This past weekend I had a 36 hour duty crew at the station. The Friday shift was short an operator for the engine, and I had my 24 hour crew on Saturday, so I decided to give them a hand and stay over night (mostly so I didn’t have to get up at 6am to be at duty at 7). Friday was uneventful with the only thing going on was some training.
Saturday evening we held our annual officer installation dinner. This year it was decided to keep it a little more “low-key” and hold the dinner at the station allowing us to remain available for calls. This was beneficial due to the fact that one of the other departments in our area was having their installation dinner the same evening. I’d like to welcome Lieutenant Davies into the ranks of being an officer this year. He’s been with the department for about 3 years now, and has been progressing in levels of responsibility. I wish him the best of luck as he takes over being our EMS officer.
Saturday evening continued without anything going on. Sunday morning, however, is a slightly different story. Curly woke me up at about 0415am wanting to know “did you hear that call that just went out?” No, I was sleeping. As it turned out one of our neighboring stations in Botetourt had a fire at a gas station/convenience store. Thankfully no one was inside at the time. Due to the amount of fire and type construction, the IC called for additional manpower which added our Wagon crew to the call. The fire was knocked down by the time we got there, but we were assigned to division two to take out some ceiling and wall to extinguish any hidden fire. About a year ago I purchased a New York roof hook from Leatherhead Tools and had endured ribbing for doing so, but this tool proved its worth on this fire by tearing through the lathe and plaster faster and easier than all the other pike poles and axes on the floor. I’d also bought some products from MN8 (FoxFire Illumination) that were in use by me and FF Thompson (AKA – D.D.) on this fire, however I wasn’t able to get any “action” photos. Both companies products worked as expected, and then some. Unfortunately for the hook, it experienced a failure of the tube, but after talking to the company today they are going to look into why it failed and work on replacing it. I’ve always been of the opinion that as long as a tool is being used “properly” and it breaks then it’s just a cost of doing the job. Rob with Leatherhead Tools was very helpful and understanding. The FoxFire Tets on D.D.’s helmet helped me keep up with his location on the line, and in the rooms with me, even for the smoke and steam. I love their products, and so do all the guys at my station who I’ve shared the helmet Tets with. Clean up was quick and easy for us since we were called only for manpower. Topped off air bottles, washed the packs, tools and gear and packed it up for the next call.
I was told by a Captain on scene that the original parts of the building were something like 150 years old… built sometime around the 1860′s. I’m not sure how accurate this information is, but if it’s really that old, I’m very humbled. A building even 100 years old in as good of condition as it seemed to be to me.. wow.
I hope the owners/employees are able to get back on their feet quickly from this, and I’m again thankful no one was inside when the fire broke out and none of my Brother firefighters were injured.