Out of the fire April 22 2018 4 Comments

On March 27, 1941, at 6:55 a.m, my grandfather was rescued from the collapsed Manchester Robertson Allison building in Saint John, NB.

He was a volunteer member of the Salvage Corps.

As the Emerson building next to MRAs went up in flames, he and three other men climbed onto the second storey annex roof of MRAs with a hose to try to control the fire from that vantage point.

But the Emerson building gave way and collapsed onto the roof where my grandfather was standing, plunging him through the roof to the floors below.

He was trapped under the debris for three hours before being rescued. But he was alive, and despite his serious injuries, he was able to direct his rescuers to the likely location of the other missing men, one of whom lost his life that morning.

This story resonates with me in a couple of ways. First, I feel grateful, because the course of our family history would have been very different without my grandfather. 

Second, I am amazed that, despite this harrowing experience, Frederick William Brown, who joined the Salvage Corps and Fire Police in 1939, volunteered for another 48 years. He served as Captain and Secretary Treasurer and was an Honorary Member for the rest of his life.

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