Dave LeMoine's blog

Growing Up in Alameda: Motorcycles! In the living room?

Station 1, mid-1970s, 1 a.m.

The crew was catching some ‘zs. I awakened to the voice of Archie Bowels and the often-heard phrase, “Alameda Fire Department.” The plea of a female voice on the other end was alarming.

“There’s fire coming out the windows of a house across the street and people are trapped!” she said.

Before the lights turned on and before we were dispatched, the beds were emptied and everyone was moving down the stairs and across the apparatus room to the rigs. I was driving Truck 1; Otis Clifton was driving Engine 1. Read more >> about Growing Up in Alameda: Motorcycles! In the living room?

Growing Up in Alameda: More like a sepulcher than a place of laughter

Fire Station 3 is positioned on a corner in the center of town. I always liked responding from this station as we covered both ends of the city and didn’t have those infernal ambulances. Built in 1923, it has two single apparatus rooms: one faces Pacific and the other faces Grand. A long path cuts through the grass to a brick porch with two steps up, under a metal awning to the heavy oak door. Read more >> about Growing Up in Alameda: More like a sepulcher than a place of laughter

Growing Up in Alameda: A gift that keeps on living

Station Four, 8:30 p.m. December 23

I’m lieutenant at Alameda Fire Station Four, Harbor Bay Isle, and John Laramie is the engineer. We’re looking forward to a quiet shift being that Harbor Bay is in the suburbs.

The only thing keeping us awake this afternoon is the constant thud of golf clubs on the 16th hole of the golf complex and an occasional ball bouncing off my office wall. A trip to the store, some familiarization, and back home for a quick workout; the day is done. It’s so different from our inner city stations. Read more >> about Growing Up in Alameda: A gift that keeps on living

Growing Up in Alameda: What front door?

August 1969, 1:00 a.m.

My mind returns to my first structure fire. I am riding the tailboard with Moe Hale. He is extremely confident and anxious to get into the battle.

As I look ahead, with a mix of apprehension and excitement, I see a fully involved two-story house, with Pete Matulich silhouetted in the flames. Moe says, “Captain Steckler will have us go through the front door.”

I ask in a somewhat agitated voice, “What front door? You mean that ball of flame?”

The reply comes: “Yeah, no sweat.” Read more >> about Growing Up in Alameda: What front door?

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