Mine was my first,and only to date fatal fire. Not something I ever want to experience again,but thats part of the job. The big thing that helped me cope with something like this was that when I jumped in a truck and rolled out of the hall you could see the glow at six miles away,at least there was nothing we could have done different to change the outcome.
That would have to have been the triple fatality Motor Vehicle Accident I went to the day before I started my High School (College) exams...
Pager went off, went direct to scene as it was en route to the station, arrived on scene to find two grandparents deceased - t-boned by a young DUI driver.
Many of our young kids these days might need to see something like this in real life - it may just shock them into acting responsibly with alcohol.
My most memorable call was when I fell off of a ladder while operating at a warehouse fire. I was using a hose line putting water through a window on air and as I moved to put the hose in position I was knocked from the ladder. I fell around 12 feet and landed on my side. I have been hurt before while on the job, but up until this point I never actually thought about what could happen. Its bad to say but its almost like everyone in this job should have a similar experience where you take a step back and say, "Whoa, this stuff is really dangerous." fortunately for me, it happened early. I was lucky, not much but a few bruises. I have had many other calls that were memorable, but this one was important.
Mine was the first LODD for our dept. in 25 years, the night Firefighters Robert Morrison and Derek Martin died in the Gravois Refrigeration Building. The whole scene was like a surreal nightmare. I hope I never have to go through that again.
For me.....It was my first fatal plane crash. October 2005. Sunday morning, we get paged out to an aircraft emergency. There's a small local airport in our first due, and we had several calls there, just run out and watch the plane land. Well, this time.......I'm on my way out and my wife tells me to stop and bring some doughnuts back for the kids(we're a volunteer department). On my way to my truck, a follow up page reports plane on the ground, two confirmed DOS, car and plane on fire. Needless to say, it picked up a notch or two. We arrived on scene to discover no fire, but a plane down on a car. The victim in the car walked away. The two in the plane however, did not. It was a grandfather and his 10 year old grandson. I have a son about the same age, so that made it difficult. The roughest part, though was were our engine was staged on the north end of the road, we saw every family member come in, and their reaction when they were told the news. An extememly difficult call. It caused me to a part of the only critical stress debriefing of my career.
The call i cant forget, we were mutual aid company. 2nd hose team into a trailer fire. it was 3 fatalities, 2 girls and the mother. cant forget it. has been my only one to date, its as if it happened yesterday. and it has been 9 yrs.
Mine was one of the first calls I ever went on. It was a medical call for a man in distress. He was coming in to work and for no apparent reason (at the time), fell. He got up and made his way to his 2nd story office. A coworker noticed his labored breathing and called us. When we arrived, the man was gasping. He was bleeding from cuts on his face and neck from where he fell. His blood looked like Pepto Bismol. It was pink and foamy. All he could say was, "I can't breathe, I am so scared." Not long after, he went into cardiac arrest. We worked on him until the ambulance arrived. They continued for over 30 minutes to try and keep him alive. He died on the way to the hospital. This was my first time facing death. The look of terror on his face is something I will never forget.
Mine was my very first residential structure fire. My partner & I went though a second floor window with a 1 3/4 and the celing & roof collapsed on us. I was driven down to the floor by a rafter. I was speechless for a few seconds while he was yelling are you alright. That set the tone for my whole career knowing that had I not been on the parimeter of the room, it would have been a lot worse. Something I'll never forget. By the way this is the fire in my default pic!
