ON THE BACK OF THE CARD:
The telephone operator took a toll call and, appreciating its urgency, relayed the message to the local fire brigade: the Falcon Inn was ablaze. Thankfully, everyone had evacuated safe and sound, but the Inn was built wholly of wood, floorboards to rafters, and filled with furniture made of the same, so the fire was set to be a rip-roarer.
The Fire Lieutenant and two firemen headed out in their nimble Rugby pumper, with the remaining crew in the Gotfredson. The Rugby covered the 8-mile trek in 10 minutes flat. The Gotfredson, being an 18-year-old truck with a maximum downgrade speed of 43 mph, and a maximum upgrade speed (and small upgrades at that) of 23 mph, travelling on winding gravel roads, wasn�۪t so fleet. It was passed three times by the local Gray Coach passenger bus - making all of its regular stops.
Compounding things, the 100 gpm Rugby was out-powered by the fire on arrival, and quickly ran out of water. The closest supply, a stream and two cisterns, was located behind the Inn, but with steep banks, couldn�۪t be reached. The townsfolk, already on site to witness the blaze, knew that the Gotfredson would surely arrive too late and all would be lost. With nary a spoken word, they disappeared en masse, but returned moments later with buckets. Lots of buckets. And pots, and tubs, and jugs. From stream to Inn, they formed a Bucket Brigade under the direction of the Fire Lieutenant, and while it didn�۪t put out the fire, their efforts kept it at bay until the second truck finally arrived.
Visiting the Falcon Inn these days is a bit different: there�۪s a new slate roof and the pillars out front are stacked stone rather than rough-hewn timbers. But there remain more than a few chair legs and table tops with a smoky patina, as a reminder that people can be both strangers and friends. It also underlines how important it is to support those that support the community. The ones that give so much. Now, a brand new 2000 gpm E-One Typhoon Pumper sits proudly in the fire hall, and not one bucket has seen a drop of water since.
HIGHLAND PUMPER FIRE TRUCK
4.25" x 5.5" Note Card, blank inside, with matching envelope in protective cello.
Printed on 100% post-consumer recycled fibre paper, Green Seal and Forest Stewardship Council � certified. Central & Gus donates a percentage of gross sales to animal welfare.