FIRE COMPANY DISPLAYS GEAR
OXFORD >> The Union Fire Company demonstration sponsored by the Oxford Library last week was sparsely attended, but it gave the firefighters and EMT a chance to describe their resources in greater detail and answer some very grown-up questions.
Firefighter Sean Montgomery took the lead in showing the adults and children around the large fire truck. When he opened the tool door, the visitors were surprised to see so much paraphernalia available to fighting fires.
That included the youngest observer, 19-month-old Finnegan Gassner of Oxford, who was lifted up by his grand-
mother Susan Gassner to put his hands on the shiny connection for the hose. He also grinned as he sat in the driver’s seat that was about five of his body lengths from the ground.
When grandma led him away to go home, he apparently resisted the departure and came back to see more of the vehicle that she said he loved since shortly after he was born.
After that, the adults were free to ask questions, and the fire staff obliged.
Montgomery showed the different axes and saws they use to break out roofs to release the smoke. He also showed a device that no one at the demonstration knew existed: It was a wedge of sorts to break out door handles and then turn the latch for entry into a dwelling.
When he talked about breaking out walls and ceilings to get to the flames, he was asked if fire often lurks behind plaster walls and how it is detected.
He said the firefighters used to feel around with their hands, but now they have a device like a camera-sensor that picks up heat and displays it on a screen.
EMT Adam Wood demonstrated how stretchers can be moved in and out of ambulances without too much trouble because of spring and electronic arrangements to take the load off responders’ muscles.
Firefighter Shane Kinsey was asked why large modern homes seem to go up in flames so fast. He said there are three reasons.
The first is that they are large and cavernous in many cases. “They’re a big fireplace for the fires,” he said.
The second is that the materials that are used for modern houses include petroleum-based chemical, which burns easily. The older homes, he said, used cotton, wool, wood and other natural materials, and they often burn more slowly.
The third reason is that not that many houses are equipped with sprinkler systems because they are not required by law.
Erin Miller, the children’s librarian at the Oxford Library, said she scheduled the after-school fire truck event so that children in the elementary grades could get to see the truck. She was not disappointed by the low turnout, however, because she said throughout Fire Prevention Week members of the Union Fire Company had been reading to children at story time, and the fire company had visited several preschools for demonstrations as well.
Nineteen-month-old Finnegan Gassner sits in the driver’s seat of a firetruck at the demonstration in Oxford on Thursday.
Firefighter Sean Montgomery shows off the tools the fire company has at its disposal.
Finnegan Gassner, in his grandmother Susan Gassner’s arms, reaches for the hose hookup at the fire company demonstration in Oxford last week.