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Your OH S--T!! moment

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  • Your OH S--T!! moment

    Most of us have been at an incident where, at one point, you realize things aren't going well and could potentially be really bad. You know that moment when you realize your next decision\s had better be good ones.

    I'll give one of mine and I hope others will share theirs.

    We recieve text's on our cel phones whenever we have a call. I normally don't respond from work during the day. I did respond once though because the incident was at my address.

    A construction company had ruptured a major gas line in the street in front of my house. I arrived to find a loud roar and the noxious odor of a natural gas leak. My original intention was to secure my house, check on my wife's pets and go back to work. Not being able to go home I went to the firehall. Lo and behold I was instantly the highest ranking officer on scene and everyone looking to me for guidance. Needless to say this scenario isn't something that we train on often.

    We needed to evacuate an approximately 6 block radius. This included a grade school full of kids. Fortunately we had cooperation of law enforcement who assisted with evacuation and we secured a safe area for the school children to wait for their parents. We staged engines at each end of the affected street and developed a worst case scenario action plan. There were only 6 firefighters that responded.

    Naturally the news cameras were there rolling and they wanted a statement from me ASAP.

    Fortunately, after 3 hours, the utility company secured the line without incident.

    I'm sure this is mild compared to many here so lets hear 'em.
    My wise and profound comments and opinions are mine alone and are in no way associated with any other individual or group.

  • #2
    Known Meth house. Upon arrival the two story old structure was fully involved, my priority was to protect exposures. I started my walkaround while the first arriving engine went to the property in back. 3 people on the engine, including my son.

    Got to the CD corner, about 20 feet from the structure, and a LOUD boom was heard, along with feeling a rush of air.

    I became one with the ground. No shelter around me, the ground just looked good. As I felt no more heat, I checked my extremeties (Left hand ok. Right hand ok. Left leg ok. Right leg ok) and started slowly to get up. At the same time I heard my son yelling "DAD??"

    Turns out the pressure tank for the well - in a small building about 25 feet from me, 40 or so from the structure, exploded. No fire in that small building, but the tank blew it apart as it went.

    Then we found the 100 gallon propane tank on the front porch, engulfed in flame. Landowner stated he did not mention it because it was "empty".

    So, one incident, two "Aw sh it" moments.


    • #3
      Second floor.
      Ac fell through roof.
      We fell through floor
      Caught in wires.

      Punched every wire right in the face.

      Got out.

      The end.
      ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey


      • #4
        Last edited by ColoradoDave; 02-12-2013, 12:09 PM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by ColoradoDave View Post
          So he pulls the tire i'm resting on the bumper he sits on the side of the tire of the rig after pulling it and passes out under the rig. I pull him out, he is apneic and has a super thready pulse. Call for the for the medic. I end up bagging him and he ended up coming to.

          He went v-fib and ended up getting a pacemaker in.

          It's totally different doing it to someone that you have been around your hole life. One of the scarier moments in my life.
          That IS an oh s h i t moment!....the closest one I had like that was working a 45+ minute code on the guy who built the addition to our ambulance garage....and I was mutual aid to a neighboring dept. after listening to them try to get a rig out for ~ever~.....

          I had a couple of them personally in the last year - watching my own vehicle get totalled on the highway (thankfully I was OUTSIDE it)..... then just recently watching 2 high speed accidents happen right in front of me on the highway I travel evey day to/from work.....

          Lets' see.....from a loooong time ago - my Dad waking me up during the day (I was working midnights at the time)- to tell me the house I grew up in (and he still owned as a rental) was on fire.....was a total loss...thankfully no one seriously injured!


          • #6
            I am still relatively new (3 years) so thankfully mine is still very mild compared to your guys.

            Just over a year ago there was a fire that started due to a chimney and started the B side wall on fire. It burned through the wall up next to the bricked chimney from the ground floor to the second level.
            The fire had been suppressed and I was asked to bring some lighting that had been placed on the CB side of the house to inside. I started walking around the deck on the A side to the B side and I stopped... looked up at the chimney and though man... I dunno I don't want to be here if that goes.. I started turning around and another FF see's me avoid it and said "oh its safe trust me, its not going anywhere".

            I being still "new" felt stupid for being so I went down the deck steps right next to the fireplace. I retrieved the the lighting but with in the hour the chimney fell and no one was over there but I could only think... oh s--t when I realized my gut instinct was right and I let someone talk me out of doing the safe thing.


            • #7
              2 of them actually.

              Moment number one was several years ago with one of my previous departments in VT.

              Small barn converted to a garage about 45' from a home. I pull up with an engine and the Chief meets me on scene. The fire is in the first floor garage/workshop area but has not extended into the loft.

              I pack up and the Chief takes the panel. Normally, we would have stretched a 2 1/2" line, but because I was going to be alone, we stretched a 1.75". I start to enter the garage and see some heavy fire to my right. I knock it down, and advance in another couple of feet when i feel a lot of heat to my right again. I turn and knock the fire down a second time. Another minute later, I feel the heat again. Knock it down. By this time, some more troops have arrived and I pull my line out and a bigger line is advanced and we start pulling ceilings and my smaller line is moved around to the side door to work the extension into the small attached shop.

