Fire Yenta 3/7/03

By Diane Feldman, Managing Editor

Everything was OK … until the fire department showed up!
From Jake Rixner, Richmond (VA) Fire Department: On a cold winter night several years ago, Richmond’s Engine Co. 20 was dispatched to a vehicle accident. The wreck was at the bottom of a steep hill and occurred during an ice storm. As Engine 20 crested the hill at a speed a little too fast for conditions, it began to slide. At the bottom of the hill near the wreck, several citizens had pulled to the side of the road to see if they could be of assistance. The Mack pumper collided with one of the Good Samaritans’ cars, sending it careening into other cars and causing a chain reaction similar to a pinball machine. Luckily, no one was injured.

A little old lady came out of her house to view eight wrecked autos and one slightly damaged fire truck strewn across her street. She asked a bystander, “Oh my, what happened?” The bystander responded, “Just a little accident that wasn’t too bad until the fire department got here!”

That’s not a water leak!
From Rick Lasky, chief, Lewisville (TX) Fire Department: During recent ice storms, our area was experiencing a lot of water main breaks, burst pipes in homes, and so on, because of the cold weather. During one storm, we got an ambulance call.

A female caller said, “I need the fire department. My water broke.” “Is the break inside or outside?” the dispatcher asked. “Inside,” the caller replied.

When the ALS quint with paramedics on-board arrived on-scene, thinking it was a water leak or break, they discovered the caller was pregnant, and her WATER HAD BROKEN. (Ironically, the dispatcher who took the call was pregnant, too!)

I love the smell of fire in the morning
Members of a northern New Jersey fire department responded to a report of fire shooting out the back of a house. A woman looking out her high-rise apartment window reported the fire. Crews went to the location, walked through the backyard and surrounding yards, and couldn’t find any fire. Finally, they noticed five Mylar balloons tied to a fence in the backyard of the reported house on fire. The balloons were reflecting the morning sunrise, which looked like flames to the woman who reported “the fire.”

How about an X-ray?
In the olden days, some fire personnel (who wish to remain nameless, but quite a few I spoke with admitted to doing this or hearing it was done) would put their map light against a “customer’s” chest, tell the customer to take deep breaths, and click the light on and off to pretend they were taking X-rays TO MAKE THE CUSTOMER FEEL BETTER. I guess this was the precursor to the placebo!

Can you spell that?
The firefighter asked the EMS patient for her name.

“It’s ‘Gonora,’ ” she pronounced.

“What?” the firefighter asked.

“Gonora,” she pronounced again.

“Can you spell that?” he asked.

“G-O-N-O-R-R-H-E-A,” she replied.

If you have a tidbit for the Fire Yenta, e-mail

Past Yentas

Click here for Fire Yenta–2002

Diane Feldman is a 13-year veteran of Fire Engineering; she has spent the past 12 years as managing editor. She has a B.A. in English/communications. Previously she was an editor at the American Management Association in New York City.

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