New Characters

Kathy New nurse

Dee Dee Dispatcher

DISPATCHER!

Exiting Rampart, Roy heads to the driver's side of Squad 51 from years of habit and from having the same partner who was in the middle of ranting about the newest Emergency Room Nurse.

"I just can't believe it. Did I tell you she not only turned me down but turned me down flat!" Johnny continued. "I took your advice and just look where it got me. Three weeks of effort and I still don't have a date for tomorrow night."

Roy was checked his watch -- Two hours, two hours until quitting time. He thought. He also hoped by remaining quiet that Johnny would run out of steam. He had suggested weeks ago when Johnny first eyed the new nurse that he might want to take it slow and friendly instead of pouncing with the 'old Gage charm'. Of course this suggestion slipped out in a weak moment when Johnny had repeatedly insisted he tell him what he thought was the problem with his 'opening lines'.

"Roy?... Roy? ... Roy!" exclaimed Johnny.

"Humm? ... What?" replied Roy.

"I don't believe you. You got me in this mess and now you didn't even hear what I said." Johnny said in disbelief.

Roy sighed, It was going to be a long two hours! "Sure I heard you."

Before Roy could continue, Johnny questioned, "Ok, then what did I say?"

"You were saying how you had been turned down flat by the new nurse." said Roy.

Johnny continued to dig, "Her name is Kathy. What else did I say?"

Thinking a little too long Roy knew the next two hours may as well be two years.

"See you didn't hear what I said." Johnny continued.

"I must have gotten lost for a second there. I was thinking too much I guess." replied Roy.

"Thinking too much, hum?" Gage paused, himself thinking. "What could you have been thinking about that was so important? See I care what you think!" said Johnny.

Thinking quickly, "I was wondering, ... if we needed to do anything else for the party tomorrow night." Roy hoped to get Johnny on another subject. Roy was almost relieved to hear the Squads radio come to life.

"Squad 51, Engine 51 respond unknown type rescue. Corner of Main and 21st Street. That's Corner of Main and 21st Street. Time out 14:05." came Sam's familiar voice.

Roy hit the lights and siren as Johnny responded, "10-4 LA, Squad 51 responding from Rampart."

Silently, Roy hoped that this call wasn't serious but that it would take just long enough for the shift to end.

As Squad 51 approached the Station Roy noticed that the Engine crew of B-shift was out on a call as he backed the Squad into it's place inside Station 51. The patient who had suffered a heart attack when the elevator of one of the older buildings in town had gotten stuck between floors required transport to Rampart. This had put Squad 51 getting back to the Station several minutes after the last of the Engine crew had departed.

Johnny keyed the mic, "LA, Squad 51 back in quarters."

"10-4 Squad 51."An unknown female voice replied for LA Dispatch. Johnny didn't recognize the voice but didn't think it too unusual as both the Fire Dept. and the Dispatch Center switched shifts at the same time.

Johnny headed for the showers and his clean civilian clothes. Roy attempting not to hear about Kathy the ER nurse again headed for the day room where B-shift's paramedics were awaiting the return of the Squad. B-shifts paramedics were reading the paper and sipping on coffee as Roy entered. "Its all yours fellas." Said Roy as he poured a half cup of coffee he added a few pieces of ice from the freezer to cool it a bit, then drank the warm dark brown, ever present liquid. B-shifts Senior medic asked, Long shift?" "The last two hours were murder, but it wasn't the runs." He motioned toward the locker room. B-Shifts medics smiled a knowing smile as they had worked with Gage enough to get a taste of what Roy endured on a daily basis. Rinsing his cup he figured he'd stalled about long enough so he headed to the locker room where Johnny was out of the shower and dressing. Roy began to change in silence. As they headed for their vehicles, Roy asked, "So do we need to do anything for tomorrow night?"

Thinking Johnny said, "Well, Brackett and Dr. Early arranged the snacks. Dr. Morton gave the nurses the money for the decorations. Carol and a few of them are meeting me at Embers around 2pm. Joanne is making the cake and arranged for a setter. So that pretty well covers it unless you want me to pick you up so you can help with the decorations." Johnny said hopefully.

"Well, it does sound like you have it all covered. I guess I could ride over with you. That will give Jo some alone time to finish the cake." replied Roy.

Johnny grinned his lop-sided grin, "That's what she said too."

Roy looked at his partner amazed, "Junior, how is it you and my wife seem to get along so well, yet you have so much trouble with your own social life?"

Johnny looked his best friend in the eye being very serious, "I figured that out a long time ago. First, she isn't a 'challenge'. Second, you are are the common link. You and Jo are great together and you know me about as well as anyone, so it is natural that we'd get along good."

Roy knew that he did know Johnny better than most anyone else, yet, it never ceased to amaze him when he saw a new layer to Johnny's character. Roy smiled, "I never thought of it that way I guess you're right. See you about 1pm?"

"Sounds good. To bad I still don't have a date." Gage sighed.

Roy also sighed, "Who else did you ask?"

"No one!" Johnny said with wide eyes.

Roy knew he'd regret it but had to ask, "Why not?"

"Because, Roy, then Kathy would think she wasn't important to me and was replaceable. Then she'd never go out with me." replied Johnny.

Roy shook his head, "Oh, I see." Roy pretended that this had made since. He was tired and wanted to get home. Once again his mouth betrayed him. "So you aren't going out with anyone until the new nur... Kathy goes out with you?"

Johnny stopped half in half out of the Land Rover, "No, but if I take someone where she is she'll think that she was just another new nurse."

That was it. Roy was far too tired. He was beginning to understand Johnny's warped logic. "I see. See you around 1. My bed is calling." He said as he shut his car door.

Carol was taking advantage of working over for another shift by taking the time to rework the nurses schedule so that everyone could at least make an appearance at Dixie's surprise birthday party. The problem was Dixie was the one who made the schedule! Rush hour was over and it was still pretty early for the drunks that would 'have' to drive somewhere and never make it. The ER was quit (for an ER). Carol set behind the counter where Dixie had everything set up for herself as she was a part of Rampart's ER. Dixie had left for home several hours ago and would be off until the day after the party. Carol thumbed through the roll-a-dex on the counter making sure that she had included everyone that was important to Ms. McCall. As she flipped she noticed a number she was sure wasn't there last week. Dee Dee McCall 555-1221. It was a local number. Carol and everyone that knew Dixie knew she had no family locally. She quickly wrote the number down as the base station came to life. She would have to ask Dr. Early as soon as she could.

Several hours later Carol decided to grab a up of coffee in the nurses lounge. Entering to see that Dr. Early had had the same idea. "Aahhh! Caught you!"

Joe Early about jumped out of his skin at the nurses outburst. Turning to see Carol, "Caught me at what?"

"Spending too much time in the lounge." She said seriously.

"Well, you wouldn't have caught me if you weren't doing the same thing." Dr. Early said.

Carol smiled, "No I was patrolling looking to find all way-ward doctors!"

"I see. Well, since you found me, care to join me?" he said handing Carol a second cup of coffee that he had already poured for her.

"Thanks Dr. Early. I needed that." Carol said

The knowing doctor said, "I noticed you have been putting in quit a bit of overtime. Anything wrong?"

