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The Quint Connection
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The Story Unfolds...

Season Six, Episode Forty Three..

§§    The Quint Connection    §§

Debut Launch: March 1st, 2007.

From: "Robert Gutheim" <>
Date: Fri Mar 2, 2007 11:20 am
Subject: Musical Captains  

It was a nice early morning at Station 51 about forty five minutes
before A-shift went on duty. Firefighter Chet Kelly was already in the
bunkroom trying to fill a balloon up with water.

"Ahem," he heard as if someone was trying to clear their throat.

Kelly tried not to startle.
"Captain Robertson, What brings you here?" Chet asked him as
he spied the man whom in his head, he considered to be one
of the last, great smoke eaters.

"I was asked, Mr. Kelly, to fill in for the regular captain on C-shift.
Don't worry. I'm not working a double with you boys. At least,
not today." Then he rubbed his nose, his wrinkles curling up in
half amusement that came out all gruff. "You aren't thinking of
pulling a prank on a fellow firefighter here are you?" he asked him.
"It's still my watch."

"Of course not, Captain Robertson. I was just running a pressure test
on the faucet, you know, timing how long it takes to fill a balloon to
a certain size." Chet lied. "It's a hydrologics problem for Engineer
Stoker to solve in preparation for his upcoming recertification test.."

The tall silver haired captain's eyes narrowed.
"I can assure you, Mr. Kelly, that the faucet's pressure is more than
adequate. You better hope I don't tell Captain Stanley about your
alleged pressure tests if you want to keep from landing latrine
duty." Robertson told him.

"Oh no, sir, please don't. I just wanted to make Gage feel welcome.
After all, today is his first day back from his most recent stay at Rampart."
Chet said.

"Then maybe, Mr. Kelly, you should have baked a cake." Robertson said,
shoving his hands into his pockets as he saundered out of the bathroom.

"Nah, Roy is bringing the cake." Chet told him. "Thank you, sir."

After Robertson left the room, Chet finished what he was doing and
headed off.  

Soon, over time, the other members of Chet's crew arrived and
changed into their uniforms. After a bit, Chet grinned as he heard
someone scurrying for a certain part of the locker room from
the main vehicle garage, and soon  after that came... *SPLASH!*


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"Ahhhhhh. Sounds like Gage is here." sighed Captain Stone who
was subbing for Captain Stanley for the day.

He walked over and leaned into the locker room doorway.
"Gage! You've got five minutes to get into uniform before roll call!"
He shouted, filling the apparatus bay with his gentle sounding, booming

Soon after that, everyone gathered in the garage.

"Morning, gang." greeted Stone shortly. He cracked a grin at the sight of
Johnny's still towelling off his wet hair. "Captain Stanley had to take
the day off... Uh,..something about needing a little extra time to
prepare for a ski trip." Ben informed them. "Okay, chore duties....
Gage, after you and DeSoto finish checking the squad, you're in charge
of the detailing the bunkroom and locker areas. Stoker has cooking duty...
Lopez you've got the hose tower. Say, Chet, guess what? You can help
Lopez with the hose tower and then you can get cracking on the Latrine.
Captain Robinson asked me to made sure to have me give you that job."

Gage started clapping in appreciation. "Thanks, Ben. He deserves it."

"Aw, man.." Chet moaned.  "I can't even get a break from the latrine
when Captain Stanley isn't here."

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Roy and Johnny got to work inventorying the drug, trauma, I.V.,
and splint boxes as well as making sure the biophone and
defibrillator were charged up and functional. They also checked to see
that the respirators were sufficiently full.

"We might want to change out this bottle after our next run. It's
only got about 800 psi left in it." Gage noted looking at the main
respirator's D tank.

"That's not a lot of gas left, since lot of times, we have it going at
15 to 20 liters per minute.. I'll swap it out." Roy volunteered, going to
get a new cylinder.. When that job was completed, Roy glanced
into the office where Captain Stone was looking at some paperwork.
"Cap, Gage and I are going to make a supply run." he advised him.

