By Jennifer Grigg
Dec. 9, 2011 - I’m not even sure how I came across this but once I’d stumbled upon it, I had no choice but to sit and listen to the whole thing because, well, because I somehow felt like I had to.
Dec. 9, 2011 – I’m not even sure how I came across this but once I’d stumbled upon it, I had no choice but to sit and listen to the whole thing because, well, because I somehow felt like I had to.
It was the fire-ground audio from a house fire in Worcester, Mass., that happened Thursday morning. It was one in which two firefighters were trapped after part of the building they were in collapsed, and it resulted in one of the firefighters losing his life. I couldn’t believe that there was not only a YouTube video (audio) of the call, but that it was on the Internet only a few hours after it happened.
I listened intently, images forming in my mind of what things looked like based on the radio transmissions between command, the other companies on the fire ground, and dispatch. From the safety of my own home, I followed along on a journey that was both familiar and foreign: familiar initially because we’ve all gone to structure fires and have an idea of what to expect; foreign because I not only knew how this was going to end, but I couldn’t imagine going through it myself. Thankfully, I’ve never been there. Unfortunately, others have.
The reality of it is that we all respond to calls that inevitably put us in dangerous situations, whether it’s a structure fire, a vehicle fire, a car accident, or even a medical call, not to mention everything else we get called to. There are risks associated with everything we do, which is why we train diligently, act accordingly and carry out our duties with the intention of protecting ourselves and our fellow firefighters.
Listening to the fire-ground audio was a very humbling experience. It served as a reminder that a LODD can happen any time, anywhere and that what we do can be very dangerous, regardless of how many structure fires we may or may not respond to in a year. It only takes something going wrong at one call to change everything.
You can listen to it here.