"No nothing is wrong. I have been trying to work around Ms. McCall to get thinks arranged for the party without her finding out. Speaking of which. Do you know who a 'Dee Dee McCall' might be? It is a local number. I found the number in the roll-a-dex on Ms. McCall's desk and I'm sure it is new." Carol said hopeful.

"Well, now. No I don't know the name and haven't heard Dixie mention her, but we know how Dixie is about her personal life." said Joe.

Carol smiled a wicked smile, "Yes, she is all business. Do you think you could find out? I'd love to invite everyone that's important to Ms. McCall."

Joe knew he'd been had! "I will talk to Kel and see what I can find out."

"Thank you, Dr. Early." replied Carol as Kathy stuck her head through the door, "Dr. Morton said pile up on the 405, Dr. Early."

It had been a long shift in the ER lasting into her third shift as Carol made her way to her car. She heard foot steps behind her. Being careful she turned to see who was in the parking lot at this hour of the night. She was relieved to see the friendly face of the gray haired ER doctor. "Dr. Early! I'm glad that was you. I couldn't think who'd be out here at this hour."

Dr. Early smiled, "I thought you had left hours ago."

"Afraid I had a good teacher. I didn't leave until we got the last of those in a bed or off to their homes." Carol sighed.

Dr. Early gave her a knowing smile, "Same here. I'll see you tomorrow evening." he said as he turned to his car. "Speaking of which, I found out from a secret source that the phone number you saw in the roll-a-dex is Dixie's favorite niece who has just recently moved out here."

"Secret source, huh?" she smiled "Dr. Brackett?"

"Am I that transparent?" he asked woundedly.

Carol answered tiredly, "No, not at all. It's just Dr. Brackett knows Ms. McCall pretty well. Thanks for finding out for me. I'll give her a call later this morning after I get some sleep."

"Yes, I'm looking for my bed and shower myself. Be careful. I'll be over for awhile, then I'm slipping out so Dr.Morton can come over, then I'll be back." said Joe.

"Sounds good." Stated Carol as she got into her car.

Dr. Early waited until Carol pulled out heading for home before he started toward his own home. Couldn't be too careful in LA especially in the wee hours of the morning he thought.

The early morning sun peeped through the closed blinds in Nurse Carols bedroom. She was awaken by an annoying sound. It took two more rings of the phone for her to realize it was the telephone. She grabbed for the bedside phone. It took only seconds for her to slam the receiver back down. It had been someone trying to sale something! She turned over hugged her extra pillow and tried to go back to sleep. Wonder what time it is? she thought. As much as she wanted not to care what time it was it was no use. She opened her eyes, looking at the clock, 9:30 am. Great! It was after 4am when I got to bed! I wish those early morning callers would realize SOME people do sleep in. Carol thought. She again closed her eyes. She turned over to the other side. The once sleeping cat now placed its paws on her uncovered arm, claws extended. "What?" asked Carol opening her eyes to see her cat, Blue. She stroked its head, "Sorry. I didn't want woke up yet either." Blue walked across her, jumped off the bed and headed for the kitchen. Carol once again attempted to get comfortable to go back to sleep for a bit.

From the kitchen, "Meow...Meow." Blue had found his bowl empty and was now going to protest.

Carol tried to ignore him.

"Meow...Meowwww!" he got louder.

Tossing the covers back in defeat. Carol got up stumbled to the kitchen. Pouring Blue's bowl full of his favorite food she said, "Ok, I give up! Hope you're happy now." Blue continued to eat. Carol started the automatic coffee maker and headed for a hot shower. After a shower and a first cup of coffee, Carol felt more like herself. She took a second cup of coffee to the couch. Looking over notes for the party she remembered the phone number in her uniform. Finding it crumpled on the bathroom floor with Blue bathing on it, she said, "You are definitely pushing your luck this morning." Blue kept washing. She picked up her uniform from under the large cat, got out the phone number and placed the uniform over the shower stall. Back at the couch, sipping her coffee, with Blue now cuddled at her feet, Carol decided to try to reach Dixie's niece. Dialing the number she waited for an answer.

Dee Dee McCall poured her second cup of coffee as the phone rang, "Hello." she said with a slight southern accent.

"Ms. McCall?" questioned Carol.

Surprised someone other than her Aunt Dixie was calling her, "Yes?"

"I know you don't know me, but I work at Rampart with your Aunt Dixie..." Carol was interrupted.

"Is Dixie OK?" she asked concerned.

"Yes, she is. Sorry I concerned you. The reason I'm calling is that we are having a surprise birthday party for her tonight. We have been planning this for months and I just came across you number last night. I would like everyone who is important to her to be there. I think it is still a surprise, which was harder than you can imagine." explained Carol.

"That is sweet of you. I hope this is an early indication that what I've heard about LA's uncaring people was wrong." stated Dee Dee.

Carol laughed, "Well, I don't know about how everyone will fare out here but at Rampart we are kind of a family of our own. You work very closely with each other there. Which is why it has been so hard to ever get something planned without Ms. McCall finding out. The nurses were mainly behind this, but we had to involve the paramedics that work out of Rampart in order to get everything done as well as the doctors. Not to mention, trying to rework a schedule that Ms. McCall made without her finding out."

Dee Dee said, "I can imagine. I haven't been around Dixie much for years but I do know she is a pretty sharp cookie. No one ever could get anything by her."

Carol continued, "As I was saying, the reason I called was to invite you to come tonight. Our Dr. Brackett is taking Ms. McCall out to dinner then is going to get her to the party hopefully without her suspecting anything. The paramedics arranged the place. It's a usually quiet place. Most of the people who go there are firemen and their friends and families."

"It sounds like fun." replied Dee Dee.

"Great! Then you'll come?" Carol asked hopeful.

Dee Dee laughed, "Sure I will. It will give me something to do other than work and unpack."

"Have you met many people since you've been here?" asked Carol.

"Not really. Just those at work. I've been pretty busy getting set up." replied Carol.

"Believe me that will change tonight if half of the people who I asked shows up. Ms. McCall has a lot of friends and even more people who are grateful to her for the job she does. It is at the corner of Main Street and West Torrence Blvd. It's casual dress." Stated Carol.

Dee Dee asked, "Ok. What time should I get there?"

"Well, Dr. Brackett is suppose to keep her busy until 7, so anytime before that to be there for the surprise. Several of us will be there around 2 but the place doesn't open tonight until 4." replied Carol.

I'll try to be there around 6 then. How do I find you?" asked Dee Dee not knowing the place.

"Just ask anyone I'm sure they can point me out. Everyone there will know me." replied Carol.

"Ok, see you then." said Dee Dee.

"Nice talking to you. See you tonight." said Carol as she hung up the phone.

Dee Dee smiled to herself. My first party in CA . She thought.

John Gage stumbled through his small bachelor apartment. Turning on the coffee pot, he headed for the shower. Dressed only in a towel he returned to the kitchen poured a large cup of coffee then headed to the bathroom to shave. After shaving he dressed in a pair of shorts to read the paper. With a second cup of coffee in hand he when to the bedroom, opened the closet, took out his favorite blue shirt and black jeans, laying them across the bed. Johnny took his boots to the kitchen and began to polish them. As he was polishing his boots the phone rang, "Hello?"

