Everyday, members of the Skaneateles Fire Department come to the aid of community members in need of help or assistance in one form or another.
But before the days of self-contained breathing apparatus -- or SCBA -- there were firefighters who responded to calls without air packs and fires that are now considered historic. Two such members, Jim Audlin and Charlie Major, were honored Monday Oct. 5 during the Skaneateles Fire meeting.
Audlin, who now makes his home in Auburn, has been a member of the SFD for 59 years this month.
According to Firefighter Jim Buff, Audlin is the longest serving member of the department and also the last member of the department who fought the historic school fire in 1952.
"I was on the back of the Mack truck -- it was my favorite piece of equipment," Audlin said about the truck he was instrumental in purchasing in 1951. The Mack is now the department's parade vehicle.
The call for the school fire came in around 6:30 in the morning and everything went fine until about 11 a.m., Audlin said. That's when someone dropped a live hose and he went to rescue it. Due to the water pressure, the hose jerked around dangerously and left Audlin needing a dentist.
"It knocked out my four [bottom] front teeth," he said, adding that he went to the local dentist who had to separate his teeth from his lip. He was then sent to a dentist in Syracuse.
Audlin's good friend Paul Trabold, the man who is responsible for Audlin's service to the community, showed up the morning of his appointment insisting he was taking Audlin to the doctor's in the city.
"He said, 'You're my pride and joy in the fire department,'" Audlin said remembering the conversation.
Major said he remembers Audlin showing up at the fire scene that morning. A senior in high school that year, Major lived across the street and ran outside in his pajamas as crews arrived on the scene.