"Ok, Roy. Just remember you and Gage have chores to do when you
return." Stone said.

DeSoto nodded. Then he started smiling when Stone began chuckling.
"What's so funny?"

Ben took off his white inspection cap and rubbed his tightly curled
hair. "I sure hope Gage doesn't get injured today." laughed the
African American captain.

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Roy shrugged, his easy mood still glowing on his face.
"So do I. Tomorrow afternoon, after we get off duty, we're heading
for Lake Tahoe." Roy told him.

"Wow, who's all going?" Stone asked him.

"Oh, just the usual six of us, plus Brackett, and Dixie." Roy told him.
"Wanna come?"

"No.." he said empathetically. "Have fun. I hate the snow." Ben said,
making a face.

"I'll tell ya all about it."
Roy drummed a happy beat on the door frame as he turned away
and got into the squad behind the driver's wheel.

"L.A, Squad 51. We're 10-8 to Rampart General." Gage called out
using the hand mic.

##Squad 51. Time out : 07: 04. ## echoed Sam's familiar voice
throughout the station's overhead and over their dash speakers.


A short trip later, they backed into the Emergency area away from
the patient unloading lanes. Leaving their helmets in the truck, they
wandered in and over to the reception's desk with an empty kerlix

"Hey guys," Dixie greeted them. "You ready for tomorrow?"

"Just about, Dixie. I just have to get through this shift..." Johnny
replied. "...and I'm home free. We're just here for a few supplies."

"How is it being back at work?" Dixie asked him, remembering
his double overnight stay due to smoke inhalation.

"Well, I got greeted by a water balloon courtesy of The Phantom."
Gage replied. "So I guess I'm feeling properly christened." he
joked, still a little hoarse.

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"Hopefully Chet will lay off during the ski trip." Dixie said.

"I'm sure Cap will do his best to keep Chet in line while
we're all out there." Roy said.

The H.T.  beeped.
##Squad 51, stand by for a response.## came the dispatcher's
voice over the open channel handy talkie.

"Well, we'd better get going." Roy said as they were dispatched
to a house fire. Its address flowed out richly.

Dixie waved a bored hand.
"Have fun, you two. But I promise you we'll have even more of
the real stuff starting tomorrow." McCall called out after them.
"I'll have your order filled by the time you get back here with a
patient. That's if you get one who's not wearing a county jacket."
she corrected,  partially as a hint warning Johnny to be careful.

"We'll come anyway.." Gage promised. "And yeah, I'll be careful.
I've coughed enough over the two days to last a lifetime.." he
told her, chuckling. "I can hardly wait to start breathing in
all that fresh, crisp mountain air."

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From: "Robert Gutheim" <>
Date: Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:25 pm
Subject: House Fire  
They arrived at the scene of a two story house that had smoke pouring
out of the downstairs. The house itself looked abandoned.  By this
time, Engine 51 and Truck 116 were already on hand.

Roy and Johnny walked over to Captain Stone.

"What have we got Cap?" Roy asked him.

"The house is supposedly vacant. The owners are out of town and have
been for a few months. Apparently they summer up north somewhere
according to the neighbors.." he said pointing to a man he had just
spoken to moments before. "Chet and Marco are doing a search
make sure no vagrants moved in while the owners were away." Captain
Stone reported.

Right then Chet and Marco jogged over and set down a couple of
victims from where they had been perched on top of their air bottles
across their backs. The first was a male around age thirty five who
was unconscious. The second was a little girl around five or six who
wasn't moving either.

Roy and Johnny got to work, each taking a victim's head.
"Get out both O2 apparatuses, Mike. They're in trouble."
said DeSoto, seeing their bluish color.

"You got it." said Stoker, hurrying first to the squad and then
the engine.

Vince, directing traffic, walked over.
"What did you find out, guys?" he asked the firefighters.

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"Apparently, these people tried to move in as supposed renters
while the owners were away. According to the neighbors, nobody is
supposed to be living in that house." Stone reported. "Excuse me,
I'm needed." he told the officer.

"Sure, no problem. I'll get the rest later." said Vince.

