Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Running Towards the Fire

 

So a few hours ago, I was sitting with friends and finishing my drink in their backyard after a long evening of BBQ, and a girl rushes into the yard. “Sorry to bother you, but someone’s house is on fire!”

We quickly headed to the street, where across the street flames rumbled up from the attic. Two different people were calling 911, while the gal who informed us ran over and started banging on the door and windows. I ran to the side where there was a garden hose, but it’s not on. We circle round the back, a guy banging on the door while I look in vain for water. I hear that there’s an old man who lives alone here – renovating this house has been his dream. Other people go to the neighbors and tell them the house next door is on fire – an old lady in a nightgown emerges and looks on in concern. There are police sirens blaring. I turn to meet them – I want to hand over information to them so they can take control of the scene.

A police car pulls up and two officers jump out. “I let them know that an old man lives there, but we don’t know if he is home, and they drop into a full run. They reach the door, yelling “OPEN UP, POLICE!” Hearing no response, they broke in. Another car pulls up and two more officers jump out and sprint toward the house. I am not clear if they joined the others at the back door or went around to the front. I back away to the street and to the other side as they continue their search. The officers were wearing COVID masks but no other protective gear against a fire, but they went in anyway.

As the firetrucks arrive, I tell the first fireman out of the truck the situation and mention the police had gone around back to go inside. The firemen quickly get to work – it takes some time, but they start hooking up hoses and donning their PPE. The two gals that had first noticed the fire were talking, and my friend introduced us more formally. They were talking about how the police charged into the burning building, and I said “Remember this the next time you hear someone talking about the police.” One nodded her head, saying she agreed but didn’t want to bring that up. The other seemed conflicted, saying she disagreed but understood why I thought that.

As the situation calmed down, several officers were chatting off to the side. I walked over and thanked them, and told them that we appreciated them no matter what people say. What they did was probably against policy, but it was the right thing to do, and it could have saved lives if the old man had been home.

Published in Policing
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  1. Arahant Member

    Seems to me they weren’t the only ones running towards the fire.

    • #1
    • July 5, 2020, at 2:13 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  2. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin: The two gals that had first noticed the fire were talking, and my friend introduced us more formally. They were talking about how the police charged into the burning building, and I said “Remember this the next time you hear someone talking about the police.” One nodded her head, saying she agreed but didn’t want to bring that up. The other seemed conflicted, saying she disagreed but understood why I thought that.

    People conflicted when they see acts of heroism right before their eyes??? These people scare me the most. They’ll believe anything (there’s a pandemic of race-motivated cop killings) and they’ll disbelieve their lying eyes. Terrifying.

    • #2
    • July 5, 2020, at 6:22 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  3. Tex929rr Coolidge

    So was anyone in the house?

    And secondly, what did she disagree with? The officers clearly entered the structure in full view. I don’t even understand what she meant.

    • #3
    • July 5, 2020, at 6:50 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin: The two gals that had first noticed the fire were talking, and my friend introduced us more formally. They were talking about how the police charged into the burning building, and I said “Remember this the next time you hear someone talking about the police.” One nodded her head, saying she agreed but didn’t want to bring that up. The other seemed conflicted, saying she disagreed but understood why I thought that.

    People conflicted when they see acts of heroism right before their eyes??? These people scare me the most. They’ll believe anything (there’s a pandemic of race-motivated cop killings) and they’ll disbelieve their lying eyes. Terrifying.

    Maybe she was just trying to process the cognitive dissonance of being told a lot of stuff about police and then seeing heroism. She was not angry at the police or acting upset while I spoke with her. I’m not quite ready to write her off – this petite girl was looking for a brick to break in and try and warn the old man inside when the police came on the scene.

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    So was anyone in the house?

    There was not anyone in the house to our knowledge. The firemen did a great job of protecting the neighbor’s house and then dousing the fire. House was mostly still standing.

    • #4
    • July 5, 2020, at 7:03 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    Maybe she was just trying to process the cognitive dissonance of being told a lot of stuff about police and then seeing heroism. She was not angry at the police or acting upset while I spoke with her. I’m not quite ready to write her off – this petite girl was looking for a brick to break in and try and warn the old man inside when the police came on the scene.

    Hopefully a seed was planted that will take root.

    • #5
    • July 5, 2020, at 7:09 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Thank G-d for our police officers!

    • #6
    • July 5, 2020, at 8:13 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  7. Doug Watt Moderator

    You’re a good neighbor. Your post brought back some memories of a house fire that my partner I came across while working our district. Two were saved, and two were lost in that fire. We managed to get mother and daughter out of the house by placing our car on the front lawn to shorten the distance between the second story and the roof of the car. Two little boys perished in that fire. They were in a back bedroom on the first floor that was fully engulfed in flames. The husband came home and ran into the house. I pulled him back out of the house because we, and the fire fighters knew the boys didn’t make it. Fire fighters were at the back of the house.

    Police work is a bit more than just writing traffic tickets, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The memories are complicated as well. The good, bad, and the tragic memories all come back to you from time to time. Two Fire Bureau chaplains came to the scene, one for the family, and one for the fire fighters, and two police officers.

