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** Note to Readers** There is a confronting incident at Jamies work, which can upset some.


So I’m going on a holiday it seems. My mind was wondering back through the events of the past 48hrs – married, now divorced; sad, now happy; career kicked in the can, again… Argh!… Managing to get my ass reamed by the ex-father in law, just another opportunity for him to stick in the screws I guess.

Now… Fuck… he is writing me up for bullshit! Trying everything he can to stuff my career up. Think I have had enough of that whole family, really!

If that guy thinks he is going to push me around for the rest of my career, he has severely underestimated me. The dickhead has pushed me around for the last time. I have nothing left to lose. ‘Probationary Status’ my ass. It’s time to hit back, else I’m going to have one of my bossy sisters kicking my can all over the place.

Hmmm, going to the U.S. for a holiday – it may seem like I am running away, but just maybe I am running toward something.

“Okay Jamie, time to make some calls to HQ,” I said under my breath. Let’s see who is in the HR Department today.

Looking around the station, I headed for my office. I don’t know why it is called my office. I seem to have my entire crew waiting for me in there. It would be nice if sometimes I could just use my own office, but hey.

Doubling back down the hallway, I noticed that the Shift Supervisor’s office is empty. Bingo! I slipped in, locked the door and headed toward the desk. I grabbed the handset, subconsciously venting some frustration on the keypad… extension 379, HR. A cold sweat broke out over me. I don’t know why I’m worried. I haven’t done anything wrong.

Truth be known, Operations Officer Simon Kelsy – AKA Satan’s helper – has made it his life’s goal to kill my career. Okay, so my marriage to his daughter didn’t work out, but even his wife, my former mother-in-law, could see that Tracey was totally unreasonable when it came to our marriage. Well, anything that shifted the entire sunlight of the world off her was her instant enemy.

“We all deserve to be happy” she would say to me – often. Eventually, I understood she was fully aware of how much of a bitch her daughter was, green lighting me to run. Run for the hills! But not Simon, nope! He couldn’t admit to me, or anyone for that matter, that he was ever wrong or that his little girl was… well, just plain nasty. Oh my god! If my Grandmom was here still, Tracey would have all manner of whoop ass happening all over her. I smiled to myself remembering my grandma.

“HR, this is Amanda.” A sweet voice came through the phone.

“Oh, Hi, Amanda,” my voice cracking.

It sounded like I was having trouble even making simple conversation. This is just not going to work. I pulled the handset away from my ear, losing my nerve. I was about to hang up when out of the phone came, “Don’t hang up. Just breathe for a few seconds. Let’s just take this slowly.”

It was like she could see me. Apprehensively I put the phone back to my ear.

“Oh, hi!” my voice sounding like a five-year-old that has just been busted getting into the Christmas candy. By the way Mom, that was Steph, not me…

“It’s Jamie,” I cleared my throat. “Uh… James Spence from North West Group. I was hoping I could talk to someone, maybe get some advice on an issue I am having at the moment, Ma’am.”

“Hi, Jamie,” Amanda’s voice gently purred through the phone. “How have you been?” We haven’t spoken since our Junior Officers Course two years ago.” Oh my god Amanda!

A smile broke out across my face. All the fears I had were gone in an instant. Amanda dropped the normal HR professional prim and proper persona. Thankfully this was more of a friends’ catch-up with a bit of work sprinkled in for good measure.

“Oh wow, Amanda! It’s been years. How are you? How’s Steve going?” We chatted for the next ten minutes catching up everything that had been happening in our lives since JOC.

“So, Jamie, or are you using James now?”

“No Amanda, Jamie for most people,” I said sheepishly.

Amanda continued, “I hear you have escaped the evil witch. Heading overseas too, hmmm. You are today’s topic of conversation, particularly at the grocery store.”

“Wait, what? How do you know all of this Amanda? The grapevine is good here, but wow.”

Amanda let out a laugh, “No, the Mom network is at full strength. Apparently, your Mom is worried that her baby boy is running away.”

I let out a long frustrated breath. Oh for the love of God. Apparently, my Mom couldn’t wait to tell – everybody.

“You actually saved me a call, Jamie. I was instructed by MY Mom to call you.” She then continued while imitating her mom’s voice, “Amanda, do your HR thing, make sure James is ok. He had better not be running away, or it will break his Momma’s heart, you tell him!” was the way that little lecture went. Anyway, JAMES!”

Ha! Funny. Still, when a parent of my friends calls me JAMES, I get that instant guilty bursa escort feeling. “Oh, mom, you have to relax. I’m 30 now,” I thought to myself.

Amanda started, “Okay Jamie, so what’s going on? I see that OO Kelsy has made some notes on the system about your performance. Requesting a probation period be placed in your file, also a recommendation not to promote for 3 years due to, “Immature and poor performance.”

Son of a bitch!

“Amanda, he is just using his position to do me over. I guess that giving half of everything I owned to his daughter wasn’t enough. I bought that house with my Grandfather’s inheritance, Amanda. It had nothing to do with her. Now the man wants my career.” I ran my hand down my face in frustration.

“My performance has been excellent both in the field, and management wise. My Operational delivery targets are all above the year on year benchmark. My crews are exceeding their Service delivery, response and turnout times. I don’t know how I could be doing the job any better, considering the lack of support I am getting from OO Kelsy.”

“Okay, Jamie,” Amanda replied. “The issue is not with you. It’s Simon. Honestly, he is going to dig himself a gigantic hole with this, because we have already investigated it this morning. When you consider that trying to place a fifteen-year serving FireFighter on probation, blocking any advancement for three years without a full disciplinary hearing or some independent review action, it is a huge thing. The whole file is already on its way to the Assistant Chief Officer’s desk. The word is, she’s not happy with it either. Apparently, she and Simon don’t see eye to eye.

“Jamie, I think we just need to move you out of the firing line and leave this to the big guns to duke it out.”

“Holy crap Amanda. Which, oh wait.” I quickly slid into the chair, logging into the system to see which ACO was on duty for our region. ACO West is involved! “Lucy West, is one of the straightest shooters I know. She a fantastic leader and good on the fire-ground too.” She hates Simon… “Thinks he’s a misogynistic ass, Amanda.”

His comments about her being only fit to make coffee for the real officers of Fire Service almost cost him his job five years ago. I never laughed so much. The look on Lucy’s, ACO West’s face when she walked into the muster room to hear Simon blurt that gem out was a MasterCard Moment. The entire shift crew cleared out of the place in less than 10 seconds, leaving Simon all alone. Ok, I was sitting in the corner minding my own business, listening to every word. Oh the joy! She ripped him limb from limb, not even a raised voice, which is even scarier – cool calm, precise.

“So, any clues as to what ACO West is doing Amanda?”

“Hmm, Jamie, you can’t let this out until later in the day when it’s formally announced, okay? Promise me. Remember I know where the bodies are, James Spence!” Amanda let out a chuckle.

“OO Kelsy is being reassigned to oversee the closure of the old training ground.”

“Sideways move if I have ever seen it,” I thought to myself.

“Raine Wilmer is taking over. I am sure he would like to speak to you Jamie. Give him a call. If you’re not happy with the outcome, call me back. But he still is good friends with your dad, right?”

I was nodding along. Of course, she couldn’t see that. I’m such an idiot at times.

“Jamie, we have your back on this, ok? It is going to be slow. We must do this right. But, we’ve got you, ok.”

I took a deep breath, trying to clear my head. So much has been happening to me lately. I just want my life to calm down. I thought getting divorced from Tracey would have been the end of it all. It seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest. I finished the call with countless thanks. Apparently, I’m coming over to see Amanda and Steve before I go away… or else.

Grabbing my cell phone from my pocket, I called Raine.

A few short rings, “Howdy Jamie. How are the holiday plans going?”

“Hey OO Wilmer! You’ve spoken to Dad, right?” My voice sounding unsurprised that the Spence RSS feed is working well today.

“No, Jamie. My wife ran into your Mom down at the store.”

“Oh, Mom – she really is telling everyone,” I thought as I took a deep breath. Jeez.

“Oh right,” I replied. “I was talking to HR before. They mentioned that you are taking over in an acting role when OO Kelsy goes on leave, yeah?”

“Amanda, huh…” Raine replied.

I wasn’t sure what to say. I didn’t want to drop her in it, but wasn’t about to lie to my new boss either. Before I could answer, Raine let me off the hook, thankfully.

“It’s all right, Jamie. I called Amanda this morning asking her to contact you and give you a heads up as to the changes. I have known you a long time, buddy. Still remember you playing on the trucks with your sisters as kids all those years ago.