Stone knelt to help Johnny, still being a paramedic himself.  He
nodded at Marco to ventilate Gage's man with a demand valve and he
wrote down the vitals Gage called out. Then he handed Johnny's note
pad to Roy and soon, he patched the sooty adult into the Tetronix
and used the defib paddles to view the girl's rate and rhythm on
the Datascope. "Chet, is she clear enough for you?" Ben asked Kelly,
who was supporting the child's weak inhalations on an oxygenated bag
while Stoker kept her head in a careful, neutral line.

"Yeah. She's still ok." replied Kelly. "This is working. Her color's returning."

"Rampart, this is Squad 51..." Roy called in.

##Go ahead, 51. This is Rampart Base.## Dixie replied.

"Rampart, we have two victims of a house fire. Victim One is a male age
around thirty five. We are presently administering 15 liters of 02. Vitals are:  
BP, 80 over 50. Respirations were eight unassisted. His pulse is
142 and weak but regular. He is patched in and we can send you a strip.
Victim Two is a female child approximately five years of age.  Vitals
signs : Pulse is 124. respirations unaided were at six. BP is reading at 68
over 20. Her rhythm's showing on paddles as an uncomplicated sinus

##10-4, 51. Transmit both their EKGs as soon as you can.##

At Rampart,  Dr. Early was just walking over.

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"What have you got, Dix?" he asked her. Dixie handed him the run
sheet.  He looked it over quickly and keyed the mic.

##51, are both your victims cold and clammy?## Early asked.

"Affirmative, Rampart. Still pale, too, despite the O2." Roy replied.

##Ok, send me a strip on Victim One first. As soon as you've patched in
Victim Two, follow up with hers.  For Victim Two, insert a peds endotrach tube
and step up her oxygen to prevent incidental P.E.. For both victims, start
a couple of I.V.'s of normal saline, wide open. Treat any visible burns, 51.
For Victim  One, administer 1.0 mgs 1/10,000 epinephrine I.V. push.
Give Victim Two .3 mgs of eppy in a 1/1000 I.V. bolus.## Early ordered.
##Let me know if Victim One begins to show that he needs further airway
support past your oropharyngeal. I'll authorize something else.##

Roy quickly acknowledged his orders and began working on the little girl.

Gage meanwhile searched for more on the man. He had a couple minor
smoking burns which Stoker quickly snuffed out and irrigated using sterile
draping sheets and saline bottles. "Stoker, would you say he's a seven
on the rule of nines?"

"Easily.." replied the engineer. "Both legs, neck, this arm, and along the
left side of his lateral back. That arm's circumferential."

"O.k. Go ahead and wrap that one. Loosely. And tell me what you get
for capillary refill."

Stoker checked, pinching a fingernail. "Over two seconds."

Gage nodded. "That's just shock working. The burn itself is only second degree
there." he said, pointing. Then Johnny turned his attention to the child. She
was surprisingly unscathed and her only problem seemed to be her
trouble breathing from her recent smoke exposure.

Roy picked up the phone after tossing down a failed I.V. set.
"Rampart, I'm having trouble getting the IV in on Victim Two. Requesting
permission for an ET administration?"

## Approved, 51. Double concentration on that epinephrine with a 10cc
saline bolus. Any presence of rhonchi or rales in either patient?## Early asked

"Stand by Rampart," Roy replied. "Johnny, any rhonchi or rales on your

"No, there isn't." Gage replied. "He sounds open." Johnny answered, pulling
the stethoscope out of his ears.

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Roy nodded.
"Rampart, negative on both victims for rhonchi or rales. And there's
no evidence of any burns, ash or soot around their mouths and noses."

##Ok, 51. Continue all treatments and transport as soon as possible.
Keep us advised of any change in their conditions.## Early ordered.

"10-4." Desoto replied.

Within five minutes, the fire crews were loading their patients into the
ambulance. Roy and Johnny both rode in the ambulance together
to keep up resuscitation efforts so Marco was elected to drive the
squad in.


