"HELP! SAVE ME!" were the blood curdling screams being heard by a throng of people. The screams were coming from a window on the second floor. There was a white smoky mist emanating from the second floor window. There seemed to be a fire within. The Ladder Company crew, which included Lieutenant Phil McMurray Sr., his son (and future chief) Phil McMurray Jr., and Joe Lanning were some of those who instantly responded. The Ladder Truck was positioned, the outriggers were placed in an excellent position and were extended. The bucket was being raised by Lieutenant Phil McMurray Sr. while Joe Lanning manned the Turntable. The trapped victim kept screaming hysterically: "HURRY UP. I AM IN HEAT!" The victim could be seen through the white mist at the window.
The bucket was raised quickly and then carefully approached above the window. It gradually then was lowered to the window where the victim was still screaming. The victim was told to calm down and carefully step into the bucket. He was helped by his rescuer into the bucket and then lowered to the ground safely.. The Brewster Fire Department (BFD) Open House crowd clapped their approval of this Brewster Fire Prevention demonstration..
The victim who was rescued showed his appreciation by kissing several of his rescuers including Chief Palmer. One of his rescuers stated that the victim had a run in his panty hose! Another rescuer warned him that if he tried to kiss him, he would knock him out!
Fire Prevention Open House has continued (except during COVID) annually. It is now even bigger and better since the 1996 event described above. Under the direction of Fireman Ken, with the help of Tom Lannon, the Chiefs, Officers, and members of the Brewster Fire Department the presentation has greatly expanded. The event is held every October at the BFD firehouse in the Village of Brewster.
Some of the safety tips include:
1. Half of all home electrical fires are electrical in nature and involve home wiring or lighting equipment.
a. Use light bulbs that do not exceed the recommended wattage of the fixture.
b. Never run a major appliance such as a dryer, washing machine, or refrigerator on an extension cord.
(Extension cords are for temporary use)
c. Have a licensed electrician install outlets when and where you need them.
2 .Kitchen fires make up a substantial number of fires Try to stay in the kitchen while cooking.
3. Never extinguish a grease fire with water rather:
a.turn off the heat
b. cover the fire with a lid
c. if handy, use an ABC fire extinguisher
3. During the winter months fires occur more frequently
a. Keep Space Heaters away from drapes, couches, pillows and anything that is combustible.
b. Unplug Space Heaters when leaving the room, going to sleep, or exiting the house
c. Have your chimney and flue checked every Fall
4. During power outages never run a generator in the garage or too close to your home
5 Test your smoke and carbon detectors frequently
6. Have an escape plan which includes a place to meet (such as a mailbox)
7. Have a fire drill at home, practice it and discuss secondary exits as well
Open House is just one of the BFD Fire Prevention events held in October. In October of 2022, the BFD attended nineteen area schools which included nursery schools, preschools as well other area schools. Fireman Ken (Kenny Clair) organizers and directs these events with the assistance of BFD members.
Hopefully you and your family will never have to sy: "HELP! SAVE ME!."
Kenny Clair, Brewster Southeast Joint Fire District Commissioner and former Brewster Fire Department Chief
Jim Delawder, The "victim", former Ladder Captain, and author of this article
Frank Becerra, photographer of pictures 12-29
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Plan to attend Fire Prevention Open House in the future.