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Firehorses:
 

Firehorses
FAREWELL, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS!

By Frederick J. Bowlen, Battalion Chief San Francisco Fire Department 1938

Chapter IV
Accidents

Accidents happened in the horse-drawn days of fire engines as well as today with our swift moving motor apparatus.  The causes were numerous and too lengthy to go into details here.

When the alarm from Box 76 rang in for a fire in the dye works on 10th Street in the afternoon of December 10, 1891, Joseph Blakeley, driver of Engine No. 3, and James Frazer, the engineer, jumped to the engine and started for the fire from the engine house on the south side of (1317) California Street, between Leavenworth and Hyde Streets.

On Larkin, between Bush and Sutter Streets, there was a buggy ahead of the engine and Blakeley rang the gong for it to get out of the way.  The driver didn't hear him or else, willing to dispute the right of the road, did not attempt to pull out to allow the engine to pass.

Realizing the danger, Blakeley pulled over to the west side of the street near the curbing to avoid colliding with the buggy, and noticed a west-bound car of the Sutter Street line on the east crossing.  He kept ringing the gong and Frazer shouted to the gripman to remain where he was until the engine passed.  The gripman did not heed them however, for he picked up the cable rope and shot across the street about fifty feet ahead of the engine.  When within twenty feet of the crossing Blakeley and the men behind saw that another car was approaching from the west going towards the city.  He kept ringing the gong and firemen Henry and Frazer waved their hats to the gripman to keep back.  He did not stop and Blakeley realized that an accident was imminent.  The engine was coming down a grade and it was impossible to stop it.

There was one chance for him to escape the collision. That was to try to make a detour around the front of the cable car.  He pulled his team to the east side of the street hoping to cut diagonally across Sutter Street before the dummy would be on top of the engine.  He acted with good judgment but the car was too close.  He got the horses over the track but the hind wheel of the engine struck the dummy about a foot back of the front rail.  The force of the collision was so great that the strap holding Blakeley in the seat gave way and he was pitched head foremost on to the pavement.  Frazer and Henry, who were riding behind, fared little better.  They were both shot over the hind wheel and landed in the street.

Blakeley was unconscious and Frazer was blindly striving to regain his feet.  Henry, although badly bruised and jarred, got up and realized that there was more danger ahead.  When the dummy struck the engine it stove in the dome on the engine and wrecked the two forward and one of the hind wheels.  The front of the dummy was also crushed and it was a miracle how the two women and a man who were occupying the front seats of the car at the time escaped being killed.  They were badly jarred, and with a man who was sitting on the side of the dummy, hastily got out of the way.

The engine horses began kicking and plunging and soon had all the harness except the pole-strap broken.  They were maddened by fear and tugged and pulled to get clear.  They pulled the dummy off the track, breaking the grip and stanchions, and got the engine free.  They started with the broken engine down Larkin Street, in the direction of Post Street.

It was just when they were starting that Henry came to enough to realize what was going on around him.  He ran after the team and caught the nigh horse by the bridle.  At that minute the off horse got free and started on the run along Larkin Street.  A block lower down it was stopped. The other horse, with the engine dragging behind, was struggling to get free but Henry held on firmly.  He ran it into a watering trough in front of a saloon near Post Street and there got control.

By that time Blakeley had been picked up and carried into the drug store on the corner of Sutter and Larkin Streets.  Engineer Frazer had been assisted to his feet and was still half dazed.  He looked blankly around him, wiped away the blood that was trickling down his face from a deep gash on his head and faintly called out, "For God's sake, get that fire out of the engine."  He could not see the engine nor could he see those around him.  Although half blinded and dazed, the first thing he thought of was the danger of the engine boiler exploding.

