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K.F.P.A… A Shocking Experience…

Story ID:8422
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Dillon Montana USA
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Another memory from my life in the unique town of Bly, Oregon

K.F.P.A… A Shocking Experience…
By Chuck Dishno

Across the street from my house in Bly, Oregon, was The Klamath Forest Protective Association. It was established in 1922 to protect the valuable Oregon forests in Klamath and Lake counties.

The complex housed an office, several out buildings for storage of firefighting equipment. One of the buildings housed the summer employees. The building was made of corrugated metal and had a fire lookout on top. I don’t know how many men slept in there but as I recall there were quite a few.

There was always lots of activity there with the boys maintaining the equipment and manning the several fire lookout towers. Also on the grounds was the cookhouse with the ever-present aroma of good cooking. The boys were treated well.

As I mentioned, on top of the maintenance/bunkhouse building was a lookout platform that was accessible by a ladder inside the building. During World War Two a chapter of the Civil Air Patrol was established in Bly. Some of us boys joined the Junior Civil Air Patrol and took it upon ourselves to man the lookout platform armed with silhouette charts of enemy aircraft. We joined never saw any though and about all we could report were the nighthawks or buzzards. Interest soon waned and stopped altogether with the end of the war.

In 1946, when I was about 14, my friend Leigh Taylor would sleep on my front lawn in a WWII pup tent on warm summer nights. One evening about midnight after we had gone to bed, a terrific thunderstorm rolled in. Leigh and I were looking out the front of the tent when we saw a huge bolt of lightning hit the metal building. It made a loud “whang” and the entire building glowed as the electricity made its way to the ground. A few seconds later all heck broke loose when we saw a couple of dozen boys diving thru any exit they could find. The rain had not started and all we could see were these guys in their shorts and undershirts with their hair standing on end.

Leigh and I ran across the street to see if anyone was hurt. Everyone seemed to be OK but the smell of ozone filled the air. They were all talking about the experience inside the building as the lightning darted from one wall to the other with an eerie glow.

Soon all calmed down and the boys reluctantly went back to their barracks. It was a night I will never forget and I know it will be etched in those boys memory forever. They probably cringe whenever they hear thunder and smell ozone. I would bet that ozone wasn’t the only smell in the air that evening either.