From: patti keiper (email@example.com)
Sat 5/09/15 11:01 PM
Subject: Dante's Inferno
Mike Stoker immediately leaped to a large section
of the parking lot that had no cracks in it to shield
his feet from the intense subterranean heat
and fire gushing out of every fissure surrounding them.
"I'm going to V-Tac-One to the park I.C.
I think that's the only way to reach anybody." he told Marco.
Lopez made the jump with him to
stable ground but had to butt lean on a light pole's base as his
breathing efforts came still agonizingly
slow. "Switching.. " he gasped, turning his own radio
to the new slot. "I'll start eyeballing victim
numbers while you.." he puffed, breaking off when he
ran out of breath..."get somebody on the horn.
I can't do much more than that yet." he said,
leaning his head down with his hands braced on his
knees to rest.
The parking lot was eerily empty of people amid the blast debris sprinkled cars.
could run, got out of Dodge. A good sign. Any who've died are probably still in the store
all that mess.:: Mike thought. "We're getting you looked at, first thing." Stoker promised.
Safety. Spot out any danger. I already see the asphalt sagging into the ground in a lot of
Come on. We're going to find a better spot than this."
Marco's face was dotted with
blood that wasn't his own. He grunted as he shifted back onto
his feet with care. He was in difficulty
and was no longer trying to hide it. "D@mn. This is a huge
red zone, Mike. Is there a safe place?
If there is, I'm not seeing it." Lopez coughed, intently
scanning the landscape as they limped out
into the open.
Mike slung Marco's arm over his shoulder to help him along. "Let's head for the
are cars there, maybe we can find somebody still level headed enough to pick us up."
said, watching drivers either panic flee or crash into pieces of burning roofing that had been
cast out by the gas explosion.
"In your dreams. They're civilians. They're going be doing
this crazy stuff all night." Lopez groused.
"They probably don't even see us. And what about Chet
and Johnny? I thought I heard them
reporting from right next door to us at the Y."
center couldn't be seen at all due to the black smoke column rising from the
ruined footprint of
the department store. It was being blown westward by the wind. The two
firefighters made a beeline
east and upwind, heading for clearer air. "They're victims until
we hear them deny it personally.
But we're not looking for them right now. Not with you like
this." Mike panted as he thought hard
about their immediate situation. "I won't let you."
"Marco.. you're hurt. Cap'll
have my hide if I let you do anything past lifting a few fingers in an
honest wave for help." Finding
a bus bench at the curb of the main drag, Mike deposited
Marco onto it just long enough to do that
electronically. The engineer toggled the priority PTT on
his handy talkie to broadcast over the new
priority channel. "Break. Break. Break. HT 51 to
Hancock I.C.. E-Emergency traffic. This is emergency
traffic from HT 51." his voice quavered.
There was an instant pause in F.D. chatter as all working fire crews fell into silence to hear|
transmission start. Battalion Seven acknowledged a return. ##HT 51, this is 7. I note
The channel's yours.##
"We're at the core of the blast, 3rd and Fairfax. Point of origin, K-mart.
The structure's totally
collapsed. There are high apparent civilian casualties inside. A major underground
fire is working
with widespread subsidence. Our region's talk tower is destroyed. I've one Code I
at my location.
Also two fire crew who may be missing. We need a bug out and a search." Mike concluded.
##Responding all available units to the perimeter of the incident plus 500 feet. Kicking P.D.
you. Hang tight, and listen for him. Sound off every five with your status. ## said the far distant
chief on the burning park's hillside.
"10-4. Will do. HT 51 out." Mike Stoker felt a wave
of relief wash over like a balm but he dared
not relax. Adrenaline was still making him shake in
a palsy everytime he moved. Thinking ahead,
he cracked open a nearby hydrant with his jacket tool
and let it run rampant in a protective
buffering fountain of water that began pooling at the fringes,
around their bus bench, in a noisy
geyser. ::Signal and solution.:: he thought. "Gotta love fire department
said out loud, grinning at Marco.
"Stoker, no way am I rolling in that water."
Lopez tried to joke tightly, in pain.
"You will if the street opens up straight into a fiery
H*ll. Then we'll both be begging for it.
You're forgetting how fast asphalt destabilizes when it
"Uh, yeah. I'm not enjoying remembering that bit of trivia. Why are we here at the
"It's the only thing not on fire." Mike said grimly, eyeing up the still normal pavement
stretching around and through their intersection along its seams.
Marco's eyes soon
shifted to the smoke column that was obscuring the sight of the YMCA.
"Come on. Come on, guys. Do
something smart. Tell us you're still alive and..." he broke off as
a horrid image of immolation
and flailing suddenly filled his head due to his overactive imagination.
Lopez seriously began worrying
about Gage and Kelly. And he began to look at his watch, counting
down every crawling second a man
might possibly spend while suffocating in a room full of ground
From: patti keiper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: Sun 5/10/15 8:53 PM
Stanley nearly levitated out of the engine cab when the eastern sky lit up in
a colossal explosion.
"Oh, no, no, nonono!" he shouted in a rage as a nightmare
scenario flowered into hideous life in front
them. He grabbed for his HT.
"Engine 51 to Squad 51.".. he hailed. *Hssst spap* There was only
It was then he realized that their usual channel tower had been lobotomized by the
of the blast. ::I'm definitely not seeing it on the hill any more. Fine. There's
a way around that.
We'll do this old school.:: he mentally decided. Hank brought
the engine to a stop along the nearest
curb and lit up every light he had on his panel to
advertise themselves as a beacon for any and all
who might find them.
Engine 51's feeble flashing lights under the setting afternoon sun became
out and indistinguishable from the eerie red color of the flames licking up from the earth
inside the sky scraper bowl of the downtown district far below them.
