If you've read any of my blogs posts you'll see that there's very rarely an ideal time for my alerter to spring into life and have me hotfooting it to the fire station.
Yesterday proves the point.
I've recently started working with a great local business and was in the middle of taking on board a ton of technical information, praying that my little grey cell could cope. And the shrill call of my alerter going ape had me mumbling apologies and heading for the exit at speed.
With the incessant noise rattling in my ear I found myself driving behind Miss Daisy all the way to the fire station. It only took minutes but seemed a lifetime!
Got my tally up as driver, fire kit stowed on the pump and a few seconds later we were heading off towards Oulton Broad. The tip sheet informed us it was a boat fire and the boat was moored alongside.
As we approached Harbour Road we were greeted by a guy pointing us in the right direction. Straight after the level crossing another man points us into Sea Lake Road. And the guidance continued right to where we needed to be.
Now it's worth pointing out that this was really helpful for us. We knew where Sea Lake Road was but off this there are numerous tracks leading to boatyards, slipways and the like. We could see the growing pall of smoke but would not have been able to guess the right track to take. So thanks folks!
This is not to be confused with someone standing right opposite a burning building pointing out that the one with the flames coming out of the windows is the property we're looking for...
Unusually for us we were first pump in and having threaded our way through some tight gaps we were confronted with the sight of a motor cruiser well alight.
We couldn't get close to the boat so lengths of 45 were run out and round onto the jetty. Water on and our crew starting to knock back the flames. But at this rate we would be out of water in short order.
By now the watch from Lowestoft South had arrived but had been mobilised in their water rescue capacity. Thankfully our on call firefighter colleagues from Lowestoft South were close behind and were able to supply us with their tank of water.
But we'd still need more and the nearest hydrant was over 300m away.
So light portable pump off and set into the river to supply our pump and on to the deliveries.
By now a dividing breach had been added to allow two 45's to be got to work on the jetty closely followed by our hosereel, extended to the full 120m.
As driver I need to be keeping tabs of what equipment gets taken off the pump but with all the hose gone, LPP, TIC, axes, ceiling hook, lifejackets, lighting, DeWalt saw and who knows what else - I gave up!
Although using jets from the jetty had subdued the fire it was decided to commit two BA wearers on to the boat. Now with the boat starting to settle by the stern and severely damaged by fire the BA team were ever so slightly alarmed when the engine started, ran for a while and stopped and then did it again. Needless to say they were not keen on taking the boat for a jaunt down the river in its present condition!
With the excitement over it fell to us to hang around in the gathering darkness and rain while the Harbour Masters team set up environmental protection to prevent fuel leaking away from the boat.
Back at North Lowestoft Fire Station the rest of our crew were on station for our Tuesday night training had nipped to the chippy for us and then set to cleaning all the hose and equipment.
And because of the fire we missed doing our prearranged training... a BA wear on board a ship in Lowestoft harbour, simulating a ship fire and searching for casualities. Maybe next week...