Another old story from high school. Here's the usual disclaimer: Emergency! and its characters do not belong to me. I just bang them up, bandage them, fix 'em up and send them back! Hope you enjoy!
The Warehouse Fire: An Emergency! Fanfic Story
One of the things that you get used to as a medical, fire, or police worker is interrupted sleep. And usually, the alarm or page will sound during deep sleep or in the middle of a really good dream. The reason for arousal will also last a couple of hours at least, and by the time you return to bed, you’re bone-weary; you get a couple more hours’ sleep before being rudely awakened again.
We were sleeping soundly when the alarm went off. Roy, Johnny, and I pulled on our turnout pants and shirts, and rushed towards the squad. We were being dispatched to a sick child on North Henderson. We were told that the child was sick with the flu and wasn’t able to keep anything down.
When we arrived, the mother ushered us into the child’s bedroom. After setting up an IV with Ringer’s, I checked her lungs and heart while Roy checked vitals. Johnny took charge of relaying between Rampart and us.
I asked Johnny to see if Dr. Early was on duty: I wanted him to handle this case. I needed an ambulance on scene as soon as possible. The little girl- her name was Sarah- had a bad case of bronchitis, and I didn’t want it going into pneumonia. She also had a somewhat-elevated fever. While Roy gave Johnny the vital signs, I ran out to the squad and grabbed the oxygen. While I was at it, I also grabbed a laryngoscope, just in case. Hurrying back to the room, I started her on oxygen. I asked for an ETA on the ambulance as I grabbed Johnny’s notebook with the written vitals. After asking the two for another set of vitals, I went and told the anxious mother what I knew.
After reassuring her that Sarah would be fine, I asked for a couple of washcloths and a small basin of lukewarm water. After getting those, I returned to the room and was greeted with a new set of vitals. Sarah seemed to be doing better on the oxygen. Johnny and I gently sponged her neck, arms, and forehead with the cloths and water. Sarah told us that the water felt good and asked if she was going to get better. We assured her that she was going to get better, but it would take a few days. We also told her that as soon as the ambulance arrived, we were going to take her to another doctor. We told her that the doctor’s name was Dr. Early and that he was very nice and kind.
A couple of minutes later, we heard the ambulance arrive; the still anxious mother directed them to the bedroom, and watched as we transferred the child from the bed to the stretcher. I hopped in the ambulance after loading the stretcher, and motioned for the mother to join me. After she got in, Roy closed the doors, and we headed for the hospital.
We returned to the station after an hour-and-a-half of work. The engine had been called out half an hour ago, so the station house was nice and quiet. After a cup of coffee, we hit the sack, only to be awakened an hour later by NOISY FIREMEN. After yelling at them to hold it down, we fell back asleep.
Everyone woke up to the smell of fresh coffee and bacon around 0730 hours. Captain Stanley had put on a pot, and was getting out the pan and some eggs for scrambled eggs. When breakfast was ready, we dived into a meal of scrambled eggs, bacon, and blueberry muffins. It was delicious!
We finished breakfast around 0800 hours. After cleaning up and finishing the normal morning duty chores, I sat everyone down with the intention of going over maps and first aid procedures, to be followed by rescue techniques. We had just finished maps when we heard a vehicle pull up outside and honk its horn. The Captain and I hurried outside, to find Joe, Gail, and Laurie climbing out of their car. Just then, another car pulled in and parked. The driver got out, revealing the newly graduated Tomas Gomez. We ushered the four in, where they were enthusiastically greeted, as the guys preferred to talk instead of going over procedures with me. I gave them ten minutes before bursting their bubbles by telling them that the first aid had to be done. After the groans that statement produced, I then proceeded to tell them that the rescue techniques drill would be dropped so that we could talk. Our visitors decided to join us; we worked for about an hour and then quit.
It was a pretty slow morning. We had one still alarm- a few boys in the neighborhood had been playing with a pair of toy handcuffs, and the only key had broken in the lock. After using a pair of pliers to remove the handcuffs from the unfortunate “prisoner”, we sent them home. Well, I guess we did have another still alarm- Chet. Chet was trying to “relive his childhood”, so to speak, and was trying to remember how to fold paper airplanes. Needless to say, he got a terrific paper cut, which I had to take care of. Like I said, it was a slow morning.
Around 1400 hours, we finally got a run, and it sounded like it had been building up all morning, so many sirens had sounded. Earlier, we had given our four guests turnout coats and pants/boots, along with helmets. When the alarm sounded, everyone got into their gear and hopped in/on the two rigs.