Snatching a pull cord fast,
he sounded the engine's airhorn in three short blasts to
break Roy, in the squad, out of his stunned
instinct to rush into the new fire zone.
He saw Roy kick on the squad's emergency lights, too, and
screech to a halt about sixty
feet ahead of both a hydrant and a street side payphone. They both
met each other on
the run in between their two vehicles. DeSoto had left the medical gear stowed.
him were pry tools and air tanks.
"Yeah those. And let's find a working channel!" he ordered,
keeping his eyes on the
twisting fire ball rising from the heart of where his men were. New flames
sickeningly widen everywhere and rise to waist level above every concrete fissure and
spot five hundred feet down the block. "Judas Priest! That's a monster pocket.
Roy, how big would
you say? He's gonna want to know a.s.a.p."
DeSoto was breathing hard as he fitted the last of
his breathing apparatus on over his
face and tested it. "Two, maybe three blocks long. And I'd say
about twice as wide."
"This is as good a staging area as any. We're on a rise with a good vantage
Cap nodded, flipping off the dead channel and onto the only other local fire department
He got on the horn. "Engine 51 to Hancock I.C."
##Go Engine 51.## replied the chief at the park
"Active subterranean burns are erupting roughly from La Brea Ave to La Cienega Blvd to
Pico and Melrose, encompassing all of the Miracle Mile neighborhood. We're setting up a
at.... Fairfax and Beverly one block west of what looks like a
medical center. I have a landline
option and water." he reported.
##10-4. Origin point was K-Mart according to one of your men.
He's with another.
Two of yours have not reported in. I've sent S and R their way. You are I.C. for
downtown. Maintain your post and start directing arriving fire to evacuate downtown
inside any coordinates
you stipulate. Make your medic head of triage in a sheltered
area next to you. Use full scba gear.
We don't know what gas is being fried.## came
"10-4, Battalion." Cap replied. "We're
in our tanks. I copy assume Incident Commander
Two with my paramedic as Triage One. Will affirm when
setup to relay is complete."
## I've got Copters Two and Ten in the air to be our eyes, I.C..
Roy looked up and saw a car hastily run up onto the sidewalk and onto a lawn. One
of the driver's sleeves was on fire. He and Cap grabbed out an asbestos blanket
and got there just
as the older man bailed out of his car. Quickly they snuffed it
as they tackled him flat to handle
"Firemen? I'm okay. I'm okay!! I think it was a cinder. What happened? It's raining fire|
said the gray haired man, shucking off what was left of his scorched shirt
to stop the heat.
"Gas touched off in a basement. How many people have you seen injured, mister?"
man fought for breath but DeSoto knew it wasn't medically related. "Not
one. Just ...just people like
me trying to get out."
"Okay.." said Cap, helping the man to his feet. "Get in your car and evacuate.
via Sunset. It's up to you whether or not to pick up anybody who's in trouble to take
a hospital along the way. Your safety comes first."
"I know that.. I.. I'll do it anyway." said
the driver. "God help any one who's still in the
middle of that." And then he was gone.
by one, then by the dozens, careening, tire squealing cars flew out of the downtown
the growing inferno forming along the cracks of the city. Nobody stopped
by Engine and Squad 51.
Cap and Roy began to feel very small very quickly.
"That was the K-mart I'll bet!" Johnny hissed, wincing from the aftermath of his ringing ears.
Kelly shook his head to regain back the rest of his equilibrium. ::Once again, my helmet's done
job.:: But then fear took hold. "Marco and Stoker were there, Johnny. It was a basement check."
cast his head about nervously as the power flickered around them and went out.
Gage remained mute,
hiding every reaction to that undeniable fact that he knew to be true.
When the deafening sound
of flaming debris falling onto the roof of the Y stopped, Chet and Johnny
looked up from underneath
the desk where they had hauled the screaming college receptionist.
She was quiet now, and dazed. She
didn't seem to see that the glass windows of the lobby
surrounding them had spiderwebbed in the force
of the explosion. "uh.." she grunted, finally
reaching up to her face. Kelly prevented her. "Gage,
she's got a large cut on the side of her head."
"Find something to put pressure on it. First check
for any glass." he told Chet.
Johnny took in a few deep head clearing breaths as he freed up his HT
from one of his
turnout pockets and fiddled with it. "These are dead." he shared, stuffing it back
into his jacket.
"Way ahead of you, Gage. Maybe that's only for this block." Kelly snorted. Then
he turned his
attention back to their first victim. "Hey, Alex. Are you with me yet? Tell me how
are here today. We're gonna need to know this so we can get everybody out."
she flinched as the curly haired fireman pressed a towel he had found from a used
gym bin nearby over
"Sorry. We have to stop the bleeding." he said to her. "Can you answer the question?"
"Desk top." Alex shivered. "We've a guest sign-in sheet. And there's a staff check-in list, too."
she whispered. "I'm so scared right now." The dusty red haired college student began to cry.
There'll be no more loud noises,.. I can almost guarantee that from what I'm seeing." Gage
down the slateboards with the names down into their shelter spot. He clicked on his
all the sidewalks are burning. We're going to have to come up with another way
outta here past the
front door. We've got another way to talk out though." he said, jabbing a gloved
finger at the desk.
"Got it." Chet said, grabbing the phone off of the desk and pulling it down to the floor where they
could reach it to dial out. "You got her?"
"Yeah." Gage said, beginning to examine Alex in
a little more detail with his light. "Looks
like this hemorrhaging's starting to clot up just fine."
he said for her benefit. "Alex, are you
hurting anywhere else? I'm a paramedic. I can do a lot about
that if you are."
"You're a what?" she mumbled. "I.... think I'm... I'm okay."
with bandaids, miss." Kelly added. "Even I'd let him at it."
