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Stories about F.F. John O'Mally- a true legend
Why the flag? The following is about a Irish fireman named John O'Mally a very big man who if you saw him and knew him no matter how big you were, you did not get on the wrong side of him. There are many stories about this man and some are just that and maybe not true but the ones I know of for sure I will say.
John was a prize fighter and most think he got hit on the head too many times. Our old Commissioner Quinn loved men who were like him and for years protected him from being fired like he should have been. It was said if you were in his house that if you were on watch never wake him up, you may have been hit if you did. Guys were afraid to even talk to him, you just learned to avoid him period.
My old Chief Kehoe lived on the same block as he did and told me stories how often the police came to his house because of people who parked in front of O'Mally's house in front of the fire hydrant. He tell them to move and if they did not he just go and beat the crap out of them and the police would be called, when they were several cars were sent, for they knew it would take more then a few to arrest him he was so big. The cops most often would not even come. They to were afraid of him. Each night he was home he walk down to the corner store to get a newspaper and the neighbors would go inside and pull down the shades until he passed. One thing he always got along with the kids. Kids liked him, adults ran from him. He had a family I was told, not much known about them.
One New Years evening John took a gun and shot a man in a Pizza restaurant, killed him somewhere on west 67th street. Why? I do not know. He was sent to a mental hospital and was released after a few years. Doctor saying he was now fit, he came back to work in the fire department. I told you Quinn protected guys like him. He went to work at the fire department repair shops at the entrance gate. He stop all who entered and God help you if you did not do as he said no matter your rank. One day he went up to O'Hara field to visit a friend, the Chicago Policeman at the entrance gate would not allow him in. So he beat the man to death. Again he was sent back to the mental Hospital because he was a nut. And again the wise doctors let him out saying he was fit and sane. And again he rejoined the department.
Some time later Quinn retired and O'Mally's protection was gone. John was in a hospital for medical reasons and the new Fire Commissioner told two chief to go see him and fire him. Some firemen in the commissioners office heard that and called John in the hospital. When the Chiefs got there John stopped them before they said anything and said" If anyone would cause me to loose my job and I could not provide for my family, I would kill them" Well said the Chiefs, get well and we will see you back at the firehouse. They then went back to the fire commissioner and told him if you want that man fired you do it yourself.
About 5 years ago I met John at a fireman's business, he was maybe in his seventies, Very big and still looked strong as a bull. I shook his hand and it felt like a catcher mitt it was so big. My father knew him and told me how nuts he was, but my dad was smart enough to be friends with him
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