The Unexpected Basement Fire

Issue 3 and Volume 171.

by DANIEL P. SHERIDAN   Firefighters, officers, and chiefs are accustomed to certain ways of responding. If a person calls the fire department for an odor of smoke coming from the kitchen during dinner time, the responding units will make assumptions based on the type of call and the time of day it occurs. We get used to certain responses at certain times of the day; it is a type of complacency, but it can’t be helped—we are all guilty of it. These days, we are inundated with calls for gas leaks and automatic valve alarms. We get so many calls that it is impossible to get psychologically and mentally prepared to “do battle” on every call. When dispatchers get a second call for something, whether it’s for a valve alarm, a gas leak, or a fire, and they transmit that to the responding units, then the mindset changes. For…

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