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Hope He’s Had His Shots!

Episode #11

 

“Sid; what the hell is going on? We gotta get done so they can get water on this fire or we’re gonna lose her. Sid? Sid! Goddammit, Sid, Jake thought out loud.

 

As he turned the corner to get back out the door, Jake ran head long into Sid. It scared the s*** out of him!

 

Sid was cradling a lifeless form in his arms. His SCBA alarm bell was still going off and they headed for the stairs. They hit every other step on their way down. As they got to the bottom, the hose team of Jimmy Mac and Vinnie came charging in. The water from the nozzle came in a gush!

 

Jake turned around at the front door to watch his crew take the battle to their fiery beast. It won’t know what hit her Jake thought to himself.

 

Sid was outside, had thrown off his mask and was kneeling over his victim. The rescue crew was there with their trauma kit, showing genuine concern for the Golden Retriever that Sid had rescued from the upstairs bedroom! They had a pediatric mask on the canine and the dog was starting to breathe on its own. He was getting a little testy when Jake came up to them. The dog took one look at Jake, who still had his SCBA mask on and lunged at him.

 

“Whoa, whoa; stop actin’ like my ex, you bastard”, says Jake.

 

“Looks a little like her, eh Jake?” says Sid.

 

“Naw; he’s better lookin’ and has a sweeter temperament”, cracks Jake.

 

“I’m gonna check on Jimmy and Vinnie”, says Jake. “I need to talk to you when I come out”, Jake says to Sid.

 

“Me and the dog are gonna grab some water”, says Sid.

 

Jake is going into the house. The crew from Ladder 15 is watching the fire through the garage door, watching Jimmy and Vinnie knockin’ the piss out of the fire. They have their Denver tools ready to start pulling ceiling. Though they preferred shootin’ water, they weren’t about to push fire back onto the interior crew. This fire wasn’t going anywhere, except OUT!

 

Father Tim had arrived in the “Bible bus”, got out and said, “Hey; I brought the marshmallows. Where’s the fire?”

 

Davey yells at Rev, “Hey, Tim; they got a victim over at Rehab. Better get over there, stat!”

 

Rev says, “I’ll just go grab the Good Book”.

 

“No time”, says Davey Boy.

 

Rev thought the worst and double-timed it to Rehab.

 

Sid was there, sharing his water with the canine when Father Tim came over, obviously looking for a critical victim.

 

“I was told that I was needed here”, says Rev.

 

“Uh, OK. Can you hang on to the dog, so I can get back into the action? Maybe give him a marshmallow or something”, says Sid.

 

“Sure; what’s his name?” asked Rev.

 

“Rev; he didn’t tell me”, chides Sid.

 

“Well; that was rather stupid, wasn’t it, fella?” Rev says to the dog.

 

“Interior command to BC Tucker”, Jake says into his radio.

 

“BC. Go!” says Davey Boy.

 

“This one’s in the books; we can get out the mops”, says Jake.

 

“10-4; mop up!” says Davey.

 

Once Jake was outside and headed for the Rehab area, he wanted to find out what had happened with Sid’s SCBA and radio. They had been having problems with the temperature sensors on that particular brand of SCBA and the radios had always been a problem when they got wet, but Sid didn’t have water at the time. Something else had gone wrong with the radio.

 

Jake saw Sid coming out of the garage and yelled for him to come over to Rehab.

 

“Be right there, Jake”, says Sid.

 

Jake took a pinch of Skoal and a drink of water.

 

Jimmy and Vinnie were all smiles…

 

 

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 copied or re-printed in any form.

Whazzup, Dawg?

Episode #12

 

One of the paradoxes of extinguishing a fire with water is in doing it and in the process, not using too much water, because it may wash potential evidence of the fire’s cause away with it! Applying too much water also weakens floors and ceilings and can become potential hazards during salvage, overhaul and investigation. But more importantly, it greatly complicates the tasks of the fire investigator. Leaving as much of the structure intact after the fire is not only somewhat consoling for the property owner and his insurance agent, but it earns the praise and gratitude of fire investigators everywhere!

 

Lieutenant Stuart Steven (Stew) Monihan has been the department’s investigator for 15 years. He is another of the transplanted Buckeyes. For some inexplicable reason, Grandview is flush with Ohio natives.