"Johnny, this is Carol. I have a really big favor. Could you possibly go by Rampart on your way to Embers?" pleaded Carol.

"Yeah, sure. What's up?" asked Johnny.

"I forgot to get the balloons. They need to be taken and filled with helium before they get there. I don't know where..." explained Carol.

Johnny replied, "Don't worry that is the easy part. I'll go pick up Roy, the balloons and run by 51. We have a helium tank there for school tours and picnics and things."

"John Gage, you are Great! Thanks. I've got to get busy." said Carol.

Smiling from ear to ear, Johnny said, "Thanks, Carol. Yeah I got to run myself."

Roy had been relaxing in his favorite recliner watching cartoons with the kids as Joanne was working on the cake. He heard the familiar sound of Johnny's Land Rover pull up. Before he could put the foot rest down the kids were up and out the door yelling shrill screams, "Uncle Johnny! Uncle Johnny! Please come play with us!" The once peaceful scene had given way to two of the most hyper 5 and 7 year olds Roy had ever seen.

Johnny had not planned on getting out of the Rover but was given no choice as he let himself be dragged out of it. Scooping up Jennifer while being drug into the house by Christopher, Johnny entered the living room of the DeSoto house. Roy had managed to get himself out of the recliner.

After the slight delay with the kids, Johnny and Roy had picked up the balloons, filled them with helium at 51 and placed them into garbage bags then stuffed into the Land Rover. At Embers Johnny and Roy entered trying to control eight bags of helium filled balloons. Carol saw the distress and hurried to help stuff the bags of balloons under table to keep them at bay until strings could be attached to the balloons to keep them out of all the fire fighter equipment hanging from the ceiling of the bar. Leave it to Johnny, a whole bag of balloons floated to the ceiling. It took Roy, Johnny and Carol to capture the bag with brooms to get it under the table. Carol and Johnny set crossed legged in the middle of the floor to attach the strings to the balloons. While trying to get a balloon out of a bag it got away from Carol. Roy suggested they leave it until they were done. He brought a beer over for Johnny and Carol, then he took the stringed balloons and attached them to a chair until Carol could place them where she wanted them. Only 4 balloons escaped them. Roy had the perfect plan. He had taped a straight pin to the handle of the broom and quickly burst the 4 escapees. The three and several more nurses who helped decorate the bar set back and sipped on a beer while waiting on the others too arrive.

At 4 pm the bar opened, by 4:30 several nurses and fire fighters who had gotten off work at 4pm started to arrive. By 6:30 most people who were not working were there, the volume of conversation had already drowned out the jukebox. Station 51 had a table in a back corner. All of A shift were there with their dates or spouses. Everyone was paired off except Chet and Johnny. Chet was bugging Johnny to introduce him to Kathy. Johnny was not ready to give up on trying to get a date with her. In the middle of their banter the front door opened. In walked a brown long haired female dressed in black cowboy (girl) boots, black well fitted jeans, white blouse and black leather vest. Her straight dark hair was about waist length. Chet and Johnny took immediate notice. "Chet, I'll tell you what. I will introduce you to Kathy just as soon as I come back." He said as he held Chet down while he was up and gone from the table. The new female was now talking to Carol. Johnny went over innocently, "Excuse me. Carol what time should Dixie be here?"

Reading John Gage like a book Carol smiled, "The same time I have told you for the last week. About 7, Johnny. Dee Dee this is John Gage. Johnny this is Dixie's niece Dee Dee. He is one of your Aunts favorite paramedics and also helped us a great deal planning all this." Carol said.

Johnny would have to remember to thank her for the nice introduction. "Pleased to meet you. I didn't know Dixie had any relatives here."

Dee Dee replied with a Southern accent, "Well, she didn't until about 3 weeks ago. I really admire my Aunt and finally decided to follow her out here."

"I for one am glad you did." said Johnny. "Have you met many people yet?"

"No, I haven't. Of course I've been warned about LA by all the folks at home. Though the people I'm talked with like Carol are changing my opinion of the people out here for the better."

"Good. I'd be honored to buy you a drink and introduce you to the guys from the best fire station in LA." said Johnny.

"With an offer like that how could I refuse." she replied.

"All right, what's your pleasure?" Johnny asked. He was judging her for either a Cola or wine lady.

She smiled, "A beer. Draft is fine."

Johnny knew he'd finished his beer as he left the table so they went to the bar. He ordered 2 draft beers.

Chet was at the table observing the exchange. He nudged Marco. "Who is that?"

"I have no idea. Roy?" Marco asked.

Roy replied, "Guys, I have no idea either. The last I heard he wasn't going to ask anyone so Kathy wouldn't think she was easily replaced."

"Well, it sure looks like she was easy to replace tonight." stated Chet.

They headed to Station 51's table. Johnny made introductions, "Dee Dee this is Captain Hank Stanley and his wife, our Engineer Mike Stoker and his wife, Firefighter Marco Lopez and his date, my partner Firefighter / Paramedic Roy DeSoto and his wife Joanne, and this is Firefighter Chet Kelly. Guys this is Dee Dee McCall, Dixie's niece."

At this introduction everyone begins to talk at once. Comments that could be made out were, "Nice to meet you." "I didn't know Dixie had a niece."

Captain Stanley was about to break it up when heard from one of the nurses across the room, "They're coming." A pin could be heard in the small bar as Dixie and Dr. Brackett entered. Suddenly the small bar erupted in cheers, congratulations, and happy birthdays.

When things calmed down a bit Carol was beside Dixie who was truly surprised. "Ok. How did you manage this?" asked Dixie to her nurses.

Carol said loud enough for the room to hear, "Oh, we had some help."

She scanned the room and immediately she knew who had helped. Dixie exclaimed, "Johnny Gage! You just wait until the next time you need patched up. I plan to inflict a great deal of pain." Everyone in the room laughed as Johnny made his way to his favorite nurse with her niece close behind.

Johnny leaned in close giving Dixie a friendly kiss on the cheek. "Now, Dix, it wasn't JUST ME! There was Roy, Bel..." Johnny was interrupted.

"Never mind Gage who your conspirators were. Just remember I'm waiting on your next official visit to MY Emergency Room!" stated Dixie with a serious smile.

Dr. Brackett said, "Your Emergency Room?"

Dixie looked at him, "Well, yes, Kel."

He laughed, "You are right. It would not run with out you! Happy Birthday Dix!"

"Wait a minute, you knew! You were in on this?" asked Dixie.

Dr. Brackett started to answer when he was rescued by Dr. Early who interrupted, "Yes, he knew. So did I. You have a lot of people in this room who want to share your birthday. You've been had for once, just enjoy it!"

"Joe! Not you too!" exclaimed Dixie. "Who else knows?"

Johnny spoke up, "Every nurse, doctor, paramedic and most every fire fighters in LA!"

Dixie turned once again on Gage and noticed Dee Dee smiling from ear to ear beside him. "Dee Dee? How on Earth?"

"Happy Birthday Aunt Dixie!" said Dee Dee.

Dixie hugged her niece. She did manage to begin to enjoy her party.

After returning the their table Chet said, "Man, Gage I'd hate to be you the next time you go through the emergency room!"

"Yeah, me too." replied Johnny. "Maybe it won't be too soon and she'll have calmed down some!"

