Fall River, MA had a 3-alarm fire today and it brought back some memories of the big mill fires in Fall River and New Bedford that I witnessed while growing up in Somerset, MA (across the Taunton River South Watuppa Pond from Fall River). Here are some scans of Kodachrome slides that my dad (Michael F. James) took of the Kerr Mill fire in January, 1987.
I remember standing near the Route 6 signs watching this fire with my dad. I was 14. The big mill fires tended to draw a huge crowd of onlookers from Fall River and Somerset, and of course a huge assortment of apparatus and firefighters. You’ll spot the Civil Defense Rescue 1 squad in the one shot. The flames and smoke were so bright and high that they blotted out the sky and landscape along the Taunton River behind the mill.
The mill fires were fought defensively (surround and drown) and firefighters worked hard to protect any surrounding exposures. These fires were huge and impressive, garnered headlines in the next day’s Fall River Herald News and were the talk of the town for days after.
Glastonbury, Ct had this 2nd alarm on 12/30/13 @1100 hours. The 3 car garage was fully involved on the arrival of the FD. Mutual aid form Manchester Engine 4 and Car 21 assisted at the scene. More pictures at www.squadfirephotos.com
In the 40s and 50s my father had contacts in some of the local newspapers. After a spectacular photo was published he would write in and get 8 x 10 black and white prints, apparently made from the original negatives. It appears most of these would have been taken with a speed graphic, and are of very nice quality. These images are from the "classic" period in news media photojournalism. You just don't see fires or images like these in today's world. I am lucky enough to have access to my dad's collection, and am sharing these with a whole new generation of fire fans.