Report of day 16: 22 januaryLos Angeles, California.
Today is a sad day... It is the last day of my 'firefighter journey' through the USA. Although a nice holiday will follow, I still feel sad about it. 16 days just went by so fast! I am back in Pacoima, station 98. The same station as friday and also (nearly) the same crew. Just like friday the day starts with a drill. The drill is about the Scott breathing apparatus. I had quite a bit of BA training this year, I don't use Scott and I am in desperate need of a shower. Therefore I skip the drill and head for te shower. Of corse the alarm sounds when I am showering. Luckily it is a medical call. Besides this one missed call there is nothing more to do till lunch. Somehow we end up in a discussion about hamburgers. The question is: which one is the best? I know the answer since I had a 'Five guys' hamburger in Long Beach. This opinion is not shared by the others. There is only one hamburger, an 'In & out' hamburger. In & out hamburgers for lunch it is and they taste delicious.
The quietness before lunch is gone in the afternoon. We kick off with a car fire. It sounds exciting but it turns out to be an electrical problem: some smoke, no flames but it stinks like .... (fill in anything you want). After that, we find a gentleman on the street that had just a little bit too much of a green labeled quality beer from Amsterdam. We have 2 customers for the subject 'chest pain': one in a car and one in a house (ah well, house...?!). Than there is a small kid that choked in a little candy. Her mother is more upset then the little kid is. Brian treats the kid and comforts the mother. We find a motorcycle lady who hit a car while not wearing a protective motor suit. Last but not least: a 26 year old boy who is 'out' and on the couch of his parents with an overdose of drugs. Just before dinner we end up at a family. A man from around 60 year old had a stroke before and now suffers a heart attack. All calls are handled by paramedic Brian and the assistance of the rest of the crew. It is great to see Brian working. Not only his professional attitude and respect for- and kindness to the patients is beautiful to see, also the rest he spreads over the patient is impressive. Some people are born to do something, Brian is one of them.
The meal is something I am about to get used too: it is special and healthy at the same time! 'T' is todays cook and the food tastes very well. Confusing for the guys is the fact that I never had a 'root beer float' before. Not familiar with In&out burgers and never had a root beer before. The general opinion is I must be from another planet :-). A few minutes later I am having my first 'root beer float' (which has absolutely nothing to do with beer or alcohol at all) and I am liking it. After dinner the whole family gathers for a cards game. Just when the game is started we get a call and head out to a traffic accident involving 3 cars. Somehow it turned into a fight. Bottom line is that a 6 year old girl got hurt and needs medical assistance. Her hand is hurt a little and she is scared much, but she is ok.
Gregg regrets the fact we have not seen any flames today but he and the crew make it up by creating a fire in the back yard of the station. Sitting around the fire with the guys I am enjoying my last few hours as an American firefighter. 16 long days with frequently interrupted and short nights have made me tired. Exhausted might be a better word. Nevertheless I am happy and satisfied. Tonight I will sleep, no matter what happens. Tonight I am not leaving my bed for anything! '....Engine 7, Engine 98, Engine 298, Truck 98: Structure fire, Structure fire!' ...alright, I am leaving my bed for almost anything :-). The fire is in a single level family residence. Some black smoke is curling across the ceiling out the door. Two guys run inside and exit the house a few seconds later with the scared, elderly couple that live in the house. At least they are safe. Gregg sees me looking at Steve H. who is climbing the ladder up to the roof. He tells me to follow him. We prepare to cut the roof but the crew inside has already found and extinguished the seat of the fire, no roof cutting tonight! We go down from the roof again and enter the house to see the damage inside. A good final call of these 16 beautiful days!
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