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it got kind of interesting

See, here's the thing: I really don't get into dangerous situations very often at all. After my post of the house fire from back in the spring, I may have given people the wrong impression that I'm always jumping into some "Backdraft" style of high adventure, but we don't get that many fires in this rural area, and I don't make all the ones we do get, and I'm not usually the spear point on the ones I do make. So the fact that I was the one who ended up approaching the big propane tank to shut off the supply is pure chance. I was on the first-in truck in the officer's position, the two guys on the first hoseline were inexperienced rookies, and the next guy in rode on the tanker, which means he couldn't get an air pack on during the response.

So you see, I was the only one available with full protective equipment on. It was pure chance that I did the "exciting" part; I was just manning the second hoseline up until then. I remember thinking at the time, "If I don't get blown up, I'm going to have to clarify this, so my flist won't think I'm some kind of Action Jackson."

However, I should have known it would be more exciting than usual because when I turned on the car (after throwing my blue light on the roof to respond to the station), the "Magnum PI" theme was just coming on the radio. Those of you who have heard it will understand what I mean.

Fire destroyed a camper and scorched a nearby propane tank north of Albion Sunday.

The blaze, which was reported at 8:49 p.m., destroyed a camper at the Todd Middleton residence, east of SR 9 near CR 500N, according to the Noble County Sheriff's Department. Fire trucks had to negotiate a long private lane to reach the location, and arrived to find the camper engulfed in flames.

A large propane tank was less than ten feet from the structure, and the heat apparently caused the fuel lines to fail, causing leaking fuel that burst into flames and threatened to cause the tank to explode. Firefighters had to cool down the tank enough to approach it and turn off the fuel supply before the fire could be controlled. Two smaller propane tanks between the larger one and the camper were also endangered by the radiant heat.

Although its side was scorched, firefighters were able to control the flames without the tank failing. The camper was destroyed, and minor damage was also done to nearby structures. A resident reportedly suffered minor burns while trying to move a car from the danger zone, but refused medical treatment at the scene.

The blaze was believed to be accidental, possibly electrical in origin. Ten Albion firefighters manning three trucks responded, along with the Albion Police and Noble County Sheriff Departments.

It was the third fire in the area that day, but the only one that caused damage. Albion fire units also responded to a report of black smoke in the area of Albion Road and CR 200W at 5:53 p.m., but that ended up being a controlled burn that had not been reported to dispatchers.

At 4:34 p.m. smoke was reported in the area of the Central Noble School campus, but that also turned out to be a controlled burn of a brush pile, according to the Albion Police Department.

Albion firefighters were also called out at about 8 p.m. Friday to a boat fire near Skinner Lake, but returned to service after the owner and neighbors were able to douse the flames.

In addition, Albion fire units were called out twice last week to provide standby coverage to the Kendallville Fire Department, which fought a barn fire at 4 a.m. Friday and a house fire at about 8 a.m. Thursday.


Jul. 4th, 2006 02:27 am (UTC)
Well, I don't much *look* like John Travolta, but I'd imagine my character's closer to his than to anyone from "Backdraft". Ladder 49 is definitely more realistic, although that's relative when you're talking movies. (But we don't have a ladder truck -- the closest one is 12 miles away, in Kendallville.)

We cover a 96 square mile area; in the middle of that is Albion, which is a town of about 2,400 and has gone through a decade of unusual growth that's given us a lot more industries, businesses, housing, ect. Pretty much anything that can happen in a big city can happen here, with the exception of a high rise fire; but the courthouse is 5 stories tall (including tower), and our highest ladders reach three stories, so we can have the equivalent.
The other 90 some square miles has another four thousand people or so, and contains a lot of rural housing built by people moving from Fort Wayne to more rural areas. Same fires, with the added challenge of limited water supply and a big honkin' propane tank at every residence. We've also got farms, fields, woods, two state highways and US 6, and of course the state park, which gets pretty darn crowded during summer.

So -- lots of challenges. The only real difference between us and a big city fire department is that we have a lower run volume, and no full time crews.

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