Dee Dee asked, "What makes them all think you'll be going through the emergency room?"

Johnny smiled as Joanne said, "Honey, I hope that none of these guys every have to be a patient again at Rampart. But, the reality is that, since I've known them they have all had a couple of stays there. Unfortunately, Johnny holds the record."

"Thanks, Joanne." replied Johnny. "Care to dance?"

Johnny and Dee Dee began to dance. They both seemed to be enjoying each others company. After several dances, Johnny said, "You know I'm really having a good time."

"So am I. I'm glad I did come. I thought I'd feel out of place but Carol said I'd feel at home and I do." she said.

Johnny smiled, "Well, I hope I had something to do with that." He was laying the old Gage charm on thick.

Dee Dee replied, "Yes you did."

"I'm glad. Would you mind if I called you sometime?" Johnny asked as they were returning to the table.

"I'd like that. I'll give you my number at the table." replied Dee Dee. At the table she took a pin, wrote her number on a napkin, and handed it to Johnny.

Johnny took the napkin and glanced at it casually, then took a second glance at the number with only three digits. He couldn't help look confused as he looked at the paper that read simply, "911".

Dee Dee just smiled at his puzzled look waiting for the unspoken question.

"911?" he asked.

She continued to smile. "Yes, ... that's my number." she paused. "See, I knew I had a good chance to get on out here before I came out. Thanks to Dixie's timing and a little experience I brought with me I was able to get the first job I applied for. I trained for two weeks and started full time last week with LA County as a dispatcher. They are about ready to bring on-line a new system of having one three digit number to call for all emergencies, then the dispatcher will dispatch the needed help."

Johnny replied, "I've heard of that system. Do you really think it will work? I mean how can people who have never been in the field know what help to send?"

Captain Stanley smiled at his paramedic about to stick his foot in his mouth. He knew the qualifications that LA was holding the dispatchers to.

"Well, actually before you can be considered for a 911 dispatcher you have to have at least a year experience in the field as police, fire, or EMT/ paramedic." stated Dee Dee.

Here he goes. thought Captain Stanley.

"Well, Ok. But how did you get the job?" Johnny asked.

"Yeah, needing the field experience." Chet chimed in.

Dee Dee smiled, where most females would have told him off. She loved it when she could give anyone her standard answer when her qualifications were questioned. "I come from a rural County in the South. From the farthest points it may take an ambulance an hour just to get on scene. I have been a member of the local Volunteer Fire Department for eight years and an EMT for six years. We usually beat the ambulances to the scene and deal with the situations until they get there."

Unlike his typical male chauvinist self, Johnny looked impressed. This was not characteristic of him. He usually found himself doubting a female in this type work. Then, there was the fact she was Dixie's niece. If she was anything like Dixie she knew her stuff. "Wow. You had to be in one of the first EMT programs in that part. Roy was instrumental in talking them into training some EMT's in some rural areas out here."

Roy looked a bit embarrassed, "I wasn't on that fishing trip alone, Junior."

"It was your idea, and you pushed to get it done. Excuse me a minute Dee Dee. I promised I'd introduce Chet here to someone. Come on Chet." said Johnny.

Chet and the guys looked a bit surprised. Chet eagerly got up from the table. Johnny introduced him to Kathy. Chet and Kathy had some polite conversation as Johnny returned to Dee Dee. Roy gave him a questioning look. Johnny shot him a look that said, 'Don't ask, now.'

Johnny had introduced Chet to Kathy. Leaving them to talk he stopped by the bar for a couple more beers. When he returned to the table he noticed Dee Dee was not there. He scanned the table. Roy caught the worried look, and said, "Joanne and Dee Dee are in the ladies room." He almost laughed when he saw the relief register on his partners face.

In the ladies room Joanne was checking her hair in the large mirror, she called over her shoulder, "Seems like you and Johnny are getting along pretty well?"

"He is really sweet." replied Dee Dee.

"Yes, he is. Roy and I, both think of him as family." stated Joanne.

Dee Dee came to the mirror, taking out her brush from her small purse, and began brushing her long brown flowing hair. "I am so glad I did come tonight. Carol was right. I do feel like I belong." she smiled a bit shyly.

Joanne returned her smile, "Why wouldn't you belong?"

"It's just that I've only been here a short while." she paused. "I also think it's great that I got to meet several of the guys I will be dispatching. Johnny has introduced me, I think, to half of the firemen in LA."

Joanne laughed, "That's Johnny."

The ladies returned to the table. The night progressed with Johnny and Dee Dee dancing and the guys kept everyone entertained with their stories. It was beginning to get late. Captain Stanley checked his watch. Knowingly his wife reached for her purse. "Gentlemen, it was a great party. Miss McCall it was nice meeting you. Let's make this last call for my shift. I expect you all on time, not hung over, and on duty at 0800. No excuses. No exceptions. Got me?" he said with a friendly voice but the underlying authority was not missed by anyone at the table.

A-Shift had to grin at their superior officer. He could give 'direct orders' without them seeming they were direct orders by those not under his command.

Johnny asked Dee Dee, "Joe here makes great food. Would you care for something? I think I'm going to get a burger before I head home."

"That sounds great. I'll take a Diet pop too." she said.

Almost everyone at the table who would be driving home finished their current drink then ordered something to eat while they talked and gave their food time to neutralize what they had drank. The party was still going strong for those who didn't have to work the next morning.

A couple hours later, Johnny and Dee Dee said their 'good nights to Dixie and the others. Johnny walked Dee Dee to her car. "I really had a good time tonight. I hate I have to leave this early." he said.

She smiled. "I heard Captain Stanley. You had better not be late in the morning."

"You're telling me!" Johnny smiled back at her. "I'll have latrine duty for a month. I'd hate to take it away from Chet."

Chet, Marco and Marco's date walked out of Ember's in time to see the exchange outside Gage's Land Rover. Yes, Gage would live hard tomorrow!

Johnny leaned forward and kissed Dee Dee. She had also given him her home phone number. "I'll call you before you go to wok if that's OK? I should get a chance sometime tomorrow."

"There's an advantage to going to work at 4pm. Remember I know your job better than most so I'll understand if you're on a call." she said smiling. "I'll let you go. I don't want you to disappoint Chet by taking his 'detail'."

0710 Like clock work Captain Stanley parked his car in the parking lot. Everyone on C-Shift could set their watch by the man. He liked to get there early to see what kind of a shift they had had. If he wasn't there by 0715 something was wrong. It is amazing that when you work with people long enough you get to know them in some ways better than you know your family. 0730 Mike Stoker pulled in, followed by Roy DeSoto. 0745 Marco Lopez arrived. It was not unusual for Gage and Kelly to be the last two in. The guys sometimes bet on who would be late.

It was Marco who started the sequence of events. "I'll lay money on Gage, his was 'making out in the parking lot' when Chet and I left last night."

C-Shift was more than ready to bet that Gage would be last to arrive. Roy was the only taker that Chet would be last. Of course he didn't say he had called Johnny when he got up to make sure he was up. He knew if Johnny was up that was at least half the battle.

Johnny pulled into the parking lot at 0750. He entered the station with his uniforms over his shoulder. He whistled all the way to the locker room.

Roy turned to the guys, "Pay up!" They did.

