Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mountain Fire

Sunday morning about 3:30am a page went out requesting all west end firefighters to report to their stations. I turned on the radio just in time to hear one of our battalion chiefs say he had about 150 acres burning. I headed down to the station and met up with the other guys from our Westside station 1. I found out that a fire had been burning in the Shannondale area of Jefferson County ,WV since approx 1am and was spreading rapidly. We headed to Station 4 which was the rally point for our county. After a short briefing we headed to the scene along with several other units.

We arrived at the apparatus staging area and the scope of the fire became apparent by the number of people and equipment that was on scene. You could see the flames and smoke just under the ridge of the mountain. We didnt have any wildland gear since its not something we usually encounter in our area. So we had to use our regular turnout gear, we took the liners out of the gear to make them lighter and more breathable. We geared up and jumped on the back of a truck that was taking us to the second staging area. There we got tools to use, pulaskis, axe's etc. Also a bag lunch with some candy bars and a sandwich. From there we rode in the back of several ATV's AKA "Gators" that took us far as they could up the trail.

A vigourous 20 min hike up the mountain revealed several things. The main one being that I am pretty out of shape (I.E. Fat- Im sure thats what you were thinking Maki, so I figured I would just say it. lol), and wearing structural firefighting gear while hiking up the side of a mountain was not something I had planned for. We made it to the top of the ridge and you could hear the fire burning. Crews were already there using axes, pulaskis, and backpack blowers to aid in building a fire line to put a stop on the fire. We got to the fire line and went to work pushing the fire back into the burned area and robbing it of fuel by pulling all the leaves branches or whatever out of its path so it would burn itself out. Anyway, we did this for approx 6 hours and hiked back down the mountain to the staging area. Most of the fire was out at this time.

When we arrived back down at staging there was probably 150 Firefighters on scene now getting ready to head up the mountain. We were released by our officer and headed back home.

It was a good days work done by everyone involved. The pictures above are from my new Nextel I870 that was the replacement for the other phone that was ruined a few weeks ago. Not alot of pictures of the actual fire. I will make sure I have the right phone insurance this time since they wouldnt cover the damage to the other phone. I wont even tell you how much this one cost. Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

Best quote from the fire: Mayonnaise... "Mayonnaise alot of fire up dere!" FF AJ Durham

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

2 alarmer

About 4am this morning the pager went off for an " Outside Fire" which usually consists of some smoldering mulch or a burning bush. They usually don't necessitate getting out of bed as the on duty crew can handle it with 1 engine. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Not two minutes later the pager went off again, this time it was for a structure fire at the same address. I turned on the radio and heard engine and truck companies responding from all over the county. I woke up Kathleen and told her we had to go. As I was about halfway to the station, I heard the Assistant Chief on scene request a full 2nd alarm assignment and that he had multiple people trapped on the second floor. We made it to the station just in time to see the Engine going through the intersection.

We took Utility 1 and responded to the scene. We arrived on scene and went to work pulling ceilings and opening up walls. The rescues were completed by my old duty crew, Duty Crew 2 and several members of the Leesburg Police Department. Most of the fire was out at this time and we were mostly opening up to make sure there was no extension to other areas of the apartment complex. Kathleen, a LT, and an animal control officer managed to rescue several very freaked out cats from one of the apartments.

There were no injuries except for one... my cell phone. Actually my cell phone is DOA. I had been in one of the apartments with the hoseline spraying down a few spots and the water ended up in the pocket of my pants that had my phone in it. I'll miss you cool ass Nextel I860. lol. I would have had some pics for you but since there were on my phone which is now dead, no such luck. But it does give me an excuse to get one of the newer Nextel's that have come out.

A sidenote to all this, one of the guys from my old crew has been on the department longer than me, and somehow has managed to not get any fires while he is on duty, except for a few car fires and the occasional mobile home fire. Which has earned him the nickname "Wheels" since all the fires he has been to has involved something on wheels. Anyway, last night was his first "Structure Fire" not only did he fight a pretty big ass fire, he ended up on TV tonight on Fox 5 in DC along with the rest of the crew. In closing, Duty Crew 2 and everyone else did an excellent job putting a stop on the fire and making quite a few rescues. Im proud as ever to be working with the very dedicated guys and gals from Co 1.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bad Week

Well, Im glad this incredibly shitty week is over. Co 1. buried our friend and firefighter Josh on Wednesday which has taken a toll on everyone who knew him. There was a huge turnout for the funeral including fire apparatus. Im sure if he was here he would be touched. We'll miss ya Josh.

I havent updated in awhile. Things have been pretty busy over the last week or so. I had duty on Friday night of last week. We were very busy, I believe we ran a total of 9 calls. An outside fire with an exposure to a house under construction, several car accidents, fire alarms, medical calls and a broken water pipe. We even ran a house fire. Jim took some pictures from the evening, you can view them here. I ended up with about 2.5 hours of sleep and had to head to work for my 12.5 hour shift. So, that made for a long day, but a few cans of Red Bull and making fun of co workers helped me through. I have duty tommorow night, but I dont have to work on Monday so I'll be fine.

Im at work today, not to busy here today we had an outage this morning which made the morning go by a bit faster. I had someone ask me the other day how my job compares to firefighting, I thought about it a little bit, they are similar in some ways, at work I respond when we get "alarms" for a computer being broken somewhere or a network being down. Its not very exciting even on a busy day. If I mess something up here the worse case is someone cant get their email or "Surf" the web. If I mess something up on duty at the firehouse, it could cost me or someone else their life. Oh yeah, and I get paid at my job. lol.

On a different note, we had our 1 year anniversary last month. We rented a cabin in the blue ridge mountains in a town called Love, VA ( how freakin corny is that?). It was really nice and very quiet. Its snowed most of the time we were there but it wasnt bad. We got drunk and watched Napoleon Dynamite a few times. We drove into Waynesboro, VA a few times for breakfast. Found a place called Weezies in Waynesboro that was really good. Heres to another year Kathleen!

P.S. Mom I hope your arm feels better!