“Engine 3, Rescue 1, Medic 2: respond for the reported serious motor vehicle crash with entrapment.”
A chill ran through the room. We had just finished cleaning up from last night’s double-fatal crash. The equipment was all cleaned and back on the rigs, the coffee was fresh, and we had just sat down to begin the stress debriefing process.
This is a small town; one fatal crash per year is a lot. Two in eight hours, in the same location, was unthinkable. Cruel coincidence? Distraught friend of last night’s victims? Only one way to know.
We rolled out the door with the same three crews as before, unsure but expecting the worst.
There is an adage about the press: It’s like a bear in the park. If you feed it, it will stay where you want. If you don’t, it will be digging through your trash cans in no time.
The police arrived in the area first and found nothing. We all downgraded to a ‘non-emergency response,’ continuing to the scene without lights and sirens.
One of our local media outlets has a muckraking reputation. They are well known for their “If it bleeds, it leads” style, and they have no qualms about shoving their cameras in the faces of grieving widows/parents/children. I won’t identify them, but if you live in the USA the odds are very good that you have a similar local TV station.
This particular bear had gone straight for the dumpsters.
We arrived at the scene to find nothing but a camera crew awaiting us. We cruised slowly past, and returned to quarters without further incident.
The police investigated, but of course the press knew nothing. The 911 call had come from down the block; the old lady living there had never seen a thing. Someone had knocked on her door yelling for help and then run away.
We could never prove anything, but to this day I wouldn’t spit on a reporter from that particular TV station if he was on fire.