Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Bell is Operational

Today Mr. Bill Parker III and other technicians from the McShane Bell Foundry returned to Salisbury Fire Department and installed the wiring and controls for the bell that was recently installed at the new firehouse. This bell truly has a very mellow tone and it will be interesting to hear it toll at it's assigned time that as of yet has not been decided.
I think tolling on the hour would be nice and also for alarms in some sort of pattern. Hopefully it will be tolled at the grand opening so all present can hear it's beautiful sound.

Where's Bert?

For as long as I can remember Bert's stone stood behind the Salisbury Fire Headquarters, (Station 16) on Division St. I stopped by the Station today to take a few photos and I noticed a hole in the ground where Bert's memorial had been. I remember the insciption said Bert died on duty on October 31, 1931.
It seems Bert just wandered in the firehouse one day and pretty much made herself to home. She became the station mascot and from what I hear always seemed to know when an alarm was about to be struck. All the fellas help take care of her and she was a wonderful pet to all.
The story goes that Bert was fatally injured responding to an alarm. The Fireman buried her with honors behind the station and erected a stone to mark her legacy. I am told that where Bert's stone stood for so many years was not truly the location of the grave, as it had disappeared many years ago with renovations and improvements to the streets and property. The stone however was kept on site as a lasting memorial to this faithful friend of the fireman.
I'm going to look for Bert. Maybe tomorrow I'll find her.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Better Man?

I see Albero has asked Wayne Barrall if he can use one of Wayne's photos of the Bonanza restaurant fire that occurred this morning. Wayne obliged and Albero indeed gave credit to Wayne for the pic. Of course this is all in Albero's quest for turning over a new leaf and mending bridges long since burned. I wonder just how sincere this is on Albero's part and what is really at the root of all this. He has a well established track record of attempting to ruin people and has indeed alienated himself from people who have tried to be his friend. Other than Wayne Barrall I have seen nothing to indicate any attempts to rectify his differences with any one else he has defamed, and kissing a cardboard cut out of the Mayor surely was just another slur towards her.

I know for a fact he plenty of time to make nice to several fire fighters this last week-end.
It didn't happen.

A comment on anothe BLOG--"If it looks like a skunk, and it smells like a skunk, it dosen't matter how it hides it's stripe. It's still a skunk."

Monday, April 28, 2008

SFD Move Day Part II

After the half mile march to the new station the and with the equipment now in place in their proper bays, Salisbury Firefighters took to formation on the front apron of the new fire house. Chief See spoke briefly once again and then along with the color bears proceeded to the three flag poles in front of the station near the recently refurbished bell. It was now our distinguished guest of honor came forward and with great dignity installed the colors to officially open the new station. Carlyle "Corky" Phillips, SFD oldest living member proudly hoisted the American Flag to the top of the Flagpole. Corky is a sixty year member of the SFD and a WWII Army veteran. Corky was on hand at the old Station and after witnessing the closing, was transported via the Chiefs vehicle to the new station. After wards Corky said this was quite an honor for him and he was pleased to be a part of this historic event in the history of the department.

After the American flag was raised, the Maryland colors and then the City banner were hoisted to their proper standards. Chief See then returned to the company and officially declared Station 16 open and operational. One additional presentation was then made from the public. Mr. Mark Thompson of the Salisbury Westside Revitalization Partnership welcomed Chief See and the SFD to the neighborhood and presented the Chief with a check in the amount of $5000 for the purchase of tools and equipment for the new station.

The company was then dismissed from formation and as a matter of tradition took the opportunity to "house" the engine. This practice is usually reserved for when a new piece of equipment is purchased and dedicated the company take part in pushing the apparatus into place in the building. Just a little twist on tradition here the company pushed and old engine into a new building. "Old Number 2" the departments 1916 American LaFrance was pushed into it's new home in the Heritage Center Museum located at the Station.

