I’ll admit it, I like fire. In small doses. It didn’t take long before this small branch fire was not a small dose.
Let me start at the beginning…
Last spring, I worked at Riverside as the maintenance guy. I had the pleasure of living in the fabulous “Victory Cabin,” back up in the woods. To get to it, I had to drive along this winding road lined with trees on one side, and a field on the other. As you can imagine, when there was a storm, the road would be covered with branches. To get through, we would have to throw them into the field. We had some nice sized piles of branches in that field.
One day, it was my job to burn these piles of branches. Allow me to point out, I was only doing my job. I wasn’t just screwing around with a few guys on the weekend. That was another time…
So with a lighter and plenty of newspaper in hand, I got ready to set the first pile on fire. I didn’t really think twice about how dry the field was. Or the nice breeze.
The first took a minute to ignite, but once it did, it burnt pretty well. I decided to watch the pile burn for a while before I lit the rest because, like I said, I like fire.
After not too long, the dry grass around the pile caught on fire. But I was prepared for something like this. I quickly got the fire extinguisher from the back of my truck and unloaded it on the grass. It’s reflexes like this that earned my the nickname “Quick Rick”
Nobody has ever called me that…
My boss, Kretz, called to make sure everything was going well. I assured him that the branches were not going to be a problem much longer.
It was then I saw it.
The first fire was getting out of control again. And this time, I had no fire extinguisher left. I did have a shovel.
Using what I had, I decided to dig a trench around the fire. My thought was that it would get to the trench and not go any further. You know, because it wouldn’t have any fuel.
Whether or not this would have worked, we’ll never know. The fire was burning faster than I was digging, and it didn’t take long before the fire had gone right around my trench.
By this time, a substantial part of the field was on fire.
I assured them that I had everything under control and there was no reason to call the fire department.
To show them how “under my control” it was, I grabbed a bucket and started dumping water from a nearby pond on the fire. I would run to the pond, fill my bucket with water, come back to the fire, dump the water on the flames, then do it again.
This must have satisfied them, because they didn’t make any effort to help. They just sat and watched.
It was about this time that Kretz showed up. He could smell the fire from his office. His office was a half mile away.
The majority of the field was now on fire. The branches were gone (Great success!). I was frantically trying to douse out the fire.
Kretz told me it was time to call the fire department. I, reluctantly, agreed.
Half an hour later the fire department had the fire out, but not before 90% of the field was ash.
Later, I was going through the ash field and found my, now melted and disfigured, water bucket.
I should have just called the fire department to begin with, but I let my pride get in the way.