Today started off just like any other shift, but then again…they usually do. I got shipped out to Station 7, our HazMat station, to work with the “glow worms” out here since we had a brother call out sick. When I stopped by my station to pick up my gear and uniforms, my crew was busting my chops about getting to come out here and lay around on day. We have been on our 4-day break, so I wasn’t sure what we had on the schedule. As luck would have it, as I walked in the door, I was told that we were going to knock out the hydrants that this station still has to test. Of course, I can’t complain because it doesn’t feel like I have caught much hydrant testing at my station. I’ve either been on the Rescue truck that we staff, or shipped out to another station when my crew has done most of their testing.
As soon as we got the daily cleaning done here at the station, we headed out. Besides a few calls this morning, we actually were able to get quite a few finished. The weather cooperated with us quite well today for it to be the 4th day of December. We tested hydrants til lunch and came back to grab a bite. As soon as we had finished lunch, we sat down for a few minutes when the fire tones dropped.
Chief- 3, Engine 6, Engine 7, Engine 1, Ladder 1, Fire-Rescue 12, Engine 2, Engine 3: Structure Fire, Apartment Complex (….address….)
It didn’t take long to realize that instead of finishing hydrants this evening, we were going to be working for the next little bit. Dispatch advised that they were getting numerous reports, one of which stated one of the apartments were fully involved. We were the second arriving engine, and we could see the smoke shortly after pulling out of the station.
Central, Engine 6 is arriving on-scene of a two-story apartment complex with heavy fire and smoke showing…
Engine 6 crew found heavy smoke and fire showing from the C-side of the structure and made an aggressive attack. They were still fighting when we arrived, and I was able to go in to help with the knockdown. I can’t say enough about how well our crews work together, and how great of a job everyone on-scene did today. The fire had extended to the second floor of the apartment and it very well could have taken the whole complex. Crews remained on-scene for several hours while hot-spots were extinguished and the investigation is underway.
It’s always terrible to witness families that lose all of their belongings at any point in time, but it seems to hit harder around the holidays. Rather than just getting new toys or personal possessions, they are faced with replacing so many items that they already had. The Christmas trees and other decorations are already in place, and you know that last night was just another regular evening. Due to the large complex and the utilities being controlled, it ended up that 7 families were displaced from their homes. Several of the apartments only sustained minor damage and smoke damage. No matter the severaty, they will either be in hotel rooms or with extended family for a period of time.
Teamwork is key on any fire ground. It starts with Dispatch and is present until the last truck leaves. Today, everyone did a great job to make the best of a bad situation. The firefighters all busted tail until the job was done, the ambulance crews were constantly checking on our guys, the dispatchers did a great job, the PD controlled traffic and provided assistance on-scene. The American Red Cross also responded to provide assistance to the responders, and assist the families that needed it.
While we didn’t wrap up the rest of the hydrants this evening, I’m thankful that none of our guys on-scene got injured, and that the residents made it out safely. Overall, it’s not been a terrible day here at #7. I’d also like to point out that my regular crew from Station #2 were OUTSTANDING FIREMEN today.
Below you will find the news media links on the fire:
-The “Model City” Firefighter