Dixie was waiting with their earlier supplies that she pulled out
after she saw the gurneys taken into their assigned treatment rooms.
A few minutes later, Roy and Johnny joined her at the desk.

"I added in anything you used on this last rescue." Dixie said. "How are
they both doing?" she asked softly.

"The father started breathing on his own on the way in. The girl is
still out of it. Early just put her on a respirator." Roy reported. "I hope she
makes it."

"If she doesn't,.. well, you did your best, Roy." Dixie reminded him. "Much
as we try we can't win them all."

"I know. But when you think about it, it's our job to save as many as
possible. Both mine and Johnny's as paramedics, and yours as a nurse."
Roy commented.

"We can only do the best we can."
She soon changed the subject with a deft smile after she poured them all
some coffee into waiting mugs. "Has Chet made any wise cracks about
Kel and I coming along on the ski trip just in case Johnny gets injured?"
she asked winking one eye suggestively.

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Roy smirked at her. "When he found out you and Brackett were tagging along,
that was the first thing he joked about. Thankfully, Gage wasn't in that day." Roy
replied, throwing his partner an ironic look that spoke volumes.

Johnny scoffed when he learned what had happened behind his back.
"If I'd been working, I would have given new meaning to the phrase 'if looks
could kill.'" Gage pointed out, sipping his coffee.

"Not to worry, Johnny. Cap gave him one that I think would have completely
qualified on that count." Marco said.

Very soon, they returned to the station and got back to work on their chores.

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From: "killashandrarey01" <>
Date: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:50 pm
Subject: The Value Of A Play On Words~~

Johnny actually started whistling while he mopped. A nameless tune,
but one full of obvious contentment.

Roy began grinning up where he was polishing the chrome roof rails on top
of the squad's chassis. He chuckled. "I never thought I'd see ever the day
a bucket of ice cold soapy water had the power to put a bonafide smile
onto your face."

"That's not such a surprising secret to anyone around here tonight, now is it?"
Johnny beamed widely, leaning on the mop handle. He studied his watch. "In
exactly ten hours hours, nineteen minutes and.." he squinted, peering
at his water spotted watch face. "..forty two seconds, we'll all be plane
bound for Eastern Lake Tahoe for a long weekend of fun in the...."

"Snow, not sun." Roy interrupted, making a face. "You know, I still can't
believe I let the the rest of you guys talk me into going on this trip
in the first place."

"That's not the fault of ours. At all."
Gage paused in his vigorous floor scrubbing, glancing upwards.
"You agreed to come pretty fast when we offered you that free plane
ticket, Mr. Family Man."

Roy sprayed another spritz of polisher on his rag in irritation.
"Of course I did. I thought that Joanne and the kids would be going there
with me."

Johnny laughed. "Now what point would there be in inviting family to
an all worker's anniversary party? You know as well as I do that Saturday is
the fifth annual anniversary of the inception of Brackett's fledgling paramedic
program becoming official law."

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Roy actually had to confess out loud. "Not so fledgling any more. We have
what? Twenty four squads now running all over the state of California?"

"Twenty six, if you count the two new ones just legalized in Santa Rosa
County last month." Johnny added.

"Oh, yeah. Guess we were the ones responsible for Dr. Frick requesting
those teams. Directly." Roy agreed.

"Ah, nothing like a point made in real life to drive home a little reality." said

"Huh?" Roy doubletook, clearly not understanding Gage's euphemism.
Then he blinked. "Oh, you mean, 'Truth's the best teacher.'"

"Nah, I meant what I said before, Roy. I believe that sometimes, it takes
a real life experience to make other peoples' lives' problems seem more
problematic." said Johnny with conviction.

Roy's head began to hurt. "Whatever you say, Johnny. I'm just glad you're
having fun for once."

Johnny shoved his mop back into the metal bucket wringer and he almost
sat down onto the floor in his enthusiasm to ring it dry through the rollers.
"Now what's that supposed to mean? Since when have you ever seen me
unhappy?" John asked incredulously.

DeSoto opened his mouth to begin a reply.

