Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, July 27, 1913, EDITORIAL, Image 13

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    The Omaha Sunday
VOL. XL1H-NO. 6.
Fox" and "Joe," Fire Horses, Heroes of Easier Tornado
Assistant Chief Simpson Tells of Exploits
Every Admire? of the Wonderful Big
Animals that Draw Fire Engines
atFiercc Gallop Will Appreciate
Chief Simpson's Simple Story of
What Two Did on Easter Night
OE and Fox, Omaha tire horses, may
be classed among the heroes of tho
recent tornado.
When tho firstfalanh rang In tho
ire house ot No. 3 at 6:45 .on tho
afternoon ot March 23, a lithe gray
horse sprang from bia stall and within the next
few minutes was facing one of the most severe
hailstorms Omaha has ever experienced. This was
the storm which followed directly after the tornado.
A shake of his head was the only indication which
he gave that he did not like it, but his speed did
not slacken in tho slightest. Driver P. P, .Miller
and Assistant Chief Simpson were being carried to
the scene of death and terror. Up and down tho
hills of West Farnam street plunged Fox with the
same graceful movement which characterizes tho
nnlmal for which he is named. At the top of the
high hill, from which the fires seen, his
speod Increased. The glare of tho burning houses
seemed to tell him that not only were the men in
the cart needed, bUfthat" the lives of hundreds de
pended upon his ability to got them thero
At tho Pickens Home
At Thirty-ninth and Farnam streets a man
came running to them saying that the Pickens
family and Mrs. Ben Gallagher were In the base
ment of the house against tho, furnaco and in
need of immediate assistance. Hardly had the cir
cumstances been told to the chief than Fox
brought the wagon to the turn and In less than no
time he had stopped in front of the Pickens home,
whero ho waited untied ' midst excitement , and
storm for his driver to come out. He seemed to
realize that his , work had scarcely bogun; he
sniffed the air and gazed about, .taking in the situ
atlon as though ho were a human being, watching
people running to and from the wrecked homes.
Fox and his driver were tho ones to carry out
the orders of Chief Salter and Assistant Chief
Simpson for a general alarm to be turned in. Tel
ephone connection had been cut off from tho West
Farnam district and the' big gray animal seemed
to understand that-responslblllty again rested. upon
him, and he plunged over broken trees and boards
through the stricken district to the nearest tiro
station, where Driver Miller gave the first general
alarm and call for help. Upon leaving this fire
bouse he voluntarily turned again toward the sceno
of suffering and sorrow, and his spoed did not
Blacken oven after running many miles. His work
was not yet over at the break of dawn tho follow
ing morning, and each lime ,wben ho was jurged
to some other location he sprang, with a willingness
and apparent knowledge that much depended upon
Call on tho Veteran
1 At the sound of the general alarm Joe was
pressed into the Bervlce, for his days ot hard work
arq about oper. This does not mean that Joe is
not able to work far from that. He has been
faithful to the service for sixteen years, and !
nor 20 years old. Driver Clyde Dunn, who has
charge of Cblef Salter's automobile, was the driver
of Joe for many years, and makes a decided boast
that ho has yet to see tho horse in or near Omaha
that can pass Joo at tho present day. On the night
of Easter Sunday, Joe had watched from' bis box
stall the other horses jump to their places. Ho
gavo a short neigh as they left tho barn. Ho did
not turn in his stall after they had gone, but stood
as though he knew that it would bo necessary for
him to be ready to answer the call which came in
a few minutes later.
When the door of his stall opened at tho sound
of the general alarm, Joo sprang to the old hose
cart, for this fell to his lot that night. When he
first camo to the department, over slxtoen years
ago, be was placed on tho hose cart, and It seemed
like old times to the dark mottled bay to place him
again on the wagon. His mate that drew tho
wagon with him that night was half his age, but
he had to work his best to keep up with him.
Chief Salter had gone out intke machine, but it
took much time to clear away the trees and debris
to allow tbeni to pass.
"Did the horses work better than tho automo
bile?" was asked Driver Miller. A smile spread
over his face and I think th'ero was a trace of a
tear when he said: "No one wil) ever know just
how hard those horses worked that night, except
those who were right wth them. Oh, yes; the
automobile is fast, but at such times as that we
cannot get along without horses."
Proud of His Place
To the lovers of the fire horse the familiar sight
ot this dark mottled bay horso is one that stirs
every drop of blood in their veins, for until tho
last two years bo has made every altornate run on
the chiefs wagon, whllo the big gray haB taken
the other. Joe has quite as much prldoaa tho
average human being, and when dutyfalls upon
bis shoulders he assumes every bit of ttje"rcsponBl
bllity. All night long he pulled the hose cart,
which had been cleared of its hoBe, that it might
carry tho injured and flying to places of safety.
Carefully he picked the way for himself and his
mate through tho storm-stricken district, always
leading the way almost a foot ahead ot the other
horse. He has been to a great many fires In his
day, and the excitement of the people that night
only inspired this noble animal to "keep his bead,"
for never did be shy at a thing.
"We have always talked to Joe as wo would
one of the men," said Driver Dunn, "and that night
we Just talked to Joe. I guess that is why be
showed such good senEO.
Old Joe a Llfo Saver
"Did you ever hear how he saved Assistant
Chief Simpson's and my Ufa? No? It was a night
of Two Silent but Active Members of Omaha's Fire Department
when wo were called to a fire at Tenth and Daven
port, about two years ago; wo were going right
down Harnoy street. They had been fixing tho
car tracks at Sixteenth and Harney streets and a
red lantern bung on tho north sldo of the street.
