ON THE BOOK SHELF
By John M. Malecky February, 2021
By Paul Hashagen
FSP Books & Videos
188 Central Street, Suite #4
Hudson, MA 01749-1330
This is a soft cover book measuring 6" X 9" with 178 pages. It has five stories of fires in New York City in the horse-drawn days. These were real fires. The author was a firefighter in New York City having retired after 25 years of service, most of it being assigned to Rescue Company 1 in Manhattan. He has written several fantastic books, including the History of Rescue 1. All of his books are extremely interesting including this one. The chapters are named for young civilians who were not themselves firefighters, but played vital roles in the fighting of these fires. Read the book to see how.
Much of the stories detail super heroic efforts by the firefighters, who in comparison to today, worked with very limited resources when it came to technology alone. Daring rescues utilizing wooden aerial ladders and scaling ladders make for unbelievable accounts of heroism at its best. Most of the aerial ladders were 75-feet and the rescues to be made were from higher levels. Firefighters worked long hours with little time off. They also had to transmit calls for help by tapping a code on the street fire pull boxes. There were no masks or thermal imaging cameras to enhance operations.
There were two points I learned about during the review of the book. One was the purpose of spiral staircases in the stations, and the second was the origin of the sliding pole. The last fire was of the Equitable Building in 1912, which is probably the longest of the stories and latest in the group.
There is also much information to be gained by the reader after going over the author’s notes and acknowledgements. It is another one of Paul’s fantastic books and one I recommend.