Peace Pipe: Smile to a Frown
by Audrey W.
Sometimes it amazed Roy DeSoto how quickly a situation could change for the worse in just a matter of seconds. Even with all he and his partner John Gage had encountered over the past few years on duty as paramedics, and firemen prior to that. Unfortunately, often those situations involved Gage directly, and today was no exception.
The two had just gotten to Rampart General a short time after rescuing a lady from her girdle, which Gage had to cut off. The result was an unexpected girdle slap across his face. Once he and the victim were both deemed okay at the scene, it was one of those rescues the two paramedics could talk about with humor. But they'd no sooner shared the details of the strange and funny rescue with head nurse Dixie McCall, when Dispatch sent them on a run involving a structure fire in a residential area not far from the hospital.
When they'd arrived, a man directed them to the bathroom, where the toilet was ablaze. With no other units on the scene yet, Roy first suggested to his partner that they grab the garden hose in the front yard to put out the fire. The younger man picked up the nozzle end and rushed inside, while Roy made sure it was on and the rest could be dragged along. Next thing Roy knew, the small room was a wall of flames and both Johns were on fire.
DeSoto quickly managed to smother the flames on the sleeves of Gage's turnout coat. As soon as John the paramedic was just smoldering slightly within a cloud of smoke, he took off toward the front door. Roy picked up the hose, wondering what in the hell happened. A wave a guilt washed over him as he dropped the nozzle end to the floor. Though he knew they were both more than surprised that the water obviously had flammable material in it, it was still him that had made the decision to use the garden hose in the first place. It could've caused Johnny severe injury. At the moment Roy wasn't sure how his partner had faired overall.
Once outside as well, Roy's first reaction was to go to Gage. He had to ignore instinct, though, and quickly continue on to Engine 51, which had arrived on scene as soon as he got outdoors. With concern about Johnny still on his mind, he briefed Captain Stanley on what had happened. He then went to John, who was examining his own arms, his turnout coat off, to make sure he was unscathed. Relief didn't replace the guilt Roy felt, but it helped that Johnny was indeed okay, no burns what-so-ever. Even his coat had come out of the ordeal okay.
There was still a major problem to solve, but at least with more knowledge of the circumstances, the chances of another close call seemed less likely.
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