"Maybe later.." she frowned. She
hadn't missed the flirting earlier on, one iota, from Gage.
"I've got a tone." Kelly said, holding
up the phone receiver. He dialed out to L.A.
"This is HT 51 in the YMCA off Fairfax and 3rd. Could
you let our I.C. know that we're
mobile and able and working on an escape route with the victims who
are in this building?
Yeah. Gage and Kelly of Station 51. ..OhHHhh. Our tower IS down. Yeah, we know
that. We'll check in occasionally on payphones and landlines when we find them. We're
injured. We've one girl around 22 who is, so far. A minor injury. Yeah, all right, every
to check in." He hung up the phone. Then he eyed up Gage as he finished taping
up a dressing over
Alex's laceration from a first aid kit he had found on the wall by the desk.
"We're to use Hancock's
channel only in emergencies. It's now captains and chiefs only."
"Terrific." Johnny scowled. "Maybe I should just use smoke signals instead of the phones.|
better once the city services kick up into high gear."
"Yeah, the lines are going to jam when
folks catch on about what's happening for sure."
Chet said. "Alex, do you think you can sit up back
into your chair. We'll let you rest a
minute or two before we start a building search."
I just leave now? The medical center's just down the block. I feel fine."
"It's not safe." Johnny
said, shaking his head. "If you come with us, we could
use your help since you know the layout of
"Okay." she said timidly. "I'll just go put my sweater on." she fake smiled half
heartedly without enthusiasm or confidence.
Kelly and Gage immediately shoved the desk over to
the windows and climbed on
top of it until they could look out above the shattered lattice cracks
on all the
lower panes of the windows.
"Subsonics. Definitely a basement blast." Johnny commented
to Chet. "Glass's
intact by the ceiling."
"Wind's east to west." Kelly added. "And steady.
The column's all black."
"What are you guys doing up there?" Alex asked once she had the two name
slates and the first aid kit stuffed into her purse to carry along.
""We're reading the smoke
changes." Johnny replied, eyeing up the deepening dusk sky.
"What are you? Part Indian?" she said
sarcastically, folding her arms over her elbows
to hold some heat in.
Gage grinned crookedly
at her. "Yeah." And then he actually chuckled. "Okay, Chet. Time
for the first sweep." He grabbed
up a shovel from the closet to use if they needed it as
a break through tool.
a coat to put on over your clothes from a closet or from your locker. It'll
protect you from anything
sharp." Kelly suggested, pulling out his own flashlight.
"I've got a rubberized rain coat." she
"That'll work." Gage said. "Where's the closest spot to check first for people?" he asked
"Uh, the pool. Ned's got a swim class going on right now. Five kids on the register." Alex
"Uh huh. And next?" Johnny said, reaching out for her hand to guide her over some debris
on the floor in the dark.
"The playground. Steve has two sets of parents with one toddler each
"Any others?" Gage prompted, halting in front of a closed door to feel all edges of
it first for
hidden fire heat.
"No. Just us three and those folks."
"Okay. Are you
ready to go into the back?" Chet asked, reaching for her other hand.
Fear suddenly gripped the
young woman. Whatever calm she had gained being with Johnny
and Chet suddenly evaporated. Alex shook
her head, tearing up as she gripped their gloves
in her icy cold fingers.
"You'll do fine.
We won't go anywhere dangerous." Johnny assured her.
From: patti keiper <email@example.com>
Date: Sun 6/14/15 10:06 PM
Mike Stoker made it a point to not step into the
street where hundreds of panicking
drivers continued to flee the downtown area. He kept himself between
and where Marco was seated on the bus bench at the corner of the intersection.
whirling in place, checking and double checking all the burning places
on the asphalt surrounding
them for signs that the ground underneath was
beginning to sag and collapse. So far, the concrete
His head literally shot up when he heard a familiar siren begin to grow from the
It was Vince, weaving his way, Code 3, against the traffic flow of the mass evacuation,
for their position.
Mike switched to the squad's private police band. "Officer Howard. Sight
for sore eyes.
Is there still an escape route working? Marco's injured." he stated through the radio.
Howard nodded his head as he angled the car towards the uptraffic flow and
left his lights on
and flashing to deflect any drivers away from the two firefighters.
"We're fine that way!" he hollered,
leaping out of the police car to open up the rear
door so he could take on his riders. "How's he
doing?" he said, moving his own radio
so that it dangled from a strap on his wrist, freeing his hands
"Getting a bit worse." Mike replied as Vince helped him support Lopez onto his
carefully guided him into the rider cab of the squad with both of his arms
over their shoulders.
"I'll head straight to Triage. I grabbed a med bag and oxygen before I came.
the back seat with you." he said, hurrying back to the driver's side. Howard
got in, turned his siren
back on, and took off, doing a U turn hastily to reorient with the
evacuation route so he could weave
in and out, and around traffic, at will, at a faster
Lopez's head began to lull so
Mike tipped his head back over the edge
of the seat below the rear window to keep his ability to breathe
"This is bad, Mike." Marco gasped, trying to focus his eyes.
"Not you." Stoker
corrected. "Maybe out there perhaps. Now shut up and just
breathe." he said, fitting on an oxygen
mask over Marco's bruised face. "I'm going to
look for other issues. Yelp if I find one." he said,
and began to test the extent of Marco's
injuries by probing touch.
Vince got on his squad
radio and keyed up the mic. "Squad 9 to IC-2." he radioed.
##IC-2 to Squad 9, go ahead.## came
a transmission from Hank.
"I've got two of your men, headed to your location. We need immediate|
medical assistance!" Vince shouted
over the noise of the sirens.