Chet pulled in and ran into the station at 0756.

A-Shift was already lining up for roll call when he entered the locker room. "Oh, man, I've got to really hurry! He said to him self."

The guys were putting their lunch plates in the sink as Johnny headed to the phone. He dialed Dee Dee's number. He was a bit surprised to get no answer. He'd try back later.

The klaxon sounded. The voice was not Sam but a female, "Station 51. Respond structure fire 1003 West Elm. Cross Street 9th. That's one, zero, zero, three West Elm. Cross Street 9th. Time out 1215."

Captain Stanley acknowledged, "Station 51."

LA Responded, "10-4 Station 51."

He handed Roy the address. Roy gave it to Johnny as the Squad pulled out and turned to the left, followed by the Engine.

Johnny gave Roy directions to the call. As the Squad parked Johnny and Roy put on their turnout gear. Captain Stanley ordered a sweep of the residence that had smoke showing from the back side. Johnny and Roy grabbed their air tanks got the air flowing and headed inside. Chet and Marco headed to the back of the house with an inch and a half hose.

Captain Stanley radioed, "LA, Engine 51. Respond gas and electric companies to this address."

LA responded, "10-4, Engine 51."

Due to the layout of the house the kitchen would be the last room searched which is where the fire was. Johnny called to Roy, "I"I've got a victim." He checked the female for a pulse. He found a very weak rapid pulse. He placed the female over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. Roy had the rest of the room searched. They exited through the front of the house where they had entered.

Johnny layed the female down on the fire blanket Captain Stanley had layed down when he saw Gage exit with a victim.

Roy grabbed the biophone, "Rampart this is Squad 51. How do you read?"

Dixie McCall answered, "Squad 51. Read you loud and clear. Go ahead.'

"Rampart we have a female approximately 30 years of age. Apparent burns to the hands. She has suffered smoke inhalation. Burns have been dressed. We have placed the patient on 6 liters O2. Vitals are BP 140 over 90, pulse is 130, respirations are 30 and shallow."

Dr. Brackett responded, "Start IV, D5W. Transport as soon as possible."

Roy replied, "Ambulance is just arriving will transport as soon as possible."

Johnny walked into his apartment at 4:45. It had been a long day. He still hadn't been able to call Dee Dee. He dropped the bag with his dirty uniforms at the door. He checked the time. She would be at work now. He turned on the shower. It took several minutes for the shower to get hot. He went to the refrigerator and grabbed a beer. He took a long drink before climbing into the shower. After bathing he stood under the hot water to relax for several minutes before getting out of the shower. After drying he put on a pair of swimming trunks and a T-shirt. he walked into the living room and opened the sliding door to the balcony to let in fresh air. Air condition was nice but Gage preferred the fresh air since it wasn't that hot this evening. He sat down on the balcony with the paper when the phone rang. He got up and picked up the phone in the living room, "Hello."

"Johnny?" the female voice said.

"Yes, it's me." He said not recognizing the voice.

Dee Dee said, "If you got a chance to call today I wasn't home. I got called in early. As a matter of fact I dispatched your last call."

Johnny smiled, "I heard you. Though at the time I didn't realize it was you."

"Yes, it was me. They were short handed and called me to come in at noon." Dee Dee explained.

Johnny said, "I thought I was the only one with Crazy hours! Most girls don't understand them."

"Oh, believe me I understand them. I live them. If they can reach me I'll go in. Call me dedicated or just plain crazy." she said.

"I've never been called dedicated. Though I have been called Crazy, ... often!" Johnny said.

"Hang on." Dee Dee said into the phone. Then said into the mic to dispatch, as she set off the tones, "Station 51, Station 110, Ladder 89 respond Structure fire, High rise 1151 Elk Street cross street, Riverside. Time out 1746."

Johnny heard the call and the responses. "That could be a bad one!"

"Yeah, sounds like it could be. Usually, this time of day it's someone cooking but the call said smoke is showing. If it's anything I'll have to call out more units." she said.

"Yeah, that building will be a pain to evacuate! There are so many people there and they don't keep records of the guests coming and going. What floor is the smoke on?" Gage asked.

Dee Dee replied, "Twenty."

"Sh--! Mid ways!" Johnny replied. "You are going to need more people to search that building."

"It only calls for the ones I have en route." she said.

"I know. I'm telling you the first Engine on scene is going to request a second and maybe a third alarm. There is no way they can handle that alone. Even if its isolated, they will want to clear the building because of smoke."

Johnny heard in the background Chief Richardson of Second shift for Station 51. "LA, Station 51, Request second and third alarm at this address. I have smoke showing at the twentieth floor. It does appear to be isolated. requesting additional units to clear the building."

Dee Dee responded, "10-4 Engine 51." She then hit the tones for the other stations. "Station 88, Station 8, Station 405 respond Structure fire, High rise 1151 Elk Street cross street, Riverside assist Station 51. Time out 1758."

Johnny replied, "Sounds like they have a bad one. I'll let you go if you need too."

Dee Dee replied, "Yeah it seems that way. I'll call you back if I can."

Johnny replied, "No problem. I'll be up until about midnight. if I don't hear from you I'll try you again about noon."

"Ok, I've got to go. Bye. " She stated.

John Gage looked off his balcony at the many high rises. His thoughts went to his crew mates on B-shift and to one particular dispatcher who not only managed to talk to him, dispatch six stations to a structure fire while being clam cool and precise. He knew she didn't know the building like he did but did her job very effectively. Gage found himself impressed by this call and the call she had sent them on earlier.

Several hours later, Gage was dozing in his recliner when the phone rang. "Hello."

"Hi, there." said Dee Dee. "Did I wake you?"
"Well, yes, but I'm glad you did or I would have probably been late in the morning. I called myself watching TV but fell asleep in the recliner without setting the clocks." he said.

"Clocks?" asked Dee Dee. She was one to pick up on details.

He laughed, "You don't know my luck and track record. I take no chances. I set four clocks. Two for when I should get up. Two for the last possible minute I can get up and if I'm lucky get there on time. Then I make sure the phone's ringer is turned all the way up. They know if I'm not there by five til eight to call me. Those calls usually are very one sided. I hear the ring, look at the clock, swear, and say, 'On my way overslept!', hang up, and spend the rest of the shift with latrine duty and trying to catch up those few minutes I started off behind. The whole shift goes down hill before I even leave the house." Gage knew most girls wouldn't understand what he'd just said though he felt like Dee Dee was listening to him even though she was at work.

She simply said, "Been there, done that!"

Johnny looked at the phone. He was blown away by her response.

"I work evening shift now which is MY shift! Dayshift is the shift everyone wants but I have to watch working it. I'm used to sleeping in, going to work, then staying up and relaxing before I go to bed in the wee hours of the morning." she said.

Gage smiled, "Remember we work eights, twelves, sixteens, 24's, 48's and those dreaded 72 hours shifts, then you throw in the overtime when someone is sick or hurt. Then there are calls that just don't end when the shift does. Sometimes I feel like I live at the station and visit here."

Changing the subject, Dee Dee said, "I like what I do and it's full time. But, I know that their are Volunteer Fire Departments locally. I'd like to talk to the one in my area when I get settled. Of course, I know I'd be obligated to my job but there's plenty of time I might be available to lend a hand. Do you know who I'd talk to?"

