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Kelly Jacobson; I Drive With My Lights On For Safety - Episode #5


As the tones sounded for a structural fire at 1542 S. Division Street, Chief Harold (Diesel) Forrester came out into the hallway to see who was yelling.

Vinnie was standing outside of Jake’s office yelling, “What’ll I do; what’ll I do?”


Jake snapped back, “Grab your gear and catch a ride, dumb ass”.


Vinnie pivots and runs into Jimmy Mac again!


“Dammit, kid”, was all Jimmy could get out before Vinnie bolted by him.


Chief Forrester yelled to Jake, “Jake; remember that Cappaletti is the FNG!”


Jake shot over his shoulder, “Yeah; FNG!”


Vinnie was running through the station like a monkey on fire, thinking that he would be the first one in the rig. When he got in, his spirit and his mouth dropped. Sitting comfortably in their places were FAE Kelly (KJ) Jacobson behind the steering wheel, Jake in the captain’s seat, Jimmy Mac in the seat behind KJ and now Vinnie. As Vinnie was gasping for air, Jake asked him, “What; you stop off to take a piss or something?” KJ let out a howl, revved the engine, gave the air horn cord a tug and eased the engine out through the bay door.


Vinnie’s got his first fire as a member of the Grandview Fire Department!


Kelly (KJ) Jacobson is a 43-year-old veteran of the fire department. He took the scenic route from Phelpsburg, Maryland. Phelpsburg was a poster child for “Small Town, USA”. It was home to a small college, but most of the townsfolk worked in one of the four factories. Everybody knew each other. The town was proud of its high school football and basketball teams; perennial powerhouses. Summer little league baseball was huge and a team made it to the Little League World Series in 1972.


KJ was of Irish/German descent. Though discipline was a priority, so was having a good time. His father was an ARFF firefighter in the Marines, but never had the time for the local volunteer fire department. If he couldn’t give something his total commitment, he wouldn’t do it. He dedicated himself to teaching at the high school. Though KJ had but one older sister, he had several cousins. He grew up Catholic while his mom helped to re-model their house that was built in the late 1800s.


After graduating high school in the top 10, KJ grabbed a scholarship for college, graduated from there with honors and was immediately unemployed! Recessions will do that.


In the meantime, he hooked up with the local ambulance and waited for an opening on the fire department; his engineering degree hanging on the wall; his career hanging in the balance!


After falling in love and then falling out of love, KJ got an engineering job with the state highway administration, but that ended quicker than the oil embargo. Out of money and out of options, he moved to the big city and moved in with his sister to make ends meet until his next career opportunity came along. He joined a volunteer fire company in 1983, earning his FFI and FFII certs. He also managed to complete EMT training and cardiac rescue. Things were looking up for KJ! Work was going great and down time could find him playing softball, drinking an occasional brewski and listening to others relate the details of their failed love lives.


KJ decided that it was time to get his own digs, figured out that he had hit the ceiling where he worked, met the love of his life while playing in a recreational volleyball league and was burning the candle at both ends. It was time for a break.


He was working for an engineering firm when an old fire buddy of his came into his office for an annual inspection. They got to talking about the old days and the next thing KJ knew, he was applying for the Grandview Fire Department. He was hired on the spot, because of his extensive background in FFI, FFII, Technical Rescue, Structural Collapse and HazMat. If that wasn’t enough, KJ got married and soon had a daughter, Karin and a son, John. Though KJ was more than qualified to perform the daily firefighter functions, he preferred teaching and mentoring the young firefighters and driving the rigs. But KJ wasn’t above putting on his gear, throwing on an air pack and mixing it up with the fiery demon, either!


KJ took great pride in making the leap from volunteer to career. He wanted to be the example to others and would help them in any way he could.


As KJ turned the corner from Washington Avenue onto South Division Street, he could smell the smoke that was in the air. His adrenaline started to boil! This is going to be a GOOD one!


“Going to hook the hydrant?” he asked Jake.


“Naw; next due’s got it”, came Jake’s reply. “We’ll go off tank water; help is on the way”.


Things were about to get interesting…


The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© is a fictional literary work. It is protected by federal copyright. The article is published under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella and is the intellectual property of Art Goodrich a.k.a. ChiefReason. It cannot be re-printed in any form.


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