Operations from the new station are now in place. The administration, training and quartermaster should complete their moves within the next 45 days. A dedication for the new station is planned for June and as that event draws closer I will post information. T

Congratulations to the Salisbury Fire Department on it's new home. It has been long deserved and long overdue.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's Move Day for SFD.

Today under gray skys and a steady light drizzle the Salisbury Fir Department prepared to move it's operations to the new Station 16 on Cypress St. With a prayer and words of encouragement from the Department Chaplin, Roger Kondrup, and with the entire Company at attention the Colors were retired from the flagstaff they were so proudly displayed on. Captain John "Bunky" Adams and Assistant Chief Dru Bragg lower the flag, folded it and presented it to Chief of Department David See to be transported to the new station.

After Chief See received the colors the members of the company assigned to equipment took their assigned stations and the remainder stepped in to the street to march to the their new house. Life member W.N. "Skip Carey (L) and Assistant Chief Jim Gladwell (R) prepare to step off with the departments antique hand drawn hose reel. This reel dates back to the 1800's and was used in conjunction with a hand drawn, and hand operated pumper. Following close behind the hose reel brothers Steve (L) & Bryan Records (R), both Assistant Chiefs, drive the departments antique 1916 American LaFrance pumper. The parade left the old Station 16 and proceeded down Division the Plaza and then west to Lake St. north. Crossing Rt. 50 the procession continued to the rear access road entrance to the new station, marched through the open bay doors and assembled on the front apron where the colors then were hoisted and the Station was declared open and operational by Chief See.

Tomorrow I shall post pictures from the new station with a a very special member hoisting the colors.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

SFD Medal Day

Under a slightly overcast sky the Salisbury Fire Department today held Medal Day Ceremony at Station 16 on Division St. in Salisbury, the last ceremony of this kind to be held at this station. The Great Flag of our Country flew suspended between two pieces of aerial apparatus as Bagpipes and Drum of the Ocean city Pipe & Drum Corps heralded the opening of today's event.

Twenty seven of the Departments members were honored today as well as members of Fruitland Fire Department, members of the Salisbury Police Department. a member of the Wicomico Co. Sheriffs
Office, Members of Princess Anne

Fire Department and several citizens including 10 middle school students whose fast thinking and actions are credited with saving the life of their teacher just slightly over a year ago.

On hand for today's events were several dignitaries and supporters of the Salisbury Fire Department and the fire service everywhere. Salisbury Mayor Tilghman, Delegate Paige Elmore, Sheriff Mike Lewis, Wicomico Co. President John Cannon, retired Chief of Department Francis Darling, former State Senator Joe Long, and of course the Honorary Fire Commissioner for the Salisbury Fire Department Mr Bob Cannon shown here in the second photo accompanied by Truck Lt. Rick Rathel (L) and Mr Patrick Hannon (R).
I am sure I have omitted someone from this distinguished list of guests and for that I apologize.

In the third photo Chief of Department David See is pictured with three of the Wicomico Middle School student credited with saving the life of their teacher in April of 2007. These 3 students and 7 others were awarded the departments Certificate of Recognition for their teamwork and quick action which led to saving their teachers life who had collapsed in the classroom of an apparent heart attack. As Deputy Chief Hoppes said today, These young men and women acted well beyond their years.

Additional awards today included a Citizens Commendation Medal (1), CPR Award (20), Departmental Unit Citation (7), and the Departmental Bronze Star (6).
Additionally the Bronze Star recipients were awarded Governor Citations from Governor O'Malley and Maryland Senate Citations from the State Senate.

Congratulations to all the recipients of this years awards. They are well deserved and the citizens of our community are thankful.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Standpipe revisited

The date in the lower right hand corner of this photo is 1904. In this photo at the base of Lemon Hill is the F.A. Grier and Sons Foundry & Machining Co. In the background on Lemon Hill is The Standpipe. As stated in an earlier post Lemon Hill was chosen as the site for this water supply device because it was the highest point in the City. The area around the base of The Standpipe came to known as Fireman's Park.

