Reminiscence and Resource Centre

Extinguished Fire - Awarded Premium - 1948
A cash premium has been presented by Mr J Tusa, managing director, to Benny McCarthy, of the spreading house, for his prompt action in extinguishing a small fire which broke out there on Friday afternoon.

Because McCarthy knew the drill and did not lose his head in an emergency but did all the right things the fire was extinguished within a remarkably short time.
McCarthy first phoned the fire brigade, then raised the alarm in the adjoining departments before going back, grabbing an extinguisher and putting out the flames.

In an interview with Bata Record, McCarthy said “I was standing working at the machine in the usual way when suddenly there was a burst of flame right in my face. My natural instinct was to rush for the door, but once I got away from the scorching heat of the flames I rushed for the phone. The brigade number was engaged so I raised the alarm with a shout and grabbed a fire extinguisher. I played it on the burning compound and roller and before long the flames were out.

“It seemed to me that the whole thing was only a matter of seconds. I must have put up a good shout for in a trice people were coming from all directions, followed within a moment or two by the fire brigade.”

McCarthy joined the Company eleven years ago but was away for five and a half years withthe R.A.F.

Foreman C Baker, who has charge of the spreading house and polish departments, said “McCarthy knew what to do because we hold frequent fire drills in the department and he and the other workers in that way get to know the exact position of all the fire extinguishers, so that they go automatically for the one nearest to them when they hear the alarm. They also know automatically the number to call the fire brigade and do not have to ask or stop and look it up before they turn in the alarm.
“It is often different when the real thing happens instead of a drill and McCarthy acted with commendable promptitude.”

Chief-officer H J Bannock, of the Factory fire brigade also praised McCarthy’s presence of mind and swift action. He also added that, in his opinion, the outbreak was due to static electricity.

BENNY McCARTHY