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Well, it had to happen some time...

By Andrew Pollack on 11/13/2004 at 09:52 PM EST

It had to happen at some point. A strange confluence of events left me in the "command" role at a small fire scene today. We were the second engine due, meaning we should have gone to the hydrant but the other engine made a wrong turn so we ended up at the scene first. On top of that, the firefighter with me -- who is a former captain of the engine and has forgotten more about this job than I know -- didn't want the command role at all. He's not very involved in things and was making the run mostly because without keeping his training hours up he'd become unable to continue being involved. He's a good guy, knows his stuff, just happens to be very busy. He comes when there's a real fire and we need him. I guess he felt that with as little participation has he's able to do, he didn't want to just show up and be "all that".

In any case, it really wasn't much of a fire -- just a ground fire in an area naturally contained by a gravel driveway on all sides. About a quarter of an acre, mostly charred and smoldering. Nevertheless, it was really strange being in command of the small contingent there to deal with it -- all of whom, including the 17 year old explorer, having been with the fire department longer.

As they say, "despite our best efforts, the fire went out."

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