Captain Stanley's reply was preceded by a quick relieved explosive
##10-4, Vince. Bring 'em home. DeSoto and a doctors-and-nurse team from
the La Brea tar pit
museum are aware and waiting. What's your E.T.A.?##
"Two minutes." Vince said.
fingers sank into a soft spot just below Marco's ribs along
the right side of his back. Lopez jerked
away from his hands in pain
and immediately started to heave with nausea at the movement.
engineer pulled off his oxygen mask. "Sorry. Get your head down if
you're gonna puke. I had to find
out where you got struck." he said, guiding Marco's
head so it was between the man's knees and supported
it there, fully expecting
some projectile vomiting. But Marco waved his hand in a weak denial.
"It's over.. it's over.." Lopez gasped. "Gimme that back." he said
reaching for the O2. "It's gotta
be a kidney, Mike. I remember this pain.
From high school football practice.." he grunted, sitting
back up stiffly,
frightened..."I've felt it once before, after a nasty tackle."
"Are you bleeding
from there?" Stoker asked, cutting away Marco's T-shirt
from his throat and stomach.
feel like I have to piss at all." Lopez told him. "I'll take that as a...
...good sign." he said tightly.
Mike nodded, reaching up to take a carotid pulse count. "Last thing you
want is a ruptured kidney.
Any red pee will earn you a date with a surgery
table faster than one of Chet's water cans going
off." he tried to joke.
Marco didn't smile as he puffed in small breaths of oxygen around his
back pain. "I hope they're both okay. There's been nothing on the radio."
he said, holding up his
own in a shaky hand. "What if they didn't make it
out, Mike?" he said, beginning to get agitated in
his shocky state.
"Quit freaking out, Marco." Stoker said, letting go of the firefighter's neck.
You're at 120 for a pulse." He glanced out all of the squad windows. "Looks totally
to me. Think about it. This is just a mess with no horizontal bodies lying around
for blocks. The
only ones we know about were in our store. And Gage and Kelly
weren't there, amigo. Major point in
their favor. That was a single basement explosion
which you mostly blocked with your butt, my friend.
You probably saved their *sses
Marco tried to laugh, finally. And winced. He hung
onto the engineer's hands
to help keep himself still as tears of stress leaked down his face. "Okay..
Estoy convencido." he whispered tightly. "Ow.. p-pain's going up. About an eight now."
"I'll let them know." Mike said, getting worried at the cool temperature of Marco's
skin despite the heat. He turned to the plastic partition separating Vince from them
it. "Step it up, Vince. He's got intensifying problems."
"Doing it." said the police officer.
From: patti keiper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sun 8/23/15 1:37 PM
Subject: Boiling Point
Dr. Brackett returned to Dixie McCall inside
the base station. "How bad is it?" he asked,
glancing at the run sheet tally Dixie had set out in
front of her under a poised pencil.
"Not too many calls yet with surgical candidate type injuries.
Most were victims
I could handle without needing a doctor." Dixie answered, changing out the master
reel they all turned on when accepting paramedic transmissions. With her other hand,
hung up the red phone receiver she had been holding on a shoulder, back onto its cradle
on the wall.
"The fire department dispatcher said there's a Code I to process through their
triage area in a minute
or two. Hang around?" asked the head nurse.
Kel eyed up the waiting room through their enclosed
alcove windows and didn't see anything
urgent as walk-ins from the downtown area explosion. Nor were
there any ambulances past
routine sitting at the E.R. entrance. "Sure. Looks like all of the burn
cases are going to Cedars
Sinai. Joe'll be happy about that. What's the firefighter's issue?"
"Blast injury. Secondary impact against a wall from what they've been told. This one's the
"Ooo." Kel winced in sympathy. "Is he conscious?"
"Yes." she answered. "Roy's
Triage Head according to this." she said tapping her notes.
"And our assisting doctors Welby and Kiley,
along with Consuelo, their nurse from the family
practice, are the attending Medical onsite."
"Don't tell me, they haven't been issued fire department radios."
"All true. Not even a spare
paramedic biophone. You're going to have to like being
kept in the dark tonight. Sorry, Kel." Dixie
Brackett's ire grew more crusty.
"Where's Brice? He told me a few hours ago
that Station 51 re-deployed with
his Station 61 for an earlier ground gas sweep. Fat lot of good that
did. He'd be a
good one to handle that fireman during his transport here." Brackett said, reading
her call station log.
McCall shrugged, not even looking up at the paramedic rescue run status
on the wall next to them. "Kel, both firefighter crews are probably finding themselves caught
up in this whole mess. They were out in the area." she said of the underground fire
"I haven't heard a peep from Craig all day. You've got me beat there. When
did you last see him?"
she asked, worried.
"Around nine this morning." he looked at his watch. "Ten hours ago? He and
brought in a broken toe case." Kel frowned.
"Fun." Dixie remarked flatly, raising
her eyebrows. "Too bad the rest of the night won't be half
as boring at that."
me." Dr. Brackett groused, moving a stool over so he could park next to her
to review the new disaster
related cases on the patient charts Dixie was preparing. "Give
me what you've got on the firefighter.
I'll brain storm. Then see if you can find Brice to take
this victim's run." he snapped.
"Sticking like a tick to L.A. County Fire." she snorted efficiently, picking up the red |
to dial out. "I think we've enough clout to nab a Battalion's ear long enough
to arrange that."
"We'd better have." Kel growled. "Tell the chief I require direct expert combat injury experience
his downed man. That ought to move a few mountains."
Dixie grinned sharply in appreciation of
his plan. "Using the words 'blown up' amply."
"Works for me." Dr. Brackett replied.
Roy glanced up at the sight of Vince's patrol car arriving with its reds on. On instinct,
automatically stepped in the direction of Squad 51.
