First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Another chemical engine explosion

Follow-up to this weekend's discussion

Someone sent me this discussion thread he started,

From Tom Scott:

In Matt Lee's "A Pictorial History of the Fire Engine – Volume 1"(Page 257), there is a picture of an early rig with a Holloway chemical tank which had -"popped a seam while preparing for a Fourth of July parade killing fireman Fred Heavrin" of Bloomfield, Nebraska. The apparatus also suffered major damage.

from Larry D. Christiansen:

Its main components were two horizontal tanks each holding between 26 and 35 gallons of water and the chemical hose dispensed from the hose reel behind the driver’s seat. taken from Logan’s Firestorm Over New Chemical Fire Engine

Looks like it happened on/around July 17, 1925.

Rock Valley Bee on that date reported:

Blown high in the air by the force of an explosion of the chemical tank on the fire truck, Fred Heavrin, driver of the truck, sustained injuries which resulted in his death about 40 minutes later.

The accident happened on the main business corner of town where a popcorn machine (!!!) had caught fire. In endeavoring to turn on the chemicals, the contents of the tank were mixed before the safety valve had been opened.

From Bill "Firegeezer" Schumm:

Yes, sidewalk popcorn machines were substantial in size.  My dad ran one when he was a teenager.  His father owned a bar / pool hall next door to the town's first movie theater.  Back then the theaters hadn't yet wised up and started selling their own (profitable) snacks and candies inside.  So folks would have to bring snacks with them.  Before showings, Dad would roll out the large popcorn machine onto the sidewalk, fire it up and sell bags and bags of freshly popped corn.  The aroma was irresistible.

Back to work. Let's get corn-o-matic started.

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