05/06/14 243 W - + 2 - 2 Vintage Film Footage - DCFD During 1968 Riots

Dave Statter has found some great vintage film footage of firefighters in action in Washington, DC, during the rioting in April 1968 that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As noted in his posting, the clips were found on YouTube, as posted by a company called CriticalPast, which specializes in selling archived stock footage. (Alas, they have exactly one clip available for Raleigh, NC. Something about a peanut farm.)

According to this Wikipedia article, 110 cities around the country saw rioting after King's assassination. (That included Raleigh, where numerous fires were started and buildings burned over a number of days. What other cities in North Carolina were impacted?) The DC riots, along with Chicago and Baltimore, had the heaviest impact. Says this second article, by the fifth day, after the city was considered "pacified," twelve people were dead (most in burning homes), 1,097 injured, and over 6,100 arrested. Around 1,200 buildings had burned, including over 900 stores. Damages approached $27 million. 

Here's an embed of a three-minute clip. Much of the footage shows street-level firefighting in a commercial building, with both deluge gun and hand lines in effect. Apparatus is Pirsch, plus what looks like a Ward LaFrance that passes the camera. (That's protective chicken wire over the open cab, something that was used in other cities.) No breathing apparatus in sight, just coats and boots and helmets and hose. See Statter's posting for more clips.

The civil unrest that followed the King shooting seems like a lifetime ago, By this posting Raleigh was evidently impacted, as far as other cities, in Eastern North Carolina if my old feeble memory serves me right, the worst unrest was in Wilmington, and it actually continued for several years there. The National Guard was sent in after firefighters. came under attack by sniper fire from a church steeple occupied by a group of protesters. Thats where the arrest and convictions of the group lead by Benjamin Chavis and the “ Wilmington Ten “ came from. If memory serves me Rocky Mount had little impact but I’m purdy sure the city of Wilson had some problems, in fact I had a couple of friends who were in the National Guard based out of Nashville, NC and they were activated and sent to Wilson for a week or two.
Galax, va - 05/07/14 - 08:35

Mike, was the Henderson Firefighter who shot himself accidentally considered a line of duty death?
Galax,va - 05/07/14 - 10:32

Remember personal info?

/ Textile

Comment moderation is enabled on this site. This means that your comment will not be visible on this site until it has been approved by an editor.

To prevent spam we require you to answer this silly question

  (Register your username / Log in)

Hide email:

Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.