Friday, March 02, 2018

The BIG fire of 1955...

Here is a "memory-flogger from 1955. It is part of Charleston's history and I was directly involved - well, at least in my dad's mind. 

Let me explain.

I was a 17-year old Junior at Bishop England High School, spending the day on  Sullivan's Island.
When we guys saw the smoke billowing up from downtown, there was a mad dash to hop in the car and race home over the 2-lane Cooper River bridge.

Living in Ansonborough on Society Street, I was fairly close to the fire near Queen and East Bay Streets so I jogged on over there. 
I saw other teenagers were helping firefighters "pull hoses" so I joined in to help.

Meanwhile, my dad too saw the thick black smoke and heard all the fire equipment racing past our house. 

He walked down to the waterfront to see what was going on.
  Other buddies from BEHS were assisting the firefighters and my dad saw one he knew and asked if he had seen me.

"Yes, he's right around the corner...under a blanket."

Technically, he was right. 

Like most of us, my eyes were stinging from the acrid smoke and a fireman had squeezed an ointment in my eyes, handed me a CFD blanket and told me to take a break. So I did.

My dad saw me, rushed up and hugged me tightly. Then he yelled at me ....for scaring him!

That ended my participation in "fighting the fire" and we slowly walked back home, agreeing we would not tell my mom what had raced through his mind.

Here's my photo the next year at the BEHS Junior-Senior dance. My hair no longer smelled of smoke.

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