Kelly rolled his eyes ruefully so the boy could|
see him in the flashlight. "Aren't we all? Must've
eaten a pound of mud crawling around in here."
"I ate two pounds.." Marco croaked from where
sat propped up in the darkness.
Chris laughed and winced when his father's laugh
jammed knee. Then the sodden boy
said. "Hey.. Before the mud slid on top of us,
I only remember
my left leg being held. Why
does my right knee feel heavy?"
Kelly aimed the flashlight under
the seat beyond
Chris muddy jeans and a few seconds later, dragged
out the handy talkie. "Will
miracles never cease.
Detello, you keep right on complaining ,...cause it
makes whoever you got
looking after ya work that
"I don't like to press my luck." the big man
"Especially with that.."
Gage and Roy both made a grab for the
talkie after Chet got most of
the mud off of
its controls but Detello was faster than
both of them.
He snatched the
HT to his mouth. "Engine
51 this is Triage Ten, over.."
The HT came alive in excited voice.
##That you Detello? Hang on, we're
calling a cutting crew in right now. Cover
your victims against
Captain Stanley said. ##We start dismantling
in two minutes.##
grinned. "Standing by. We're all
a bit slimy, but ok. Marco took in some mud
but he's stable with
only minor complications.
And get a doctor on the phone. We've just one
survivor in need of an
##Understood. I'll have Stoker raise Rampart.
Engine 51, out.##
Outside the crushed bus, Cap didn't even wait
for the bulldozer to leave the area before he waved
his men in with the extrication equipment.
"Ok, Move it in there.. Easy. That top chassis's
to be weak from the mudslide, so go
slow. Cut three quarters around only, we'll peel
it back and
get them out through the roof.
I'm afraid opening the emergency hatch now will
only collapse the
rest of the bus on top of them."
The men working at Cap's side nodded.
Cap shouted. "Ok..
cutting now..!!" he shouted.
Inside, all five
firemen and Roy's son winced
when the bright fountain of tangerine sparks
from a roaring K-12
bit through the steel shell
of the bus above them. They winced when real
sunlight sent shafts
of brilliant daylight into their
"Oh, man.. Now I know how miners feel when
been in a cave in and we dig them out."
Roy covered Chris's face and his
his own helmet as the firemen outside cut
a hole into the bus. "It's a sight better than
watching that flashlight die out, don't you
Detello flicked the coat over Marco's
and mask and hunched down himself after
coating his own shoulders with wet mud to
his shirt from catching fire. "A whole LOT
better." he admonished Kelly.
His voice was a little
strained from his
eagerness to win freedom for his companions.
He began fussing with the cutaway
before the man above was finished excising
the flap. He had it accordianed out of
way in seconds. "All right, give me the K-12
on the double. I've a trapped medic and boy
Cap peered into the hole from where|
he knelt on top of the bus. "They hurt bad?"
in the bright swath of sunlight
that shafted down onto his face. He peeked
around a protective
arm as he spoke before
Detello did. "Nah, Cap." Roy said from
where he lay in the ooze. "We're
just leg pinned.
Got that authorization from Rampart yet?"
Stoker said. "Here.. Morton wants
to talk to
you.." and he lowered the phone receiver dangling
on its cord down to Roy so the biophone
would stay in the open air so it wouldn't lose
telemetry with the doctor's base station.
Morton was succinct and to the point.
"DeSoto. Start a large bore normal saline,
500 CC's and
run wide open. Give me
a vitals set when you can on the child. How's
Marco? Stoker couldn't tell
Roy glanced over at Marco and Gage, who
was hovering over him, and said. "He was
submersed underneath the mud for about
two minutes. He was out until we got
some of the sludge
out of his throat and
got him on simple masked 02. He's only
a little groggy."
His shivering's stopped."
"And mildly hypothermic Rampart.." Roy
"10-4, 51. Continue both victims on 02
and immobilize the child as a precaution
when you get
him out of there. That
bleeder may indicate fractures we don't know
about in that effected leg."
Morton told Roy.
"Understood. Large bore NS, wide. O2 and
treat for shock. Long board immobilization
Morton at the base station, frowned.
"51, Could you repeat that? Did you say
a victim's name at that last part?"
Gage took the phone from Roy when
DeSoto tried to reach
for the IV box.
Kelly took the kit quickly out of his hands
Chet admonished him. "Now
know Johnny's gotta be the one to
directly treat your son. Fire department
Just lie back and don't move while
Detello makes that last slice by your leg
with the saw...."
Gage said. "Uh,10-4, Rampart. He did.
Chris, the boy, is Roy's son..."
Nurse McCall, having just walked into the
glass cubicle, gasped at that last admission.
Dixie exclaimed, She gripped
Dr. Morton's shoulder.
Morton shushed her with a motion as he
to what Gage confirmed. He covered the receiver
with a palm and sighed. "Oh, boy. How
did DeSoto get inside that bus anyway. I thought
firefighters weren't allowed to treat
as a standard working policy.."
"They're not.." Dixie said. "Maybe their circumstances
left them no choice in the matter.." Her curiosity got
the better of herself and she asked. "What
vitals signs? His trauma bad?"
