Is it somebody’s birthday today?
It started out as a beautiful summer day. Who would have thought that it would turn out to be a bad day – possibly the worst day one could imagine? No Interim Fire Chief would have had a clue what was coming – certainly not me.
The City firefighters at station 4 were busy with their daily duties. One firefighter was in the basement where there was a scanner. He heard the dispatch message “Rural fire district you need to respond to a fire in a garage on S. Marymount Road.”
Because the road extended into the county the firefighter didn’t think much about the location (even though Marymount Road runs immediately in front of the City fire station). Some of the home owners on this road lived outside the city limits to the south.
Homeowners had the option of paying for a contract with the City for fire protection, but some chose not to. The procedure was the rural department had to arrive on scene before they could ask for City fire department assistance.
Unfortunately, the closest rural station to this fire was approximately ten miles away and they would ultimately drive right by the city station on their way to the fire.
Another problem with the situation is the firefighter should have passed on the information to the Captain. The Captain could have then called Dispatch to clarify the situation, or contacted the Battalion Chief for permission to respond. But, the firefighter didn’t tell his Captain.
So, there was no City Fire response.
And, there were additional problems – big ones. The property that was on fire had recently been annexed into the City. Post-incident there was a lot of finger pointing to who was responsible for that information not getting passed to Dispatch.
Now, we move to the next problem.
The home on fire was the City Manager’s best friend. His son had been shooting off fireworks and one of them shot into the home’s garage and lit a sofa on fire which quickly led to the garage being on fire.
By the time the rural firefighters arrived on scene the fire was no longer limited to the garage. It was now a house fire. Luckily, a police officer posed the question to dispatch, “Isn’t this home in the City limits?” Just to be safe the dispatcher asked the City Fire Department to respond. They responded with their aerial truck – Quint.
I arrived shortly thereafter as did the homeowner, as did the City Manager. It was a bad day that couldn’t possibly get worse – or could it?
The home suffered massive fire damage before it was extinguished. Afterwards, the City Firefighters returned to the station to clean up and get restocked – parking the Quint just outside the station doors.
The 5” supply hose was a pain in the rear to reload, so firefighters had figured out how to raise the aerial ladder without deploying the outriggers. It wasn’t a problem because the ladder was just raised straight up. It was never swung around to the side.
Everything was reloaded onto the fire truck. It was ready to be moved back into the station, or was it?
Minds were focused on the response mistake instead of an aerial ladder being out of its bed pointing at the fire station like an arrow. That was the reason the Driver gave for pulling the Quint into the station – or partly – turning the extended ladder into a shish kabob.
Right through the gable wall above the doorway went the ladder’s tip. I don’t recall just exactly what the Captain told me when he called to tell me the new “bad news.” But, it ranks up there as my worst day at work.
Send me yours.
Dispatchers did an incredible job of maintaining up to five radio channels simultaneously. Often times we forget that heavy loads are heavy for them too.
Firefighters responded from every single department – multiple times for each. It was a super busy day for both firefighters and dispatchers.
Great Job Dispatchers!
Great Job Firefighters!
Fire and EMS responded to the 900 block of High St. for an accident where two passenger trucks collided. One patient was transported.
While emergency crews were still taking care of that incident they were paged to a medical patient. One of the fire crews broke free from the auto accident and responded along with another medic unit from their station on 6th.
Great job of handling simultaneous emergencies!
The day started off with an assignment to help the Red Cross set up their equipment at the Baptist church for a local blood drive. Fire departments have a tendency to say “yes” whenever somebody needs help. And helping with blood drives is just one more thing that fire departments tend to help with.
This wouldn’t have been any problem, but the Red Cross showed up a bit late. So, that used up a better part of the morning.
After a quick lunch the crew headed out to conduct commercial building inspections.
Somebody – we won’t say who – made a statement that our wild land fires had slowed down a bit lately. It was followed by a “Thank goodness.” But the hex had been launched. And knocking on wood after the comment didn’t do a darn bit of good.
The crews were dispatched to what was called a “small fire” on SE Boyer. Problem was the fire was very close to a home. And, it wasn’t what you would call a small fire – at least not when fire crews arrived.
The fire was concentrated though – concentrated to 20 monstrous round hay bales. Firefighters put out the fires around the perimeter of the bales and had to simply let the bales burn. Once the bales have been on fire they aren’t useful for feed anyway.
And the day isn’t even half over for the firefighters!