*Attention*- The following casualties are all mock exercise images.
They reached the boiler room. A fast check over the radio |
confirmed that their present assignment,
seeking the pipeline's
main shut off, was still a go. Sweating heavily, they added
length of canvas from yet another emergency
hose water valve alcove to one of their trailing inch
halves. The lack of active fire in the area made them wait
until its entire length was
fully played out before they charged
it into top pressure.
Stoker halted before the door
and was transfixed before a
sign displaying there. "Oh, I don't like the looks of that." he said.
"What?" Chris asked, testing the door handle. "It's not even locked."
that." Mike said, pointing to the sign.
Chris looked. "Oh." Rorchek peeped. "That's a big dislike,
from you, Stoker. But I find I'm agreeing with you one hundred
percent on this one."
Marco Lopez squinted through his mask and rubbed some more grime
off of its red surface. Then he
began reading. "Warning. Do not enter
area when alarm is sounding. This area is protected by a Tyco
clean agent fire suppression system. Area must be ventilated prior to
Chris frowned. "Oh, man. I hate it when places I work for get technology
installed that's way over
my head. What the h*ll does clean agent mean?"
Stoker tried not to offend. "Uh, it means it evacuates
all the air and oxygen
entirely in the space into which it's released but leaves behind no traces
once it's done acting on a fire."
Rorchek rubbed his faceplate. "You mean it becomes an f..ing
vacuum in there once it decides to go off?"
Stoker and Lopez and Green nodded in
kind, mutely, trying to break it gently.
Chris's face fell slack with smouldering anger. "I really
don't like that
concept. Not a whole lot at all. Not even a little." he said, holding up eensy
of a glove. "Listen. Do we really have to go in there? I mean, I'm all
for circling around the whole
airport and going at it again from the opposite
Hallie grabbed him by the collar. "We're
going in." she told him no nonsense,
yanking him forward with her petite body sized strength.
Mike Stoker was almost eager to impart some knowledge once they were|
through the pristine entry portal.
The boiler room, was no boiler room.
"Wow, look at all the computer banks and communications relays."
remarked, giddy like a school boy in a library. "I've only heard about
computers. We have one
at the hospital we work for back at home."
"Oh?" asked Lopez. "What does it do?"
names." Mike answered.
"That sounds boring." Marco said.
Mike was oblivious.
all these systems are really sensitive.."
"Hence the lack of water or powder fire extinguishers
in here." Green yawned.
Stoker reached out to touch a computer panel in admiration.
glove shot out and grabbed his wrist right through the jacket.
"DON'T. touch. anything." he hissed
Green made a face. "Chris, why are you whispering like you'll wake up
whiny brat? This system goes off with a rise in heat, not
noise. It's surrounded by machinery for
Chris just concentrated on not touching any of the walls lined with fire suppression
sensors, triggers and pipes. "Just.. hurry on up, guys.." he said through tightly
teeth. Already his scba mask was steaming up in nervousness.
"I hate this place. Let's just find that
frickin valve, shut its maw and get the h*ll
out of Dodge, all right?"
Green just laughed.
"Never let it be said that a Rorchek isn't a little lilly livered
when the chips are--"
turned on her. "Those smart chips are just quiet! So let's just keep them
nice and cool....." he
soothed. ".....so that creepy fire system thingie hanging over
our heads, won't kick in... to fire
off its bizarre payload.... that'll KILL US ALL!" he
roared, spraying the inside of his scba mask
"Geez, relax a little, Chris. Just trying to burn off a little stress between firefighters.
You know how that goes. We're relatively safe in here. No chance of burning up."
Hallie chuckled mildly.
Mike Stoker found another sign. "Hey, look at this. I found a timer. Says here,"
he said, peering
at the digital display.. "That we have exactly thirty seconds to
clear the room once the alarm goes
off, before the agent's released into
Chris almost turned purple. And he was
also the one who found the valve they
were all looking for first. By a mile. "Here! It's here! I-
I- found it. Let's just crank
this big puppy shut and make some really fast boot tracks for daylight.
Yeah, that'd be really g---"
BooOOOOOM! came a nearby explosion that rocked them all off their
A whole wall caved in on itself, straight down, sending in a push of punishing
heat deep into the high tech, non-boiler room. The emergency
battery lights were killed when a wall
unit hit the ground and shattered its wires
from its power source, plunging the room into a complete
and total darkness.
Then, the Sapphire system's alarm, a piercing howl that vibrated the |
very bones down to the core,
"Go! Go! Go! Move! We gotta get outta here!" Rorchek hollered, pushing
the others before him.
The four firefighters, scrambled, skidded, and slid as if on banana peels
the plaster dusted floor, trying for their feet.
A second explosion ripped through the area,
this time punctuated itself
in flames and fire balls, just across the hall from the clean room.
Hydraulic hinges and locks started to snick and whirl their tumblers inside
Stoker and Hallie found themselves shoved through the iron door
when it suddenly slammed itself shut
on Chris, separating them. The seal
was more solid than a bank vault as the Sapphire began to work
its programming. Rorchek froze, his gloves stuck in fear to the other side
of the triply
reinforced, diamond filament wired window. His mask was no
longer steaming. He was holding his breath.
"Chris!" Hallie shouted. "No, oh no no-no no! We have to get him out!"
Green sobbed. She tore
her axe off her jacket and began to take a swing.
Thinking more clearly, Mike and Marco hauled
her bodily away from a tongue
of fire shooting at them from the ceiling. "We'll go get help. A K-12!"
shouted at her.
"Oh, G*d. How long does he have? Did he grab a fresh air bottle along
with the rest of us? I mean, really a fresh one?" she said, almost hysterical.
Lopez and Stoker
turned to run along the path of their hoses and life lines
that led back safely to the outside.
"His air will last him okay, if we hurry." Marco insisted, picking up his boots.
