*As the guys look over the tree, I feel my phone vibrate. I figure that it's probably just an update from the news or from Active 911, but I feel it vibrate again, so its a phone call. I pull my right glove off and toss it on the ground as I fish my hand between my bunker pants and my duty pants. I grab my phone and pull it out to see that its our division chief calling.*
Me: "Hey Chief, what can I do for you?"
Chief Schwartz: "Not much, I need you guys to put your wildland gear on the engine."
Me: "We'll get it done as soon as we get back to the station, chief."
Chief Schwartz: "Back to the station?"
Me: "Correct, chief... Is that a problem?"
Chief Schwartz: "Where are you guys now?"
Me: "We're out in Oxnard on the Einstein fire."
Chief Schwartz: "You guys are on a call?"
Chief Schwartz: "Well what is it?"
*At this point I look up in the sky and grit my teeth. I don't like talking to Chief Schwartz because he's not what I would call a fireman's fireman, but he wears the white shirt, so I don't really have a choice. But that he doesn't know that one of his crews is on a call, or what the call even is. That doesn't make me feel too good.*
Me: "Its a yard fire. A lawnmower caught fire and extended into a tree."
Chief Schwartz: "You guys have a handle on it?"
Me: "I think so Chief, its us and Brush 24."
Chief Schwartz: "You think so?"
Me: "Well the guys are checking for any extension in the tree right now, but it doesn't look like it's anything serious."
Chief Schwartz: "Well you best go find out."
Me: "You got it Chief, just as soon as we finish talking."
Chief Schwartz: "Well do your damn job."
Me: "You got it, Chief."
*As Dave walks up and nods, I figure that he's talking about the lack of extension, so I shoot him a thumbs up. I watch as he keys the mic and terminates Command. This won't end well.*
Chief Schwartz: "Who was that on the radio?"
Me: "That's one of my firefighters, Chief."
Chief Schwartz: "Well why is he on the radio and not you?"
Me: "Well I'm on the phone with you, Chief and we're trying to clear the scene."
Chief Schwartz: "Don't you dare blame this on me."
Me: "I'm not chief."
*I get back to the engine and climb in. I hit the available button on the computer as Kyle pulls us away from the curb.*
Chief Schwartz: "You can't even control your damn crew? What good are you as an officer?"
Me: "Well Chief, I'm sorry that you feel that way."
Chief Schwartz: "Well I do. Get off your ass and do your job."
*I hear the line go dead as he hangs up on me. I bit my lip to keep from screaming something that I shouldn't as we pull away. I put my phone away without saying anything to anyone as I put my headset on. I take a few seconds as we start heading back to quarters.*
Lieutenant Nicholas LeBlanc, Paramedic, Search and Rescue, HazMat, Diver
"You might be a firefighter if your entire wardrobe is t-shirts your friends gave you from their
departments for your birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc."
"If Prometheus was worthy of the wrath of heaven for kindling the first fire upon earth, how
ought all the gods honor the men who make it their professional business to put it out?"
- John Godfrey Saxe