The Grier foundry stood at what is now the Farmers and Planters Co. located at Mill St. and Rt. 50. on the North Prong of the Wicomico River. If I am not mistaken some of the buildings in this photo exist today but that is something I need to look into.
Notice the winding spiral stairway around the tower and the platform on the top. This was there so routine maintenance could be performed as needed. No doubt this were removed for safety reasons after the tower was no longer used for the city water system.
Thanks again to B. Records for the photo and information

Monday, April 21, 2008

Albero's Meaningless Truce

Suddenly Albero wants to play nice with the police and firefighters. He claims to have nothing against the rank & file of these departments but I would ask everyone to look at his track record. With the exception of a very limited few Albero has nothing good to say about the firefighters nor has he censored derogatory comments from others while it well known among others he has absolutely censored favorable remarks. In the true light of things he has indeed reveled in the apparent distaste he has created against these fine men and women. Now he wants a truce with them while at the same time continues to attempt his destruction of the force by reaffirming his declaration of war on the leadership.

He continues to falsely deride the cost of the new fire station. It’s been said many times and I will say it again, it is not just a fire station. It is an administrative office complex, a fire station, a well thought out training facility, a heritage center to preserve the departments rich history and a quartermasters supply depot. This city has grown tremendously in the past twenty years and the demands placed on its fire department have grown at an exponential rate. What the city has built on Cypress Street is long overdue and with any luck will last at least the 80 plus years the old station served. I have invited everyone to visit the old station and see the conditions there. I have posted photos of the conditions and still Albero finds fault with the new building.

Albero also claims 5 fire trucks were hidden from the taxpayers in the budget. I challenge him to prove this. The budgets are public record and to hide as much money as required to buy 5 fire trucks is an impossibility. I can’t even say at this point that the trucks are in the budget. My guess is those trucks are being proposed. Equipment replacement and long term planning for such is all part of the process and is ongoing. If Albero digs deep enough he will find many more trucks in proposals for years to come. Albero again mentions an $800,000 fireboat. That figure was reported by the Daily Times but it is inaccurate. The Daily Times was referring to a fireboat in Baltimore and simply stated that a boat such as that could cost that amount. Nowhere was it stated that this was the type or cost of a boat being considered for Salisbury.

Albero certainly has no concept of what it takes to be a firefighter and even less of what it takes to be a department head. He feels the chiefs should demand pay raises and more staffing for their departments. Demand? Sorry but this is no way to run this ship. Demands by a department head would surely earn them a place in the unemployment line. The budget is limited thing. Each department head wants their fair share to meet their needs and careful planning, short term and long term, is dance each of them must perform every year. Demands are not made. Requests are made and justifications for said requests are submitted and considered by the mayor and the council, individually and as a whole. From that it is decided which department gets what and for what and that includes the pay increases for the staff. Albero would have you think that he is almost single handily responsible for the raises earned last year by the police and firefighters. This is merely chest thumping on his part. Those raises were decided in the entire budget process of the city and though he may have spoken up at a council meeting I can assure you the likes of Albero’s voice alone did not force the hands of the city government to grant employee raises.

Albero’s call for a truce is hollow and meaningless as long as any destructive criticism emanates from his being. Should he wish to explore the facts of a given situation instead relying on partial information given him, and should he ever decide to become open minded enough to at least look at an opposing view, then his truces and apologies are nothing more than a smoke screen.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hometown Heros

On April 3rd I posted a brief note about three hometown heroes. Assistant Chief David Black, FF Steve Dickerson and FF John DeMare were recognized by Firehouse Magazine for their action on the scene of a fatal house fire on Washington St. last December.