That shut Green
up. She peeled her faceplate away from the now empty
door window and she followed them.
along the way, Hallie was overcome by the new heat.
Stoker and Lopez slung her arms over their shoulders
and carried her
Inside the white vapor filling room, Chris Rorchek made the first
truly unselfish decision that
he had ever made in his entire life.
He reached up from his place crouched protectively on the
by the sealed door, and grabbed a hold of the fuel valve wheel.
Straining harder and harder,
Chris began to turn its stiff, non used
painted spokes, in revolution. But the cost was faster breathing,
and less and less air in his scba bottle, over time.
Outside the airport terminal, the gathered hard working foam
crews saw the monster geyser
of pure fire suddenly falter, and
shrink massively in size until it was a dying trickle of its former
shape as its liquid fuel was cut off.
A great cheer arose among those battling fire companies
they realized that HT-1B's first-in team, had been successful in their
Stanley got on his radio. "IC2 to any communications
messenger. Call up the utilities and have them
lock off their
main tank at the refinery to prevent a reverse air block. This
central fire's a
large way to being fully contained." he said happily.
##Copy IC2.## replied one of the firemen
on that job. ##Relaying lock
But then Cap realized. ::Why isn't it completely out?
That valve should
have stopped all the AV gas flow from reaching that pipe rupture.::
A tongue of fire remained, about fifteen feet high and six wide in a
of foreboding gripped him. ::Something's wrong.:: Hank's
Inside the Sapphire's clean agent filled room, the gas valve was buried in
pressurized fire through
a new roaring rupture in its turn gasket's seal.
Chris Rorchek lay on the floor beneath it, unconscious.
Subject: The Ties That Bind..
Sent: Wed 12/02/09 11:34 AM
Marco and Stoker got Green outside. Immediately,
Mike got onto his HT radio under the better reception.
"HT-1B to IC2. Firefighter trapped inside
an activated clean
agent room. We need immediate personnel and heavy cutting
tools! Also we've a Code I down." he transmitted,
watching a pair of arff swiftly getting a limp
Hallie out of her turnout gear
and air bottle where she lay stretched onto the ground on her side.
##Rerouting a full company to your location. What's the nature
of the suppressive?## Captain
"I don't know, Cap. The automated system's named Tyco Sapphire.
And the main
door has a high grade security lock on it. Tumblers, and
rebar, like a vault." Stoker reported.
Hank frowned, thinking fast. ::Never heard of that before.:: he thought.
##Any other way in?## he
asked, looking at the only coordinates
showing up inside the airport on the GPS. Vaguely, he was already
imagining the shrill squeal of a P.A.S.S. device as its dead man's
switch activated from being
turned horizontal. He hated that sound.
"Re-entry might be possible past a partially blown wall
but it'll be
through extreme heat and unknown fire." Stoker told him.
##Condition of both
"When we left him inside, conscious, on intact scba. The second
semi conscious but breathing normally." Mike told him.
##Sending in paramedics. Watch for their response. I'm homing in|
on your twenty!##
took a deep breath as he hefted his HT thoughtfully
in his hand. He accepted the exchange of a new
air bottle from
support crew onto his back and a pair of fresh gloves.
Marco Lopez was on
his knees near Hallie. "Hey, Senorita.
Rise and shine. You're okay." he said holding her head supported
to make clear breathing room for her. An arff started Hallie on
some oxygen by non-rebreather. She
was panting and ringing wet.
"She awake enough to talk?" Stoker asked.
"Not yet." Marco
answered, keeping tabs on her heart rate.
Stoker crouched down by them on his toes. "What do you
think it is?"
"Heat. Pulse's racing. She was pretty worked up in there." Marco guessed.
Mike said ruefully, worried. "Good reason to be."
A small fire engine sped up and parked near
their location. It was Ted
with Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage.
"Hallie?" Ted shouted, hurrying
forward with a stokes. He set the basket
stretcher down next to her, setting a protective hand on
her shoulder. "How
is she?" he asked, snatching at her wrist for a pulse.
groaned, finally appearing conscious. "Ted... it's Chris
who's inside. You have to hurry." her voice
The youngest Rorchek rose to his feet and immediately interrogated Stoker
Lopez for new information about his brother while Roy began an
assessment on Hallie.
joined him, listening, but first he asked. "Marco, Stoker? You okay?
Looks like it was pretty hot
"We'll be fine to go back in once that team gets here." Lopez said, "We're
enough to roast right away." he quipped, trying to make Hallie laugh.
Green didn't smile, worried
about the fact that she had to leave Chris behind.
Hank Stanley showed up with the extrication
company. He stepped out
of the dayglow yellow cab and hurried up. "Okay, this is how it's gonna
people. Two teams. One, straight through that front steel door with
everything you've got. The other,
find and start digging through that wall
breach that's been reported. Watch for weak ceilings! Move
He got to Roy's side. "Get her to Holbrook Park. There's a free doctor
there and I'm sure
Joe's gonna want to know about his son. Directly
from the horse's mouth."
DeSoto had a thought
to consider. He spoke with Cap, aside, after
finishing up a BP. "Do you think Ted'll be okay going
in after his brother?"
"You know him as well as I do." Hank replied. "Somehow, I don't think
in the world will be able to stop him."
"Not even Joe?"
"Now that's between family." Stanley
said defensively, grinning.
Hallie was trying to get up. "No stokes. I'm walking!" she said.
Roy turned back to his patient. "Hey, hey, hey. Not so fast. You might|
pass out again. Your temperature's
still kinda high."
"Instant refrigerator all around me." she said of the cold winter air.
won't be that way for long."
"That's besides the point, Miss Paramedic. Now you know and I know
that a normal saline I.V.'s standard for black outs." DeSoto shrugged,
can swallow just fine. Somebody got a water bottle?"
"With that nausea? I dare ya." DeSoto challenged
her, showing her
how low her blood pressure still was on his notes.