"Park it." Cap warned quietly. "You're in
charge. You're going to have to let someone else handle
"I was just going to set up
for them." DeSoto ansed, watching Drs. Kiley and Welby rush over
to intercept and open the rear passenger
door. He saw Consuelo Lopez quickly flag over two helpers
carrying a spineboard from Staging.
"We delegate. We don't do, in these roles." Hank said apologetically. "Your job's the bigger picture.
Marco's here. You're going to have to be happy with just that." Stanley said firmly. "No. Turn your
If you can't see what's going on with him, you won't find yourself getting distracted. You're
messed up because the others are still partially in hot water."
"Flames more like."
DeSoto mumbled, finally tearing his eyes away from the activity surrounding their
friend to meet Cap's
tightly controlled ones.
"Hush. You heard Battalion. Gage and Chet have checked in. They're still
actively on duty.
And Stoker will be over here telling us any nitty gritty paramedic thing you wanna
know before you
can spit twice."
DeSoto sighed in frustration. "But--"
"Be. My. Head."
Cap quietly warned. "I find myself in those shoes you're currently feeling cramped in,
all of the
time. Marco's breathing, Roy. I can see that from here. You'll find out soon that that's enough
a fact to last you until the end of this call. Now get back to Check-In. Looks like there are three
green tags and a yellow waiting to see you."
"Okay. If you say so, Cap. Can I ask who's got him?" DeSoto asked unhappily, angry.|
"That's good enough for me." he said finally, returning back to his place by the side
of the fire truck strewn boulevard.
The YMCA was getting hotter. But Chet Kelly knew that it wasn't the building that was burning.
heat was coming from the ground beneath their feet. "Bit of a hot foot, eh, Alex?"
he joked as Gage,
he and the college aged girl receptionist made their way down
the dark hallway.
on Kelly's shoe. Hard. "Nothing like a foundation slab three feet
thick to stand on. Solid as a first
class WW II bunker. We're perfectly safe."
he grinned widely. It was entirely fake, engineered to
damage control the hellbent
firefighter's humor that Chet had let loose to blow off some mental steam.
wasn't any emotional steam.:: Gage fumed inside of his head. ::We're not in enough
danger yet for him to do any of that.::
The wide eyed stunned look on Alex's face that had been
beginning to form went back
the way it had come. She giggled nervously. "Too bad we can't all just
jump into the pool. I'm sure the water's still nice and cool."
Johnny and Chet's heads snapped
around suddenly, and they looked at each other with
Oh-Sh*t shock. Gage suddenly grabbed the girl's
hand and began hurrying them along,
following the signs leading the way to the inside swimming pool.
"Come on, we gotta hurry.
Move!" he urged.
"W-What?" the girl stuttered, trying to master her
roller-coastering sense of alarm.
"We forgot. You guys have a chlorine pool here." Johnny explained.
"If any part of the gas
that exploded earlier's methane, there's a chance that sunlight can set it
off in a chain reaction
that'll blow up again."
Alex let out a frightened sob. "Oh no. Ned
and the kids! I'm sure he's got them in the water.
It's in our protocol to get everybody wet if there's
no escape possible in a fire."
Chet got to the door they needed and tried to shoulder his way
through it. It didn't work.
"Try the key?" Gage suggested, looking at Alex.
"I don't have
it. Ned's got it."
Both firefighters renewed their efforts to break through.
blocking the way in." Kelly hissed, working hard.
"It's gotta be the door jam. The explosion must
have warped it. Let's try the shovel as a pry bar."
Gage suggested. "Chet.. They've got side glass
in there..." he said urgently. "I can see the sunset."
"Is that enough?" Chet grunted, as he and
Johnny strained to force the hinges open.
"We've got ample heat." Gage hissed back, his face turning
even redder with effort.
"It's gonna be Chloromethane and Hydrogen Chloride. Won't be fun breathing
in there if it's
already started... *gasp* chain reacting. Brown gas first, right over the water's
They both worked desperately harder until both their muscles and voices were screaming.
The aluminum framed pool entrance door gave way with a bang against the wooden wall panelling
and the two of them staggered inside, dropping the shovel with a loud clang onto the pool's tile
They saw that Ned and the five children were indeed in the shallow end all huddled together
a knot of arm hugs. They were just beginning to cough. But they were in the shade and
out of the worst
of the almost hidden chemical reaction.
"Ned! Get out of the pool! Get them all out now!" Johnny
warned the male counselor.
"We'll help you!" Alex said, gesturing for the kids to come to the
ladder so she could
help them up.
Chet Kelly busied himself for ten seconds, hurtling a sturdy
steel garbage can against
an exterior glass wall that was facing away from any westerly direction,
away from the sun.
The glass shattered and immediately, outside air flooded in to dilute the forming
that no one could smell, but could only see as the slightest coffee colored haze on top of
the water that was slowly writhing like a boiling froth.
"Hurry! Go this way!" Kelly warned Ned. Snatching up the last child|
from the water, Chet ran with
the others through the hole he had made through the
deck window. Looking back as they ran for the
playground and the others they wanted
to find, he saw the dangerous muddy gas dissipate as silently
as it had formed just
at the same moment the sun slipped below the horizon over the mountains.
"We're out far enough.." Gage panted, checking each frightened crying kid out in turn
for any wheezes
or asthma signs. He found none.
"It's over. The stuff stopped." Chet agreed.
that all about?" Ned startled, grabbing up a few abandoned towels on the
patio sun chairs for the
children to use in the growing night chill. "I thought we'd be
safe in the water. The sidewalk out
Chet stooped over, catching his breath as he flagged over the last YMCA staffer
the two sets of parents and toddlers from where they had taken refuge up a climbing
of domed monkey bars to get off the ground. "Two bad gases." he said,
holding up two fingers. "Were
mixing... You had no idea..." he puffed.
