INDIANAPOLIS FIRE DEPARTMENT STATION 13. “Central Station”– as the label suggests, Indianapolis Station 13 is right in the center of the city– literally and figuratively. Its stable includes Engine 13, Ladder 13, Squad 13, Tactical 13, and Battalion 7. Collectively, they are part of IFD’s Southern Hazmat Task Force and first-due for much of downtown. And, along with Station 19 (1004 South White River Parkway), Station 13 is closest to Conseco Fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium, and the Indiana Conventional Center, home of the annual Fire Department Instructor’s Conference. including the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference (FDIC). So, if you’ve ever gone station hopping at FDIC, there’s a good chance you’ve been there.
A BUSY SEPTEMBER FOR LADDER 13. Its always fun to see photos of our tools at work in the field. So, we were glad to get a note from ever-vigilant Nic Hutchinson of the Johnston-Grimes (IA) Metropolitan Fire Department, calling our attention to a Facebook photo posted by the Indianapolis Fire Department. Since early in 2020, IFD’s Ladder 13 has had a Hawk/Raptor in their toolbox. Nic noticed that it had been getting some use.
On September 27 (2020), at around 2:30 AM units were called out for multiple reports of heavy fire showing in a vacant commercial building on Oliver Ave. Stations 19 and 13 were assigned on the alarm, including Ladder 13. First arriving Engine 19 found a well-involved masonry commercial building well-involved on the corner. Fire was spreading rapidly from a single-story extension on the rear into the upper level of the two-story main building. A fully engulfed pick-up truck was parked adjacent to open window and door openings on the “B” side of the building.
The fire building was pretty well known in the “Valley” neighborhood. It was the home of Hoffa’s Silver Cafe, a hoppin’ place in its time. The owner was a cousin of Jimmy Hoffa, a leader of the Teamsters union in the 50s and 60s, and the subject of considerable media attention in the 1970s. The cafe was a short walk from a former General Motors assembly plant, a popular afternoon and evening meeting place for the unions, other workers in the area, and the neighborhood.
The fire was brought under control in 30 minutes. But, there was plenty of overhaul left to do before the last units could take up. The fire was under investigation.
LADDER 13, A BIT EARLIER IN THE MONTH. Looking through other IFD posts for September, it was obvious that they’d had a busy month. The summer was punctuated by a number of suspicious fires in vacant buildings. Among them was a vacant structure at 346 Miley Ave., midday on Sept. 24th. Arriving units, including Ladder 13, found heavy smoke showing from a single-story, wood-frame dwelling with a tight “D” side exposure. Crews quickly gained access to the tightly boarded structure, bringing the fire under control in 10 minutes.
FIRE HAMMER WORKING, TOO. Also among the less common tools at work in Indy during this busy summer was my personal every-day-carry, fire officer Nick Childer’s Fire Hammer. For me, it’s proven to be a good complement to the more familiar choices that show up on every job. It’s a great “O”-tool, and a personal overall favorite.