A date which will live in infamy was also a day the Honolulu Fire Department unexpectedly went to war.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Engine 6 was the first to respond to Hickam Airfield.
“They were used to seeing practice anti-aircraft artillery and they knew that to be white smoke, white puffs in the sky,” said Capt. David Jenkins, Honolulu Fire Department. “This morning, those puffs were black. They knew it was live ammunition and Oahu was under attack.”
Bodies were everywhere, hangars and aircraft burned out of control.
Hoseman Harry Tuck Lee Pang was killed after being shot in the abdomen. Crews ran to a hangar but that proved to be unsafe.
“The hangar was struck itself and two other firefighters, captains Macy and Carreira were also fatally injured,” Jenkins said.
Three firefighters died and six were wounded. All received the Purple Heart.
“It’s something that distinguishes the Honolulu Fire Department among all the other departments in the United States,” Jenkins said. “We’re the only department that has members, civilian members that were awarded the Purple Heart.”
HFD suffered greatly that day, a day that changed the world forever.
There’s much more on the events of that fateful day in stories told by Joe Moore, Ron Mizutani, and Pamela Young.
You can watch “Pearl Harbor: Untold Stories of Heroism” this Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 9:30 p.m. on KHON2.