Regardless, I really thought I could escape today unscathed. Although I've been fighting a cold for the last day or so, nothing of great concern occured throughout the day and into the night. We even got to skip out on some training with the vounteers so that we could head up to our living quarters and fix steak. Life seemed swell. While the captain was tending to the steaks, one of the police seargeants called to report an unattended construction burn -- something that is illegal in our community. Because we had a full house of volunteers and this was a small pile of burning debris, the captain stayed in quarters and let the three of us on shift and a couple of vollies handle it.
It was a trash fire. What could have possibly gone wrong? Well, I started the chain of events by being a smart ass. When we pull up to a significant incident, the officer on the rig is supposed to give a size-up of what he finds. For instance, pulling up on our last first-due house fire, we reported finding a "one-story, single-family dwelling of brick construction heavily involved with fire." So, when we pulled up at the trash fire tonight, I reported a "five foot by five foot pile of construction debris." I told dispatch that we'd be initating attack with a booster line and that I would be incident commander. It was a by the book, but normally for a trash fire, you pull up... squirt a few gallons of water... and go home. Again -- I was being a smart ass.
No sooner than I gave my size up and we pulled a hose, the pumper died.
Several attempts were made to crank it again and they all failed. So, I got on the radio to advice our chief of the problem. He indicated that he was sending another crew with another rig to the scene to check things out. After a few minutes had passed, the acting engineer gave it another try -- it cranked! So, I got back on the radio to advice our chief that we didn't need the other crew and that the pumper was working again. Of course, no sooner than I let go of the radio than the damn thing died again -- this time for good.
Before it was all over, we had two staff cars, the dead engine and a brush rig as well as a dozen or so people for a fire that I could had put out with a garden hose had we had one handy. That's not to mention that triple-axle tow truck that had to show up and tow the pumper home.
All of this began at 8 p.m. After stripping the engine of all its loose gear, moving gear around on the other rigs and catching another run somewhere along the way, we finally set down for dinner shortly after 11 p.m. The only question is... What can possibly happen next? The needle on my karma-meter is still resting on the bottom post.