And now, here is for something different. The following is a short piece I wrote on Sunday, 9th February 2003 on Kuro5hin. This was six years ago.
It's 6:30, I am half awake. The night was short. I am standing by a red truck with bright flashing lights.
I am adjusting my helmet strap, my air mask, my gloves. I take the nozzle and rush to the house on fire.
The front door is open but I can not see inside, there is black smoke from two feet above the floor up to the ceiling.
My team of three is waiting for the water to flow towards the nozzle. I can no longer see my hands which are in front of me, my flashlight is useless. It's pitch black inside while the sun is shining outside. I am scared.
I am told that the house has been evacuated, nobody is left inside, we can perform a fast attack. I hear cracking sounds from my right. Fire is blazing and is eating the structure.
Finally, 20 seconds after kneeling at the door, I flow the water. 200 gallons (760 liters) per minutes above us, in front of us, in the dark. We know that fire is everywhere around us but we can not see it.
Two minutes later, the smoke level is down, we can see a red glow in front of us, slightly on the left. Probably the origin of the fire.
My buddies are pulling the hose with me. We are at the bedroom door. Fire inside. Good, we can see now. Fire to the left, fire above, fire to the right. I am shooting water in those directions. The beast is dying.
We enter the bedroom, my buddies are pulling the ceiling and the walls down and I am putting the wet stuff on the red stuff.
I am hot, the air from my bottle is dry. If I was unprotected, one breath of the air from that room would kill me. My knees are burning. What is left of a ceiling fan motor is red hot.
Another team enters the room, the fire is in control. 7-1 this location. No more pumpers are needed.
My mask is vibrating, sure sign that I am running low on air. Time to get out and let a replacement team continue the job for us. I need a drink of water. We were in hell for approximately fifteen minutes.
The couple who was living in this apartment lost everything but the night clothes they are wearing and the car in the drive way. I am inviting them to climb in the fire engine cab to stay warm and out of the way. I am so sad.
This was a duplex, we saved the apartment next door. We did our job.
I am a non-paid volunteer firefighter, I write software for a living, this was my Saturday morning.
Have a nice day and stay safe.