Imagine you are working a Fireman in western USA; just returning from a mostly routine structure fire. You’re riding in your fire truck with your co-workers; still in your black and yellow gear. The windows are open because you enjoy the fresh and cool evening air. As the Firetruck carries you and the other fireman back to the station you begin to tune out and listen to the sounds of traffic and birds singing as the cool breeze continues.
Then suddenly you’re moment of levity is interrupted by the sharp static of the dispatch radio. A voice cut’s into the sound of the birds singing as your dispatch operator informs you and your fellow Fireman of an apartment fire nearby. You take a deep breath and as you exhale; the piercing roar of sirens meets the rhythm of flashing lights.
When you arrive on the scene; you see that roaring flames have engulfed this apartment complex. However, you get the feeling something is wrong. Dispatch reported a simple structure fire – but there are people waving their arms, frantically screaming at the Firetruck as you pull up. One mother screams at you –
“My babies! My babies are up there!”
This is exactly what happened one day to the Alameda County Fire Department. The Fireman had an HD Go Pro cam on his helmet throughout the entire rescue and these images have gone VIRAL; filling hundreds of thousands of people in shock and awe. Prepare to walk in the shoes of a hero.
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FIREMAN GET THE CALL
It was a semi routine day when a group of California Fireman from the Alameda County Fire Department found themselves in a very serious situation. One of these Fireman happened to have a High Definition Go Pro Camera strapped to his helmet.
SMOKE ON THE HORIZON
The Fireman hasn’t even arrived at the scene of the apartment fire yet and still the dark smoke plumes can be seen from miles away. The sound of sirens blocks out all noise as they race down the street; hoping to get there in time to save the apartment building from burning down.
The Fireman thought it was a routine structure fire. Every year in America, an estimated 18,300 people are injured in fires. Around 3,800 people die in fires and of those; about 60 of those deaths are Fireman who die while saving someone’s life.
GETTING OUT IN A RUSH
The Fireman jumps from the cab of the Fire truck as swiftly as he can. With his HD Go Pro Cam recording; he isn’t prepared to hear the shocking news waiting for him when he gets out.
RUNNING INTO THE FIRE
The Fireman is told that there is a little girl and her mom trapped on the fire escape stair case on the side of the house. The Fireman must get there as quickly as possible – a little girl’s life depends on it!
TIME TO MOVE QUICKLY
As the Fireman turns into the alleyway; dozens of people come into view. These are the residents of the nearby house’s. The Fireman rushes to the second Firetruck at the end of the alley, where the little girl and her mom are trapped and fighting for their lives.
ROAR OF THE FLAMES
Neighbors and residents stand in awe as the Firefighter runs past them – they are relieved to see more help arriving. As the air rings with sirens and the crackle of flames consuming a house; the HD Go Pro Cam catches it all.
He passes a woman consoling another woman against a privacy fence – she had inhaled smoke from the fire and was resting and trying to catch her breath. Smoke Inhalation is very dangerous; with any combustion producing chemicals and carcinogens that are dangers and oftentimes even DEADLY to inhale!
CLOSE ENOUGH IT’S HARD TO BREATH
He is close enough now to feel the heat from the flames! The smell of smoke in the air is so strong that he passes a man shielding his face with a t-shirt. With the little girl almost in sight; he keeps running.
ANOTHER FIREMAN RUSHES IN
With the burning stairs in sight; he quickly runs past his fellow Firefighter who is rushing to turn the water valve and get the fire hose powered up; to fight the raging flames back enough to let them get inside the burning building.
WOMAN AND LITTLE GIRL TRAPPED
He finally reaches the burning staircase and the woman and her small daughter come into clear view. A Fireman in the background frantically unravels the hose to fight the flames as a second Fireman walks around the front of the Fire Engine with some SERIOUSLY dangerous news!
The roar of the inferno that is engulfing the house is deafening; but you can hear the Fireman shout out over the noise that the “window might backdraft” – a fire term referring to when a door or window breaks and the rush of available oxygen causes a large explosion.
FLAMES GET BIGGER
As he approaches the woman and the little girl; the other Fireman shout the same warning to him – he can’t walk across the path of the window; because it IS about to explode!
TRAPPED IN A 2000 DEGREE INFERNO
The Fireman watches the little girl and her mother – suspended ten feet above the ground and trapped by twenty foot tall flames. Time is running out and they have to do something fast!
FIREMAN RESCUES CHILD
The Firefighters have the woman first pass down the little girl to them over the railing. It is important to get her to safety first. Those 20 foot orange flames are burning at around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit!
