Life at Fire Station 20


As told by Battalion Chief Marcus Burr of Orem, Utah

We call the coffee machine Lazarus. The youngest guy is responsible for keeping coffee in the machine and we normally run through eight or nine pots a night. We have grinds donated to us monthly by Fischer's and those are usually gone in a few days.

They have Bingo nights in the cafeteria area once a week, but they keep the stuff here in our pantry so we'll pull it all out on slow nights. At first we're joking around with the ball machine, but occasionally we'll all sit down and play a few games. One time four guys got Bingo at once, which is a mathematical anomaly.

We have a dog; her name is Tilt. We call her that because of the way she tilts her head when we talk. She's not a Dalmatian because Dalmatians aren't actually that smart. She's a rescue. One time we were all watching the History Channel, this show about the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, and we swore we saw Tilt. And just when we started to get excited she reached over with her paw and shut off the TV.

We're not required to exercise but we're supposed to exercise. There are things like that; if your hair gets too long you're going to have to pull it back. The only rule that really ever gets to the guys is not to look at the crying diamond. Scratch that–the hardest rule is that we can’t ever talk about Chester’s wife. She was a real dog. Some of us think she’s trapped inside the crying diamond.

The paintings in the main hallway change at night. At day they are very nice, very pretty scenic paintings. At night, though, inside of them little images appear of our families, our wives and kids burning alive and smiling. They show up in the paintings as if they had always been there. It is too disturbing. Pyramids of meat and crumpled horse bodies. You think you would learn not to look at the paintings but you still look. Anyway they’re back to normal by sunrise, and there's a brand new pot waiting in Lazarus. ♦