Monday, April 20, 2009

OMG, fire?! What's that???

In the picture, things look very hazy and kindof blurry, and, well, they were! The fire was out, but there was still a LOT of smoke (I was still on air), and the sprinkler had not been plugged yet.

This morning, we're getting ready at shift change for a class over the new airpacks we're getting soon. As we're walking out to the trucks to head towards the academy, the bell rings.

The call was dispatched as a vehicle fire on the top level of a parking deck near the station. Not quite halfway to the scene, I'm already in all of my gear (minus facepiece), and we get an update that the fire alarm has now gone off.

Onscene, we go down the hill as if we were going to enter the parking deck. The exhaust fans were on and were blowing LOTS of smoke out. As we came into view of the entrance to the parking deck, we observed thick, dark grey, charged smoke coming out of the opening, with the bottom being about waist height. The entrance was to the middle level, and the entire hotel is above the parking deck.

I had a box light (couple million candlewatt power), and could not see my feet once 20 feet inside the opening and up the ramp. I also had the nozzle over my shoulder and thankfully, the car was less than 100' inside. If we would've had to use the standpipe inside the parking deck, the call would have sucked so much worse.

As I was advancing the line, read as, trying to find my way to the car without running into a wall or tripping over a car, a tire blew. Now, if you've ever heard this, it's loud. Move it inside a spacious concrete structure, and it sounds like a gunshot even more. I stopped dead in my tracks for a moment, shrugged it off, and took about 3 more steps when another tire blew. A small part of me wanted to walk out right then. The more reasonable part said, hey, 2 down, 2 to go worst-case.

We finally found the car, and it was definately burning, but not badly since it was parked under a sprinkler that had activated. It probably went off and triggered the fire alarm, we know hotel security/maintenance called it in originally.

I had some fun with the nozzle, putting out the fire around the front wheels. I was sent back to the truck to get a set of irons (haligan and flat-head axe). We used the haligan to pry open the hood enough to stick the end of the nozzle in and douse the engine. I went to the truck again to grab the K-12, the air was too poor for it to run originally. I got a lil saw-time and cut into the hood so we could open it and have better access to the motor.

We finally got the fire out and hammered a wooden wedge into the sprinkler head to nearly stop the water flow.

After picking up all our gear, reloading the hoses used, and everything else, we were on the call 3 hours.

We returned to the station, ate lunch and cleaned up, then went to the 2nd airpack class (2 classes a day). I was sitting between 2 goofballs and laughed my way through the class. Some things I really like about the new packs, some things I don't, and a couple I'm on the fence about. However, I greatly love and respect at least 1 of the guys that tested and recommended these airpacks, so I will give it a fair shot.


medicblog999 said...

These are those moments when the mickey taking with the fire crews that I share a station with in the UK stops.
You describe such a vivid picture of your entry into the garage which makes me think of just one thing:
"Sod that, you wouldnt get me going in there!!"

Our fire crews may be very quiet and seem to have a very comfortable work life (as they dont respond to any medical emergencies in the UK) but you cannot deny their bravery when they need to go into buildings etc that are on fire!

Firelady said...

I try to be descriptive because a lot of people wouldn't have a clue and be able to follow along as well.

I work for a department that requires everyone to be a firefighter and an EMT or Medic. Most of the medic calls I've run the last few months just aren't interesting enough to earn a post on here. I can't imagine not running those calls from the firetruck though.