A couple of months back on Sunday Funnies, we had stories
from the police. Now it's the fire department's turn, with some hot
stories of fire and rescue. Over the years, I've worked at a few
jobs that brought me into close contact with the fire department,
and I've always been impressed by the great job they do under the
most trying circumstances. And all of them seem to have great
Oh, yes... I got a note from James Randi, the well-known
magician (The Great Randi prefers 'Wizard'), on last week's
psychic predictions. He noticed that a few of the predictions in last
week's Funnies were actually from a parody of psychic stories out
there on the web. So a few of the stories are made up jokes, the
rest were just naturally goofy.
I was going to just publish a correction listing the ones
that weren't really psychic. Instead, I'll make it the Sunday Funnies
First Anniversary contest. First one to guess the phoney psychic
stories (phoney fakes?) wins a 'Wisconsin' coffee mug from
'Escape to Wisconsin' and an all expense paid lunch at the fabulously
retro lunch counter of Goldmann's Department Store on Mitchell Street
in Milwaukee. (Travel provided by Milwaukee County Transit System.)
Hey, this is a low-budget operation here! Email your guesses to:
firstname.lastname@example.org by August 1st, 1997. In the event of a tie,
duplicate grilled cheese sandwiches and bus tickets will be awarded.
James Randi, who already knows, and some of the other folks I've
spilled the beans to are not eligible for the contest. Sorry, But I owe
most of you a lunch anyway!
Besides The Amazing Randi, thanks also go out this week to
Howard Lesniak, Libin He, Kerry Miller and John Adler. Pull on
your boots and helmet, and hang on for fire funnies...
Have a great week,
HOW TO BECOME A FIREFIGHTER...
An advertisement in the help wanted section of the daily
newspaper in London, Ontario (Canada) listed the usual
requirements for firefighters, and ended with the common line
found in many employment ads these days - except it's not so
usual in this case:
"The City of London is an equal opportunity employer.
We also provide all of our employees with a smoke-free
[ I guess that means they don't have many fire calls! ]
A luxury condominium in Wilmington, Delaware was heavily
damaged in a fire recently. The fire department listed a
cigarette butt carelessly discarded by a construction worker as
the probable cause of the multiple alarm blaze.
The vacation home is owned by the president of R. J.
Reynolds Tobacco Company. (LA Times, 04-23)
- In June of last year, firefighters in El Cajon, California,
had to rescue Heather Jaehn, 25, who had locked herself out
of her house and got stuck in the chimney trying to climb
- Rescue teams were called to the Seminole County Courthouse
in Sanford, Florida to assist a man injured when a toilet
blew up. Officials claim the explosion occurred as a result
of a fire hose pressure test conducted throughout the
building. The unidentified victim did not suffer any
serious injuries. It was the second toilet explosion at the
Seminole County Courthouse in the past two years.
[ Workers there are now using rest rooms at the gas
station on the corner... ]
- A man in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin fell head first into a 10 foot
(3.3 meter) deep pit of elephant manure at the Milwaukee
County Zoo. Caretaker Bob Paykel lost his footing while
emptying a pail, zoo spokeswoman Cheryl Lee said. It took
close to an hour and a half for Wauwatosa Paramedics to
rescue Paykel from the pit. He suffered only minor
injuries. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- Last October 17, firefighters took two hours to extinguish a
fire at the Cal-Compack Foods plant in Las Cruces, New
Mexico, that started when a silo full of red chili powder
grew so hot that it began to smolder.
[ Now THAT'S spicy stuff! ]
- Firefighters for one department were sent to a medical
emergency at an apartment building. On arrival, they found
all of the doors to the apartment were locked and they
couldn't get any response by knocking. But they could hear
noises from inside the apartment that sounded like calls of
distress. They tried shining their lights in the windows
and checked all around the house but still couldn't get any
answer. So they got permission from the apartment owner to
force the door, and followed the source of the noise to an
upstairs bedroom. The firefighters found a couple - ah -
not in distress. After much embarrassment, they found that
the dispatcher had sent them to the wrong address.
