When the Gong Rings
A Fire History of Charleston, Illinois

143.  FIRE LOG 1967

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New Ladder Truck;  Wilb Walker Grocery Burns

NEW EQUIPMENT FOR THE CFD, 1967


LADDER TRUCK TRAINING INCLUDED
ODD JOBS AROUND TOWN

 

       Tuesday, August 22, 1967, would include practice in driving the long truck and in raising the ladder as well as working from its top. Firemen went to Trojan Hill football field at the High School to install bulbs in the lighting system. On the top of the picture at the field is Capt. Mel Taylor. Operating the truck is engineer Delbert McDivitt. Also in the picture was Harold Dennis and Gary Wright, school employees. After finishing their task at Trojan Hill, the firemen placed a new pulley on the flag pole at Lincoln School.

 

CHARLESTON FIRE DEPARTMENT HISTORY CHANGES IN 1967
Finally the City of Charleston would make a break through in getting a piece of equipment to handle the large high-rise buildings on campus. The 100 foot aerial ladder would certainly have helped in the earlier Rardin building fire of 1963.

 
Training with a practical purpose:  Replacing bulbs in lights at Trojan Hill
Maintenance Man, Gary Wright was present to help also.  Capt. Taylor is on top.

Chief Milliner, Captain Taylor and Firemen Bud Hildebrand and Delbert McDivitt at delivery of new 100' American LaFrance gasoline driven ladder truck.  The truck came into Charleston via freight train.


CHARLESTON WILB WALKER'S AND BEN FRANKLIN FIRE LOSS SET AT $500,000

 

       Tuesday, November 7, 1967, was a test for the new ladder truck and CFD. Wilb Walker's Supermarket and Ben Franklin 5 & 10 at 505 W. Lincoln burnt in a roaring fire. The fire started at 8:00 P.M. A total of 21 firemen fought the blaze which destroyed the building containing the two businesses. At its height the fire could be scene from the Coles County Airport. Owner Wilb Walker said the "supposedly fireproof building was gutted in less than an hour after the fire was discovered." There were no injuries to the 13 regular Charleston firemen and eight volunteers who battled the blaze for more than six hours. Three department vehicles were on the scene, including an aerial ladder truck pressed into service for the first time since its acquisition in June. A Mattoon Fire Department truck and two firemen stood by at the Charleston station until early Wednesday. Both stores were still open to customers when the fire was discovered at 8:05 P.M. in the Walker store. Mike Mosbarger, an EIU student from Grayville employed at Walker's said that he and two other employees, Dean LaFrentz of Mattoon and John Bell, went back to the stock room on the south side of the building at 8:05 P.M.


 

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