              Long story short, I discover after the bigger line knocks down the fire and we're conducting overhaul that fire that kept coming back to life on my right side were 2 5-gallon propane tanks that were releiving through the relief valve. In all the smoke, all I saw was the fire and never realized the tanks were there. Why they didn't BLEVE I'll never know, but from the intensity of the fire from the relief valves, there's no doubt they weren't too far away. Had I known, I likely would have pulled out and just cooled the tanks from the exterior until more manpower arrived.

              One interesting thing about that fire was that it actually started when the service box at the house shorted out and arced the line to the garage. it wasn't until well into the overhaul phase that we saw the damage tom the service box on the house.

              Second one occurred about a year before that when I fell through a burned out hole in the first floor into the basement. At that point, our department did not have any radios for interior attack teams, and I had sent my partner outside for a tool, so nobody knew that I had fallen through.

              Luckily the fire in the basement had burned out. This thing had been going for awhile and had just plain run out of fuel.

              While I wasn't badly hurt, I twisted my already bad knee and knew that making it up the steps wasn't an option. I hobbled over to a window, broke it out, a lobbed a few pool balls at the firefighters walking by until I hit one of them and got his attention. And yes, this was also pre-PASS days as well.
              Last edited by LaFireEducator; 01-11-2011, 07:40 AM.
              Train to fight the fires you fight.


              • #8
                Mine was a training close call, and the oh #### didn't come until after when I realized the situation I had been in.

                It was my first experience as a firefighter, at ARFF school on the simulator. I was outside the aircraft assisting the interior rescue crew, when I started seeing the fog of propane coming up from the pit ( I guess the ignitor was wet and didn't light immediately. I immediately start pointing for the backup in the crash truck to lay down water to disperse the gas, when it lit. Fortunately the operator was quick, and was able to work the water in right next to me to protect me. I never recalled even feeling hot in my prox gear, but after the scenario, we noticed the ladder I was standing next to the entire time had the lanyard burned right off of it.


                • #9
                  Mutual aid chief on a church fire. After getting our engine set up as part of a relay, took a walk around the wood frame building to survey the scene. The steeple tipped and fell about 20 feet behind me, right where I had just walked.
                  Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                  Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.


                  • #10

                    Tree and any Railroad folks would understand this one......... I was working in a narrow passageway in a Electric Locomotive (AMTRAK AEM7) and a heavy bundle of Burnt Copper wire fell from the Harness and lodged between my SCBA and my Back............ I was on air and the smoke was thick enough that I had to stay on it. I was able to get my Helmet off and slide down against the wall and get the wire loose so I could move on. I had about another 2 minutes when the low pressure alarm went off.......
                    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                    In memory of
                    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                    IACOJ Budget Analyst

                    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hwoods View Post
                      Tree and any Railroad folks would understand this one......... I was working in a narrow passageway in a Electric Locomotive (AMTRAK AEM7) and a heavy bundle of Burnt Copper wire fell from the Harness and lodged between my SCBA and my Back............ I was on air and the smoke was thick enough that I had to stay on it. I was able to get my Helmet off and slide down against the wall and get the wire loose so I could move on. I had about another 2 minutes when the low pressure alarm went off.......
                      You have my respect.
                      My wise and profound comments and opinions are mine alone and are in no way associated with any other individual or group.


                      • #12
                        Harve - that is a true oh F moment, never mind oh S!..... Cool heads, calm thinking, keep us (and you!) alive.......


                        • #13
                          basement fire, lost water during the attack. Very bad feeling when you are holding the line and suddenly it goes collapses in your hand. Fire flared up and after what felt like hours water returned. Luckily I was with an officer who I had a lot of faith in and I knew firemen on the pump was one of the best, so the water would be coming back. I guess i'm fortunate that that is the worst moment that comes to mind.


                          • #14
                            February, 2 inches of snow/ice on the ground. Engine compartment fire on a 60' boat that is docked. On far side of boat on the nozzle, regulator freezes up on the SCBA in start of breath. Now have mask sucked onto face, very limited visibility, hose, and fire below between me and dock. Choices - hand line off and make for dock or jump in very cold water. I chose option A and managed to hand off hose and pass guys well enough.

                            2nd one was sitting in jump seat of truck returning from a "surround and drown" for 8 hours. Eyes were closed and was barely awake. Start coughing for some reason. Open my eyes and can't see the guy sitting in jump seat in front of me due to black smoke. Look down and see flames coming from bottom of engine cover next to me. Ya, firetruck is on fire. Start yelling, truck stops, shut it down, everyone jumps off. Now we have 5 FF's standing watching their firetruck on fire. Put it out and were able to limp it home a couple blocks. Not a great way to be woken up.

                            On a personal note...I like that my OH S--T moments are pretty minor compared to others I have read.
                            "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?


                            • #15
                              Report of a propane fire. I was the acting officer on a tower ladder. Spot a hydrant on the way in that will supply the tower. Have crew hook up while engineer starts setting the outriggers. Up in the basket and take tower up. OH S''T. Propane truck on fire, Tank that was being filled on fire, building on fire, campers with small propane tanks (5 gallon) on fire, and propane tanks exploding. Ordered water on propane truck to cool. Also suggested safety belts in basket so if things went bad someone might be able to find something left.


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