A Fire Fighter and his Dog

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story of a fire fighter and his dog in the forest fire of Fort McMurray...

Wrote this in 2 hours for an ELA Final Exam

Submitted: May 18, 2016

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Submitted: May 18, 2016

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“‘Heroism is endurance for one more,’ eh?” Caelan stated as he gripped onto the newspaper tightly. “Come ‘ere Scruff, would’ya take a look at this!” The brown haired fireman said as he beckoned his best friend over towards him. The Dalmatian came bolting towards him, barking happily while running. Scruff leapt onto the chest of Caelan, who simply just laughed and ruffled the dog’s fur. “Alright, alright, calm down and look at this!” Caelan said as he pointed at the quote in the newspaper, wanting to get his dog to appreciate the quote too.

 

“Ruff!” Scruff barked as he began to drool onto the newspaper and Caelan’s arms.

 

“Hey! I’d appreciate it if you didn’t get slobber all over my things!” Caelan scolded jokingly as he wiped his arms on his shirt. Caelan scanned the paper, trying to find out why exactly Scruff was drooling so much, only to find a picture of dog food. “Typical dog…” The man mumbled as he pulled himself off of his couch and towards the kitchen. “But I guess I ‘ought to feed him if he’s hungry.” He pulled a bag of dog food from the fire department’s kitchen cupboard and poured it into a food bowl labeled ‘SCRUFF’ in big, bold letters. Caelan chuckled quietly and happily as he saw Scruff dive into the bowl of food almost instantaneously. He glanced at the drool-covered newspaper in his hands for a second, thinking about the quote he saw earlier. ‘I was hoping that having Ol’ Scruffy to read the quote again with me would help me understand it, but I guess his stomach overrides everything else eh?’Caelan thought in his head as he placed the newspaper onto the kitchen counter.

 

“RINGGG!” All of a sudden, the blaring sound of a bell ringing filled the room. “All firemen report to stations!” Called out a calm but loud voice over the intercom. The fireman hastily rushed towards the garage, motioning for Scruff to follow. The man knocked over many items in his hurried dash, but still managed to make it downstairs and into their truck where they saw the rest of their team.

 

“Ambrose, get suited up!” Caelan nodded at his captain whilst he grabbed his fire-resistant suit off of a rack.

“Sir, what’s the problem?” The man questioned as he brushed his short, brown hair out of his face.

“There’s a wildfire going on in Fort McMurray! It’s a big one too, spreading faster than you can say my grandma’s apple pie.” The squad captain informed while also telling the driver to start moving. Wheels screeched against the concrete and the sound of an alarm began to reverberate throughout the garage as the truck turned on. The truck began to move and hurriedly drove through the garage door. Cars on the streets changed lanes to move out of the truck’s way as soon as they heard the earsplitting sound of the fire truck’s alarm. The sound of Scruff’s barking soon drove off the cars that didn’t move immediately.

 

The truck lurched forwards as it skidded to a stop next to an apartment engulfed in flames.

“GO! THERE’S STILL PEOPLE IN THERE!” The captain commanded, causing Caelan to jump out of the truck along with the Dalmatian. The duo sprinted towards the burning building, with the Dog barking loudly to notify the crowd of people outside the building of his and Caelan’s presence.

 

“Oh thank the heavens!” A lady cried out, sounding like she was on the brink of crying. “My son is still inside! Please, please save him!” She pleaded as she knelt onto the floor, clasping her hands together.

 

“Don’t worry ma’am, I will. It is my job isn’t it?” Caelan stated, comforting the lady, before pulling his mask over his face and running head first into the scorching apartment. Caelan bolted through the embers, focusing on people the people inside the building as his main priority and himself as only a close second. The blaze from the flames coloured himself and everything around him a orange red.

“HELP ME!” The screams called out, giving the fireman a good sense of the people’s location. He ran into the bathroom to see a boy around only six years of age, huddled into the corner on the floor with a wet rag over his mouth.

“It’s okay, I’m here to save you.” Caelan scooped up the boy into his arm and ran out of the room, into the more heavily burnt area. The boy held his eyes tightly shut as the heat intensified. As Caelan reached the exit of the building, he handed the boy to his partner – Scruff – who carefully brought the boy to the ambulances that had arrived alongside the fire trucks.

 

“JOHNNY!” Someone exclaimed, someone that Caelan knew was the lady from earlier. He glanced at the two for a second before smiling. ‘I love my job.’ He thought, before braving the flames once again.

Caelan handed his sixth rescued person to Scruff, who continued to bring the rescues to the ambulances.
“Ambrose.” He heard a voice call out for him, causing him to turn around.

“Yes captain?” Caelan questioned, curious as to why he stopped his work.

“I got a transmission from headquarters, they want you to go to the forest to help you put out the fire – it’s spread even more to the point that they need almost all of there now.” Caelan scanned the apartment building with concern, the flames have died down a bit now, but screaming can still be heard coming from within. The captain seemed to take note of this concern. “Don’t fret Caelan, I’ll be taking over here.” Caelan nodded swiftly before hurrying into the direction of the forest, with Scruff close behind.

 

“EY AMBROSE!” One of the crew at the forest called out, indicating for Caelan to come over. Once Caelan reached where he was, he handed him a hose that was attached to a truck. “Cap’ told me to set you up with a hose.” There was an awkward pause as Caelan stared at the hose and at the man, wondering if he was going to finish his sentence or not. “What are you waiting for? Start putting out the dang fires already!” Caelan pulled the hatch that turned on the hose it began to shoot out water with so much force that Caelan could barely hold on. He began to put out the fires on top of the trees, however, due to the force of the water, some trees began to wobble. The crewmember looked at the other fireman, then at the trees, then back at him. “I think you’re alright. I’ll be back in an hour or so okay? Just continue doing whatever you’re doing until I get back.”

