11/22/11 244 W, 1 I - + 5 - 6 Waiting for the Big One in Charlotte

From the Carolinas Fire Page mailing list comes one of the best articles we've read in a while. Charlotte Magazine has published this story in their December issue. It's written by Jeremy Markovich and has photographs by Nancy Pierce. They chronicle twenty-four hours with Engine 15, e.g the Shamrock Express, and the city's busiest.

From 8 p.m. to 8 p.m., it's a day and a night in the life of an urban fire company in the Carolinas. Evening visit to the shop. Baseball on television. Late-night ice cream. Shift change. Grocery run. And medical calls at all hours. But no "big ones."

Notes the story: "That’s normal. Firefighters in Charlotte don’t spend much time fighting fires. From July 2009 through July 2010, CFD responded to 93,139 incidents. Only one in every forty-five calls is for something that might be burning. Credit the strict fire codes, the sprinklers, and regulations that go so far as to ban specific sorts of shingles."

But they're ready and willing and even eager to fight fire. This might be the best quote in the thing: "Fires destroy. They burn. They kill. But firefighters want to fight fires. They train to fight big fires. They want to use that training. But using that training puts them in danger. This is The Paradox." Indeed it is! Read and enjoy the story.

Nancy Pierce/Charlotte Magazine photo

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