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Off the "sick bed" and back to work …

I have good news and bad ….  The good news is that it looks like I’m gonna live!
The bad news is that it looks like I’m gonna live … LOL.

It feels like I haven’t been here in weeks but I did manage to find my way to Lucky #13 today. I walked into the station to find a reserve Engine parked in the bay.

Normally, I hate riding a reserve. I’m not sure why but I do. Today, my feeling were a little different. This ol war wagon got me reminiscing ….

You see, this is now called Reserve Engine 902. It’s a 1991 Gruman. She has a 1500 gpm pump and carries 500 gallons of water. When purchased, she was Engine #5 and that’s where I was assigned.

Those were the good ol days … A private on one of the busiest companies in the City with a GREAT crew. We fought a lot of fire plus we were the sole extrication company in the City (with the exception of a Volunteer “squad” operated by the Roanoke Life Saving Crew). We were assigned to A-shift. The Captain was Tommy Dews. We went through a few Lieutenants (good and bad)  before Dennis Croft got the assignment and actually stayed. Now Captain Scott Mutter and I were the privates.

Boots is still off on light duty so we needed a fill-in today. Just like with Reserve 902, I soon was confronted with another relic from old #5 ….

That’s Dennis Croft. Dennis has been in local and National headlines here of late. He was terminated and then won his job back through the grievance procedure with the stipulation of being demoted. Currently, he’s working here on C-shift at “The Deuce” as a 1st Lieutenant.

See related Croft articles  HERE  and  HERE

The station is now closed, the engines assigned there long gone or in “Reserve” status. Dews is retired but Dennis, Scotty and I are all back on the same shift again. It brings back a lot of good memories. WE HAD A BLAST back then. We worked hard and played hard. That house and crew made the biggest impact of any on my career …. it’s where I became a good fireman. I could tell a thousand of stories but the statute of limitations hasn’t run out on most. The three of us once made a pact that the last one of us  living would write a book and call it “Last Man Standing” … LMAO Anyway, it was good to get back to work today and be surrounded by good memories.

After filling out Dennis’ “Rookie Book” (he’s only been back on the job for a few weeks now …LOL) we headed out to service a few hydrants. We do this twice a year  (spring and fall).

We were talking, telling stories etc while working and it got me to thinking about a few things that may be unique to our area. I’ve often been asked (while out of town) about the piece of steel in my left pant pocket. It’s a “hose pick”. When  I explain that we use them on “snap” hydrants, most people don’t know what I’m talking about.

The pic to the right is my hose pick. When I was hired, most every man on the job carried one.

My dad passed his down to me but I have it put up for safe keeping. The one I carry everyday was also passed down. This one came from now retired Deputy Chief Billy Southall. He gave me a pretty special speech when he handed it over … I’ll share it with ya another time.

Anyway, I know our hose picks are unique so snap hydrants must be as well???

I wish I knew a little more details of their history but don’t. I do know that at one time, the “snap” hydrants were made right here in town.

Now, I know that snaps have to be in other cities, I just don’t know how many are out there.

I’d imagine that they are primarily found on the East Coast.

I’ve worked mainly in the North West section of town and the majority of our hydrants are like the Muller pictured here.

When connecting, the “ears” or “snaps” are positioned at Twelve and six o’clock. You hook the top (twelve o’clock) first then use your body weight to push down and snap six o’clock into place.

After you make the connection, you then spin the ears to the three and nine o’clock position (as shown). You do this so the weight of the hose, adaptor or appliance can’t cause the coupling to disconnect.

After the job, at when the hydrant is off; you spin em back to the twelve and six position to disconnect.

The hose picks are used as a mini pry bar of sorts.

Kinda cool and a piece of our history. When I came on the job, we used 3 1/2 inch supply line. Most of the time we laid singles but if enough fire was showing we’d lay a double. Now, we use 5″ and mostly use the 2 1/2 discharges for gate valves etc. I know there will be some of you out there who have never seen a hydrant like this or heard of snap couplings or hose picks.

 I know how ya feel…. I was the same way when I visited Chicago and Hollywood …. check out these beauties!

See the related posts for the above pics  HERE   and  HERE

LOL … see what I mean??? And you guys though WE were weird…LOL.  Anyway, I curious if any of you have snap hydrants. If ya do .. or anything else odd or unique hydrant wise, drop me a comment and or pic…. I’d love to see em and hear the story.

So, the rest of the day has pretty much been routine… I hope tonight holds the same. I’m just getting back to my posting routine so hang with me while I get back in the groove.

Firehouse Expo  is just around the bend (July 19-23) in Baltimore, Md. Rhett Fleitz ( “Fire Boy” Fleitz aka..The Fire Critic) and I will be there and have several exciting announcements to bring to ya before hand.

I have a couple “Product Reviews” to bring ya this week as well …. busy busy as usual.

 The good news is that I’m catching up on the farm so I should have a little more “puter” time for ya.

The Buckaroo and I have been working doubles to catch up and we’re making progress. As long as he has some candy, juice and his pistol he’s ready to go! LOL

The big barn is full, we are working on some smaller barns and rebuilding another.

I love the site and smell of a barn full of fresh hay!

I have been a little disappointed in the Buckaroo here lately …. I’ve caught him sleeping on the job a couple times now.

Here’s 2 short videos for all you Buckaroo fans … enjoy.


Until next time … stay Safe and in House!

Captain Wines

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