"We were this close to having another explosion.." Gage
added, breathing hard with
relief as he held up pinching fingers.
"J*sus!" paled Steve as
he took the slate Alex handed him to double check their
attendance roster. "Can we get out of here?"
"We're gonna have to wait for full darkness. Believe it or not, by the Y's still the
to be with its thicker floor base concrete. Nightfall will let us see
the fire glow where the gas
is coming through these ground cracks. Maybe then
we'll see a safe enough way out to our fire trucks."
Chet considered their options. "Up on the roof's gonna be too cold for the kids.
The wind's picking
"Too smoky for a chopper pick up. No place to land." Gage added. "Let's call
and Rescue to bug us out. They've had more time to check out
all of the blocks that are still burning."
"Where's the nearest fire door?" Chet asked, turning to Ned, Steve and Alex.
tree." Steve answered. "Why?"
"We're breaking our way back inside to get to the same front lobby
phone we used
before to summon a ride out of here." Kelly replied.
"I'll smash open a few vending
machines. We could all use a little food and a lot
of soda." suggested Alex.
"Atta girl. Now
that's what I call getting into survival mode." Gage grinned
at her professionally.
dismay, Ned just shrugged. "Insurance'll pay for it."
Then he followed Gage and Kelly, herding their
charges in the right direction for
the fire door.
Alex smiled back at Johnny as they walked.
"You guys can skip the force tooling
this time. I've got a key for this one."
From: patti keiper email@example.com
Sent: Sun 8/23/15 11:34 PM
A victim awoke in the heart of all the chaos, only a few hundred yards
away from the basement
that had self destructed in the ground gas explosion
three hours earlier. The woman blinked grit and
blood out of her eyes as she
tried to suck in more than just a partial breath once again.
fallen fire extinguisher was the only thing keeping a heavy steel rafter beam
from crushing her to
death the rest of the way.
All she could think about was the fact that her pinky and ring fingers
of her hands were still tingling. ::That's cervical damage. Or at least.. some
bad pressure on a neck nerve. :: she thought analytically to herself.
::That's definitely what Roy
would say to me.... if he was here.::
It had taken Roy DeSoto's wife almost three hours after
Marco and Stoker had
fled Kmart, to wake up fully and figure out exactly what had happened to her.
Joanne had long ago given up shouting over the sound of the angry sidewalk flames
hungrily consumed the upwelling ground gas coming out of the earth.
She had been in one of the
fitting rooms, zipping up the back of a really fine sun dress.
That's what probably saved her life.
She had had two walls between her and the main
department store space's expansive window glass. They
had offered her some protection
from most of the raw force of the explosion and all of the flying
Joanne had learned that there was absolutely no chance of being heard from where she |
Her best yell didn't even penetrate the obstacles and echo anywhere else
that was bigger. She realized
that she would have to wait until rescuers searched out
the tiny room she was inside of within the
shattered footprint of the store.
A crumbling piece of the roof began to rain down more choking
dust into Joanne
DeSoto's face at a wind gust through a new hole. She could see the guttering glow
the night sky as it warred with some faint fire light. Stars and sparks both, began
in the tangling smoke above her.
"Oh, why did I have to go shopping today of all days? I should
have stayed home
with the kids after school." she gasped as the pain in her neck from the weight
of the fallen beam grew. Futilely she tried to push it off with numb palms that were
with sweat from the heat. But Roy's wife had only succeeded in shifting it
to a more painful pinching
as it lay on top of her heavily bruised throat. The sudden
increased pressure made her heartbeat
slow down to a crawl. "Uggghh. Not again."
she gurgled, feeling another black out coming on. "Can't..
She kicked out, fighting back to consciousness and one of her gym shoes connected
something soft and yielding. Joanne suddenly stilled, her horror blossoming.
Her struggling mind
figured out exactly what the obstacle was. "Oh, I'm so sorry.."
she murmured. "I didn't know you
were.. there..." she whispered.
As she had rested that first wakeful hour, she had identified
three people who were
lying dead next to her in her particular jumbled mass of debris. Her foot had
found a fourth person, nearly unrecognizable except for the soft give of their body.
fresh surge of blood tang and sour stool in the air confirmed another disturbed
corpse and increased
her nausea. Joanne struggled to breathe. Without ever having
experienced it before in her life, she
knew that it was the stench of death. Several
long minutes later, Joanne fought down some stupidly
irrational rising panic, and
worked once again to stabilize the beam that was holding her prisoner.
::Why don't I hear anybody from the fire department?:: she thought weakily as she
began to twist
a few wire hangers together to make a hook with some reach.
::Is the collapse zone really that big
around me? Those sirens are so far away..::
She began to pant, her suffocation deepening. ::Did I
tell Craig Brice where
I was going on the payphone earlier? I-I can't r-remember..::
DeSoto began to cry softly in the darkness as she fumbled and dropped
her careful crafting. Her fingers
had gone completely numb.
She felt her whole body begin to rag doll and the world faded away
in a flood
of tears and retinal blood.
Marco Lopez began to pant, despite wearing oxygen.
"No, don't let go." said Dr. Steven
Kiley as he bent over the technicians
removing the firefighter's clothes to conduct a full hands on
"Keep your gut tight for just a little bit longer. We're rigging up a MAST suit
help you out."
Mike Stoker tipped back Marco's head a little farther for more breathing
"Did he give up respiring on you at any time?" Steven asked 51's engineer.
"Not at all. Maybe got the wind knocked out of him for a minute or two."|
Mike replied. "He got really
stiff and sore though. Pretty fast."
Dr. Marcus Welby nodded at Nurse Consuelo who began taking
a quick blood
pressure. "What hurts, son?" he asked Marco with a comforting smile that warmed
down to his very bones.
