Thursday, June 04, 2009

What Do I Do? Spit On This Thing Now?

Fire isn't something to be treated lightly, more so in a land with out piped water and fire hydrants to help you out. So when I noticed a growing fire behind a house on my walk home from the school I didn't mess around. I think a couple of small kids had been playing with matches next to a shed. At first I thought it was just kids being kids until I saw the fire grow in height as the side of the shed started burning. When I saw the two little kids bolt off I knew whatever games they were playing were definitely over. Luckily I was almost to my house so I bolted through the door and grabbed the fire extinguisher out of the kitchen. Running perhaps one hundred yards across a muddy, puddle-filled field is tough-going and I was sucking wind by the time I reached the house. (I REALLY should stop smoking.) It was at this point I realized I had no real plan about what to do. I was half way there when it dawned on me that I've never even used a fire extinguisher before in my life. I just hoped it was charged.

At any rate it was charged and I was able to get a good chunk of the fire out before the extinguisher was spent. I had actually taught a Workplace Safety course this semester, part of which involved the use of fire extinguishers. (And they say you can never use what you learned in school in the real world.) Whatever had been burning on the ground (it looked like a roll of insulation) was out pretty quickly but the shed wall just inches from the residence was still burning and flames were just starting to lick at the house itself. The extinguisher was now spent. At this point I was screaming inside my head for backup since I obviously wasn't going to be able to do much more. I really hoped no one was inside. I had got a rather nasty blast of fire retardant pushed back into my face by the prevailing wind and was hacking like a cat with a fur ball. It was then to my great relief that two more young guys arrived with fire extinguishers. The owner of the house also came out with an extinguisher at that point and between the group of us were were able to kill the flames.

Say what you want about small town people being nothing more than backward hicks, but when the stuff hits the fan, people work together to help you out. I was happy no one was hurt and other than a few scorch marks, no serious damage was done.

As an interesting addendum to this, one of the kids who arrived was a kid I had been having a lot of problems with the past several weeks. I passed by him on the road when I was coming back from the health centre. (No worries, Mom, I just needed a little oxygen. I'm right as rain now.) I extended my hand and he extended his. "Thanks a ton, man. I was freaking out a little there until I saw you come charging with your fire extinguisher."

I got a big smile in return. "No problem. It's all good."


Clare said...

Well done Darcy.

Kimberlee said...

Wow! Thank goodness for your quick thinking/reaction or there would have been a very different end to that story!

firemama said...

Wow! Great job! And that must have been nice for that kid's self-esteem. Fire's neat and scary at the same time isn't it? I put them out for a living and I still get the shakes when it's all over. A friend of mine who is a bush firefighter says a shovel and mud can also do the trick... just splat it over the seat of the fire and it should smother it.

Way Way Up said...

Never a dull moment.

Bonnieupnorth said...

Quick thinking and well done...when I think of the destruction and family losses o of the fire in July 07, I am glad you prevented what could have become a greater tragedy.