WOMAN HANDS LITTLE GIRL DOWN TO FIREMAN
This amazing shot captures the exact moment that this little girl was rescued. As her mother hands her down to a Fireman; suddenly screams and cries of the neighbors are heard over the suddenly quiet crackling and roaring of the fire- the window is about to explode!
THE WINDOW EXPLODES
Suddenly a loud “BOOM” is heard as the window explodes with a tremendous flash of light; knocking the mother off of the top of the stairs and onto the concrete below! Firefighters rush to her side and see she has caught on fire.
STOP DROP AND ROLL
The Fireman quickly spring into action and rush in shouting for the woman to “Roll Over”. Rolling over on the wet cement was the quickest way to put out the flames on her clothing. Her daughter screams in the background as she watches her mother; not knowing what will happen next.
A GOOD NEIGHBOR STEPS IN
A woman runs up past the Fire Engine to comfort the little girl. Her mother is still being helped by EMS and the Fireman have to get back into that house; because there are still 3 children inside.
PREPARING TO GO INSIDE
This good neighbor carries the little girl away from the flames as the Firefighter prepare to go inside the burning building- to find the other 3 missing children. There isn’t much time left.
Suddenly another large “BOOM” rings out – another explosion shakes the ground. The way most people die in a fire; is through inhaling smoke which contains Carbon Monoxide. Even a second is too long to wait – they have to get in there now!
“THERE ARE BABIES UP THERE”
“THERE ARE BABIES UP THERE” the woman yells – having heard the children screaming from the other side of the house when she walked away. They scramble to get to the side of the house – children’s lives depend on it.
GETTING THE LADDER
They frantically run the ladder over the second floor window. The flames roar louder so does the resolve of this hero as he prays the ladder is tall enough to reach – so he can climb up and look into the window.
SETTING UP THE LADDER
As these devilish looking flames consume the building; Firemen toss the ladder up against the side of the house as quickly as possible. Sirens still fill the air and cutting through the noise of the all the movement; suddenly the screams of children ring out.
ON HIS WAY
The Fireman climbs the ladder as quickly as he can – luckily it was tall enough to reach. As smoke billows out of the window; you can still hear the children calling for help.
SUDDENLY THE PLAN CHANGES
A Fireman calls out from the side – There are more screams and they think they are coming from the other side of the house. Quickly; the Fireman must make a decision. Climb the ladder and help his fellow Fireman, or run in through the other door and hope he can save the kids that way.
UP THE STAIRS
The Fireman’s HD Go Pro captures the moment he decides to run up the stairs. The cries for help get louder and louder as he races to save the children.
SMOKE FILLED ROOM
As he enters the first room; he can see his fellow Firefighters searching already. He joins the search to find the cries for help – but the static on the radio is so loud that it is hard to hear what direction they are coming from.
IN THE DARK
He runs into a second room – kicking aside clothing and furniture. The average fireman carries between 45 and 75 pounds of gear when inside a house fire; but it’s not slowing him down one bit.
WHERE COULD THEY BE?
While moving through the rooms; he comes across a fellow Firefighter who tells him the children are not in that part of the building. Since there is too much static on the radio; they must race back out to the Fire Engine to relay the news to the other Firefighters if they want to save the children from the fire.
RACING BACK OUT
Time is of the essence; as the two men race out as quickly as they can. The sooner they can get outside and inform the other Firefighters; the sooner they can save the children.
In an average house fire; the smoke filling the room can impair vision to the point where you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. These flashlights may seem dim; but they are some of the brightest available. Once the light from the window has been spotted; the Fireman know they are seconds away from relaying life saving information.
As fresh air hits them in the face; the sounds of the screaming stops. They double their pace, fearing the worst.
As the two Fireman run down the stairs; the Captain shouts something over the noise of the sirens. “We got the kids, We got the kids!” . The Fireman on the other side of the house were able to rescue the remaining children and they are safe and sound.
CLEANING OFF THE BOOTS
The Fireman stomps his boots on the puddle left by the firehose. He is relieved that the kids are safe and the only remaining task is to soak the house with water.
RECAP OF EVENTS
Now that all the children are safe; the Fireman can relax – a little. All people are out of danger and all that remains is clean up work.
TALKING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED
As the Firefighters stand in a semi circle; they recap the events of the day. One man says he couldn’t hear a single thing on the radio while he was inside; because the static was so bad with interference. The Captain agrees and so do several other Firemen.
THE BIRDS SING AGAIN
As the Fireman takes off his HD Go Pro Cam; he can be heard telling the other guys about how his camera was rolling the entire time. They all agree that although they save lives regularly – today was a day they will never forget.