legacy of our commitment to serve. Put your hand on that red paint, can you feel the pride and spirit of our past?
That's all for now,
The Old Dog
Check out this little article about the history of our Dept.
Onondaga Historical Society