Hallie Green just sighed
and laid back down into the stokes. "Okay,
but I want a radio. I'm gonna listen in on everything being
Chris word for word on live air. And no buts about it!"
"Fair enough." Roy told her,
grabbing out an infusion set."Which arm?"
"The right. Better veins." she replied, suddenly growing
fatigue. "Ted says my antecubital's a d-dreammmm.."
"Night.." Roy said, waggling
a few fingers at her. "Firefighter, get
her on some limb leads. She's lost a lot of perspiration and
have some salt and potassium issues. I wanna keep track with
an EKG on her."
arff nodded compliance, and covered her up with a thick
Joanne Almstedt followed the chief like a lamb behind a ram. Soon,
she was given her most fervent
wish. "Steven?" She ran toward
his gurney swiftly, already wearing rubber gloves.
at his head gave the doctor a fast report."Male,
twenty nine years of age. Ejected eighteen feet onto
Chief complaint: tenderness upper left quadrant, guarding and
rigidity over the area.
Circulation, motor ability and sensation
intact in hands and feet. Broken left ankle with a pedal
moderate neck pain. No tingling or numbness. Head seems to be
clear. All bleeding's
been controlled. All of it minor from those
facial cuts and scrapes. Consciousness level 10 on glasgow."
said the man.
Joanne nodded as she felt Beck's carotid pulse, just to touch
him and test
his awareness. "Beck, can you hear me? It's Joanne.
Do you remember what happened to you?"
think I was trying to be Peter Pan,.. for the first time in my life." he
joked, gasping in his C-collar
and oxygen mask, dazed.
"Without wings." Joanne frowned, moving aside the blankets over
spine board to get down to bare skin. "Where exactly does it
"ULQ. About a nine. I'm short... of breath. Dizzy.." Steve replied,|
stiffening as she probed his
abdomen carefully to feel for structures.
"Pressure?" Almstedt requested.
"One forty two,
systolic." replied the attending paramedic.
"He has a mild hypertension history." she said.
Joanne asked of the IV tucked under Beck's shoulder.
"Yeah, suspected internal injuries right
off." replied the medic.
"You were right." she told him. Looking down, she addressed Steve
more."Beck, listen to me. It's not the spleen. I'm concerned about
part of your large intestines,
stomach or bowel perhaps. But first, there's
something sharp, maybe a broken rib, that's very near
"Not the heart.." he frowned, scared.
She nodded."It sits just above the point
where you say that you are hurting
the most." Joanne told him. "But the spreads between your QRS
aren't serious yet. You're in sinus tach with only slight elevations. Might
not be tamponade
at all. But I'm authorizing an immediate exploratory once
I get you fast flown into Stony Brook.
Try not to move or breathe in very
"Shhh.." she said, placing a hand
on his oxygen mask. "Rest. I'm giving you
MS for relief. Concentrate on slowing your breathing rate."
Beck's eyes fluttered shut as he panted in pain and stress.
Joanne looked up. "Intubate him
RSI if he goes out. No mast trousers.
If his pericardium is damaged, I don't want him to bleed out
heart any faster. Keep tabs on his BP, watch for different readings
in both arms."
Joanne looked up as Roy arrived with Hallie in her stokes with another
crew on a wheeled gurney. Almstedt stood up
to intercede, but Roy shook his head. "Yellow tag." he
Joanne nodded and then fulfilled her own promise to stay by Steve's
side until Morgan
Wainwright took him away with his attending paramedic.
Joe Rorchek hurried from a canteen where
he had snatched a quick
coffee to keep with him, high in sugar, for nourishment, when he saw
Roy braced himself for the coming storm.
"Chief, It's Chris. He's stuck in the clean
agent room behind
ticketting. It went off." Green said, sitting up with the help of Al
who had just noticed her arrival. "Don't worry, he's awake
on bottled air."
Joe, to his credit,
didn't panic like a father. "Any fire?"
"Damage from an explosion that didn't injure him." Hallie
"Enough to collapse a wall."
"Yes. He's probably already going
in after him."
"Okay, how are you?"
"Just overheated. I did too much again, sir." Hallie
"Don't you worry about that. This night has loomed far larger than all
of us. Thanks
about news on Chris.." he said numbly. "Roy, stay
with Green only as long as you need to."
"Yes, sir." DeSoto replied.|
"Then get back to the terminal. I want every man possible working
on getting my son out." the chief ordered.
Ted Rorchek, Johnny Gage, Marco Lopez, Mike Stoker and half a
dozen others were digging frantically
in the service hall behind ticketting.
They had located the pile of debris that marked where the wall
had collapsed into the clean room, but they found that a subsequent
roof fall had completely blocked
up the large hole.
Other fire crews were working on ferociously attacking the small
still remaining after the gas pocket explosions that had trapped
Chris, from earlier on.
Kelly was there, with a search probe. "I can't hear any breathing.
But that's not saying a lot. Sounds
like there's a high pressure gas hissing
actively in there along with a P.A.S.S. alarm."
any flames?" Cap asked.
"No, Cap. Seems that agent stuff has done its work top notch." Chet told
"Keep listening." Hank said softly, disturbed.
Chet crouched once more on top of the
rubble and resnugged his earphones
back over his ear around his helmet.
Audibly, Chris's emergency
P.A.S.S. device was still shrieking without cease.
It made the adrenalin in all the firefighters surge.
Ted Rorchek was side by side with Mike Stoker at the door, hefting up
a growling K-12 that was
slowing making a dent in the metal, like a hot
knife through rice paper. "Okay, I think it's working.."
Ted panted with
effort. "Rags, are you sure you still can't see anything?"
"No, man. That fog sh*t's too thick and hanging on the floor. But we know|
he's in trouble if we're
hearing a shrieker." replied the big firefighter
through his faceplate.
"He might be lying
down to conserve his air." Ted hoped.
