The Independent Fire Code Specialist - Protecting Your Interests
A Letter to the Chief
I am taking this opportunity to thank you for putting out the fire in my house, although I do not live in that house any longer. I realize now that a fire in the cellar is fairly easy to put out. You just fill it up with water. Too bad the fire wasn't in my cellar.
Knowing very little about fires, I was surprised that a fire that started on my ironing board could cause so much damage. I was quite worried when the fire engines arrived, with all that confusion and running around. My husband said, "It's a good thing it was daytime, or there might have been more accidents." I hope the man who fell off the fire engine when it lurched to a halt in front of the house is all right. He was very lucky. That other engine - the big one - just missed running him over. They were really fast at getting the hose off the engine, piling it up in the middle of the road, and looking for the ends. One man pulled out one end, put a nozzle on it, and dashed into the house. Another man found the other end, put a nozzle on it, and ran into the other side of the building. These men were both shouting, "start the water." I felt so sorry for the man with the cap, who was left behind with the engine. He was wringing his hands, and didn't seem to know what else to do. So he got into the engine and drove it down the street out of sight. I also felt sorry for the man with the red helmet who kept dropping his lantern and waving his arms. Lucky for him it was a mild day, because when the water finally came out of the hose, it went all over him. I was to far away to hear what he said, but he seemed very angry and upset.
After a while, I thought it best to get some of my belongings, because the fire was getting worse. I was gathering up some of my more valuable possessions when two men with masks and tanks on their backs rescued me. How thoughtful of them. They were in an excitable state, speaking incoherently through the masks. One pointed to a door; I tried to warn them that it was a closet, but it was too late. They opened the door and dashed in. I was able to get the bigger fellow out without too much trouble, but the smaller man's tank was caught in the wall. He certainly hit that wall hard, and the big man was right behind him! I immediately ran to a window to attract attention. I knew there were a lot of men outside running around and yelling. Just then, a man with 'Capt' on his helmet and another man with 'Platoon Chief' on his helmet, who were running around the house at top speed, collided head-on. The 'Platoon Chief' was furious. The 'Capt' didn't get up. It's a good thing that they finally moved, though, because that's where the big metal ladder landed when it fell over. In the excitement, someone closed the door to the closet where the smaller man was. It wasn't until a bell on his tank started ringing that he was remembered. You people certainly think of everything. Imagine, a bell that rings when you get caught in a closet. They got the poor man out, but he almost suffocated when they attempted to revive him with that resuscitator machine. Everyone was arguing over how to use it. Fortunately, he had enough strength left to keep pushing the mask off his face, or he might have smothered then and there.
I went upstairs, it was very hot and smoky up there, but when I opened the windows, it wasn't bad. Outside some men were struggling with a ladder caught in a tree. Someone had moved it, stranding a man up there, and now they were trying to get it back because he was unable to get down. Then I heard a lot of noise coming from the stairs - hacking, coughing and swearing. The language was awful. A man was yelling at the others, "Get up there, get up there." Through the smoke, I could see a man lying on the top step. He shouted, "Hey Lou, there's a lady up there." It must have been Lou who yelled back, "Give her the line, maybe she can get a shot at it, and watch your language, you guys." Because of the difficulty I had with the hose line, I would suggest that you have your bigger men hold these hoses, and the smaller men run around with the tools.
If you remember, once the fire was out, there was a rash of accidents. A man with a red hat came upstairs and berated one of the men in a black hat for not throwing the debris out the window. A short time later, there were shouts of "Stop." The man with the red hat had just gotten hit with a sofa. The safety officer was injured and almost drowned when he fell through a hole into the cellar. A chair had been placed over the hole, but a captain who had gotten all wet told the fellow to remove it because someone might trip over it. He told the safety officer he was a dopey bastard anyway. Such language!
A firefighter was making a close examination of a wall when someone struck it from the opposite side with a heavy tool. The firefighter seemed alright but his helmet was wedged on his head; they couldn't get it off. He also appeared somewhat shorter. The man with the red helmet was pleasant to me even though he was still quite wet. He told me how lucky I was, and pointed out to myself and my neighbors the importance of immediately calling the fire dept. in case of fire. Most big fires are the result of delayed alarms. Imagine what would of happened had waited to call.
In closing, I would like to say we haven't had as much commotion and excitement around here since a little boy rang a false alarm, and the big ladder truck rolled down the hill and ran into the car with the red lights on top. Thank you again for your efforts on my behalf. I promise not to leave the iron on the ironing board again.
A happy property owner
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