Helena, MT Firetruck Wreck, Jun 1938


False Alarm


Six members of the Butte Legion drum corps and one member of the Helena fire department had a miraculous escape from death last night when some one, presumably drunk, turned in a false fire alarm, sending two Helena fire trucks plunging almost into the midst of the Butte drum corps parading up Main street at 9:25 o'clock last night.

Injured when one fire truck, trapped in heavy traffic, skidded into the midst of the drum corps were:
Chris Egedahl, Butte, shocked, bruised, possible hip fracture, hospitalized at St. John's.
Lou Davis, Butte, contusions and bruises, released after treatment.
J. A. Millecan, Butte, cuts and bruises.
C. O. Smithers, Butte, deep cuts on legs.
Charles Christman, Butte, cuts and bruises on legs.
Ed Hayes, Butte, cuts and bruises on legs.
H. K. Doyle, Butte, bruises about the abdomen.
Clyde Tipton, Helena, fireman, cuts and bruises.

None was seriously injured and all were released after their wounds were dressed except Egedahl who is being kept for further observation.

Fire Chief Tom Finnegan Chief of Police Roger Smith and officials of the American Legion launched an intensive search last night for the person who turned in the alarm after the Butte corps in a traditional ceremony, had set fire to a coffin at the Sixth and Main intersection containing the body of "Old Man Gloom"

They had practically no lead from which to work in running down the man who could easily have been responsible for the most devastating accident in Helena's history.

The call was placed from somewhere on Main street and was made to a telephone operator who was instructed to call the fire station and report a blaze on Sixth and Main. The operator said the person making the call did not divulge his name and there was no way of tracing to see where the call might have been made from.

Streets Jammed.
Members of the drum corps dressed in red devil suits were marching away from the bonfire at the Sixth and Main intersection and were moving four abreast a little below the Placer hotel when the siren first sounded.

The street was jammed with traffic and dense crowds surged along Main street.

On all fire calls from within the business district regulations call for both trucks to answer - and to answer fast.

Continued on page 2