Rekindles

A tale of Mice and Firemen

Mice and fire do not mix.

July 1983

We had a basement fire in a single family home and we knew from being there many times that the lady that owned the house, protected the mice that lived in her home. In fact she would sell some to the kids in the neighborhood so they could feed their snakes.

The fire was small but the smoke was heavy. As we pulled out of the fire station, from 3 blocks away we knew by the address what we were in store for and the large volume of smoke caused me to ask for an extra alarm, because I was sure we had more then one dwelling involved.

Our station had 2 units and 7 firefighters. As we pulled up at the scene Aggie (age 85 at least) was out front and telling us her 2 dogs were inside and the fire was in the basement, she had been burning some candles because the spirits were in a bad manner all day.

Myself and my pipe man stretched a hand line to the front door and went thru the living room into the kitchen and made a sharp left hand turn to get to the stairway. At this point the smoke was right down to the floor, but there was little heat.

I told the back up crew we were going down and that they should search the 1st floor for the dogs. At the bottom of the stairs we felt some heat so we dropped to the floor and started toward the heat source. In my haste to get at the fire I did not pop my boots, pull up my hip boots to cover my knees and my pipe man had on bunker boots.

About half way across the room something ran across my knee and down my left boot and in seconds two more something’s ran down my right boot and started doing laps around inside my boots. My pipe man had the same problem and turned and left me alone in the basement.

I found the fire and knock it down and called for help. The next crew came down and took over and as I came outside here is my pipe man with his turnout gear off throwing his boots into the street and yelling like a mad man. The second units were arriving and here is this kid going nuts and the Shift Captain on his knees trying to get out of his turnout gear.

I pulled my boots off and 3 mice ran out of them across the front lawn and I removed my coat two more fell to the ground and ran off. Later when I was checking my turnout coat I found one more in an inside pocket and lots of cockroaches.

On our next duty day Aggie came down to the firehouse and brought us a big Chocolate cake she had baked for us. I thanked her and as she drove away it went to the dumpster, as I was scraping the cake off the plate two cockroaches were stuck on the frosting under the cake.

It is more then 30 years since that happened and I still do not like rodents or cock roaches.

Thanks for the memories. I hope I sleep well tonight.

O and what was burning, why undergarments. Aggie’s husband, dead for many years, made custom fitted Bras and uplift devices for many well developed women. Aggie was always unhappy with the fact that he paid more attention to them then he ever did to her.

She told us many time that Max always had a very large bulge in his pants every time one of his customers left the shop that was part of their home, but he only wanted to watch the baseball game and not her.

The candle she was burning set some of the latex filling he used to build the devices.

See and you thought Fires were just Fires. Each one has a story to tell.

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