As I walked out of the locker room, I saw my officer traversing my field of view in a big hurry.
I was on the phone at the time, and my attention was drawn to his form crossing the bay floor. This must be something important.
My curiosity was answered a moment later, when I heard a voice echoing from the watch desk: “1212 Eaton St! First due, first due!”
“Shit, we’ve got a box. I gotta go.”
Before I even finished the sentence, I tossed my phone in my pocket and broke into a full sprint from the back of the bay. I weaved my way through and around the boat, the tactical support truck, and the other pieces of Special Operations apparatus that stood between me and the engine.
I turned to Antoine as we pulled on our coats and remarked that I knew we’d end up in this neighborhood tonight. As I remember from my mentoring days, we routinely run into the notorious neighborhood of Barry Farms at least a few times a tour—but tonight, on only my second tour back at 15, I had no clue that we’d be getting a first-due fire.
Seconds later, we turned the corner to Eaton St and started looking around—nothing yet. A quick right turn later, we had hopped a curb and pulled up in front of a two-story end unit with fire coming from the second-floor window.
The first half of the crosslay smoothly found its way onto my shoulder; I spun and took off, pulling the remainder of the hoseline into a neat pile next to the wagon.
The Lieutenant and I pushed up the stairs until we could no longer see; we masked up at the top of the stairs and made a U-turn towards the fire room. Just inside the doorway, I parked myself off to the side and opened up into the ceiling.
It was quick work, since it was only a room-and-contents; thankfully, with the Squad and Engine 25 pushing right up behind us, we got it quick and were able to knock it within a few minutes.
I was outside, replacing my SCBA bottle. I looked up through my mop of sweat-soaked hair to find one of the squad guys ambling towards me.
“Didn’t take you long to earn your shirt, huh?”
I cocked my head quizzically.
“You can’t wear 15 Engine colors until you get a fire.”
He paused as I made the ah-ha! face.
(I should have known it was coming.)
As he turned away, he laughed over his shoulder:
“The hard part is over. Now all you have to do is hurry up and finish your probation, ya dumbass.”