May be my longest post ever…sit down.. we'll see

First off, I need to say that my / our thoughts and prayers go out to several folks this week / today. We have had some family members of our brothers pass this week. 1st Lt. Riddle from down at “The Deuce” lost his brother this past week. I haven’t spoke with Brian since his passing but hope he knows he has been in my thoughts. Brian and I are old old friends going back as far as Roanoke EMS (pre-pre merger days). If you need anything at all Brian, don’t hesitate to call.. you know I’ll be there. One time B-shift “Melrose Misfit”, and then Captain of A-shift Hippie Hotel (here..station #3) to now A-shift Battalion Chief James Firebaugh lost his father this week. James is also a long time personal and family friend. A little like myself, James farms and runs an excavating company on his days off. I say a “little” like myself because James runs a pretty successful farm (mine seems to be more like his excavating company…digging a hole). James’ sister, her husband and children live across the street from my dad so I’ve gotten to hear plenty of stories about “uncle James” and their adventures. The funeral was today and we were not able to attend but I’m sure James knows he and his entire family are in our thoughts and prayers as well. Again James.. I’m just a phone call away.. ANYTHING.. hay field, feeding or just someone to talk to or that will listen. We also lost 2 vol. firefighters in Rocky Mount this evening. The engine apparently swerved to miss a vehicle while responding to a fire. The engine rolled multiple times, (at least twice) killing the only 2 members on board. I know the names but like others reporting will not release them until the family has been notified. Rhett has some coverage and links over at VA Fire News and STATTER has a report as well.. Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Rocky Mount Vol. Fire Department and all the friends and family of the 2 firefighters.
Ok, moving on… I made an early post last day busting a few balls of some folks up in Baltimore at the 2010 Firehouse Expo. I was calling it “Blog Camp” because Rhett was up there doing his “talking on the not REALLY radio” thing (firefighter Netcast) as well as covering the event for any one or all of this 1,000 Blogs / web sites. Well, it sounds like once again he’s brought shame and embarrassment to our company. He spent who knows how many days up there MOOCHING off poor old retired Dave Statter. He continuously harassed FireGeezer to the point that Bill was passing out his coffee mugs for free just to have someone else to talk too. I hear rumors of a couple bed wetting incidents and understand he was sent home early for eating the crayons at one of the arts and crafts exhibits. Several pictures were taken but many weren’t published because of the fact that the photographer / publisher thought that Rhett was actually an under age kid and didn’t have consent from his parents for publishing. Little did they know that Rhett has been in the fire service now for ohhhh… 100 years or so. He avoids “5 o’clock shadow” by waxing and keeps his boyish looking face by the application of daily protein masks. Here’s a shot from back in 1978 and it looks almost just like him today..

LOL.. he knows I’m just kidding and honestly it sounds like they had a BLAST. I understand (from all I’ve read) that the Expo was a huge success. Here’s a Paul Combs cartoon that kinda sums it up…

I even got a little extra coverage from the ball busting. Dave Statter sent me a PERSONAL e-mail AND.. AND took the time to not only read but comment on my little Blog here. The Fire Geezer also took the time to read and even allowed my site to grace his pages. Anyhow, it was fun fretting them up there from way down here and the little bit of back and forth we had. Who knows..maybe one day they’ll invite me to one of their little “Blog Club” meetings / get together.
I was gonna make a “regular” post later that evening but the honest answer is that we had a long day and I just wasn’t feeling “PERKY” enough. For a quick update though, we did catch a small job late that night / early the next morning. A small basement fire that Coon snuffed out rather quickly. No injuries, 5 people displaced and solid work by all companies on scene. Here are a few pics after the fact..

The Engine got ZERO…NILL…NOTTA.. sleep last day and the Medic took just as bad a beating. Today has been pretty busy as well. Ever heard firemen talking of one another and saying “I’d follow that guy to Hell with a garden hose”?..

There ya go..LIVING PROOF! That’s my little “Pee-Wee” out there “doing it”. He and Coon arrived first on the Gut Wagon and little Pee-Wee went to work. Coon is out of the frame (that’s photography talk..aint it Schmoe) because he’s establishing command and formulating his strategy to get to the “head” (brush fire talk..for all you non-County or Report on Conditions types). Just look at him (Pee-Wee).. notice how he positioned his body between the raging mulch fire and a civilian! Unselfish sacrifice! DOING IT.. all alone and with nothing but a garden hose. That’s my boy! LOL… So, we had that inferno then hauled a little lumber. Yea… hauled lumber. What else would we use that “almost a ladder” looking thingy atop our Engine for??

