One Triple Combination Fire Engine - $400,000
One highly trained professional firefighting crew (three persons - 1 hour) $125
One well involved car, parked next to a fruit stand - value unknown
The sound of the stressed-out Fire Captain's voice over the radio as he calls for a full structure response when the engine won't go into pump - priceless!
All I can really say is that I'm glad it wasn't me and sometimes, shit happens. For a fire engine to go into pump, a series of things need to happen, and sometimes (rarely) they don't.
Sometimes something breaks and the pump won't engage. Sometimes, the engineer screws up and doesn't use the proper amount of finesse when shifting or doesn't have a valve in the proper position and can't get water. Sometimes the transfer case just farts, the gears don't align and the collar doesn't slide over the output shaft, causing the transfer case to stay in the road position.
I don't know what happened in this case, I never will.
I can guess that the firefighter was standing near the car, ready to attack the inferno with a limp hose in his hand. He probably was looking toward the rig and giving the signal for water - maybe repeatedly. He might have even been shouting for water while giving the hand signal. The Captain probably ran to the unit, hollering at the engineer, asking what the problem was. I am sure the Captain did his own trouble shooting session and may have even manipulated a few controls to make sure that they were in the right position. Regardless, the engineer had a few pairs of impatient eyes on him as he tried to get water.
At some point, the Captain realized that the likelihood of rapidly getting water was low and he requested the additional units. Meanwhile, the fire got bigger and the chances of it extending into the fruit stand grew.
I heard the tension in the Captain's voice and frankly I found it a little funny. I, as well as most firefighters, have had something similar occur on scene and though it it isn't funny when it happens to you, it does have a humorous component when it happens to someone else. I don't feel too guilty in this case, the fire didn't extend into the fruit stand. The first-in engine was able to resolve whatever issue that was causing the problem in the first place and got the wet stuff on the red stuff.
That is the sign of a properly trained engineer, the ability to trouble shoot the problem and come up with a solution. That is also the sign of an engineer that has a firm grasp of mechanical principles.Troubleshooting is an area which fails a lot of driver-operator candidates during test time, many don't have the background to make this area easy for them to master.
I was glad to hear this poor bastard Captain come back over the scanner and announce that they had resolved their issue and had extinguished the fire. I am sure the other responding units were laughing to themselves as they were canceled and returned to quarters. I am also sure that they were all secretly glad it didn't happen to them.
Sorry for being a little lax in posting over the last few days, I am in the middle of a cleaning/reorganizing project and have been on a roll. I am trying hard not to get distracted.
Thanks for reading,
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