This excerpt shows the tension and confusion in chaos of a fire as the heroes act with strength and compassion.
A loud siren buzzed through the firehouse, severing their conversation. All the men leaped from their spots and booked it over to slide down the pole to the garage. They stepped into their boots and pants, pulled them up quickly, and slipped into the rest of their gear. Out of the corner of his eye, Grey caught the angry glare Jefferies shot in Mica’s direction. Not good.
“All right, boys.” Their lieutenant, Michael, shouted over the shrill siren. “We have a structure fire at Fifteenth and Blair. You all know what that means. It could be a meth lab, so be careful about possible chemicals. Let’s ride!”
Grey cringed. That was about the worst neighborhood they could go into. There’d been a number of fires in that area over the years, and he had no doubt there would be more. Half the buildings should have been condemned but instead housed mostly the homeless or drug dealers. He’d also seen his fair share of hookers running from them, barely clothed and refusing to stop and let his men ask them who might still be trapped inside. None of the residents wanted to be involved with anyone official, even if it saved a life.
The only reason the city left the crumbling structures standing was because an old building looked better than a slew of homeless people and hookers walking the streets.
It took ten minutes before the fire truck pulled up to a building engulfed in flames. Any civilian would see the fire and think there was no way to save those who might be trapped inside, but Grey and his fellow firefighters knew better. The building’s state of disrepair could be misleading. A deserted structure didn’t mean that people weren’t finding safety within its deteriorating walls.
Grey got out of the rig with the rest of the guys just as the ambulances pulled up next to them. He breathed a sigh of relief. Now the whole team was here.
“Jeff, you’re with Mica. Simon and Dale, follow behind. Grey, cover the rig with me,” Michael roared over the crackling fire and chaos.
“I want to go with Dale,” Jefferies yelled.
“I don’t care what you want. Get your ass in that building,” Michael bellowed.
Grey shook his head. Now wasn’t the time for petty in-house issues. Jefferies was going to get his ass handed to him by Michael when they got back to the firehouse.
The guys disappeared into the fiery building. To anyone else it would appear that the fire had swallowed them, but Grey knew Michael would never send his men in if it were a lost cause. With no one around to ask whether there were people inside, they had no choice but to assume there might be. After all, someone had actually called this one in.
Grey worked on hooking up the hose to the plug, checking the discharge flow, and charging the line.
“Grey, are we okay to go?” Michael asked.
“Yes. The flow is good. Let’s do this,” Grey replied.
The minutes ticked by. Grey and Michael operated the pump to blanket the fire in water from the outside. It always amazed Grey that at first it looked as though the flames simply absorbed the water and mocked their attempts to defeat it. Even if winning wasn’t in the cards, quitting wasn’t an option. There was always a chance they wouldn’t salvage the building, but it was their primary job to give those inside a chance to get out.
“What’s it look like in there?” Michael asked through the mic system.
There was a crackle before Jefferies responded, “It’s fucking hot as hell, and we’re not seeing proof of anyone crashing here so far.”
“What about you, Simon?” Grey asked.
“The structure is close to being fully involved. We’re coming out plus two,” Simon shouted into the mic.
Grey exchanged a shocked look with Michael. He was surprised anyone lived in the damn place.
True to his word, Simon appeared with Dale at the side door on the opposite end of the building; one carried a woman and the other directed a man. The paramedics immediately moved to assist them.
“The fire killed the path we took. No way back in,” Dale yelled at Michael.
Grey hoped Jefferies and Mica weren’t blocked in on their side. The fierce roar of the fire was growing more intense by the minute. They were running short on time. Sweat lined Grey’s forehead as the heat rolled off the building in waves. The structure groaned and began to collapse on the left side.
“Jeff? Mica? Where the hell are you? Get your asses moving. The building is coming down on your heads,” Michael hollered into the mic.
Grey felt the beginnings of fear filter through. The guys were cutting it pretty close.
A rig pulled up from station ten. Grey nodded in their direction as they piled out and set up their gear. Now at least they all had a chance of controlling the fire. The lieutenant came over to get a rundown of the situation before returning to his company. All Grey heard was that they wouldn’t be sending anyone else inside. As soon as Jefferies and Mica came out, station ten would help establish a defensive fire attack.
There was a crackling over the system before Jefferies responded, “I’m on my way out.”
Grey frowned at Michael as Jefferies barged out the front door. Mica wasn’t behind him.
“Where the hell is Mica?” More than a hint of anger colored Michael’s shout. Grey knew that tone to mean Jefferies was royally screwed.
“Idiot thought he heard someone crying. I couldn’t hear shit, and I didn’t want to risk it. He wouldn’t listen to me.”
“You ass,” Grey hollered. “You never leave a man behind.” He pushed past Jefferies toward the building, but Michael grabbed his arm.
“Mica?” Grey shouted into the mic. When he couldn’t discern anything but the buzz over the airways, he jerked his arm away from Michael and took off toward the building again. In horror, he heard the building groan, the sound of a dying structure as it starts to slowly crumble. Large chunks of burning rubble smashed to the earth and shook the ground.
Michael clasped Grey’s jacket and hauled him back.
A confused Dale and Simon ran up to the group. “We couldn’t find anyone else,” Simon said.
A paramedic jogged up. “The man said no one lived here except for the occasional hooker. The woman thought a crackhead might be staying here with her kid.”
A sharp splintering of wood echoed around them. They turned to see Mica shoulder his way through what remained of the side exit. The door crashed to the ground. Mica had a small child cradled in his arms, his mask over her face. His whole body looked like it had been dipped in ash. He took a few steps forward before he collapsed to his knees. The paramedic approached him and took possession of the little girl.
Grey hurried to Mica and held out his hand to pull the other man to his feet. “You okay there, man?” he asked, his gaze riveted to Mica’s face.
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I've always been a writer. I've really just spent most of my life doing everything but seriously writing. It was something I would do for fun without any intention of people actually reading what I wrote. Finally I decided that if I was going to spend all my time penning words perhaps I should be open to sharing those. So here I am. My first book, Grey's Hidden Fire was released on July 9th!!
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