When we reached the scene, we found a huge store and warehouse being pitted by flames. Suddenly, a man ran up to us, choking on the smoke, telling us that there were two others still in the warehouse. Johnny and Roy went in after them. They quickly found the victims lying in a big open area near the middle of the warehouse. Looking around, they could see the flames engulfing the floor of the second story. Parts of the second floor had collapsed in the back, and the floor above was creaking ominously. Roy shouted to Johnny that they needed to get out of there. Roy placed one of the victims over his shoulder and headed out. The other victim was weak but could walk out on his own. Johnny brought up the rear. He had stopped for a moment in order to give Captain Stanley an idea of the damage inside, when the ceiling above cracked and several beams fell down. Johnny was struck down, with a heavy beam pinning his legs and a few 2x4s on his stomach and chest.
Meanwhile, Roy and the two victims made it over to where Gail, Laurie, Joe, and I had set up “camp.” Looking past Roy, I asked where Johnny was. He turned around, but didn’t see him anywhere. Realizing that Johnny was still in the warehouse, he headed back towards the burning building after declining my offer of assistance. The building had gotten worse. The place was over half filled with smoke, and where there wasn’t smoke there was fire. After about six minutes of searching, he found an unconscious Johnny lying trapped under several pieces of lumber. Roy immediately radioed to us that he’d found Johnny; however, his transmission was cut off with the sound of falling wood, followed by static and sudden silence. I quickly ran towards Captain Stanley, who had started running towards me. We quickly determined that Tomas, Joe, Marco, and I would go to pull the two out of the building. Joe and I carried two backboards and oxygen tanks, while Tomas and Marco carried pry-bars, a port-a-power, and a K-12. We found Roy slumped over the heavy beam that was pinning still-unconscious Johnny’s legs. A small board directly underneath Roy’s head had a small pool of blood from a nasty cut on Roy’s forehead. Roy was also buried under several 2x4s and other pieces of wooden rubble. He was unconscious.
We started to pull the wreckage off of Roy and Johnny. Quickly uncovering Roy, we carefully lowered him onto a backboard and strapped him on. The ceiling above us was still creaking and groaning. It was getting very warm, and we were starting to run out of time. Tomas grabbed the K-12 and started cutting through the heavy beam pinning Johnny’s legs. He cut it into three pieces so that we could move it. Joe and I grabbed one piece of the beam and were starting to move it out of the way when the ceiling again collapsed. I was very close to Roy and was hit by the falling rubble. I wound up falling right over him, while a beam dropped on my right foot, breaking my big toe, and dislocating the one next to it. Everyone wound up with small cuts, scratches, and bruises. After un-piling ourselves, we quickly finished digging Johnny out and got him onto a backboard. Then, we all scrambled out of there. After we had cleared the building and put several yards between it and us we heard a large boom and turned to see part of the building collapse. We all breathed a sigh of relief and headed towards the triage area.
I managed to hobble over to the triage area, and contacted Rampart about all of our casualties. Johnny had both legs broken, was unconscious, and had several cuts and bruises. Roy was unconscious, had a concussion, and a few broken ribs. There was a deep cut on his forehead that I was somewhat worried about – it would need several stitches; he had a broken left forearm. I had a hurt foot, but could still walk, even though it was very painful. The two that Roy and Johnny had originally gone in after were victims of smoke inhalation. On oxygen, the two seemed to be doing okay, though a short hospital stay was in store for both. Joe, Tomas, and Marco each had small cuts and lacerations, and would accompany us to the hospital to be checked out, just in case. We quickly loaded up the four ambulances and headed towards the hospital.
When we reached the hospital, the two rescue victims and our two paramedics were quickly rolled in, with the rest of us following behind. Joe had decided to take pity on me, and carried me in. After getting Joe to set me in a wheelchair, I went about the grim business of notifying Roy’s wife that he was seriously injured, but was at the hospital and in the hands of one of the best doctors in the business- Dr. Brackett. She burst into tears, and asked why I wasn’t taking care of him. I told her that I was sorry, but I couldn’t even stand up right at the moment; I was just too emotionally involved to take care of him. I knew that I couldn’t take his case, or Johnny’s either. I told her that she should get a friend or neighbor to bring her and the kids in, and that I’d be waiting for her. She thanked me, and told me that she’d be there as soon as possible.
