Three apartments totally burned out, water and smoke damage to the rest, 166 unhappy senior citizens many at least partially handicapped, evacuated to the medical building and no firefighters injured means no one got complacent. Everyone did their job. The fire incidentally was started by a senior citizen who wasn't supposed to be smoking, dumping the ash tray into the garbage while it was apparently still smoldering when someone knocked on her door. It smoldered there a couple of hours before the alarm came over.
The time and perspective was different and always is, for everyone on the scene. Senior residents remember they have to go find somewhere else to live for a while. Some remembered firefighters being mean to them and dragging them out of their apartments. Firefighters remember the residents resisting leaving even as the apartment two doors down was on fire. My LT on scene recalled with a sense of humor later, the woman he encouraged strongly to move out with him was screaming she wasn't leaving her fur coat as she stuffed the cash that was under her mattress into the pockets. I remembered seeing her on the scene later wearing that coat and not letting the EMT's check her out or touch her. Most of the residents were worried, confused and extremely grateful for the help and I was so very proud of every firefighter and EMT that not only put out the fire, evacuated them to safety, stayed an additional shift to help them get their property out of damaged apartments with respect and humor.
I also remember the next day the Chief and I took a ride to that community and started putting real pre-plans in place, started training sessions with their security office, their administrators and also even their residents. We also made the Executive Administrators have the alarm company out to upgrade the system in an effort to cut down on the overwhelming amount of false alarms. It all helped and today I hope pre-plans are the norm in communities now.
Firefighters always making time count.