Big Shows Fire Departments Ensured Safety
Carnival Shows Had Their Own Fire Department
Some of the bigger carnival sows had their own fire department.
It was important that fires be brought under control quickly to keep from spreading on a tight midway.
The local fire trucks, especially coming from a volunteer fire company, could take as long as 15 minutes to assemble their crew and vehicles and be at an outlying fairgrounds. By that time an entire show could become engulfed in flames.
Sawdust on a midway and dry grass underfoot were perfect fuel for a carelessly tossed cigarette and canvas wasn’t fire proofed as is today.
A small spark from a Gilly Wired light stringer could bloom into a devastating inferno that would swallow an entire joint line or consume a ride like the Scooters or Merry Go Round.
This photo shows the Strates Show fire truck in 1952. It’s obviously made from an old Army surplus W.W.II “Deuce and a Half”.