I Need to Say a Huge Thank You to the Tyler, Texas Fire Department
I had what you can call an interesting end to some PTO time I took this past week. And while my time off was very relaxing and allowed me to get some stuff done, it ended with what can best be described as a wild evening. I can only make light of it because no one was hurt and the incident didn't get any worse than what it did. That incident was a fire in my apartment building. I just wanted to write a personal thank you to the great work the Tyler Fire Department did getting the fire put out and the handling of the situation afterwards.
So Sunday night, July 24, around 6:30ish, I was enjoying some time playing Tales of Arise on PlayStation. As I was playing, I noticed a smell like charcoal covered in lighter fluid had been lit. I honestly thought, at first, someone had set up their grill in the parking lot to barbecue for dinner. The smell got stronger and stronger, though. I then noticed some smoke coming from my bedroom. I went to investigate but didn't find a source of the smoke.
That's When I Went Outside
As my opened my front door, in the breezeway between apartment units at the top of the stairs was a fire. I took about three seconds to see if something had caught it on fire. I didn't see a source so I went inside and grabbed my fire extinguisher. I blasted the area on fire when my upstairs neighbor came out investigating the same smell I was experiencing. He grabbed his extinguisher and blasted it, too.
Neither of our extinguishers lasted very long and the fire bellowed back up. That's when I ran inside and called 911. Luckily, I wasn't the first to call about this fire. Within a minute or so, the Tyler Fire Department had arrived. I was able to direct them around to our side of the building where they were able to quickly put out the fire in the breezeway.
They had to enter my apartment and bust out a hole in the ceiling in the kitchen to spray water in the area between the floors. The same was done in the neighboring apartment but to a higher extent. There was smoke billowing out of the vents in the attic area of the building. A two man crew got on the latter (or as I learned, they call the latter a stick) and got on the roof to cut a hole to see into the attic area to make sure the fire was out.
After an Hour or So, I was Able to Go Inside and Take a Look Around
Once we were given the all clear, I was able to go inside and see if any of my personal belongings had been damaged. Thankfully, upon my initial look around my apartment, none of my stuff was damaged. I am going to have to wash all of my clothes and bedding as it all smelled like smoke. In my haste to get out of the apartment, I just slipped on my flip flops and left my shoes inside. I am wearing those shoes now and they smell of smoke.
It was Cool to Watch those Fire Fighters Work
I have never had a first hand look at what out fire fighters do for the community when they are called upon. What I can say is this group is a well oiled machine. They arrived quickly, they extinguished the fire before it got any worse and they did everything to make sure the fire was out before packing up.
We always tell you on the air or through a story to thank a first responder. Today, my Thank You is a lot more personal. While I'm inconvenienced to not be living in my home and wondering how long it will be before my apartment is repaired and I can get back in, I am thankful that no one in my building was hurt. I am thankful for those firefighters who got fully geared up on a 100 degree evening to make sure things didn't get any worse and we could safely get what we needed to find a temporary home.
Our first responders do a thankless job in conditions we would find unacceptable in our own workplace. For these men and women, that IS their workplace. Thank you, Tyler Fire Department. Thank you to Deputy Fire Marshall Jay McClung for keeping us in the loop during the incident and afterwards.
As much as I hate what happened, it was a privilege to see y'all work. Thank you.