fire1

Saved by a voice

 This story is about me as a fireman on the ladder truck. Every morning at 8:00 a.m. when the shift starts, fireman in holland receive their task for the 24 hour they are working in. It was my task that day to rescue people with the ladder truck. I am a driver to but for some reason i was the "chef" as we call the number, of the ladder truck.

We deploy the ladder truck not for fires only. Thats why i love to be on it. In the fire attack it is not only to save people it is also used as an escape way for the firemen. This is why the ladder truck is mostly following the fire truck. Today however the goverment they cut so much they drive not so much together as in the time my story is told. We open doors and take cats out of trees, we bring down dangerous hanging materials like antennas, satelite dishes when they are a danger for humans who walk under those hanging things. We put out fires as well with the truck, for this we bring a hose to the top of the ladder to put water inside the burning building mostly through an open window. We also take care of the buildings close to where the fire is burning. We keep them wet so the fire has no change to go from one building to another. When there is someone on thin ice or through thin ice in our canals, we use the ladder to go to the person in the water, i bring the ladder top close to the one who is in the cold water, as the ladder can go down as well. So you can see it is a great tool to work with. The day where the story is all about i was chef so i had to go to the ladder top if there was a fire. We use always our breathing device. It is the bottle with air on our back and the mask for on our face. That afternoon there was a great fire very close from our station. It was empty, in my opinion someone set it on fire so the demolition of the building could planned earlier. Often there lived homeless people inside buildings like this. Thats why they often remove the floors so people can't live in it anymore.  As we arrived the flames where all over the building on every floor, as it was easy for the fire to grow as there where no floors in it. My task was to take a hose to the highest floor, from the road near the building we brought the ladder top to the third floor and i went up with my hose to put a lot of water inside the building through an open window on this floor. When i was working i saw some colleagues on the roof, I told them to be carefull as the roof could collapse of the great heat from the fire.

I moved closer to the window on the third floor to bring more efficient water inside. I had my breathing device switched on and my mask on my face so i had no trouble breathing despite of the smoke. The device gives you around 25 minutes of air, its a bottle of 6 liter on a pressure of 100 bar, so you have 600 liter of air with you on your back. The moment you get a warning there is a switch on the device and you have more or less then 5 minutes to go to a spot where there is no smoke. Those days it was different now we have bottles with 200 bar pressure, this doubles your breathing time. Now we have over pressure devices, so it is not possible for the smoke to come in your mask even when there is a leak. As i was on the top of my ladder i heard a sound coming from the building like a groan. I shouted to the collegeus who where that moment on the roof of the building, they had to leave the flat roof. At the same time i received the warning from my air device that it was almost empty. At first i thought i am save here on my ladder top outside, so i can stay a while longer, i have some minutes to breath. But there was a voice in my head that told me to go down as this is what we learned  during our training with the air device. As i went down the ladder the building collapsed and a piece of the roof dropped on the spot where i was just a minute ago. The ladder truck tilted to his left by the weight of the bricks and everyone below called my name, as they thought i was still on the ladder top at the moment of the incident. But i was allready half way down the ladder and in seconds on the ground with shaking knees. It was the voice of my conscience that saved my life. Talk to you next time.