You see, out here in “never never land” we’re like step children or the younger brother. We get all the “hand me downs”. And, because they shut down stations #5 and #9, we were lucky enough to get one of their storage sheds. Now, A-shift (on the day Rhett was off to Blog Camp and I pulled the tour) prepped the site. Landscape timbers staked to the ground, fabric and hand spread gravel. B-shift helped “set” the building and get her leveled up. And today, we (C-shift) got the material and built a new ramp for her. Here are the boys at work… wood butchers!

Notice Coon in command again…LOL. We had to build a new ramp because the one that came with the building had a 6 inch lip. If our riding lawn mower worked, theres no way we could have drove it up onto the ramp and into the building.

Now, I know what you’re thinking but, DONT PANIC. Part of being a “Green” station means that we also recycle. So YES, I have a plan and NO the old ramp will not be wasted. I have given the boys a strict DIRECT ORDER to stop placing our gallon milk jugs in the recycle container. We will keep them aside and separate, then place them under the old ramp to be used as flotation devices. We will then move the unit out to our “retention pond” aka mosquito brothel.. and use it as a floating dock… BRILLIANT!! LMAO..we’ll be fishing and tanning by next cycle. All kidding aside, all 3 shifts have worked hard to get the (much needed) building in here and it does make a nice addition. Back to last day for a moment… we had several visitors but one we (I) haven’t seen in a while. Retired Battalion (the called “District”) Chief James Patton stopped in. I had the honor and privilege to drive Chief Patton for many years as a Private at Station #2A. The station assignment itself (considering the crew) was some of my most memorable years but without a doubt, driving Patton was one of the highlights of my career. We ran a lot of fire together.. both sides of the track. IMS was not used as it is today so whenever we got on scene, instead of needing my help with running a command board etc.. he’d just say to me.. “get in there and put the damn thing out”! Yea..yea.. today we’d call it “free lancing” but that’s just how it was done back then… right or wrong. I will say that by running all those fires and getting in with just about every company / officer on the shift, I learned a TON. I got my first “grab” with Chief Patton. We were first in on the Command car with reports for a man trapped in the basement. I was able to get in, find him and get him back to the door. There, (without a coat or mask) the Chief came in to help me get the victim out into the yard. He passed away the following day up at UVA burn center but you never forget em. Anyway, Chief stayed a while, spun a few old tales and really seemed to enjoy the visit. I miss him and those days still…. here we are.

Jumping back to today and our lumber hauling. While out shopping we ran into several of our brothers. I posted the other day about Ladder 5 and their new lettering “War Pipe“. I mentioned that the Engine had “War Wagon” (the name I’ve called her since our days back at #9 as Melrose Misfits) but didn’t post a pic. Well, today I got the shot. Here’s one of the “War Wagon” (now E5) and another of Todd “Boots” Harris giving us the “what for” from “Lucky 13”.

Ok, I’m gonna try to wind it down here and save a little for next day. I need to try and get a little rest tonight before another long day in the fields tomorrow. And speaking of the farm.. YES.. I am getting the comments on the “farm hands” and no I’m not gonna post em ..LOL I’ve already told ya that you’re all SICK. I’m appauled at what some of you have said / implied. I will say that I’ve found somewhat of another advantage to having the gals on the crew. Now, every Tom, Dick and Hary volunteer to work for me. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they are nowhere near as easy to look at. Check out these two bums that came out on Friday..

See?? All they asked all morning is “when are the farm hands getting here”? LOL.. For those who don’t follow regular or know, those two “jack legs” are Opie and Brandon Sheppard (from Roanoke County). All kidding aside, these two are TOP NOTCH hands on the farm. They can handle any of and all the equipment regaurdless of the attachment and I don’t have to worry about em. Neither has busted a window yet..knock on wood. Thanks for the help guys.. you were life savers!
Ok, that’s enough and way too much for tonight. We are back on Wednesday, until then stay safe and in house… I hope we do.
Captain Wines