The fire department dispatch tones/ pager went off around 3:15 a.m. I was in the process of getting ready to go to work and thought about responding, but I was scheduled to be part of a crew for a task at work. We were already a little short handed which is why I was pulled from my normal work duties. Project schedules can be rather tight as well, therefore I didn't think it would be well taken for me to not show up. So I left for work, all the while listening to the fire ground operations (until I got out of range) on the operations channel of my issued radio, regretting that work commitments prevented me from responding. As I headed out of town, the fire quickly went to 2 alarms for manpower. Then 3. Most units were responding understaffed, with only 2 personnel or driver only. Responses were called from multiple locations, some quite a distance away in the tri-state area. And I continued on to work.
I got to work and opened the website for the county's live feed to continue listening. Conditions were not improving. Opened my email and saw that the task for which I had been scheduled had been postponed. Figures.
I continued listening for about 2 hrs, expecting that the situation would soon be wrapping up and units would be going back in service. But no. Fire in the attic spaces of an old, remodeled numerous times building was proving to be difficult to access.
I couldn't stand it any more and notified my supervisor that I was heading home. It's too bad my commute is an hour and a half.
I expected that the situation would be done for the most part, but these guys had been working hard for 5 1/2 hours so far. At least I could help with clean-up and get things back in service. I arrived on scene about 9:45ish. Final overhaul was being done, taking care of the few hotspots that could be found. We cleared the scene around noon time. The guy who drove our engine had left earlier, taking my vehicle back to the station so he could go to work. I drove the engine back, stopping to get fuel and have the breathing air bottles that were used filled.
Once back at our station and about halfway through getting everything cleaned and back in service, we were dispatched to assist MD with a river rescue on the Potomac. Responding for that certainly had its aggravations; between trying to figure out where they wanted us go and maneuvering through construction related traffic congestion filled with knuckleheads that didn't want to move over. We finally succeeded, to stand by on the bank of the river with a boat that was yearning for the water. (OK, maybe it wasn't just the boat...) At least when we were put in service, the road work was done for the day and traffic wasn't bad getting back.
We hadn't been back at the station very long when we were called again, this time to assist for a re-kindle at the original fire. Wasn't much, just a little smoke coming from one of the top floors. A little bit of work from our aerial ladder and some water took care of it.
It was about 7 p.m. when I finally got home and was able to get a much needed shower and some supper. A full day, but worth it.