FDNY Straus Department Store Fire

From the Vault:
March 6, 1964 Brooklyn. The initial alarm was received at 10:30 in the morning. Five alarms were transmitted for Box 491, for a fire in the Straus department store at 173 Plymouth Street. This stubborn and very smoky fire severely tested the FDNY and refused to go out. In addition to the five alarm response, a Borough Call was requested at 5:08 pm, sending three additional alarms worth of companies to the scene from Manhattan. (77-491-66-33-367- in English that’s Manhattan third alarm assignment to Box 367 goes to Brooklyn Box 491). Later, the wall and roof collapsed, wrecking Engine 208 and damaging Engine 207. The flames burned out of control for more than 20 hours.  Paul Hashagen -Author  www.gettinsaltyapparel.com


FDNY Bronx Fire 1968

From the Vault:
July 27, 1968 Bronx firefighters battle a blaze that started on Elliot Place, spread along Jerome Avenue and into East 170th Street. An aggressive attempt was made to cut off the fast spreading blaze by making a stand in a supermarket. The supermarket ceiling collapsed injuring three firefighters. Regrouping, it took several hours, four alarms and the Super Pumper to extinguish the fire. In all 23 members were injured.

The Equitable Building Fire 1912

From the Vault:
January 9, 1912 Five alarms and a Borough Call responded to Manhattan Box 24, the Equitable Building, at Broadway, Cedar, Pine and Nassau Streets. It took up the entire square block. Chief John Kenlon and Commissioner Joseph Johnson watch as FDNY firemen battle the flames and the freezing temperatures. Battalion Chief Walsh lost his life when the building collapsed. Five members were awarded medals for their heroic actions at this monumental blaze.

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FDNY Rescue 1 Quarters Destroyed

From the Vault:
Spectacular photo by John Lee Gill of the 10-alarm fire that destroyed the quarters of Rescue 1 on Jan. 23, 1985 on West 43rd Street in Manhattan.. This was a verbal alarm transmitted by off-duty members of Rescue 1. Box 798 was transmitted at 1926 hours. At the fire’s height flames were venting out more than 80 windows. This 2nd shot was taken by Harvey Eisner, (a great friend, writer & photographer- miss you!) It shows the flames leaping from every window of the former piano factory. The building was 90 X 125-feet eight-stories high. That night the neighborhood truly was “Hell’s Kitchen!”  Paul Hashagen

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FDNY Before Go Pro!

From the Vault: Before Go Pro!
Here is an interesting shot of an NBC camera man filming a Rescue 1 “response” for the Du Pont Show of the Week television series. The episode “Fire Rescue” aired on Sunday night September 30, 1962. The film crew shadowed the rescue firemen for three months and caught film of a huge 5-alarm fire in the Bond’s Clothing Store in Jamaica. (Rescue 4, 2 & 1 operated). Ah several Go Pros and suction cups would have gone a long way! www.saltydogapparel.com


Salty Staches

​Why do so many firefighters have moustaches? The story is really quite simple. Before the days of the self contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA, firefighters had to come up with a way to prevent the inhalation of potentially toxic smoke. Firefighters would grow large moustaches and would dunk them in water before entering a structure that was on fireand would only breath through their nose. The wet moustache would essentially act as a filter. As time progressed so did technology and now firefighters have elaborate and expensive equipment to protect their lungs from harmful smoke. However, no matter what new piece of equipment is introduced the tradition lives on…”

Third Alarm Fire FDNY

This 3 alarm fire at Manhattan Box 99 occurred in the same area ravaged by the Great Fire of 1835 (where 600 buildings destroyed). This December 23, 1923 blaze was ignited by a pile of oily rags left by painters inside this eight-story building at 321 Pearl Street. The danger of the flames spreading was so great that Deputy Chief James Heffernan requested all apparatus south of Delancey Street to the scene. Due to the determined actions of the chief and his men the fire was contained. Firemen are seen here operating lines from the elevated subway tracks and working on fire escapes.