In the last blog we posted the story of Larkspur Fireman James Niven, who was killed in the line of duty while responding to a possible structure fire on January 2, 1978. Jim was serving as the officer on Larkspur Engine 1, which crashed enroute to the alarm, resulting in his death. We read that the California Highway Patrol determined that excessive speed was to blame, and that Larkspur Fire Department Engineer Willie Wilson was driving.
We who lived through this tragic incident do not want Willie to be remembered in that way. This week we are posting his story under the "Special Recognition and Award Recipients" section. Willie was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, and fought in 13 major battles at sea in the Pacific Theater. He and the other members of his crew received 13 battle stars. Willie served as a Gunner's Mate, and we are sure he lost much of his hearing ability due to those terrible battles and gunfire. Read how the loss of his hearing may have played into the accident in 1978.
We all have good memories of Willie and his time in the Larkspur FD. For me, I will always remember him in his coveralls, running a buffing machine back and forth over the fire station engine bay floors. He'd be whistling loudly and appeared happy to be doing the work. This was probably a task he learned well on the U.S.S. Louisville, while "swabbing the decks." The station floors were always clean when he was on duty. Rest in Peace Willie.
Our Blog announces new site content, and gives the context of the topic and it's relationship to fire service history. Written by Tom Forster.