The engine was puffing and blowing and as all the valves and works had been disarranged by the collision, the boiler was momentarily expected to blow up.  To prevent an explosion it was necessary to get the fire out from under the boiler.  Henry called to a citizen who was standing on the opposite side of the street and asked him for assistance.  The horse was given in charge of a boy to hold.  Henry and the citizen threw open the furnace door.  The engine was puffing and throbbing and there was not time to be lost.  They worked as men only can work when danger surround them. They soon had the fire raked out into the street and the boiler quickly cooled off.

While running to an insignificant fire on Irish Hill on the night of January 10, 1899, Engine No. 16 from the firehouse at 1009 Tennessee Street was overturned and the driver painfully injured.

The alarm was turned in at 6:20 P.M. and the crew of Engine No. 16 hurried out in the pouring rain and the darkness without loss of time.  Driver Roach turned his three horses into Humbolt Street on Twenty-third, making a sharp turn in order to reach the easy grade running past the gas house.  As he turned, the strap with which he had bound himself to his seat broke.  The impulse thus given to his body carried him high into the air and free from the engine.  He fell flat on his left side in the street, but instinctively clung to his lines and was dragged to his feet again.  He held on to the running horses with what strength he could command and doubtless would have brought them to a stand still had the wheel of the engine not struck him after he had run about twenty yards. The wheel struck him on the left hip and threw him inside so that he lost the lines.

Freed from their guiding hands, the horses ran half a block further on the grade and then swung to the left down an eight-foot embankment.  The engine turned over and landed in the mud.  One horse was so badly injured that he had to be shot.

This company had been playing in hard luck for in three weeks they had five accidents.  The men claimed there was a jinx on the company and they were pondering over some scheme that would change their luck, when the Captain of the company said he could solve the problem and disperse the evil spirit.  It so happened that the police officer, who was on the beat in the neighborhood, had served on the Chinatown Squad for a number of years and the Captain suggested to the officer that he procure some Chinese punks to burn in the engine house.  The next night the officer appeared loaded down with punks, candles, Chinese lanterns and several "Gods of Good Luck" and Chinese candy was fed to the horses.  The punks were all lighted and placed in the harnesses, on the driver's seat, atop and at the rear of the engine.  Each fireman carried a lighted punk in each hand and paraded throughout the entire house chanting "Tie-joy night-time; Tie-hoy day-time," "Hop-suey"; "Quong sing Low" and "What's the Malleau," etc. while the police officer using an old tin wash basin as a Chinese symbol would join in the chorus with a "bang, bang," on the tin can with his night stick and in a shrill voice call out, "Hooey", "Hooey", "Suey", "Suey", "Chop-Suey" all of which was meant as a command for the evil spirit to leave the house.  This went on for some time until the neighbors began to wonder what was going on in the firehouse and gathered about the front doors and joined in the ceremonies. The show was a success and the firemen were satisfied with the results for from that time to the present day I do not think this company has ever had an accident.  It is hard to say whether the horses enjoyed the noise of the festivities, but they, no doubt, enjoyed the candy.  I guess the horses thought the firemen were crazy.

This company was located near the stockyards.  It was a company which, though important in its own district, was not considered a desirable engine house because of the location.  And yet, men who joined this company were scarcely ever known to ask for a transfer out of it and the envy of all substitute firemen was the one who got a long stretch in Company during one of the regular men's time off or during vacations.  The consistent efforts of substitutes to be placed in this particular, house in such an out-of-the-way district aroused in Chief Engineer Sullivan a slight suspicion.  He decided to investigate and this was the results-possibly stranger than fiction.

We have mentioned elsewhere that men on "watch" on the apparatus floor were not supposed to doze, or sleep while on duty.  However, the man on "watch" would doze off maybe into a gentle slumber while sitting in his chair and as the zero hour approached, he might be making the most of his vigil.  By feeding time at 5 o'clock in the morning he would in all likelihood fail to awaken.

Shag Rock, one of the horses at this company was the faithful "monitor," for if he were not watered and fed promptly at 5 o'clock; he would quietly slip under the rope of his stall, and placing one foot before the other carefully, would softly steal up to the sleeping watchman and rub his velvety lips over the sleeper's face, after which he would turn quietly about and return to his stall.

