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MM1986

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MM1986 last won the day on June 13

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About MM1986

  • Birthday 10/10/1986

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  1. Sometimes, we happen to be in the right place at the right time, but it takes training and expierence to make a difference. 2010, the year that should have ended my firefighting career. The newly formed county FD was preforming budget cuts all around, (and hiring highly paid managers) and one of those measures was to reduce the cost of the full time crews. In reality it meant that the 24 hour crews would be laid off except for a select few that were gonna work from 9 to 5, and the rest of the day and night the first out Engine was to be manned by volunteers when there was a call. In the transition period, I worked a few months in the city of Goes, but that was not going to last either as the the same method was applied to their 24 hour shifts. So I found myself out of a job for a while, then I worked as a fire guard at a local drydock, but that was also not permanent as I was deemed to have too expensive as I had my firefighter certificate and several specialisations. So one day I stumbled across a job ad at my dads old department in the city of Antwerp, so I applied. Went through all tests and for some strange reason, they hired me! (lol) Had to get used to several differences, as Antwerps methods are a little more agressive. Did a few weeks at the training grounds to get used to the methods and differences in equipment, but then I was stationed at Station North, the biggest and most busy station in the city. Most older guys there had served with my father, so it was a warm welcome, but I didn't recieve any special treatment from them, still had to do my rookie period. And I can still taste the shaving cream that shot out of my locker one day but I'm getting carried away. Then came the big one, in the city centre, a appartment building was ablaze, and we did the job like clockwork, had to evacuate 15 people by aerials and ground ladders because the 18th century building had no fire escapes and the only route out was blocked by the fire. Me and my buddy were doing a second search in a smoke filled appartment next door, no visibility, heat and unlogical layout of the appartment, that was literal hell to do a search in. I focussed on the faint light of our flashlights and the light of my buddies SCBA pack. Then the unmistakeable sound was heard of PASS device and followed by a mayday call. My blood froze and my buddy grabbed me and asked if I was okay, after confirming I was good, we headed out, but we were one floor below the downed firefighter, my buddy radioed in and asked if we could go up as RIT/FAST, we got the green light as the RIT/FAST team was having trouble getting up the stairs as conditions worsened. We asked for a ladder at the 3rd floor alpha balcony door, as that was our planned egress route should it all go to hell. Through the thick smoke (and it being 7am in January) we eventually got to our downed brother, he was still breathing but had having trouble moving. It took all 3 of us to move him to the balcony door and in the bucket of the ladder truck. Then we were brought down as our SCBA bottles were low on air and the stairway had schanged into a fireball due to smoke ignition. After a bottle change and a drink we were ordered to relive a hose crew and mop up the remaining fires as the others knocked down the bulk of the fire. Luckily there were no fatalities or injuries, only a resident with a mild smoke intoxication. The downed firefighter was transported to hospital, but was released a few hours later, it was luckily only a heat exaustion. But the week after that, we trained extra on removing a downed firefighter, just to be extra ready if it happened again. And at the end of the week, I was called to the Engine bay of the station by the Battalion Chief , and I thought I was in trouble cause he sounded mad as hell. So by the Engine, Chief closed one of the roll up doors on the rig and yelled at me "Now you come here to fill your dads boots! And now you do this!" I was almost sure I was getting fired. He continued "Next time you do that, do it again cause it earned you a promotion" I was speechless for a few seconds, and was snapped out of it by a 10 gallon drum of water being emptied on my head from the ladder rack of the engine. Extremely wet, I was handed my shoulder insignias that upped my rank from rookie to firefighter. Proud of my accomplishment, I squeaked to the locker rooms to get changed and applied my new insignias to my uniforms. But I could not get the slogan out of my head, that was used in a PC game in my early teens, and it was from the Late LAPD Chief Daryl F. Gates: "As you train, so shall you fight" and it true, never stop learning.
  2. Thats the current line of Dutch spec heavy rescues. 🙂
  3. You're right. 😉
  4. Thanks for the compliment. Cranes on our heavy rescues were usually reserved for the larger city departments as they have had a bigger budget, but when our fire departments merged from local to county level, and all budgets were combined, we got the financial capability to purchase some much needed upgrades to the fleet. Our old Iveco heavy rescue (3rd pic) was bought back in 1989 when its sole duty was responding to MVA's, through the years it got many more tasks like animal rescue, HAZMAT, more types of entrapments, MCI etc. Also our response area's grew as several volunteer crews nearby lost their heavy rescue capability with the standardisation of the equipment carried on the Engines. So when replacing the Iveco, we had apretty clear picture of what we needed the truck to do. But when we approached the truck builders like Ziegler, Touw and Rosenbauer, they came with a pricetag that was pretty steep because of the crane, straining our budget and would have looked something like the 4th pic. So we had to find another solution, then we figured out that we could tag along on a national grant for new Volvo 6x6 hooklift trucks, we ordered one, with some modifications, different lightbar, airhorn siren, heavier crane and a winch on the nose of the rig. We put the largest rescue container on it that the rig could carry and we had a pretty unique concept, and a crane to lift up to 16 thousand lbs. But we have an agreement with local towing and construction companies that if needed they can send a larger crane if the object weighs more then 16 thousand lbs.
