Two days prior to the writing of this article, a major fire that destroyed an apartment complex under construction in Houston provided spectacular news footage. The focus of the news reports surrounded the construction worker that found himself trapped on an upper floor balcony, with heavy fire on that floor. The construction worker told news crews that he believed that he was going to die. His next action allowed his rescue by a Houston FD ladder truck. He decided to hang and drop to the balcony below, which was exactly what he needed to do. The truck company did what they were trained to do, positioning the ladder as close to the victim as possible. The construction worker stepped onto the ladder, at which point the truck operator rotated the ladder away from the building. Moments later, the exterior wall collapsed outward, just missing the ladder. I can assure you that this construction worker did not think that he would have to take action that would allow him to be rescued from imminent death. This incident had a good outcome, though the entire building was destroyed.
Moving to the East coast, yesterday was a tough day for the Boston FD. A nine-alarm fire in a multi-family dwelling caused numerous firefighter injuries and two firefighter fatalities. A fire that apparently started in the basement of a building built in the late 1800s rapidly spread throughout the structure. From the report of a deputy chief, he stated that the mayday came 2-3 minutes after initial crews entered the building. Firefighters were able to get everyone out of the burning structure, but at a tremendous cost. Every firefighter that puts on the uniform knows that this is a risk that they take. This does not make the death of Lt. Walsh and FF Kennedy any easier to handle. My prayers go out to the families and the entire department.
Two fires had totally different outcomes. We all share the responsibility of preventing fires. Firefighters are trained well, but circumstances change in burning buildings that sometimes requires firefighters to help firefighters. OSHA regulations have changed in the firefighting profession, making firefighting as safe as possible. Even with positive changes, undesirable outcomes still occur. I would ask you to pray for firefighters and their families.