- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 1, 2005

Thomas Lloyd doesn’t talk much about his heroic acts while serving as a firefighter on Capitol Hill for more than 30 years, but there was the 3-year-old child he pulled from a burning Southeast home.

“The little girl was upstairs in the bedroom,” Mr. Lloyd, 84, recalled of the rescue that landed him on newspaper front pages in 1967. “The fire was mostly downstairs, but the smoke was upstairs. I had to feel around it was so dark. I finally found and got a hold of her and passed her through the window to [a firefighter] coming up the ladder, and that’s when they took the picture.”

The news clipping and other historical items from the D.C. Fire Department’s Engine Company 18 and Truck 7 were on display yesterday at the company firehouse at 414 Eighth St. SE as part of a celebration of a century of service to the Capitol Hill community.

The open house was followed by a centennial dinner for about 100 active and retired firefighters from the company.

“We wanted to honor the men and women who used to work here and to educate the community about the contributions that the local fire station has made for 100 years,” said Demetrios Vlassopoulos, captain of the firehouse.

Mr. Lloyd provided many of the historical documents, including hundreds of fire-related articles he had saved from as far back as the 1920s.

He joined the company in 1948 and said he always wanted to be a firefighter. Mr. Lloyd also recalled a childhood of listening to police radio to hear where firetrucks were headed.

Yesterday, he expressed no regrets about fulfilling the childhood dream.

“Good job, good people,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave.”

His sons, James and Tom, followed in his footsteps.

“I remember him telling the stories when he came home, smelling like smoke,” said James Lloyd, 45, who has been a firefighter since 1980 and is a lieutenant at the firehouse.

Before the dinner, retired firefighters milled about the firehouse. Mr. Lloyd ran into former colleagues Bobby Fields and Buster Redman and the three caught up on old times and swapped stories.

Mr. Redman, 60, who started out in 1969 with Engine Company 25 on Alabama Avenue before joining Company 18 in the early 1970s, said much has changed in addition to the equipment since his firefighting days.

“There were a lot more fires to fight back in the ‘60s,” said Mr. Redman, who retired in 1998. “It was probably harder to fight fires back then. It was also a more laid-back atmosphere in the firehouse. Now. it’s much more businesslike.”

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