My company was at a wetdown in another town, but I stayed back since I had a mother's day dinner that night. While under the apron getting a haircut, my pager went off for a house fire on Union Street. I jumped up, threw a 20 on the table and ran out. Another engine was already flying down the hill, they were apparently all in the firehouse waiting for their turn to go to the wetdown so they got out fast.
I ran to the firehouse, grabbed my gear and jumped in a buddy's car. As we got on scene, we saw light smoke coming from the attic window of the house. We ran to another engine and grabbed some Scott Pack's and tools. As we entered the house, there were already about 5 or 6 guys at the top of the stairs. We helped hump a charged line around the winding staircases to the 3rd floor. After that, we investigated the other rooms but so no fire or smoke. It started getting very crowded up there with other firefighters, so the Safety officer made his way up and kicked most of us out.
When I walked out of the front door and looked up, the light haze had turned to thick black smoke that was pushing out of the attic window - not a good thing. I went with a few others to the basement and first floors to investigate to make sure the fire hadn't started in the basement - something that has happened before, especially in Balloon Frame Construction. We poked a few holes and found nothing, then made our way back up to the 3rd floor.
The attack team was rotated out and we missed our chance to replace them as another team went up when we were in the basement. Walking around on the floor below the fire floor, the ceilings were gushing with water. I was afraid that the water weight combined with whatever fire-load was in the attic, plus the firemen, would be too much for the ceiling to hold, so my team and I began extensively taking down the sheetrock on the ceiling to let the water drain. Hundreds of gallons of water quickly flowed from hundreds of holes in the ceiling, covering all of us in char, soot and muck. After that, we heard on the radio the fire was finally knocked down and we just turned over the overhaul operations to a neighboring town's crew.