Wednesday, February 11, 2009
A former industrial site, developed by Little Lake Industries once upon a time, now leased for storage by a horticultural/agricultural supply retailer called Sparetime, was the location for the memorial ceremony. Jeff Smith had died Monday afternoon, and by Tuesday his fire department colleagues launched forward with one of their many professional skills: logistics. Calfire work camp inmates came to move out tons of sacks of fertilizer, etc., along with department and community volunteers, who then cleaned and arranged warehouse spaces, installed temporary toilets, etc. Word went out to schools and churches for tables and chairs, as well as other community networks for staging equipment, food, beverages, waste management, etc. Decisions had to be made quickly about what would happen, who would do what, and where, and when.
With the ready stand-in assistance of other regional fire departments, the Little Lake/Willits crew were all able to participate in the event. None of them wanted to miss honoring their former Chief. A matching ladder truck was brought up from Ukiah to hoist and bear the huge flag, along with the Willits ladder, which was suspended over the entrance to the industrial grounds. Brooktrails fire trucks were positioned at the Main station in case of any alarms.
By the end of the procession from the south end fire station, winding up Highway 101 (Main Street) to the headquarters station, then west to the Little Lake Industries site on Commercial Street, the Percherons had pulled the heavy steamer pump for about a mile, with a couple of inclines, and were dripping with sweat even on this very cool day. Click here to see more photos of these events on my Overflow blog.