Did everyone out there have a good Christmas? I sure hope so! I hope you got to spend time with you family and friends, got everything you wanted on your Christmas list, and I hope Santa was extra good to you! While you were celebrating, don’t forget to say a little prayer for those protecting your celebration and ready to respond if something happened.
Don’t forget about the Soldier fighting for your safety and freedom, especially those that don’t get to spend these holiday’s with their family. Don’t forget the Police Officers who are trying to keep the roads safe. Don’t forget the Firefighter who are always ready for your emergency. Don’t forget the EMT/Paramedics who are waiting and ready in the event a loved one has trouble. Don’t forget the Dispatchers who make this all possible. Don’t forget the Nurses and Doctors who are standing by, in case they are needed. Don’t forget the people that don’t get to spend their holidays with their families, but are more than willing to help you if something happened. But most of all, don’t forget those Soldiers, Police Officers, Firefighters, and EMT/Paramedics who never return home to their families, don’t forget our fallen brothers and sisters.
If you haven’t been watching the news or you don’t follow stories on firefighters, then you probably don’t know about the two firefighters who lost their lives and the other two who are critically injured on Christmas Eve, doing the job they loved most. Do you know that story? Do you know theirs? No? Well, let me share…
On Christmas Eve morning a report of a house fire in Webster, NY. When these men stepped out to do the job they love, the job they volunteer for, they found themselves under fire. Two were shot and killed right there, they went to the ground and never got up. Another two were alive, but not good. One of those men got on the radio and communicated clearly with dispatch, gave them information that saved many more lives. It was because of this firefighter that more units did not respond, he kept calm and gave clear radio traffic of the scene and what had happened.
The two firefighters that lost their lives? One was a 19 year old dispatched, Tomasz Kaczowka. The other firefighter was a Police Lieutenant, Michael Chiapperini. Remember those names, not the killer who’s name you will not find here. Those men died volunteering to put a fire out on Christmas Eve, they weren’t required to respond, they did because they wanted to.
The killer? His has a history, murdered in the past, was released from prison a while back, got a gun and was determined. How did he get a gun? Well you see…gun control doesn’t stop criminals! And according to the updates online, he left a note saying he wanted to take out as many people as he could. He took the coward way out, shot himself before police could get ahold of him. The report reads, “as a convicted felon, he could not legally own firearms.” Yet he had one…so for those of you that think gun control is the answer, think again!
There have been many firefighter shootings, most of which have similar details. They respond to a fire, step off the truck, then gunshots open up. The one I remember most, because I know many people from that area, happened on July 21, 2008. I don’t have to look that day up, I don’t have to research that, because I will never forget that day. It was just before I started my EMS career and it hit me hard, because this firefighter was friends with many of the firefighters I know from that area. It was an area I was considering moving to and starting work, but July 21, 2008 changed my life, as it changed many lives. A report of a house fire, a “routine” call, changed this department forever. They lost a brother, a friend, a young man just beginning his career, Ryan Hummert. He will never be forgotten there. When I go visit and see firetrucks and ambulances driving around, they still bear the sticker for him. They have a memorial and a scholarship fun in his name.
But Ryan wasn’t the first firefighter to be shot, nor will he be the last, however his had the most impact on me. There have been many shooting, some killed, other’s just injured on fire and EMS workers. Why? Did you know that many countries have agreed that hospitals and combat medics are off limits? That there is an agreement that you can’t injure those helping the injured? So why does it happen here, where there is no visible “war” going on? Because some people don’t care, some people want to kill and it doesn’t matter if you take away their guns and ammo…they will always find a way.
How many firefighters have been killed because they went into a house that was trapped? I can’t tell you that number because it’s unknown, but I can tell you there have been many. In fact, my department has training on what to watch for and how to help yourself in those situation because of a house that was trapped. No one lost their lives that day, but it was close. It was an arson fire, and this house had traps all over. Random holes cut in the floor, windows that won’t open, doors that are blocked, exits no longer exits, and this happens all too often. We watched a video in training, where the department responded to a house fire. One of the firefighters had a helmet camera (very educational) and when the firefighters opened the front door to enter, there was just enough light that night from the full moon to see that there was a massive 20×20 foot hole cut out in the floor. Had those firefighters entered, they would have fallen to the basement, and possibly never came out.
I picked a career that I love to do, I just pray the career doesn’t take me. Especially not when I have kids, I hope they never get the Chief’s vehicle and Chaplain knocking at the door. I pray that will never happen to them.