"Key word: might." Harris grunted, working at the hinges
with a straining
jaws. His visor was flecked with metal bits.
Back at Holbrook Park Triage,
Hallie Green had an idea. Still wearing
her helmet for warmth, she picked up her radio and started
"HT1-B to C. Rorchek. Do you read me?" she hailed. *Spap*
There was no reply
on Chris's band.
Ted Rorchek immediately glommed onto the brilliant idea.
##Chris, can you
copy us? Hit your squelch if you can reach it, bro.
I wanna hear your voice right now.##
Rorchek, too, attempted contact. ##Son, we're coming to get you.
Save your air by holding very still.
Everybody's breaking down the doors
just to see you.##
Only silence greeted them.
From: patti k (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: Thurs 12/03/09 03:34 AM
Hallie opened her eyes to a new person seated over her.
was a man in a winter parka, wrapped tightly against the cold,
and yet, his skin held as dark a tan
as she had seen in months.
"*cough* Did I black out again?" Green asked, disoriented
change from Roy to a new face.
"For a while. But that's only part of the reason why I'm here."
"Who are you?" she croaked.
"I'm Dr. Brackett, one of Station 51's ilk you might say. They're
evacuating the medical center as we speak. There's a large
crack forming underneath the foundation.
They're worried about
cave-ins due to the weight of the adjoining parking garage." he
the flow of her I.V. bag to wide open.
"So when am I through?" she asked, all of her anxiety returning.
"When I say so." Kel said. "And not a minute before. I know
about the personal situation you have
Hallie got mad. "That's one of my coworkers in trouble back there!"
just looked at her while he examined her eyes with a penlight.
"Uh, huh. And all of my patients, also
in trouble, are all right here, including
you. Your pressure's dropped."
"That's because I'm
hungry. Add some sugar to my ball and chain
and I promise I'll make you smile enough to do a jig!"
tugging on her I.V. line hard enough to make the pole rock.
He steadied it back
onto its wheels and just quirked his lips.
"It's already ordered. Here's a step into the right direction.
If you stay put,
I'm making you officially a green tag." he shared, getting up to make
notations to the evacuation order on Hallie's chart. Then he left for
another stokes containing his
next patient. None of them, Green could see,
held a firefighter.
And the radio that she had
so coveted, was gone.
Whispering, Green sighed in frustration. "No, I'm all yellow..." she sobbed,
not meaning her triage priority. "...for not sneaking right back into that d*mned
fire... to try and
Ted Rorchek raced back
to where his dad was standing near
the fire secured access to ticketting. "Dad, it's still taking
everything we got just to make a dent in that door. Those hinges
just aren't cutting through fast
enough. We're running out of time!"
"Ted, if I had a faster solution other than brute force, I'd
"Chief." Gage said, stepping forward from where he was prepping
a new air bottle
for one of the arff working hard to breach the
obstacles in the way of reaching Chris Rorchek.
Chief Joe stopped looking at the blueprint he was studying of their
problem. "I'm listening."
"Well, sir. How about us trying to break into that clean room from the roof?
You see, my pal
Chet Kelly here and I were thinking about it and..
Well, just exactly how many rooms do you know
of that're built
absolutely solid stainless steel including the ceiling?"
Joe blinked in surprise.
"Practically none that isn't a strong vault in itself."
"My point exactly. An airport's not Fort
Knox. I can't imagine that the
designers even started to think that way. No money's stored in
room, just some high tech machinery." Johnny reasoned.
Chet added more. "With that part of the
roof of the terminal already gone,
sir, we could try rappeling down from the parking ramp and then
in that way to Chris through the infrastructure that has already been exposed."
slammed down the antennae of his radio.
"Go! I want every man making that idea workable! Hank, I'll
another aerial to provide a water shield to protect your two paramedics
from the heat."
Chief Rorchek told him. "They have more experience
high angle than my men do."
Roy nodded his head as he leaned into Johnny. "Have we ever tried
rope work wearing
"Nope, but there's always a first time. That fireman can't wait." Gage replied,
business. "And I'm never one to shirk a new experiment."
They flew into action.
Two minutes later, Captain Stanley faced their launch-off challenge, the parking
ramp. "Okay, nobody
goes inside without a hose and prybar team back up.
Cracked concrete slabs can still pretty much
tip over with barely any weight placed
on them. Especially when they've got a fire that size burning
some buckling. Tie on lifelines and make yourselves tight enough harness wise
to withstand a fall."
"Go in through the subterranean entrance?" Roy asked.
least we know that way was still good five minutes ago."
"Who told you that?"
"The last patient who was evacuated from the med center." Cap shared.
you ever hate being all seeing and all knowing, Cap?" Chet quipped,
grinning as he fastened ropes
to Roy and Johnny's life belts, trying to
lighten the high stress they were all feeling.
Chet. The second I don't know something about a fire..." Cap choked
up, thinking about all the deaths
they had seen happen right before
their eyes the night before. Hank didn't finish the sentence.
Roy and Johnny just glared at Chet.
Kelly apologized immediately. "Sorry, guys." he said, pointing
apologetic finger at his mouth. "I was only trying to laugh it up."
Hank was appreciative.
"You meant well. Be funny later." he said looking
at his watch. "Maybe then we'll be able to laugh
The fire company guarding the barricaded off parking ramp access
admitted Roy and Johnny and Cap.They hurried through the
lower level, where a communications desk
from inside had been hastily
shoved outside. The safety there was utilizing a land line phone, to
around the dead spots in radio transmissions inside the ramp.
Once they reached the top, Roy asked. "Cap? Where should we|
anchor from? There are no antennae or
anything up here."
"We'll use this right here." said Cap. "It's a layover pulley installed for
a window washer's scaffolding." He said, patting the red winch looking
hook nestled over the roof
edging wall. "I'll stay with you up here
until you get inside." Hank said, waving over a few firefighters
Roy and Johnny's safety lines. Then he hefted up his HT. "IC2 to HTs'
Lopez and Kelly. See
if you can find access over the clean room
from inside the terminal as a backup. Tear down the ceiling
if you have
to, near the entry team, to climb up."