  5. Indeed, its a UK thing, been on a few training courses in the UK, and they call them torches. 😄
  6. Next to fighting fires, I loved (and still do) cutting up vehicles. And in my 15 years of service, I've dissasembled pretty much a whole junkyard, of course with help of my brothers and sisters. I've cut into anything from a beat up lunchbox to a Ferrari, even a city bus and all European brands of truck. Seen all sorts of outcomes for the pinned in persons, from nothing more then a scratch to unrecognisable mangled bodies, even a 140+ car pileup, but enough about that, after the last entry, I'm not really up to bring up bad memories just yet, so more on that in a later entry. So here is a story about a MVA that stayed with me over the years that had a good outcome. We go back to summer 2008. We just completed our daily check on Engine 4530 and were headed for the living quarters for some coffee and a lecture about something boring, can't remember what is was. But before the lady from HR could even start her lecture, we were toned out for a accident with a pin in. We responded in 4530 and followed by 4570 our heavy rescue truck. And sure enough at the location, which is a major crossing where cyclists merge into traffic to go to one of the many schools in the city, the police was busy to create a safe work space for us, but it was no accident as we assumed and dispatch radioed through. There was a single black SUV on the cycling lane, parked in a rather strange angle and 2 legs sticking out from under it, recognisable was the green color the local ambulance service gear. We disembarked and were greeted by the driver of the ambulance that arrived a few minutes before us. There was a six year old girl under the car, she was stable, but her legs were stuck between the chassis of the car and the frame of her bicycle, and as expected, in sheer panic. I was assigned to go under the car and help the paramedic to see what was to be the safest way to free the girl while the rest of my crew were stabilising the vehicle. The paramedic could calm the girl a little when I stuffed myself next to them, and I just started making small talk while I used the torch/flashlight to look at the girls legs and hips to see how she was pinned. Because the frame of the bike and the exaust of the SUV were the reason she was stuck we opted for an airbag lift as the old rescue didn't have a crane, as the current one delivered in 2009 does. So we were prepairing, I scooted back under the car to explain to the girl and the paramedic what wer were gonna do. When I finished explaining I heard the clicks of a pair of high heel shoes, and saw a pair of feet walking towards the boots of our lieutenant and battalion chief. Then a bored but shrieking voice was heard "Are you gonna be busy with my car much longer? I have a meeting to go to, and I'm already late" Our lieutenant, a guy I've rarely seen speechless, was indeed speechless, but our battalion chief was not, I can still hear him telling that aweful woman "Miss, there is a 6 year old girl under there, we are working, so if you will excuse us, we are trying to save a life" then he apparently gestured the police to come and take her away, which was not to her liking, as she started yellling and shrieking, calling us all sorts of names that I'm not going to repeat here. So the officers put her in cuffs and brought her to the police van nearby. Later it turned out tha lady had traces of alcohol and drugs in her bloodwork, a suspended licence and she drove at least 45 mph in a 10 zone over a bridge where only city busses and cyclists were allowed. But.... back to the accident, with the car lifted a few inches, we could free the girl, and get her to the waiting ambulance, where her worried to death parents were waiting. Turned out she had some cuts, a badly bruised hip and a sprained wrist, but was otherwise healthy. Later that week we recieved a big thank you cake and a drawing from the girl and her parents thanking us for the work we did, still gives me a happy feeling. That lovely lady that drove the SUV later was sentenced by a judge to 300 hours of community service, 5 year driving suspention on top of the 18 month suspention she already had, her car was impounded and she had to pay all medical expenses and a €5000 compensation. Next time, more stories by me, I hope you enjoyed this one.
