Thursday, December 30, 2010

My First Time at the Wheel

The year was about 1973 and I was working at #7 station in Riverside. Dick Cruickshank, the ladder driver, wanted to qualify as a driver on the engine in the station so Mickey Gleason, our captain, told Alex Lyder, the engine driver, to sit in the Captain’s seat and take Dick “around the block”. Needless to say it was much easier to get qualified as a driver back in those days. I remember it being close to Christmas and a lovely blanket of snow lay on the ground. Everything resembled a Currier and Ives painting. We had another vehicle in the station that was a small service ladder and it basically carried ladders but it wasn’t an aerial truck by any means. The thing that makes this all interesting is that I didn’t drive it; as a matter of fact I didn’t drive anything in the department at the time; Dick was driving the ladder but he was out driving something else at the moment.

Two of the remaining crew had jumped on the back of rig and out they went not expecting what was going to occur within the next hour. This was going to turn out to be a lot longer than a ride “around the block”. They had no sooner left the building when the alarm came in and dispatch declared, “2500 (I’m not sure of the number) Forest Glade Drive. We have received several calls.” Mick made a brilliant declaration at that time and stated, “I don’t think those guys are coming back to the station”. This was about 5 minutes after the alarm came in! He looked at me and asked, “Can you drive this thing?” (meaning the ladder) I shrugged my shoulders and answered, “I suppose so”. Hey, I was never one without an answer even though sometimes they might have not been well thought out at times. He opened the driver’s door and said, “GO”…. So I did; without him. I was about three blocks away when I realized the importance of his words about the crew not coming back to the station. I made an executive decision to return and pick up Mick. Mind you I had never driven an emergency vehicle ever. This was my maiden voyage and how exciting. I was approaching an intersection when I discovered that the horn also doubled as a siren. That was pretty neat until the spring holding all the pieces together in the center of the steering wheel let loose and came at my head like a Howitzer shell. Making the turn through the intersection was difficult as I was close to blacking out due what I thought was a concussion at the time. How I continued to drive and hold all these parts is still a mystery to me.

When I pulled up on the tarmac I could see that Mick was not taking it well at all. He was just standing there in the middle of the apparatus floor staring at the floor. It must have been a very strange feeling knowing you were the only one in the station while everyone else was at a working fire. I think he was suffering from loneliness

I’ve always believed that a good offensive is better than a medium defensive when it came to problem solving. When Mick came out of the station glaring at me and opened the door I threw all the siren parts at him. “See what you can do with these, Mick”, I yelled. It worked like a charm as Mick was mesmerized as to where all these parts came from! I know it’s hard to believe but it gets stranger from here on.

A considerable amount of time had now passed and we still had to go a few miles to get to our destination. Mick and I looked at each other and thought the same question: what was the address in Forest Glade? Now, to make matters worse, there are two entrances to Forest Glade; one off of Tecumseh Road and the other from Lauzon Road. We chose the wrong entrance. It was just bad luck that we picked the wrong way because if we had entered from Tecumseh road it would have taken us a few seconds as the house was closer to the corner. As we drove to the house Mick thought he had a great idea. He boldly said, “Why don’t we slow down and sneak in?” to which I quickly replied, “Well, seeing as were driving a 30 foot fire engine red vehicle in broad daylight it might be hard to “sneak’ up on anyone in the area even if it was at night”.

I actually didn’t realize how long it had taken us until I noticed that one of our crew, Russ Desjardins, from the back of the engine was changing the tank on his breathing apparatus. It sure didn’t feel like 20 minutes had gone by. I think what surprised the crew the most was that I never got a call from the Front Office. I’m lucky that way.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Digital Christmas

This is really good... A Digital Christmas...sit back and enjoy

If a commercial shows up on the bottom of the video ..just click on the X on the top right of the ad.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You think going into burning buildings is risky....take a look at these guys... !

Let the cartoon end then sit back and squirm : )

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jack Turns 65!

