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The Dance of the Angels

Three weeks ago I completed my last day of fire training with a mesmerizing experience immersed by fire. Sitting inches below a magnificent flame, I got lost in my awe of its power.
The heat permeated through the protective gear and left me with a mild burn on both my knees. A small price to pay for a humbling life experience under the dance of the angels.
The day began with three practice drills fighting fires in the burn building. These drills consisted of an instructor controlling a raging flame with the touch of a button while the firefighters in training charged into the room to put it out. The 80,000 dollar piece of equipment provided an excellent training environment.
My group moved from the first floor kitchen fire to the second floor rollover ceiling fire (depicted accurately at 0:37 in the video above) to the third floor bedroom fire. In each scenario we penetrated the room, shot a quick burst of water into the ceiling and began an initial search for a dummy acting as a victim, before attacking the fire full force. After 3 and a half months of fire school, I felt confident in my ability to accomplish these tasks in a calm and controlled manner.
The second floor bedroom, however, proved to be a more challenging scenario.
Encompassed by a cloud of thick white smoke, I crawled in circles unable to see my own hand. The fumes eclipsed even the brilliant glow of the savage flame. I inched forward toward the burning bed, hoping that in my search for a victim my hand would not reach into the fire.
Within seconds, relief. I felt the thick metal window on the far side of the room. As I forced light into the darkness, the loud piercing shrill of a PASS alarm echoed through the walls. I turned around and found no one.
Moving toward the sound, I crawled back past the bed and found my buddy sitting near the door to the outside balcony. Disoriented by the smoke, he lost touch of my ankle and hit the panic button.
Although this was just a scenario, it served as a fitting reminder of the risks involved in this dangerous game.
After lunch, I returned to the training academy to complete my fourth and final station. The one I had been waiting for since I began fire school. The flashover simulator.
Scroll to 0:37 and 6:30 on the video above to get a glimpse of what it is like to be enveloped by fire.


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Fearvana inspires us to look beyond our own agonizing experiences
and find the positive side of our lives. ~ The Dalai Lama