Young and old living in Helotes received a surprise last night. Mother Nature decided to expose Helotes and the surrounding areas to a glimpse of the winter weather on Thursday, December 7 as she sent a nice dusting of snow for three hours.
As families and children were out rolling snowballs and creating different snowmen, I too was out with a family. A different type of family. Our Helotes fire family.
Helotes fire station received its first call about downed and arcing power lines and realizing this would only leave two individuals in the station to handle subsequent calls, the Captain sent out a request for help.
There is a special bond between firemen. One family member says help and the distant cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, brothers, and sisters quickly answer the call. Luckily for Helotes so many of these dedicated individuals take their job seriously.
Last night the Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Marshall, Captain, volunteer, other fire fighters, and one crazy reporter answered the call.
Within five minutes of the snow starting to accumulate, the fire station received three calls. One was for a business fire alarm, another for arcing powerlines, and a new report of structure fire.
Strapping into the engine’s seat, I witnessed the professionalism and dedication of the Helotes fire fighters. Within minutes the unit I was riding arrived to find burning tree limbs because they were touching the power lines. Like the untrained fire fighter, I am, I expected the fire fighters to pull out the hose and blast it with water. (I wanted to see if the water would freeze as it came out of the hose.) What I did not understand—I knew water conducted electricity…well like the myth of urinating on the electric fence–the electricity from the powerline could follow the solid stream of water back to the hose and the fire fighter. Luckily, the professionals were handling he fire.
We had to watch the fire until the limb burned through and fell away from the power line, because CPS was overloaded with calls and would not be able to respond for hours.
The fire fighters would not leave with the limbs arcing because the tree was next to a garage and they did not want a structure fire to break out.
One of the fire fighters responding to the scene had left his freshly prepared dinner sitting at the table to provide protection for Helotes.
I am happy to report that none of the calls resulted in a serious fire or the loss of property for anyone in Helotes.
So, while I did not build a snowman, or participate in a snowball fight, I rode on a fire truck. I witnessed first-hand the training, the knowledge, dedication our fire fighters have for their job and city. Thankfully our lives, property, and safety remain in their hands.