Chet Kelly's voice broke the stillness of the apparatus bay. "No, Roy. Don't
answer his question or we're all gonna be sorrier for it." he said pointedly.
"Do you really want to pay for it later when Gage begins to grumble about that
oddball character flaw of his all weekend long?"

Johnny pursed a lip, getting annoyed.
"I will not. And it's not a character flaw. Everybody gets a little unhappy
every once in a while. You're no exception to the rule yourself in that

"Will to." egged Chet. "I smile a lot more than you, Gage. And
the rest of the guys know it, too." Kelly challenged.

"Oh, boy.." Roy mumbled under his breath, ducking behind the safety of
the row of parked yellow air bottles nestled near his head.

Before the building fray bloomed, it was nipped in the bud.

"Heave to on that mop, Gage. Now!" ordered Cap, as he stepped into the garage
from his office."And Chet, hut two.. double time, for the hose tower. She's your
serious date for tonight for mouthing off on the night before vacation." Hank

"Aww, Cap. I won't have any arms left for all the ski slopes I'm gonna hit
tomorrow if I do that." Kelly protested.

"You REALLY won't have any arms left if I tell you to drain all those used hoses
manually. So far, you've still got my expressed permission to use the pulley rigs."
Hank frowned magnanimously."But that's solely dependent on how quiet all of
this shooting the acid breeze becomes, during the next five seconds. 5!..  4!..  

Chet zippered instantly, and immediately retreated for the rear garage door.

Hank nodded appreciatively when his two paramedics bent with industrious
hearts to their tasks without issuing a single peep.

Popping a couple of dry aspirin into his mouth, Hank Stanley turned back to his long
list of log updates and the still waiting stack of evaluation folders piled in his
desk's inbox basket. ::Now, maybe I can get a little piece and quiet around here
long enough to get my work done without unnecessary aggravation.:: he thought,
rubbing away the last of a tension headache. ::Here's to you, Mr. Robertson.:: he
toasted with his mug of steaming coffee. ::My station this weekend, is yours.::

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The next morning Captain Bob Robertson verbally grabbed a hold of Kelly when
he tried to sneak by the main office from the locker room for his jeep. He was
noticed and pegged, caught in full view when the subbing smoke eater addressed
him by name. "Mr. Kelly.. a word with you if I may."

Kelly winced in mid sneaking step and froze. "Yes, sir?" he said, willing himself
into a neutral expression as he turned around.

"I noticed you're still on the engineer's list for this year." said the grizzled silver
haired Cap, holding up a memo, fresh in from Headquarters.

"Oh. Uh,..yeah, I guess I am. But I'm not going to get an engine spot anytime
soon. I'm only slot number 74." Chet told him with some saddened weight.

Bob Robertson's eyes lit up. "Ah, but that's only for the L.A. County rigged stations.
Haven't you ever figured out that this list now extends to ALL counties in
the state?"

Kelly's mouth gaped. "It does?"

Nearby, Roy's ears were perked, too. ::I know paramedics now are nationally
accredited so all of us can work in any county or state across the country away
from our working counties. But Bob's news still means nothing to me. I've already
told the chiefs that I don't want to move away from Carson.::

Quietly, Roy left Chet to his current fate.

Bob spread out a hand to a chair already turned to face his own lounge
chair. "Mr. Kelly. Have a seat. I have a few questions I'd like to ask you."

Chet, feeling like a brand new probie again, sat, with a thump onto the wooden
seat. "Uh,..Wh--What would you like to know, sir? Is this about something Captain
Stanley missed on my annual evaluation?"

"" bubbled a grinning Bob. "Just indulging in a little curiosity.
Tell me, do you know what a Quint is?"

Chet froze and tried not to chew his lip. Then his father's old lectures started
coming back to him. "Uh,..yes, sir. A Quint is short for "quintuple combination pumper."
It's an engine apparatus that can work five fire functions: as a pump, a water tank, as a
fire hose source, as an aerial device, with ground ladders." Chet answered,
swallowing a little, hoping his details were right.

