It was mid
July in the Summer of 2001. Tyler Jones a fifteen year veteran of
the Hampstead Fire Rescue sat up right in his bunk at the Fire
Station. Hampstead sits on the east coast between the Military
town of Jacksonville housing Camp Lejuene to the North and
Wilmington a major tourist city for its beautiful beaches to the
thirty-nine as of last week had just finished his shift at the
station and was going to head out of town to the Blue Ridge
Parkway for a couple of days of rockclimbing. He had been
planning the trip for months now and was looking forward to it.
He was tall with a medium complexidy, olive skin and green eyes.
The amount of
alarms the night before was weighing heavy on his body as he made
his way through the fire station and out into the bay to grab his
gear. Lastnight they
had a two alarm structure fire in the westside of town that kept
them up scaveging around till the early
got the call around ten-thirty that evening. He had rode in on
one of the Engine Companies with his long time best friend Lane
Osprey and Engine driver Sammy Curtis both veterans of the
department. What started out as a routine alarm turned serious.
ADT reported a smoke alarm which happens quite fluent at the
local Food Lion. Then shortley after ADT reported that there
security alarms were triggered.
Of course when
they arrived it had been a whole nother scene all together. Fire
raged from the roof with large clouds of smoke billowing from the
eaves. The fire had been evolving for some time giving that it
had reached through the roof line and already about thirty
Tyler's Engine Company arrived they immediately striked out
another alarm to dispatch. That would give them additional
personel and equipment if need be. As they made there way around
back Tyler glanced acrossed the parking lot to where a pile of
glass and some kind of metal frame lay jumbled together. To him
it looked like the remanants of a door or maybe a
Lane had fought many of these types of blazes together and had
built a good working relationship. They could almost predict what
the other one was thinking. Which in this line of work could be
the reason you got to go home to see your family again or become
a statistic on the local news. Instinctively, Tyler grabbed a
preconnect, streamed it along the parking lot leading to the back
entrance. Lane worked out all the kinks and joined Tyler at the
nozzel just as Sammy pumped water to them. The intensity of the
inferno at the rear indicated that this was probable where the
fire origins begun.
made there way through the backdoor they were forced to there
knees. The flames and smoke were so intense all that could be see
was the outline of glowing orange through the mask out in front
of them. It reminded them of a mini hell but far worse. As they
had pushed forward scorched embers begun to rain atop them like
someone was sprinkling glitter over them. The beast was popping
and whistling as it ate away at the
When they finally
started to gain control of the scene it was well after midnight.
Already exhausted they had a ton of salvage and overhaul
operations to preform. Fire Marshals and State Investigators had
still not arrived. And the local News Media had already begun
occupying the back part of the parking lot waiting desperately
for information to leak.
despised the media, for good reason too. A couple of years back
he and another group of firefighters had conducted a Ocean water
rescue and when it streamed across TV the facts were false and
the whole thing made the Department look incompetant.
thought and exhausted he gathered his things and was making his
way toward his truck when a familiar voice pulled him back to
reality. He wanted to get home and get a couple more hours of
sleep before he made the long six hour trip up
can you hold up a second." He reckonized the voice from behind.
It was James the Lieutant for the day shift. The urgency in his
voice made Tyler turn around almost instantly." We just got an
alarm. It sounds pretty bad. Do you think you could give us a
hand? Not everyone has shown up for there shift yet this
Tyler stood there
for a moment. He wanted so badly to head home but didn't want to
leave his brother's hanging. He could hear the engines roaring to
life in the background. The flashing lights dancing across the
bay as firemen begun to jump into there gear. He threw his gear
back over his shoulder and headed for the open bay
"What do you
got?" He hollered over the chaos.
Leiutant could answer, dispatch came alive over the radio and
answered the burning guestion. There was a large fire in Holly
Shelter Game Lands, Wildlife was already on scene asking for
Department back up.
Shelter was a large body of woods running through multiple cities
and counties. Every couple of years a blaze would break out
causing hundreds and sometimes even thousands of acres to be
destroyed. The winds were up and due to the absense of rain it
was a dangerous mixture in the
Tyler jumped in
the cab of the Engine as it rolled through the bay and out the
door. The brush and mutual aid trucks were already ahead of them
as they made there way down HWY 17 toward the major intersection
leading to Holly Shelter Rd. The morning traffic was still
moderant due to the early hours.
A couple of
miles down Holly Shelter the smoke could be seen. It had already
blackend the skies ahead causing adrenaline to flow amongst Tyler
and the other firefighters.
very large." He thought as he finished zipping his
fires had been and always will be the most dangerous of
emergenies to respond to. There unpredicted nature always leaves
a firefighter much more self aware.
blocked out the loud ringing of the sirens as he drifted back
into thought two years ago when he and a fellow firefighter got
caught up in a firestorm trapping them in a circular wall of
fire. There attack lines had been cut by the blaze leaving them
defenseless. The smoke and intensity from the flames had overcame
them; the next thing Tyler new he awoke in a hospital bed with
tubes down his throat with no reckonition of what had happen.
When later visited by his Captain he learned that his fellow
firefighter hadn't pulled through. He had died from massive smoke
briskly as he was pulled back to reality. The State Highway
Patrol had the roads cordone off allowing only emergency personel
through. The Patrolman was a short stocky man with dark skin. He
had been to alot of there automobile accidents in the past and
was a man that liked to keep order.