Westport 10/24

We had a gorgeous fall day for Firefighter 1 last Saturday, during our "live burn" at the special burn facility in Lake Placid. This is a metal and concrete mock-up of a house in which instructors can simulate the conditions we'll encounter during a real structure fire. Wooden pallets and hay bales were set on fire in a corner of a room on the ground floor, and we took turns entering with an attack line and knocking the fire down. It was the first time I've been inside with smoke, flames, and heat. The temperature at the ceiling above the fire got up to around 1200 degrees or so, and it was plenty hot in front of it, too. You could feel it through the turn-out gear and air mask.

The burn was a great learning experience, but for me the ride up there and back was just as valuable, not to mention fun. That's because I got to ride up in the Wadhams pumper, which Bob Jerdo was kind enough to bring to the exercise for us. We needed two engines, and our instructor asked if I could bring one, specifying Bob by name.

I quickly saw why. The only founding member of the Wadhams Volunteer Fire Department who's still an active firefighter, Bob Jerdo handled the heavy engine like it was an MG. Along the way, I got to hear all sorts of stories about Bob's half-century or more in the fire service. Thank you, Bob, for your help, and for your years of service. You deserve a lot more recognition than I can give you here.

Of course, Westport and Wadhams share two fire companies in one district. We are also fortunate to have two excellent libraries that complement each other. And as luck would have it, there are exciting events for book lovers coming up next week at each library.

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