Run down on the HFD Incident
At 4:31am, on Feburary 14, Valentines Day, year 2000, a call came into Houston Fire Department to respond to a fire located at a McDonald's restaurant in the 12000 block of Bissonnet in Houston, Texas. Responding to the call, were Fire Fighters Lewis E. Mayo, 44, an 18 year veteran of HFD, and Kimberly A. Smith, 30, a 5 year veteran, out of station No.76, arriving at the scene 8 minutes after the call was received.
I myself, having riden with HFD several times out of different stations, can only imagine the levels of fear/excitement that come from hearing that alarm, and responding to a call with major equipment. The feeling is not really explianable, unless you have been there. As your heart pounds 900 miles per hour, and the adrenalin is pumping, the most thing on your mind is....someone is in trouble, and we're going to go and save thier butts! The only concern on your mind, is what is taught in school, and that is to check scene safety and follow protocol. The only other thing on earth that matters, at this time, is to get in there, protect property, and save lives. Noone thinks of the tragic consequenses that might occur, and usually at the most unexpected times. Somehow....Lewis and Kimberly were lost inside the structure, (a relatively small structure, mind you).
Lewis and Kimberly died that Valentine's morning, inside that small structure.
We, as rescue personnel and protectors of propety, while others sleep, share a burdon, and a risk, that we never really think about, when responding to a call for help. Although we train for, and practice avoiding tradegy, sometimes it strikes without cause, and it strikes with a vengance, sometimes taking our beloved protectors with it. Mostly when you least expect it.
I give KUDOS (warm fuzzies) to all those who work with the disabled, the weak, the injured, and basicly people who just help out in a time of other's need. We are all on the same team. It hurts SO bad when we lose our own, in the line of duty to humanity.
I'd better quit now, cause I have big croc tears running down my face right now, and cant see the keyboard very well! The biggest sting is that the fire was set intentionally, to cover up a burglary. This though, is what we live for, and die for, to protect, without discertion.
Please ask your Captain to arrange for tactical training classes for smaller structure fires.