My Father was a Newark Policeman for over
30 years. But I truly believe that he missed his calling.
I think in his heart of hearts he would have wanted to become
a fireman. Not unlike his older brother Michael.
He always seemed to be attracted to the excitement associated
with a fire. As a young boy he took me to many fires to observe
the fire fighting action. His one big whetstone was that he was
afraid of heights. I remember him telling me about a fire that he
went to while in uniform. It was a tenement fire and his curiosity
got him. He made the big mistake of joining the firemen on the roof.
The fire got out of control and the word was given to remove all
personnel from the roof. That was a problem. Climbing up a ladder
was a lot easier than getting onto to one from a burning roof. He
was scared to death and the firemen had to baby him onto the ladder.
I remember him telling me many times about watching the fire house
drill as a young boy. Every evening Down Neck at a certain time
the firemen would go through a fire drill. This was circa 1908.
He would sit on the curb and at a designated hour the fire house
bell would ring. The whole fire house would come alive. The horses
would be taken from their stalls and stand at a designated place
near the pumper. The harnesses would be dropped down from the ceiling
onto the horses back. Within minutes they were harnessed and would
come galloping out of the fire house. The sounds of horse shoes
beating against the cobble stone street and the bells ringing had
to be impressive. It must have been very exciting to a young boy
because it made an impression that lasted a lifetime.
The attached is something like the thrill he witnessed every evening: