I wish I could tell you the hair-raising, bloodcurdling, heroic adventure that ended with my shoulder injury. However it was just a 45-year old guy thinking he could surf like he was 20.
I do recall several trips to the emergency room, and, although not for real exciting stuff, like gunshot wounds or being punched by Tommy Lee, there are a few stories to tell. Here’s the first one that come’s to mind:
I was working graveyard one night. At about 0300 (that’s 3 o’clock in the morning), I stepped out the back door of our PD and heard a faint “Help me” cry. It was coming from about two blocks away, so Officer Jim W. and I walked toward the sound. We ended up standing in front of an abandoned, two story business complex, and could still hear the “Help!”, although it was starting to get weaker. There was definitely an injured citizen in need of our heroic help, and by gum we were going to save him! I triangulated the sound as best I could, guessing that it was coming from the second story of the abandoned building. As we looked into the building, I could see one plate glass door which opened to a stairway, which went to the second floor. Officer Jim then yelled to me, “There’s a fire up there!”
I looked up at the secondfloor windows, and could see flames spreading throughout the complex. I thought there was someone trapped in the second story, which was on fire, and I was now in a position to save their life; that’s front page news stuff there! Unfortunately at the time, I was thinking far too much like a fireman (no offense intended) and too little like a cop. Several questions SHOULD have come to mind, such as: how would the second story of an abandoned business catch fire at 3 in the morning? Why would someone be in an abandoned building at 3 in the morning, and the biggest missed question of all, why in the heck did I walk two blocks to the screaming, instead of driving my car (where there would be a plentitude of tools for breeching the plate glass door)?
Oh well, I pulled out my Streamlight flashlight and hammered on the plate glass about 15 times, until my flashlight went through the glass. I ran up the stairway and saw the upper floor almost fully engulfed in flames. I yelled for the victim, but could not hear any more screams. Officer Jim and I retreated from the flames, coming back out to the street. Hearing the cries again, we realized that they were not coming from inside the building. We then checked the alley behind the building and found, next to a dumpster, a guy who was whimpering, “Help me,” and smelled of smoke.
We determined that this guy was a street wino, who was a bit of an arsonist. He had been squatting in this businessfor awhile and decided to light a warming fire, which got out of control and blocked his normal way out, so he had to jump out a second story window. The landing resulted in a compound fracture of both his legs. He pulled himself to a dumpster and started calling for help.
As the ambulance crew was working on Mr. Firebug, one of the EMT’s looked at me and said, “You want me to look at that hand?” I pulled my right hand up and saw that it was covered in blood, and had been dripping down my right pant’s leg. The ER doc found a laceration of the back of my right thumb, severing a tendon and the main thumb artery; all done when my hand went through the glass along with the flashlight. After the stitches, I got my thumb placed into a cast which positioned it out at 90 degrees to my hand, making me look a bit like Little Jack Horner.
1) I am not a fireman (no offense intended);
2) Just ‘cause someone’s crying for help does not necessarily mean you will not be arresting them;
3) Bring the patrol car with you; it may be necessary to: get equipment out of, drive someone to jail in, sit in to watch fireman fight fires, and drive yourself to the ER in.