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Bob smiled, suddenly studying his hands. "That's right, son. You're extremely
well read. Bet you didn't know this. The first Quint was patented in 1912 by Metz
Aerials, a German-based fire and rescue apparatus manufacturer. North
America-based manufacturers, such as American LaFrance began making them
soon after.."

Chet began to relax a bit. "And.. Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Pierce Manufacturing,
and Seagrave companies."

Bob nodded. "Yep. What's a Quint's specs? Give me just the general ballpark
figures." he said, snapping his fingers suddenly.

Chet blanched, but he began dragging out information that he had forgotten he
already knew. "Her fire pump's got a minimum capacity of 1000 gpm. Her
aerial device is a combination aerial ladder and elevating platform with a
permanently installed waterway. Her static water tank has a minimum capacity
of 300 gallons..."

"How much storage?" Bob asked, narrowing his eyes.

Chet began to feel like a bug under a microscope.
"Uh,..40 cubic feet of enclosed compartmentation with...
a minimum of 30 cubic feet  of storage area for a 2.5 inch or larger fire hose.
And two preconnected fire hose lines."

"And her ground ladders?"

Chet began to sweat.
"85 feet  including, one extension ladder, one roof ladder and one attic ladder?"

"Correct. What else?" Robertson said, sliding a pencil across the engineer's list
so hard that his pencil tip broke.

Chet jumped in his seat. "Uh,.. suction hose.. Yeah. 15 feet of soft suction hose
and 20 feet of hard suction hose for drafting."

"What's drafting, fireman?" Robertson fired off suddenly.

Kelly's upper lip quivered and he dared to speak. "Sir, am I being tested here?"

Bob smiled. Slowly. "Not exactly. But,..maybe." he said vaguely. "Go ahead
and see if you can answer that last bit."

Chet's eyebrows furrowed in worry. But he dug down deep into his memory
of the engineer's test. "Drafting..refers to the use of suction to move a
liquid such as water from a vessel or body of water below the intake of a suction

"Yep. What are the standard formulas for those processes on a Quint?"

Kelly just about had a stroke and he wiped away the sweat now dripping into
his eyes. "Standard atmospheric pressure is 14.7 lbf/inē, enough to raise water
to a theoretical maximum of 33.9 ft through any tube. Depending on application,
fire department pumps lift water  20 to 30 feet artificially."

"Yes. Give me more." ordered Bob.

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Chet's eyes began to lose their focus."To reduce drafting friction and obtain
a larger flow or higher lift, a larger cross-section of suction hose is employed. For
example, using a 5 inch pump could lift 500 US gallons per minute up 23 feet.
All told the longer the lift, the lower the flow, for a fixed diameter suction hose and
any given pump. Multiple relays should be used if the need arises, with a
suction pump drafting up to 30 ft so it can discharge at great distances."

"How about gravity use apparatuses?"

"For forest fires, sir. Tanks filled by Quints can become a siphon with gravity.
Portable reservoirs of 1,000 to 3,000 US gallons can be filled with a Quint's water
and small hoses can be laid and used downhill of the tanks."

"What makes this distinguished from regular hoses running off a Quint?"

"Sir, the drafting tank hoses' nozzle pressure is proportional to its distance below
the reservoir surface. Forty-three percent of the distance,
in feet, is approximately the number of pounds per square inch pressure
generated by passive flow down. So 100 feet equals 43 psi."

"Stop. How many hoses are on a Quint?"

Chet's eyes never wavered from a spot on the wall.
"800 feet of 2.5 inch or larger fire hose. 400 feet of 1.5 inch,
1.75 inch, or 2 inch hose. Nozzles : One combination spray nozzle, 200 gpm,
Two combination spray nozzles, 95 gpm each. One playpipe nozzle with
shutoffs alongside 1 inch , 1.125 inch, and 1.24 inch tips."

"What else? Name the rest."

