Sunday, June 5, 2016

Fire Is The Devil's Only Friend

AFD Engine 1 (far left)  Engine 2 (center) Hadley Ladder truck (right)
 Morning after:  fencing already erected around building

Besides the beep, beep, beeping of a smoke detector still doing its job this morning at Alpine Commons the scene is pretty much what you would expect walking (or flying) over a battlefield after the guns have gone silent.

Yesterday was a different story of course.  The sights and sound and most particularly the smell of a major structure fire is something you simply never forget.  But as long as there are no casualties at least it's a scar that will one day heal.

AFD Engine 1 was first on the scene but it's hard to get anything done when the only person aboard her was a captain from Central Station.

Engine 2, the aerial, arrived soon after from North Station with three aboard and after hooking up to a hydrant started spraying up to a 1,000 gallons of water per minute from above.

At the time of the box alarm 8 professional firefighters made up the on-duty shift (although it goes down to 7 for the summer), but 4 were tied up on two ambulance calls.  

Slowly the reinforcements arrived:  Hadley with an invaluable Ladder Truck, Northampton, Pelham and South Hadley with pumpers and Belchertown providing station coverage in case another fire should come calling.

AFD Ambulance One and South County EMS also provided an ambulance to the scene mainly to monitor and assist all the firefighters battling the elements as well as the fire.

Naturally I asked Chief Nelson about staffing:

 Click to enlarge/read

Another problem is Ladder 1 is out for repairs.  At almost 30 years of age that may end up being the new normal.  Not a good thing considering the newer buildings going up in Amherst are five stories.

Aging equipment, skeleton staffing and a Fire Station badly in need of replacement.  Such is the life our full-time career firefighters.  Yes, skill goes a l-o-n-g way in overcoming major obstacles.  As does a little luck.

One of these days skill alone, with our limited numbers, will not be enough. 


Anonymous said...

Great coverage Sparky!

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, fire is neither the Devil's only friend, nor his/her/its most dangerous one.

Anonymous said...

FYI- It's not a complement to be called Sparky.smfh

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, I know.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, while the pump of ladder 2 might be 1000 gpm the nozzle on the ladder is no more than 500. In fact, it could not "immediately begin spraying water" from the ladder because it's tank would run out of water in exactly 1 minute which is something a fire department never wants to do. The chief also pointed out a water supply wasn't secured for some time.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Ed, I thought you are an expert on everything, but you just missed the lyric to American Pie. Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see APD has cleaned up the vagrants hanging around town center. The center looks nice with the homeless elsewhere. Hope it stays like this for awhile.

Anonymous said...

They should move the vagrants to Hampshire College,they will fit in nicely with that crew.