On the morning of November 3, 2010 as the members of "B" Platoon attempted to get some sleep the shrill of the beeps rang out around 3:15 a.m. followed by the dispatch "Box 1-3 Wagon 3, Tower 2 report of an car fire in the area of Green and Woodbine Streets". The lights came on in the bunkroom followed by five men putting on socks and pants as they headed toward the apparatus room floor. As the men reached the rigs shivering from the cold air coming through the open bay doors, wiping sleep from their eyes and shaking the cobwebs free they donned their protective clothing as the drivers started the rigs. Out the bay doors a quick left up one block and another left down Maclay Street to Green, once on Green Street the Wagons front seat rider reported to county that we were on the scene with a well involved car fire. As the riders leaped from the rig and began stretching a hose line, I set the parking break, transferred the rig to pump gear and engaged the generator. The line was quickly deployed and the back-up man waved his hand to tell me to charge the line. The line swelled with the water and the pipe man began to attack the fire. By then the Truck company arrived and began opening the car to allow for a more efficient extinguishing of the fire and insure that no one was inside.
Within a couple of minutes the fire was knocked down and overhaul had begun. Shortly after the Battalion Chief marked control and the hose line was taken up. As the last few sections of hose were being put on the rig the beeps once again went off for an automatic fire alarm in the 1700 block of Fulton Street sending the uptown and hill rigs. The call turned out to be unattended cooking and Tower 2 was held to ventilate the building. A quick stop at a hydrant to top off the booster tank and it was back to the station to clean face pieces and fill out SCBA sheets. It's now 4:30 a.m. and back to bed in hopes of getting a couple of hours sleep, 6:15 a.m. and my watch goes off telling me it is time to get up and start the coffee, empty the dishwasher and bring in the morning paper. It is to bad that I just finally fell back to sleep.
That is a night like many I have had over the last three plus decades, missed sleep, cold nights, hot days, missed holidays with the family, sad times, injuries and aches and pains. But I would never change a thing, paid or volunteer this is the best job in the world. There is the joy of helping someone, the excitement of saving a life, the brotherhood and the adrenaline of doing the job. By the way as I sat here in the firehouse kitchen typing this on night shift I had to do so in segments as we went out the door twice for calls before I could finish this post. As I near the end of my career I find myself reflecting on the good moments more and more and the things I will miss when I am gone, this job becomes more than just a job it becomes a way of life. The photos and video were all taken with a point and shoot digital camera.