  7. My second entry, the fire that changed me, in more ways then others. Slight word of warning though, this is not a happy or funny story, but it is a key moment in my life as I will explain along the way, and I changed the name of the family because of privacy reasons. Christmas eve 2007, just before 7pm. We were just having dinner, making jokes , just the usual firehouse banter. And just before dessert, tones " Engine 4534, Engine 4530, Ladder 4550, Battalion 4595, structure fire, restaurant Oriëntal Garden Northstreet 32, Arnemuiden" That was all we got at first, we knew the adress, it was a Chinese restaurant we sometimes stopped to get food, it is located in a town nearby, and we were all asuming that Mr. Ling just burnt his food again. We rolled out code 3, expecting that we would be stood down before we even left the street the fire station was on, I was number 1 today, the nozzleman. The Lt. called us en-route, then dispatch gave us all an update "Confirmed structure fire, called in by the owner and multiple callers" We got silent and made sure our bunkers and SCBA were properly secured and closed. Then the radio came alive and then the words echoed in the cab that haunt me still to this day "Engine 4534 to all responding units, persons reported" that short message made the whole crew silent. the only things heard were the 2 tones and the rumble of the engine. We all knew this was going to be a bad one, and looking back at the events that were unfolding, that was a major understatement. The responding battalion chief immediatly made a 3rd alarm, which is highly unusual, and a bad omen, that and when we turned onto the highway to Arnemuiden, we saw a orange glow coming from the heart of the town. . Then our Lt. radioed in that we were a few minutes out, and the Captain of the 4534 came on "4530 from 4534, you guys hurry, we need all the water we can get on this fire, the restaurant is empty, but the 4 children of the owner are still unaccounted for" his voice sounding both scared and unsure, something you would not expect from a man with nearly 24 years expierence as a firefighter. My blood became as ice in my veins hearing that, I saw the color drain from the faces of the 3 others in the cab, men and a woman I trust with my life. We came on scene, and our Lieutenant ordered me and my buddy to lay down a low pressure line, so we did, as the 4534 was focussed on the rescue as the owner and his wife confirmed their 4 daughters were still inside, and they only had 2 high pressure hosereels out and weren't advancing into the structure as the flames were already rushing out on the 2nd floor where the family lived. We had the 2 inch attack line ready faster then ever, but it felt like hours, before I opened up the nozzle and a stream of water found its way into the door opening where the staircase was, and we could advance a little bit. Step by step, we could advance, with 2 lines and 6 guys, enter the structure, up the stairs, and then we were stopped by a wall of fire on the landing, and it became worse, the heat more intense then anything I've ever expierenced, my SCBA visor started to deform, so was the visor on my helmet, it started to droop down, and the embers that were falling onto my arms burned into the suit, and started to hurt. Then I felt a tug on my harness, we were pulling out, and that was the single, most heartbreaking decision we made, because we knew, those missing kids could not be far. Hurt and gutted, we pulled out, the guys from the ladder were trying to gain access via a window, but also hit the wall of fire that stopped us. A 4th alarm was given and units from the whole county came to the small town, hoping they could make a difference. Several other rescue attempts were made, but all without success, my buddy and myself were ordered to go defensive, as our gear was too damaged to go with the assisgned interior crews, also as I later found out, my forearms and hands were pretty burned up by the fire. We gone defensive, and after 3 hours, we could bring the fire under control, but the structure was too damaged by the fire, so we could not start a recovery operation. We stayed on scene all night and morning, and it felt unreal, a lot of us started to tear up, hugs were given, we talked to eachother, trying to make sense of this situation. Normally, we would have a friendly competition and joke with the other crews, but those moments, we were one big family. We were relieved from duty by the B-shift crews, after I got my hands and arms checked out by the on scene ambulance crew, back at the station, I threw away my bunkers and helmet, as they were too damaged, and reminded me what had happened the night before. We talked with eachother and the traumatic incident support team, and bit by bit, we came to the realisation, that we did what we could, but still it felt like we failed. Sleep deprived and shook up, we went home, just to go back to Arnemuiden a few hours later, as we wanted to be there, when the on scene crews brought out the 4 bodies of the owners daughters, for me personally, I was there to have some form of closure, I couldnt save them, but I could help bring their bodies to the waiting hearses, so they could have a proper funeral. In the weeks after, I was struggeling mentally, I used every form of help I could get, but I could not find rest, I barely slept, and just wasen't myself. So I decided to help my mom on the attic, and in a big box, I found my old Lego fire sets, and I thought "Hey, I could get some cash for that" So I started to assemble the sets. And without knowing, I found peace in building, I could collect my thoughts and have a good think about what had happened, and sure enough, 3 or 4 sets further, I literally fell asleep on the floor. So I kept building, and I was starting to come around, feeling much better, although the fire left a huge mark on me, and I even thought of resigning, also from the 25 guys from Arnemuiden's Volunteer FD riding Engine 4534, 12 left the fire department as they could not cope with what happened. But I had my Lego to keep me (some form of) sane, and wandering over the internet to look for Lego fire trucks, I stumbled upon MOCpages, and found the builds of the founding members of the LFC. Guys like Tom D, Paul B, Matt J. and many others. That was the start of an adventure that is the Lego Fire Community and Studdsville Fire Department. And I'm still thankfull for the guys and gals I've met from all over the world, some of which have become close personal friends. See you next entry!
  8. MM1986

