It’s Not About the Turkey
The clock said 11:15. The man paced back and forth, waiting anxiously for news. It seemed like it had been hours since his friend had been brought in. He tried to follow the gurney into the treatment room but had been stopped at the door.
“We’ll come find you as soon as we know anything” he was assured as the door swung closed. He knew it would be a while and the waiting was unbearable.
As he finally stopped pacing he sat back on one of the hard chairs in the doctor’s lounge He was still feeling the affects of the blaze they had just left. He looked down at his hands and saw they were still shaking. He closed his eyes and could still see the scene so clearly in his mind. The flames were licking at the roof as the two vehicles screamed up in front.
Hoses were pulled and SCBA’s were donned as everyone rushed to do their assigned chores. Roy and Johnny were sent inside the blazing building to start the search for the victims they knew were there. Fire was everywhere as the older building was like kindling to the hunger of the fire.
The television set in the main lounge was still showing the football game as they rushed passed it. “I’ll check over here,” Roy yelled to his partner.
Johnny pulled his facemask off to acknowledge Roy’s words. Johnny dashed to the other end of the large room. His eyes scanned the room, trying to scrutinize every detail hoping to find a victim that might need some assistance.
The table was still adorned with the cornucopia display that was celebrating the season. Johnny shook his head, ‘not much to be thankful for’ he thought to himself. His attention was suddenly pulled to a corner where an elderly gentleman was waving him over. The man was a very dignified man wearing an old English Bolero Hat. Johnny almost smiled as he helped the man to his feet. “this way,” Johnny said as he and the man headed out the door. He led the man to the waiting arms of the other paramedics who were setting up the triage area outside.
The man grabbed Johnny's hand, “you be careful in there young man,” he said before he was slowly led away.
“Not to worry sir, I plan to be gobbling up lots of turkey tomorrow” Johnny smiled. “I’ll be fine”
Johnny dashed back inside to continue the painstaking search for more seniors. He spotted his partner leading another elderly couple out the doors. ‘man it’s hotter than an oven in here’ Johnny thought to himself as he moved to the next floor. The fire was becoming more and more out of control.
The HT in Roy’s pocket squawked as he was heading down the hall with an elderly woman in a wheelchair.
“Engine 51 to HT 51” the radio crackled.
“HT 51,” Roy responded.
“Evacuate immediately” came the orders. Roy knew that meant the fire was now in danger of trapping anyone left inside. “10-4,” Roy replied. “I’m bringing the last person out now,” he said.
Johnny caught up with his partner as they were almost at the door. The heat was unbearable. Both men were feeling lethargic from being in the building for too long as they both were unwilling to give up the search for one more possible victim.
The wheelchair was getting harder and harder to push as the debris piled up in front of them.
“I’ll have to carry you Mrs. Williams,” Roy said leaning down to the frail woman in the chair. He saw the fear in her eyes. “Don’t worry ma’am,” he said. “I’ll be gentle,” he assured her.
Roy scooped the woman up in his arms as he and Johnny continued their dash out of the building. The ceiling was collapsing behind them as they increased their speed. Johnny looked ahead of them, it was only 100 feet to the door. It was going to be a race to make it out before the whole ceiling came down on them.
The door was partially blocked as they reached their only way of escape. Johnny started to toss the debris out of the way as Roy grabbed his HT. “HT51 to Engine 51,” Roy radioed, the nervousness evident in his voice.
“Go ahead 51” came the reply from their captain.
“Cap we’re blocked at the main entrance. Debris everywhere. We’re working to clear a hole to get out,” Roy told him.
“We’ll start on this end. We have to move fast Roy,” Cap said.
Roy already knew they were fighting against the odds now. The fire was at their heels and the ceiling was rippling like it was a bowl of molten lava. He looked up and knew that their was a distinct possibility that they weren’t going to get out of this one alive.
Johnny was still trying to force his way through the debris. Roy tried to find a place to sit Mrs. Williams down so he could help but there was no where safe that he could do that. He felt guilty that he wasn’t helping his partner with the blocked door.
“I’m through,” Johnny yelled as he motioned Roy to go through. Both of them were coughing hard because their air had run out minutes earlier.
“Go!” came the urgent push as Roy felt himself being physically pushed out the hole. He felt himself stumble forward as he heard and then felt the rumble behind him.
He turned and saw the whole ceiling come down. “Johnny!” he yelled.
The hours continued to drag on as he waited for news. Finally the lounge door opened. Dr. Brackett and Dr. Early came in.
“Doc?” he asked jumping to his feet.
“Johnny's going to be just fine,” Dr. Brackett said as he wiped his sweaty brow. “He made it through surgery and he’s doing good”
Roy remembered the fire again. “I guess we do have a lot to be thankful today,” he said. “Thanksgiving isn’t about the turkey and the football games, its about remembering what is really important. I know what I have to be thankful for today” he said as he blew out a small breath he didn’t even know he’d been holding.
“When can I see him?” Roy asked.
“In a couple hours,” Kel said. “We need to get him settled in a room and you can see him then”
An hour later Roy, and the rest of the Station 51 crew filed into Johnny's quiet hospital room. Johnny was just waking as they came in.
He looked at his friends from behind sleepy eyes. “Thanks,” he whispered. “For getting me out”
“For what?” Roy asked. “You pushed me out of the way or that ceiling” he said. “I need to be thanking you”
Johnny shook his head. “You’re family,” he said. “Besides if I didn’t save you where would I go for turkey dinner” he said with a slight smirk. Johnny winced a little in pain.
“John you really okay?” Chet asked with concern.
“Yeah Chet I’m okay,” Johnny answered quietly. The cast on his leg, the IV’s in his arms and the nasal cannula on his face begged to differ, but at that moment the crew of Station 51 knew they really had experienced the true meaning of the holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving my American Friends
(From your friend to the North in Canada)
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