When the Chief Engineer's investigation had reached a climax he decided to witness a demonstration for his own satisfaction of proof.  At five o'clock one morning the man on "watch" was told to pretend to be asleep and to carry out the act as though it were real.

When the Chief had seen Shag Rock in the role of "monitor" he agreed that the whole matter was very human and also most logical from the viewpoint of the horse and the eager substitutes who were always in readiness to be assigned to Engine Company No. 16.

However, he also made it plain that the dependability of the horse was no excuse for the firemen failing in their duty, and he further told the Captain to inform the men that he would most likely drop in on them at any time in the future at this same hour to witness the amusing incident and remind the men that there would be no excuse accepted if he had to awaken the man on "watch" instead of Shag Rock doing it.  After the Chief had left some one of the men suggested a return to the ancient custom of burning punks again for good luck.

Barney

To tell all Barney saw and experienced in five years in the busy station of No. 17, where in one year were more accidents and narrow escapes than in fifteen in many another company, would fill quite a book.  He saw a wall bulge and fall and bury a water tower, horses, men, and wagon and all.  He saw two fire engines meet head on, and the pole of one buried in the side of a luckless bay.  He saw men and women jump for their lives and saw them crushed and saw them burned to death.  He saw other horses' bones broken, as policemen stooped over them and brought quick ease.

Two blocks east of the firehouse was a trolley car line. Engine No. 17 was answering an alarm on this street early one afternoon.  The street had been recently sprinkled by the street cleaning department and the three big horses, floundering angrily, were unable to get a good footing and as the great red machine approached the crossing a trolley car stood stock still on the crossing waiting for the engine to pass.  The car might have moved ahead and passed, with time to spare.  Down thundered the engine, scattering red coals and cinders, belching inky smoke and snorting steam.  The motorman turned on the power and slowly at a snail's pace, he forged his car ahead.  A hundred feet away, the driver saw he must plough through the car.  He jammed the brake with all his might.  He threw himself frantically on the reins.  Upward shot the two tongues of the engine as the weight landed on necks and quarters.  The horses fairly crouched to stem the load.  Too late! The driver helpless closed his eyes. With a desperate wrench and a frantic plunge Barney brought his mates around.  Six feet more and all might have escaped.  There was a blood curdling, grating, rasping crash of wood and glass and iron; like an explosion, the hiss of escaping steam mingled with shrieks of men and women.  The engine lay, turned over, hind wheel spinning in the air.

The broad strap holding the driver in the seat was broken and the driver hurled to the soft back of a horse and slid to the ground.  But the team was done for.  Barney, in a tangle of harness, lay cut and dying.  Another horse stripped of every vestige but his collar, lay thirty feet away, forelegs splintered and the third horse with a wide deep cut across his splendid chest, struggled to rise, but fell back bleeding.  The driver hobbled to Barney's head. The animal had ceased to struggle.  He did not seem in pain, but the great sides heaved deeply as his roving eyes riveted on his master, blood-red, his nostrils distended, and begging air.  The driver and engineer pulled off their coats, rolled them, raised the fine, brave head from the pavement and softly pillowed it.  The driver stood gazing hopelessly at his dumb friend.  It seemed as if the soft brown eyes wanted to talk as the brave spirit was fleeing the flesh.  Barney was dead.  Then from the distance came the mad clang and clatter of the Fire Department wrecking crew as they drove to clear the wreck.

Firehorses were often severely and fatally injured while responding to alarms of fire and while working at them, as well as the firemen themselves, and we have a record of a horse called Old Black Joe who was burned to death at a fire on Valparaiso Street on February 23, 1868.

It appears that this fire had developed into a small conflagration in the days when two-wheel hose carts were used to carry the fire hose.