"Lower.. right.. back." the fireman gasped, trying not to move a muscle
he felt himself get rolled onto his side next to the trousers that had been set
on top of the spinal board he was on.
"Let me see.." said Marcus, probing the area with expert
fingers. He found an area of
active guarding that was spreading to Marcos' abdomen over a flower of
fresh red and
black bruising. "Ah, kidney punched perhaps."
Mike Stoker spoke up. "I checked
him out pretty closely on the way here.
There's nothing else going on except this."
took the engineer's assessment with a grain of salt and spoke up. "All right.
We're through. Position
him on his back again and start pumping up the leg
chambers first. One by one. Consuelo?"
78 over 44." she reported. "Not too bad." she shared with a shrug for their
listening patient. "I
think he's snapping out of getting stunned doctors. His color's good."
"Wrap him up well in some
blankets after securing the board's straps. We'll skip
the cervical collar. I don't think it's necessary.
I agree with Marco's friend. I'm not finding
anything else further that's off." Steven told Marcus
as he finished examining the
fireman's soot dusted head and neck.
Welby nodded with satisfaction.
"Up the O2 to full liter flow. Let's start a precautionary I.V.
of Normal Saline, wide open, to get
ahead of all this sweating." he ordered. Then his smile
returned into Marco's view. "We can use the
fluid line to administer a pain med, Marco.
Do you want anything right now?"
Marco tried to
answer but just a grunt came out.
"That's sounds a yes to me." Kiley said, checking out Lopez's
eyes with a pen light. "They're
dilated. I'll give him five milligrams Meperidine, pushed."
leg's done." said a technician.
"Wait on the second until we get another reading." Kiley told
the others as he handed Lopez's
intravenous bag to Mike Stoker to hold.
Consuelo took a BP
on Marco's opposite arm. "Finally climbing, doctors. 88 over 60."
"Take another one when both
the suit's legs and half the abdominal chamber are inflated."
estimated Marcus. "I think that far
will do the trick."
Marco felt some blissfully warm blood begin to rise into his face. The MAST
squeezing pressure felt good and his pain was easing off greatly even before his narcotic
was injected. "Do you think anything's ruptured..inside?" he asked Dr. Welby, patting
of the suit he was in for emphasis with one of his shivering hands.
"Do you feel like you have
to go to the bathroom at all?"
Marco shook his head. "I'm just thirsty."
"Then I'd say
a definite no on a rupture." he replied. "We felt only normal outlines of all
your abdominal organs
on palpation. I'm hearing peristalsis now through my stethoscope.
So your intestines and colon are
largely uneffected. I'd say you're suffering from a bruised
area of your renal plexus. We'll know
more once we get you on a heart monitor.
A blow kidney wise will effect your aorta's stroke volume
temporarily. It's mostly
why you're feeling crappy right now. Your current hypotension supports this
It's why we've put you into the anti-shock trousers. For comfort's sake, not because
bleeding out anywhere."
Nurse Consuelo chuckled at a third BP finding when the suit reached the
psi levels the doctors
wanted. "120 over 72."
Marcus's eyes twinkled and he leaned close to
Marco's ear. "How's your breathing now?"
"Better. Much. Thanks." he murmured under the effect
of the medication.
Dr. Kiley rose to his feet and waved over a Mayfair crew with a gurney. "He's
ship out. Where's his paramedic?" he asked them.
"Right here." said Craig Brice as
he ran up to them from the street, peeling off his turnout
coat and helmet. "I just got the request.
Hello, Mr. Lopez, how are you doing?"
Marco was drifting in a doze inside of his cocoon of blankets.
He didn't answer him.
Brice frowned and looked up at the others.
Dr. Welby ducked his head
in explanation. "Ah, that's the meperidine we gave him. His aorta's
spasming due to a lucky plexus
hit. Getting a strip's highly recommended, sir." Marcus suggested.
"I'll get one right away."
Brice said, all eyes and hands on his patient, gathering information
tactilely and through his own
observations. "Dr. Brackett and Ms. McCall will want his telemetry
sent in as soon as possible."
"Here are our notes." Nurse Consuelo said, passing off her vital signs sheet carbon with the |
treatment steps, medication dosages and time stamps. "We'll save the original for
his coworker paramedics
to eyeball. They're probably chafing at the bit about it as we
speak." she said, tearing off the color
coding on Marco's triage tag to yellow.
"That they are, ma'am. The exact man you want to see for
delivering that to is Roy DeSoto.
He's by Engine and Squad 51 right over there." Craig replied.
"I'll take it." volunteered Stoker. "I'm freed up until I see my captain for new orders."
"..will be passed along to Captain Stanley,..er I.C.2, expeditiously." Craig
"I'll hold you to that. See you back at the station."
The sound of a very loud EKG monitor's irregular bleeping startled Marco
out of his drugged stupor.
"Ahhh!...Is that me?"
"Yes, Mr. Lopez. It's nothing to worry about. You're reading NSR with vagal
artifacts." replied Brice when Marco decided to open his eyes and join
does that mean, Brice? I don't speak paramedic." he sighed wearily.
"It means your heart thinks
it got the wind knocked out of it like your lungs
did earlier when you hit the wall." Craig replied
frankly. "Excuse me. I've got
Rampart on the line."
##Answer me, Brice!## came Kel's order
through the biocom. ##What's the
"Our patient asked a question about his cardiac
I answered him."
There was a short silence on the other end of the biophone.
an improvement. What's your E.T.A.?##
"Three minutes exactly."
another set of vitals and report back to Nurse McCall with those in
two minutes. I'm going to arrange
for a second opinion on all of your reported
Marco chuckled muzzily. "I trust
those other doctors. Why doesn't Dr. Brackett
trust those other doctors?"