While he is away from his computer, walking Missy, I thought I would create a little post to notify everyone he is officially a senior citizen December 12th . I had a great 'little boy' picture of him to upload but you know how fragile those old black and white photos are so I didn't want to take a chance :-) Please join me in wishing him a Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday Honey.... Love Jeannie...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Here's George at #6 station. He was invited for dinner. Lot's of free dinners going around....maybe I'll drive back to Windsor and hang around Headquarters; someone might invite me in : )

On another note; I remember most of these guys when they were younger... time is a horrible thing isn't it? Then again, not everyone can retain their youthful good looks such as myself! It's a curse at times I know.

Hey, they finally got rid of Bill Hopkins! Here are the pictures to prove it....Hoppy's last dinner. On a serious note...I think Bill will enjoy retirement more than working. I don't think we have a witness that he ever worked....Happy retirement, Bill.... you left a legacy to be proud of..Nice Job! BTW, Sam Hyslop in the front row.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Singing Firefighter Revealed

Ok... after all this time it can now be said that the Singing Firefighter is none other than Wayne Pestru! On another note our wonderful almost retired Fire Marshall Pat Burke has corrected me in that the only official Singing Firefighter was Jack Lambie who heard the folks singing on the decks of the Titanic when it sank. He was standing on the shores of Newfoundland. Having said that we will have to rename Wayne to something like, "The Singing Northern Guy" or some other title.

The main reason that these series of posts took place is because Wayne has created a great CD based on old 60's tunes. As I think back I believe Wayne was in his early 30's when the songs were new : ). Wayne isn't looking for a profit on these CD's but rather wants to donate the money to two of his favourite charities: the Salvation Army and Hospice. I guess the question is: Will you buy the CD to support Wayne and these charities at only $25.00 (shipping and handling included) each? If you want to purchase the CD you can email me or leave a comment here and I will place the order for you.

Let's support Wayne and buy a CD.... there are some great tunes that will bring back many great memories.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Final Guess Until The Reveal!

Last chance to guess who "The Singing Firefighter" is....! Click on video below to listen! The 'Reveal' coming soon (I hope).... !

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Soon To Be Revealed - Postponed

I was about to publish the Singing Firefighter earlier today... but when I heard of Jim's passing... I decided to postpone. Let's all think of past memories.. : ) Jimmy will be missed.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Soon To Be Revealed

Final thoughts? The 'Reveal' tomorrow...(hopefully) : )

Friday, October 29, 2010

Who is he?????

Somebody says he's Boogie Zimmerman... what do you think?????
The 'reveal' coming soon!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do You Know This Man?

Who is the Singing Firefighter?? Find Out Soon!!!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

911 Memorial song

Don't know if you've heard of this song yet or not....pretty good. "Everyday Heroes"

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Great Video

Great video.... must have taken ages to edit. Thanks to Ray L from Michigan for this one! Four decades of musical movie dancing to one song...incredible! Click on bottom right to enlarge.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rambo the Puppy

We have a dog that looks pretty close to this one. If you want to have a lot of fun with your pet you should invest in a Shihtzu! Our dog actually did this with the mirror that we had. Have fun watching the video.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sandor the Great

Does anyone remember Sandor White? You know; the kid with the buzzcut that had a great sense of humour. The first time I met him was when I was transferred to #6. We had a lot of ‘new’ kids on the block back then. If my memory serves me right there was Kris Matton (who doesn’t write any more), Paul Bobbie, who was known for his famous phrase, “Jacko understands”, and of course, Sandor. We had some pretty well established older guys too; Bob Carroll, Mike Anderson, Dave Stroud, Doug Emery. I believe Gary Spratt was there also. But my memory fails me as to the other members of the crew.

Sandor was only on the job for about 2 or 3 years when he moved on to his home town of Barrie where he secured a position on that city’s fire department. I can only imagine the goings on there.

