By Olga Kaczmar
Newhall Community Contributor
In the 70’s I was living in Fullerton. One Saturday when my boyfriend was working, I took his three children to the nearby community swimming pool. We spent the whole day in the water or sunning ourselves. I was young, cute and skinny in my little bikini. That was the era when you greased yourself up with oil and cooked in the sun. When we got hungry, we all jumped in the car to go home. The 7-year old girl sat in the shotgun seat next to me and the younger boys sat in the rear.
“Hey!” one boy said, “I smell smoke.” I stepped out of the car to survey what he was talking about and sure enough, the pillow on the package shelf was smoldering (spontaneous combustion due to sunrays amplified through the rear glass). The embers burned through and dropped down into the seat below. What to do? What to do?
I hopped back into the driver seat and drove the car a short distance to the gasoline station and asked the mechanic, “where is the hose?” (They had mechanics at gas stations at that time).
“Get that car out of here immediately,” he yelled at me.
“What am I going to do with it?” I said.
“There’s a fire station two blocks that way,” he pointed a greasy black finger. I stepped in behind the wheel and drove away. Fire station, where are you?
I found the station pretty quickly, but there was no one there. I removed the children from the car and told them to stay away. I walked around the empty fire station until I found the call box. Why doesn’t someone answer? I played nervously with the cord until someone the other end acknowledge me.
“Come quick. I brought you a fire,” I said.
“What?” the reply quizzed. I could imagine his dumbfounded look.
“I brought you a fire. My car is on fire in the back seat. Come quick.”
Well they did come quickly, but it seemed a long time to me. Yes, they acknowledged that the back seat was burning…too close to the tank. They pulled the seat and all the burned debris onto the driveway. While one of the firemen hosed off the smoldering seat, the rest of the firemen circled around me. They were amused. Here I was still in my bikini, covered with black soot sticking to the suntan grease.
“Are those your children?” one firefighter asked.
“No, they are my boyfriend’s,” I replied.
“I thought you were too shapely to have three young children,” he said. He just pushed my button. I smiled. I’m flattered.
After the fire was thoroughly out, they put the soggy rear seat back in the car. Then this drop-dead gorgeous hunk of fireman looked down at me. He smiled and said,
“You know you don’t have to bring a fire to us, we make house calls.”