D1 Mess Hall Fire 1956 (Art Adelman)

June 13, 2016

     As I knew he would, our good friend Karl, with an amazing memory that remembers everything (don't believe me, ask him what was your telephone number when you were a young scout) remembered it very well.

    
     I can add a few more interesting details, as I was actually present before, during and after the fire, as I was at the time Assistant Steward (Elliot Friedman was Steward).
    
     It was the OA feed, and as always the meal was prepared by some of the brothers, as it was after the normal working hours of the regular cooks.
    
     The meal was to be hamburgers and french fries.  The french fries were the problem.  As Karl correctly said, a big cauldron filled with some frying substance (I don't remember what it was) was set on the stove to get hot enough to french fry the potatoes.  It got too hot, and started to flame, big time.  Since there was a cover for this cauldron, I seized the canoe paddle kept in the kitchen to stir chocolate milk, etc. and slipped it into the handle of the cauldron cover meaning to place the cover over the cauldron to smother the flames.
    
     Before I could accomplish this, someone had a fire hose and shot a stream of water into the flaming oil.  This splashed a large quantity of the flaming oil onto the wooden walls and rafters at the back of the stove, and in moments the kitchen was ablaze.
    
     Whoever shot the water into the flaming oil apparently did not know that oil and water do not mix and that you never use water on that kind of fire (he must have failed Firemanship merit badge).
    
     The rest is history, as Karl correctly said, given the damage, and the declining camp enrollment at that time, the powers that be decided it was not worthwhile to repair the damage and instead D-1 never reopened again.
    
     Over the early years after that, many of us visited that sacred spot, and were able to salvage quite a bit of blue (for meat) and yellow (dairy) dinner ware, and pitchers marked with red M's and blue D's, as this was, after all, a Kosher division.  Karl probably has the best collection of this stuff, and probably still uses it regularly, at least I hope so.
    
     If that recollection did not satisfy you, I can tell you one about when I was making chocolate milk for D-1 in a big pot out of the partially used milk in quart containers by adding Hershey's syrup, stirring it with a canoe paddle, inadvertently used a big pot with a big red "M" on it instead of a blue "D", and the rabbi picked that day to come with his heater stack to take his meal from our mess hall.  Just ask me what happened with that one, I'm easy.

 

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Ten Mile River Scout Museum

1481 County Road 26

Narrowsburg, NY  12764

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