Sunday evening, just finished my tea and my alerter springs into life shattering the peace.
Yes, I know, it's been quite a while since I last posted on here. But oddly enough we've been quite busy these last couple of weeks including our crew being sent to the Make Pumps 15 fire in Regent Road, Great Yarmouth.
Anyway, back to the plot...
The alerter's incessant racket always has me clattering round the house - change from shorts to jeans, pull on a pair of socks, shoes, pick up keys, mobile and the still clammering alerter.
The usual jog across to the fire station only to be confronted with the tip sheet saying we're on standby... Bugger! Always the bridesmaid and never the bride...
A call to Control and seconds later the station turnout alarm gets itself all worked up and us grabbing fire kit and heading for the pump.
It's a Make Pumps 3 now to a shed fire.
Now I don't know about you but my shed measures a pretty measly 8 x 6 - certainly not warranting 3 pumps. Maybe it's a super-sized shed of epic man cave proportions. Time will tell...
I'm driving and we head out on to Normanston Drive in the direction of Oulton Broad and our final destination of Long Road, Lowestoft. In the back of my mind as I weave the pump through traffic is that this can't be much - maybe supply them with water, job done, home for tea and medals. How wrong I was!
We pull up and immediately two BA are required from our pump. Now, usually, as driver you're not first choice for BA, that's the job of the guys in the back. But because we had mobilised with a crew of four and Ollie, our newest recruit, hasn't done BA training as yet, I got the short straw.
James and I got our sets on and reported to BA Entry Control. We were told to go under air straightaway and were tasked with going to where the fire had started - the shed. The hosereel was already in place and we gave a second shed that was starting to burn a good soaking. But now to the main event...
The first shed was very close to a brick built workshop and right up against an oil tank that was now leaking. The fire had been so intense that it had it had spread to the workshop and was now going through the roof. A call on the radio from BA Entry Control (BAECO) had us withdraw as there were possibly cylinders present in the workshop.
Out to BAECO and wait to be retasked. Seconds later we were told to go to the main entrance of the workshop and direct a 45 into the building from there. Other BA teams joined us as we tried to hit the fire through the door and windows and also through the gaping holes in the roof.
Then the ominous sound of gas cylinders exploding, blowing large holes in the roof and sending flames shooting in the air. But with our heads down concentrating on keeping up the flow of water on to the fire, there's only the briefest chance to contemplate if any large lumps of cylinder are about to crash down on to you.
As we're working in the open we carry on working till just before our 'time of whistle' and then head back to BAECO. Tallies in our sets and then back to our pump and a very welcome bottle of water...
In all 8 BA teams were used, facing the threat of exploding cylinders at very close quarters, working hard to contain the fire and not let it spread to adjacent homes and businesses.
And just under four hours after arriving we made up all our gear and headed to Lowestoft South Fire Station to clean and service our BA sets. Then back at North Lowestoft Fire Station all our fire kit gets bagged up for cleaning as we seem to have been covered from head to toe in oil, paint and for some, 'dog toffee'.
So what was meant to be a relaxing Sunday evening in front of the box ended up being completely different.
All credit to the highly motivated firefighters from Lowestoft South (wholetime and on call) and our crew from North Lowestoft, Wrentham and Beccles...