    • #7
    • July 5, 2020, at 9:00 AM PDT
    • 19 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Front Seat Cat Member

    That was a powerful image – thank you for writing it – they are the best among us.

    • #8
    • July 5, 2020, at 9:05 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Tex929rr Coolidge

    Flash flooding is a frequent problem here. We had a bad one on Memorial Day weekend a few years back (one victim). It state rated with heavy rain (almost ten inches in one hour) at one spot. When it hit town sheriff’s deputies were the only one in the area, and pulled several people out of houses while the water was waist deep and rising. They are completely untrained in swift water rescue but it never stops them. One sort of funny thing is that in the debrief the next week we suggested equipping their cars with water rescue safety gear but the chief deputy vetoed it because he didn’t want the deputies to “start thinking that they were firemen“. When we finally found the victim (6 hours later and 4 miles downriver) a deputy managed to lasso an arm to get her out. 

    BTW, swift water training teaches you that it’s way, way more dangerous than you ever thought.

    • #9
    • July 5, 2020, at 9:21 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  10. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin: The two gals that had first noticed the fire were talking, and my friend introduced us more formally. They were talking about how the police charged into the burning building, and I said “Remember this the next time you hear someone talking about the police.” One nodded her head, saying she agreed but didn’t want to bring that up. The other seemed conflicted, saying she disagreed but understood why I thought that.

    People conflicted when they see acts of heroism right before their eyes??? These people scare me the most. They’ll believe anything (there’s a pandemic of race-motivated cop killings) and they’ll disbelieve their lying eyes. Terrifying.

    Well this is a nation half full of people who believe that within 72 hours of Trump assuming the Oval Office, the other half of the nation let loose with daily activities based on the most vile White Supremacist and racist philosophies ever expressed in the history of humankind.

    All because Trump had decided on a course of economic nationalism. Which, as we should know by now, is a policy Hitler himself would have approved.

    • #10
    • July 5, 2020, at 10:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. The Reticulator Member

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Flash flooding is a frequent problem here. We had a bad one on Memorial Day weekend a few years back (one victim). It state rated with heavy rain (almost ten inches in one hour) at one spot. When it hit town sheriff’s deputies were the only one in the area, and pulled several people out of houses while the water was waist deep and rising. They are completely untrained in swift water rescue but it never stops them. One sort of funny thing is that in the debrief the next week we suggested equipping their cars with water rescue safety gear but the chief deputy vetoed it because he didn’t want the deputies to “start thinking that they were firemen“. When we finally found the victim (6 hours later and 4 miles downriver) a deputy managed to lasso an arm to get her out.

    BTW, swift water training teaches you that it’s way, way more dangerous than you ever thought.

    It’s hard to imagine so much water in your part of the world. I believe it, and have been told about rains, but still it’s hard for me to imagine the country being anything but brown. I guess that’s what comes from visiting only in February.

    • #11
    • July 5, 2020, at 11:29 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Arahant Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    It’s hard to imagine so much water in your part of the world. I believe it, and have been told about rains, but still it’s hard for me to imagine the country being anything but brown. I guess that’s what comes from visiting only in February.

    The earth in areas like that often becomes hard and doesn’t absorb the water quickly. That makes a big dump of rain build up as it runs off to the lowest lying areas.

    • #12
    • July 5, 2020, at 12:44 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin: The two gals that had first noticed the fire were talking, and my friend introduced us more formally. They were talking about how the police charged into the burning building, and I said “Remember this the next time you hear someone talking about the police.” One nodded her head, saying she agreed but didn’t want to bring that up. The other seemed conflicted, saying she disagreed but understood why I thought that.

    People conflicted when they see acts of heroism right before their eyes??? These people scare me the most. They’ll believe anything (there’s a pandemic of race-motivated cop killings) and they’ll disbelieve their lying eyes. Terrifying.

    It’s human nature though; we create a mental construct of the world so that we can navigate it – and perhaps most importantly, the people in it – and when that construct is revealed to not match the outer world or people we would often rather ignore the problem than engage in renovation that might turn into a large-scale project. 

    The Matrix movie comes to mind here, probably because of the word ‘construct’. One of the conceits was that people who were confronted with the idea that the world as they knew it was false and that there was a real world just out of sight simply couldn’t cope. 

    I sometimes wonder what illusions I cling to – but I don’t wonder so hard that I’m going to go way out of my way to find out. 

    • #13
    • July 5, 2020, at 2:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin: The two gals that had first noticed the fire were talking, and my friend introduced us more formally. They were talking about how the police charged into the burning building, and I said “Remember this the next time you hear someone talking about the police.” One nodded her head, saying she agreed but didn’t want to bring that up. The other seemed conflicted, saying she disagreed but understood why I thought that.

    People conflicted when they see acts of heroism right before their eyes??? These people scare me the most. They’ll believe anything (there’s a pandemic of race-motivated cop killings) and they’ll disbelieve their lying eyes. Terrifying.

    Maybe she was just trying to process the cognitive dissonance of being told a lot of stuff about police and then seeing heroism. She was not angry at the police or acting upset while I spoke with her. I’m not quite ready to write her off – this petite girl was looking for a brick to break in and try and warn the old man inside when the police came on the scene.

