Andrew Pollack's Blog

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Busy weekend for your favorite Lieutenant

By Andrew Pollack on 06/11/2006 at 01:12 PM EDT

About once each quarter, every officer in our department has a turn at "Weekend Duty Officer". Basically, this means you're the go-to person for dispatch when there is a question about anything from burning permits to parade details (parade details are done for school teams that win state championships and other celebratory events). This weekend was my turn. This is also graduation weekend. Oh, and one other wrinkle -- Engine 1 has the graduation details each year which include doing the fire watch rounds during the three graduation events at the school (class day ceremony, candlelight ceremony, and graduation itself). Its also the weekend of Caitlin's birthday party. A pool party -- which itself is a challenge as its been raining steadily for two full weeks. On top of everything else, I've been trying to get the pool open and clean in time for the party. This year that meant repairing the wiring on the pool heater. Joy.

So Friday night I'm folding laundry and watching "Rescue Me" when a Desk Box gets called out for a reported fully involved shed fire a few feet from a residence. We took care of that, and put Engine 5 back together by about 12:30am. I was in bed by about 01:30 and at about 02:00 another call came in. Still box 700 -- Ladder 7 to go to the city of Portland to cover the station where their Ladder 4 is quartered because they've got a 3 alarm apartment fire. Cumberland's Ladder 7 goes to North Portland when Portland goes to 3rd alarm because at that point there's only 1 Portland engine left for the city. Since both the Captain and Lieutenant on our Ladder 7 are also Portland firefighters, they can't go for this coverage. They're already in Portland when the "All Hands" was struck (the order of escalation is still-box, desk-box, all-hands, 2nd Alarm, 3rd Alarm. -- then you go to task forces). So, suddenly your truly is the officer in charge of a Ladder crew in the City of Portland for a few hours. As you can imagine, I'm at the same time hoping for a run and hoping I don't get a run. :-) This time we didn't, though.

Unfortunately two guys from Portland suffered minor injuries in the fire. One of them from the Ladder company we were covering for. He's Ok. I got a chance to talk with him about what happened when they dropped him off at the station. He was up on the roof cutting a vent. He'd already cut one and was cutting another with his back to the first (no, I didn't as why he'd done that) when some fire from the first vent hole got up under his coat and left him with a softball sized second degree burn. Ouch.

At about 05:30 Portland dispatch called to release us, and by 06:30 I was home. I was almost too tired to eat, but hunger won out so I at a quick sandwich and slept till 11am on Saturday. Saturday we had 3 calls, none turned out to be much of a big deal, though one was a boiler pre-ignition that filled the house with smoke.

Now its Sunday. The pool is ready, the heater is running and has the pool up to about 78 already. The sun is out, the house is clean, and I'm about to have a bunch of 7 year old girls screaming at each other. Captain Copp has Engine 1 out at the graduation detail, Firefighter Bob Hall will be driving it to the parade at 5, and hopefully we'll have no fires until after the 7 year olds go home.

Oh, and Monday and Tuesday I have to be in Philly to do a security review on a Notes mail environment.

Bye for now!


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