    Running hot!

    Okay first entry, let's see if this will pick up. We are going back to late 2007 for this story, I was just a rookie with a dozen of shifts under my belt and a handfull of volunteer calls, and was a major white cloud, as they say in the fire service, I have had my first fire, a bicycle shed on fire, no big deal, but nothing on fire since then, enough Automatic Fire Alarm calls, but nothing more then some smoldering wiring and cranky grampas smoking under a smoke detector. So one night, still nothing to do, the crew and myself were having a FIFA 05 competition on the stations PS2, losing big time, then...... tones drop. " Engine 4530, Engine 4533, Ladder 4550, Battalion 4595, automatic fire alarm, Clovertargets, Woodyards 30. Time out 20:55" So we went down the pole to the Engine, I was assigned number 3, so I was to make sure there was a clear entryway into the structure, before assisting number 4 with securing a water source, my heart was already pounding in my chest and my adrenaline levels were high, double checked everything before getting in my seat "Pants and boots, check, coat, check, helmet, check" then we all gave Otto our driver that day the thumbs up to go, and off we went, our Lt radioed that we were on our way. En-route my heartrate went down for a minute, so I took a few deep breaths, donned my SCBA, checked it again and suddenly it hit me, the adress is a 17th century monumental building, lots of wood in the roof and structure, it was being refurbished to be a cinema and grand café at the time after the local music groups moved out to a new location outside of the city. And boom, my heartrate went back up, I began to repeat the steps in my head, get out, get halligan tool, get door, get water, and so on. But just like that, the radio came to life "Dispatch to 4530, we are getting multiple calls, there are flickering lights and smoke showing inside the structure" Holy moly, was this going to be my first big one? I was rudely snapped out of my thoughts when the Lt. assigned duties "1 and 2, get the hosereel and do a first attack, 3 get the door, 4 get the hydrant nearby, if needed draft from the nearby canal" I copied, and tried to focus my thoughts. The Engine came to a stop, the Lt called us on scene and gave the disembark orders, so out we went. I ran as fast as I could to the locker with the hand tools, opened up the roll up door, and grabbed tha halligan tool, off to the door. I looked at the lock, and without even a second of thinking, I swung the duckbill into the door....... and bang, with the same amount of force the tool flew out of my hands right on the sidewalk, here I stood, looking like a doofus....... the the Lt came up to me and put his hand on my shoulder "Next time take the skeleton key from the cab, 300 year old wooden doors are not easy to open with the halligan, dumbass" If there was EVER a good time to become invisible, this was definetly it, so I went to get the skeleton key opened and wedged the door. Turned out the construction guys left a construction lamp on and it started smoldering, so it was unplugged, brought outside and wet down, and after a TIC search and venting we left. So we debriefed, got my chops busted for it good, and for years, every time I was number 3, I got the standard order to not forget the key before the tool. So yeah, now I laugh about it, but it was a valuable lesson, to never stop thinking and learning, especially from your mistakes. Well, this was the first one, hope you guys liked it, lemme know both good and bad, and I'll take it with me in the second entry. Have a good one and stay safe all.
  9. MM1986

    MVA

    I pity the fool who bent my tailgate! 😛
  10. MM1986

    MVA

    That's my spot! 😛

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