The Fire Yenta: Those Truckies

By Diane Feldman

Those truckies!

This comment was made by a homeowner about the performance of some truckies at his house fire: “Everything was fine until those firemen came in with their fire spears and started pulling the ceiling down.” 
Bruno and Leno
Alan Brunacini, chief of the Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department, gets on a plane and everyone is waving. It turns out, they are waving at the passenger sitting next to him. After everyone is seated, Bruno turns to the man next to him and says, “Everyone is waving at you. You must be famous. Who are you?”
“I am Jay Leno, from the Tonight Show,” he says.

Bruno says he does not watch much TV.

The next day, Bruno tells his secretary the story. He says, “I didn’t know him, but he was a very nice man and we had a good conversation.”

The next day Bruno comes into his office, and his secretary says, “You are now a nationally known big idiot! You were part of Jay Leno’s monologue last night. He said, ‘It is very humbling to sit next to an American on a plane who doesn’t know you. He just happens to be chief of the Phoenix Fire Department.’ ”
“Want your house washed down?”
Jim Conway of the Edinboro (PA) Volunteer Fire Department related this story: “Years ago, when I first joined our local volunteer fire department, I was told by one of the local citizens that I shouldn’t have joined because the fire department is just a  ‘bunch of dummies.’ I asked why he thought that. He explained that there had been a house fire a few years back across the street from his house. Evidently, the fire had a good start, and by the time the engine pulled up, the structure was fully involved. But, according to this guy, the firefighters pulled their hose out and proceeded to put water on the wrong house–the one next to the burning structure. He and his friends pleaded with them, telling them that they had the wrong house–the one they were hosing down wasn’t even burning!”  
“Even as a rookie, I knew the first-due engine covers the exposures, but still, I asked him why he thought they did this. His reply: ‘Well, my friends and I thought it over, and all we could think of was that the house they were hosing down must have called 9-1-1 first, so legally, they had to put the water on his house!’ ”   
“So, my advice is: If you want your house hosed down to give it that fresh, clean look, wait until there is a fire nearby and quickly call 9-1-1 so they have to put the water on your house first.” 
What is that orange glow?
An engine company stretches to the second floor of a taxpayer on a report of smoke in the hall. They force entry to the apartment door and find heat and smoke in the apartment. Through the smoke, they see an orange glow. They close the door and wait for water. With a charged line, they reenter. Two steps into the apartment, they discover the orange glow is a really a bright orange-painted wall. (Names withheld to protect the embarrassed.)
Left behind
Captain Robert Kerr of the Greenville (NY) Fire District related this story: “We had a call one night for a smoke condition in a single-family residence. It was at the farthest end of our district. We searched the house but could not find the smoke source. It turns out that, the son of the homeowner came home, parked his car in the driveway, and his fan belt had burned–so it was generating smoke that had entered the house.
“Just then, we get a call from a ‘regular’—an elderly lady who calls often—for a problem with an appliance. But at this second call, I discovered that I left my helmet in the driveway of the first call. So I asked the engine to go back and get it. But then the ladder decides it would go back and get it, because it was blocking the engine in. 

“I came out of the house expecting to see two big red trucks parked outside, and there’s nothing there. Both the engine and the ladder are gone—they both went back to get the helmet, not knowing the other was getting it! Luckily, an assistant chief arrived in his car and gave me a ride back to quarters, at which time I radioed to the engine and ladder, ‘Don’t worry, the on-duty officer is back in quarters!’ Now I know how Custer felt!”  

The Yenta
Diane Feldman, a 21-year veteran of PennWell Corp., is executive editor of Fire Engineering and conference director of FDIC. She has a B.A. in English communications. She has been a yenta (look it up) for most of her life. If you have a story for the Yenta, e-mail

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