 

Stew became interested in the fire service back in the early 70s when his local volunteer fire department built their fire station near his parent’s house. Stew hung out at the fire station and it wasn’t long before he started going on calls. He worked up through the ranks and at the ripe old age of 23 became chief. In 1986, Stew had to leave that department to concentrate on his full time career. He joined Grandview in 1989.

 

Over the years, Stew has seen some monumental fires and had some memorable investigations. There are those fires that have since been forgotten, fires that he can’t forget, but wishes he could and fires that should serve as lessons to the entire national fire service. Stew has seen them all.

 

Stew remembers the fire that got him interested in investigation. His old department responded to a call and as soon as he got there, he could smell the diesel and gasoline before he entered the building. It was clearly intentionally set and Stew went in ahead of the hose crews to search and to clear obstacles that had been set by the arsonists. In his own words, here is what happens next: “Like an idiot, I stood up, took about three steps and went right through the floor and into the burning basement. Most of the fire was where the diesel fuel and gasoline mix had run through the floor. The h*** had been cut to injure or kill a firefighter…and ‘he’ was ‘me’ in this case. Under the h*** were four metal chairs turned up on a table top like punji sticks. I wasn’t even aware that my leg had been impaled until I tried to get up and couldn’t. The chair leg had entered MY leg at the ankle and was buried to the hilt in my leg. Believe me; it can be pretty lonely when you aren’t sure if anyone even knows what happened to you and the basement where you ended up has a fair amount of fire in it! It’s even worse when you know that there were flammable liquids used and you aren’t sure what else has to ignite. The topper is knowing that you can’t drag your own a** out, ‘cause you aren’t sure if you’re gonna pass out from blood loss or not. A half-assed investigation resulted in no arrests. It kinda gave me an attitude about these idiots (arsonists)”.

 

There are fires that Stew has investigated where there was a certain smell/odor that, when he smells it now, it can bring the memories flooding back in a wave of emotion and adrenaline. He can wake himself up without too much effort when his subconscious says hey; you haven’t thought about that triple fatal in a while. Can you still smell the burnt bodies? Can you still see what was left of their faces and the hopelessness that you saw in them? Fire is a hater. A bullet will kill you and kill you quick, but fire will torture you; make you suffer to the point where you scream so much from the excruciating pain that you lose your voice. You believe that you are screaming, but no one is hearing you. How hopeless is that? Well; you should try to get back to sleep.

 

Stew’s partner was just a youngun when he got him. He has been instrumental in getting some important arrests in a couple of high profile cases. Had it not been for Shotgun’s extremely sensitive nose, Stew knows that the cases might not have gotten a good look. Stew got Shotgun when he was just a Black Lab puppy in 2000. Shotgun has seen extensive training in accelerants recognition. He has received numerous citations from the state fire marshal’s office and his reputation is as one of the best arson canines in the country. He lives with Stew.

 

Stew has done everything from rock climbing to racing motocross to burn off excess adrenaline. In addition to his excellent fire investigation skills, he also teaches it, along with firefighting, HazMat and terrorism response at the fire academy. He has been married a couple of times, has a couple of his own children, along with his stepdaughters now. They are the reason that he wound up in Grandview.

 

Stew was tired of fighting with his city council over the fire department’s budget, manpower reductions and aging equipment, so after 10 years there, he decided that it was time to reduce his stress level. His kids were graduating high school and he had always been impressed with East Coast colleges-Ohio State University being the exception to that-that he thought, what the hell; let’s ALL go out to the East Coast! So; it was off to Grandview for the whole Monihan family.

 

And today, Stew is standing in front of the house at 1542 South Division Street waiting to get to his business of finding the origin and cause, but he starts thinking about that damned mall fire again. It is a fire that has been included as a case study in the recent books on arson investigation. The dollar loss on this particular fire was $68 million. That’s 68 with six zeroes! It consumed 9 months and 2000 hours of Stew’s time to solve it. It almost cost him his career and his family.

 

Shotgun wants to go into the house, but Stew is thinking about that damned mall fire again…

 

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 copied or re-printed in any form.

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