Recollections of the 1959
Michicot flood and fire
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These pictures are called "Snap Shots".
Computer talk to mean pictures copied from 8mm movies converted to DVD.
8mm film is very small. Each frame is about the size of a woman's little fingernail.
The result is small pictures of poor quality.
They are however, historically significant. Enjoy!

In the morning of December 28, 1959, I decided to take some movies of the Mishicot flood which was in progress. I drove my car to the south end of the bridge, parked it and started shooting movies. My camera was an 8mm and I was using colored film.

I panned the camera starting from the SW toward the NE. Water was up against the bottom of the bridge and was over main street from Washington street to nearly Jackson street. Not wanting to risk driving through the flooded street, I then drove back south to Church street and turned north on South State street. I filmed more scenes of the high water to include men running pumps to remove water from Holtz's basement under their store.

Then SE to what was then the Mishicot Bus Station. I was low on film. As made the purchase, I heard a siren and realized I might be able to follow the fire trucks and shoot some movies. As I left the bus station, I looked SE toward the bowling alley and saw smoke. It was then I realized the fire was in Mishicot. Jumped into my car and as I drove past Rockway Street where the old fire department was located, I did not see the garage doors open or any of the volunteer fireman arriving.

I drove to Jackson Street and parked my car about a block away from Eva Holtz's house which was on fire. No flames at this time, but plenty of black smoke. I could now hear the sirens. My gosh, I am a “Johnny on the Spot”.

As the trucks approached, I filmed it all. Soon flames broke out on the rear of the home. I then ran out of film. I was so excited that when I opened my camera to replace the film with a fresh roll, I dropped the film and watched it roll through the muddy water. I grabbed the film and tucked it into my pocket and reloaded the camera with a new roll of 8mm film. I continued to shoot moves of the fire.

More fire departments were called in as the fire, at first, could not be contained. Flames were shooting out the basement windows as though fueled by a flame thrower.

We learned later why this was.

Boots Dvorak was one of the volunteer fire fighters that day. These are his words.

There was a tank in the ground next to the house with a pipe that ran through the basement wall. The pipe was cut off there. When the flood went over the tank it forced the gas into the house. When George plugged in the sump pump the house went boom, the gas in the tank was like jet fuel. They used this fuel for lights years ago,so he burned to death.

In the movie, George Schmidt's remains are seen being carried out of the basement on a stretcher. We later learned that the his wife, Eva, heard him call her name just as the basement exploded.

I continued to take movies as the fire became larger. Difficult to control.

Eventually, I again ran out of film. This time, I did not have the heart to take more movies. The DVD ends with firemen fighting fire.

Dave Brouchoud


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