|William Street 1971|
"It was 44 years ago this month and I still remember watching that church go up in flames," he said.
At another downtown fire 31 years later, Jim, a captain with our fire department, arrived on the scene and remembers the odd, eerie "clink clink clink" sounds coming from the building after his men had gone inside.
"I suddenly realized my men were slipping on the ice that was already forming inside and we were hearing their oxygen tanks hitting the walls and floor as they tried to keep their balance," he said.
We are in the midst of several days of intense cold. Bone-chilling cold. Bitter cold. The waning moon hangs in the west in the morning and casts a baleful eye on our frozen town.
The topic of cold and fires came up earlier this week after a Civil Service meeting, when a few of us talked about the difficulties of fighting a fire in intense cold. The number one rule, according to the Chief and Jim? Keep the water flowing. Our talk segued to the additional challenges of fighting fires in historic buildings, be it the William Street Methodist Church that burned all night long in 1971 or the fire in Bun's Restaurant that consumed a third of a three-front block (a block being a building, not a street block) in 2002. Both buildings were built in 1888.
|Bun's fire 2002|
These were not our first downtown fires and there have been other fires since then. In these and the other downtown fires, our city fire