Our firefighters, our protectors

When I was just a boy, we lived on Miami Street. Just a very short distance from the back of our house was (and still is) the B&O railroad tracks, which ran parallel with our back yard at a distance of about 10 yards.

One summer evening after everyone had gone to bed, which was about midnight, we all were startled by some extremely loud sounds, as if something just exploded. Then we saw the sky brighten up immensely by huge sheets of inflamed medal flying high. We were frightened!

As we looked out the window, we could see it was a train pulling several tanks of some sort of flammable liquid. There was not only one tank but several, and they were all on fire and exploding. For each explosion, we could see several huge pieces of red hot material flying through the air. Our house was at 246 Miami St., if I remember correctly. The exploding tanks were as far down as Camel Back Bridge, which now is called Kennedy Memorial Bridge.

As the train continued to explode and shoot up flaming metal, some came a little too close to us, so we moved back. It was definitely a danger zone and much too dangerous for us.

Everyone in the area was in danger and their life was very much at risk. Yes – everyone’s life was at risk, which included the brave firefighters whose life was even more at risk because they were right up there, doing their best to keep the whole neighborhood from burning down.

This has been many years ago, so I don’t remember about the extent of the damage, but because of the effort of the firefighters, I do not think it was to any great extent.

So it was then and still is today, our firefighters do not know from one day to the next to what degree they will be risking their lives. Yet they are out there in freezing weather and extremely hot and muggy weather. They all are fully aware of the fact they have families who depend on them and yet, there they are, doing their job to keep us safe.

My reason for writing is to acknowledge the fact that for those who serve us, please know they are truly appreciated and respected. I certainly am aware of the fact the general public does not show their respect and appreciation as much as we should. I hope that these few words will inspire their thinking.


Frank SanGregory,