Morton answered. "Don't know. They're still
both him, Roy and Marco, a fellow
engine crew man, who almost drown.
It's a school bus in a mudslide.."
Dixie winced in sympathy and bit her lip.
"Roy must be frantic with worry being with
"Gage won't let him get into any medical hot|
water and something tells me that their captain
let him do that either.." Morton said.
He lifted his hand off the receiver in a quick
me in route of any consciousness
level changes and I want a set of vitals on Marco
and Chris the
moment they're en route.."
"10-4, doc.." Gage said and he waved to Stoker
to hand over hand
the phone cord back up again
out of sight through the hole. "Thanks Stoker..
Hand down the first
stokes. We'll get Marco outta
"I don't need a stretcher, Gage, I can--"
and enjoy the ride, Lopez. And that's
an order." Cap interrupted. "You're a victim until
clears you, is that understood?"
"Perfectly.." Lopez sighed, then he coughed when
mud from his sinuses tried to trickle
back into his throat. He lifted his mask off only long
to spit the grit aside and out of his mouth.
It wasn't long before Gage and Detello had Lopez
bundled up in yellow plastic insulating sheets and
had him ready to be hoisted out of the bus.
face showed his uneagerness to be
stretchered out, but he cooperated. He snuck in a move
his own 02 tubing so Chris wouldn't lose
his 02 bottle.
Gage did a double take at that, frowning,
but he saw
Stoker immediately compensate for his respiratory care
once they had Marco level with
the portable 02 from
the engine. Lopez did him one better by strapping
the mask to his own face
so Mike was freed up
to help get Roy and his son out.
Cap had the rest of Station Ten carry
Marco out of
the deep, treacherous mud slide to a wheeled
ambulance gurney already waiting for
him on the firm
highway beyond. He crouched by Marco's side as
the Mayfair attendants covered him
up snugly in
the beige blankets. "'Don't need a lift out', he says."
Cap muttered. "You're colder
than an ice cube there
Marco didn't deign to reply as the head of the stretcher
raised to make him more comfortable. "It's just
from the wet, Cap. I'm not injured."
I'll believe that once Gage gets a look at ya
to be sure. Hang tight." And he ruffled Marco's caked
hair with a glove.
Captain Stanley returned to the bus just as Roy's
boy was lifted out, complete
with the IV Gage
had begun. He could see a red sodden stain through
the sheeting on the boy's left
thigh and he saw
Detello start to take the boy's shoe off to check
for a foot pulse.
I've got a good one here. He's ok to move."
He watched the boy get lowered onto
the next gurney
wheeled over to them before he reached down
to grab and haul both Kelly and Gage
out of the
bus with both hands at the same time.
Cap's eyebrows lifted in amazement at that.
a Sampson type." he said softly.
Chet hopped down, eyes tearing from the bright sun.
Atlas earlier Cap. Kept the roof from caving in on
us until you guys manage to shovel the worst of
off the bus.." He padded off with his shoes slurping liquidly
but he turned, adding.
"But really he's
a real bonafide Angel.."
It was Cap's turn to frown in confusion.
he shouted after his departing mud covered
man. "Were you guys short on air in there or
But Chet was already out of earshot as
he asked Stoker to hose down his shoes and outer
When they were out, Detello subtly shook his
head to the other firemen surrounding
there were no other children still alive inside.
Gage took full advantage of Roy still waiting to be|
cut free to take a closer look at Chris. He kept
expression off his face when he saw the extent
of the laceration on the boy's thigh. He knew at
that it would require plastic surgery to fully
mend it after the deep gash was thoroughly
of mud and sand and allowed to drain
open for a few days.
But he smiled when the boy's
BP was only
slightly below normal. "There.. That's not
too bad." he grinned down at the boy,
the cannula's prongs into the right
place inside his nose. "Strong as all get out.
You're not even
"Dad made me rest a bit while we were in
there. I think I slept once."
"He sure did..." Roy said, jumping down
from the bus with the ground crew firemen's
One of them tossed DeSoto the IV box
afterwards. " For about half an hour there."
fussed with Chris's blankets until Johnny
slapped his hands away. "I got him, I got him,
you go check on Marco in the rig?
We'll meet you in there as soon as I relay
his vitals to Morton."
DeSoto reluctantly retreated.
Cap gave Gage a subtle thumbs up for
finding an excuse to
separate Roy from
Chris. But a further significant glint in Cap's
eye made Johnny say, "He's fine
Nothing major's been damaged here."
"That's means good news, son.." Cap said,
Chris on the shoulder.
"I know. I could tell because my leg didn't
squirt out at all when I
first did it, trying to
At the name, and another exchange of looks
Stoker, Cap learned the little girl hadn't
survived the trip to the hospital despite her
revival, so he had plenty of warning
time before Chris's next question.
blond boy asked.
Johnny said. "Let's concentrate on getting you
squared away first, ok? Does
your head hurt at
all? No?.... Just that knee.. ok.. now Cap
and I are going to immobilize that
leg in a splint
just to keep it from jostling around.. ok?"
was done, Chris, Johnny, the engine's
02 tank and the gear were all loaded up in the rig
with Marco and Roy.
Click the Resuscitator to go to Page Six :)