"Attention, Engines 10, 11, 3; Ladders 5 and 1; Special Hazards; and Division 1: a still box."
I kept my ears tuned to the radio while I chopped some onions, waiting to hear from the 10s. It didn't take long.
"Engine 10 to fire alarm, heavy smoke condition."
I chopped a little faster. At the time, Engine 2 and Ladder 7 were the staging companies in Providence. I was on Engine 2 and knew that if there was a building fire we would be called. We caught a lot of fire in the early 1990s that way; as soon as we heard a still box come over the loudspeaker, the crews would head for the trucks. If it sounded good, we would be ready to roll when the first-in company called "CODE RED!"
"Roger, Engine 10; we have a report of smoke coming from the factory on Oxford Street."
"Roger that; Engine 10 on scene, Code Red, bang a second… Continue reading here
* A few firefighters old enough to remember this one reminded me that it was actually a 5 alarm fire on Gordon Street, not Oxford, but Oxford intersected nearby.