Some e-mail from readers

Subject:  WE WILL NEVER FORGET (E-257, L-170, Bn-58)
      Date:Thu, 24 Dec 1998 01:26:12 EST
         To: Don Van Holt

It was a chilly, winter night when I entered the firehouse in which I work  at
in Canarsie, Brooklyn.   When I entered the quarters of Engine 257, Ladder
170, and the 58 Battalion, it was business as usual. There was a lot of happy,
smiling faces and of course a great deal of joking around( busting chops) in
the kitchen.  Some guys were packing up their belongings and heading home to
their families, while others, like myself, were reporting for duty for the 6x9
tour. Due to a surplus in manpower, I would not work with the guys in L-170
tonight, but instead with guys in L-113 "The Rats".  As I walked out the door
of Canarsie's Bravest, I never knew that when I said, "Take care guys and have
a safe tour," it would be that last time I spoke to Lt. Cavalieri, Chris Bopp
and Jimmy Bohan. 

At  approximately 0458 hrs on the morning of Friday, December 18, 1998, the
brothers of E-257, L-170, Bn-58 responed to a phone alarm at 17 Vandalia Ave.
Little did they, I, or we know that this would be the last alarm that Joey,
Chris and Jimmy, working in L-170,  would respond too.  The fire seemed almost
routine until something tragic happened.  The inside team of L-170 would never
return to their firehouse again.  I recieved the call around 7:00 am and I
knew something bad had happened. I left the quarters of L-113 and returned to
the company that I belonged too, only to find out that three friends were
gone, gone forever.  The scene was bad, Chiefs, Fire Marshalls, Firemen, Cops,
and of course, a lot of people in suits that I have never seen before.  When I
walked into quarters, E-257, L-170, and Bn-58 were not there. I knew the news
was not good.  Engine 225, and Squad 252 were in front of quarters and a lot
of guys were hugging and crying.  After a few minutes, I learned that three
members of LADDER 170 were gone.  Their shoes were still scattered on the
apparatus floor only never to be filled again, and the riding position board
displayed their names and positions.  The pain and sorrow that the men of
E-257, L-170 and the BN-58 share along with the brothers in E-262 ( where
Bohan was assigned) and L-150(where Cavalieri was promoted from) is
unexplainable.  This "Black Friday", December 19, 1998 will never be forgotten
and neither will LT. Joseph Cavalieri, FF Christopher Bopp, and  FF James
Bohan (assigned E-262).  These three brothers and friends, were true heroes
who layed their lives down for the people of the City of New York. 

Please say a prayer for Joey, Chris, and Jimmy, who were taken from us, and
for Frank Nastro(L-170) , John Farina(L-170), John Adinolfi(E-257), Lt
Young(E-257), Charles Murphy (E-257) Al Trapanese(E-257) Mike Ryan #2(E-257),
Jack Paglino(E-257), The officers and members of all of the companies who
tried everything possible, myself for should have been there, and of course to
all of the brothers, cops, and EMS personel that responded to Third Alarm
Box-5-5-5-5-4080 at 17 Vandalia Ave in Brooklyn, NY on "Black Friday",
December 18, 1998.


Timothy Wodicka L-170 FDNY

In Memoriam We'll never forget the day they died Oh, how we hurt, oh how we cried Three strong men were taken away They did it for love, not for the pay They never realized the danger they faced Up the stairs, through the hallway they raced Searching and crawling, they tried their best When it was over, they were layed to rest We'll never forget them, and they will be missed Cav, Curley and our buddy Chris The pain will ease as time goes on It's hard to realize that all three are gone They're not the first and not the last They died as hero's, like others past We know they're in heaven, with god they rest We LOVE you guys, you were the BEST. Written by FF Steve Mormino L-170 FDNY

Subject: Bravo, Don! Date: Wed, 02 Dec 1998 23:24:19 -0500 From: andrea poh To: Don Van Holt This is a wonderful site! My dad, Hermann A. Poh, retired from the N.Y.F.D. 25+ years ago (I'm not sure of the exact year). He was a Lt., Ladder 12, in lower Manhatten. He's 85 years old and still in good health; but as we all know, it's difficult to select gifts for seniors who "don't need anything". So, I thought I'd find some tidbits here and there on the web about his career and the fire department that Dad loved so much.Wow! Little did I realize that I'd be able to access so much information and interesting links. I've been browsing here for the past 2 hours! I've already gathered some reading material that I know he'll enjoy. Thank you so much for the time and effort and love you've put into this site. I have always believed that my dad is special; and he certainly is a member of a very special group of human beings. When I saw the photo of the fifth alarm, 1-24-57, I was reminded of the time I saw my big, strong "Daddy", weeping - two of his dearest friends lost their lives, battling that fire. I think the reason for my never having forgotten that incident is knowing, even at so young an age, that it was dedication and courage that permitted him to go back to work when his heart was aching so. Again, thank you, Don. And please know that you, and all of the brotherhood, are always held close in my heart... and the hearts of many others. Wishing you, and those dear to you, a very happy holiday season, I am Sincerely, Andrea C. Poh (Andi)

