Jim Kershner’s this day in history
From our archives, 100 years ago
A “kid fire station” was on duty 24 hours a day in the vicinity of Glass Avenue and Stone Street in Spokane.
Five youngsters had created their own fire station out of old lumber and castoff quilts, which they called “Station 12 of the Insurance Patrol.”
Residents said that they had often looked out their windows to see the “fleeting figures of the sound-winded young characters dragging an odd-looking array of paraphernalia behind them, dimly outlined in the midst of a cloud of dust.” These were the “fire laddies, making a run to a conflagration.”
The kid fire brigade was led by “Captain” John McMahon and his brother, “Lieutenant” George McMahon. Their firefighting equipment was made out of an old discarded water heater, mounted on a homemade wagon equipped with hose, ropes, ladders and other equipment.
“There is no such thing as a two-platoon system at Station 12 of the Insurance Patrol,” said the Chronicle. “Out there, the members of the crew just answer calls as they come, that is, if it is within running distance.”
The real city firemen at the nearby fire station were well aware of this diminutive crew and had made them an “active auxiliary” brigade.
In fact, the real firemen said that the boys had been a big help. Their fire wagon was sufficient to “do some effective work in conquering grass fires and the like.”