When I first began as a Captain on our Department I was asked to cover the duty for the weekend. This entails being on call to respond as IC to any calls. The other Captains were of town that particular weekend. Anyhow, as things would happen we received a call for a structure fire. In-route to the scene the dispatcher calls me back and says that Police are on-scene and says the fires in the garage. As I come around to the street I see the fire rolling out of the garage door and left side windows. I note the hydrant down the street on the corner, everyone is out of the house, and the house is attached with a covered breeze way. The first responding engine reports to me that they are in-route. I call them back and tell them to catch the hydrant on the corner and bring on a line to the scene. I see the engine coming up the street and assume that they had caught the hydrant. They arrive on-scene and I discover that I had and Engineer and 4 brand new green firefighters. I then notice that they did not catch the hydrant. by this time the fire is now rolling into the kitchen window from the garage. I tell them to pull a 1 3/4 pre-connect to the front door and direct the line towards the kitchen area with intent to put the fire out in the kitchen. within minutes the water in the tank was gone and we were standing there without any water watching the fire build. this was just minutes after arriving on-scene. The owner of the property was a former Asst Chief with our Department and was running around hollering at me that we had to get the fire out. Just then my second out truck came on the air. I requested them to catch the same hydrant and within minutes that were on-scene with a qualified crew and a line to the hydrant. We made entry into the structure and had the fire out within minutes of their arrival. Of course the house was gutted and eventually was torn down and a new house built in its place. The fire was as a result of a chest freezer in the garage had been pushed back against the wall pinching the cord against the wall. The cord shorted out and ignited the wall starting the fire. The neighbors and former fire officer all came up to me and told me I had done a good job but in my gut I felt I had been tried by fire. My first structure fire as an officer had been quite an experience. Always remember that sick feeling of running out of water and having people around you yelling at you to do something. I think Murphy was in town that night.
Mine was my first call that I went on. We rolled up on a car full of teenagers that rolled there car and hit a tree. 5 kids total in the car all but one was under 13 the driver was 16. When they rolled and hit the tree the 13 year hit the tree and was dead instantly. My partner and I pulled the girl out of the car as her friends watched us. We tried to contact the parents and could get ahold of them so we loaded her up and took her to the station and waited for ME to come. 15 minutes later the parents showed up to the station to identify there daughter as we where putting the truck back together it was the hardest time to she the parents and know that there was nothign you could do to help. That was the first time I went to a stress debriefing and I still think about that call sometimes.
I'll skip the too many fatalaties and go for the funny. We responded to a car vs. eighteen wheeler about a half block from the station. Two cars with party goers were following one behind the other on the way to another party at about 2:30 AM when the front car ran a red light and slammed the semi truck. The impact knocked that vehicle up onto the sidewalk and the following car pulled up in almost the same position but was not involved in the wreck. The semi-truck continued on for about a block before stopping. The driver of the front vehicle had gotten out of his vehicle and walked to the following vehicle and sat in the rear seat of that vehicle. ( I figured this out later.) I was confused when we found the wrecked vehicle empty. I located the driver in the rear seat of the second vehicle ( not yet knowing that he was the driver of the wrecked vehicle.) and assessed his injuries. He was bleeding like crazy from facial and scalp lacerations, but in good shape considering what he had been through. Sitting in the back seat of the unwrecked vehicle next to him was a lady holding a baby. The baby was crying loud and hard. I went to assess the baby for injuries, starting by palpating the head and working down. As I palpated the infants head I told the mama that an ambulance was on the way, and asked her if she wanted a paramedic to check her baby. She looked at me kind of quizzical. So, I told her that I thought a paramedic should check her baby because I felt knots on her head. Mama's look changed from quizzical to anger as she told me "Mister, me and my baby was in this car, and this car was not involved in the wreck! Ain't nothing wrong with my baby!" Now, thirteen years later, when we work a wreck with a child involved, I still get guys that will ask me, "Hey Lieutenant, did you check that kid for knots?"
Called out to a brush assignment in early september 2006. We could see it from the firehouse, but it was still a 10 minute emergent drive. About 5 minutes enroute I paged for additional alarm, and mutual aid for additional type 6 engines, tenders, and type 1 engines for structure protection. When on scene, typical 15 acre burn, very little wind, but structures threatened. 30 minutes into initial attack a front came in and we had 40-50 mph winds, no general direction. About 1000 acres burned in 3 hours, and we lost 1 home and saved at least 15. Three of our apparatus got trapped, but thankfully were able to stay in the black. I am proud to be apart of helping save 5 of those houses with the help of only 1 other type 6.