##10-4, IC2.## they replied in double.
Stoker ran up to meet Cap on the roof of the ramp with news.
"Cap, looks like the way in through
the collapsed wall isn't
going to work. As fast as we dig out, more debris keeps
"That's all right. We have Plan C in the works." Hank told Mike.
"What's Plan C?"
Cap said, pointing.
Mike looked and saw the aerial angle being worked.
"Oh, nice." he grinned
Another team of firefighters accepted a rope gun toss from
the ramp and got busy securing
the other end of the rappelling anchor
line to a stable structure on top of the control tower. Then,
with the new
line dangling in the sunlight in a great sweeping arch over the fire burned
left by the fuel fire, things were ready.
Soon, DeSoto and Gage were dangling in mid air over
destroyed airport. The only signs of life were the brilliant reds and yellows
fire crews and their vehicles rushing about their business below.
"Ah, sad looking sight.." Gage
hollered back at Roy and he slid along their
rope as he accelerated hands over head down to their
"Not for long. People are resourceful. They'll build again." DeSoto
after him, just as fast.
Both paramedics found themselves counting their breaths and
exactly how many could be taken using a self contained
air bottle before it ran out.
before they sagged down for a landing near the fire hole, they put
on their faceplates and masks.
"Okay, let's go." DeSoto said. He froze their descent winch right over
the gap along the horizonal
rope, to use as a vertical tether point.
Then, they were inside the building.
"Chet was right, the infrastructure crawl spaces between the ceiling tile
and the roof is doable." Johnny celebrated. "And
there's the top of the clean room over there." he
said, aiming a flashlight
through the heavy smoke into the murk. "I recognize those red painted
pipes. They belong to that funky Tyco system thing. I had a look at them
through the doorway."
"Just so that fire cooperates with us and decides to behave a little."
"I don't see
why not. It's been mostly strangled out by that valve."
"Have you ever heard of Mount Vesuvius
and the eruption of Pompeii?
It didn't blow again until there was enough pressure to push out the
Gage frowned at that image. "Try and think positive. Usually, you're
telling me that."
When they were over the room, a great rumbling began.
paled through his mask. "That's not a good sound." he said,
whirling around to look behind them.
Kelly, near Lopez, radioed a warning to Gage and DeSoto.
"Ground rupture. Duck and cover!"
Roy and Johnny instantly flattened onto their stomachs over a firm
looked up from the foam truck engineering panel he was manning
as a stand in for a cool down break.
"Oh, crap." Then he started shouting.
"Guys! Doubling your output right now!" he hollered, quickly
and releasing valves.
Out in the airfield by the great big gaping hole the ruptured
had made in the tarmack, a new pool of fire emerged. Its energy
and quick temperature
change buckling the landscape and the crack
running to the medical center and parking garage widened
in one swift
The safety at the desk in the ramp, bailed and dove out of harm's way
as the first floor of the parking garage disappeared into the ground.
Nearby, Joe Rorchek radioed
out instantly. "IC1 to IC2. You and
your man okay up there?"
Cap waved as well as transmitting.
"We're fine. What was that?
There's a lot of dust rising up around us." he said, rolling nimbly
his feet. He helped Stoker up as well with a firm glove.
##First floor of the ramp collapsed.
Looks like the fuel pressure's
building up again because it's still burning. The only way down for
by rappelling along 51's line back over to the control tower.##
"Same escape plan idea
as mine." Hank agreed. "We'll get going
out of here right now by that route."
Al Martelli had his hands full. "Ready for more foam?! Thumb up?!"
he shouted to the silver suited
arff on his team. He knew he had
to provide and provide amply so personnel wouldn't fry.
anchored. Feed the line again!" they hollered and signalled
back. As one, the trio of fighters attacked
the fiery new split in the earth
and fought it to knockdown black all the way to the source from which it came.
Suddenly a fireman inside the building, only wearing standard
turnout gear and scba was enveloped
in flames. He didn't scream. He reacted,
spinning about with his water hose spraying strongly in a
He umbrellaed himself underneath a circle veil of water until the foam crew
get him out of the hot spot.
The head foam arff shouted. "Are you hurt?"
"No, I'm fine.
Wasn't on me long enough." replied the firefighter.
Behind him, the hose he had used and then dropped
when the opportunity
presented itself, burst open in the fire, curling brown and burning when its
engineer terminated its water source. "Thanks for the cover. Looks like
my angle's all dried
"Join us. We're going in to make an exit for the trapped Code I." the
foam captain invited.
"I'm all over that." said the company man, running to grab a silver suit.
Roy and Johnny began to
shimmey on their bellies, fast,
seeking a soft spot over the clean room when the shaking stopped.
DeSoto replied back to the others outside. "We're okay! We're
moving in!" he said, pulling out
a short axe.
"Here?" Gage asked, clearing away just enough soot to read
the guide markings
along the rafters to avoid gas lines and
hot water pipes. He tapped on the hollow roof's shell.
"Yeah, right there!" Roy agreed and started swinging the blade
of his hand tool down with all of his
Johnny shouted as soon as a man sized hole was visible.
"Chris! Chris! Can you hear
me? Bang on something!"
But they only heard the loud howl of Chris's P.A.S.S. device.
Roy lowered Johnny down onto the floor by the arms.
As soon as his feet touched the gritty floor
Johnny read the sensor
disk on his jacket. "Air's still not breathable in here. No oxygen!
with our new hole!"
"Do you see him?" Roy shouted down.
"Not yet. I'm going to let the
others in to help us out!" he replied.
