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One tough old Marine....


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Last night, a 78 year old fire chief of 50 years (with 3 heart stents and 2 recently replaced knees) got the call again around 2:00am.  It was a call for a fire at a closed mill that had been abandoned for several years and upon arrival, since there had been numerous reports of vandalism, they decided, even though there was nothing showing, they should go in and check it out.


While clearing rooms with all men in radio contact and no reports of flames coming in, the old chief was on his way back out to the street and realized they had overlooked an area and even though he had told his deputy he was leaving the building, he figured he'd give it a look see all the same.


1st room.  OK.


2nd room.  OK


3rd room - 2 steps in and the floor gave way beneath his feet dropping him more than 10 feet straight into darkness.


Tangled in mangled copper tubing, some kind of knee deep sludge, broken lumber and God know what else, he did his best to get his bearings.


After taking a personal inventory and realizing he was in bit of a bind, he searched for his portable radio in the darkness and muck with no luck.  He found his flashlight but it had been broken in the fall. 


Reaching into his bunker pants, he realized he had his cellphone with him and in an inside pocket and hopefully it was still usable - luck was with him.


1st call was to his wife telling her he had "fallen down" but was ok, loved her and not to worry - that was it.


2nd call was to the main dispatcher, calmly telling the now VERY excited dispatcher what had happened and directions for him to give to the company so they could find him.


Then the radio went wild.  Most of these firemen weren't even born when this man became chief and the entire department went wild looking for him.  He is to that town what Arnold Palmer was to golf and every single man on site looks up to him like a father.


A few minutes of mad searching, some shouting back and forth and they had "eyes on".


The first man to find the hole never even hesitated.  He just looked down, saw the chief, shined his flashlight around looking for a clear spot in the debris and muck and then grabbed an old beam and monkeyed his way down like he was Tarzan himself.


The next few men got organized and waited for the ladder to arrive so they could get him out of there.


The chief just very calmly told everyone to calm the hell down and relax cuz or they were gonna get hurt trying to save HIM and he'd trained em all better than that..


Finally, the ladder went down the hole and the chief climbed up with young Tarzan right behind him.


They climbed out and the other men took the chief out to be checked out as the jumper looked back down the hole and shouted "wait !!  WAIT!!!"


Back down the hole he scampered, appeared to grab something and climbed back up shouting for the chief to wait for him - whatever he had grabbed in his hand as he ran toward the chief.


He then looked at him and said "here you go Chief, now you're all set".


My father then dusted off his Marine Corp cap, placed it on his head, and walked out of that old mill unassisted. 


With no fire, after getting checked out real quick by the ambulance guys, he climbed into his chief's car, drove home and went back to bed.


Tough old bastard my old man...


God Bless him.


Further investigation of the hole and his landing zone, later revealed how incredibly lucky he had been. Another foot or two and almost any direction and he'd have been either impaled on some old piping or on mass amounts of machinery, partially disassembled that had long been abandoned and was nothing but sharp, rotting edges...

Edited by Sharkey
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I called down to the station today to check on him and the fire tax collector said he was going to be at the capital in meetings all day.  He never stops, never stutters and just doesn't know how to slow down...


I am not a great man.  But I sure as hell know one.


And thanks for the "well wishes" guys.  He just doesn't know how else to do things at this point.

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