Fire­fighter, wife have nar­row es­cape

Home of Bay Roberts vol­un­teer goes up in flames

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Fire is rav­aging the in­side of Rick Ed­munds’ Shearstown home. The smell of burn­ing wood fills the early morn­ing air.

Flames burst from the side of the struc­ture, like a caged an­i­mal es­cap­ing from its steel prison.

The in­tense heat im­me­di­ately turns the white sid­ing of the split-level home into a liq­uid paste, drip­ping onto the ground be­low and hang­ing like rib­bons.

Within mo­ments, the snow on the ground near the home melts from the sear­ing heat.

It’s a fa­mil­iar scene for Ed­munds, who is an of­fi­cer with the Bay Roberts Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment. It is the sort of thing he has seen be­fore dur­ing his seven years with the bri­gade.

Though in this case, it’s per­sonal be­cause it’s his home go­ing up in flames.

Ed­munds is no or­di­nary fire vic­tim. He knows what the re­spond­ing fire­fight­ers will do, though it doesn’t make it any eas­ier.

“It didn’t take long for the boys to get here,” he told The Com­pass as he stood in his smoke-dam­aged liv­ing room a few days af­ter the Dec. 19 fire.

“When you make the call and it’s your prop­erty, it seems like for­ever for them to get there.”

In­stincts kicked in

Ed­munds knew what to ex­pect when he made the call. He knew his fel­low vol­un­teers would rush to the fire hall, don their bunker suits and drive to the scene in a pumper truck and res­cue unit.

When they ar­rive, Ed­munds in­stinc­tively shifts from vic­tim to emer­gency re­spon­der. He un­furls hoses and helps con­nect them to the hy­drant in front of his prop­erty.

“You’re just so used to it and you try and help out the best you can,” says Ed­munds.

Even­tu­ally, Ed­munds stands back and watches as his fel­low fire­fight­ers fight the blaze burn­ing the dwelling he had lived in for the past decade with this wife Stephanie.

Bay Roberts Mayor Phillip Wood ap­pears at Ed­munds’ side af­ter the blaze has been ex­tin­guished, of­fer­ing words of so­lace and en­cour­age­ment.

Rick Ed­munds is a lieu­tenant with the Bay Roberts Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment. On Dec. 19, his Shearstown home went up in flames.

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