While the cart of Engine Company No. 5 was being driven furiously along the street where the fire was raging, in leading out the hose from the hydrant to the fire, the spring on the hose reel controlling the ratchet gear became so disarranged as to stop its revolution suddenly, throwing the horse off his feet directly in front of the fire which was then at its height.

The driver and several other members of the Company were severely burned in their efforts to rescue the horse from his perilous position and when released he was found to be so severely burned that there was no hope of recovery and he was ordered shot.

Sugar Dick was a large bay horse spent fifteen years working in the Fire Department.  During these years he won the admiration and affection of all who came in contact with him.  It was a well known fact that all firehorses were remarkably fond of sweets in any form but Dick's fondness for cube sugar was so unusual and pronounced that the men of his company named him Sugar Dick.

One day a very serious accident almost cost Sugar Dick his life, but due to the presence of mind of his driver and later to the skill of the Department Veterinarian, Sugar Dick survived and was again put to work with Chemical Company No. 10.

During the noon hour, on the eventful day of Sugar Dick's accident, the regular driver of Chemical No. 4 had gone to his lunch and a relief driver was taking his place.  An alarm was received calling the engine to a fire above Kearny Street.  During the run down Market Street the driver was warned that the horses were going faster than usual, if not entirely too fast.

At the intersection of Sixth Street, a trolley car started across Market Street filled with passengers.  The driver realized that a moment's hesitation on his part might mean injury and possibly death to a large number of people on the car, as well as his team and likely the men with him, unless the impending accident could be averted.  There was no time to turn out or to slacken speed to avoid hitting the street car.  There was but one alternative—that thousandth chance—and he took it.  With his team at full speed he veered from the car track and drove them full into the plate glass windows of a department store on the corner. We will hear more about this accident and how he was cared for later on.

Seldom does anyone in any walk of life have to decide so important a matter in so short a time.  He realized that he had either to meet the street car head-on at a cost of he knew not how many lives, or to sacrifice the new apparatus and chance the lives of his mates and the team along with his own.

Very, very fortunately none of the men were seriously hurt. Sugar Dick alone received the most serious and painful injuries.  The bystanders, watching what they believed to be the horse's life-blood pouring from him, urged again and again that the horse be shot to relieve his suffering.  Dr. Egan rushed to the scene and refused to allow the injured animal to be killed feeling sure that he could save him.

Upon an examination of Sugar Dick's wounds, it was found that his chest had been laid open by a cut twenty inches long and ten inches deep.  His head had been badly cut by the flying glass and a few of his bones shattered.  The driver, knowing that the animal's strength was fast flowing away with such a great loss of blood, laid back the sides of the largest cut and held with his bare hands, the severed ends of the arteries thus lessening the flow of blood until the doctor should arrive and render what first aid was necessary.

The horse's throat and neck were so deeply cut that it took more than a pound of cotton at one application to staunch the blood.  This was used as a pack and sutured after the jugular vein had been ligatured.  When the doctor arrived at the scene of the accident he quickly grabbed the arm of a police officer who had taken aim to shoot the unfortunate animal.  "Don't shoot him," the doctor ordered quietly, "we're going to save him.  He deserves it."

None of the people standing by thought it possible but again the doctor made good.

Sugar Dick was then removed to the hospital, where for three months he was nursed back to health by the quiet and watchful care of the doctor and his attendants.  Due to the serious nature of his injuries, unusual means of treatment were resorted to during the months of Sugar Dick's convalescence.

Not once during all the surgical treatments or dressings did Sugar Dick give any trouble, nor was he anything but patient, gentle and understanding, seeming to realize the efforts of all on his behalf and he worked with them.

He afterwards turned out to be a well contented horse and fairly robust and continued on in his line of work, always with the same strong yen for sweets.  His old time characteristic traits of coaxing sugar from all who were around him and making friends with all the children of the neighborhood who loved to flock by the dozens to see him still were part of his daily life and he richly deserved all the admiration, affection and attention of his many friends and the man who worked with him.

