The Story Of A Leaky Hose!
It was in the summer of 1912. Ralph Clement recalls the day. “Shortly after the turn of the century, the old hotel situated where the present library stands, known as the Davis House, was discovered to be on fire. The Lamb Knit Mill Co. was quickly notified and they blew the fire call on their big powerful whistle that could be plainly heard for miles around. The knitting mill had its own water system at the time. Their fire brigade immediately got out their long hose and started laying it, but it proved too short. However, it was thought that the stream from the nozzle would reach far enough to do some good. When the water was turned on the hose leaked so badly that there was very little force at the nozzle. In the meantime, help was asked from Sherwood (six miles away), which had recently purchased a chemical fire wagon. The village responded at once by taking the fire equipment to the way freight house of the Michigan Central Railway, where the freight train had just arrived. There it was loaded on a flat car and with five citizens, was on its way to Colon. As soon as the train arrived in Colon, the wagon was rushed to the burning hotel and the chemical was turned on, but it was too little, too late. The chemicals slowed the fire somewhat but did not put it out. Three Rivers, which has also been called, sent a hose wagon by train, but by the time of its arrival the fire had burned down. However, the hose was hooked onto the knitting mill hydrant and put out the embers. In the meantime, while the hotel was burning briskly, it looked impossible to save the six-room house just north of the hotel. It was decided to move the occupant out of the house. Volunteers quickly carried the contents of the house to the lawn across the street. Looters soon started to carry away some things, but the owners and a few friends stood guard and put a stop to this. A small wooded store building, which stood just north of the house, was wrecked and the debris carried out of reach of the fire. This action saved a large barn and a big two-story wooden store building both just to the north. The five men who came with the fire equipment from Sherwood were still in town and Mr. Edwin H. Hill (father of Edwin J. Hill) after thanking them for their services, told them that he would have them driven home. Soon his chauffeur brought his beautiful carriage and fine team of sorrels around and they were on their way home. Not long after this fire the village bought a piece of fire-fighting equipment called a “pumper”. It consisted of a water tank about 10 feet long and three feet in diameter mounted on four wheels. It was hand operated and required about four men on each side to pump it, which was very hard work. This was used for a number of years and was a big help in fighting fires.”