Thursday, October 30, 2008

Structure Fire

This is about a 20 minute video. Firefighters go inside of this fire and become trapped. Watch the fire conditions change and listen while everything goes wrong. Welcome to glimpse into my life.

Some of you may have already seen this from Loudoun County (VA), but if you have not, ABSOLUTELY take the time to watch this video-there is much to be learned by this professionally done investigative video:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


It was a miserable January evening, freezing rain coated everything. A thin layer of ice that complicated things that always seemed so simple. I remember riding backwards in the open cab of the firetruck, back in the days when you actually rode exposed to the elements. Feeling the misty like ice fall down.
When the truck stopped, smoke was everywhere, the weather was holding the smoke down to the ground. Holding it back from rising into the sky, blanketing the ground with smoke. Reports of a child lost in the fire, adrenaline surged through everyone bodies. Firefighters stretching their own limits, risking not seeing their own family for a child they did not know. Putting their own lives on the line, hoping to save the life of a child.

I had been a firefighter for little over a year, following my comrades lead we crawled into the structure. Hose line in hand we shuffled through the living room, stopping briefly, removing a couch to make more room. A few more feet into the home, the senior firefighter was yelling pushing us out of the home. Not understanding what was going on, we reach the deck, looking back I see flame lick through the floor. He was hollering that the floor was moving, get out of the building. He saved our lives that night!

We continued to fight the fire, efforts to find the child were suspended. We felt empty, like failures, wishing we could do more. We then used a chainsaw to create doorways into each bedroom of the ranch style home. I searched the master bedroom, I had this lump in my throat, hoping to find the child, digging through the closet. In reality I did not want to find this child, scared that I would find him dead. Finding nothing I walked around the house to the next doorway. I can't quite remember who or what was being said, I knelt down to enter the room.
Smoke filled the entrance, as my knee hit the floor, the child was in my face. Another firefighter had found his burned lifeless and blackened body.
Stunned I stood there as he brushed me aside, then in the distance I hear the curdling screams of the mother as her son was carried past her. A sound that I can vividly hear today, 15 years later. A sound that I never wish to hear again, a scream that I hope that none of you reading ever have to experience.
I sometimes can't help to think back to that mournful day. A memory that I can never erase, a sound that I can't forget.
This past month I taught over 3,000 school children fire safety, a task that I believe is one of the most important of firefighters. I have been teaching school children for the past 10 years, now curious how many children I have educated in my career to this date. Hoping that by educating children that I never have to relive another experience like that January day.

Before I end today's blog, do not thank me for teaching children, that is not why I write. I am not deserving of any accolades or pats on the back. I am curious to how many lives that I may have helped by what I have taught. Instead take my writing today and apply a moment of home fire safety to your family, so that you or someone you know is not the person screaming at the sight of their child.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Leaves on the Ground...

The leaves are falling on the ground, crunching beneath our feet as we walk. The air is crisp and clean, every breath we can feel the cool air in our lungs. Holding your cold hand I try to warm it with mine. Pulling you closer to me, shoulder to shoulder as we walk. Talking, sharing, enjoying our deep friendship, feeling one with you. Glances into your beautiful eyes, your quirky smile brings me to life. The smells of fall permeate the air, the combination of leaves and grass, the moisture sealed in the coverage of leaves. Occasionally stopping, looking into your eyes, our cold noses touching, lips meeting. The sweet taste of your lips on mine, reminding me of sweet candy as child. Savoring the decadent taste of your lips, drawing in your lower lip, gently sucking and biting. My arms wrap around your body, warming you, as goosebumps explode on your extremities. A giggle, smile, sparkles in your eyes, you kick your heel with excitement. I reach for your cold hand, fingers bonded together, shoulder to shoulder, leaves crunching as we walk.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Joy of a Child

The innocence of a young child, laughter and excitement, uncontrollable jumping. The giggling laughter that makes your heart overflow with joy. Laughter uncontrollably, contagiously spreading throughout the room. The room erupting with laughter started by a child. Feeling our inner youth, we too act like the child, enjoying the unpredictable joy they share.

Their eyes light up like lights on the dance floor. The smile and laughter is the music that makes us dance. The jumping and dancing signifies the freedom of being joyous. The happiness of a child reminds us to let go of all of life's challenges. Reminding us that life is bigger than we will ever be, life is what you have created.