The Last Fire

Life circumstances made up my mind for me. I had to “go to rescue.” Not quite the career path I had envisioned but I made the best of it. My wife got sick and couldn’t work, kids were looking at college, money doesn’t fall from trees and there was unlimited overtime in the rescue division of the Providence Fire Department. Not only that, the pay for a Rescue Technician (a firefighter with EMT Cardiac level credentials permanently assigned to the EMS Division) was more than firefighter.

Ten years later I was a Captain, running calls non-stop, working enough overtime to keep the family modestly comfortable and figuring I had fought my last fire.

This picture was taken minutes after “my last fire” was declared under control. One of the firefighters from Engine Co. 13, Kris Wright offered to take an EMS call so I could have some lunch. Minutes later my truck, Rescue Co. 1 was transporting an intoxicated man to the ER, and I was scrambling for gear so I could be first in at a Code Red.

It was an occupied house fire, one level, heavy fire in a rear bedroom. I ended up on the pipe, spent fifteen minutes on air, crawling through a smoke and fire filled home, finding the fire and putting it out. Business as usual for the crew, a moment I thought I would never again experience for me.

Nobody got hurt, the family rebuilt and I got to be a firefighter one last time. Weird how things work out, I retired a year later. Sometimes I get caught up in the chaos that makes up most of my life. I try and remember to take a moment to look back, and see the big picture, and how all the pieces are starting to come together, and make sense.

Life is hard, but damn, it has some great moments!

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