“So, yes, I see that your former father-in-law is not your biggest fan. I am taking over North West Group as of 14:00 today, direct reassignment from the ACO. Seems bursa escort bayan that legendary coffee remark has finally come back to bite Simon in the ass,” Raine let out a small chuckle. “I think when Simon is safely reassigned, we should revisit this whole probation note on your file, if that is all right with you?”


I was completely blown away by Raine’s comments. I’d hoped that it was obvious to command that my former father-in-law, boss and all-around pain in my ass, Simon Kelsy, was just trying to score points with my career. I hadn’t ever gone to the HR department before, but felt that it was either now or never. If this probation stuck, it could pretty much end my future for me. My family had a long and proud history of service. Not that I’m super competitive, but my dad had made it to a commander, so I had to at least match him, if not better it.


His voice snapped me out of my own head.

“Thank you, Raine. I would appreciate that. I’m heading off on leave in 10 days. I will be contactable via email or text. I’ve got a roaming phone. I can leave the number with you.”

Raine let out a laugh, “Yeah about that – an unusual time of the day to be requesting leave, 0245, unless you weren’t able to sleep, huh?”

I was so glad he couldn’t see my face as it lit up like a red tomato.

“No OO Wilmer, it was… yes, it was an unusual time, Sir… To lodge that application but-”

“Jaime, it’s ok. Please, when it’s just us, Raine is fine. I was chatting with your dad this morning. We were comparing notes on the poor choices your Dad and I may or may not have made at your age.”

Remembering that Raine and my dad went to SNR Officer School together. Of course, he knew what had been going on, plus Mom working the store like a politician campaigning for election – wow – that woman is a force to be reckoned with!

“Jamie, remind your dad, that he is buying the first round of golf on Sunday, ok?”

“Sure, OO Wilmer. Will do.”

“JAMIE,” Rain let out with a bit of frustration in his voice.

“Sorry, Raine. Thanks, really.”

I had just put my cell in my pocket, taking a long slow breath, letting the conversations of the last fifteen minutes wash over me. DE Da DE Da the high low alert tones rang through the station. There go the bells, as the automated paging system started messaging out in the station. “North West – North West Pumper; Respond Code 1; Child locked in Car; Possible EMT Event; Unconscious, non-responsive.”

I sprinted from the Supervisor’s office into Engine Bay One.

“STEVE” I yelled across to the other appliance. “Okay, guys. I want the Rescue unit responding with us on this job. No staggered turnout,” I locked eyes with Steve, the Crew Leader on Rescue today, as we were jumping into our turnout gear. He nodded his acknowledgment, then proceeded to hurry his guys up.

“Come on guy. Spence is going to be jumping into the cabin of the pumper, and we’re still not ready. Get a move on!”

“Steve! You ready to roll?” I yelled out as I climbed into the Cabin of the pumper.

Grabbing the Radio, “Dispatch North West pumper and Rescue responding to Child Locked in car. Possible EMT event, Code 1.”

As we rolled to the job, I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “I’m not going to miss these calls, not at all. I can understand that occasionally people can be forgetful, where are my keys, or who’s that guy in my bed… or is that just me ha-ha. But really, leaving your kid locked in a car for hours or even fifteen minutes in 98°F plus? It just can end so tragically.”

As we arrived on scene, I turned to my crew in the back.

“I want someone to grab the Halligan Tool, Defibrillator, and blankets. The rescue guys have the First Aid Gear, ok?”

“Yep! Got it, Jamie,” they responded.

The guys looked at each other, silently assigning who was getting what.

Grabbing the microphone, “Dispatch; North West Pumper and Rescue on scene; now High Street Control; Sitrep to follow.”

The truck came to a quick stop. “Ok Boys, let’s get busy.”

It was a fairly hot day if this was summer. But being late in May, normally by now the summer heat had gone, but there had been some very unexpected hot weather. Normally we are enjoying temps in the mid 70°F’s but the past few days had been in the high 90°F’s.

Both crews made entry into the car in under thirty seconds from arrival, extracting the little guy onto the stretcher, stripping off his clothes, whilst checking for vital signs, cooling his body in a controlled manner.

I grabbed the portable radio, getting ready to update dispatch. My crews were all over it. They didn’t even have to ask each other for gear, it was just there. The combined response made me, as a leading firefighter, so proud of our team when, in the most trying of situations, their training and dedication come to the forefront.

