“The current members of Watkins Street would like to express our gratitude to all the members who have worked before us. For it is their dogged determination and commitment to excellence on which our very traditions are grounded.”

Feb
4
2016

TBT – “Old School Firemen”

“Old School Firemen” (circa 1978) has been making the rounds on various social media sites this past week. Pictured left to right: FF Tom Hammond (L120), FF Pete Lund (L120), FF Kevin McCarthy (L120), Captain Paul Jetter (L120), and FF Charlie Hayes (L120).

FF Pete Lund went on to be a highly respected Lieutenant in FDNY Rescue 3 before retiring a few years after 9/11. Although retired, Lt Lund would make the Supreme Sacrifice after battling a fire with the Woodmere Fire Department. His contributions to the Fire Service dedicated towards training and safety continue to be felt nationwide. FF Charlie Hayes (who was also taken from us way too early) went on to become a beloved senior member of L120 before being promoted to Lieutenant and is a man whose presence resonates throughout our Firehouse.

"Old School Firemen"

“Old School Firemen”

Jan
29
2016

TBT – Firehouse Fun

The more things change, the more they stay the same….
“The Tradition Continues….

Watkins Street (1968)

Watkins Street (1968)

Watkins Street (2002)
Watkins Street (2003)

Watkins Street (2003)

Jan
22
2016

TBT (1949): Remembering Captain Benjamin Levy

For today’s “Throw Back Thursday” we remember Captain Benjamin Levy (E231). In what may be an FDNY record for longevity, Captain Levy was the Commanding Officer in E231 for an unprecedented 27 years (1927-1954)
Captain Benjamin Levy - 27 Years in E231  - The Longest Tenured Officer In Watkins Street History!
Captain Benjamin Levy, 27 Years in E231:
(Longest Tenured Officer In Watkins Street History)

In the early 1950′s, young E231 firefighters George Guinan and Seymore Schenker recall the old school Captain Levy dropping them off at the Lott/Junius Street train tracks (where they would walk the entire length to ENY Ave) in search of coal pieces left behind by the steam engines. Indeed, a throwback to a very different era.

“The Tradition Continues…

Jan
14
2016

TBT (1986) – Reminding Us About “Pitkin Avenue” Fires

During the winter of 1986, Watkins Street members responded to a phone alarm for fire on that all too familiar stretch of Pitkin Ave. Legendary Battalion Chief Howie Carlson (who was a Lieutenant in Ladder 120) used to describe Pitkin Ave as “million dollar storefronts on cardboard buildings” as a way to increase situational awareness. In later years, FDNY Chief of Safety Al Hay (FF L120) would assist Watkins Street members with the creation of a “Pitkin Avenue Book” (currently stored in our crew cabs) which highlights the many hazards and tactics E231/L120/Bn44 members have faced and utilized over the years.

After this particular punishing fire, an iconic photo was snapped which is representative of the bond shared citywide within the FDNY Brotherhood. The famous picture (selected as the 1st cover for WNYF in 1986) shows FF Mike Hyland (L120) caring for his boss, Lt Eddie Ireland (E231) who was overcome by smoke, CO poisoning, and exhaustion at the conclusion of operations – after ensuring all his men had safely exited the building.

“The Tradition Continues…

1986: "The Brothers"

1986: “The Brothers”

Pitkin Avenue

Pitkin Avenue

Jan
8
2016

TBT (May 13th, 1989) – Remembering “Our Little Girl In The Suitcase”

A story which captured an entire City….After operating at a vacant building fire at 2043 Union Street in Brownsville, FF Kenny Whelan (L120) happened upon a tiny suitcase with an unmistakable odor and immediately notified Captain Marty Coyne (L120). Unfortunately, their worst fears were realized and the charred body of an unrecognizable infant was recovered. The baby was never claimed and her death to this day remains a mystery.

