So Rich is at work all day today, and at about the 7:00pm I get a call from him. This is not unusual because he calls us often throughout the day, usually just to say hello. So I answered the phone with a cheery “Hey, there!” and begin to tell him that we are just getting home from the pool, the kids are acting crazy as usual, I am looking forward to getting them into bed….and I notice he’s quiet on the other end of the line.
“Hey…you still there?” I ask.
And he sighs and says, “We had a bad call…”
Oh, no. I’ve heard too many of his sentences starting out that way over the years to know that it’s never good. He goes on many calls that don’t end well, but he doesn’t tell them all to me. He only tells me about the ones that really shake him up. And I could tell that this was one of them.
“What was it? What happened?” I asked.
His voice is cracked, and he said, “A baby. They…. they just couldn’t get her out. They couldn’t…” His voice was breaking up, and I could tell he’s having a hard time with his emotions. My husband’s job causes him to see a lot of hurt and death, but nothing ever effects him as much as a child. When they can’t save a child, that cuts the fire fighters to the core.
This particular call was especially tormenting. He quickly described the scene to me: car crash on the freeway; gas tank on one car ruptured; car went up in flames within seconds; woman tried to get her baby out of the back seat; couldn’t open the door or get into the window; flames engulfed the car; others came to help; everyone is getting burns on their bodies trying to get this baby out; baby could be heard crying from her car seat; the mother and others are frantically trying to get her out; fire fighters cannot get to her in time. She died in the fire, still strapped into her car seat. She was 11 months old.
(The story was in the news the next day.)
After telling me what happened, Rich asked me to please hug Aria especially tight for him…then he quickly said, “I gotta go –” and hung up before I could say anything else. I was unable to comfort him from my end of the phone.
My thoughts are with that family tonight; that poor mother, who is right now being treated in the hospital for burns she sustained while trying to get her baby girl out of that car.
I am hugging Aria extra tonight, per Rich’s request. Since she is the closest in age to that little life that was lost, he wants me to hug her extra tight. He wishes he could be home tonight to do it himself, but he has to finish up his shift.
And that little girl who died today… I know that right now she is also being hugged tightly, by her Father in Heaven. Rest her little soul.