Video: Hurricane Sandy Rips Front Off Apartment Building

Look how quickly those firemen respond and run into the building after its facing wall disintegrates. No hesitation. That’s their training. It becomes instinct, automatic.

I was once on a summer camp bivouac with the Army National Guard at a base near San Louis Obispo. Two of my friends were getting ready to go to sleep in the bed of a two-and-a-half-ton truck (a “deuce and a half”). They were in their sleeping bags, with their feet down toward the cab, and their heads near the tailgate, where they had a Coleman lantern burning. When one of them reached up to turn off the Coleman, it exploded, spewing flaming gas all over the tailgate, trapping my friends behind a wall of flame.

Two other guys in the platoon were fireman in civilian life (one in Oakland, one in Berkeley). Most of us recoiled form the fire, frozen. But these two fireman immediately ran toward the fire, beating it out with their jackets.

I was amazed at the quick response and speed of those two firemen, as if they … really hated fire.

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