"That agent gas is still waist high in here."
forward carefully, sweeping ahead of himself with
a booted foot for a feel of Chris's body underneath
the white vapor,
Johnny made his way to the main steel door. Regular tugging
didn't budge it,
so he backtracked to the Sapphire unit's battery power
source, and severed its wires with his axe.
With a pop of sparks,
the digital display showing gas activation, died out and went blank.
tugged the door open with relish when the locks released
and in flooded Chet and Marco, already pushing
back from the other
Another firefighter team with a pair of PPEs set them up and began
evacuating the dessicant from the room. Soon, the fans had sucked
out all the vapor from the floor
They found Chris by seeing just his booted feet, sticking out from
under a pile of tumbled
ductwork and a storage tank
that had fallen down during the new rupture fire.
"Is he breathing?"
Chet asked, scrambling near the debris to help
dig. The firefighter wasn't moving.
know. He's mostly buried. Chris!" Roy shouted.
On his knees, he reached up along a sweat dampened
leg to feel
for a femoral pulse. But the way was blocked by a wall of metal.
into his radio. "We need a Hurst tool ASAP!"
There was no immediate reply.
"I'll get it."
said Marco, running. "The others are probably tied up
with all that burn going on outside."
fan crew spoke up suddenly. "Okay, we're completely
ventilated out. Air's testing safe to breathe.
Plenty of oxygen."
Roy ripped off his faceplate gratefully and turned to Kelly. "Chet,
if you find a way to his face and give him some air anyway you
can. Johnny and I have to try for
that fuel valve one more time as a
Gasping in the thin air, Gage and Roy made
their way over to the
valve that had started flaming again when the clean agent disappeared.
foam team was desperately trying to cool it down.
Roy and Johnny waved at them. "Okay, we're going
in turn it!" he
DeSoto and Gage got on their stomachs and slowly
the cooler side of the valve pipe assembly, with a long pry bar.
Reaching up around
the tongue of fire erupting from the torn
metal gasket, they threaded the tool in between the spokes
the valve wheel. Then they carefully put their shoulders into it
lubricated valve rotated, groaning under the heat/cool
stresses it was enduring. Yelling, Roy and
Johnny pulled even
harder on the ends of the bar they were using as leverage.
But a building
rumble made them abandon the control quickly
and they dropped the tool to the floor to save themselves.
Rorchek broke off from the commands he was giving
via HT to his working fire crews when another explosion
from the original hole in the ground. "D*mn it! She just won't stay
down!" he spat
to himself, worried for his missing son.
He was still pacing as he watched his orders carried
out when a
man rushed up to him. "The garage is burning, sir. Over there!"
"We know that.
It just started. Just who the h*ll are you? You should
have been evacuated from this air field hours
"Uh, sir, I'm the bus driver. I was helping out your fire guys on the
ham radio.." he
prompted. "I have a pass." he said, waving his FD
authorization that was hanging around his neck.
"But I'm not being
a fire buff just because I can. Listen to me, Chief, I think there
still up there."
"Yes, we have two firefighters who're going to rappel out of danger
there as soon as they harness up."
The bus driver was insistent. "No, I mean, two other people.
and a little girl."
Joe's forehead furrowed. "Where did you last see them?"
the top level. They were heading for the stairwell from a car
last I saw. I guess they were trying
to hide there or something from
all the explosions."
Rorchek lifted the HT to his mouth. "IC1
to IC2. Belay! Belay your
evac! There's been a report of two civilians present in the ramp.
by an authorized. I want you to find them and get
them out of there. But watch yourselves. The lower
on fire. Just started. It's gonna take me a bit to get resources
out to you."
to IC1, loud and clear.## said Hank.
Very soon, Stoker and Stanley found them. They were still
the roof, hard to spot because of all the tall SUVS and vans
parked in the ramp.
to get down. Really I tried." said the little girl as Mike Stoker
picked her up protectively. "But
grandpa's really scared. I know that
even though he can't talk any more."
Hank studied the
old man's face for soot or injuries but there were none.
But he saw the unmistakable signs in him
of a vulnerable adult created by
the effects of a mild stroke that had happened long ago, in the wrong
"Honey? How old are you? Where's your mom and dad? Aren't they here
to take care
of you and your grandpa?" Cap asked her, brushing away hair
from her frightened eyes.
eleven. They were supposed to meet us at the car last night. But they
never got here." she said,
beginning to cry.
"Okay." Hank said, meeting Mike's eyes significantly. "Now Mike and I are
fighters from the airport fire station. And we're going to bring you
someplace else where we can try
to find your parents, okay? How does
"All right, I guess." she sniffed.
right. Now come on over here to this wall. We're going to get some
lifebelts and new ropes and then
we're going to go for a little ride. Would
you like that?" Cap asked her.
"I don't know. But
if you want grandpa to follow you. You're going to have
to take his hand." she said.
this?" Hank asked, taking the old man's gently and meeting his eyes,
giving him a follow me gesture.
"Yes. He'll go. Just smile at him." she explained, shivering bravely.
Once they were there,
Cap had Stoker sit the man down on a bumper
of a nearby car. Then he broke open a window of an airport
supply van with his helmet to borrow some blankets to help keep
their new victims warmer
in the cold.
Stoker got on his radio. "HT-51 Ramp to the control tower crew."
51.## they replied, still watching from their position
on the other side of the rappelling anchor.
"Send over a stokes and two life belts and ropes. We're going to
get two uninjured people, one
by one, from our location over to you."
##10-4, Sending over a guided basket
with gear, right now.##
got out of the fire engine she had hitched a ride
with to get back to the airport. Her head was helmetless,
nonetheless, she got out of the truck, rechecking the bandage
she had wrapped over the place
where she had yanked out her
I.V. She timidly made her way over to Joe Rorchek's location.
he said surprised. "How are you feeling? Did they release
you? There's no news yet." he said quickly,
distracted as he watched
Stoker and Hank's rescue in progress.
"No, I released myself. That
Cali doc left me a back door as long
as I finished my I.V. off completely. He made me a green tag
though I wasn't ready for it."