- Winona, Minnesota firefighters had to be called to rescue
Mary Tyler, 39, after her hand got stuck in her toilet as
she tried to retrieve a deodorant container that had fallen
- Firefighters were called to a home in Blytheville, Arkansas
recently when a man heard someone say 'Hello,' from inside
his fireplace. It took the rescue squad to free Charlie Boyd
from the 12 inch square (30cm) chimney, where he was wedged
4 feet (1.3 m) from the bottom after having dropped 50 feet
(17 m). The 21-year-old Boyd was charged with breaking and
entry, burglary and theft.
[ Also impersonating Santa Claus out of season... ]
- And last September in Tucson, Arizona, a man turned on the
gas in his trailer home, intending to commit suicide.
Apparently, he didn't realize that modern city and bottled
gas is not poisonous, and he got bored while waiting for the
gas to have any effect on him, so he lit a cigarette. The
resulting explosion didn't kill him, but it did put him in
ELECTRIFYING DEVELOPMENTS DEPARTMENT...
A local volunteer company was called to a transformer fire
that had set the pole on fire. They arrived and began setting up
their equipment to fight the fire. A local resident was
surprised to see them reeling out hoses, and asked what they were
"Putting out the fire!"
"But, you don't use water to put out an electrical fire. Any
five-year-old can tell you that," the homeowner said.
"But the pole is made out of wood!," the volunteer replied.
Of course when the water hit the white-hot and still
connected transformer, it exploded in sparks, knocking down the
firemen and putting out the lights in the whole area.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.
[ That department's new motto - 'We Save the Foundation' ]
Things Emergency Personnel Shouldn't Say -
- "Dispatch, victim is a 5-year-old female little boy...." -
- "How did that happen??" - Paramedic to pregnant women about
to give birth
- "You have nothing to laugh about, you're the patient" -
young EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) on his first run.
- "Dispatch, patient is unconscious, wishes to go to city
hospital." - Paramedic on the radio
- "Dispatch, there are 4 victims ... oh, another one ... hold
it, there comes the next ... 6 victims ... Hmmm, well, let's
say 8." - Paramedic at a very dynamic scene
- "Engine 9 is 10-8," came the radio call from a fire company
leaving the scene of a fire.
"Engine 9 was not sent, are you engine 6?," replied the
There was a long pause, then the dispatcher said, "Check the
number painted on the door of your truck."
One night a chemical plant exploded into flames bringing in
fire departments from all the surrounding communities to fight
the overwhelming fire.
The president of the company approached the fire chief in
charge, telling him that all of the company's secret formulas
were in a safe in an office right in the middle of the fire, and
he'd give a $50,000 reward to the company that could retrieve
them. The chief said he'd see what they could do, but that
safety of the firefighters had to come first.
The fire companies succeeded in containing the fire and
keeping it from involving more buildings in the complex, but they
couldn't gain any ground against the fire. Hoping to inspire the
firefighters to work harder, the company president raised the
reward to $100,000.
Just then, one of the last arriving fire units, a little
volunteer company from a small town composed mostly of retired
men, came over the hill in their rattletrap old fire engine. To
everyone's surprise, they rolled past the fire line right into
the heart of the burning chemical complex, stopping right by the
office where the formulas were kept. They jumped off their truck
and set to work, fighting the fire from middle of the burning
buildings. They quickly knocked down the flames around the
office, and saved the company records. The company president
happily awarded the $100,000 reward to the volunteer company.
A news reporter asked the chief of the volunteers what they
planned to do with the reward.
"Well the first thing we have to do is get the damned brakes
on the truck fixed."
A CAT IN A TREE STORY...
The volunteer fire company in a small town northeast of
Niagara Falls, New York was called out to rescue a cat stuck in a
tree. They responded with their Rescue truck, which was equipped
with an extension ladder. Finding the cat far up in the tree,
the firefighters first tried to climb up, but found that the tree
was too thin to support their ladder.
Puzzling over this for a while, they came up with a plan.
They tied a rope about halfway up the tree, and tied the other
end to the trailer hitch on the rescue truck. Then they slowly
drove the truck forward a little causing the tree to bend over so
they could capture the wandering cat.
The tree bent nicely, and everything was working well, with
a firefighter poised to grab the cat. But just when the cat was
almost in reach, the rope slipped off the trailer hitch.
The cat was last seen travelling southeast.
[ Catapult? ]
© 1997 by Bill Becwar. All Rights Reserved.