Trial By Fire

For those of you that don’t know, my house burned down last month due to my neighbor leaving a battery charger attached to an old junker car overnight and it woke the dragon at 7:00am Friday the 21st of August.  It was a horrific experience for Katy and I to stand helpless and watch as our family’s  treasures, collected over a lifetime, were reduced to ashes in a matter of minutes. 

But as my friends know, I am generally a glass is half full kind of guy, unless I’m in at the bar then the opposite is true. I digress.  As a volunteer fire fighter and someone who has worked closely with rescue teams, fire departments, and fire brigades for almost 20 years,  I have a pretty good understanding of the roles and responsibilities within the fire service  and the jobs each member of a team performs.  I immediately recognized the elements of the incident command structure and got to see my local fire department up close and personal that day …  What I was not ready for was the powerful effect that fire fighters can have on victims.  As an old cynic, I thought there was nothing that could make me feel better, but I witnessed first  hand real compassion, understanding and genuine caring that came from the guys working our fire.  My daughter had a collection of stones from our time living in the UK , she sheepishly asked one of the guys if  they could have a look for the box when they were up in the back of the house doing overhaul.  About 20 minutes later, she got a tap on the shoulder and turned around to see a fire fighter holding her burned up box.  That small act had a massive impact and gave us the lift we needed and something to smile about during our family’s darkest hour.  To my brothers and sisters in the fire service, your strength, dedication and compassion does not go unnoticed.   I think my mom said it best when she said “the strongest steel must come through the fire” to those of you that live in the fire,  thanks! 


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