# 17 Post:
Monday, Oct. 13, 1952
My gosh, it was nice to hear your voice Saturday. It sounded so happy and full of fun. I would say that I have missed your mind most, but I have missed your voice, too.
Your grades sounded good to me. I really can’t argue with anything as long as you do the very best you can and your very best is good indeed.
You know how often I have commented on the wide variety of experience one can get through square dancing? Well, yesterday we got another example of it. One of the men we dance with is an ex-fireman and so through him we went down to Engine 17 stationhouse and spent about four hours with the firemen, climbing all over the equipment, talking and asking them questions.
We went over to their training ground and watched them test and set up their ladders, nets, aerials (those are the huge ladders set on the trucks), hoses and so on. We climbed the aerial to the top of a building, where these fearless characters walked daintily along ledges seventy feet above the ground. They were showing off, of course, but it was impressive nevertheless. They are wonderful men, some absolutely fearless, some able to conquer fear, but interesting and high capable.
The technology involved is absolutely staggering. These men approach a fire as a cabinetmaker to wood. They know precisely how to go about it and they have equipment to match nearly any situation. Darndest gadgets, designed to do everything from snapping a padlock off to moving a standing freight car that is in the way. They have battering rams, odd shaped rakes for rubbish, probes, huge shears capable of cutting steel pipe, garden hose with special nozzles that fit over any faucet to handle small house fires, breathing apparatus that supplies pure oxygen as you need it, not in a steady blast. A funny sidelight on this piece of equipment is that they always take one along when they attend a fireman’s convention where there’s to be a lot of drinking. It seems a few sniffs of oxygen will cure the squiffiest fireman. Oxygen just burns up all the alcohol in the body.
Do you know what the most effective liquid is to put out a fire in a cotton bale? Kerosene! According to the chief, kerosene will penetrate where water will not. It cools the fire and thereby kills it. Kerosene itself will not burn. You can toss a match into a pail of it quite safely. It has to have a wick, which will draw the fumes up from the liquid. In other words, it’s the fumes as does the burning.
We even got a short trip in the chief’s car, siren blasting, through the industrial district. It turned out to be a false alarm, but it was nonetheless very thrilling. Oh, I forgot to tell you that this station is in the heart of the industrial section, 7th and Santa Fe, which is right on the edge of the Los Angeles River.
No space for anything more today. Keep up the good work.
All my love and a bundle of xs……