Old ‘pole box’ net beats 911 on fire call

110414blog pole box
Credit: Canton Police Department

Who would have thought those fire alarm “pole boxes” even worked anymore?

They don’t in most places, but a couple of teenagers in Canton, Mass., either knew or figured it was worth a try there when they spotted a building fire Saturday night.

From the Canton Police Department’s Facebook page:

Matt (Casamento) and W.T. (Khoury) were out and about and noticed the rear of a building on Washington Street was on fire. The fire was in a spot that probably would not have been noticed for some time if it wasn't for the boys. They ran around to the front of the building -- Matt called 911 and W.T. did something that most adults wouldn't think to do – he ran and pulled the nearest "pole box." Pole boxes are fairly rare these days except in urban and populated areas and they are quite antiquated. We still have them in Canton.

Care to venture a guess on what worked the quickest?

If you said the "pole box" you are correct! Although numerous 911 calls did eventually come in reporting the fire, the Canton Fire Department was already enroute because those old boxes communicate directly with Canton Fire Alarm.

Newer isn't always better! Kudos to these kids for using some old-school technology.

As noted by Boston.com, Canton authorities in 2012 had begun the process of overhauling its fire alarm system so that the pole boxes could eventually be taken down. Hard to imagine this episode will win the boxes a reprieve, but it’s nice to know they still work.

 The Boston Historical Society explains that city’s system here.

And here’s a collection of the boxes pictured on Pinterest.

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