Brice didn't even
bat an eye as he covered the phone receiver. "It's because
they don't work together on a regular basis.
It's a character flaw." Then he got
back on the frequency. "10-4, Rampart. Stand by for another
strip on Lead II."
Marco almost laughed out loud. But then he remembered
his much abused renal
plexus and didn't tempt fate.
Johnny and Chet jumped down off of Urban Search and Rescue's Engine 103
in the Triage area.
"Thanks for bailing our butts out, guys. We'll take charge
of these YMCA folks and get them processed."
The lieutenant who had driven the USAR's Quint, leading the way for the
evacuation bus loaded
with their victims, waved a hand and left to go back
to Staging for a reassignment.
helped Alex the receptionist down the steps of the bus. "You're
first, miss. There are doctors right
over there who can take a look at
your head cut." he said, tying on a green torn triage tag to her
a stack of tags a fireman handed out to him in passing.
"What about the others,
the parents and kids?" she asked, still pumped up.
"They're no longer your responsibility. They're
ours. See?" Johnny Gage
replied, waving over Nurse Consuelo who suddenly appeared with a handy
chair for Alex. "Everybody gets checked out. My paramedic partner's
Head Of Triage, and he's not going
to take no for answer. So sit and relax."
he invited. "We insist." he said when she didn't immediately
Consuelo raised her eyebrow at Gage about Alex. "She's minor." he shared.
gas effects on these kids and one of those male YMCA staffers.
Hydrogen Chloride and ground methane."
"What about you two?" she asked.|
"We're okay. Look, we've got to go touch base with our captain.
got to see Roy about a friend of ours who probably came in here to see
mean Fireman Lopez? Good last name. It's the same as mine."
"Uh, yes ma'am. But that's not exactly
what I--" Johnny stammered.
"He's already shipped out." she replied, grinning happily.
What was his condition?" Gage gaped, fearing that the worst came
for Marco such as his becoming a
red tag priority transport.
"Oh, we found him moderately shocky, but after treatment, he left
as very stable."
the nurse replied.
"That's .. really good to know." Chet Kelly piped up, visibly
"Come on, Chet. We're done. No offense ma'am,..Alex.." Johnny
said, being diplomatic.
"...but we've got to run." Kelly finished, "Duty calls, love." he grinned at the
"I hope we never meet again." he said, leaning into Alex's ear
She smiled at Chet,
Kelly dragged Johnny off with him to report in to Captain Stanley and Accountibility
before Gage could counter his excellent one liner invitation with one of his own.
From: patti keiper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: Sun 9/06/15 12:12 PM
Subject: Shared Wings
Full darkness had descended, but the night was still hot and stifling.
Mike Stoker spied where
Roy DeSoto and Hank Stanley were standing at the edge of the
triage area along the avenue. A row of
ambulances were waiting to take in victims, with
their lights flashing to ward off any civilian traffic
still distracted by the disaster, near
their loading zone. Hancock Park's fire flare was dying down,
glowing eerily blue in
what street lights still had power around the La Brea neighborhood.
The usual land/sea breeze had situated itself in for the night into a steady easterly direction.
engineer saw that air bottles were no longer needed around Station 51's streetside
staging area because
of it. The fog meant guaranteed fresh air.
The sight of his stationmates was a relief even greater
than knowing that he and Marco had
made it to safe ground. "Cap!" Stoker shouted.
up from the row of handy talkies he had inherited with his position as
second Incident Commander that
were lined up on the Engine's running board.
"Hey, pal. How bad is it?" he asked eagerly, for news
of the downtown earth fire.
Another voice cut in eagerly from around the back of Engine 51.
"Never mind that, how's Marco?" Gage demanded, with Chet following close at his heels.
Gage interrupted him, spotting the care notes in Stoker's hand. He snatched them up.
"Well, why didn't you say so?" he said, reading Dr. Kiley and Welby's notes quickly.
yellow tag. He's already with Brice. Chet, I think we can relax now."
Johnny sighed, ignoring his
captain and Stoker's bemused expressions.
A third voice started up. It was Roy's. "Really?...
He's..he's going to be fine?" DeSoto
stuttered, taking the sheets from his partner's grip in ginger
disbelief. He finally
summoned enough bravery to start eyeballing what the doctors had written down.
"Says right there." Gage grinned.
"Let me see!" said Chet, grabbing the notes out of Roy's
"Kelly, you can't read those." said Johnny, admonishing. "They're in doctor
Give them back."
"I'll take those." interjected Hank neatly, rescuing both his authority
and Marco's triage
papers. "Used to forms. I can read anything."
"But.." Chet protested.
"I'll translate for you, Chet. Roy, read over my shoulder." Cap suggested.
"Fastest way to get
your answers, around this guy." he said, pointing at Kelly.
Chet made a face at his captain.
Hanging his head, Kelly resigned himself to fetching
out five water bottles for everybody from a
cooler Cap had rerouted from Rest and
Mike Stoker accepted his and cracked it
opened. "Thanks, Chet."
Cap finally opened his mouth. "Awake. Breathing. Pain controlled. Done.
Give me that report on that fire." he said with exasperation, smacking the sheets
Roy's chest so he'd take them out of his hands forever.
DeSoto just smiled, agreeing with the
outcome Cap summarized without speaking.
He fielded Chet's dissatisfaction with getting just four
words on Marco's condition
deftly. "Ah, Chet. Come here.. we can go over these point for point. Drink
Then I gotta get back to work."
Mike Stoker, Gage and Cap were already in deep
discussion behind them.
"It's a huge area, involving even pavement structures. Access is going to
be an issue."
the engineer supplied.
Please Click Roy and Johnny |
to go to Page Seven