 

As Caelan continued to blast water at the forest, Scruff ran towards the blazing forest. Caelan promptly turned off the water, dropped the hose, and bolted after the dog. After catching up to him, Caelan picked the Dalmatian up as soon as he could.

“Scruff! What did I tell you about running into fires? You could die from the smoke!” Caelan scolded the dog seriously, to which Scruff responded with a sad whimper.

“HELP!” A voice called out from within the forest, causing Caelan’s eyes to widen.

“No, no, no! There’s someone stuck there!” Caelan’s exclaims loudly. “Scruff, you stay here alright pal? Don’t move!” The fireman called out as he braved the inferno once again.

 

“HELP!” The person called out again, this time much louder. Caelan dashed towards to sound, avoiding the falling branches and embers. He came to a clearing where a man had his foot caught in a bear trap. “You’re here to save me? YOU’RE HERE TO SAVE ME!” He howled was happiness despite the fact that his face was glistening with the light of the fire – he was crying.

“Yes sir, I’m here to help you.” Caelan ran to his side and quickly opened the bear trap. ‘This is why bear traps are illegal!’ Thought Caelan as he hoisted the man onto his back and carried him into the direction of the fire trucks.

 

As Caelan neared the area he had left Scruff at, he saw the same crewmember from earlier.

“Ambrose!” He called out the moment he saw Caelan and the state he was in.

“How’d you know where I was?” Caelan asked the crewmember, slightly confused.

“That dog of yours ran up to me and started barking like mad! He then ran away and led me here! That dog’s a real hero eh?” Caelan looks up to the sky as he thinks of Scruff, his best pal since the moment he joined the fire department.

“Yeah, he really is. Anyways,” Caelan said as he carefully dropped the man on his back into the crewmember’s arms, “Take this man to the ambulances would’ya? I need to check if there’s anymore people stuck back there.” The crewmember nodded and scampered off with the man as Caelan begans to head back to see if there’s anyone else that needs recusing.

“RUFF!” The fireman turned back around to see the same black and white fur ball he loves so much.

“Scruff! I told you already! Don’t go into the fire! Stay here, alright?” Scruff had let out a sad, weak bark as he lay onto the ground with a dejected look. Caelan checked once more to see if Scruff was staying in his spot before running off to check for any other survivors.

 

Flames licked his suit as he scanned the forest. After he heard no more cries for help and not having anyone in his sight, the fireman decided to head back to the truck and continue putting out the blaze. Suddenly, Caelan heard the sound of a tree snapping, causing him to instinctively run forward.

“AH!” He called out in excruciating pain as he felt something lodged into his foot., making him fall over. He glanced down to see himself caught in the same bloody bear trap that had caught the man earlier. The fireman gazed upwards to see an enormous, burning tree trunk falling towards him. He glued his eyes shut, waiting for the inevitable impact about to occur. He heard the trunk fall against the ground floor, making a huge cracking sound in the process. Caelan hesitantly opened one eye, only to find out that the tree had miraculously landed right beside him.

“I guess this is it. I’m going to lay here and burn to death from this tree or die from too much smoke.” He muttered to no one in particular as he accepts his fate. The bear trap couldn’t be undone at this point – branches from the tree trunk next to him made it almost impossible to reach.

 

Caelan lay there calmly, contemplating if he’d go to heaven or not and if he’d see Scruff again there. Abrupt barking broke the silence, which made Caelan sit up almost instantly.

“Scruff! Scruff no!” The familiar Dalmatian ran up to him and wagged his tail, barking happily as he saw his owner. The dog took a look at Caelan’s situation at started to bite the bear trap, bending the metal and allowing Caelan’s foot to be freed. Now able to move again, Caelan shoved the burning log off of him, brushed off the flames on his arms, and stood up. “C’mon Scruff, let’s go.” Scruff joyfully barked, seeing his owner walk again, but the happy barking was quickly replaced by something that sounded similar to a cough. “Scruff?” Caelan began to say worriedly. “Scruff now’s not the time to play dead.” He continued, kneeling beside the Dalmatian that collapsed onto the forest floor. “SCRUFF!” He said again, this time he practically yelled. Caelan picked up the limp body off of the floor and limped towards the ambulances. Despite the fact his foot bled everywhere and that it was distorted from the bear trap, he kept pushing forward – his best friend couldn’t die.

 

Tears fell down Caelan’s face for the first time since who knows when.

“I’m sorry Mr. Ambrose, but it seems he died from too much smoke inside of his lungs.” The vet said, trying to comfort Caelan who had tears streaming down his face like a river. He punched the wall strongly, then again, and again, with each punch becoming progressively weaker.

“Why did he have to be the one to die? I should’ve died! I SHOULD’VE DIED!” Caelan continued to weep for his old buddy, on his way out of the door, on his way to back to his house, and at home where he gave his friend a proper funeral. Days passed and Caelan wasn’t assigned to any jobs for the entire time. His squad knew how much that dog meant to him and that to him Scruff wasn’t a dog – he was a partner and a friend, and family.

 

Caelan sat on his armchair with his coffee on his table and newspaper in hand. “Huh? This is last week’s paper…” He got up and was about to throw the paper away and get a new one, however, a sentence caught his eye. “‘Heroism is endurance for one moment more.’” Caelan gazed sorrowfully at his wall, where an article of the Fort McMurray wild fire was framed. “I finally understand it now, Scruff you really did help me understand it, heh.” He gave a sad, quiet, laugh. “You really showed me Scruff,” Caelan gently touched the framed article with his hand, “that you were a hero that held on for one moment more.”

“Thank you.”

 


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