"Left you permission to walk on your own two legs." Rorchek
smiled in admiration for the man he had never seen. "He knew the
rest of us would do the
necessary bedside sitting for him."
"Don't worry, Chief. I left all my gear at home. I just wanted
here." she sighed, coughing.
"Sit down." Joe told her, inviting her to park on a pack
cushioned with a spare overcoat. "Glad you came. Now the both of
us can worry together."
"Make that three, firefighters." said a female voice.
It was Joanne Almstedt. "I
heard there was a possible red tag
on the way."
"Yeah, my son, Chris. He's still inside."
Joanne looked up, noticing the rope line strung between the
parking ramp and
the blackened quiet control tower. "What's
going on over there?"
"An aerial rescue. Don't worry,
just two stragglers. Nobody's hurt."
Rorchek told her.
"Not yet." Joanne surmised. "Looks dangerous."
she said with some
"Piece of cake." said Hallie, confident, watching with her
from the sun.
Joe's IC band shuddered into life. ##We've found him!## reported
Chet to the outside.
"Is he alive?" Joe asked eagerly, toggling his HT.
been able to reach a checkable pulse point. He's
under a debris pile.## Kelly shared.
startled, almost wanting to move forward towards the building,
but then he stopped himself.
##But the room's now breathable, sir.##
"Thank you for that update, fireman. Keep me posted."
##I'll come out to you with the gas sniffer report!## he said,
to prove to a father that what he was saying was the
Joe didn't reply back when his
voice choked up.
Joanne Almstedt reached for his arm in sympathy and Joe, without
her, placed his glove over hers in stiff gratitude.
Beside him, Hallie Green suddenly froze in
she minced. "Chief, look at that!" She said pointing.
On the roof of the
parking ramp, smoke was showing from a car.
It was on fire and a tendril of burning gas was slowly
the side of the ramp to the ground below as it flowed downhill.
Joe immediately got on the handy talkie. "IC1 to IC2. To your two|
o'clock! An incendiary flow's headed
in your direction!"
Hank and Stoker whirled. They saw the danger and quickly moved
line's pulley assembly and both their victims to a safer
corner of the ramp. ##Change noted!## Hank
Joe ansed. "There's isn't going to be enough time to stokes ferry
everybody over to
the tower. Another car is going to catch and possibly
explode, setting off chain reactions in other
cars. Not enough time to
raise any kind of a ladder.." he said, speaking mostly to himself. Then
he made a snap decision and broadcast a command over the radio.
"Companies 9, 12. Emergency!
Pull out a lifenet and bring it
to 51's location at the north side and east side ramp corner. We're
bailing two firefighters and two civilians, a.s.a.p.!"
Even as he spoke another car exploded
on top of the garage ramp,
making the little girl scream. It was very audible to the firefighters
and its effect was electric. They flew in even faster to help.
Joe added more. "Ladder
15, Ladder 6, Chopper 10. Aerial attack those
new ramp fires! Stay upwind!"
Swiftly, the tan
canvas net with the red bullseye, was ready, ringed by
a dozen firefighters holding it at the ready.
Cap leaned into the terrified little girl in his grasp, talking fast. "Pretend
this is gym class.
You're going to jump, and the men down there are going
to catch you."
"...no..." she said,
pressing away from the wall.
"You're going to have to, honey." he said, watching Mike desperately
the on fire liquid river from reaching them with a charged ramp fire hose on
wide open. "Just
close your eyes. It'll feel like a trampoline, I promise. But
without the bounce."
hurry, Cap! I can't hold this stuff off much longer!" Stoker hollered.
Still the little girl buried herself into Cap's smoky jacket.|
Cap was still trying to break the girl's
grip gently when a sudden sight
made both of them look up and stop the struggle.
climbing up onto the wall nimbly, a beatific smile on his
face. He raised his arms in a swan's dive
pose and then looked back
at his grand daughter excitedly. Then he just shrugged a very obvious
well,.. and turned away.
"Head's up!" Mike shouted into his HT when the old man neatly tipped
off the building into a perfect butt first and back faced down push off.
He landed exactly on
target over the red spot, but the excitement made
him faint dead away and suddenly his smile for
the girl's benefit, faded
"Nothing to it..." Hank told the child, with an amazed gasp.
did it, and he got to go first." Then he turned around, still holding the girl
his arms. "Mike, I'm going next just as soon as they clear the net." he
said, watching those down
below check for a carotid and swiftly move the old
man off to a place on the ground in a careful protective
"Mike, I'm going to show her again how much fun this is." Hank told
an artificial smile locked onto his lips. "So she can play, too."
"Oh, okay, Cap. Sounds
like a really nice game. I'll play those rules."
he said meekly.
Mike set down the hose, still
turned on, nestled neatly in grandpa's blanket
so that it continued to push away the burning gas flow
bigger and bigger and closer and closer, behind them.
Hank passed off the trembling
girl to Stoker and then he handed the girl
his HT. "You give a try with this first. Can you hit that
red spot? Go ahead.
Go toss it down. If you make it, you get five points." he said playfully, in
Calming down just a little, the still scared girl dropped it. The radio hit
"Bingo!" Cap said. Then he climbed onto the wall and waved once.
"Now follow me.." And he
fell backwards two stories, and down into
the net where his momentum was stopped by many strong arms.
The little girl's mouth flopped open into a shocked but delighted smile.
"Can I do that?" she
Stoker was still keeping an eye on the fire. "Sure.." he said, nervously.
rolled off the net and swiftly took a place at its rim as a holder. He
took back his radio from a
firefighter and called up. ##Your turn.## he said
as they raised the catch net back to chin level
with all eyes on the sky.
