The smoke was so thick that Sam couldn’t see past her leather gloves. She was crawling along the hallway and gripping the fire hose tightly with her hands. She tried to remain calm as she made her way to the back of the building.
Just breathe. Stay focused. Sam said the mantra to herself over and over.
The call came in just as the crew was sitting down to eat dinner. Until then, the day had been quiet.
“Reported smoke at Campbell’s Farmers Market on East 2nd Avenue. Possible victim inside.” The dispatch sounded through the stations speaker system.
The farmers market was just around the corner from the station. It took the truck less than three minutes to get on scene.
“Dispatch, please advise. Possible victim inside?” Sam said into the radio when fire truck pulled into the parking lot.
“Truck 3. Owner of farmer’s market called in the smoke. Said his son was last seen in the office working. His vehicle is still on site. Black Toyota Tacoma.” Dispatch reported back.
“Ok guys let’s go.” Sam said as she jumped down from the truck. Her crew started setting the hose up to the hydrant as another truck from a nearby station pulled up.
Sam walked over to the other truck. “Possible vic instead. We are headed in. Take over the line.”
The farmers market was situated on about an acre of land and had a large parking area for vendors to set up their stands. Behind the parking area was a large warehouse that housed a large office, storage areas, and a large exhibition room for indoor vendors that hawked anywhere from handmade clothing, arts and crafts, and other flea market goodies. Samantha Collins, or Sam as everyone called her, had been there several times with her mother to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.
Sam and her crew, Sargeant Mack Dixon and firefighter Kevin Parrish had entered the building a few minutes ago with the task of finding the owner’s son who was reported last seen in the office. She knew they only had a few minutes to find him before their air tanks ran low.
Sam pictured the layout of the market in her head. She kept crawling through the dense smoke, leading her crew to the office that had to be straight ahead.
At last she found what she thought was the door to the office. She felt the door before pushing it open. The smoke was not as heavy in here as it was on the main floor. She slowly made her way to the desk. Motioning to the body of a male laying face down on the floor she called into her radio.
“Command. Victim located. We are heading out. Conditions are worsening.” Sam called into her Captain.
She knew she didn’t have much time if she was going to pull this off. The thought only occurred to her last week. She just had to wait for the perfect opportunity and this was it.
She brought up the rear they followed the hose line back to the front of the building pulling the owner’s son with him. Now was her chance. When they got within a few feet of the front, she turned around and made her way back through heavy smoke.
Within a couple of minutes she heard the mayday call through her radio.
“Mayday.” She heard command call in a desperate tone. “One firefighter unaccounted for. Mayday.”
Then the roof collapsed into a fiery crash all around her.