Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, July 27, 1913, EDITORIAL, Image 13
The Omaha Sunday Bee PART TWO EDITORIAL PAGES ONE TO EIGHT PART TWO SOCIETY PAGES ONE TO EIGHT 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 By HOPE HANCHETT. 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 could.be 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 him. 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 OMAHA, SUNDAY MOKN1NG, JULY 27, 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, 1913.. 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 SINGLE COPY FIVE CENTS 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 him. " '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"