Name:Pat Ryan
Location: Staten Island, NY USA
Date: Sunday, October 4, 1998 at 21:41:27

Hello to all you great guys. My husband Jimmy died on the job Nov. 30, 1987. 
He was assigned to L148 for almost 24 years. I still miss him and miss the F.D. very much. 
I found this web page last evening and my heart leaped with joy. 
For all of you on the job, you have no idea how much the job is a part of the wife's life as well. 
My life on the job ended in 1987 too.
Living by that calendar, checking your husband's group to hopefully see that he'll be off for Christmas
or some special event in your children's lives; so many mutuals worked in order for him to go to college, 
holding down the fort at home until he got home sometimes for days at a time, all the sacrifices a wife makes
because the job is the love of his life. All of the good and some of the bad about the job are no longer a part of my life
but I wish it still was.
Good thoughts are embedded in my memory and will be there for the rest of my life. 
I love you all, you're a special breed of men. 

  • RYAN JAMES J. FIREMAN LAD. 148 11/30/87

    Subject: Appreciation
       Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 20:49:00 EDT
         To:  Don  Van Holt 
    I have found your web site to be just wonderful.  I have a 2 1/2 year old son,
    Eddie, that just loves fire trucks.  I have printed a number of the pictures
    from your site and my son has hung them up on the walls in his room.
    Eddie calls himself a  hook and ladder man.  His favorite is the Ladder 106 in
    Greenpoint (Where we live).  He is a regular at the firehouse and a number of
    firemen know Eddie by name.  He will only were t-shirts with a fire truck on
    it and the back of the t-shirt must say 'Keep Back, 200 Feet.'  
    Eddie recently went to the Navy Yard to see the fire boats.  He had a great
    time.  When we were there, Engine 238 which shares the house with Ladder 106
    was there for training.
    Your web site has been a great source of education for not only Eddie but
    myself.  I have new found respect for fire fighters -- they are the bravest.
    Keep up the good work.
    Stephen R. Arkin and Eddie
    Subject: Re: Photos of 290 Engine and 103 Truck Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 13:33:26 -0400 From: Russell Weatherspoon To: References: 1 , 2 Thanks for your reply. I am only interested as a buff. I used to live in East New York from 1950 through 1973. I can recall the Ward La France pumper 290 used for much of the '50s; the H and H which replaced it for a time in the '60s (another one going, I think, to 283), and then the memory is fuzzy. 290 never had a Mack like 225 or 231; nor do I remember an American La France, although 103 had a diesel one for a while with the awkward exhaust in the middle of the tractor. Somewhere I assume 290 was given Seagraves along with everyone else. There was a tractor-drawn Mack for 103 for a while but the rear axle broke a few times, or something happened which seemed to keep it in the shop quite a bit. Perhaps that was replaced by a tractor-drawn Seagrave, then the tractor-drawn American La France. After that I think 103 went to rear-mount Seagraves. I was wondering if there are photos of these rigs to refresh my memory. I was born in 1950, so my memory really only comes into focus clearly in the mid-50's, but I got to know a very kind member of 290, Joe Renna, often the MPO when he was on duty. He was extremely patient with children. And there was a fireman named Tom with 103 who eventually had to retire (or perhaps be assigned to non-firefighting duties) after his hand died heal following a fall from a one-story roof at a store fire. I think of these two guys from time to time and appreciate their sensitivity. I lived on Wyona Street at Blake Avenue, so was closer to the Sheffield Avenue station than 107 or 225 and used to pass many Saturday afternoons there. I became very familiar with those companies and the one from Brownsville. The near-constant fires and neglect of the middle 'sixties and early 'seventies left East New York a wasteland. I am glad to see it has shown some signs of life in the 'nineties. One of the photos your site has posted which has been interesting is of 290 with a 1946 Ward La France. The one I recall had no doors. This is much more than you want to know. I have greatly appreciated your website. My interest in the fire service has never waned, and I remain interested in 290 and 103 in particular because of the reception I got when I showed up there or at working fires. In the spring I was back in the neighborhood and photographed 225/107's quarters and trucks (I was stunned by the condition of the brick) as well as 175's (I thought tractor-drawn aerials were being completely phased out, but I have learned from your site that more are on order; indeed, I stopped there because your site showed they have one, too). The Sheffield station stood there as it has for years with no other buildings around it (and that's another part of their story I would like to learn more about--the building is solid and in many ways beautiful; is the city's intention to refurbish it at any point?). Again, more than you wanted to know. I would love to see any photos of any of the East New York/Brownsville companies (231/120; 283) from that period. I apologize for the length of this response. If you can point me in a direction, I would be grateful. The site is splendid. Sincerely, Russell D. Weatherspoon Don Van Holt wrote: > Russell Weatherspoon wrote: > > > > Mr, Van Holt, > > > > Do you know where I might find other photos of the apparatus used by > > 290 and/or 103 during the 1950s through '80s? Any help you coud provide > > would be appreciated. > > > > Russell D. Weatherspoon > > Exeter, New Hampshire > > Why do you want them?

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