The crew of 1970 and Prince Back (L to R): M. Kavanagh; J. Stapleton; M. Kavanagh; P. Fahy; J. Murphy; J. Walton; J. Traynor; P. Lyons. Front (L to R): J. Barry; J. Kennedy; J. Lonergan, A.C.F.O.; Captain Hugh Corrigan, C.F.O.; P. O'Brien, P. Hogan; G. Duffy.
In 1971, Fireman Gerry Duffy was sent, to Limerick to be trained as a Breathing Apparatus Instructor. A Breathing Apparatus is a cylinder of compressed air in a harness which is strapped to the fireman's back. This allows him to breathe freely in a smoke filled building as it has a working time of about 40 minutes under normal conditions. In 1972, Fireman P. Fahy and Fireman J. Traynor were sent to Clonmel to be trained as Breathing Apparatus Instructors. These three firemen trained firemen from Kilkenny City and County in the use of Breathing Apparatus Kilkenny City Fire Station had a small smoke house in which they trained the men.
In 1972 Kilkenny city purchased a new Ford Water Tender. This engine had a 45 foot aluminium ladder, 400 gallons of water and a 500 gpm pump. This engine replaced CIP 160, the water tender Fire Chief O'Brien bought 15 years before. CIP 160 was sent to Urlingford where a new station had been built.
On the morning of the 6th of February 1973 at 11,30am a call came to Kilkenny Fire Station from Clonmel requesting assistance at a fire in the Ballingarry Coal Mines. The Ford Water Tender left with J. Walton (Sub Officer), G. Duffy (Driver), P. Fahy, J. Stapleton, J. Barry and J. Traynor.
When they arrived at the coal mine there were brigades from Clonmel, Cashel and Tipperary. All the brigades were under the command of the Fire Chief of Tipperary County. When Kilkenny arrived they found all three brigades fighting a fire in the shaft. There were 18 miners trapped underground. This fire could only be fought with Breathing Apparatus because of the intense smoke.
The shaft was at a 45º angle and the firemen were lowered down in a bogey car until they came to the smoke filled area. Each fireman had about 30 minutes working time until his air ran low and he had to return to the surface, rested for about 30 minutes, got a new cylinder and returned to the fire. There was about 25 to 30 firemen working in shifts until the fire was brought under control about 5 hours later. The 18 miners were then brought safely to the surface.
In 1973 Kilkenny City Fire Service changed from the siren on the roof to alerters. These are miniature radios worn by the firemen and in the event of a fire the phone-duty officer in the Fire Station presses a button and wherever the firemen were their alerters bleeped.
In 1974 Kilkenny City received its first sets of two-way radios. One was installed in the Fire Chief's car, one in the Assistant Fire Chief's car and one in the Ford Water Tender. Within the next two years all outside stations were in contact with Kilkenny.
In 1974 Mr. William Doyle was appointed 2nd Officer for Kilkenny City and County. Mr. Doyle was previously Station Officer for Waterford City Fire Service. In December 1974 a small Commer van was bought. This was fitted out with rescue equipment. It was used in the event of a Road Traffic Accident (R.T.A.) or any other emergency.
In 1975, after a short illness, Mr. J. Lonergan, A.C.F.O. died. After his death his wife and family moved to a new house in Kilkenny. Mr. P. Lyons was then appointed full-time phone duty officer for Kilkenny. The upstairs living quarters was then converted into offices and were used by Captain Corrigan, C.F.O. and Mr. W.Doyle, 2nd Officer. One of the larger rooms was converted into a lecture room. Mr. W. Doyle then took over the Job of training the fire crews for the City and County. In 1975 Kilkenny City bought a second-hand Land-rover. This carried 40 gallons of water and had a 210 gpm pump. It was ideally suited for narrow streets and laneways. It could also be used in muddy fields where a big water tender would get bogged down. Also in 1975 Station Officer Jack Kennedy (who was also a mechanic in the County Council Machinery Yard) was transferred as full-time mechanic to the Fire Station.
In June 1977 Kilkenny City Fire Service bought a new hydraulic platform (H.P.) made by Simon Snorkel on a Dennis Chassis and is commonly known as a snorkel. It carries 250 gallons of water an has a 750 gpm pump. lt's boom can reach a height of 50 feet It can move a full 360 Degrees. Water is piped up to a cage with monitor which firemen use to fight roof fires. This engine can also be used as a water tender.
The Cage on The Snorkel
In 1977 Captain Corrigan appointed three full-time firemen. These were: Anthony Kavanagh, Kieran Howley and Martin Kavanagh. Also that year Captain Corrigan and Fire Chiefs from other counties went to England on an intense Breathing Apparatus Course. When they returned they set up courses throughout the country and trained hundreds of firemen in the use of Breathing Apparatus.
In 1978 Kilkenny bought a second-hand Bedford Oil Tanker and converted it into a water carrier. It carried 2000 gallons of water and had a 250 gpm portable pump mounted on the back. This was very useful for country fires where water is scarce.
The Bedford Water Carrier