"Old Bill is No More
Old Bill is dead.
He died on duty about 9 o'clock this morning. And the staff at the fire station are in mourning today; also the kiddies at No. 1 hall, who have been weeping through the long, dreary hours 'cause their old chum and protector was-gone.
It all happened very suddenly. Old Bill lined up with the men as usual at 8 o'clock this morning as he has done these seven years past. He answered to his name with his customary smartness. Then an alarm came in from the Duff Addition.
Bill sprang into his place, led the thundering engine down Fifth street and up Fourth avenue and then-it happed. The red monster wheel Bill loved, crushed over his body, breaking his spine.
A few minutes later Chief Hardy passed. He saw Bill crouched on the edge of the sidewalk. ‘He was suffering, I could see that. I shall never forget the pitiful look poor Bill gave us as we wheeled past him. He looked so sad and forlorn-poor fellow.' This is what the Chief said, his voice husky.
Later Old Bill was shot because he was too badly injured to be allowed to suffer.
Bill, the handsome bulldog mascot at the city fire station, joined the staff seven years ago [ca. 1915]. He was loved and admired by all. His devotion to duty was touching; his intelligence almost human. He has held burglars and other criminals until the police arrived to make the arrest; has been the faithful watch dog of the fire station winter and summer; the first at a fire, the last to leave. He knew the difference between the ambulance call and the fire call. Bill never made a mistake.
At the recent fire which destroyed the macaroni factory [Christmas Eve, 1921], Bill displayed astonishing faithfulness. He reached the blazing building at 2 o'clock in the morning and left it at 6 o'clock at night. He could not be persuaded to leave until the last foot of hose was tucked away and carried back to the station. He stuck to his post without a morsel of food and when he reached home at night he sank to the floor exhausted.
A year ago Bill suffered a broken leg during a run to a fire, but he recovered and was enjoying perfect health until the fatal run this morning.
Now his picture adorned the wall of the fire station with a bit of crepe hanging over it. It isn't much, the boys say, but it tells and eloquent story-the story of another faithful dog, a splendid beast known and loved by hundreds in the city.'
Reproductions: 6 x 7 cm negativeavailable.
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