The Continuing Chronicles of the FNG(irl): The Mattydale Incident

I'm not the sort of person to take pleasure in other's misfortunes....unless it results in something funny.

I have a peculiar sense of the absurd......and a disconcerting habit of "hee-hawing" when something strikes me funny. Even when it's inappropriate....ESPECIALLY when it's inappropriate.
It's not my most attractive characteristic, but I'm an avid audience of the theatre of "D'oh".

Drill last night......this was the very first time EVER that I actually debated going. I'm really busy with the day job, have an increased work load bearing down on me and deadlines looming; factor in the amount of travel that I'll be doing in the next eight weeks and it's enough to make Randy "Macho" Savage cry for his mommy. Frankly? I'm pooped. I don't sleep well under the best of circumstances, and rarely when I travel for work....so suffice to say I've been burning the candle at every end.....

BUT.... I"m so glad I went.....

I have a spotless record of attendance at drill....and wasn't about to blow it because I was cranky and tired. I had a much better idea....I decided to inflict my miserable mood on my fellow department members. Hey, nothing says "howdy" like a bitchy "what the hell are YOU looking at??!!" .

I arrive at the dept. .....and all of us probies get assigned to the Hahn.....gear up.....off we go. I holler over the screaming of the engine (exterior jump seats on the Hahn) into the cab....."What are we doing tonight???" . Bill, our Captain....screams back..."Wohow lelreolht toehtelht hoethe snoelea; elnre ....Ok?!" Well, that's what it sounded like to me.

We arrive at a local parking lot....the rig parks, and "Junior" (We have a bevy of 17-19 year olds whose names I can never remember...so I call of them "Junior") leaps off the truck like his ass is on fire....so I assume that HE heard whatever Bill yelled back at us. I look back at Bill and he's giving me the thumbs up....which I presume means a call to action...So I stand up and bellow...."What am I supposed to be doing??????!!!!!" and he yells "Grab the line and run it out!!!"

Okey dokey.....I have NO idea which line he wants....but since he made some vague finger jab at the side of the truck...I grab one of the attack lines and hoof it across the lot. Must have been the right line, because I didn't hear the usual "oh for chrissake".

We play with water and foam and make a general nusiance of ourselves....then get the high sign to break it down, pack it up,and we're going to a new location. My best buddy in the department, Ron, is getting Pump Ops training...so the rest of us are just along for the amusement factor.

Next stop? Another parking lot about a mile away, accessed by hitting the main thoroughfare through the middle of the village. At this juncture Bill does a rundown on who's doing what....gee it's nice to be able to actually hear him for a change.... and he looks at me and says...."You're quick off the truck.....I want you to grab the Mattydale and run it out, but only one length...OK?" ...to which I respond in my Probie fashion...."Uh, ....which one is the Mattydale?" ....He suppresses an eye roll....just barely....and walks me over to the right line. I reply...."Ok, I got it"....and he says...."You sure?" and I nod my head vigorously......but he's seemingly not convinced....because he grabs the nozzle and pulls it WAY forward....and says...."THIS is the one you want" ....to which I'm thinking....."hmmmm...that doesn't seem secure, but who am I to quibble?"
Okey dokey;....

I leap into my jump seat....and off we go at a brisk rate of speed. I'm just starting to fade off into my current favorite daydream....and then something jolts me upright with a surge of adrenaline......

Holy Moses.....the Mattydale nozzle leaps off the side of truck and starts dancing down the center yellow line of the road.......
I twist in my seat....simultaneously screaming "Stop the Phucking Truck" and banging on the back window of the cab.....

"SCREEEEEECH"......we shudder to a halt...and I jump off the truck and run back.....

Oh baby.

We have about 200' of line out....and the nozzle looks like a Grizzly bear was using it for a chew toy.

Traffic starts piling up....so "Junior" starts directing traffic while we start frantically feeding line back onto the truck.

We get packed back up.....we arrive at the next location....I haul myself up the side of the truck to the bed to grab the nozzle....and hot-foot it out ....while the rest of the operation goes like clockwork.

We break down....pack it all back up....get back on the truck.....and Bill says..."Probies? That was effing PERFECT.....nicely executed!!" I lock eyes with him....my smirk starts....and he looks at me and says..."Well, BESIDES the obvious.........Not one word out of you Mel.....NOT ONE WORD" ......

I giggled all the way back to the station...

I love the fire service.....

Stay safe, train often, and buckle up.
Until next time.

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Comment by Dave Gould on October 8, 2008 at 6:36pm
It was in your Hamlet!! LOL
Comment by Jim Brunelle Jr. on October 8, 2008 at 6:02pm
I think I remember that call Dave! LOL!
Comment by Dave Gould on October 8, 2008 at 4:27pm
I remember pulling up to a structure fire and getting ready to lay in the LDH. GONE!! It was a mutual aid fire so we were 2nd in and had to back lay to the road from the host. On the way home, we saw cars stopped along side the main road, the nice people were rolling up our hose. It happens to us all!!
Comment by Kimberly A Bownas on September 28, 2008 at 11:28am
Nice job on the history lesson Mel, that was something that I didn't know. Keep up the good work. :o)
Comment by Mary Ellen Shea on September 28, 2008 at 11:18am
Mattydale Fire Dept....applies to the method of folding hose perpendicular to the body of the truck...the Chief of the department created the method....aka a "cross lay"
Comment by Paul Montpetit on September 28, 2008 at 9:34am
Nice story....we had something similiar on my very first structure fire.... it was very windy and the wind caught our 4 inch and pulled 800 feet of it off the truck before anyone knew what was happening...what a mess....here I am trying not to laugh...and being brand new didn't dare laugh....Keep up the good work Mel....Stay safe and keep the faith..........Paul
Comment by Mary Ellen Shea on September 25, 2008 at 11:53pm
Thanks to everyone for the comments.... I aim to entertain.... :)

Jim? Yeah, I know. Bring on the tutoring.

And yes, I know the origination of Mattydale....that department is a FASNY member....I'd BETTER know.
Comment by Engine 32 Capt. on September 25, 2008 at 10:40pm
Thanks for giving me something to chuckle and smile about...again.

I'm curious about the term myself. That must be a Northeast thing...
Comment by Big Jim on September 25, 2008 at 9:39pm
I used to have a captain who preached to us about making sure the hose was secure in the bed and exiting the station with extra care. Then Murphy attacked. He was on duty when a call came out for a plane crash in the park. The park is about 2 miles away and mostly uphill. He jumped in the driver's seat and took off. When he hit the end of the ramp, the truck bounced at the and jumped and the supply line fell off the rear of the truck. He layed out 1000 feet of supply line before someone was able to get his attention and stop him. I've never seen anyone more embarrassed and angry with himself. Of course, he tried to blame it on the last person to drive the truck, saying they had failed to secure the hose. It didn't wash.
Comment by Kimberly A Bownas on September 25, 2008 at 5:24pm
Hey, great job as usual and love the updates on your progression in the department. Keep up the great work and keep the stories coming.....

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