If you didn’t know, firefighting fixes in place
We're sure that few people heard or saw what transpired in the downtown area of Baldwin City Wednesday morning. But, we're sure you'll want to know.
The fire sirens rang about 11 a.m. That's not all that unusual. There are many false alarms, but the fire trucks and firemen always respond. For us, we can tell when it's something -- and when it's not. If it's just the smaller fire truck, it's a pretty safe bet it's a false alarm. When the big truck takes off, so do we.
That's what happened Wednesday. The first truck took off and you could already tell it wasn't "normal." They were going fast. When the big truck followed -- again going fast -- there could be no doubt. By the time the camera bag was grabbed, the direction of travel had been spotted, there was a third truck headed west. "They're going south down Eighth Street was the call."
Visions of the February 13 daytime fire that destroyed the home of Bill and Jane Stotts on Indiana Street were dancing in our head. On that day, we arrived to see smoke billowing out of the home, a fire truck parked in front and four firemen frantically strapping on gear. The call had been misdirected by 911 dispatch to 818 Indiana in Lawrence. By the time Baldwin firefighters were dispatched here, it was too late.
Although the Baldwin crew gave it a valiant effort, the home was destroyed. Others and more trucks joined those four firemen shortly, but the battle had already been lost. Precious minutes count.
That's why we were overjoyed when we arrived at 715 Jersey, Wednesday, about the same distance from the fire station as the Stotts' house, to see three trucks and a host of firefighters. But, even more so, we were glad to see that smoke was not billowing out of the house like at the Stotts'. In fact, it was hard to even smell a whisper of smoke.
Come to find out, the entire ruckus was over a heat lamp in a turtle bowl that had fallen into the wood chips and caused smoke. The firemen didn't even have to take a hose through the door.
Now, that's a typical Baldwin fire ... thankfully.
But, as we learned with the Stotts' fire, that's not always the case. Weeks prior to the Stotts' fire we'd run stories about the need for volunteer firefighters, especially those that could respond between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday where the volunteer staff was thin. That call was answered.
Wednesday's excitement was proof that we no longer need to be concerned about house fires during business hours during the week. The situation is well under control.
In fact, so much so that there isn't a story in today's Signal about it. We don't do stories on false alarms. But, in this case, we thought you might like to know.