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
Tyler 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
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
They had 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 percent involved.
When 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 window.
Tyler and 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.
As they 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 structure.
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
Tyler 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.
Deep in 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 I40.
"Hey Tyler 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.
Before the 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.
Holly 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 making.
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
"This is very large." He thought as he finished zipping his coat.
Wildland 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.
Tyler 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 inhalation.
He shook 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.
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