2/25/10

A Long Day

I had just passed out on my dad's couch. I'd been at work all day. I was tired.

After I raided the fridge for something to eat, I decided to crash.

I had just dozed off when my dad comes crashing through the front door, coughing, and high-tailing it to the laundry room.

What in the world?

"Dad?" I holler after him.

I can hear him coughing from the other end of the house.

I push myself up into a sitting position. My eyesight still a little blury from sleep. "Dad, are you okay?"

Puuuussssssssssssssshh. His radio squawks to life.

The dispatcher's voice fills the silence. It's Station 1's district. Not Station 2.

That means he's not going anywhere.

When my dad reemerges from the laundry room, he had changed his clothes, but his face was blotchy and black.

I wrinkle my nose. "You smell awful. Have you looked at your face?"

He swipes his hand across his face and then examines it. And then he just shakes his head.

"What happened?"

As he collapses into his worn, leather chair, he sighs. "Long day."

I raise my eyebrows. "You look worse than just a long day."

My dad is a farmer and a first-responder firefighter.

He swipes his forearm across his forehead and coughs. "I got a call while I was working on the brooders in number three chicken house."

He doesn't say anything else.

I prod. "And?"

Sighing again he says, "And it was a house fire off Plainview. So I dropped what I was doing and decided to just head over there, since I was only two minutes away, instead of heading to the station to grab my gear. The dispatcher said that whoever called 911 told 'em there was someone still inside."

He stops again and clicks on the television. The Weather Channel. He keeps his eyes glued to the screen but mutes the volume.

"And when I get to the address, I see a man standing on the front porch talking on a cell phone."

With his eyes still glued to the television, "I went up to the man and asked him if anyone had called 911. And he said yeah, but that there was no need for me to be there. That there was nothing I could do."

I looked confused, I'm sure. "So why did he call 911 to begin with?"

He looks over at me. "He wasn't the one who called 911."

"Okay... So who was?" This was turning into a weird story.

Shrugging his shoulders, "Nobody knows as of yet. But I asked the man if there was anyone inside. And he said his daughter was. So I pushed past the man to get to the front door, but he blocked me. I told him I needed to get inside but he said the door was locked."

He stops again.

Am I gonna have to siphon it out of him?

"And?"

"And I pushed him out of the way and the door wasn't locked, so I shoved my way in. Only I had to crawl on my hands and knees. The smoke was too thick to see anything. I felt my way down a hallway. I shouted and shouted, but no one answered back. By this time, I hear Donny hollering for me."

Donny is a first-responder and my dad's best friend.

"When I turned around I could see Donny crawling towards me down the hall. I tried turning the knob to the first door in the hall, but it was locked. Me and Donny decide to kick the door in. And when we did, we found the man's daughter."

His eyes are back on the rolling forecast on the tube.

"And what, you guys got her out?"

He coughs again. "No, she was lying on a bed, engulfed in flames and I didn't have any of my gear on. She was dead by the time me and Donny got there anyways."

I'm completely shocked. "So that man just let his daughter burn alive? He didn't even try to get her out or put out the flames?!"

"He was high, Mandie." He looks over at me.

"High?"

"Yes, that house was meth lab."

My mouth falls open. "You just went into a burning meth lab that could have exploded at any moment, without any gear on!?"

"Yep."

"Dad, please tell me you won't go into anymore burning meth labs..."

He looks at me and smiles. "What if you were the one trapped inside a burning meth lab?"

"Okay, but that's the one exception."

19 comments:

  1. Wow, what a story. Please send my best to your father. It is heroes like him that should be honored in this country instead of the clowns that we see on television nightly.

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  2. God bless your father. He is a good man!

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  3. I love reading your stories; they always suck me in!

    Your father is a true hero and such a good man. He thought nothing of his own safety and did everything he could to save the girl. I bet you're so proud of him. (But I don't blame you for never wanting him to be in a situation like that again!)

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  4. holy crap. that's insane. i can't even imagine that. some people are messed. your dad rocks though.

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  5. The world needs more people who are willing to do anything to help another human being in need! That is an amazing story, sounds like you have a great father!

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  6. What a hero, your father. God Bless him.

    The other man, however. So perverted and cruel.

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  7. Oh my gosh, that is an incredible and horrible story. Send big hugs to your dad for me. Big Big hugs... Amazing!

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  8. Wow what a story. Your father is truly a hero. =)

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  9. Amazing story. It definitely puts those times when I think my job is difficult in to perspective

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  10. very good blog, congratulations
    regard from Reus Catalonia
    thank you

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  11. What an amazing story. Your dad is definitely a class act. We need more people like him around, especially since he seems to be an awesome father as well.

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  12. Wow. You've got a bloody interesting life for the life of a shampoo girl.

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  13. That was some story......, Manda you're a VERY intriguing & writer. The way you show your stories are just like "Really?! wow"...a person can really hold onto every breath. I always enjoy reading your writings :::claps:::!!

    Have a nice weekend!

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  14. Firemen are the bravest people on the face of the earth, every one of them, hands down. From the men and women who ran up God knows how many flights of stairs on 9/11 to the men who run into burning buildings without their gear on because there's someone still inside.

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  15. How about taking the asshole waiting outside and toss him into the fire?

    Give you dad a shampoo. Our Fire Fighters are good at saving the foundations by the time they get there and drop a line etc.

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  16. I agree with Samantha. Your stories always reel me in and, even when they have this sad overtone, they can always sort of make me smile at the end, because you see the bad in some people, but the immense good of others.

    Plus, anyone who actually finds a way to use, "holler" in context without sounding weird gets added props in my book. :)

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  17. OMG! God bless your father and people like him for risking their lives for others!
    Are you sure you don't want to stick to being a writer? You had me hooked from the second sentence! Can't wait to read more of your blog!

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  18. I tagged you in my latest blog. I feel you could really do this activity justice.

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  19. Hooooly wow. That's some scary stuff right there.

    Major kudos to your dad, though, for having the stones and courage to do what he does.

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