Wednesday, February 16, 2022

A return to the 951

 I still go back to my hometown, my family is still there and The Saint That I Am Married To has business interests there. When in town, I still photograph my agency (it will always be my agency) in action. We were there a few weeks ago and I happened to catch this one on the day before we returned home to Arizona.


The structure sits on a two-lane divided road that runs through the orange groves. It was occupied at the time, though I am guessing they didn't realize it was burning as they were in the house and the fire appeared to have started in the garage. One of the earliest reports of the fire was made by a P.D. unit who was down the street and saw smoke from a few blocks away. I suspect the fire had a good head start before being reported as the house sits back from the street and is mostly obscured by orange trees.

The fuel tank in the car in the above photo had failed a few minutes prior to my arrival, causing some excitement to the residents, the assisting police officers and the first in crew.

Several hand lines were pulled, due to the volume of fire and the need to confine the fire to the area of origin. Additional resources were requested do to the fire loading of the garage and the extensive overhaul that would be required.

At some point, it became apparent that the fire had extended into the attic, despite an interior crew pulling ceilings and putting an interior hand line in service.

 Concurrently, the truck company had arrived and was getting to work on the roof. They provided the necessary openings reducing smoke damage in the dwelling area of he structure.

 The results were photographically impressive.

View from the charlie side (rear). This was a very nice house and garage, there was obvious pride of ownership in it's upkeep.

There was a ton of overhaul to do, crews were there for several hours completing the task. I haven't heard if they determined a cause yet, they were working on it when I left. I, and my dogs, were hungry so I took off.

This, as most destructive fires, was kind of sad to me. I know these people had worked long and hard on this property. As it was kind of near to my home, I saw how much work they put into it. I can only hope that they recover.

Thanks for reading, 


Sunday, October 24, 2021


 Four and one half years. To some it is an eternity, to others it is just a bit of time. To old bastards like me, it is a mere flash, almost a blink of an eye.

It has been around seven years since I've bothered to put any written word on this page. The main reason is that I just don't have the material that I used to have. I am retired and lead a mostly boring life with my wife and my dogs. It is a good life, but it is one that most people either lead themselves, can see in a 50's sit-com or just don't care about. 

I started this blog way back in the day as sort of a therapy to keep certain demons at bay while they were slain, or at least until they were reduced in size as to become insignificant. That purpose has largely been fulfilled, though new demons have appeared. - The new angst is likely the same that most people are facing now in these chaotic times that have been forced upon us.

Another factor is the instant gratification of other social media platforms, mainly Facebook. Although I believe that it is inherently evil - I, like many, appreciate the immediate feedback as well as the abbreviated method of communication and the ease of information distribution. There is an irony in the belief that Facebook will soon fade into obscurity as it's user base ages and younger people continue to use newer, evolving platforms.

A lot has transpired over the past four years. We have left SoCal and now live in the mountains of central Arizona. We live in a small town at about the 5000 ' level. We get snow, though not severe. We enjoy four actual seasons, none of which are extreme. Even though we live in town, we share the neighborhood with creatures such as elk, coyotes, raccoon, eagles, javalina, scorpions and tourists. I am pretty sure I saw a mountain lion run between our and our neighbors house a few months ago.

 I have to accompany my dogs outside after dusk and before daylight, as I don't want them to provide nourishment for the neighborhood coyotes. I also hunt scorpions with a blacklight/UV flashlight and a can of hornet spray. Though I haven't found any in the house, I want to keep it that way. I have found several in the garage.

 I still get to photograph my beloved RFD when I am in town. We manage to make it back once a month or so. I usually catch a fire or two if I am there long enough. Between the transients, tweakers and the economic decline of my hometown, there is often something burning. 

 Though our hometown is not really a travel destination, it is the only trip I am willing to take currently. The thought of sitting in an airplane, masked-up and all of the associated ugliness has no appeal to me. We still have the place in our hometown, one of my sons and a friends of his stay in part of it, we in another. We share the remainder. It is beneficial for all of us and it nice to have our old place for what time we are there.

I see through the links at the side of the page, that many people who were blogging when I was most active, haven't post for years as well. I hope that they are well and that whatever purpose their efforts we for have been attained. I also hope that if anyone is reading this, they are in a good place as well.


Thanks for reading,


Thursday, April 6, 2017


It started out as a medical aid request and ended up as a large animal rescue call-out. Except for the plane crash last month, it also ended up being one of the biggest media stories for our agency in the past year. Apparently, animal interest stories "have more legs" than human interest stories.

It started with a paramedic squad being dispatched for a medical aid request on a major street in town. When they arrived, they found no injured humans, but a horse trapped in a subsurface utility vault containing the pipes that supplied a nearby apartment complex. The vault was located at least partially in the sidewalk and was covered by some sort of boilerplate metal panels. The panels or supporting structure failed under the weight of the horse and it's rider. The rider was not injured in the mishap, but the horse ended up stuck in the vault. He was not happy about it.

The engine company that shares the station with the squad arrived and requested the Horse - Animal Rescue Team (H.A.R.T.)  The HART team is stationed at our USAR station and is staffed by USAR team members with additional, specialized, training. It was at about this time when I decided to respond and take some photos.

 Though not deep, the large piping in the vault kept the horse from gaining foothold. As time passed, he became more agitated. The HART guys decided that the best course of action would be to use a small crane or boom-truck as a high anchor point, then hoist and pivot the horse away from the vault. Once the plan was developed, the appropriate requests were made. There was a 45 minute eta on the crane and about a 30 minute eta on a veterinarian. The vet is needed to sedate the horse, which prevents further injury to it and reduces risk of injury to the rescuers.

The vet arrived and assessed the horse, the crane was on it's way. The horse appeared to be in significant distress. Every time it began to thrash, it's torso and limbs impacted the piping and other sharp metal objects in the vault. Honestly, it was awful to watch.

While waiting for the crane, the HART guys were able to remove the boilerplate covers from the vault and place straps around the horse. The vet returned to her truck to get medication and a helmet.

About this time, the horse decided that it had had enough. Somehow, it was able to gain enough footing to get close to getting out. The added pulling from guys on the straps and the rider on the halter provided enough energy to get the horse out of the vault.

The vet examined the horse and said that it appeared to be in pretty good shape, other than some lacerations that would need suturing.

I was amazed, I was thinking that things were not going to end well - I wasn't the only one to have that opinion BTW.  I am glad that I was wrong in my assessment, everybody left the scene pretty good about the way things ended up.

The PIO that night said his phone was ringing all night from the media wanting info. I received calls/messages from Fox News and the Associated Press wanting permission to use my photos.

You just never know what stories "have legs".

Thanks for reading.