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On that note I need to ask a favor of you, a personal request so to speak. This blog has analytics that I can view and the information shows me that I get, to me at least an amazing amount of reads a day. Thank you for reading. The analytics also show that very few of my readers actually join my blog.
Why join? Joining first and foremost encourages me to continue with this little experiment; secondly joining helps me reach more people. How does that work? With more members I gain exposure in search engines. Keep in mind I am a retired fireman self educated on all this internet social media stuff and I wish it was more like a sick person or a fire, then I’d know what to do. But it’s not so I can’t stick a needle in it or spray water on it to make it better.
Okay, today a story from many years ago. On a terrible Colorado winter night we got a call for a possible suicide by gun. These kinds of calls are always tricky, if they have done the deed and were successful no big deal, wait for the cops and the corner, console the family get back in service.
But sometimes we got there too fast; we got there before the trigger got pulled. This meant we had a couple of options. First we had a chance to prevent it; second we had a chance to become part of the event and not in a good way. A confused suicidal (often drunk) person is not the easiest person to deal with.
On this freezing ass night all we knew was that there was a possible suicide involving a gun. Back then the fire trucks we rode on were not the cool Cadillacs you see on the streets today. This old piece of history was a real left over, a Ward brand name fire truck.
Open cab, which means the other firefighter and myself rode in the back seats, facing backwards, under a tiny bit of cowling. For the most part we were really just sitting outside next to the big Detroit diesel that propelled us down the icy streets.
There were no headsets then, hell there weren’t even ear protectors for noise. That meant as backseat jockeys we never got updates about the changing situation we were heading into. The driver and officer could hear the radio in the comfort and warmth of the cab but not us. The officer if he was on his game had a tiny sliding window behind his head he could slip open and yell an update to you through.
This night the officer was on his game, problem was he didn’t have any game. Poor old Penny was a rather distracted officer, his mind was always somewhere else, not that he was a bad officer, he was a fair captain, its just that the vacancy sign was always on at his mental motel.
So no update was available for myself and Wit the Twit, that was the other firefighter’s nickname. Which was okay we had become accustomed to just doing what was needed when the truck stopped, we baled off grabbed our gear and went to work. So we didn’t know that shots had been fired at the scene.
We were flying through the snow like it was Santa’s sleigh, Bob the driver (we called him Bob because he wasn’t cool enough for a nickname) knew how to get everything out of that truck in snow, rain, sleet, and the dead of night. He should have been a mailman in hindsight.
We sat there in a cloud of Colorado powder fat dumb and happy. The house we were responding to was on a steep slope heading south. Bob raced down the street, suicides had a way of making you go a little faster. As he pulled up the truck was oriented with its nose pointing downhill.
Before the truck actually stopped I was off it and ready, it was a little like bullfighting. You stepped off at your position and waited for the truck to brush past you, when it halted, if your timing was right, the appropriate equipment door on the engine was right in front of you. Took some skill.
I whipped open the compartment grabbed the medical boxes, Wit the Twit, the other fireman grabbed the oxygen and some other stuff and we turned and headed for the house.
At the very same moment captain Penny opened his door jumped off the still sliding truck. He didn’t want us going in because he knew that shots had been fired. In his effort to protect us he rushed and didn’t quit get his huge metal door on the engine shut.
Bob nailed the air brake with a loud “Pishhh”, Penny’s door swung foreword with great momentum, slapped the side of the BRT and snapped right off its hinges.
Now Penny is charging after me and the Twit trying to get us to stop and stay outside just as the 400 pound door hit the ground with a tremendous bang. Penny now left his feet in a spectacular superman leap, head first arms stretched for maximum aerodynamics and yelled at the top of his lungs, “They’re shooting at us boys.” He crashed into a nice snow drift piled alongside the shoveled walkway with a thud and spray of snow.
He looked up like a Labrador that just found a ball in the snow. His face wet with snow, eyes bulging and still yelling. “Don’t go in” he called. The Twit and I slid to a halt, jolted by the bang and the sight of our captain air born. Truly one of the funniest things I ever saw at a call.
I think the guy inside thought a shot had been fired as well and surrendered to us to wait for the police and appropriate mental help.
Poor old Penny had to spend the rest of the night riding around with no door, we didn’t have replacement trucks you see. I’ll remember watching him sitting up there teeth chattering wearing all his firefighting gear for the rest of my life.