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 Great Story - Thanks Bruce Novak 
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Post Great Story - Thanks Bruce Novak
Thursday, February 9, 2006

[b][size=150]Alton bobhouse fire found to be started intentionally[/size][/b]

By MELANIE NELSON
Staff Writer
mnelson@citizen.com

ALTON — Using a shovel from the back of his truck and some snow, retired [b][color=red]Fire Captain Irving Roberts[/color][/b] quickly extinguished what authorities are calling an intentionally set fire inside a bobhouse Monday night that had the potential for being something much more serious.

Fire Chief Alan Johnson said authorities know for sure the fire was arson because fuel oil had been poured all over the floor of the bobhouse and a rag was lit on fire and thrown through a broken window. There was a propane tank inside, but the fire was put out before it caught on fire.

The bobhouse, which was about 4x8 feet in size, was in Roberts Cove in East Alton, and had been close enough to shore that it was easy to access. Johnson said had it been further out on the ice they would have watched it burn from shore because the ice is considered to be extremely unsafe now.

One of the side walls of the bobhouse was slightly damaged and the roof window was melted, he said, adding that the other three walls were still intact. The owner is from Brookfield, he said.

A person in the area had reported the fire by dialing 911 just after 9 p.m. While the fire department responded with three pieces of equipment, he said, Roberts told them all they needed was a shovel and some snow.

"He threw snow on it with a shovel. He had it knocked down before trucks got there," said Johnson. "He was pretty proud of putting out."

Roberts is a retired captain from the East Alton station who spent 32 years on the department, Johnson said. He lives in East Alton and still monitors the fire channels on his scanner.

"He's a godsend to us. He's retired but never really retires," said the fire chief, adding that the department looks at Roberts as the town's very own "MacGyver."

"He always carries stuff in the back of his truck, like extra ropes and fire gear and extinguishes fires. He's always there."

MacGyver was an action/adventure TV series that ran from 1985 to 1992. Angus MacGyver, played by Richard Dean Anderson, was known for using science and his "wits" instead of violence to solve just about any problem.

The arson is under investigation by the police department, said Johnson. This is the first bobhouse fire that the department has had this year, he said. Last year several bobhouses on the bay were run over by snowmobilers.


Fri Feb 10, 2006 12:58 am
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Post Re: Great Story - Thanks Bruce Novak
Agreed, great story. Irving Roberts is a living legend! ;-) One of the most wonderful discoveries I ever made through Camp was making his acquaintance.

How about a round of Irving stories?

One time, Joe DeSisto and I were winter camping in one of the lean-to's in the Campcraft area. It was a bitterly cold day, early January, temps. in the single digits. Driving in to camp, we encountered Irving and Mrs Roberts by the bunk nearest the Rec Hall. Irving had a propane torch going (the big one, rigged right off of a 3 gallon white propane bottle), and had it pointed down into some sort of conical steel contraption. "What are you working on?" we asked. He was melting the frost to a point deep enough that he could sink a post for the bunk relocation and rebuild project. This bunk site later that year became the Old Doc's weight room.


Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:09 am
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Post GREAT STORY - THANKS DAVID D.
ONE DAY IRVING WAS "AT IT" WITH ONE OF THE CESS POOLS SURROUNDED BY [always fascinated] CAMPERS.

ONE [rudely?] ASKED IRVING "WOULD YOU DRINK FROM THAT?"

IRVING REPLIED: "IF YOU WERE IN THERE TREADING WATER AND I HAD A GUN AND ABOUT TO SHOOT YOU IN THE HEAD, WOULD YOU DUCK?

SHABBOT SHALOM
REB MOISH


Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:16 am
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Post Great Story Pitz
One day my old 1976 BMW 2002 was not running well. Knowing as much about engines as The Brook & Briddle knew about the Talmud, I asked Irving if I should be concerned about the line I had found that was dripping gasoline.

In his incomparable dry tone he responded, "If I were you, I'd be more concerned about that one" as he pointed to a broken hose on the other side of the block spraying gasoline like a lawn sprinkler on high!


Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:19 am
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