Johnny knew he could probably put her off but he knew how much the Volunteers needed good people. He had occasionally, to the departments displeasure, helped local Volunteer Departments when his help was needed. He smiled to himself, as he said, "Chief Potter, 204 I think is your area."

Though she didn't realize by giving her the name of the Chief to talk to John Gage had given her the highest compliment a male chauvinist like Johnny Gage could have given her. "Thanks. I'll look his number up and call him maybe tomorrow. Doesn't 204 respond to assist 51 and the other way around?"
Gage smiled that lopsided grin, "Humm, do they?"

A week later Dee Dee had indeed talked with Chief Potter of the 204 Volunteer Dept. They got acquainted and she provided him with her Fireman 1 and EMT certificates as well as CPR cards and HazMat certificates. She explained her hours as a dispatcher were never written in stone but would be there when she could. She was issued her turnout gear and a radio. At her first meeting which was held on Tuesday evening that was one of her usual off days she was introduced to the men of the 204 and shown around the station and the trucks. The volunteer group consisted of twelve active members with others showing occasionally. They had one 1974 Howe International pumper and a mini pumper that resembled 51's Squad but had a 350 gallon tank on it instead of the rescue equipment.

Wednesday morning Dee Dee headed down Interstate 405 on her way to have lunch at Rampart with Dixie hoping to see Johnny at the hospital too. It was a warn sunny pleasant day as she cruised the speed limit in light traffic. All of a sudden an eighteen wheeler started across multiple lanes of traffic ahead of Dee Dee. As hard as the smaller cars and trucks tried all were unable to escape the large box truck. Dee Dee slowed to avoid getting trapped in the traffic trying to find a place to go. The eighteen wheeler came to rest against the far guard rail wedging a Mercury Cougar between the guard rail and the trucks back set of wheels.

Dee Dee parked, hit her flashers, popped her trunk and grabbed her radio all in one fluid motion. "LA, this is 204 unit 20, there is a MVA in the South bound lane of the 405 near mile marker 231. Multiple vehicles are involved. Dispatch police, fire and ambulances. Unknown injuries at this time. I am on scene and will advise."

As Dee Dee put on her turnout gear she heard Sam dispatch Station 51 and 204.

Johnny was mixing the ingredients for his special hamburgers when the tones sounded. "Station 51, Station 204 respond multi vehicle MVA, South bound lane of the 405 near mile marker 231. Unknown injuries. A 204 Unit is on scene. Time out 10:55."

Captain Stanley responded, "Station 51, KMG-365."

As Squad 51 pulled on to the scene they took in the normal scene of confusion at time like this.

Dee Dee checked the scene for fuel spills and other hazards. Finding no immediate hazard she approached the pinned car. She could see her victim moving in the front driver's seat. Access to all four doors was impossible at this time without equipment. Fearing the driver may hurt himself more, she took her spanner wrench and removed the rest of the broken glass from the back window brushing as much away from her as possible as she crawled onto the trunk of the car and into the back seat to stabilize and reassure the victim until help could arrive. As she entered the back window she heard the sirens. She spoke in calming tones to her victim a young man of about twenty. "Just set still. Help will be here soon. Let me keep your neck stab able." She placed both hands on either side of the young mans head and neck. "I'm Dee Dee. I am an EMT and Firefighter."

The upset man said, "This thing is going to catch on fire!"

"Would I be setting here if that were true?" Dee Dee said lightly. "I have checked there is no fuel spills. My friends are pulling in right now, just stay calm. They have equipment to help get you out of here."

Johnny only vaguely remembered that LA had advised that there was a firefighter on scene until he saw (by the color of the gear) a Volunteer firefighter crawl across the car and into the backseat of the car pinned against the guard rail.

Captain Stanley ordered, "John, Roy check the vehicles. Chet, Marco grab an inch and a half an start hosing this down."

As Johnny started to head to the vehicles he pause a split second to inform Captain Stanley, "One of 204's units is already in the car. I'll see what he has." As Johnny approached the car he also checked his scene but saw something unexpected. Parked on the side of the Interstate with the trunk open was what looked like Dee Dee's car. As he approached the car and started to identify himself he saw there was no need. Dee Dee was in the car and maintained stabilization of the victims neck and head. "Dee Dee it's Johnny what do you have?"

Dee Dee was totally professional, "A male restrained driver, approximately twenty. Hit his head on the windshield and chest on the steering wheel. There's a small laceration to the forehead. Patient denies loss of consciousness. Pulse is a little fast. Breathing is normal with a rate of 24. Other than a headache patient has no further complaints."

Johnny took out his HT. "HT51 to Engine 51. Can someone bring me a backboard, C-collar, and set up a link to Rampart?"

Captain Stanley's response was, "Engine 51, 10-4, Squad 51."

Chet was available so Captain Stanley sent him to help Johnny.

Johnny had joined Dee Dee in the back seat. He was in the seat head first. "I'm going to try to recline this seat to get the back board in. Just support him like you are now. What's your name?" Johnny asked the patient.

"Carl." he said.

"Ok, Carl, Dee Dee there is going to support you. I plan to recline this seat. I want you to set like you are though. Understood? Just let us do the work here."

Carl replied, "Ok."

Johnny reached to the side of the seat and released the seat laying it all the way to the back seat. To himself, 'That worked it wasn't jammed.' The seats were usually jammed and this didn't work but fortunately it did this time. Johnny now had to try to get himself into a position to help Dee Dee get him on the back board without being in the way himself. First he applied the C-collar, then inched the backboard down at an angle where it rested up against the patients hips. With the board at an elevated angle all they needed to do was to slide Carl up the board and strap him down while maintaining spinal alignment. Johnny was in a bit of a awkward position as he said, "On three. One, two, three."

Dee Dee did every bit of her part in getting Carl on the board. They strapped him down then removed him from the wreckage.

Once on the ground near the squads equipment, Johnny asked Dee Dee, "Can you contact Rampart?"

"I'll give it a try. I never have done this out here, but I can relay." she said confidently.

Johnny instructed as he began to check Carl, "Just tell Rampart Base you are 204 calling for Squad 51."

Dee Dee keyed the radio, "Rampart Base, this is 204 Unit 20 for Squad 51, how do you read?"

Dixie McCall knew every firefighter in the County but didn't know the female voice contacting Rampart. (Well, she didn't think she did at the time. Dee Dee had not gotten to tell her about joining 204 yet.) "This is Rampart, read you loud and clear 204." Dixie said as she called for Dr. Brackett.

"Rampart we had a male victim of a MVA approximately 20 years of age." Dee Dee paused.

Johnny said, "BP 130 over 90, pulse 120, respirations 25 and labored."

"Rampart be advised Blood Pressure is 130 over 90, pulse 120, respirations are 25 and labored. Spinal precautions have been taken. Patient has a small laceration to the forehead. Patient denies loss of consciousness." said Dee Dee.

Dr. Brackett advised, "Start 6 liters O2 by nasal cannula, treat for shock and transport."

"10-4, start 6 liters O2 by nasal cannula, treat for shock and transport." repeated Dee Dee.

Johnny had already set up the O2 in anticipation of the order. Chet handed Johnny a couple fire blankets to keep the patient warm. Johnny looked up as the ambulance pulled in.

