Because Eudorareporter.com is a small operation, many times we are not on the scene during an emergency situation. Usually, we are there in the final wrap-up stages or covering events with conversations and interviews after the event is long done. With the time and location of the house fire that occurred on Sunday morning in Eudora, I had the opportunity to watch much of the scene unfold.
With the privilege of closer access, I observed firefighters and EMS personnel from five different jurisdictions work together in extinguishing the flames. While the crews have occasionally cross trained together or worked other past incidents jointly, it was amazing to watch all the crews and at least three different Chiefs come together in the common goal of putting out the fire. Every one of them did a magnificent job of working together and cooperating. I have heard rumors of not so good relationships particularly between the Township and the City in days gone by. To date, I have seen no evidence to substantiate those rumors and there was certainly no evidence of it for over four hours putting out this fire. This supposed “bad blood” between the organizations, may be as non existent as a modern day Hatfield-McCoy feud. It could have been true a long time ago, but it sure is not evident now. If someone saw the spirit of teamwork that occurred on Church Street on a Sunday morning when most of these men and women would much rather have been at church, at the pool, or doing whatever with family and friends, they would agree.
The other amazing and more important thing, was that these men and women ran into a burning building, putting themselves at risk and doing so in very humid conditions. I watched as crews worked hard to put out the remnants of the fire and not knowing if the floor they were standing on would collapse underneath them or the roof above them would fall in on them. While experience, training and leadership teach them how to stay safe, no one can predict every event. I was standing across the street dressed in normal clothes and I was sweating to beat all. I could not imagine putting on pounds of gear and clothing and then running into a building that in all likelyhood was a couple hundred degrees. I’m amazed they only five have heat related health issues. And, oh yeah, they do it for practically nothing. Most of them are engineers, IT computer guys, accountants or one of a variety of different jobs and all came together to do one thing: help somebody in need. Sunday mornings activities were nothing special, extraordinary or unusual, unless you realize that what they did on a humid warm July Sunday morning, and what the have done numerous times before, is special, extraordinary and unusual.
Until you see it up close and personal from feet away, you don’t get a sense of how courageous the job they do is. All firefighters and especially local volunteer departments across the country should be applauded and celebrated for what they do. A special salute goes out to the men and women of the Eudora Fire Department, Eudora Township, Wakarusa Township, Lawrence and Baldwin City Departments who spent easily half of their day off from a normal job to take care of this situation.
Did I mention they get enough money to buy a hamburger for doing what they do. They probably wouldn’t be able to pay for the cheese on it either and don’t even think about fries. Yea, that take a special person.