Mr. Bill Carey of Firehouse Magazine recently did an interview with the three men and his article on the incident can be read here:

Once again guys, Congratulations on a job well done.
(Photo from Firehouse Magazine)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Bell Has Returned! Part II

Bill Parker III at the controls of the travel lift use to move the bell from the trailer to the display area. Often time a gentle touch on the controls was all that was needed to make adjustments in the movement of the bell especially when it came to setting the bracket precisely on the eight bolts set in concrete. I can tell you, Mr. Parker III did his job extremely well.
The bell is now in place. At a later date Mr. Parker Jr. is to return and set the automatic controls that will be used to sound the bell. Today Mr. Parker said he is not aware of how the bell is to be sounded. Should I get any additional information on that I shall update this post.Thanks! goes out to the Parker's and Mr. Malone and the McShane Bell Foundry for a job well done. I would also like to thank Mrs. Bill Parker Jr. for sharing information with me today.

The Bell Has Returned! Part I

You may remember on January 16th of this year the historic bell in the tower of Station 16 on Division St. was removed and returned to the McShane Bell Foundry in Glen Burnie Maryland to be refurbished. This morning the bell was returned and placed at it's new home at the new Station 16 on Cypress St. I have to tell you the appearance of the the bell is magnificent. The Staff from McShane went about their work with the utmost of care and diligence and you can believe this was not a cake walk.
Mr. Bill Parker Jr., his son Bill Parker III owners
of McShane foundry along with George Malone removed the bell from it's trailer and set it precisely on the eight bolts set in the concrete base poured for this display. I am told the landscaping around the bell's display can now be finished and is slated to be done this coming week. What a beautiful artifact to welcome visitors to the new station.
Mr. Bill Parker Jr., Bill Parker III and George Malone work to on final preparations to the bell just prior to moving it from the parking lot to the permanent display near the entrance to the Heritage Center.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Standpipe

Located on the property of the John B. Parsons home is this unique structure. Many folks here have seen it but are unaware of what it is or how it came to be. This is the first water tower the city of Salisbury had, more often referred to as "The Standpipe".
Near the the base of this hill in the late 1800's was the Jackson Lumber Mill #1. A fire of great magnitude destroyed the mill in 1899 and history tells us the city was again in danger of burning down had the fire spread. This stand pipe was built by the Grier brothers and the location was chosen because it was the highest point in the city and gravity was the primary tool to supply the system. The standpipe was built of Swedish steel and was was quite costly, however the quality of the steel insured it's longevity.
The completed standpipe had a capacity 150,000 gals of water, just a drop in the bucket to what is used today but in the early 1900's it was sufficient.

Located near the base of this structure was a building that contained a pumping station known as "The Salisbury Water Works". That structure is now gone as I understand it. The area around the base of the tower was known as "Fireman's Park", and as I stated in the beginning it is located on the property of the John B. Parsons home. It has been overgrown with ivy and though it appears to be severely rusted the structure is quite sound. I seem to remember a few years back this structure was an issue because of it's appearance and in the end it was cleaned up and painted. I would like to see this tower preserved as it is an integral part of Salisbury's history, both the city's and the Grier family that has been so influential over the years. Possibly a preservation effort can be made to once again restore it to a pleasant icon for the city.

A special Thanks goes to SFD Asst. Chief Brian Records for this information and as well as Mr. Pete Cooper who contributed as well.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

SFD Annual Banquet & April Events

On Saturday April the 12th the Salisbury Fire Department held it's 135th annual banquet for members, employees and special guests. I did not get a head count but I can assure you the attendance was huge. I had a few camera glitches and didn't get all the photos I would like to have but I can share a few with you.

In the top photo is one of the best friends the Salisbury Fire Department has ever had. Mr. Robert Cannon over the years has shown more support for the SFD than be written here. I know for many years he insisted on buying the flowers each spring used for landscaping around the station. At Christmas time it was not unusual to find poinsettias for the members, or cases of fresh fruit to be shared, and some times boxes of cookies or candy. Many times in the middle of the night it was not at all unusual to see Mr. Cannon in the station when we returned from an alarm. He was there to simple show his support for the work we did.

