We run lots and lots of call that never get written about on here, but there is good reason for this one. No, we didn’t make any miraculous saves, we didn’t jump in front of a runaway truck, we didn’t do CPR, and it didn’t even make the newspaper. This one story gets told, because the fire was on our street. There are many, many reasons that I love working in the city where we live, but there is one huge drawback: the fear that I will run on either someone that we know really well, or even worse – on our own family. So, when the call came in, the heart skipped a few beats.
The tones dropped at the station for a ‘confirmed working residential structure fire’ and we did like we always do…we ran to the truck, got our stuff on, and hit the street. In our system, the dispatcher airs any pertinent information over the radio for all responding units to hear, so when she started to tell us that information, my heart sank. “The caller is on XXXXX Court, and can see flames and smoke from a house on WWWWW Way (street names intentionally left weird). We are getting multiple calls on this.” Since you don’t know the area, I will tell you that based on the location of those streets, the fire was in one of five houses….and one of those five houses was mine….with Ahna and Ezra at home on summer break.
I immediately looked over at my driver, and told him to drive very, very fast. We could see a column of smoke raising from the neighborhood as we came down the hill from our station. I told him again (and probably did five more times during the response) to make the truck go faster….thankfully, he is more seasoned than to listen to the requests of a moderately emotion filled officer, and he stayed the course of a fast-but-safe response. The first arriving Chief got on the scene, and gave a corrected address – which was not our house – and told us that it was a deck fire spreading to the house. Just prior to our arrival, another engine got on the scene, stretched a line, and knocked the bulk of the fire out. We got there and did a search, checked for extension, and assisted in the rather extensive overhaul of a trex deck. It was super strange to round the corner in the truck and to see Ahna and Ezra, along with the rest of the neighbors, greeting our arrival on the sidewalks.
Thankfully nobody was hurt, and due to the quick work of the crews, the damage was mostly limited to the outside of the house. Responding to a fire on your street is all of the emotional/stressful mess that you think it would be. Thankfully, I have a great crew that stayed under control themselves, and whom were able to wrangle me back to reality prior to getting on the scene. And to anyone else that lives on a street with a firefighter that works in that same city….don’t set your house on fire.