Dee Dee and Chet helped gather the equipment as Johnny helped load the patient and jumped in the ambulance. Dee Dee set the equipment in her hands in the ambulance.

Johnny looked at her a split second before taking another set of vitals. "Good job! I'll, ah..."

"See you at Rampart. That's where I was going!" she smiled back at him.

Chet stared at the both, confused.

At her car Dee Dee put her turn out gear back the way it went in anticipation of the next call be it five minutes or five hours away. Then got in her car. Straighten her self a bit and combed her hair before continuing on to Rampart.

Chet ended up driving the Squad to Rampart as Roy went in with his patient too. He and Dee Dee ran into each other before finding either Johnny or Roy. "Hey, it looked like you really know your stuff out there."

She smiled. Knowing the type. That was a comment! "Thanks, Chet."

"I'm going down the hall, to see if I see Roy." said Chet.

Dee Dee wasn't real familiar with the ER but walked up the hall towards the base station. Once there Johnny came out of Room 1 and saw her. "Dee Dee..." he paused. He looked around before proceeding. "You don't know how you scared me seeing you in that car! But after I got in there, I couldn't have asked for better help!"

"I know Rampart was probably wondering WHO was that?" she said.

"Well, we'll just have to ask. I didn't tell them." he said spotting Dixie coming down the hall. "Hey, Dix. What did you think of that 204 Unit that help me by calling you today?"
"Well, I'll tell you for a volunteer they sounded like they had been doing it all their life. I know every fireman in the County who was that? Is she new?" questioned Dixie.

"Well, lets just say she's new to 204." Said Johnny with his crooked grin.

Dee Dee just watched their exchange.

"Gage! Give!" she insisted holding the coffee pot for ransom.

"That's not fair!" he said.

"That's right! Now give! Who was I talking too?" she insisted.

Gage laughed at the head nurse. "You know every fireman in the County probably just by their voice but didn't recognize your own niece!"

"What ARE you talking about?" she asked.

Dee Dee let Johnny explain, "She joined the 204 the other day. She is the one who called in the wreck and was in the car before I could get my gear on!"

Dee Dee blushed. She knew guys like Johnny. Compliments came few and far between. Yet she didn't know that from John Gage or Chet Kelly they were a lot farther between for female co-workers. "I was going to buy you lunch and tell you then, but, ..."

They were interrupted by Johnny's HT asking, "Station 51 what is your status?"

Johnny saw Chet and Roy coming down the hall. He keyed the mic, "Squad 51 is available for response from Rampart."

Captain Stanley also radioed, "Engine 51 is available from Rampart."

Later that evening Johnny and Roy are heading back to the station. Johnny says, "Can you believe that Dee Dee? It was like she had been doing that all her life!"

"She told you the other night she was experienced." said Roy.

"Roooo----y!" He added several syllables to Roy's name. "How many guys comes through here starting off telling us they know what they are doing. Or knew what they were doing back home and end up sinking here?" Johnny asked.

"Yeah, you do have a point there." said Roy. He could have kicked himself as his next question jumped right out of his mouth, "So, you two getting serious?"

"Who, Us? Dee Dee and me?" Johnny asked of Roy as if he had three heads.

Again, Roy kicked himself. "Yes, you and Dee Dee."

"Roy we haven't even went out. I haven't even asked her, ... yet. The way her shift runs and our is crazy we haven't had anytime off together since the party."

"Oh." replied Roy.

Johnny sat up in his seat, "Why? Roy what do you know? She said something didn't she? I got it she told Dix and Dixie told you? Right! What was it?"

Roy groaned it was going to be a long shift! Station 51 had just started the beginning's of a 48 hours shift.

By the time Johnny got back to his special hamburgers they had been turned into a meatloaf for dinner which was now cooking nicely in the oven. Captain Stanley asked as the guys came in, "How are they?"

Gage spoke up, "My guy was Ok. Nothing more than the bump on his head."

Roy said, "Yeah, all that mess out there and they only ended up being bounced around a little. They were really lucky."

Captain Stanley replied, "Good, Good. Gage your hamburgers are now meatloaf. It should be ready anytime."

"Great, I'm starved." he said. They hadn't even managed to grab a dough nut a Rampart.

Captain Stanley said, "So, Dixie's niece? How'd she do today?"

Johnny hadn't realized the other conversations had stopped waiting to hear his response since he was working closest with her. "She did really well and was a big help to me."

Captain Stanley said, "Chief Potter was pleased also. By her being new to his department, it had him a bit concerned when he realized that person going into that car window was his 'rookie'. But, I got to give her credit, she didn't back down a bit. Kind of like another fireman / paramedic I know." He said looking at Gage.

"What?" asked Johnny.

"I saw you go into that car head first." replied the Captain.

"I was releasing the seat to get the backboard in." replied Gage.

Hank nodded, "Did you try any of the doors or just figure the back window had to be the best way in?"

Gage started to reply, then stopped. He had indeed followed Dee Dee without even considering the doors might open. He held up the knife he was cutting up the salad with and said, "I, ah, ..."

After a cup of coffee and a bagel Dee Dee left Dixie at Rampart and headed home to get ready for work. She had just enough time to grab a quick shower and make it to Los Angeles County Dispatch center that would soon be known as the Los Angeles County 911 Center. She clocked in and took her seat as the dispatcher that was going off shift tried to bring her up to speed on the calls that were going on, she was given a call to dispatch. Dee Dee knew from the call it was a bad fire. She looked at her maps quickly seeing it was Station 51's response area. Knowing that Johnny was working a 48 hour shift, her pulse quicken just a bit as she set off Station 51's tones.

Gage's response was cut off by the tones sounding, "Station 51, Station 110, Truck 97, Ladder 5 respond Structure fire, warehouse at the corner of Main Street and 31st Street. That's the corner of Main and 31st Streets. Time our 1615."

Roy turned off the oven and set the meatloaf on the top of the stove. He, also, checked the rest of the stove eyes.

Captain Stanley replied, "Station 51, KMG-365."

Within minutes she heard Captain Stanley advise. "Station 51, 10-8 on scene."

She replied, "10-4, Station 51, on scene 1621."

Captain Stanley radioed, "LA, this is Engine 51. Respond a second and third alarm to our location. Structure is fully involved with several surrounding structures."

"10-4, Engine 51. Responding second and third alarms to your location." said Dee Dee professionally. But thought, 'This sounds bad!'

Captain Stanley ordered, "Roy, Johnny check inside. Chet, Marco cover them with a two and a half line."

After quickly putting on SCBA's (Air tanks) over their turnout gear Johnny and Roy entered the building followed by Chet and Marco with a fire hose. They had almost completed a search of the first floor when Johnny heard something. He motioned for Roy to come with him. Chet and Marco continued to battle the smoke and fire. Johnny had indeed found a man who in his hurry to escape the fire had fallen down the steps and injured both legs. Johnny managed to pick him up as Roy let Chet know they would be going back out with the victim. Once outside they saw the man had likely just sprained his ankles and left him in the capable hands of Squad 110. They changed air bottles and returned to the warehouse to continue the search.

Outside the warehouse foreman arrived. Seeing the building burning he asked who was in charge and was sent to Captain Stanley. "Has the fire reached the South side of the building? I'm the foreman."

