Andrew Pollack's Blog

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One heck of a weekend. Fire hose failures, 9 year old birthday party, Car Crash Calls, etc. etc. etc.

By Andrew Pollack on 06/09/2008 at 10:56 AM EDT

I didn't do much Domino related work this weekend. There was too much else to do. When summer finally comes to Maine, there's no mistaking it. Everything is completely lush and green. We had a few days of rain during the week, but Saturday was in the 80's and Sunday was well into the 90's -- that's a rarity up here.

Saturday morning I started out getting the pool area cleaned up and the last of the work done to make it ready for the swimming season. That means bolting in the stair rails and ladder, running the hose line from the pump where I'd installed a spigot to the slide -- so that warm pool water runs the slide rather than cold hose water, getting the pool furniture out, and cleaning up the winter debris. That lead to tree trimming out front. I overfilled my trailer with about 2 cords worth of pine and maple branches and got those to the brush dump.

Coryn's team had a game at 2, so by 12:30 we were on the road to that. Home from the game by 4, and the lawn had dried out enough to mow. I finished the mowing by 5:30 and joined Caitlin and her friends in the pool -- it was her 9th birthday party. The kids (it was a sleep-over) were fed and just settling down to a movie at around twenty after eight when the fire pager went off.

The fire call turned out to be car vs. pole. The driver had rolled his truck through a power pole, clipping it off at ground level and continued on to end up on the passenger side door laying perpendicular across a ditch such that you could almost open the door which was now on the bottom. It was about 11:30 by the time we cleared that scene.

Then came Sunday.

I'd scheduled hose testing with my crew for Sunday morning, so by 7:30 I was at Central station. We had a couple of people not show up due to last minute plans, so it was three of us plus two high school aged "explorers" (The Explorer Scouts is a sort of Junior Firefighter or Police program that is an outgrowth of the Boy Scouts of America).

It was over 90 degrees out and humid, with not a cloud in the sky and we had several thousand feet of hose line to lay out, pressure test, roll up, and carefully reload onto the truck in just the right way so that it comes off properly when we need it. Fortunately the new Engine 1 has an Air Conditioned cab, so I did make us take a couple of breaks to sit in there and cool off while drinking bottles of water.

We did have two 50 foot lengths of old two and a half inch line fail rather spectacularly. This is 2.5" diameter line -- about 5" wide when rolled or laid out flat. Its canvas outer layer gives strength to a rubber inner layer. These particular lengths of hose were very old -- I'm guessing around 40 years -- and still had rounded brass couplings. When I say it failed, I mean that before we even put a full pressure load on it, the hose tore in a straight line across its width for about half the circumference of the line spraying a fan shaped spray of water a hundred feet in the air. I cut the couplings off both pieces so they wouldn't mistakenly be loaded back on any apparatus and I'll end up giving that line away to be used as rub rails for boat docks.

We finished hose testing by just about 2pm and I have to tell you -- at that point there was simply nothing left of me. I went home and jumped in the pool and just sort of laid there for a while until my core body temperature came closer to normal. The rest of the day was spent dragging myself from one couch to another and very little else.


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