Before lifting the badly bleeding animal on to the ambulance, the doctor gave him an injection of adrenalin and strychnine. He was then removed to the hospital and a normal salt solution was poured into his depleted circulatory system.

All of the larger wounds were sutured before moving the horse to the hospital and the more tedious work of removing glass from the smaller wounds and dressing and packing them was done at the hospital.

Another case where adrenalin saved the life of a horse was one wild, wet night when an engine responded to an alarm in the outlying districts beyond Third and Army Streets. The power lines were down and two of the horses were struck by the hanging wires. One horse was so severely burned that he died. The other, a beautiful grey, was saved after which he was returned to service and worked for many years.

It was not unusual for horses en route to fires or at the scene of a fire to be electrocuted by fallen electrical power wires.  A similar accident occurred at Bryant Street near 20th Street. In most accidents of this kind the drivers would miss death by small inches.

At the time when another horse had a head-on collision with a horse hitched to a wagon, the shaft pierced the horse's chest and the point of it protruded beyond the Shoulder blade.  It had broken off in this position and remained there until the doctor pulled it out and packed the wound.

Charlie

At the time that Mush, whose story is told later, was the star of the Department, there were many crack horses as popular as he.  Among these might be numbered Sullivan's Brownie; Brick, the pride of Engine No. 1; Tinker; the Tammany Trio; and Charlie. This is the story of Charlie.

For thirteen years Charlie had shown as the "star" of the Oak and Divisadero Street Engine No. 21.  He was a big, long-limbed, loose-jawed bay, with a bright sleek coat and natural white “C” in the center of his forehead.  His gentle disposition, his mild good nature, and his love for his driver, whom he followed about as a dog does its master, were his distinguishing characteristics. He also held a deep affection for the children who attended the nearby school, and in turn, was a great favorite with them.  Almost every day groups of laughing boys and girls came on their way to or from school to give him their offering of sugar, candy or other delicacies in exchange for the privilege of stroking his nose or ears.

True, it might have been the sweet meats which held Charlie's attention and devotion to the children for it grew to be his custom to stand with his head turned towards Divisadero Street, in an expectant attitude, to await the coming of his small friends and the approach of a child was always the signal for a whinny of welcome.  Let one of his friends stand in the doorway of the firehouse with an apple in his hands behind his back and if Charlie were given his freedom he would stealthily move up behind and remove the apple so deftly that the loss was unnoticed.

This trick performed inadvertently one day soon became one of Charlie's show tricks, and the ease with which he secured the prize and the relish with which he devoured it, furnished much amusement for the on-lookers.

Despite the petting and attention he received and his fondness for the children who visited him, there existed between Charlie and his driver a bond of affection so strong that beside it all other friendships dwindled into insignificance. Charlie's devotion to his driver was almost pathetic and, at times, almost ridiculous.  He would attempt to follow the man everywhere and at one time the horse's efforts to climb a stairway through a narrow door were extremely laughable.

His driver's absence from the firehouse for any length of time would cause Charlie to display the utmost attitude of dejection.  On the driver's part the affection was almost equally returned, not merely because of Charlie's kind and gentle disposition, but because he was so absolutely dependable.

Regardless of what the emergency or the call or duty put upon him, Charlie was always equal to it.  He was willing at all times and exceptionally fast.  In fact he was one of the fastest horses that ever ran to fires in San Francisco.

His willingness, gameness and speed, and the fact that he had not one mean trait in his character, endeared the horse to everyone in the company, so much that when the service began to tell on him after thirteen years of strenuous work of pulling the heavy truck, it was but natural loyalty that his sponsors, the firemen, attempted to conceal it.

To them is was like dooming one of their own number to a life sentence at hard labor or untold ignominy to see the old veteran condemned and sold perhaps to some fruit peddler, or junk man, to drag out a less worthy existence.  The thought of his fine old muscles straining to work such as he was untrained for and had never know, and his body possibly bruised by a master who might lack in understanding and appreciation, was hard to bear.

