Category Archives: Stories

4 Door Plymouth Belvedere Lessons

plymouth_belvedere_ii_sedan_1* Story by Fire Chief Steve Moody

The year was 1977. It’s funny how old memories sometimes pop into your head for no particular reason.

My meager savings was nearly exhausted after attending two years of college. This was back when running up a tab wasn’t part of the college attendance formula. Not only was my college fund exhausted, so was my 1965 Ford Mustang.

I needed some wheels. I checked out the periodicals and there it was: “The Shopper’s Guide” “1966 4-door Plymouth Belvedere II – low mileage – one-owner – $500 or best offer.”

I called the number listed and arranged a time to look at the car – immediately. The owner turned out to be a female senior citizen. Even though the car was immaculate, it was definitely a little old lady car.

The slant 6 cylinder engine was so quiet you couldn’t even tell it was running – not a hot rod.
It was a living room wall beige color – not too striking. And it did indeed have four doors – not exactly a chick magnet. But it was perfect in another way – price. SOLD!

So, why did the Belvedere memory spring forth? I knew the answer after just a moment – it was the lessons.

Belvedere’s reliability was one lesson. Even though he wasn’t the flashiest fellow on the block, he never failed me – even on the coldest Kansas morning. There are few things as important in life as reliability.

The immaculate condition of the car was another lesson. Belvedere was eleven years old and looked like he just came off the show room floor. A little old lady could keep a car pristine – shouldn’t any young person be able to do the same?

Economy was a third lesson. Fuel consumption wasn’t a big concern in the ‘70’s but Belvedere was different – he was ahead of his time. Is my ultra conservative nature tied to Belvedere’s lesson?

But the most important lesson of all was trust. There’s something that’s certain when a woman chooses a man that drives a four door Belvedere – she doesn’t love him for his money or his status. Belvedere gave me and my high school sweetheart a ride to the cathedral for our marriage vows.

Memories of a 4-Door Plymouth Belvedere II wasn’t really all that strange after all.

*P.S. I got a speeding ticket once in the Belvedere.  I told the officer that I didn’t even think it would go that fast. 

Nine Year Old is a True Hero 

JeffNine year old Hunter was laying in bed when he heard the smoke detector and saw the smoke. That was when his fire safety lessons came into play.

Hunter got down low on the floor and crawled towards his sister’s room.  He alerted her about the fire.  She had ignored the smoke detector warning thinking it had something to do with the facial she had put on.

A plugin aroma device had shorted out and dropped embers into a garbage can that was placed right below the plugin.  From there the fire quickly consumed the bathroom and caused significant damage to one of the bedrooms.

Once outside Hunter and his sister alerted their parents who were in the garage.

Hunter was taught his fire safety lessons by Master Firefighter Caleb Carson in the Junior Firefighter school program.

Hunter and his parents came down to the fire station this evening to meet with Caleb and a State Farm insurance representative.   Caleb gave Hunter a fire department challenge coin in recognition of his heroic action.  The insurance representative gave Hunter a life saving certificate.

Caleb also gave Hunter a ride in the fire truck.

Hunter is a true hero.

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Badge Pinning – Ethan Herrick

Ethan1A group gathered this afternoon to honor El Dorado Firefighter Ethan Herrick.

Ethan officially received his El Dorado Firefighter badge this afternoon.

Ethan’s mother did the honors of pinning the badge.

After pictures with his crew members the group had punch and cookies – thanks to Chief Moody’s wife.

Congratulations Firefighter Ethan Herrick.

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1947 American LaFrance – One Hundred Foot Challenge

american-lafranceShe was parked on the west side of the hose tower. The rays of the sun were shining down through the open cab upon the black leather seats. The truck was stabilized by an arm on both sides with giant threads which appeared to be adjustable if you had a giant wrench.


The ladder was extended upwards almost to the edge of the sun. I was told the driver aimed for the sun when he extended her, but in her old age she had developed a slight arch when extended the full one hundred foot. So, the ladder tip ended up just to the left side of the sun.

Next to the base of the ladder on both sides were two red tubes that looked like grenade launchers. These were the hydraulic cylinders that raised and lowered the ladder.

If I wanted to be a firefighter, my task was simple. I needed to climb to the top, touch the tip, then climb down. All in less than ten minutes.

But, there’s something strange about climbing a gigantic ladder – especially a crooked one – that’s sticking straight up into the air. And stranger yet, it’s not leaning against a supportive structure – like a building.

All kinds of thoughts go through your brain. What if one of those tiny support arms fails? What if one of the hydraulic cylinders holding up the ladder sprouts a leak? Thoughts turn to fear.

The palms began to perspire. The heart beat increased – both in rate and intensity. And, I got a big lump in my throat. Did I really want to be a firefighter?

Yes, was the answer. But, it wasn’t a deep manly yes – it was more like a grade school girl yes.

So, I climbed up to the turntable. As I stood at the base the very top wasn’t quite visible. I was just about to change my mind when the time keeper asked, “Are you ready?” Right before I gave the “thumbs up”, I told myself the death would at least be instant.

The first fifty feet went fast. A hand rail on both sides gave me a sense of security. This wasn’t too bad after all. But the ladder started to narrow. And then the side rail was no longer.

The sun was getting closer as the ladder skinnied down to what seemed to be a size that fit my preboarding child like voice. I had reached the curve point. And it made me feel like there was a super magnet pulling me towards the left.

It was at that point the time keeper shouted, “Five minute mark!” I refused to look down. Up, up, up another sixteen feet. The red painted tip was now in reach. I stretched my arm until I feared it would disconnect from the socket. Slowly my fingers encircled the rung.

Looking down at the pea-sized time keeper he appeared to wave his hand. That was enough acknowledgement for me.

The speed of the trip up the ladder was liken a turtle stampeding through peanut butter. The one down the ladder was liken a rabbit being chased by a beagle. Within what seemed like seconds I was standing next to the time keeper.

All that remained was to ensure he saw me reach the top. And he did.

We all go through challenges in life. In many ways facing and overcoming those challenges is what molds us.

My career as a firefighter began with a “One Hundred Foot Challenge.”

by Fire Chief Steve Moody

Foam Gift

foamThe Army Reserves installment located in El Dorado is moving.  The move means moving equipment.  Another question was what to do with a couple hundred 5 gallon containers of fire foam concentrate.

The Army Reserve decided to give it to the El Dorado Fire Department instead of trying to move it.

The estimated value of the foam is in the thousands of dollars.  So, the gift was a very generous one.

Half of the foam was training foam.  Therefore, half of that foam was given to the Butler County Community College fire science program.

We thank the Army Reserves for the generous gift.