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Roism for Today - March 2, 2020

Alarm in the Morning

Beep, beep, beep, beep; attention Engine__ prepare to copy… Oh man, what is it? Will it be an alarm, a medical emergency, or is it a glowing structure, burning intensely?

It’s 0200 hrs, I have to shake the cobwebs; will I hit the pole or use the stairwell? I spring up but I’m looking down, when my feet hit the floor my head is spinning around.

I know the drill and I’ve done this before but each call is different, don’t know what’s in store. Anyway, can’t hesitate; no time to waste and I can’t be late.

When I get to the truck it’s just as I thought; it seems per dispatch, this one will be fought. There are three engines, a ladder, and a rescue. We’ll have to be sharp because chiefs are coming too.

We make our way down streets for what seems like a day; our response time is good but it doesn’t feel that way. We round the corner and wrap a hydrant going in; then grab a line and proceed carefully again.

What we find inside without at first knowing, indeed there is smoke but no fire showing. It’s a pot on the stove and you think: that’s cause for celebration. This one needs just a little ventilation.

So this time you can feel good inside. No one was hurt and nobody died. If they were all like this, there would be no weeping because all that was lost was just a little sleeping.

We go back to the station and fall into bed, then begin counting sheep that dance in our heads. We think about what was, and we think about what wasn’t; then hope for tonight, the big one doesn’t.

Captain Douglas R. Little

Columbia, SC Fire Department

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