From the Vault:
I am often asked “Where do you get your stories from?” Well I was going through some photos and saw this one. It was dated Jan. 10, 1900. The caption mentioned Chiefs Smoky Joe Martin (R) and John O’Hara (L) wish Lt. Tom Kain of Engine 212 a Happy 44th Birthday. Well I know a lot about “Smoky Joe” and some about Chief O’Hara. But Lt. Kain was new to me. A quick search of my files told me: Kain joined the FD in 1882 and died as a result of smoke inhalation at the age of 70 in 1931. He died hours after starting his 50th year in the FD. Chief O’Hara would become deputy chief in charge of Brooklyn and Queens before he died as a result of smoke injuries in 1926. Smoky Joe was forced to retire due to smoke injuries in 1930. He out-lived them all passing in 1941.
50 years on the line! Iron men indeed!
They, and the photo, will be a chapter in my new book “Stories of Fire 2.” Hopefully a year or so away. Paul Hashagen Res1cue FDNY
Back to the research!