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Fire horse’s ribs broken after collar breaks

125 years ago in 1897

Taken directly from the pages of The Youngstown Vindicator:

“In the air, a fire department horse makes a desperate plunge. His collar unfastened. Truck runs over him and two ribs broken — the firemen leap.

“A serious accident happened to the fire department Monday evening when responding to an alarm of fire, a notice of which conflagration appears elsewhere in this issue. Luckily, none of those firefighters were seriously injured. Some of them are today feeling stiff and sore over their leaps for life. A horse may be seriously injured.

“At about 7:40 o’clock, Monday night, an alarm of fire came to central and the firefighters responded. They drove up Boardman Street on a mad run. First, the chemical and then the hook and ladder. On the latter were Driver Bierdemann and Deacon Knox, and firefighters Thomas, Weick, Seyler, Maloney, Moyer, Lodwick and Good.

“At a place nearly opposite the hay market, the collar of the high horse was unsnapped. He reared and plunged, kicked and fell, and the firemen jumped. Two wheels of the truck passed over the horse. With superhuman effort, the other animal was stopped. Bierdemann would have fallen over on the horses had not ‘Deacon’ Knox held him back. The injured horse at once returned to the department.

“Veterinary Whitehead was called. It was found that two of the horse’s ribs were broken and that he was possibly hurt internally. Great care was shown him and Bierdemann watched him all night. It was thought the horse would die.

“Tuesday forenoon, he appeared much better and it is now thought he will be saved. The horse is a fine equine, one of the best in the department, being only 4 years old. He was the last one purchased for department use.

“Tuesday, a practice pull was not made in order to not excite the injured animal.

“Chief Moore at once declared that safety straps must be installed. ‘They use them in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and other places and we must have them here. A safety strap will prevent accidents of that nature in the future,’ said the chief.

“The firemen are being congratulated about their narrow escapes today, and the boys, while feeling good-natured, are a little sore over the results at their attempts to clear the tracks.”

• Compiled from the

Youngstown Vindicator by

Traci Manning, Mahoning Valley Historical Society curator of education.

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