Standing in the kitchen in my nightgown baking cookies at 11am, it felt like it was gonna be a lazy day. When I hear my fire pager go off, I am dressed in 30 seconds flat and at a dead run out the door.
An Accident. Very serious. Semi truck involved. Crud...
After sprinting into the station and hoppin into the forty pound fire outfit, I'm grateful for five minutes to catch my breath as we scream lights-and-sirens for the intersection out in the country.
Radio call - "Medic enroute"
Dispatch response - "Copy. One confirmed D.O.A."
OH. NO. I want to go home now. Stop this rig and let me off.
but I suck it up and swallow the fear as we roll up. Blocking the highway. Big blue semi truck sits straight in the lane, driver's side fender crushed in. Not alot of damage...maybe...
But no, over there in the field. A small brown wad of metal that used to be a car.
He's cool as I touch his neck...so pale. I want to shake him and wake him up. You're just a teenager...25 at the most! Wake up! Wake up!
As I draw back and we cover him from the view of the backed up traffic, someone sees them.
The turn out pants scrunched down around the steel-toed boots.
The fire helmet.
The navy Fire Dept sweatshirt of a neighboring town.
I turn away quickly and find the truck driver. He's trying to photograph everything with the disposable camera his company gave him for just such a situation. He's been told to "use it up" and he's doing his best. Concentrating on it so he won't see...won't hear...won't feel.
"hey, I'm Janean with the Rescue. Do you hurt anywhere?"
Wrenched his back a little, but he insists he's fine.
I rest my hand on his back to feel for deformity or tenderness as he hangs his head. "are you SURE you are OK?"
The head of the big tough truck driver leans over onto my shoulder as the tears threaten. "I couldn't stop! I couldn't do anything! He was going so fast!" In a voice choked with emotion, he tries to explain.
But it doesn't matter what happened. A firefighter is gone. Someone's parents are crying tonight. And the fire/EMS service system in our valley is in shock. It hurts.
Please, God, be with them all.