Encore Catering put on a pretty good spread too! Fare for the evening was fried chicken, ham, roast beef, new potatoes, green beans, mac cheese and more. The dessert table had cakes, pies, warm rice pudding and a chocolate fountain with strawberries, pretzels, and other sinful stuff.

This year three members were honored for for their service. Acting A/C John (Bunky) Adams Jr, and Lt. Terry Jones received their medal for 20 years of service and Ms. Paula Jones, department administrative assistant, received a 30 year rocker for her service. Congratulation to all three.

Several new members from all three stations were introduce and the Ladies organization from each station also recognized their new and past members. After the program and dinner a dance was held with music provided by "Puttin' on the Disc".

A special "Thank You" goes out to Station 11, Powellville VFD, Station 6, Parsonsburg VFD, and Station 7 Pittsville VFD for the evening. Each of these three stations provided and Engine and Crew to cover Station, 16, Station 1, and Station 2, so that our members could attend the evening festivities. Thank You folks for all you do!

The next event on the Calender for the SFD is Saturday April 26th for the Medal Day Ceremonies to be held at Station 16 downtown. The program for Medal Day will begin at 10:00 am.
The next day, April 27th, Station 16 will move to its new location on Cypress St. Following a ceremony with the removal of the colors the entire company will march parade formation to the new site. There another ceremony with presentation of colors will performed and Station 16 Cypress Street will begin operations. The ceremony will begin at 1:oo pm.

The administrative offices and training division will complete their moves to the new station within a few weeks with much less fanfare. Hope to see you there!Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 7, 2008

Emerson Carlyle "Corky" Phillips, SFD's Oldest Living Member

Yesterday I went to visit with a very dear friend of mine. Emerson Carlyle Phillips, better know to most of the firefighters in SFD simply as "Corky". I asked Corky to tell me a little about himself and this is what he had to offer.

I was born on May 28, 1918. I was a premature baby and the doctors told my Mother not to get to attached to me "cause I weren't gonna be here long. My Dad died when I was six years old and at about the sixth grade I took over a paper route to help out my mother as this was during the depression. I had to pay 1.5 cents per paper and I sold them for 3 cents apiece. That netted me about a dollar week to give to my mother. I started hanging around the firehouse about the same time and soon I was well known to all the firemen.

After high school I got enrolled at the University of Maryland pharmacy school. I got disgusted there and transferred to the Medical College of Virginia to finish. Just before my senior year there I was called up for the draft. I asked for a one year deferment so I could finish pharmacy school and they were good-hearted enough to grant me that. I had always heard that when some quit school more than half never went back to finish and I wanted to finish. After I graduated I went in the Army and took Basic Training in Abilene Texas. After Basic I got assigned to the Medical Detachment of the Air Force. When the war was I over I moved back to Salisbury.

I applied to join the Fire Department in 1946. At that time they had a committee to investigate you before you got voted in. The meeting night I turned in my application they asked to wait in the hall. A few minutes later they came and said I was accepted that night
and didn't have to wait for an investigation. The reason was everybody knew me all the years I hung around as a boy, and that's how I got into the fire department.

I asked Corky what fire he remembers the most and he said the Civic Center. He remembers that because he had just left Central Drugs where he worked to go to lunch when the horns downtown blew. He went to the station a got a ride to the fire. At about 5 o'clock that evening he went back to the drug store to help close up and then returned to the scene and stayed until 3 o'clock the next morning. Another fire he remember is the "Plim Hinman Hotel" fire in Ocean City. They didn't get to do much fire fighting there because the engine he was on was assigned in a water relay and so they were some distance from the fire. He could tell me however that if the wind had been in the other direction that day the entire boardwalk may have been lost. Much the same scenario as the recent Dough Rollers Fire in the same town. Corky said they stayed in Ocean City until noon the next day.