But suddenly, there was no more time. Three cars twenty feet away suddenly
exploded into a huge fireballs, sending shrapnel flying in all directions. Mike
felt a sharp impact
on his back. "Two going down!" he shouted, quickly
leaping over the edge with the little girl still
held tightly in his arms. He nestled
her head under his chin as they fell. "Hang on, honey. I got
you." And then
he held his breath.
Mike came to on his side, with
pain radiating between his shoulder blades.
A panting voice was right next to his ear.
still. You've got a big cut right here." Hank said, holding pressure against
a wound with his gloves.
"But it looks like your air bottle deflected whatever it was
that sliced your skin. It's shallow."
Stoker struggled to catch his breath. "Sorry,... about the extra weight."
"She was nothing
at all. You chose right." Stanley said. "Hold still and let me
get all this bleeding packed off before
you try to get up."
"How's the girl?"
"Fine. A few nicks and bruises about the face but
uh, Chet's taking care of that.
You know how good he is with kids."
little amnesiac. But that's only because he checked out a little early on
the way down. Our lady doc's
taking a good look at him, now that he's back awake
and looking up a storm at all of us."
The distant explosions in the main fuel fire ended and
as they eased off into a new phase of quiet
Roy and Johnny lifted their heads to once again tackle
the AV gas valve.
Gage asked DeSoto.
"More than ready. Let's end this once and for all. That fire's
time to ruin the neighborhood. " Roy told him.
Again the foam team smothered them with protection
advanced with the pry bar to turn the burning wheel.
The third time was a charm, when
one final spurt of lurid flame
around the violated gasket, sputtered out.
Roy and Johnny collapsed
on the iron tool, using its support to
hold themselves up in tremendous relief.
As if in benedication,
all of their radios sprang into glorious, joyous life.
##The main fire's out. No sign of renewed
blazing anywhere that we can
see inside the main terminal. Good job, men. Good job!## Joe
51's paramedics accepted the help back onto their feet from their
colleagues on the foam team.
They got a few pats on the back for risking
their necks so close to the red hot metal.
overheated prybar clanked back onto the foam moist concrete
floor as it was abandoned in favor of
saving an individual life again.
"Brackett coming here?" Mike winced as Cap began to cut away his jacket. He
decided to lay
his face back down onto the net to rest a while with his eyes closed.
"Yeah, we don't know whether
or not Grandpa has a seizure history or not with
that old stroke of his." Stanley answered, then
his voice changed. "Whoa."
"What?" Stoker asked quickly.
"I hope it's not bad news. Roy
and Johnny are back out here a little early."
Mike cracked an eye open, but his eyes were too
blurry with fatigue to
focus much. "I'd go find out." he suggested.
"Great idea. I'll be back
to autograph your bandages." Hank said,
patting his shoulder amicably.
"Oh, ha ha." Mike groaned
as another firefighter took Cap's place
as a first aider.
Sent: Thurs 12/03/09 23:34
From: patti k (email@example.com)
Dr. Joanne Almstedt looked up as she held Grandpa onto
while he got sick. The footsteps she had heard approaching
belonged to Johnny Gage and
"Any word on that firefighter yet in the clean room?" she asked
as she handed Grandpa
a cloth towel to use to wipe his mouth.
"We're still digging him out. It's slow going. But, we
alive and breathing. We get a really pink capillary refill back into
the skin of his
feet when we pinch them. We came out here to
find out whether or not that clean agent's poisonous
"I can sure find out." she said.
"We tried to reach you,
but you didn't answer your radio."
Joanne was embarrassed enough to blush.
She could still
see it sitting forty feet away on the hood of Joe Rorchek's
battalion car. "Oops,
I got kind of busy. This gentleman and his
charming princess of a sidekick decided to try a Superman
act off a burning garage ramp."
"Need help packaging them?" Gage asked.
"Naw, we've plenty
of help. Dr. Brackett's on the way to help
me figure out this man's neurology and cardiologic signs
before we let him back up onto his feet. He can't tell us if
this nausea's MI related or simply due
a post reaction to his
agrophobia." she smiled.
Nearby, Hank gaped. "He's got a fear of heights?"
She nodded. "His granddaughter told me about it."
"Sure as h*ll could have fooled me up there.
He was pure
Evel Knievel during his whole swan dive stunt. Didn't shake
an act. To save her. They're very devoted to each
other." Dr. Almstedt grinned.
Rorchek?" Hank asked Roy and Johnny.
"Thumbs up, Cap. First hurdle done. He's hanging in there.
Now all we have to do is find out whether or not he earns a week's
time off, or a year."
tangled up, huh?"
"No thanks to the fire." Roy said.
Then Joanne noticed a motion.
Dr. Brackett. Can you take over here? This case is
a syncopal episode following a life net fall. I
have to find out
a bit of crucial information for your two paramedics."
"Be glad to." Brackett
said. Kel noticed Hallie hanging back
in the wings, and gave her a conspiratory wink. "Looks like
everybody out here's gonna be okay. That firefighter inside
is going to be one of our last patients,
doctor." he said
"Really?" she asked.
"Yep. The other team of doctors finally
arrived from New Jersey."
"What took them so long?" Almstedt wondered.
plows. They did a lousy job of clearing the roads. They had
to keep stopping at every roadside accident
to help out until the fire
department paramedics got there, all night long."
"Must have been
a lot of them." Cap said.
"There were. Hundreds in fact, because of the odd early snowstorm.
But this airport suffered the worst weather related incident, by far." Kel
said as he studied Grandpa's
EKG reading. "Joanne. He's a little bradycardic.
But that's probably from the cold. I'm not seeing
much in the way of
abnormalities at all. Now l'll see if I can peg a good normal baseline
"Thanks. I'll be right back." she said. "Fellas. Let's go talk to Joe
about that reagent
of yours. If anyone knows what that chemical
actually was, it's gonna be him." she said, rising to
her feet. She handed
Kel Grandpa's already started I.V. bag, which he took quickly, to read the
to see what course of treatment she had already decided to do.
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