A Detroit Firefighter is in stable condition with a possible head injury after a wall collapsed at a fire.
Crews were fighting a fire in the old Fisher Body plant at Harper and Piquette this morning. Two firefighters were in the bucket, approximately 40 feet in the air, when a wall of the building collapsed.
For the second time in less than 2 years Detroit’s Ladder 22 has had a chainsaw and a large K-14 saw stolen from their fire truck. Firefighters use the chainsaw to breach the roofs of building to allow hot air and superheated gasses to escape during a fire. The larger saw is used to cut open metal doors often found on commercial buildings. To add injury to insult, the equipment was taken from the ladder truck while Ladder 22’s firefighters were fighting a fire.
After the first theft the replacement saws had been chained together with the chain attached to the inside of a truck’s compartment. At the time of the theft Ladder 22’s truck was out of service. They were given a Tac as a temporary replacement rig so the chain securing the saws was not attached to the rig.
This morning Detroit Firefighters were called out to a fuel tanker that had jackknifed and slid into a church. The accident caused a natural gas line to break and the tanker came to rest directly on top of it.
As one firefighter put it, this is “not really what I wanted to wake up to.”
The hard times of the depression were also expressed in song. Detroit Moan, by Victoria Spivey was recorded in 1936. Ms. Spivey sings of the hardships of life in Detroit as the depression dragged on year after year.
As of this writing, the station is beginning day 3 of no phones, no computer and no printer, which means no alert system. Instead, department radios are being monitored around-the-clock for calls in their area.
Detroit Fire Wooden Block Alert System
Firefighters tend to be creative and industrious by nature, so it is no surprise that firefighters at this station have come up with a method to circumvent the currently broken system.
Detroit Firemen’s Field Day holds a special place in the hearts of those who grew up the child of a Detroit Firefighter. Every year Dad would the pack family and as many neighborhood kids as he could fit in the car to go to Field Day. One, now grown, firemen’s kid wrote “To me, Field Day was the same portent of fall that the State Fair is. It made me feel so proud!”
The First Detroit Firemen’s Field Day
The first Detroit Firemen’s Field Day was held at Navin Field (at Michigan & Trumbull) in 1922. The tradition has continued every year since, with the exception of 1933. It has been held in a variety of locations including: Briggs Stadium, University of Detroit, Tiger’s Stadium, Hart Plaza, Ford Field, and is currently held at Historic Fort Wayne.
Apparatus Parade from the 1974 Field Day held at Tiger’s Stadium
Those who attended Field Day would be treated to games, clowns, the Fire Department Band, exciting acts relating to firefighter skills, fire apparatus displays, dignitaries would attend, for many years there would be a raffle of 25 new cars (now replaced with a 50/50 raffle) and in years gone by the day would end with a fireworks display.
Detroit Fire Clown Team’s ties to Field Day
The Detroit Fire Clown team has it’s roots in Field Day. The Clown Team was officially formed in 1947 by Firefighter Larry Scarpace with seven firefighters to perform for the annual Field Day. Prior to that, clowns had been a part of Field Day, but not as an official team. The Clown Team continue to be a highlights of today’s Field Day activities.
Shortly after the article on the Tradition of Detroit Firemen’s Field Day our friend, retired Detroit Firefighter Wayne Isken, emailed pictures of Field Day tickets from various years. These tickets give clues to how Field Day has evolved throughout the years. You can also see how popular culture and current events influenced Field Day.
Ticket from the 1922 (First Annual) Detroit Firemen’s Field Day
A Tradition Begins With Baseball 1922 –The first Detroit Firemen’s Field Day was a one day event held at Naven Field (Michigan & Trumbull). Tickets cost $1.00 and were war tax exempt. The event began to raise funds for the Detroit Firemen’s Fund Association for the benefit of injured Detroit Firefighter, and firefighters’ widows and children.
In the 1920’s baseball entered it’s golden era of popularity, so it is no surprise that one of the main attractions of the early Firemen’s Field Day events was Baseball.
The Capitol Theater (now the Detroit Opera House) opened.
Radio’s were just becoming popular. Detroit’s first radio station, which began broadcasting 2 years earlier, was officially assigned the call letters WWJ.
The Depression Era 1933 –No field day was held. The reasons for this are unclear. More than likely that year’s field day was another causality of the depression. 1933 was the worst year of the depression. During this time of such widespread economic hardship, it would have been very difficult to get enough tickets sold for a successful fundraising event.
Below is Chapter One from “38 Years a Detroit Firefighter’s Story” by retired Senior Chief Bob Dombrowski. The book is a memoir in which it he recalls the highs and lows of his nearly 4 decades with Detroit Fire.Chief Dombrowski began his career as a trialman with the Detroit Fire Department in 1972. Over the years he rose through the ranks to retire as Senior Chief in 2010. He served through some of the busiest years the Detroit Fire Department has experienced. The book is available in paperback and kindle edition from Amazon.
“Pans open,” yelled the cook. I dropped the Detroit Free Press I was reading and headed
back to the kitchen. There, half a dozen guys were herded around our big old Garland
cast-iron stove with all its burners on. On top of each burner was a cast-iron frying pan with
little chunks of fat burning to grease up the pan. In the center of the small kitchen was a
square, green table piled high with food. Front and center were nine beautiful rib steaks (my
favorite) sitting on the white wrapping paper they came in.
“Looks like the cook finally spent the money,” somebody joked.
I grabbed the big fork, stabbed one of the steaks, plopped it in one of the sizzling pans,
and sprinkled on salt and pepper and garlic powder. I grabbed a platter, scooped up a pile of
mashed potatoes and some green beans, then stood around with everyone else, waiting for
my rib eye to finish frying.
I finally headed, platter in hand, to the dining room, a long, narrow room adjacent to the
kitchen. I found my seat at the heavy, oblong, fifteen-by-three-foot wooden table that was
standard in every Detroit fire station. It could probably fit both units, about eighteen men, if
you had to. I always sat