Corky is also a 60 year member of the local VFW 194 in Salisbury and is a charter member of the "Cooties' with that organization. Corky tells me the cooties are the "fun guys" for the VFW that visit with hospitalized veterans and shut ins. About three years ago the VFW and the SFD took Corky to a Shorebirds ball game. He arrived in style riding aboard Salisbury's 1916 American LaFrance fire engine. Corky had the honors of throwing out the first pitch that night and it's a memory he cherishes. Just recently he donated that ball to the SFD at the the last meeting to be held in the old Station 16. I feel sure a place of honor will be found for that ball in the new station.

He is also very proud of his 60 year membership in Wicomico Lodge # 91 AF&AM, Masonic Lodge in Salisbury.

I asked him how he got the name "Corky" and he really couldn't say. He did tell me over the years he has had more nicknames then he can remember. "Little Man", "Half-pint", "Squirt" are names from his childhood. Chief Kido Disharoon called him "Jimmy" one day because that was his fathers name and "Jimmy" stuck for years. In the Army and around the VFW he is known simply has "Doc".

The above photos are of Corky when he finished basic training for the Army in 1942 and of him today. Corky resides at the John B. Parsons home in Salisbury and when I was there he nothing but praise for the staff.

Thank you Emerson Carlyle "Corky" Phillips for your service to our country and our community. We look forward to you leading us in the move to the new Station 16 later this month

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hometown Heros

I have been too busy to BLOG today so I am late getting this one up. Three members of the Salisbury Fire Department have been honnored by Firehouse Magazine, a national publication, for their actions on December 16th, 2007 on Washington St. in Salisbury.

Assistant Chief Jon David Black of station 16, Firefighter Steven Dickerson of station 16, and Firefighter John Demare of station 2 without the benifit of personal protective equipment or a hoseline and in disregard for their own personal safety did enter and remove three victims from the structure and initiated resusitation attempts until rescue and fire fighting units arrived on scene.

The recent issue of Firehouse Magazine was released today. More on this story can be found at:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Chief Wilson Taylor

Over the history of the Salisbury Fire Department there have many many men who have served as chief and have had significant impact on the operations and in the hearts and minds of the men who worked and volunteered there. One such man was Chief Wilson Taylor. I never served under Chief Taylor as he retired before I was hired, however I did meet Chief Taylor on a few occasions before he passed away and what impressed me the most was after our very first brief meeting he never forgot my name or who I was. He always spoke to the men when he was in the building and it was easy to see the respect everyone had for him.

I never saw Chief Taylor wear anything but a Class "A" uniform or a suit. He was soft spoken but in his voice you could always detect authority. Chief Taylor was an exceptionally fair and just man and I have yet to hear anyone who knew him say an unkind words about him.

A reader and contributor to this BLOG offers this brief history:
Wilson Taylor started at Station 2 as a volunteer on May 12, 1931. He ran a successful service station until 1958 when he joined the paid division. He became Chief at age 53 and took over from Chief Austin Moore who retired at age 69. Chief Moore had served as Chief two terms 1934 - 37 and 1947 - 1961 when Chief Taylor became Chief. The salary for Chief in 1961 was $ 5,200 and the volunteers voted on the position of Chief. It was then submitted to the Mayor and council for approval. I 1973 Chief Taylor retired and left a legacy of vast improvement for the Salisbury Fire Department. During his tenure Engine 210,(first diesel), Engine 8, Engine 1 Engine 9, and Ladder 4 were purchased. The first Diesel, Engine 210 was the first enclosed cab fire truck Salisbury had. A rescue truck, modular ambulance, rescue boat, brush truck and tankers for rural firefighting were acquired. The career staff rose to 6 firefighters per shift and a Monday -Friday duty crew at Station 2 in 1969. Chief Taylor definitely knew how to talk to City Hall.
Thank You Chief Taylor for you did for the Salisbury Fire Department.