Two men in Boston were up, at work, checked their rigs off, and in a battle against what was probably the biggest, nastiest, ugliest fire in their careers yesterday before most of us even had the chance to brush our teeth.
That's IF they weren't still on from the day before. I don't know? That happens ALL the time with us. We live for the big one. We are headed out to go home, to a family event, to our other jobs, to school...and we hear those tones drop and we can't help ourselves.
They may have even traded shifts so that they could work yesterday. I have friends who work 3-4-5 days in a row, so that they can have days off with their families, or so that their brothers can have those days off. I have worked those shifts, I have covered those guys.
Someone has the flu but refuses to go home, so we figure it out amongst ourselves, call his wife, and FORCE his ass out of the bunk room to go home and not come back for 3 days.
Someones first nephew is being born, your lieutenant just needs a damn vacation because he hasn't seen his wife in what seems like 6 months.
They've covered me too, don't get me wrong. I don't know how many migraines I've been able to sleep though because my guys said "I've got this." And my divorce...you don't even want to know.
But in less than in instant, two men, two brothers...gone forever. The last time Lt. Edward Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy ever put on their boots, was March 26, 2014.
I have been fortunate through out my time to never have to go through what the boys in Boston are going through right now. Sure, I have known people who have died. Sure, I have even known someone who has died while responding to a fire call. I've even been to a LODD funeral here in the county for a young fireman who died in a structure fire. Wrong place. Wrong time. An exquisite set of circumstances. Just as everything in life, right? If only?
I can't quite explain it to you.
There is nothing in this world that can simulate the feeling of being in a burning building. You rely on equipment and training to get you through. But in the end. And the end of the day. If you get trapped, through no fault of your own...there is no piece of equipment that will save you. There is no magic wand. Another human being will have to come. A dispatcher will have to try and lead them there, and somehow...safely, everyone has to try and go home that night.
As with most dispatch of disasters, the dispatch from yesterday brings a tightening to my throat and a sick feeling to my stomach. I just can't even imagine the cry for help, let alone being on the outside.
Walsh was a father. Kennedy, a Marine. Can you imagine your dad/husband just goes to work and never comes back? Goes into a basement that they thought was safe, and there is a deadly backdraft? High winds, open window.
Whatever. They're gone. Lets just remember that. Don't point fingers. Just remember and pray. For the families...both of them. The ones at home, and at the firehouse.
*Oh...and lets just address this right now. "Brotherhood," "We," "us?"
When is the last time Emily fought a structure fire? Well... It's been a few years. 2011 to be exact. In Illinois.
When one is a medic, her skills get utilized elsewhere. Also, they don't happen every day, folks!
When you eat, sleep, and breathe next to your "brothers," (and sisters, I don't hate...they just lump us all together, and I don't mind, you shouldn't either!) for a number of years, its just a part of you. (Literally, lived at the firehouse. It was my permanent home for a while. Yeaaaaaah. About that...)
So while I might be on a hiatus from things right now, Don't you worry your pretty little head about it. I've got this, and I still will when I'm ready to go back =)