GLORY DAYS VIGNETTES

Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
15,751
^^^^^^ Tonight the Madison St 911 Memorial Honors FDNY Firefighter Dennis O' Berg Ladder 105! And Happy Heavenly Birthday to Sandra Patricia Campbell of Cantor Fitzgerald! And Barry Simowitz WTC!
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
1,064
FDNY SECRET REVEALED! You’ve heard about the Fountain of Youth, right? But unheard of was the FDNY Fountain of Intelligence disguised as a bent tip cockloft nozzle that has been known to enhance the brainpower of many of our illustrious leaders who at one time drank here, at the well. To prove my point, the brother who thought about this doohickey had to be a genius.

After a kick ass job tucked away it was golden to see water flowing from that spigot. Kudos to the heads up engine chauffeur.

swig.jpg
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
1,064
To Remember: DENNIS SMITH
September 9, 1940 - January 21, 2022

“Report From Engine Co. 82” was the first of his 16 books reflecting a time which told the story of the busiest firehouse during the “burn, baby, burn” War Years when alarm boxes were on every corner and the fire department had no idea what they were responding to.
The book sold more than 3 million copies and was translated into more than a dozen languages.

Dennis Smith is of Irish ancestry and grew up in a tenement on the East Side of Manhattan. After a stint in the Air Force, he served with the FDNY for 18 years from 1963-1981. He was first assigned to Engine Company 292, a fire company located in Queens. Three years later, in 1966, Dennis transferred to the busiest fire company in the city, and perhaps the world at the time, Engine Company 82, located in the South Bronx.

Dennis inspired a nation of countless future firefighters, me included. Prior to the book being published I spent several times in the same firehouse as a young teenager home from school vacation riding with my “Uncle” Jack Mayne, a fireman with Ladder 31 that’s quartered with Engine 82. Riding with Jack through the streets of the poverty riddled South Bronx was incredible and awe inspiring. And, now here in front of me was a tell all narrative book. Dennis' writing drew me in and I’ve since read the book countless times. Dennis understood the very essence of the job and was able to convey that to us young wannabes.

In 1976, Dennis also started Firehouse magazine and was the founding chairman of the New York City Fire Museum. After 9/11, he, like many other retirees, worked the pile at Ground Zero, because, more than anything, he never forgot where he came from and chronicled the 57 days he spent in rescue and recovery operations at the World Trade Center collapse in a bestselling book, Report from Ground Zero.

My wife and I were interviewed in RFGZ by Dennis and we became very close friends. We dined together on special occasions, and received Christmas cards that were sketched in pencil by Dennis. We always looked forward to speaking with him on his birthday, he was a special friend to us.

Dennis died from complications of COVID-19 at a hospital in Venice, Florida, on January 21, 2022, at age 81.

If ever there was a “renaissance firefighter,” Dennis Smith was it.
Photo by Glenn Usdin22xp-smith-01-superJumbo.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
1,048
I first heard of Dennis Smith when I saw True Magazine on a drug store newspaper rack in 1970.

It's Saturday June 28, 1980 about 0300 hrs. Like any sensible person, I'm sound asleep. Suddenly my arm is being pulled.

"Hey Houston...Wake-up!"

I immediately recognize the hoarse, braying, Bronx voice. It's Stanley S. (I'd have loved to see him in action as a boss in Engine 50). I can't see his face since it's behind a lit cigarette lighter.

"Hey Houston, do you wanna meet Dennis Smith?"
"Of course."
"Well, he's upstairs with the brothers. C'mon!"
"Ok...Ok, let me get my pants on."

And that's how I met Dennis Smith.
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
676
A glaring omission in the history of the members in the above photo is that Lt. Carlos Rivera E-82 was promoted several times and became Fire Commissioner in 1990.
He passed away in 2020.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
5,598
The life and legacy of Dennis Smith will "Live On".

My first introduction to the book "Report From Engine Co 82", was also from that "True Magazine" in the 1970s.
My father would often take me to the library with him and there on the magazine shelf, was that True Magazine with the headline being something like "The Busiest Fire Company in the U.S.A".

That combined with my earlier Ride-A-Longs with Rescue Co 2 in 1968/69, then on Carlton Ave with Engine Co 210, would change my life forever and the lives of dozens of other friends of mine too.

I am FOREVER THANKFUL to a Firefighter nicknamed, "TAD", of Engine Co 210, who I met when I was working as a clerk in a neighborhood drug store way back in 1968, as well as Dennis Smith who I once met at that very busy South Bronx Firehouse on Intervale Ave.

Because of FDNY Firefighter Dennis Smith and FDNY Firefighter "TAD", I am still very grateful for the opportunity to learn from what I consider to be One of the BEST Fire Departments in the entire Country.

THANK YOU to Dennis Smith on the first anniversary of his death, January 21, 2022, and to Firefighter "TAD" of Engine Co 210, for introducing a young wannabe into the FDNY.

THANK YOU also to Dan Potter, aka "johnny gage", on telling us this story and posting those GREAT PICTURES from the Past as we Remember the Late FDNY Firefighter Dennis Smith.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
1,064
TO REMEMBER; 1988 SUPER BOWL


Today a bunch of us from L 112 and E 277 took the subway to FDNY Headquarters on Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn to protest the planned and deceitful closing of Brooklyn’s ‘Tin House’ E 232 and L 176. There are over six thousand off duty firefighters assembling in front of Headquarters wearing our turnout coats and helmets, some members have a red arm band with white 232 numerals worn on their left arm, others carry signs with pithy remarks.