Chet no longer felt himself sweat. He was regurgitating pure information
at that point, easily. And from a hidden recess he didn't know he had.
"A Quint's manifest. Sir, right, sir : One 6 pound flathead axe, one 6 pound
pickhead axe, one 6 foot  pike pole, one 8 foot plaster hook, two portable
hand lights, one dry chemical fire extinguisher with a minimum 80-B:C rating,
one 2.5 gallon or larger water extinguisher, one pump intake connection
with supply-hose compatible threads, one SCBA for every seating position,  
one spare SCBA cylinder for every SCBA carried, one first aid kit, BLS rated,
four spanner wrenches, two hydrant wrenches, two double female adapters,
two double male adapters, one rubber mallet, four salvage covers,12 feet x 14
feet, four ladder belts, one 150 foot light-use safety rope, one 150 foot
general-use safety rope, two wheel chocks and two class one Type E oxygen
resuscitators." Chet coughed, suddenly coming to his senses.

Bob's eyes never lost their grinning smile. He just held out his hand.
"Congratulations on being moved up into the low twenties on the engineer's
list, son, congratulations. I've just granted you another year's extension and
a forfeit from the official retest for this year."

Chet blinked a few times and started shivering. "I...what?"

"You passed, son. So put it there and go get your butt going on that well
deserved vacation.." Bob said, standing and clasping Chet's clammy hand
into his own warmly. "It was my turn to be the pop oral examiner this time around.
Sorry to catch you unawares. But I was under McConikee's strict orders not
to let you or anyone else onto what was going to happen this morning.."

Chet continued to babble. "But ...I... you....he.."

"Good lord, son. Do you want me to call your paramedic friends in here to
check you out? You look like you're in shock."

Chet shook his head and his color abruptly returned. He returned Bob's
firm handshake and stood on shaky legs that finally decided to obey him.
He started grinning from ear to ear. "I'm in the twenties now? That fast?"

"Yep. The twenty secondth, to be exact. DeSoto didn't do as well as you.
He was just in here."

"He didn't?! But uh.. Sorry, but wasn't he in ninth position last year?"
Chet stammered.

"Yes, but does DeSoto still want the position as badly as you do?" Bob
winked. "Not every candidate reads fire engine history as deeply
as they really should. Especially that history and knowledge on the old Quints."
He leaned over the desk and whispered in confidence. "Between you and me,
I think these old Quint gals are going to make one hell of a come back
within some of the smaller fire districts in the near future."

"I think you're right, Cap. You can't deny compact versatility." Chet whispered
back. "Especially not on our kind of fire department budget."

"Spoken like a true fire captain hopeful." Bob grinned, letting go of Chet's
hand. Without a further word, the gray haired Captain Bob Robertson
dismissed Kelly with a crisp formal nod and salute before he ignored him
entirely behind the captain's-eyes-only copy of the modifying engineer's list

In glowing red markered letters, Chet could read his name scribbled backwards
in its new official row and the euphoric Kelly continued to see it behind his retinas
whenever he blinked, all the way to the LAX airport, on his way to meet the others.

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From: Roxy Dee <>
Date: Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:11 pm
Subject: The Warming House..

The snow was falling lightly outside in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
when the bunch from Los Angeles arrived in three rental cars topped
to the brim with all their suitcases and ski gear. The sun was shining
brilliantly but Dixie McCall would have nothing to do with it.

"Oh,...BrrRRrrrr." she shivered, stepping awkwardly over the calf
deep flakes as she fled for the warmth of the gigantic ski lodge blanketed
thickly in the stuff. "I'll give a week's pay for the sight of a sun drenched
palm tree waving in the breeze."

"No bet." grinned Dr. Brackett, dressed in red down and yellow. "There're
palm trees in the steam room. I made sure to check the brochure."

"Good, then I'll spend the whole weekend hugging it in there pretending
that I'm not here." she fake whined, blowing on her numb fingers.

Johnny Gage grinned and reached over in his white wool lined
deer hide jacket and lariat and gave her companionable shoulder hug to
ward off her chills. "Does it help that they have a coffee shop on the veranda?"