The two smoke inhalation victims were quickly sent up to observation wards. Johnny and Roy were both taken care of, and sent up to ICU. Neither had awakened from their comas, but both were holding stable, which was good news. After sending Roy up to ICU, Dr. Brackett came out to brief both Mrs. DeSoto and I. He then wanted to check me out, but I pushed him onto the other three, telling him that I would survive until then; I was going to stay with Mrs. DeSoto for a little while.
After about an hour, Dixie wheeled me into Room 2, and told me that I might have to wait a little while, since both Kel and Joe were with patients at the moment. I told her that I didn’t mind- it would give me a chance to let my body relax. Dixie left, and I lay back and relaxed. I awoke around an hour and a half later, looking up into the face of a concerned Dr. Early. It took me a couple of minutes to convince him that I was only asleep, and that the only thing wrong with me was a hurt foot.
He carefully took off my sock and started to feel and inspect my foot. I gritted my teeth and whimpered a little. Walking over to the phone, he called for a portable x-ray cart so that I could have the foot x-rayed. The technician arrived quickly, took the x-ray, and left. Joe asked if I wanted something for the pain. Giving him a look of exasperation, I asked him if I looked like a nerveless being. Of course I wanted something, but not something that would knock me out of commission. While we waited for the x-rays, Joe did a routine check, just as the other fellows were put through. He cleaned up my scratches and cuts, and gave me something for the pain.
As he was working, I asked about the two smoke inhalation victims and Johnny. I was glad to learn that the two victims were doing fine and should be released after observation tomorrow. Johnny, however, was still unconscious. He had a broken right tibia, a broken left patella, some bruised ribs, and several cuts and bruises. Johnny was up in ICU until he awoke and was stable enough to be sent to a ward.
The x-rays came back via Dr. Brackett, who had come in to check on me, followed by Dixie. It appeared that I had missed something in my diagnosis- I had also broken the middle metatarsal on my right foot, besides breaking the leftmost phalange and dislocating the phalange next to it. Joe gave me more Lidocaine, and then became something I could hold onto while Kel set my toes and foot. Kel started with my dislocated toe. Now, I am normally able to handle severe pain, but that was TOO painful. When Joe revived me a few minutes later, the three laughed in my face. I mocked them back, and told them to quit. I said that I may have a hurt foot, but I could still hurt them badly if I wanted to. They helped me off the table after wrapping my foot, and Dixie took me to the cast room to get my foot plastered.
After about an hour, I wheeled myself to my office, grabbed my lab coat and stethoscope, and headed up to ICU to check on Johnny and Roy. Waving to the nurse on duty as I wheeled past the nurses’ station, I headed first for Johnny’s room first. I wheeled myself as close to the bed as possible, and got up out of the wheelchair so that I could stand next to Johnny’s bed. I checked his pulse and breathing, and was listening to his heart when I felt him stir. Standing up, I watched him closely, and saw him open his eyes and blink. I told him that he had taken long enough. He smiled and tried to sit up, but I wasn’t about to allow that, and pushed him back down onto the bed. I told him that he was pretty banged up, and would be in the hospital for a while, but that he and Roy would be just fine, and back on the job in a couple of weeks. Then I realized that I had slipped. Johnny started to get worked up, which was exactly what I didn’t want. I called for a nurse and asked for Dr. Brackett and a tranquilizer.
I administered the tranquilizer just as Dr. Brackett walked in. I told him what had happened and how Johnny was doing. He agreed with me, and went over to talk to Johnny and check on him. I waved goodbye to the two and, plopping myself into the wheelchair, wheeled over to Roy’s room. Roy was doing okay for being unstable. He needed surgery, but we couldn’t operate until his condition stabilized. We (Dr. Early, Dr. Brackett, Dr. Morton, and I) had conferred, and decided to only tell Mrs. DeSoto that Roy needed surgery as soon as he was stable enough, and not to tell her exactly what was wrong with his condition. Roy had had a small, sharp piece of rib break off and lodge in his diaphragm. Right now, it wasn’t too serious, but it could become so if he didn’t stabilize soon enough for surgery to be permitted.
After a couple more hours, Captain Stanley came to pick the fellows and me up from the hospital. I was quiet and rather withdrawn on the way back. The guys noticed and exchanged glances, but didn’t say anything to me. At the station, I hobbled back and forth. The guys were worried and tried to comfort me, thinking that I blamed myself for Roy’s accident. What they didn’t know was that I was concerned about Roy’s not being stable enough for the surgery. I didn’t understand what was going on with Roy’s body that was causing his condition to be as unstable as it was.