The firehouse was abruptly closed by Mayor Ed Koch and Fire Commissioner Joe Bruno during the 1988 Super Bowl Game by a crafty thought out scheme by sending E 232 on a false alarm relocation via teleprinter in the middle of the game.

When E 232 arrived at the re-location, their fire apparatus was taken away from them on the spot. Meanwhile back at their quarters as soon as the fire apparatus was out of sight, Fire Marshals descended and padlocked the firehouse doors and stood guard forbidding anyone to enter.

Today the outraged members are upset with the dishonest tactics pulled by Mayor Koch and Fire Commissioner Bruno, there are uproarious rants and sarcastic harangues coming from the crowd attacking them both. “PULL THE RUG ON BRUNO” is popular and heard over and over taunting the meek Commissioner Bruno who wears a hideous hair piece.

The large group gets larger by the moment, Union leaders decide to march over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall and pay homage to Mayor Koch giving him a piece of our minds. I’m toward the front of the assembled troops with my Brothers of L 112. When I reached the bridge midspan I took a glance backwards and saw thousands of firefighters following, an amazing sight of solidarity in black and yellow. This was the very first time the Brooklyn Bridge was used for a protest march by any organization.

We protested en masse for several hours venting our displeasure while working up an appetite and thirst. With no particular place in mind we came upon an Irish Joint opened for business not far from City Hall. We plopped down, exhausted.

A quick round of cold beer was requested and forthcoming. E 277 firefighter Mike Schuman was the first to order while others reviewed the menu, Mike ordered a liverwurst on rye with mustard, crispy bacon and slice of raw onion. All hands looked up from their menu and followed suit with the same order. The cold beer and exceptional sandwich was a delicious finish to a memorable day. However; E 232 never re-opened.

Tinhouse2.jpgtin_house.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
5,598
Although I was NOT a member of the department, I remember very clearly when they closed Engine 232 and seeing the thousands of FDNY Members walking across that bridge.

I also remember the time that my buddy and I knocked on the door to just look around because we had never been inside a metal firehouse.
The guys invited us in and showed us around.
They let us have chow with them and as the evening went on, we rode with them and WHAT A NIGHT IT WAS.
One run right after another.

Seeing that firehouse also reminds me of a good friend and member here, "JOR176", who passed away a few years ago.

Thank You "Johnny Gage" for this latest story in your, "Glory Days Vignettes".
 
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
15,751
As Dan said we assembled in front of FDNY HQ (then on Livingston St ) & marched over the BKLYN Bridge.....afterwards of course we are now in the City Hall area of MANH. .....the March & Rally ended while Rush Hour was almost over but still going on so taking the Subway back to BKLYN (or whatever Boro FFs came from) with I don't know how many FFs all in Helmets & Turnout Coats was an odd sight to the suited up office workers commuting home.....sadly it all fell on deaf ears & a Great Firefighting Unit was gone.....BMA ALL THE WAY....RIP 232.
 
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
276
Maybe you weren't aware that Homer Bishop also had a hand in that outrageous crime committed that night. Another fly in the ointment was there was somebody stealing TV's from the housewatch area when you got a run around that time. It seems they, the thief, had a 1620 key, so after losing our TV we changed the front door lock so no longer would a 1620 key get you in the house. The people waiting to get in to secure the house had to wait for 232 to return to Quarters before they could enter. Also Rudy Gulliani came to the house to convey his displeasure on what was done by that administration.
At sometime before the closing and the Truck moving, Fire Commissioner Spinatto came to the house and said as long as I'm Commissioner 232 & 176 will remain together. Construction of the new house was almost complete and near ready for Companies to move in. And of course as we know that he was no longer Commissioner and Bruno had his hand in it.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
1,064
SNIPER FIRE

I was hired in the summer of 1982 and assigned to E 88. For the most part the FDNY War Years of unprecedented fire duty was considered to be over. Yet, many neighborhoods of the city were still experiencing consistent fire duty, certainly not the amount like the War Years but otherwise steady. Us new kids on the block like to joke and refer to it as sniper fire.

Neighborhoods of the Bronx and Brooklyn were decimated. A dystopian community of poverty and environmental devastation where once majestic apartment houses, now abandoned and vacant, share the street with overgrown lots loaded with twisted appliances, rusting automobiles, busted plumbing fixtures and mountains of green trash bags.

As Bronx neighborhoods were being burned out, the wave of fire was projected to move north toward Fordham Road and the Belmont community. Except the Italian enclave held its ground. The fire duty shifted towards the West Bronx where quiet firehouses like E 48/ L 56 and E 75/ L33 became the hotspots of the Bronx. The neighborhoods were jumping.

I recall a memorable night tour detailed to E 48 on Valentine Avenue, a congested avenue behind the firehouse. Valentine Avenue was a crowded canyon of 5 and 6 story apartment buildings and neighborhood shops. Worn sneakers dangled from telephone lines. Below double parked cars, flowing hydrants, people plopped on stoops, or playing dominoes while shirtless kids popped wheelies on their bikes to the backdrop of thundering music from apartments made Valentine Avenue a twenty four hour block party.

This night tour; E 48 was first due to an address on Valentine Ave, between 183 St and 184 St. where we operated at a typical all hands fire. Later that evening we turned out for what would be another all hands two buildings away from the first fire. And shortly after that job we turned out again for a third all hands in the very same building we had our first job in, but on another floor. Sporadic sniper fire was still alive.
188andTiebout.jpeg
 
Top