A warm August afternoon.

Posted: August 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

Our Battalion Chief’s voice crackled over the radio, “Truck 6, Code 1!…Call Medflight, get them in the air!” An unmistakeable sense of urgency, something was very wrong…

On a warm August afternoon, almost a year ago now, a rescue operation unfolded unlike any I have ever been a part of. 

Our town had already suffered two Heroes lost that summer, this would be number 3. 

A red Chevy pickup sat alone at the bottom of the hill. The driver, our Deputy Chief, trapped inside. 

The medics knew this was a call unlike any they had ever seen. Without missing a beat, they began their work; pushing IV’s, holding compression, comforting. 

I dug the Jaws of Life cutters into the B post and twisted the trigger. Steel crunching, glass smashing, we made quick work of the roof. “Get me a sawzall!”, “I need another blade!” Without missing a step, behind me a sea of my brothers and sisters snapped into action. In the blink of an eye, a sawzall and fresh blades appeared. From the newest members, to the seasoned senior firefighters, we worked as a unit. Tunneling through the pickup, our mission was clear, free our Chief… 

Everywhere you looked, a white shield, a white helmet. More officers than firefighters, yet not a single arguement or debate. Everyone knew what the goal was. Constantly evaluating and bouncing ideas off each other. Combined, easily over 100 years of experience surrounded our Chief. 

Time felt like an eternity. I couldn’t cut fast enough… A thought which would stick with me, what could I have done different?
As I made the final cut with the Jaws of Life, an image which haunts me to this day, our Chief was finally free…

We laid our Chief to rest the next Tuesday on a warm September day.

In the months that followed, I reflected quite a bit. I came to the conclusion that I was exactly where I was supposed to be that afternoon. We gave it hell, leaving it all on the table. I am, without a doubt, extremely lucky to be able to learn from and work with these men and women every day. 

People cope in different ways. Some turn to alcohol. Some hold it all in forever. Some seek professional help. 

I chose to write about that warm August afternoon.

Deputy Chief Frank Sousa – November 13, 1964 – August 27, 2015. 

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Comments
  1. Fran Kelly says:

    It is the same in every good, well trained department. You, me, and our brothers and sisters see the task, do the job you trained well for and give the victim every possible chance. I helped cover your department while you buried your Deputy, because that’s what we do, too.Be proud of the work you do and the effort you give…that day and every day. It takes a special person to be called firefighter.

  2. Ursula Sousa says:

    To who ever you are thank you! You all did everything right & forever will be in my heart that all of you were supposed to be there! I always knew you & everyone went beyond the call of duty & am greatful for you all! Unfortunately No one could have saved him. Took me along time to get over the anger & guilt that he had to die. I seeked professional help to finally find peace & am glad you also found a way. This was so beautifully written I want to thank you for this. XOXO

    • Adam M says:

      Thank you Ursula, my name is Adam Medeiros and I am a lieutenant on Engine 1. I helped put the new roof on your home that day. Hope all is well! I’m very glad you approved of this and I hope your healing continues to go well!

      • Jim Vieira says:

        Adam, very well written, unfortunately that evening will be imbedded in my mind for the rest of my life…. you all did an awesome job! You all knew the task and you did it very professionally and under the worst circumstances Ive ever seen!

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