Have you ever had to wake up and figured, by how disoriented you were, that it must be far into the middle of the night, only to realize that you had been asleep for just 30 minutes? That's exactly how this call was. Thank goodness the lights turn on when we get a call because I snoozed right through the tones. Someday I'm sure I'll wake up in my own bed with the lights on and assume we have a call.
I jumped out of bed and headed to the apparatus bay. As I was jumping into my turnout pants I asked my captain where we were headed. When he said a structure fire I kicked into gear. I grabbed my turnout jacket, swinging it over my head and sliding my arms into the sleeves. Once I was buttoned up I jumped into my seat and slipped on my SCBA harness. As we pulled out of the station I checked my radio to make sure I was on the right channel. Once all this was done it was time to sit back and enjoy rolling code 3 to a structure fire.
We arrived on the scene to find a condominium 4-plex with just a little bit of smoke showing. There was a young woman standing outside of her open garage. I jumped off the rig and she explained that her kitchen was on fire. She said had left a pot of oil (for making french fries) on the stove and went upstairs for a minute and that when she came back her kitchen was ablaze.
I walked through the garage and into the house to see if it was indeed her kitchen or just a pot on the stove. Sure enough, her kitchen was on fire.
I headed back to the engine and pulled a cross lay. At the door I masked up and walked in. The smoke wasn't too thick. The fire was still small so there was very little heat. I walked up to the stove just as if I were going to cook and opened up the bale about half way, only for a second. I directed the short burst of water onto the fire on the stove (allowing me to turn it off) and then repeated the process to the small amount of fire in the cabinets.
Once the fire was out we pulled out some of the cabinets, removed some dry wall and pulled some ceiling to make sure the fire had not extended any where else. While this was going on another crew set up a blower to remove the smoke from the premises.
After everything was done we walked the owners through the condo. They were surprised to see how little was damaged by the fire and how much was damaged by the smoke. Something they didn't notice was the lack of water damage. Thanks to a stellar firefighter (me) that knew enough not to go crazy with the application of water. There was less water on the kitchen floor than if someone had spilled a pitcher of water.
We also inspected the neighbor's condo (the neighbor was a sister of the one who started this fire). We explained to all 30 (seriously, there were a lot) family members about fire safety and the importance of smoke alarms.
And FYI. If you are hurrying to a family member's house because they called you and said their house is on fire, DO NOT PARK IN FRONT OF THE HYDRANT! Bad things have been known to happen to your car.
We were nice and used a different hydrant.....this time.