Wednesday, October 7


Halloween. All Hallow's Eve. Samhain. Whether you practice the ancient Celtic holiday or just dress up on October 31st, there are certain things you should not do when decorating your home for the fall holiday.


Cell phone caller reports flames in the window of a residential building.


4:30 AM. We should have had 3-4 calls since I crawled into my sleeping bag and am rather well rested when the dorm came to life for a full box alarm. The Engine, Truck and Chief are all first due and only blocks away.

We're barely dressed when we pull up to the intersection and see flames in a window box outside a window on the fourth floor.

Airpacks go on as we see the truck get set to head for the roof and to the window in question when I see my boss do that head movement that can only be described as the RCA Dog tilt. His body language changed right then to a relaxed stance as he motioned for us to come to his side with one hand and began waving down the rising aerial ladder with the other.

As we looked, I mean really read the flames, we smoke and the flames are neither growing nor receding, meaning the fire is not growing, moving or giving off gasses. Hmmm...

Then we looked closer at the window, noting not only no discoloration, but there are multiple paper Halloween decorations on the outside, slowly waving in the soft breeze of the early morning.

By this time the entire first alarm compliment had arrived and we can now see it is a small electric cauldron. A small fan is blowing fabric above a light, causing the appearance of fire.

Outside. In a planter box. At night. We get planter box fires often, what with discarded cigarettes and all. I just never expected someone so excited about modern Halloween celebration to put such an element outside a wooden frame building.


Anonymous said...

That was a good one. We"re getting calls for people firing up their stoves for the first time this season. home owners are sitting in their living room enjoying the warmth of their wood-stove only to have 3 engines screamin up their driveway. good times.

TOTWTYTR said...

We once got a call for a person "hanging from a window" in one our housing products. Hanging as in hanging by the neck, not holding on with his hands.

It was after sunset, so even with the street lights, it was pretty dark.

This got a lot of attention from all three public safety services. We were first to arrive and sure enough there was a body hanging out a window. Well, something that looked like a body. Only something was not quite right. I snapped on my flashlight and shined the beam on the body.

It was a full sized paper mache sculpture.

I never did find out why someone thought it was a good idea to hang it by it's neck out a window.

brendan said...

Just think, the boiler backfires will start soon.

TOTWTYTR said...

Around here brendan, those are known as "Delayed Ignitions". They fill the basement with smoke and result in panicked phone calls to Fire Alarm. Oh, and sending full box assignments screaming into the night.

Almost as exciting as the 0300 "Food on the Stove" calls because the drunk came home hungry then fell asleep while cooking his bacon.

Triple Beeper said...

We also get several "welfare check" calls this time of year when people see hands hanging out of trunks... or house fires when people are using woodburning fireplaces and smoke is coming from their chimneys. Tis the season!

Jay911 said...

The city I live near has a large tower with a flame pot on its top, coincidentally looking a lot like an Olympic torch. (The Winter games were held here a few decades ago.) The flame pot, supplied by natural gas, is lit every few months for any number of different reasons or celebrations - New Year's Eve, local attractions underway, and various other things. Now this tower is shorter than a number of other buildings in the downtown business area, many with glass fronts. Inevitably, there are dozens of 9-1-1 calls reporting downtown buildings on fire when the flame pot gets lit. "Sir/Ma'am, can you see the torch (tower) lit up?" "Oh no no no no no, this is not that!!" Well, yes it is... *sigh*