Caribou Gear

Near death

1oldcoyote

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Jun 12, 2022
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Circa Fall; 1983. I was a career city firefighter. I helped fight a business fire one fall day in my home town. Capt's truck responded to the store front on main st. Lt & I responded around back in an ally. We seen heavy black smoke wafting up around a below ground stair well wooden door. We entered masked up, wearing 50 lbs of firefighting gear including/air pack.

I was on the nozzle, LT right behind me. I felt the door with the back of my bare hand, it was warm. I booted open the door & in we went. Smoke was heavy black. We were stooped over as we advanced. About 30' into the basement. Suddenly my low pressure hose became detached from my air pack regulator. It came un-screwed from my air pack harness unknown to me vs tore away. In the heavy block smoke I thought my air hose tore apart. I needed to exit asap. So my Lt advanced up & took the nozzle.

Quickly I held our hose line as I exited towards the basement door. I needed air bad. I forgot how low the door header beam was (I'm 6' 3") I struck the top of my head so hard. It knocked me to my knees & knocked the wind out of me. After the impact, I gasped to take a breath. So I inhaled a gulp of thick black smoke. Which caused me to start coughing, choking hard. I laid on my R-side gasping & choking. I was so overcome with choking to death. As I tried to crawl up the steep stairwell to fresh air. I couldn't do it, choking overcame me. I thought this is where I die as consciousness was leaving me.

A wave of total terror flowed over me from crown to foot. Immediately followed by a wave of warm calming peace. As I finally let go of Life. My soul went to an all grey area. I could think & reason, but I was not in my earthly body. I knew I had died & wondered where I was. Why am I seeing all "grey?". Am I in "Heaven?" Where am I?

Moments later, I felt like I was back in my body again. As I felt my body being rolled over onto my stomach. I still could not see anything but "grey". Nor was I choking. It was like I was in my body, but I wasn't. A few seconds later, I felt weightlessness. As my shift Capt found me. Then grabbed the back collar of my bunker coat. Et the ass of my bunker pants. With all of my gear on. I weighed 235 lbs. My Capt was a short chubby guy. Not all that strong. But he picked me up & "slung" my lifeless body. Up the steep stairwell.

Both of my hands struck the dirt outside near the top cement step. When my hands hit the dirt. Instantly, I was back in my body, choking bad. I started crawling away from the building. A medic outside seen me crawling & choking. Barely exchanging any air as I gasped & coughed.

I thought about my experience many times over the following yrs. No way could my Capt of lifted me. Let alone threw my limp body up hill. Was by the grace of God. God helped him help me.

To this day, I do not fear death.
 

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