It was a cold winter's night and a strong wind was blowing from the North. It was a converted three story twin dwelling that was now comprised of six apartments. Apparently the man who rented the third floor Painted his apartment and went away for the weekend. Oily rags, brushes and paints were stored in the closet. That is a no, no and sure enough spontaneous combustion took out the attic and third floor before we got there. As a standard procedure in our fire district a house firecalls for a second alarm. The second in company takes the backside of the facility on fire. As you would have it, the house faced South. The rear of the dwelling had a fire escape built on as required by law. The fire was encroaching the second floor front from above. I had ,laddered upto the porch roof with a Pompier Axe. there was a hose team with a charged 1 1/2 inch behind me but still on the ladder. The way that the windows were blackened and bulging, very hot with a red glow and smoke through every crack and seam of the clap board siding I knew that we were going to catch hell as soon as I opened that window. What I did not expect was the fact the second in company opened up the third floor before we were ready and that North Wind blowing in on the third floor, oh my! when I applied that Pompier Axe to open that second floor bedroom window, I caught window frame, flames, and blast and got blown off the roof over top of the hose crew. There I was laying in the hedges and Doctor Fox and others trying to pull me out. I was not injured but I was one shaken individual. Doctor Fox had me sit on the running board of the ladder truck drinking coffee and smoking my pipe until I stopped shaking.
Frank D. Harrisson
Fire Chief (Ret.)