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Matt Weinstock

February 6, 2008 |  8:28 pm

Feb. 6, 1958

Matt_weinstockd It isn't customary for a fireman to play policeman but William L. Smith of Rescue Co. 3 decided recently that something had to be done about whoever pulled 30 fire alarm boxes in the Bunker Hill area between Dec. 14, 1957, and Jan. 30, 1958.

False alarms are a nuisance and cost money.

Borrowing the techniques of his son, Officer Kenny Smith of the LAPD, Bill charted and analyzed the time of day and days of the week that the 30 boxes were pulled.

He concluded that the box at 1st and Flower would probably be set off between 6 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday Jan. 29. He got permission for a stakeout.

AS BILL and Investigator Kenneth Held watched, a boy of 10 came out of an apartment building to mail a letter. On the way back to the apartment he tripped the fire alarm box. They chased and caught him and he readily admitted pulling most of the 30 boxes. Subsequently other juveniles who had participated in the false alarm spree were turned up.

Tripping a fire alarm box may seem relatively harmless but it can be dangerous. For example, a firetruck responding to one of the false alarms at 7:37 p.m. Jan. 6 collided with a car at 4th and Figueroa, slightly injuring several men.

Had they been seriously injured, someone would have been in trouble. Section 625A of the Penal Code states that turning in a false alarm is a felony when a serious injury occurs.

As for the boy, he's a bright youngster whose problem is mostly lack of parental supervision. Firemen are arranging for him to visit the station. They figure that will be easier on the taxpayers than going to him.

Meanwhile, Fireman Bill Smith seems to have acquired the nickname "Sergeant Wednesday."

1958_0206_diamond_4 A MAN ON the telephone Tuesday at 4 p.m. said, "You don't know me. I never called you before. My name doesn't matter. I just wanted to say something. I'm mad. I got to rustle the money for my auto license in the next few minutes or pay double. I'll have to park my car. That'll be 50 or 75 cents. Then I'll have to get gas. That's 8 cents tax on each gallon. Then I'll have the privilege of trying to get on the freeway, which I understand cost $1,000,000 a mile to build. You know what that means in the rain. That's all." Click.

REPORTER Don Dwiggins phoned Walter Plett, CAA administrator, for any new developments on the Norwalk tragedy and was told, "He's in a space meeting."

What's this, thought Don, the CAA planning to regulate outer space too? Turned out the meeting was about air space along federal airways.

A CARELESSLY parked car blocked the driveway as Dr. Howard McDonald, president of L.A. State College, tried to back out of the crowded lot at the North Vermont Avenue campus and when no one came to move it he sounded his horn.

A student came up and asked, "Who the devil do you think you are, the president?"

"Well," retorted President McDonald, "I have aspirations."

AT RANDOM--Pretending to be a country editor, Max Mannix, columnist in El Pueblo--the city employees mag, not the Santa Anita nag--offers to let paid-up subscribers write their own obituaries. "You can make it as flowery as you wish," he writes. "We will then hold it and when you kick off we will print it." Not a bad circulation come-on for real ... Understand a Hollywood pixie wears two watches. The one on his left wrist is to tell time, the one on his right is set at bar closing time ... From T 'n' T: "If Patrick Henry thought taxation without representation was bad, he should see it WITH" ... Simile: As quiet as a carwash emporium on a rainy day.