The rest of the night passed and we all headed to bed. Tomas had left for his station earlier, but the three from San Francisco were visiting for three days with us, and had beds at the far end of the room. I finally got to sleep. Around 0200, the phone rang for me. Sleepily, I answered the phone, only to quickly wake up when Dr. Early told me over the phone that Roy had awakened. He wanted to know if I would come and either perform or assist the surgery. I thought for a moment, and finally agreed, knowing that Captain Stanley would just LOVE me for asking him to drive me to the hospital. I told him to have a set of scrubs and shoes waiting for me upon arrival. He assured me that he would, and said that he’d see me as soon as I got there.
Hanging up the phone, I walked over to Captain Stanley, who was sitting on the edge of his bed, waiting to see if I needed anything. He had answered the phone originally, so my request came as no surprise. As we headed out to the new squad car, I told him that Roy had awakened from his coma, his condition had stabilized, and that Dr. Early had asked me to perform the necessary surgery soon after I arrived at the hospital. I had agreed, so that’s why I had wanted him to cart me to the hospital.
Dr. Early greeted me with a stethoscope, a pair of shoes, and some scrubs at the front lobby. I told him that I wanted to see Roy and check him out before we started; I also wanted a strong cup of coffee, so Joe made a deal with me. I would stop off at the women’s room and change, Joe would go get a cup of coffee for me, and we’d meet at Roy’s room. I agreed, and headed down the hall.
After accepting my cup of coffee, we entered Roy’s room. He was awake and alert, which was a good sign. I checked him out, and then informed him that a stretcher would soon arrive to take him up to surgery so that I could finish taking care of his injuries. He let me know that he fully trusted himself to my care, and then asked about his wife and kids. After assuring him that they were fine and were being taken care of, we left and headed up to surgery to scrub in.
The surgery lasted four hours. After following the attendants wheeling Roy’s stretcher to the Recovery Room, Joe and I headed down to the coffee room for a cup. We fixed ourselves each a cup, and sat down. I settled on the couch, while Joe plopped down in a comfortable chair. After a few sips each of our cups of coffee, we sat back and promptly fell asleep.
Dr. Brackett found us asleep where we had settled to enjoy our beverages. We both still had surgical coveralls and hats on, so he quickly reasoned that we had just finished an operation before coming down for a cup of coffee. He quickly and quietly got himself a cup of coffee and was about to leave the room when the phone rang. Both Joe and I jumped, and sleepily blinked and started to get up. Kel told us to relax, and that he’d get the phone. As Kel answered the phone, I checked my watch for the time. What I saw made me groan: 0649! I had only gotten about 4 and one-fourth hours of sleep all night. Kel put down the phone, and walked towards us. Giving us an exasperated look, he asked if Roy could be sent to a ward now. Giving each other a guilty look, Joe and I thanked Kel for waking us up, and hurried upstairs to see the now conscious Roy.
After checking him over, we OK’d his transfer back to ICU, and headed back downstairs. Joe’s shift was over, so he was going to head home. He asked if I wanted a ride back to the station, which I declined. I planned to hit the sack on the cot I hid in my office, and ride home with some of the guys from the station when they came over to visit Roy and Johnny. After telling me that he’d drop by in the afternoon to check on Roy, he said goodbye. We split up, with him heading towards the staff parking lot and me heading towards my office.
After about four more hours of sleep, I finally got up with some semblance of positivity to being awake. Heading down the hall towards the elevator, I stopped at the nurses’ station to talk with Dix. She told me good morning, and asked how Roy was doing. I told her that the surgery had gone okay, and that Roy had been doing fine when we sent him to ICU. In fact, that was where I was planning on heading to. She told me to tell the boys hello, and that she’d be seeing them when she had time that day. I assured her that I’d relay her message, and, waving goodbye, headed to the elevator.
My first stop was Roy’s room. He was awake, and was glad to see me. After wishing him a good morning and asking why he couldn’t have waited until later in the morning to wake up, I checked the incision and stitches. What I saw made me smile. Everything looked really good, and Roy looked great- or should I say, great for being in his condition. I told him that if he did okay today, I’d have him moved down to a general ward. After telling him Dixie’s message, I waved goodbye and headed towards Johnny’s room.
