With our resident historian on a much deserved vacation this week, we were left to find something interesting to present to our readers and membership in the meantime. Luckily enough I think we struck a historical jackpot. What we found is a 1972 documentary on one of the F.D.N.Y. firehouses in the South Bronx.
From the YouTube description on this film:
“The New York City Fire Department has appeared in numerous films and television shows in recent years. One of the earliest was the 1972 documentary Man Alive: The Bronx is Burning, for BBC Television. It was screened in the United Kingdom on September 27, 1972 and followed firefighters from a fire house in the South Bronx: Battalion 27, Ladder 31 and Engine 82. It chronicled the appalling conditions the firefighters worked in with roughly one emergency call per hour, and the high rates of arson and malicious calls.“
It also should be noted that one of the men featured in this film is, Dennis Smith, who was a fireman for the F.D.N.Y. for 18 years, and authored the famed fire fighting book, “Report from Engine Co. 82″, as well as the founder of “Firehouse” magazine.
Be aware, that this film shows some very graphic scenes of firefighters sporting large, manly mustaches and sideburns, wearing scary leather helmets, deadly bourkes, long coats, and 3/4 length boots, as well as riding tailboards, turntables and other frightening sights. If these sort of activities are not for you, please avoid watching.
So, now without further adieu, we present, “The Bronx is Burning”
Edit: While doing more research for this post, I came across the fact that another legend in our industry is featured in this movie, Bob Farrell (seen riding the Officer’s seat in the above photo), who is now the owner of Fire Hooks Unlimited.
From the article, “Man Behind the Tools”, “Throughout his career, Bob’s regard for his men’s safety carried over into the private sector designing and manufacturing fire hooks and fire tools. For nearly three decades, Bob has set the standard for excellence throughout the US in producing high quality products including the Pro-Bar, NY Roof Hook and Hydra Ram.”
It should also be noted that Captain Farrell, while still a firefighter, was awarded FDNY’s highest medal for bravery – the James Gordon Bennett medal on June 6, 1965. This only one among the many decorations and awards that he received while working for the F.D.N.Y. Please take a minute to read the aforementioned article on Captain Farrell, as it contains much more information on him than we can put in this post.
Farrell awarding the “Silver Bullet” award
Farrell using The Irons to force entry into a fire building
Farrell resetting a box alarm after a false call