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Fort Scott's Labor Day "Bucket Brigade" - KOAM TV 7

Fort Scott's Labor Day "Bucket Brigade"

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FORT SCOTT, KANSAS -

The united states outlawed child labor in 1938. But Monday in Fort Scott, families brought it back with kids being put to work as firefighters. 

 Only 9 years old, Helena Epstein has already learned good help is hard to find. 
"Well, it started out okay," Epstein said. "But then it started to get in to like organized chaos."

She was one of the "Bucket Brigade" at the Fort Scott National Historic Site. Kids lining up, practicing the standard fire fighting techniques of the 1800s. 

"We were pretending to put out a fire like people in the olden days would," Epstein said. 

"One person would get the water out of the source. Then pass it down the line and then the last person in line would throw it in the fire, which was our bucket," Gary Herrmann of the Historic Site said. "Then they would run it back up to the tough again and start the process back over again."

Herrmann says it provides a small example of how technology has drastically changed labor over history. Even if the brigade didn't operate as efficiently as you'd hope in a real fire. 

"It started out sort of like it was supposed to. And ended up as a mob activity that was just really cute," Herrmann said.  

Though, 7-year old Lauren Blocker thinks she did pretty well. But was ready to throw her fellow firefighters under the bus.

"I felt like people just didn't want to do it anymore because the buckets were heavy," Blocker said. 

At the end, the brigade accepts certificates recognizing their service. Despite Helena continuing on the path of becoming an artist, Lauren still clinging to her goal of breeding bunny rabbits, Herrmann says hes glad kids have a chance to truly appreciate the labor in Labor Day.

"They're never gonna have a water brigade. They're gonna call a fire department and they're gonna come out with a big truck and a hose," Herrmann said. "And it gives them some concept of how tough it was to put a fire out in the 1840's and 50's as compared to today."

Monday capped-off a full holiday weekend of events at the Fort Scott National Historic Site.
 

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