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    So was anyone in the house?

    There was not anyone in the house to our knowledge. The firemen did a great job of protecting the neighbor’s house and then dousing the fire. House was mostly still standing.

    I blame Antifa for our nation’s tragic brick shortage. 

    • #14
    • July 5, 2020, at 2:10 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Flash flooding is a frequent problem here. We had a bad one on Memorial Day weekend a few years back (one victim). It state rated with heavy rain (almost ten inches in one hour) at one spot. When it hit town sheriff’s deputies were the only one in the area, and pulled several people out of houses while the water was waist deep and rising. They are completely untrained in swift water rescue but it never stops them. One sort of funny thing is that in the debrief the next week we suggested equipping their cars with water rescue safety gear but the chief deputy vetoed it because he didn’t want the deputies to “start thinking that they were firemen“. When we finally found the victim (6 hours later and 4 miles downriver) a deputy managed to lasso an arm to get her out.

    BTW, swift water training teaches you that it’s way, way more dangerous than you ever thought.

    It’s hard to imagine so much water in your part of the world. I believe it, and have been told about rains, but still it’s hard for me to imagine the country being anything but brown. I guess that’s what comes from visiting only in February.

    The ground in AZ, and probably TX as well, tends to not absorb water very well despite/because of how dry everything is. So water moves pretty quickly and violently.

    Edit: This comment rendered superfluous by @arahant.

    Dude. 

    • #15
    • July 5, 2020, at 2:15 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. Arahant Member

    TBA (View Comment):
    Edit: This comment rendered superfluous by Arahant.

    Gotta be fast around here, Pookie.

    • #16
    • July 5, 2020, at 2:19 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. The Reticulator Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    It’s hard to imagine so much water in your part of the world. I believe it, and have been told about rains, but still it’s hard for me to imagine the country being anything but brown. I guess that’s what comes from visiting only in February.

    The earth in areas like that often becomes hard and doesn’t absorb the water quickly. That makes a big dump of rain build up as it runs off to the lowest lying areas.

    I’m familiar with the concept and keep it in mind here when watering trees during a drought. A big dump of water will run off unless I can first wet the ground gradually. 

    I’ve ridden back roads in Tex929rr’s part of Texas that are obviously built to handle the flash floods. The crossings are built to let the water run over the road. There was one that actually had water running across the road first time I rode across it (in 2017?). There was no other way to go, so I coasted down with my feet held high and got across. (Wet feet can chafe, so I try to keep them dry.) This February I came from the other direction and there was no water across the road, but a herd of pigs was mucking around, mostly little ones. Wild pigs can be dangerous, but there was nothing else to do but ride through while the little piggies scattered. The sows were a ways off to the side, and didn’t seem very bothered. 

    So even though I see the evidence right in front of me, it’s still hard to imagine the high water and even harder to imagine green grass.

    • #17
    • July 5, 2020, at 2:30 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Tex929rr Coolidge

    Not to hijack the conversation, but the flash flooding is a result of a few factors here. One is geography: the hill country is where the Balconies Escarpment drops down to the lowlands, and gulf moist air meets cold fronts, causing big rainstorms to form and then stall in place. Another is that we build low crossings like @thereticulator mentioned, because most of the time they are sufficient. The Guadalupe River in our town is typically a few feet deep and maybe 50 feet wide. In 2002 it peaked above 40 feet several times, and was about 1/4 mile wide. This is the new “high” bridge (as everyone calls it) a couple of years ago. The water has mostly receded at this point, and it’s about 15 feet deep. Imagine another 25 feet of water on top of this.

     

    • #18
    • July 5, 2020, at 2:47 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  19. Quietpi Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    You’re a good neighbor. Your post brought back some memories of a house fire that my partner I came across while working our district. Two were saved, and two were lost in that fire. We managed to get mother and daughter out of the house by placing our car on the front lawn to shorten the distance between the second story and the roof of the car. Two little boys perished in that fire. They were in a back bedroom on the first floor that was fully engulfed in flames. The husband came home and ran into the house. I pulled him back out of the house because we, and the fire fighters knew the boys didn’t make it. Fire fighters were at the back of the house.

    Police work is a bit more than just writing traffic tickets, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The memories are complicated as well. The good, bad, and the tragic memories all come back to you from time to time. Two Fire Bureau chaplains came to the scene, one for the family, and one for the fire fighters, and two police officers.

    I know and have known a heck of a lot of peace officers, of many sorts. In every case, when the topic came up, the number one reason for him / her becoming a peace officer was: NOT making arrests, solving crimes, beating people up, high-speed chases, etc. etc. It WAS: helping people.

    This brings to mind LTC (Ret) David Grossman’s article: https://www.policeone.com/police-products/training-products/articles/book-excerpt-on-sheep-wolves-and-sheepdogs-UmiU5ujhwNg3douX/

    Thank you, @omegapaladin, for your part. You didn’t do nothing. You responded in accordance with your level of skill and training. You are to be commended.

    • #19
    • July 5, 2020, at 3:06 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.