Thursday, March 13, 2008

Strange Calls

Tuesday night I responded with the Fire Department to a fire alarm call at a business. 99% of the time these are false alarms and a lot of times response is very slow. Dispatch said they had multiple alarms going off but we all still thought it would be an alarm malfunction. One of our Captains went direct to the scene and first report said "we have nothing showing". I was rolling the engine out of the bay when he called back on the radio that there was light smoke in the building. Oh crap we thought. This could be a working fire. We were on scene in three minutes and continued the initial investigation. There was very light smoke in the building but we couldn't find anything or see any smoke coming from anything. We check the breaker box, lights, microwave, then one of the business owners said she could see smoke coming from the top of the building. Crap...maybe it was in the attic. I laddered the side of the building and checked the gable vent but the attic was clear. About that time a sheriffs deputy just happened to look and saw one of the office chairs had the back melted off of it. It was sitting in front of a wall mounted gas fired space heater. Evidently someone had moved the chair and left it sitting there. When it had cooled off that night, the thermostat kicked the heater on and it started heating up the chair. I venture to say it never totally ignited but came VERY close. Probably the heater kicked off once the room got back up to temperature too. The smoke generated by the melting of the chair material set the smoke alarm off which alerted the alarm company to call us. This could have been much worse. If they hadn't had an alarm system, most likely their building would have burnt down. Good moral of this story is to NEVER have combustibles close to a space heater of any kind. You can see the chair below. A close call for the owner for sure.

Wednesday I got to help out with a small grass fire on my way back to work from Little Rock. Then Wednesday night I had another strange call. The call was for a citizens assist to help a person get from their tractor to their wheel chair. I found this kind of strange to begin with. How could they get on the tractor? But maybe it was a small lawn tractor. I just happened to be the only one that responded to this. When I arrived I looked for a tractor or someone outside. Nope, nothing. I went to the door and the wife said, "in here". There he was, stuck on the toilet! He needed help getting off the toilet back into his wheelchair. It was almost funny just because dispatch said he was on a tractor. It was a pretty large man so I had to call for additional help but we made the save. I still laugh a little thinking about it. On top of that we had a call for a lady going into labor just a few house up the road. Luckily MEMS took care of that one.

But the night wasn't over. About 10 we had a call for possible electrical wires burning in a home. I stood by with an engine but come to find out there had been a transformer that blew up the road and the people had smelt that thinking their house was on fire.

It had been pretty quiet up until this week, now things are going crazy again. I'm sure I'll have more interesting ones to write about.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Arland, you lead an exciting (and sometimes humorous) life!