Posted on | February 11, 2013 | 1 Comment
Firefighting is a gritty job, when you get right down to it.
Responding in a big red truck with flashing lights and siren is hard to beat, but it is the hands on the hose and tools that gets the real work done. It’s hot and sweaty work in the summer, and when the mercury dips it’s hard to stay warm if you’re not close to the fire, even with all your gear.
Once you have knockdown, crews go into reserve and wait their turn to pick up the pike poles and axes when air tanks are spent. That’s the fun of it, I think. It’s working together and getting the job done.
During that rotation there’s time to visit with the members of your neighboring station that you haven’t seen since the last call. It’s also time to grab the camera and capture the things that are the experience of firefighting.
The particular incident these pictures document was on a cold December morning. The sun eventually rose but it didn’t really help, as the frigid air worked it’s way through your gear and keeping active was the best chance to stay warm.
This picture below sums it all up. There is plenty of smoke from the still smoldering materials, but not much active flame. The effort of pulling down the walls and roof to get at the areas where heat remains; the smell of the smoke from the smoldering contents – straw and wood – that stays with you for hours, if not longer; the charred wood and debris all around that you kick to the side to make sure you have a good footing.
Eventually the smell of the smoke will fade, and all that is left are our memories and maybe a picture or two. We’ll find it hard to forget the loss the property owner suffered at the hand of the fire and we’ll see what we can do to help with recovery. And we’ll respond the next time, and enjoy the gritty part just as much as any of it.