We had our monthly meeting when a firecall came through. The dispatcher sounded real excited, so I had a feeling it was something good, when they said "Your response is needed on Calvin Drive for reports of a house-fire!" Because we had our meeting, guys were practically fighting for a spot in the cab of the engine since there were so many of us. (One of the great things about being an officer is the front-seat is always reserved, I never have to fight for elbow-room in the rear)
As we were driving to the scene, the chief reported that he had visible fire coming from the second-floor windows. We pulled onto the block and stopped short, looking for a hydrant. I jumped off and walked up to the scene to take a quick inspection and saw something burning in the driveway (air conditioner unit maybe?) and heavy fire/smoke coming from the second floor window above it. An ex-chief came up to me and said he was just upstairs, the fire is in the bedroom to the right.
I looked back and saw no one had a hoseline yet and our engine was still parked pretty far back. I ran up to it to grab a water-can, which I figured might hold the fire at bay until a hoseline was ready, but the engine pulled up right past me. I went back to the house and a few guys pulled off two hoselines and we got ready on the stairs. I confirmed with the Chief that all people were out of the house, and I was told YES but the Truck/Rescue company was going for a primary search anyway.
As we put our masks on, I looked behind me and saw a line of other firefighters starting to form. I yelled to my Lieutenant to take the first 2 guys with him on the first hoseline, and I grabbed another two guys to follow me with the second hoseline.
We walked up the stairs and saw smoke at the top of the stairwell. As we got to the top of the stairs, I yelled into my radio for my chauffeur to "charge both handlines." Mine got charged first, so I began passing it up to the attack team ahead when I felt the other hoseline finally get charged. The attack team pushed forward a bit, and as they entered the doorway of the fire-room I heard them open up their hoseline. At this point I finally tied my air bottle in and began breathing fresh air as the smoke pushed back into the hallway.
The fire attack went on for about 20 seconds when I yelled to the attack crew ahead to "shut down and get the fuck in that room." They pushed forward into the room, and as I passed my hoseline to the guys behind me, I pushed my way ahead to see if the fire was indeed knocked down. I made my way ahead of the attack team and told them to "hold off for a minute."
I crawled to the far-side of the room and found a window and saw it had already been broken out from the outside. I felt around and found a bed, and when I felt the top of it for victims, I just felt some coils, blankets and a lot of heat - I realized that was where the fire must have been.
I moved across the room to another window, and opened it up and popped the screen out. Looking below, I saw a ladder already placed to the window-sill, in case we had to bail out of the room.
I had a few of the newer guys pop a few poke-holes in the ceiling above us to look for fire, and vent the smoke out of the room by opening up a hoseline out the window, which creates a vacuum of airflow known as a "fog-vent." The smoke cleared a bit, and I took off my mask to get a better view.
What we found was a charred bed and window-frame (which we later removed to look for extension), and a burnt up outlet with a melted extension cord plugged into it. The bed must have been pushed up against this connection, which caused the fire.
Looking around the room, things got weird. I found a few stuffed pheasants and other animals, as well as a gun-cabinet with a bunch of ammunition sitting on top of it. This cabinet was on the other side of the room from the fire, so it's a good thing the fire didn't have a chance to travel. It was later told to me that downstairs there was a forest of dead, stuffed animals around - this guy must have been a hunter-extraordinaire. I told the chief, jokingly, that we had a bunch of animal-victims that he might wanna go take a look at.