I say this happened a long time ago, when in all actuality, it was maybe 5 years ago.
I was riding backwards on the engine, enjoying a day of being tailboard. We were sent to a house fire in our 2nd due. I don't remember fine details, but I do remember being inside with the nozzle at some point. Much of the fire was out, but there was still a lot to be had in the walls.
I vaguely remember throwing a ladder on the C side on a balcony. There was a crew stuck there that'd run out of air. They came down the ladder before I headed up it with a hoseline in tow.
I ended up in a bedroom on the 2nd story, A side. My driver was right beside me, digging into the sheetrock with his hook, then leaning in to direct me with the nozzle. I think it was the first fire I went into, much less had some nozzle time, since the academy.
I don't know where the Captain was at that moment in time, but I preferred the driver's company more anyways. I remember being content just having the knob and my new friend there showing me what the hell I was really supposed to be doing. After all, real fire is nothing like the pallets and hay you see in the academy. You actually have to hunt for it sometimes, and there's no such thing as "pretend it's bigger, the crew before you put too much water on it."
My friend still works that area of the department. I moved to a different area not long after this fire. A different Captain was moved into that station that I just horribly clashed with personality-wise. I don't regret the move either. I've learned so much more than I think I would have if I'd stayed. Around the time I transferred, my true mentor retired, my friend was transferred, I hated the captain, and it just didn't feel like home anymore.
There's not much chance I'll be transferred from my current station right now and that's a-ok by me.
New rifle project: The SPR
9 hours ago