Berkeley Fire

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Berkeley Fire

Still In The Harness

Berkeley Daily Gazette April 10, 1943

Once a Fireman always a fireman. And if you have been a “smokeeater” you are in the same category as one of the old fire horses that would run away on his pension job as a laundry wagon plug a three-horse hitch with a steam fire engine went clanging by.

Guess we have heard about the fireman who retired from the Berkeley fire department say: “Yes, I’m going to take it easy from now on. No more sleeping in my underwear and dashing out in the middle of the night for a 10-cent chimney fire.”

Well, what happens then? After a retired fireman has a couple weeks vacation he comes home and then beats t down to the old fire station to talk things over with the boys. “Nothing like it, fellers, taking it easy,” he will declare.

Some captain or lieutenant will say to himself, “Only a few more years and barring accidents I shall be on a pension and living the life of Riley, too.” But they won’t enjoy being benched either.A retired fireman comes out of a show with his wife and is just about to drive away when the Durant Ave rigs go riding by. “Let’s follow along, Ma and see what’s going,” he says to his wife. Before she can say “No,” they are on their way. If it’s a real blaze he will rush over and offer to help span hose.

You’d be surprised to know how many pensioners of the Berkeley and other East Bay fire departments are doing regular duty in shipyard and other defense plants. It isn’t the dough that has attracted them, either.

Former Assistant Irving Rule has been assistant chief out to Richmond shipyard No 1. Former Capt. James Fallon is chief of the Richmond Shipyard No. 2. Former Capts. Denis Casey and William Connors are assistant chiefs at Moore’s Shipyards. Henry Anderson, who used to be a fire department engineer, is out there, too.

Treasure Island’s fire department directly under a Navy officer has four former Berkeley Fire-fighters. Capt. Walter Zerwer is the captain in charge of one detail and Capt. Bart  Edwards commands the other. Lieut. Fred Klatzl and Hoseman William Hamilton are also on the Island. Former Lieut. Bill Manaugh is in charge of the fire department at Production Engineering plant here.

Of course the Berkeley pensioners are more concerned with fire prevention in the shipyards and other defense plants. That doesn’t call for jumping out of their sleep, sliding into clothes and down the pole. But they can be depended upon to handle fires intelligently should something get started.

Index to Berkelley Fire

Berkeley 1923 Fire
Berkeley Daily Gazette, September 17, 1927

Anniversary of Fire Finds Area Rebuilt
Berkeley Daily Gazette, September 17, 1927

Fire at 1802 Bonita Ave November 2014

Trucks and equipment of Berkeley Fire

Fire Houses

 
Interview with former Fire Chief of the City of Berkeley Gary Cates in 1994 regarding his department's limited access into Strawberry Canyon, (Berkeley) in the event of a major fire as was experienced in the Oakland Hills in 1991.
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