McCallie Blog

Fighting Fire

Posted by Student Contributor on September 15, 2010

By Sam Campbell
12th Grade 


As I heard the sirens getting frighteningly closer, I couldn’t help but wonder where their final destination was. I knew that it was very strange for the quiet, usually quaint Lookout Mountain sound to be overruled by sirens, so something serious must be going on.

I looked out my window which overlooks one of the busiest streets in the town. As I saw first the red lights of the fire truck zoom by, followed by the blue and white lights of the police car, I couldn’t help but feel the burning desire to find where they were going. It was late at night, and I had just finished my homework, so I changed into Carhartts and a jacket.

As soon as I took my first step out of the door, the smell hit me. Something was on fire, and it was bound to be serious.

Slowly driving my truck around Lookout Mountain, I left my window down so that I could follow my nose wherever it goes. It led me to West Brow, which is a solid two miles from my house. I was still two blocks away from the house, but I could see the smoke and flames light up the night sky. Of course, due to safety reasons, I could not drive down the street of the house, but I parked and watched the policemen and fire fighters go to work.

This past summer our department got a medic call for a three year old boy who had fallen over 25 feet and landed on concrete. 

I was in awe with the way they handled things with such grace and poise. The fire continued long into the night, and I did not stay there for the end of it, but I knew that there was something that I wanted to pursue.

I have been a volunteer fire fighter for almost a year now, and it is one of the most fun and exciting activities I’ve ever been a part of.

Every Monday night all of the Lookout Mountain volunteer fire fighters meet from 7-9 for drill night. The drills that we do vary from things like spraying water from hoses, setting up an exterior attack and ventilation team and climbing on the roof to practice how we would ventilate the fire from the roof, and simulating a real fire by smoking up a room with food grade gas and doing a search and rescue drill. Drill night is something that I always look forward to and although it is not easy work, it is enjoyable to know that I will be helping save someone’s life in the future.

This past summer our department got a medic call for a three year old boy who had fallen over 25 feet and landed on concrete. When I got on scene, there were already a few EMT’s evaluating the boy, and while I was looking at him, I heard a very distinct sound that still runs through my head today; the father, a 35 year old grown man, bursting out with tears and sorrow, just hoping that his little protégé would live.

At this moment I realized that everything I had been training for was justified. Helping the bruised and battered little boy into the ambulance, fully responsive, and seeing the father’s face of rejoice was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever experienced.

Although I have never been inside a real burning house, I am creepily looking forward to the day that I do. I surely don’t want karma to catch up with me, so wishing for a house to burn has never been a request of mine. With almost a year of training under my belt, I feel like I am ready to go into a building and do so in a safe and efficient manner. Unlike some other people, I do not see myself being a professional fire fighter in the future, but I do envision always being a volunteer, because I love helping people in need.

Sam Campbell is a senior day student at McCallie School.

Topics: character, firefighter, volunteer, community service, First Person, The Runway Perspective (Seniors), student, Upper School Life