No denying the excitement, the pure adrenaline rush that a firefighter feels enroute to a call. What a weird mix of feelings -- fear, excitement, maybe guilt for wanting the excitement instead of a ho-hum call that turns out to be a lot-of-get-up-and-go for something boringly minor. Until one night, it's not.
By telling me one story, Bill Anderson, a retired fire chief from Essington, provided a perfect illustration. Anderson is the president of the Cradle of Liberty chapter of Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America, (SPAAMFAA). I met him Saturday when I covered SPAAMFAA's national convention and muster at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken.
Anderson said that when he was a firefighter his company would get constant calls from the same house in Folsom, Delaware County. They'd go, put out a minor fire and leave. "We used to go there so many times that we knew the layout of the house," he said. Usually, it was because someone had smoked a cigarette and wasn't careful about putting it out.
"Then, the last time we went there, we found three family members dead," he said.