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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lucky

I was heading back to my area to drop off Engine 51 after an evening drill at Station 56. About halfway through my trip, Engine 52 got dropped for a respiratory arrest call. I had already passed through 52's district, but wasn't too far to turn around. Seems like there's never enough help on the oh crap calls, you know.

By the time I had arrived and parked at the end of the driveway, the call had been upgraded to a full code, Engine 52 was on scene with three guys who were all very busy with CPR. Medic 98 drove past me on up to the house on my way in.

It was not an especially noteworthy code call. No fun, sure, but nothing unusual, either.

Shortly after the late-middle-aged male pt was tubed, we were able to shock him back to an apparently sustainable rhythm. After that it was load and go.

Medic 98 pulled away from the house, and we grabbed equipment to carry down to the road.

Then we heard a really sickening metal crunch from the direction of the road, but we couldn't see through the trees to tell what happened. Crap.

We hustled down the driveway to find that the Medic had pulled the corner a little too sharp, and had dropped their right rear tire in the ditch, and were laying on their frame. Crap.

It just so happens, though, that Engine 51 has a winch. One of only three units so equipped in our entire 20-something unit fleet. In probably less than ten minutes, Medic 98 was again en route to the hospital.

That was a month or so ago. Found out a few days ago that the pt has made a near full recovery and is home.

Units from 51's as a general rule never run calls in 52's area any more, it is just too far away since we've opened a station between them. But this was one of perhaps three times over the past several years that I can think of that Engine 51, through random circumstance, made the scene of something less than a major incident in that area, making it possible to pull out the Medic. Any other time of any other day, and the pt and medics are screwed.

Lucky.

A week ago I was at home when a structure fire was dispatched right up the road from me. I hustled off to Station 51 for the engine and was on the road in short order. Fire Dispatch advised homeowner returned to find the house charged with light smoke.

I spotted Engine 51 in front and gave the size up. Two-story wood frame, nothing showing, occupants outside, etc.

The smoke was not heavy, but smelled a little like candles and a lot like plastic/mechanical trouble. The resident said they heated by wood stove, so the furnace was ruled out. Yes, she used candles, but insisted that she had blown them all out. She double checked her candles and found nothing. I was checking the walls, ceiling, major appliances, etc. with the TIC and coming up empty when Engine 54 arrived. Yay for backup!

The attic and crawlspace were cleared. The smoke was dissipating, but we were not leaving until we found the cause. Finally the Engine 54 officer spotted it: A candle. Surprise. The resident was aghast, she said it was a decorative candle not intended for burning, that her brother must have lit it, which is why she didn't check it when leaving.

It had melted sideways off its holder, dropping two wicks to the tabletop and under the corner of their gigantic flat screen TV, where it proceeded to scorch the table and catch the plastic housing of the screen. It burned up the plastic housing perhaps 16" before inexplicably going out by itself. The metallic innards of the screen were entirely exposed at that spot. The resident turned it on while we were there out of curiosity, and it still worked. We swept the area with the TIC again and found only a slight residual heat in the candle wax puddled on the carpet. Case closed.

Lucky.

With the CPR save last month, and the amazing drowning/hypothermia save from late summer, that makes at least two "they were dead but now they're alive" saves on the year for me. Not bad for a kind of slow outfit like ours.

Lucky.


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