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Hudson - Litchfield News 10 - April 8, 2011

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Alexandra Jury Brough- continued from front page

rescue of a cat during a two-alarm fire on Plaza Drive and his biggest life-saving act for his rescue of a guinea pig on Hazelwood Drive while battling a house fire. The second rescue earned him several news stories and an editorial in local newspapers. Over the

years, Fred has witnessed many changes in the fire service. The tools and equipment have improved; firefighter gear of today includes hoods, pants, and coats that cover the whole body. When he started, pull-up boots and waist-length coats were worn and ears were used to tell how hot the fire was. Firefighters today have pass devices and thermal imaging cameras. The cameras Fred feels are the most technical advance the fire service has seen and every fire engine should be equipped with one. He also has witnessed many changes in the Hudson Fire Department. When

he started, some apparatus was built in-house; now, the trucks are modern and filled with safety features, dispatch is computerized, the department went from a one-manned station to three-manned stations, and medical response that featured basic EMTs became today’s paramedics with their drugs, defibrillators, and advanced skills. Many memories remain from his 28 years. There were the brotherhood moments such as the family Christmas parties held each year at the Burns Hill Fire Station. The trucks would be pulled out and all the men and their families brought a food dish and Santa would visit all the kids. The 100-year celebration of the department and the many fire musters also remain deeply seated in his mind.

Also, there are the memories of the

practical jokes that have taken place over the years. This includes the engine company rivalries, when each company would attack the other with water fire extinguishers, the packing peanuts that filled a member’s car, and shoes hanging from the flagpole, to name a few.

One thing that bothered Fred throughout his time was the political atmosphere, which over the years has led to much discontent within the department. There was also the serious side of the job. Heavy fire from a three- alarm fire one night on Sullivan Road chased him out of the building, coming close to causing him and other members serious injury. In the early years, there were the Friday and Saturday night motor vehicle crashes with entrapment and sometimes

death on River and Dracut Roads. These crashes were so frequent that Fred and other members of Company 4 would stay home waiting for the tone. There was also the nine-alarm mill fire in the city of Lowell, MA, where he spent 24 hours straight on the scene.

As his last day came to an end, he

said if he had to do it again, he would not change a thing. He will miss responding to calls the most, but his retirement will put his wife Sharon at ease, not having to worry about the possibility of the Chief’s car pulling into the driveway. A fear many firefighters wives have. Now that he has retired, he will remain busy. He will try his hand at flying remote control airplanes, continue buffing fires, and to his wife’s dismay, the scanners will remain in the house. Fred started his career as a proby firefighter with Captain Dave Morin and chose to end his career riding on Captain Morin’s group. Before leaving the station, he sent out a final message to the department: “Well, today was my final day on the department since joining in 1983. It’s been a good time working and knowing all of you. There is no better group of firefighters to go into a burning building with and to have one’s back. It’s been an honor and one hell of a ride on the big red truck. Good luck in the future to all of you and God Bless.” Captain Fred Brough, we thank you

for your friendship, camaraderie, and dedicated service; we all wish you the best of luck and a long and happy retirement.

Justin Chadbourne

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