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Richard - City Officials Look On As Local Firemen Drill...
City Officials Look On As Local Firemen Drill —BY LYLE EDWARDS— "Get your stop watch ready,' called out the big man, prancing like a race horse, his siiock blond hair blowing in ringlets in the breeze. This was a fire drill. Th drillma.ster was Richard Houren 46. ex-Navy officer, a tough- talking. 260-pound Irishman from Chicago. He was here to show the Gastonia Fire Department Department a thing or two. Looking on were the mayor the city council, the city manager. manager. and a couple of news reporters. reporters. A half-dozen firemen, standing standing at attention, lined up in the center of the paved area. Half a block down the street, a truck crew was poised, ready to dash forwards at the drillmaster's drillmaster's signal. "Everybody ready?" asked the big man. "Remember" — turnini in our direction— "put the stop watch on them." Houren walked into the street, raised his arm and dropped it like a .starter at the race track. "Let's go." he bellowed. RACE IS ON The fire engine sprang forward, forward, its siren starting to wail. its red lights blinking. Then it slammed to a stop. Pour trained trained firemen went into synchronized synchronized action. From the rear of the ruck, the first fireman dropped off— even before the wheels stopped rolling—taking rolling—taking 50 feet of hose and nozzle with him. He started running in the direction of the make-believe fire. The second fireman dropped off. He carried 100 feet of slack —and dived on top of the coiled hose to keep the truck from dragging it along as the driver started up again. . The truck spurted to the hydrant and stopped. The two went Into firemen up action. One front hooked the hose to the hydrant. The other— the truck driver- made the connection to the pumper. He threw the engine Into gear and put the water under a hundred pounds of P res ' sure. Down the street 150 feet away, the nozzle- man po'n'Kl the hose Into the air and shot a geyser as high as a three- story building. •Cut it," shouted Houren like a movie director, time?" How much 'Exactly 49 seconds,"-we said, looking at the stop watch. The big man smiled. "Now that was pretty good, he told the crowd. "Last week It took the men three and a half minutes to lay a line and start putting water on a fire. NEW METHODS Hotircn, who likes to talk, went Into » ffllbiater on the mechanics mechanics of flreflghtlng. He explained his new method*. The oW way wai for fireirien to connect to the hydrant, then carry the hose to the fire. The new method Is to Ukp the pumper lo the fire, have your norale man go right Into II* mouth, while the others take the hose to the hydrant to Tliis way save? connect up. time. "In flrefighting," 'declared Houren. "the first two or three minutes are the most important." important." Houron recalled the situation as he saw it two weeks ago on arriving in Gastonia. The firemen firemen were sloppy. They hadn't had much training. They were slow to respond to orders. "Your fire department," observed observed Houren in Paul Douglas fashion, "it stinks! But I'm going going to make firemen out oi them, or kill them first." He started the men saluting, polishing brass, shining shoes, counting cadence, doing things 'by the numbers." They felt like they were back in the Army or Navy again. The spit and polish was so rigid that one fireman quit. The others felt like it—but carried on. Now the men are beginning to like it. Houren said, and the esprit de corps is vastly improved. improved. "We're becoming a fire department department now," he declared. LADDER DRILL With his usual showmanship, Houren called for another drill. This time a ladder crew trundled out a ladder, stretched it to its full 32-foot length, and put it igainst the building. The second second the ladder was secured another another crew rushed forward, each man carrying 25 feet of hose on his back, and raced up the ladder ladder to the top of the building. building. The operation took 9 seconds. The ladder drill used to take five minutes. Another truck crew laid 150 feet of hose in 72 seconds. Hearing Hearing Houren's criticism,' they re- jeated the operation and cut the ,ime to 47 seconds. The drills over, the visitors re- ;lred to the engine room for supper. This is where the firemen firemen really made an impression. The menu included stew beef, string beans, peas, hot rolls, lickles, and coffee. Slaving over ,he hot stove were Lt. Joseph Waters, J. R. Williams, and Burt Rider who also served the meal. As the guests ate, Houren sounded off. "Everybody in Gastonia," he said, "has a stake n the fire department. If this .mining pays off—and I'm sure t will—your city .will probably qualify for a Class 4 insurance •ating. That means that every- K)dy benefits. I know of one business establishment whose rate will be cut from $1.50 to 30 cents. Think what a saving that will be to them. • MORE MEN NEEDED "The fire department needs more men. Right now you have 12 men—good men, catching on 'list, eager to serve, proud to be firemen. When the ladder track comes next month, you'll need six more men. At full strength you ought to have 50 men. "A fireman needs twice the raining of a policeman. It's more dangerous work, too. Did you know"—the men stopped 'alIng and listened—"thnt twelve firemen arc killed for every policeman? policeman? No, you didn't know Bradley, istrial, and ran the jury home "I'm not criticizing you," declared declared the judge. "I recognize that you are under oath anc that gentlemen may have difficulty difficulty in agreeing. "But I don't think you need more than 10 minutes to agree in this matter." The pair of young men were tried on charges that they robbed robbed Carl Hayes, South Marietta street, of about $47 shortly before before Christmas. Judge Sink Comments About Perjury Case "I have been on the bench longer than any other judge in North Carolina with two possible possible exceptions," said Judge H Hoyle Sink in Gaston Superior Court Wednesday morning, "bul in all my 28 years I have heard the worst perjury right here since Monday morning. "I have been Tiorrified and astounded astounded at some of the testimony brought out in this courtroom." What brought forth the comment comment was .the jury conviction of four young men of chicken stealing. He congratulated the jury on refusing to accept the testimony offered by Bill Tomberlin. 22, Bobby Biddix, 19, and Jimmy and Dean Coleman, 19 and 17, in their defense against charges :hat they stole and sold 22 chickens belonging to Paul Mauney, who runs a farm near Kings Mountain. Tlie theft occurred last August ind the fowls were sold in Lat- jmore by the Kings Mountain youths. Judge Sink gave each of the hoys six months in jail for the thievery and, on pleas of guilty offered 'by Defense Attorney Ernest Warren, another two years suspended for forcible trespass. Nurse Supervisor Leaves For Meet Mrs. Maude Eaker, supervising nurse at the Gaston County Health Department in charge of .uberculosis programs, left today for Oteen where she will attend a meeting Thursday along with other workers in her field from throughout the state. -hat, did you? Your firemen need to have pay raises. They ought to be paid the same as por icemen. They're Just as impor- :ant to the city." Somebody put a stop watch on Houren and he sat down to eat. The cooks came around with seconds. The guests expressed expressed their thanks and the lotmcilmen left for city hall. jRter, they talked favorably of he pay raises—in the new budget. budget. Taking part In the drills were these firemen: Truck crew (49 seconds) — Lt. :ke Iscnhour, S. G. Grindstaff, B. E. Turney and Arthur Creas- mn. Truck crew (47 seconds)—Capt. Glenn Bolick, Jack Gilrcath, Keith Lawlng and Bill Barlowe. Ladder crew — Lt. Isenhour, Creasman, Gllreath and Orlrxl- slaff. Truck crew — Capt. Gerald Juecn, _U. R. C. Wnldrop, J. R. vlrek, tMiri Spencer and James

Clipped from
  1. The Gastonia Gazette,
  2. 16 Feb 1955, Wed,
  3. Page 11

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