Friday, January 27, 2012

Response Challenges...Or What To Do When Your Ladder Truck Catches Fire

A recent story was a great reminder of the never quit attitude of most firefighters, especially truckies. The box alarm had the ladder truck assigned first due on the reported building fire. The response was normal until the cab began filling with smoke. Not a light mist, but nasty, banking down from the ceiling stuff. The driver and officer quickly determined it was emanating from the mobile radio, but the off switch didn’t help. There was no plug to pull as it was hardwired. The response continued. A burning radio wasn’t going to stop them on a first due structure.

The officer rolled down his window, attempting some ventilation with only marginal success. Over the now extra loud screams of the siren, the driver yelled over.

“I’m starting to have a hard time seeing.”

“Well roll your fucking window down,” the officer yelled back. More ventilation couldn’t hurt. The small dash mounted fan was turned on with no effect; this wasn’t to be a PPV fire. The officer began blowing on the radio like a birthday candle, trying to extinguish the fire burning within.

The truck continued, the crew refusing to cancel. Eventually, it went out; whether from the efforts of the truck officer or the circuit protection operating, we don’t know, a knock is a knock. Finally, the smoke began to lift.

A few minutes later, the truck arrived on scene to find a fire on a deck; likely less smoke than they had battled just getting there.

Let a fire in the rig keep you from getting there? Not a true truck company.

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