The Officers & Members of E231/L120/Bn44 working on Watkins Street at the time decided to contact City authorities and requested to arrange a funeral with full Department honors for “Our Little Girl In The Suitcase”. In the true spirit and highest traditions of the FDNY, members from all over the City descended upon St Camillus Church in Class A Uniforms as a bagpiper played “Going Home”. The firefighters of Watkins Street made sure that in death, the young girl was afforded the dignity she was previously denied in her short life. Addressing the little girl for the final time, FDNY Chaplain Monsignor Thomas Brady said, “You now have a mother in Heaven – and her name is Mary.”

“The Tradition Continues…

"Our Little Girl In The Suitcase"
FF Kenny Whelan (L120) & FF Donald Glennan (L120) Taking Care Of Our Little Girl In The Suitcase

Jan
6
2016

Congratulations FF Rob Leverock – 10 Years in L120!

Congratulations to FF Rob Leverock who received his “Gold Pin” in recognition of 10 years as a member of Ladder Company 120. While conducting Roll Call, Lieutenant Scott Coyne (L120) gathered the Officers & Members of Watkins Street as our Senior Man, FF Brian Cross (L120) made the formal presentation. Minutes later, the tones went off as L120 arrived first due Truck at 2nd Alarm Box 77-22-1825 on Pitkin Ave/Fountain Ave. Congratulations Rob!

“The Tradition Continues…

View the video here:  https://www.facebook.com/KatieLusso12/videos/1244224205603970/

lev 10yrs
FDNY Proby School Buddies – FF Rob Leverock (L120), Lt Taylor Searing (E231 UFO), Lt Scott Coyne (L120), and FF John Ostraticky (L120) who were all in the same Squad during FDNY Proby School get together at the conclusion of operations, Brooklyn Box 77-22-1825

Dec
30
2015

TBT: “The Tower Of Brownsville” & “10 Amboy”

FF Mike Polifrone (E231) - "The Tradition Continues...

NY Daily News – FF Mike Polifrone (E231) operates at Wind Impacted Fire (10 Amboy Street) “The Tradition Continues…

Watkins Street members – circa 1980′s
"The Tower of Brownsville"

“The Tower of Brownsville”

Dec
24
2015

Brownsville & Bethlehem: “The Tradition Continues….

At 0400hrs on Christmas morning (1993), Watkins Street was dispatched to 1440 ENY Ave for a routine emergency. E231 FF Joe Cooney (now BC Cooney) was conversing with a young child in Apt 10B and it became apparent that the poor child would not be enjoying the Christmas experience as many of us know it. Upon being relieved from duty, FF Cooney (with his own money) went shopping on Pitkin Ave and proceeded to hand deliver toys to this child before heading home to his own family. The child’s mother (obviously moved by this chain of events) decided to contact the Brooklyn Dispatchers in hope of finding out the identity of the FF who left the toys. Upon investigation, a phone call was placed to E231 informing the Officer on duty (Lt Bobby Higgins, our future Captain) of what had occurred. FF Cooney returned to work again on the Christmas 6×9, but did not tell his Brother firefighters how he had spent his Christmas morning.

Attached is the Department Letterhead forwarded up the Chain of Command to then Fire Commissioner William Feehan, informing of the actions of FF Cooney. Appropriately (during the holiday season), this letter has been posted in the Watkins Street kitchen every year since.

As then Lt Higgins so eloquently wrote, “FF Cooney’s actions on Christmas morning were of the highest quality and in the finest tradition of the FDNY. For that morning at least, Brownsville and Bethlehem did not seem so far apart.”

Merry Christmas from all of us on Watkins Street.
Brownsville and Bethlehem 1

Brownsville and Bethlehem 2

“The Tradition Continues….

Dec
24
2015

TBT – Watkins Street Circa 1980′s

Throw Back Thursday – 1980′s on Watkins Street!…..L120 Firefighters Mike Galgano, Al Hay, Kevin Canham, and Danny Brandenburger critique a job.

"The Critique"

“The Critique”

Dec
24
2015

Congratulations Lt Woods!!

Congratulations To The Happy Couple!

Congratulations To The Happy Couple!

The Officers & Members of E231/L120/Bn44 congratulate our Lt Dave Woods (E231) and his bride to be on their Engagement. Congratulations to the happy couple and welcome to Watkins Street Emma!