Captain Stanley replied, "What?"

The foreman replied, "There is some old things that were left in the warehouse before we took over. It's stored on the South side of the building and it's marked 'EXPLOSIVES'."

"What kind of explosives and how much?" asked Captain Stanley.

"I don't know what kind but there are three good sized pallets back there." said the foreman.

"Engine 51 to HT 51." said Captain Stanley.

The muffled voice of Roy replied, "HT 51 go ahead Engine 51."

"There are unknown type explosives on the South side of the building. Clear out!" said Captain Stanley.

Roy replied, "HT 51, 10-4" He motioned for Johnny, Chet and Marco to follow him while saying, "Cap. say clear out there are explosives on the South side." The four started back toward the door they had entered they were now near the center of the warehouse filled with pa lets of various things.
Chet was spraying a fog pattern of water as they retreated when he heard from the other side of a bunch of fallen boxes someone calling for help. He tapped Roy on the shoulder, "I hear someone over here."

The four rounded the pa lats and saw the man trapped by the fallen boxes. Roy keyed the mic. "HT 51, we have a victim near the center of the warehouse that is trapped by several fallen boxes. We should have him out in a minute."

Captain Stanley swore to himself and asked out loud, "Why do you guys always do this to me?" then answered on the radio. "10-4, HT 51 just hurry!"

Roy and Johnny worked to get the man free as Marco and Chet's alarms went off on their SCBA's signaling that they were low on air. Johnny said, "Go on we've almost got him. We're right behind you."

Marco and Chet retreated to the door.

Outside Captain Stanley was relieved to see his men come out of the building. Even in their turnout gear the experienced Captain knew that he saw Chet and Marco come out and head for the Engine. He waited a brief second. No Roy or Johnny. Stanley made his way to Marco. "Where are Gage and DeSoto?"

Taking a breath of fresh air Marco said, "They are right behind us. Sent us out when the alarms on the tanks went off."

Captain Stanley looked expectedly at the door.

Inside Johnny had freed the man. Roy picked him up to carry him out. Johnny said, "Go, I'm behind you."

Roy started out with the victim with Johnny right behind him. In the darkness of the building and the cloud of dark smoke somewhere between where they had freed the victim and the door Johnny managed to get his foot tangled in a large piece of rope or cord on the floor of the warehouse. Unknown to Roy he continued on toward the door with his victim. Johnny stopped once he felt something tangle around his feet. He was fighting to untangle it when he stumbled off balance by the weight of the steel air tank. As he stumbled he knocked a pile of boxes over on to himself which he managed to deflect and push out of his way. Finally getting clear of his mess Johnny headed toward the door. Roy had just reached the door as Captain Stanley was heard on his HT. He was too close to the door and had his hands full of the victim so he continued out the door. Just as Roy cleared the door a loud sound of what sounded like a huge bottle rocket taking off was heard. Johnny ducked and ran for the door as the explosion hit knocking him further toward the door followed by the debris from the pa lets which landed on top of Gage.

Within seconds of the explosion Captain Stanley was by Roy who had hit the ground with the victim from the impact of the explosion. Squad 110 came to the victim. Stanley asked, "Are you Ok? Where's Gage?"

A bit shaken Roy answered, "Yeah, I'm Ok. He was right behind me."

Not seeing his other paramedic Captain Stanley called for Chet and Marco who had already changed their air tanks and where on their way through the door.

Roy was now on his feet and took a step toward the door.

Stanley said, "No, way Pal. They will get him. They have on fresh tanks." Sizing up the situation Stanley said into the radio, "LA, This is Engine 51."

Dee Dee replied, hoping they were clearing up. "Engine 51, LA, Go ahead."

Stanley is unaware who he is talking to. "Respond another ambulance to this location. We have a possible Code I."

Dee Dee replied, "10-4, Engine 51 responding addition ambulance for possible Code I." She blocked the thought that the Code I could be Johnny or any of the firefighters she had just met and become friends with.

Chet and Marco found Gage under a pile of heavy boxes and wood from the pa lets. Though Chet and Gage to the outsider got along like a cat and a dog, neither would admit it they were the best of friends. ( Well maybe better stated as the best of enemies. Like most brothers who fight in families these two are truly brothers in the department.) Yet, it was Chet who dug the hardest and fastest to get Gage free. Though Marco wasn't far behind. Once uncovered Gage was conscious but shaken. Chet grabbed one side, Marco the other and they finally came out much to Captain Stanley and Roy's relief. They sat Johnny down at the Squad.

"I'm fine." said Johnny.

Both Captain Stanley and Roy knew Johnny too well. Usually when he played down an injury he was usually hurt at least enough to need clearance to return to duty. Stanley looked at Roy who said, "Johnny let me get this stuff off and check you out."

"I'm really fine just got the wind knocked out of me." said Johnny.

Roy looked at him. "I was out here and got the wind knocked out of me!"

Chet managed to put in his two cents, "And you weren't even under all those pallets!"

"Thanks Chet!" groaned Johnny as he took off his turnout coat. He did have a pain here and there. As he began to calm down from the adrenaline from the call Johnny felt more and more places where he was now beginning to hurt. Give a couple hours and especially if they didn't get a call and he knew he'd be barely able to move, yet, he said, "Cap. I swear I'm fine."

"Pal, just ride in and let one of the good Doctors say that and we won't have a problem. Right?" said Captain Stanley with enough authority Johnny knew to answer...

"Right, Cap." sighed Johnny.

Roy called Rampart, "Rampart this is Squad 51. How do you read?"

Before Rampart answered, Captain Stanley said, "Roy, since you got the breath knocked out of you have someone check you out too. That's an order."

Roy nodded and sighed.

Johnny stuck out his tongue as Captain Stanley turned his back and mouthed to Roy, 'Na, Na, Na, NAAAAAAaaaa!'

Roy rolled his eyes as Doctor Early answered, "Go ahead Squad 51." Roy said, "Rampart, we have a 28 year old male patient that was Code I in an explosion. Patient is alert, was briefly disoriented, denies lost of consciousness. Has minor lacerations to facial area, also slight bruising and tenderness to the chest, upper and lower quadrants. BP is 135/ 85, respirations 25, pulse is 140."

Early replied, "Administer 6 liters O2 by Nasal Cannula and transport."

Roy repeated his orders then said, "Ambulance is one scene. Will be transporting now. ETA 10 minutes." Then to Johnny, "Come on Junior." He said as he picked up the needed equipment.

Captain Stanley said, "Go on Roy. We'll get the rest and Chet can take the Squad in. We'll see you all at Rampart in a bit."

Dee Dee wasn't able to hear the transmissions at the scene or with Rampart. When Chet left the scene he radioed, "Squad 51, LA."

Dee Dee responded but thought 'that's not Roy or Johnny'. "LA, Squad 51."

Chet replied, "Squad 51, 10-8 enroute to Rampart. Engine 51 is still on scene."

"10-4, Squad 51." replied Dee Dee professionally.

Captain Stanley heard Chet's traffic and called LA Dispatch. "Engine 51, LA"

Dee Dee replied, "LA, Engine 51."

Captain Stanley informed, "Engine 51 will be out of service approximately one hour for clean up. Fire