One of my fondest memories involved Sandor riding the back of the rescue which I was driving and I believe ‘Belle River’ Bob was the officer on the truck. We were dispatched to, which turned out to be a false alarm, in Forest Glade. As we were parked by the curb Sandor jumped off the back of the rig and came along side of the truck and stood by my window. I looked down and there he was in all his splendor. He looked pretty official in his bunker gear, gloves and even had his mask on ready to assault the fire single handed if necessary. He looked up at me and said, “Hey, Jacko, I smell smoke; we might have something here! Oh really”, I said. “How can you smell anything, you have your mask on!” The last time I saw Sandor during that time was walking towards the back of the truck.

I saw him back at the station where he was wearing a sheepish grin and he stated, “I’ll never make that mistake again!”

What a neat kid…. I still miss him to this day.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

From Brent Marchant

Three fellows had passed on and were waiting to enter into the gloryland. While they were waiting, they were told that in order to enter, one of the prerequisites was that they could count to 10. No problem said the first fellow..1234…1234…1..2 .3 4…. I forget what comes after 4. I was a soldier in my earthly life and I was used to marching 1 2 3 4….1 2 3 4……

The second fellow couldn’t wait….1 2 3 4 5 6….let me see???? 1 2 3 4 5 6….I was a police officer in my past life and they gave me these 6 bullets which I counted every day for 30 yrs but I can’t remember what comes after 6!

The third fellow says “let me try” 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10…yep that’s it! Once more… 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10… I was a fireman you know, a very noble profession, and I served for 30 yrs as well! “So…. By any chance, do you happen to know what comes after ten” they asked? “Sure” he answered Jack, Queen, King, Ace !!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Past Tales

Brent Marchant sent me a couple of anecdotes about time on the job. I haven't edited any of Brent's stories; these are his words... still funny after all these years

It was a Saturday morning about 7:45 am just before shift change at HQ… so there’s lots of guys hanging around looking for a cover. The WPD are also present because Half Reaumes’ van had been broken into overnight and his vending machine business money had been stolen, and they were doing a report and investigation. The Moon Beams truck is parked right beside Half’s van.

So Sonny (MB) gets in his truck , starts it up and moves it our about 15 ft and shuts it off. He then proceeds to the front of it and lifts the hood staring inside …….. So “wisecrackin Caverzan shouts out, Hey Sonny, what’s the matter … did they steal your engine? To which there is a hearty burst of laughter from everyone. Sonny replied with a very straight faced and stern look… No stupid, I wanted to be sure they didn’t take my battery! The place went bezerk!

Here’s another true one for you. I’m driving the eng out of #4, Randy Meyer is Captain, George Copland and Steve Appleyard are on the back. The call comes in ,,,…medical emergency to a lower apartment on Sandwich. ….seems The daughter was talking with her mother …suddenly disconnected…….no response…….daughter suspects her mother has suffered a heart attack!!

Lights and sirens, pedal to the metal! we roll. Arriving on scene the daughter is already there, and totally hysterical. Randy orders take the door down!......there’s no answer from within. Smash! Crash! The old wooden door is in smithereens They all rushed inside and find the mother sitting upright on the sofa with her hands across her chest and starring straight ahead. . MOM ….ARE YOU ALRIGHT??.... reply ….I’m mad at you,! I’m not talking to you! BUT MOM, THE FIR EMEN JUST SMASHED YOUR DOOR DOWN! …….reply….. It’s my door…. I don’t have to answer it if I don’t want to!! Cpt Meyer says …..oooookay! well we’ll be on our way now ,,come on boys…. Windsor dispatch ..... eng 4 returning

It was a great job, wasn’t it?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Firefighter Tribute

Paula Hillis sent me this clip. Apparently it was created by a Lakeshore firefighter... anyway, pretty good stuff....

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Train VS Tornado

Just got this from Bill McLeesh.... great video ... you can really start to get interested when the rain starts and then 'buckle up' .. :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Every once in a great while you receive a video that is priceless... sit back and enjoy as two dogs steal the show....