I thought that tho south sldo was all right and
kept Joe on that sldo ot the street, for there was
no lantern over there. We had Just reached tho
car track when I saw what was before us a holo
at least three feet deop and four new steel tracks
which bad just been set In placo. I could not turn
I could not stop without killing the horse and
throwing us against tho rails, which would have
likely killed us. Joo thought quicker than I did,
and like a deer made one long leap and cleared tho
four tracks himself with tho wagon and tho two
oi us in It. He landed safely on tho other sldo ot
tbe tracks a spoke in ono ot the back wheels
cracked as we landed, but that made little differ
ence to tbe horso, for ho was bound for tho tire.
As we went on our way to tbe fire, Assistant Chiet
Simpson said, 'Do you know that Joe savod our
lives then?' I was only too well aware ot it, I told
him, Yes, bo knows just as well what you say to
him as a man would, and he is Just full of play.
When ho Is out here In tho barn and wo are eating
our lunches we havo to watch or he will .steal
everything wo havo. When we got back from our
work the night of the tornado neither Joo nor Fox
would lie down. They stood with their heads up,
with a look which scemod to ask if tholr work was
over for that day."
Paddy and Howdy and Brownie
Paddy, Howdy and Brownlo live at tho same
barn with Fox and Joo.
You will seo them at the fires in the downtown
district, pulling the big engine, Howdy drives in
tho middle, with Paddy on tho left and Brownlo
on tho right. Tho doors open in such a manner as
to give Rowdy just a few seconds more time to got
into his placo, but still Paddy feels It always nec
essary to give him ono big push as soonT'as ho
comes up next to Rowdy; this Is not done In a moan
way at all, for he Is tho best natured of horses.
He feels that by doing this it will help his mate to
gaugo his placo when tbe harness falls. These
three horses weigh about eighteen hundred pounds
each, and pull tho great engine as though It were
a mere nothing. Yes, they, too, havo the same
alert minds which the other horses on tho depart
ment have, but their work is largely confined to the
downtown district. They remainod at the tiro
liouso the night of the tornado, for tbe englno
which they pull woa not needed,
One might write a book on Just the stories that
tie drivers of Joo could tell you about, for tboro
in not a better known horse In Omaha. He is any
thing but useless now tbe love which everyone
on tbe department bears Joe is tbe ono thing which
gives him a llttlo less work during' the wnrm
months. Chief Saltor and Assistant 'Chief BImpnon
told Driver Miller a fow wookB ago that Joo had.
tjetter bo saved from work those hot days. "Let
hljn tako every fifth run,'.' said -ABfllstantChlet
Simpson to Drlvor Miller, "and "I know Fox can
Bland the rest of tho work. Ho Is strong and noth
ing seems' to feaze him. But wo do not want any
thing to happen to Joo."
When Joe's Turn Comes
Acting with tho instructions from tho chief, Joo
Is allowed to ramaln in a box stall at the rear of
tho barn until Fox has had four hard runs In suc
cession, and thon tho dark bay is placed in tho
stall in tho front of tho barn. When Joe. eees tho
door closo which koops him In tho stall near tho
cart he knows thnt at any tlmo ho may bo called to
carry tho chief to somo tiro.' As' tho gong sounds
tbo door of tho stalls open by electricity. Beforo
tho men can got to their places Joo. is there all
his driver has to do is to release tho catch which
holds the harness and thon mako tho clamps.
Scarcely does. Driver Miller put IiIb foot to tho
first step of tho cart than Joo is out of the door.
Not long ago thoy wero going to a fire and Driver
, Miller had forgotton that he was driving tho bay
instead of tho big gray. With Fox, tho gray horse,
it is neceBsary to call "Whoa" and pull on tho
reltiB when tho location of tho flro is' reached,' but
not so with Joo. Tho rolnB may bo twisted around
tho whip and Joo may be going at a fast gait, but
when he hoars "Whoa" ho does not take another
Btep. Driver Miller, thinking that bo had tho gray
horso, called "Whoa" to him about twenty feet -be- t
foro ho expected to stop, and the result was .that
both men In the cart nearly went over the dash
board. Joo has been tralnod to stop tho instant
ho hoars the command, and he knows only to obey.
Ho has had accidents, and somo serious ones, but
never have any of thom bepn qulto as bad aa they
might have boep, owing to tho fact that tho horse
has used good Judgment upon these occasions and
has saved himself and driver. '
' Never Shirked a Duty ,i .
Tho consideration being shown Joo at this, age
in his life, is due him, says every member of tho
department, for never in 'all tbo sixteen yeara of
servlco has Joo shirked his duty. He is just aa
able to answer a call now as heiever was, but It is
a. question if he could' endure the bard service he
onco did, and there Is no ono willing to see tbe
test made. No horso has over passed Joe when ho
was on his way to a flro and ho keeps the driver
of tho automobile busy to keep ahead of him. Both
Fox and Joo appear to have a jealous nature when
thop are forced to keep behind the automobile. It
is a race with them and they have won when they
pull up at the fire ahead of the macbino.
"Automobiles will not run without oil, no mat
ter bow well they are cared for, but those horses
worked for almost twenty-four hours tbe night of
tho tornado without food or water and drove as
woll (ho last hour as they did tho first," said
Driver Miller. "Fox happened to bo tho lucky ono
that night, however. I camo up to him ono tlmo
and there in the dark was a woman who was giving
him a pall of oats. She asked if I cared if sho fed
" 'Ho has workod so hard sho said, 'and I
I Just could not help giving him soma water and
these oats.'
"I told hor that I would rather she would feed
the horse than me, for he needed It and I did not.
Everyone likes Fox; be is-a great pet, and that
night amidst the excitement ot it all there, wero
hundreds who passed him and gave him a gentle
pat and spoke a kind word to him,, tor each, ono
seemed to realize that he had been tbe means of
bringing assistance where it was bo badly needed"