Thursday, August 25, 2011

Best Damn Shift Ever

Today starts my last cycle as a firefighter. We hit the ground running with a quick T/C on the freeway and a sheared off hydrant at a large warehouse. Both of those occurred with our first hour of duty time. The T/C was no big, the next station down arrived first and took care of business before we arrived.

Moments after returning to the station, we get punched out for a ringing alarm at a large furniture warehouse, which is located just down the street from the station. The warehouse has an ESFR sprinkler system, which requires a large flow, plus the fire load itself mandates a large amount of water. One thing we have plenty of around here is water supply.

This is a private hydrant and is connected to the fire pump for the building. Thus, when the water started moving, the pump kicked in and the alarm went off. Hence, our response.

I felt kind of bad for the driver of the truck, he didn't go to work today thinking that he was going to kill a hydrant. We called the BC up and he ran a hydrant key out to us. We pulled the cap to the valve and started closing it off. About that time, a couple of guys from the water district showed up and as they had a better, faster key, we let them finish closing the valve. The half hour or so that the water was flowing probably works out to about 100,000 gallons of water, all of it metered. That will be an exiting water bill next month.

Lunch time rolled around and I had lunch with the Chief of the Department, the Deputy Chief, Fire Marshal, Special Ops Chief, my boss and the BC from battalion 2. We met at a local restaurant and the Chief picked up my tab. The lunch that's free is the lunch for me! It was a great time, with much reminiscing and remembering, especially of brothers no longer with us. I got a little choked up as we have been through a lot over the years, it starts to hit home when you realize that it's nearly over.

After lunch, my boss and I returned to the station and B.S.ed for another hour or so. As we were talking, the doorbell rang and the two guys from the water district were there with a brand new hydrant key, one of the fancy ones. The talked their boss into giving it to us. Talk about Christmas in August! 

I gotta be honest, we haven't been real productive around the healing place the past few shifts. Some of the stuff that I usually worry about just doesn't seem as important right now. We gave a tour to the water district guys, did a little maintenance then kind of goofed off this afternoon.

About 5 PM, I walked past the day room and heard voices that sounded familiar, yet I knew that they didn't belong to the crew. I looked in and saw my kid standing there, talking to my medic. A nice surprise to be sure, made even nicer by my other son and his girlfriend sitting in the recliners. I figured out something was up. One kid stopping by is a surprise, both of them showing up is a conspiracy.

Wouldn't ya know it, before I can grill them as to what is up, we get a TC on the freeway, this one in the construction zone. This time, we are first in. It's a rollover, the driver may be a little borracho muchacho, but does not appear to be hurt too bad. He doesn't want to go, but we convince him that we may be a better option than the po-po.

We hang out till the carcass of the car is removed, then head back to the barn. As we pull up, I see my wife's truck in the lot and the chief's buggy is parked behind the apparatus floor. Party time at the healing place!

My engineer had bought some amazing steaks, big porterhouses - like the ones on the Flintstones. He mashed some taters and cooked some squash and sauteed onions and mushrooms. He is a great cook and outdid himself on this one! The Chief bought my favorite pie, a perfect ending to an amazing feast.

The meal was great, good food combined with great people, all of whom I care for greatly. Just as we started the dishes, the tones hit again, this time for another ringing alarm at a nationally known soft drink bottling plant. It takes us awhile, but we find the problem. A broken sprinkler head, likely damaged by a ceiling fan which was in close proximity. It took nearly an hour to resolve the issue and issue the paperwork.

When we returned to the station, everyone was gone and the dishes were done. A couple of hours of paperwork and here we are.

What a great freaking day. They should all be as good as this.

Sorry for the hack editing of the images and the jagged paragraphs. It's almost 0200 and my quality control is not up to snuff.

Thanks for reading,
A grateful Schmoe


  1. Congratulations, Capt. Stay safe for the rest of the tour.

  2. That's a great post! I'm glad you had a good day.

  3. THAT is a shift to be proud of. Glad
    it's going well for you as it winds down, Cap. Enjoy! :)