Saturday, April 10, 2010

My First Fire

Being with the department only a few months and having minimal training I found myself pulling a shift with my dad. My dad had been with the department since I was four and was the Lieutenant of his shift, kind of a grizzled old fire dog if you know what I mean. I don't really remember any other calls that day, before or after, all I can remember is that Buick Skylark with fifteen foot flames.

We were sitting around the station talking and the tones went off for a car fire not too far away. My heart did a somersault and I ran to the apparatus bay to don my bunker gear. It seemed like I couldn't get dressed quick enough. My suspenders got caught on my boot, I accidentally kicked a glove under the engine, forgot to put on my flash hood. The whole time my dad was laughing while he geared up.

We hopped into the engine, dad in the officer seat, the medic driving and me in the attack line seat. I put my pack on, they were mounted in the seats, and tried to slow my hyperventilation some.

Those days everything was still so new that speeding down the road in the engine, lights flashing, growler winding up, cars pulling over, put a huge grin on my 19y/o face.

We pulled on scene to see a Buick Skylark fully involved. This was the biggest fire I had seen up close to this point in my life, I thought everyone must be able to hear my heart doing double back flips. The flames were fifteen to twenty feet in the air, black smoke broiling up with incredible heat emanating from the car.

Dad gave a quick size up and ordered me to pull the driver's side preconnect. I did it just how I was trained. Reached up and shoulder loaded the top 100 feet of hose while pulling the bottom 100 off the bed. I zigzagged towards the car flaking hose out so it wouldn't kink. Got to the nozzle and turned giving the ready for water signal while shouting for it. Water snaked down the line making it heavier, I opened the bail a crack and adjusted my stream and looked back for my dad.

I didn't have to look far, he was packed up running right at me, he grabbed the line behind me and said,"OPEN THAT SUCKER UP!! GET THAT FIRE SON!!!"

I opened nozzle and started flowing water from about ten feet away, I heard dad laugh and say, "Not like that, like this!" And he pushed me right into the fire.

There was fire blowing around my SCBA mask, I could hear the crackling and popping, suddenly everything was very warm and my interest in putting out the fire became very vested in the fact that I now needed to get it out or burn(that's what I thought). I had the bail wide open and anti-aircrafted the inside of the car. The heat diminished drastically and the fire darkened down. Behind me I could hear my dad laughing maniacally, I was pretty sure he'd lost his marbles. After a couple minutes the fire was out, I picked up hose while my dad talked to the owners and filled out a report. I was energized, it was amazing.

Back at the station everyone was laughing listening to my dad telling the story, "You should have seen the look on his face when I pushed him right into it! I thought he'd pooped his bunker gear! Kept looking back at me like I was crazy."

But more then that, under the laughing and joking and poking fun, I could hear my dad's meaning. He was proud of his son and wanted everyone to know it.

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