"They do?" McCall brightened, admiring the lodge spreading expansively
above and around them. "Wow, would you look at the size of that fireplace?
Oh, I'm so at home. Kel, take my stuff." she said, dropping her two woven suitcases
and making a beeline for the monstrous blaze snapping and crackling amid the
colorful stones set into a pine log wall.  Immediately, she sank down into the deep
couch, kicked her boots off and tucked her cold tingly feet underneath herself as
she curled up in feline like bliss. "Oh, I'm not gonna move from this spot. Not for
anything. Guys, this is one fire, that you're NOT gonna be putting out." she
said passionately, guarding the new one.

"That is the idea, Dixie." Cap said, shedding his short denim jacket as he
dusted snow off his shoulders. "See all the logs in the bin? That steward's filling
it with more bundles even as we speak."

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"Perfect.." Dixie sighed, curling up into a red plaid comforter that she immediately
pulled out of her travel bag.

Chet Kelly pulled off his nerdy toboggan hat festooned with ear tassels. "They've
got gourmet food in a three star restaurant.." he dangled.

"No dice." Dixie said quickly, warming her frozen fingers at the roaring
flames. "These nuts and fruits'll do me just fine.." she said, pointing a delicate
toe at the snacks lined up on the table invitingly for wandering guests. "Just call me
the resident book worm couch potato because that's what I'm gonna be
right along with the official lodge house mouser.." she declared tossing her frosted
snow melting head at the sleek, fat red tabby who was face worshipping the fire
and peering about with sleepy jowl slitted eyes. "So go have fun. Don't wait
up for me. This is a resort, right? Anything I want'll be brought to me instantly. All
I have to do is snap a couple of fingers."

Roy made an amused face. "Uh,.. this is a ski lodge, not a hospital. Folks might
take that as being a little rude. I don't think there're any student nurses lurking
around here anyplace to jump instantly at any of your nonverbal orders."

"I wouldn't be too sure.." said Marco, looking at a couple of notices on the employee
board. "Looks like they're gonna have some kind of rescue training going on this

"Oh, yeah?" asked Stoker, already coat peeled and lounging in a thick dark green
carnigan. "What's it about?"

"Guess.." said Chet, peering at the reminder, scoffing at his denseness. "We're
surrounded by a million tons of the stuff."

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Mike snapped his fingers. "Avalanche rescue. Right. Sorry. Not used to thinking
in terms of that kind of thing."

"That's the whole idea for this vacation, Mike. To get our minds OFF work. Now
come on, come on, let's go. I wanna go check out the stables." said Johnny eagerly.

"And I want to hit all four triple black diamonds before sunset." said Chet.

Roy's eyebrows went up. "Don't you think you ought to try a few bunny hills first?
Just to warm up a little?" he said, winking at Dixie in apology for the thawing reference.

"Why? I've been ocean water skiing for two months straight getting ready for this
trip. I've got every muscle in tip top peak condition." Chet declared.

"You sure about that?" Cap said dubiously. "I think I'm beginning to see a hint of
flabby-ness starting up under the forearms there, Kelly." he teased as Kelly got
down to his tie dyed hippie shirt emblazoned with a peace sign.

"You're not seeing nothing, Cap, not a single ounce. Skiing and firefighting? Now
that's a recipe for anybody to win the Mr. Olympus title."

Gage burst out laughing. "Him?" he said, pointing at Chet as he stuffed a few
unshelled pecans into his mouth hungrily.

Chet took offense with good humor.
"Look who's talking, Scrawny Bones. I'm still the winner of all our arm wrestling

"Not for long." said Gage, clearing his throat uncomfortably at the far shorter
fireman. He hefted up on his Indian beaded belt. "Say, who's starving for lunch?
I know I am after all that slippery driving coming in from the airport."

"Me.." came a chorus of agreement.

Brackett chuckled at everyone's playful eagerness.
"Tell you what? Let's go check in first, then we can all grab something to
eat together at one big table. How does that sound?"

"Great... great.." they said and turned to go. But then, as one, they
stopped at looked back at Dixie, still cocooned in her afghan. "Dixie?"
asked Brackett for them all.

She sighed. Expansively."Ok, I'll come. But you're buying me a brandy."

"You're on." Kel said.

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The Quint Connection
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