I live 3 doors away from Berkeley Fire Engine Co. 6 and the Berkeley training facility for firefighters. For years I’ve enjoyed hearing the yelling of commands, the ratcheting clank of extension ladders, the reassuring sound of the trucks as they head off to help in various fire and medical situations. There’s one firefighter who practices bagpipes in the courtyard – I like that. The sound of occasional chainsaw practice is not my favorite thing (not conducive to writing elegaic melodies). But watching this video I have a new and deep appreciation for their chainsaw work.
I don’t recall hearing their sirens before dawn last Monday when they raced off to Santa Rosa. They themselves had no idea what they were heading for – the journey there is quotidian, chronicling the everyday nature of their work. But upon arrival, things get hairy. One of them filmed (and edited) their experience, and it’s heartbreaking, terrifying, amazing, brave, and uplifting. Check the links at the end for ways to help.