Four Generations of Shinn's on the Huntsville Fire Department
My earliest memories of the Huntsville Fire Department were of going with my father, Harry Shinn, down to the old fire station for their regular meetings.
To be honest, I remember little about what kind of training they did but I vividly remember crawling all over the fire trucks and dreaming about the days I could drag a hoseline into a fire.
I remember my mother getting me out of bed and taking me to the parking lot of the Jan Ran Motel across from the IGA as it burned ferociously through the night as our firefighters battled the flames without turnouts. Without airpacks. In freezing temperatures. My mother and the other wives were busy making the firefighters bologna sandwiches and coffee to keep them going.
I remember my uncle Gene Shinn coming to the table to get coffee with ice caked in his ears. I remember my father and Steve Spurlock dangerously dragging large acetylene bottles out of the garment factory in order to protect the other firefighters who didn't know they were in the structure.
I remember many things watching my dad and my uncles Gene and Earl and my cousin Randy risking themselves in order to serve others.
I remember how proud I was the first fire I worked on a nozzle battling the first fire at the Ridgeway Apartments as they were being constructed.
I remember years later, when I was a single father, raising my daughter Kristyn in and around the fire station.
Fast forward a hundred years later and I will always treasure the first time Kristyn joined me on the department.
As this report from KNWA points out, the Huntsville Fire Department is a family kind of thing.