Monday, May 05, 2008

Firefighting 101

Greig was coming home from taking the kids for brunch and spotted excessive smoke coming from the Pacific Express. I wasn't feeling that good as I had a bug coming on so had forgone lunch to steam clean a carpet. (Yes, I am THAT kind of girl.) I didn't hear the commotion as I had ear plugs in as the steam cleaner is a racket unto itself.

"The Express is on fire!" somebody told me. It may have been Payton or Dosha but I can't remember now. The tide was low and the dock was jammed up against the boathouse and sitting askew on the mud. There had been a fire hose out to hose earlier on the dock that hadn't been rolled up. It's fog nozzle had rolled under the house when the dock tilted and was wedged underneath they couldn't free up that hose.

Greig and others had one hose on the fire already and we were madly scrambling to get a second hose on it. I ended up dropping down onto my stomach and crawled under the corner of the boathouse and saw where the nozzle was caught up on a bunch of flotsam. (You know, those relentless wood chips that I relentlessly bitch about here.) I had to crawl in quite a way and thought that at one time I may actually fall into that crap.

As I managed to free it and hollered, " PULL, PULL, PULL!!" And the second hose was on it!

It was quite a blur and the wheelhouse was quite engulfed at one point and we were all worried about the other vessels. We had about 15 of us out there pulling together. Me and the girls, Dosha and Payton, went hunting for all our fire extinguishers. In retrospect, useless as really the best thing is a fire hose but still figured it wouldn't hurt matters.

So all my images are post-engulfment. I was kinda busy. WE were all kinda busy.



Greig and Denis did the bulk of the hose work and by the time the Richmond Fire Dept. arrived it was pretty much out. Thank goodness Greig pushed for that fire pump last year! The RFD commended us on what a great job had been done and we got really lucky as it could have gone either way.

Greig, Karen 1, Adam got treated at Vancouver General for smoke inhilation. Adam had a laceration on his hand and got four staples put in.

The fire was caused by the wood stove. Either something fell onto the stove or somehow the elbow may have knocked apart. Either way, it was a chimney fire. I don't really know why they put on a fire as it was a rather warm day and unnecessary but stuff happens and thank goodness there are lots of people around keeping an eye on things. If we could get BC Hydro to supply us with our own mast on shore we wouldn't need to burn firewood. But that is another rant for another post...

All in all it could have been much, much worse. It was a hell of a team building exercise to be sure.

7 comments:

Jelaina said...

wow that's crazy! Thank goodness for your team effort.. things indeed could have ended up much worse.

will said...

boat fires are scary. at the marina we lived in for 3 years a fiberglass houseboat (with overloaded circuits) caught fire. no one was seriously hurt, but it and two house barges--one on either side--were lost. it happened at 5 am, and we were five slips down, the engines running, and ready to make a firebreak. wood smoke scared me for several years after that.

bowiechick said...

Well if we could get BC Hydro to put in a separate mast for us we could run electric heaters only. But since there is only one service to one address we have to share with the other industrial space. It would be nice not to have to rely on the wood heat.

That is BC Hydro policy.

Jamie said...

Oh my goodness, lady! Such awful excitement ~ glad everything turned out as well as it did. Good work! Hope everyone's lungs are feeling well now.

danslan said...

Wonder if Ken still want the Express back...LOL...dano...

bowiechick said...

Hi Dan! Oh yes he still feels he's been done wrong and still full of noise. In fact I am kind of surprised the latest hate letter hasn't arrived yet. They come every couple of weeks but I don't bother reading them and throw it all on the pile. As you know the RCMP told us to not respond to him and so we don't. Some people just don't have enough to do but harass others.

rob said...

Great Job! it could only happen in a boating environment,Thats the sort of people we are. Unfortunately In our marina, last year, the one "fire boat" took the two either side of her to the bottom with her :o(( all boats were GRP and burnt down to the waterline before sinking due to the water came in over the lowered gunnels. a sad sight.