So Charlie stayed on in the service long after other horses younger than he had passed under the hammer and had gone into the city to pound slippery pavements and hard cobbles in unaccustomed bondage for the remaining period of their usefulness.

In time Charlie began to go blind, as many horses do who have the strain of gameness that leads them when the call arises to strain every muscle to the utmost and use every ounce of available strength they possess to accomplish the task put upon them.  Still, Charlie strove valiantly to keep up to his unfailing standard.  While his driver, filled with sympathy and regard for the fineness of the old horse, and deeply apprehensive of the time when he would most likely have to let the faithful beast go to what fate he did not know, tried to favor him by giving him the easiest share of the work and at all times watching carefully.

One day, however, his regular driver was called away and his place was taken by a relief driver who was not aware of Charlie's growing infirmity.  An alarm rang in and Charlie, as usual, sprang to his place, willing and anxious to be off to the call of duty.

At Divisadero and Oak Streets a hill and a bad corner made it somewhat difficult to negotiate the turn and especially for the horse whose sight was not all it might have been.  With a strange hand on the rein Charlie could not swing quickly enough as they came full on to a large wagon that was standing too far out from the curb.  There was a sudden crash and a fall and a few minutes later poor Charlie was taken away, bruised and disabled in the ambulance to be cared for at the hospital of the Fire Department.  The apparatus had been overturned and was demolished.

That day marked the end of Charlie's activity.  He recovered from his injuries in due time without any serious handicap, but his spirit was forever shaken.  The old stamina and gameness which had kept him in the collar for so long were no longer with him.  His friends managed to have him returned to the service he knew and he was sent to a firehouse close to the ocean where calls were few and the work was light, but he was never the same horse again.

After a time he was sent back to the stables at Tenth and Brannan Streets.  He remained there for some time where he could be seen almost any day either in his stall or in the corral.  Occasionally, he would be hitched to one of the stable carts, which was used to lead a relief horse to some one of the firehouses or he was driven down town on some business for the stables, but this game old-timer seemed to know he was not the same and he would, for the most part, stand with his head over the high board fence along Brannan Street idly switching his tail and with failing sight, eye the green grass on the Southern Pacific Railway's right-of-way.

Most of the old firemen have probably forgotten Charlie or relegated him to the depth of their memories.  However, all of us hold a warm spot in our hearts for him.

And, while writing this account of Charlie's gameness, my thoughts turn with a little more of content to the hill side farm in Contra Costa County, where we had the satisfaction of seeing Charlie sent to pasture contentedly where he grew sleek and fat on the crisp green grass after he was finally retired to the Animal's Home Fair.  Even so, we were sure that the grass at the Farm was never as green or sweet to Charlie as that which grew on the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad.

Bob

The driver of Engine No. 31,  had a very narrow escape from death in a serious accident in the afternoon of January of 1898, on the grade on Hyde Street between Lombard and Chestnut Streets.  The engine was responding to an alarm of fire in that neighborhood when the accident happened.

Bob was the name of the horse who suffered in this accident.  He was a beautiful dapple gray and of extraordinary heavy build as his district was one in which heavy and powerful horses were sent to these hard pulling companies.

It is almost always the center horse who receives the blunt of an accident as they were hitched in the center of two heavy poles which made escape almost impossible in case of accident.

Bob had more important things to attend to during the hours of idleness between alarm and heart-breaking runs than to be thinking of accidents.  There were his friends, men and women, who had heard of him, who came to see him and to whom he need attend; for the big good natured fellow always did his share of the entertaining.  He raised his great, might forefoot daintily as a kitten and politely "shook hands" with whomever wished.  He would stretch forth his soft, pink tongue and give a kiss for the asking.  He had become so popular that finally he had to be stopped from displaying his affection as the driver believed the horse was being spoiled by too much attention.  But the fine beast lived, the favorite of all the men in the engine house, taking the brunt of the heavy load on his neck and chest, the batter of the two heavy tongues, and passing unscratched with his mates through many a tight place.  Thanks to luck and the driver, for nearly three years the team remained unscratched before the daring, calculating pilot found himself cornered and bound to sacrifice.

