The tones interrupted the morning check. We would be responding with whatever the previous crew left us. Thankfully their good about leaving things high and tight. We were responding with 3 engines, a rescue and a battalion chief for the report of a smoke coming from a neighbors house. The call was in the next district over but that crew was already out on a medical call. We were going to be first due.
Arriving on scene we saw very faint wisps of white smoke trailing over the backyard fence. My captain reported that truck 51 was on scene, very light smoke showing, and that we were investigating. While he was doing that I jumped off the rig and grabbed my Irons. I immediately headed for the side gate and then onto the backyard.
Once there I nearly scared an 80 year old woman to death. The poor woman was mowing her lawn and had, as a result, not heard the fire truck approach. As she finished her current pass of the yard she turned and saw me. She was understandably startled.
After the initial jolt and subsequent laugh she asked why we were there. I told her that someone had called 911 because of the large amounts of smoke that her lawn mower was putting off.
Having determined the cause of the smoke my captain canceled the balance of the call. I chatted a little more with the lady and found out she added too much oil to her fuel. Since the mower still ran on the rich gasoline she just went on cutting the grass. She never imagined that someone might call 911 on her.
Thank goodness for good neighbors that watch out for each other. Even if they do call 911 on the occasional lawn mower.