“Dispatch – High Street Control, Sit-rep. We have made entry to the Car; extracted one male; 3yo non-responsive; not breathing. escort bursa No adults are in-attendance. Crews are currently working on the Victim. Advise paramedics; non-responsive. Defib and CPR commencing. Over – Leading Firefighter Spence.”

As dispatch read my message back, my buddy Mark, the cop, arrived.

“Hey Jamie, what’s going on?” Concern etched on his face. None of us likes these jobs.

I explained what we had found, pointing out the passerby who called it in. Mark went over to the now very distressed elderly lady. She kept telling Mark that it looked like her grandson, but it was a different car, asking was he “Ok,” becoming more distressed.

I don’t envy Mark or the police in general, it can be a shit job at times.

Steve and the Rescue guys had worked on the little guy for fifteen minutes, we all rotated in and out. I was bagging with the ventilator bag when we lifted the stretcher holding his little body up and on to the gurney. The Paramedic in the bus and I counted down, 3,2,1 handing over to her. But his little body had just taken too much of a pounding from the heat. Nobody gave up – we never do.

Paramedics took the child in the bus while Steve and one of his guys were still working on him with the paramedic as they drove off. We had revived him and were desperately trying to stabilize his condition. Mark came over a few moments later where my crew and I were making up the trucks.

“Jamie… Unfortunately, the little guy didn’t survive the 5-minute ride to the ER, mate. Sorry. You and your guys did everything possible to save him.”

“Thanks, Mark.”

Turning and walking away, I slipped between both appliances out of sight. “Fuck!” I let out with frustration, punching the truck tire near me. I’d learnt not to hit the cabinet lockers or panel work as it’s hard to explain dents, and a fist makes an easily recognized dent.

Recovering my composure, I grabbed my radio from the shoulder clasp, opening the mic, then updated Dispatch, taking our appliances offline and requesting Peer support to attend our Station ASAP. Next Call was to the Regional Officer in Charge, advising of the death, following the chain of evidence protocols for the Coroner’s office.

I grabbed some cold drinks from the cooler out of the Rescue Unit, the guys were leaning against the truck, clearly feeling what had happened. I handed out some cold drinks, a warm smile, and reassuring grip on their shoulders. Then on to the job at hand – starting my debrief and AAR (After Action Review) conversations. There was nothing more we could do for the little guy. Now my attention turned to my crew and their welfare.

The drive back to the station was a somber one. There was none of the normal banter or ribbing between the guys. When a child is injured or killed, it really hits home. As a service, we have come along leaps and bounds with the stress and support services in the job, but it still hurts like hell.

Pulling in the station, I updated Dispatch. “North West Pumper and Rescue in Station; Off-Line.”

Climbing out of the truck, I walked around the front of both appliances.

“Ok, I want everyone here out front, please.”

The guys all filed out of the trucks.

“Our After-Action Review is going to be multi-staged. I want everyone to head to the showers and clean up. Meet me in the muster room in fifteen minutes. We have the peer support guys en-route to chat about today’s action.”

Twenty minutes later we all seated in the muster room. The peer support guys were in, working with the crew.

My cell phone started to buzz in my pocket. It was Raine.

“Hi, OO Wilmer.”

“Jamie, I’ve got your guys here from the ER. I’ll drop them back to the station, ok?”

“Sure, thanks, Boss. I was just about to grab the station car and collect them. The Peer support guys are here currently. We are almost all of the way through the AAR.

“Raine, the crews have said they need to, want to, return to active. I am comfortable with their mental health but I will wait for the Support guys to greenlight it. When you get here, we can chat about it, if you like.”

“No problems, Jamie. Sounds like you’ve got it covered. See you in fifteen.”

I slipped my phone back into my pocket, re-joining the crew in the muster room.

Raine arrived a few minutes later and Steve and Pete joined us in the muster room. It was good to get the guys together. Raine, signaled with a nod for us to step out. We quietly slipped out of the room.

“Jamie, do you have a second to chat,” asked Raine.

“Sure, Boss. The communal office with my name on it is free,” I said jokingly.

We walked the short distance to my office in silence, closing the door behind Raine.

“Ok Jamie, about this performance review and holidays…”


Finally, the end of shift came around. After we had gone back online, we had two further calls – someone burning trash in their yard, while the old lady next door had her washing out on the line. She wanted us to extinguish the fire so her washing wasn’t ruined. A bit of diplomacy between both parties, and away we went. Helps to have siblings – you learn how to read people and work your way around them.

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