“The bells are going down, again.” Shouted the Duty Man.
Groans were heard from the team eating their lunch, but still they all flung their cutlery down and dashed out from the Mess to the waiting appliance,
Struggling to get their uniforms on, each man was silent, waiting to hear the information from control. “Persons reported.” Another groan went up. “Two adults and three children. “This time the groans were louder and had more concern.
The vehicle moved rapidly through traffic, only slowing slightly at a red light, to ensure a safe path through. ‘On the run’ was always a time for caution and trepidation.
Blue Watch were silent now, ready and eager for action. Their duties, practiced rehearsed and practiced again were fixed in their minds. A live shout always meant that the adrenalin was pumping fast in every man.
As soon as the engine slowed down at the scene, Blue Watch scrambled to their individual tasks. No words were spoken between them, only the Duty Man fired off instructions. The senior Fire Officer, was in a conflab with the police and paramedics. Making plans for any eventuality. Another engine arrived with turntable ladders; two men were being helped into their breathing apparatus gear.
“There must be someone in there”. One of the younger men observed. “Come on now Blue Watch, heads up.” Shouted the Duty man.
Two young boys were being helped out of their bedroom window by a firefighter using the turntable ladder. Mum and Dad were leaning out of their bedroom window shouting words of encouragement.
An ambulance had arrived and the two children were being tended to by the waiting paramedics.
Mum, after being rescued from the burning building by a brave fireman, joined the children in the back of the ambulance. Shocked but relieved to be safe. Soon Dad was safely out of the house and on his way down to the ground, he was shouting something frantically and as soon as the ladder touched the ground he ran to the front door and opened it, ignoring the orders from the Fire Brigade to step away.
Mum was screaming in desperation, “He’s gone in for Abby” she sobbed. “She’s in the back bedroom.”
The two firemen in breathing apparatus, followed Dad into the house, smoke bellowing out of the front door and the sound of flames crackling as the water jets rained down on the building.
Two other firemen had made their way through the neighbour’s house to the back gardens and eventually came back carrying a child.
They took her straight to the paramedics who realised she was badly injured, having jumped from the first-floor window in her panic to get away from the flames.
All eyes were on the front door, hoping to see the firemen bringing out Dad.
The wait was in silence, apart from the sobs coming from the ambulance. Mum, in despair and Abby in pain.
Eventually figures appeared at the door, as a huge crash was heard from inside the house, as the floors gave way under the weight of the water.
But soon it became apparent there were only two figures emerging out of the smoke, both wearing breathing apparatus.
Later that night, back at the station, all the firefighters seated in the briefing room, most of them hanging their heads, tired and defeated.
The Duty Officer stood in front of them, “Heads up, lads. Let’s get this debrief underway.” He signed loudly “Another death which could have been avoided if only the public took our advice.”
“We need more of us to concentrate on education, showing people just how important making an escape plan is. Setting up a meeting point, even in a small home can save lives. Certainly, today is an example of that.”
The crew all nodded and agreed and then the bells went down again.
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