April 30, 2013

The 4 a.m. Egg Run

Crashed Jaguary Mark 2
Sometimes jaguars eat deer, sometimes deer eat Jaguars.
Last night was warm, and we slept with the bedroom windows slightly open. So M., light sleeper that she is, hears the emergency siren wailing down the valley and shakes me awake at 2:22 a.m.

Outside on the porch, I can hear it too. There is no glow in the sky. What is happening?

I call the sheriff's dispatcher — "Vehicle fire. Mile marker 26." I pull on some pants and long-sleeved shirt, stumble down to the garage, don my turnout gear (kept here rather than at the fire house), fumble the magnetic red light crookedly onto the Jeep roof, and drive way.

Reaching the state highway, I can see down toward MM 26, and there is nothing but blackness. A set of flashing lights is coming toward me though — a state trooper, who says the wreck is up the other way. More lights behind me — our engine.

Over a rise, and there is the scene — a sheriff's deputy, an ambulance, Nearby Town's engine, and —  crunched against a ponderosa pine tree — a once-lovely vintage Jaguar Mark 2 saloon car, as the Brits would call it, still smoking from the engine compartment. Right-hand drive, even.

RECONSTRUCTION: The driver (not injured) coming down the canyon, had swerved to avoid a deer. Perhaps over-correcting, he went off the road and hit the tree. Thinking he could reverse onto the highway, he re-started the engine, even though he could smell gasoline. Poof!!

He could not get a cell phone signal (welcome to the neighborhood), so he started walking down until he could. He was connected to a tower in the next county north, so his 911 call went to their dispatcher, who alerted their nearest fire department. Hence the incorrect location too, I think.

Then, after 15 minutes or so, they called our sheriff's dispatcher, who sent a deputy and "toned out" our department.

Nearby Town's engine leaves. We set up traffic control and wait for the wrecker. When the wrecker driver starts to move the car, the battery throws some sparks, so I grab the bolt cutters and cut a cable. (Should have done that earlier — I don't work enough car wrecks).

After the car is moved, we check to be sure that it had not left any smoldering embers in the pine duff underneath. Luckily, it had crashed on the side of the highway burned in the October 23, 2012 fire. Fuel is scarce. But if it had gone off the other side, it would have been surrounded by unburned trees and brush, and I might still be out there.

One of our firefighters has a little home egg business, so since we are all awake, I ask if I could pick up a dozen afterwards. Of course, she says. (Ruth's Egg Barn: Open 24 Hours to Serve You.)

At 4:05 a.m., I am climbing our front steps, still in turnout gear, with a carton of eggs. There ought to be funny caption for that picture, but I am too fuzzy to think of one.

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