I should have known that I would find Johnny trying to set up a date with the new nurse for when he was discharged from his hospital stay. I quickly cut in and asked the nurse to get back to her duties. Johnny moaned and asked why I had to spoil it for him. He said that he was making headway until I cut in. I told him that THAT was the reason I wouldn’t go on a date with him- I was miffed that he’s all the time chasing the other girls around instead of paying attention to me. He tried to apologize, but I had put my earpieces in my ears and told him to be quiet so that I could check him out. He seemed to be doing pretty good, so I called for a couple of attendants and a stretcher to move him down to one of the regular wards. I called down to the nurses’ station and got a hold of Dixie. I asked her to inform Dr. Brackett that Johnny was being moved down to one of the main wards and was looking good. I also told her that Roy was up to a few visitors for short visits. She laughed and said that she’d send Joanne and the kids up to ICU.
I met the family at the nurses’ station in the ICU ward. I told them briefly of Roy’s condition, and then gave them some instructions for when they went in to see him. While one of the nurses on duty helped them gown up, I went in to see Roy and to inform him on Johnny’s condition. I then went to the door and beckoned for Joanne to come in alone. Walking back towards Roy’s bedside, I told him that I had someone here to see him. Joanne was quietly weeping as she walked towards Roy. I gave her a comforting pat, told her she had ten minutes and left to give them some privacy. I shut the door, and then left to talk with the kids and keep them company while they waited.
The main thing that I had always envied Roy about was his kids. He had two precious children who were very sweet. I always enjoyed spending time with them and having fun. While we waited, I grabbed three rubber gloves and some markers. We each blew up a glove, and drew faces on them using the markers. After a couple of minutes, we saw a stretcher and a couple of attendants pass the nurses’ station, followed by Dr. Brackett. After a couple more minutes, the gurney came back through, this time with Johnny on it. I stood up and stopped the stretcher, so that I could say hi to Johnny, and so that the kids could say hello. Johnny was glad to see the kids and they him. I told Johnny that Roy was awake and alert, and would be joining him down in the ward in a couple of days. Then we said goodbye, and he was on his way down to the ward.
After a few more minutes, I quietly entered Roy’s room and told them to break it up so that the kids could come see their dad. They laughed, and Joanne left, sending in the kids. They quickly hurried to their Daddy, who was really glad to see them. I told them that I’d be back in about ten minutes, and left them alone. Outside, Joanne was seated behind the nurses’ station, crying. I pulled up another chair and, sitting down next to her, tried to comfort her as much as possible. Pulling her head onto my shoulder, I stroked her hair and tried to get her to calm down. I told her that he was going to be fine, that nothing was going to go wrong, that he would be fine. After a few minutes, she calmed down. Wiping her tears, she thanked me for giving up a night’s sleep to help Roy, even after telling her earlier that I couldn’t help him, that I was hurt too, and that I was too emotionally involved to be of help. I assured her that I was glad that I could help him. Glancing at my watch, I decided that the kids’ time was up, and entered Roy’s room again so that I could shoo them out. I walked them to the door and pointed them in the direction of their mother.
Waving goodbye, I turned back and walked back to Roy’s bedside. Reaching him, I found him wiping tears. Giving me a teary smile, he thanked me for allowing him to see his family. I told him that I was glad to do so, seeing that he had started to recuperate nicely and was able to handle the visits. I checked him over again, and told him that I would see him later. Heading downstairs, I caught up with Kel and Joe, who had just come back. They mentioned seeing Joanne and the kids coming off the elevator. I told them that I had allowed a family visit, and that if they wouldn’t get Roy all worked up, I just might let them visit him too. We all laughed, and then went our separate ways. I went to check Johnny out and let him know how Roy was doing. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Captain and the guys crowded around in the room, visiting with Johnny.
I checked Johnny over, keenly aware of five pairs of eyes watching me work. Standing up, I tucked the covers back around Johnny, and gave my verdict- a few more days in the hospital, but recovering nicely. I told them that I needed to drop off my coat and stethoscope, and would be back for my lift. I quickly did just as I said, and returned five minutes later.
I guess that I don’t need to go over what happened daily for a few days after that. Johnny and Roy improved daily. Johnny was returned to the station a total of six days from the day of the accident; Roy was released after fifteen days. Both returned to work one month after the accident, and were the two I always loved and knew. Oh! I also got my cast off, and my foot was as good as new. The two smoke inhalation victims? They were released the day after the fire. The businesses that caught fire were completely destroyed; the area has been cleared, and I think that they’re planning on putting a shopping center in there.