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Seatbelts.... A Different View

Enough said...Buckle UP!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Side Mirrors

After all these years we have someone who knows how to adjust the side mirrors on your car. I tried this and wished I had known about this hint years ago. No need to thank me but a few donations would be nice. : ) This might even work for the big red rigs!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just got this from Mario in Fort Myers. The women look great but what the heck happened to the guys? Time is a terrible thing, isn't it? : ) Just kidding... they look pretty good too. Well, kinda.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Taking a break..

Dog Sedding in Banff

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Name The Old Guys

Let's see how good your memory is.

Name the guys in the photo. Was there electricity when this was taken or were people still using candle light?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ace Buchanan and the Switching of the Keys

Way back in the early 80’s I was watching Ace Buchanan pitch golf balls in the back yard at #7 station. Anyone who spent any considerable time at “The Home” could tell you that most of us had way too much time on our hands at one of the slowest stations in the city. I recall many of the guys doing strange things to waste away the days before and after the training sessions (which were VERY intense, by the way). I once heard a story from one of the guys about Greg Seney, who is now the Deputy of Vaughn, and how he spent some of his leisure time. It seems that Greg had a fly cemetery on the window sill next to the chair that he used to sit in. I suppose you need some sort of training if you’re going to end up as a Deputy Chief somewhere. This may have been part of the plan. Sort of like a prerequisite of some kind. Fly cemetery planning 101.

In any event I digress. When I saw Ace pitching the golf balls I noticed that his trunk lid was open and the keys were still in the trunk lid. If you can forecast what happened next I can start to see the smile coming across your face : ). Everyone was well aware just how gullible Ace could be at times. One story comes to mind is the tale of Ace driving a ladder truck and following the leaking engine’s booster tank water trail to a fire. Too bad it turned out to be a street cleaner doing its job.

I always carried my car keys with me and came up with a brilliant idea! Why not switch the keys in his trunk for mine!!! Simple enough, right? I secretly switched my keys for his and inserted one of the keys into the trunk lid while I put his in my pocket. I then asked if the keys in the trunk were his. With a look of disdain Ace just stared at me and decided that was a pretty stupid question; after all, it was HIS car. The plan so far was working just fine. I looked at him and said, “Well, I just wondered why you would leave your keys in the lock if you suddenly had a run and might forget them.” To which Ace intelligently replied, “That’s pretty dumb, Lodge... I’ll just grab the keys when I go back in the building and get on the engine.” “I suppose”, I answered. The trap was now set.

Looking at Ace I promptly said, “Well, what would happen if someone came and did THIS???” In one quick action I threw my keys into the trunk of his car and quickly slammed the trunk lid down!!! It seemed that there was a defining moment when time stopped as I saw the look on Ace’s face. It was NOT a good look. What I heard next was not Ace’s voice; but, rather something that I had never heard before. I was a bit surprised that his head didn’t do a spin on his shoulders like that girl in the movie The Exorcist.

At that moment I thought better of my plan and decided to end the fun right there. When I started to laugh Ace realized what had happened. His next statement was priceless, “Phew, I didn’t think you were that stupid!” To which I replied, “Well, it wasn’t ME who left the keys available, was it?”

I left quickly when his voice started to change again.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Old Timer Hockey

I thought you might like to watch the video of Old Timer Hockey in Florida...if you look real close you can see Gary Spratt at the age of about 102 : )

Make sure you email him with your comments at

Monday, February 08, 2010


I've been on the planet now for some time and have never seen anything quite like this clip.... enjoy : )

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Air Canada

Still want to travel out of the country... This is what's going to happen soon : )

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Jamaica 09

Jamaica in November... Can you say NICE....?

For more samples of what we do...go here:

Carl Wilson???

I asked Carl Wilson recently about an episode that occurred while he was on vacation in Mexico. " I know nothing!" he replied. When questioned further he answered, "Well, I guess they heard of my near perfect record for driving emergency vehicles while I was at the department and also my skills at training the guys how to drive the Sutphens when they were introduced. Actually I think the guy behind the wheel in this incident was Stump Boisvert; he's always getting involved in mishaps like this. Besides, he travels a lot more than I do"
When last seen Carl was looking for cheaper international car insurance.

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