The accident happened at 2 o'clock on afternoon while running to a third alarm fire at North Beach.

As the engine drew out of the house, a mile away red flames leaped mountain high into a jet black pall.  The driver leaned far forward, gave the animals their heads and let out a yell. Hard as ever the three brutes could go they ran, ears laid flat, necks extended and mouths open. With an unearthly din of bell the engine tore down the street, warning everybody along the line for two blocks ahead.  The engine as one of a new make and heavy. In going down the hill north from Lombard Street and great weight on the hind axle made the rear portion of the engine slip to one side.  The driver tried to swing the horses into a position to counteract the tendency.  One of the horses, however, acted very badly and the driver was unable to accomplish what he attempted.  The slipping continued and finally one of the rear' wheels struck the curb and the engine capsized—the three horses lay tangled on the sidewalk and the driver, blood streaming down the side of his head, staggered to his feet and ran for the struggling kicking beasts.  Bob was frightfully hurt.  One of the poles had snapped and the ragged, sharp edge had caught him inside the hind leg and slit it to the bone. The horse was assisted to his feet and stood dazed, without a groan but quivering with pain and fright.

Within a minute after the accident the official veterinary had rattled out of the hospital stables.  He had found they had taken Bob back to his stall at the engine house.  The intelligent eyes, recently so full of the fire of life, gleamed feverishly and were half closed in pain.  It was evident the horse had been badly hurt.  Even before the surgeon finished his examination of Bob the restless wheels within the department were at work.  Wreck or no wreck, the district must be protected.  The relief engine and a substitute horse came up the street on a trot and the new machine was backed into place.  One the way it had passed the big box-wagon, the horse ambulance sent to take Bob.  The driver took Bob by the head, but he never budged.  In vain he coaxed and patted and stroked.  The big horse simply stretched for his neck and stood stock still.  It seemed impossible to coax him and none had heart to use a switch.  Finally the alarm was struck.  With a heart-breaking half-cry, half-whinny, the dapple-gray giant tossed his head, darted, and with a pitiful limp galloped through the retreating men, ran to the front of the engine, and stood under the harness, ready for work.  But there was no work just then.  The driver coaxed and patted to get him to move out of the house, but Bob did not want to go.  He was perfectly satisfied to stay.  He meant to stay.  At last the men got behind him and in front of him and pulled and shoved and gently urged until he stood in the ambulance, head bowed, tail squeezed tight, a picture of misery at his first ride.  It was an unending ride for Bob, way out to the hospital, but the wagon ran smoothly and easily, and it took him right into the building where they lifted him on a sling onto an elevator which hoisted him to the top floor where all was clean, smelling of tan bark and full of box stalls.  He was taken into one of these.  A long white piece of canvas was passed under his belly, brought together over his back and hooked to two pairs of block and tackles fastened to the roof beams.  Then he was hoisted up until his legs cleared the floor, and there he remained, day in and day out, week in and week out for a long weary month. Every day the surgeon came and gently squeezed and washed and bandaged.  Every day some of his friends form the engine house came to visit him, to pat him, to talk to him and to bring some good news.

Twenty-three other horses were in adjoining stalls.  One of these, swathed to the eyes in bandages, was a victim of flames.  Most suffered from sprains or wrenches or cuts or bruises and would recover and be sent back to duty.  A few more were very sick or very much hurt and, likely, would die or be put out of misery.  It was months after the wound healed before the stiffness went out of the leg and the red out of the long, hidden scar.  It was several months after this before he was returned to his company and took his old place "center" next to his mates where he talked throughout the night of his experience.

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