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.Their firehouse was one of the larger stations in the city and had an engine, a truck and an ambulance.For this fire, all three were being dispatched.The trio of vehicles raced across San Francisco with sirens screaming.It was still rush hour in the city, so there were plenty of cars to dodge on their way to the garment district, which housed numerous industrial warehouses.As they neared their destination, he saw billowing black smoke mixing with the early morning fog, casting an eerie glow over the city.The color of that smoke suggested chemicals in the mix.Every muscle in his body tightened in preparation for what might be ahead.Fires were always unpredictable, and every firefighter learned—usually the hard way—that even the smallest spark could turn into a deadly flame.When the engine came to a rapid stop, he jumped to the ground, adrenaline rushing through his body, giving him speed, power and strength.He would need all three before the fire was out, because at least one half of the four-story building in front of him was already engulfed in flames.There were engines and trucks from three other houses already attending to the fire.On his way toward the building, he passed his brother Burke, who was commanding operations on the ground.At thirty-six, Burke was the youngest battalion chief in the department, but then Burke had been setting records ever since he was a rookie firefighter.He was smart, courageous and a natural born leader, and Colton had always respected him, even if he hadn't felt very close to him.Burke gave him a tense look and a nod, but they didn't speak.They both had jobs to do, and Colton would do his job to the best of his ability, because as much as he didn't want to have to prove anything to anyone, every time he battled a fire, he felt the weight of the Callaway legacy urging him to be the same kind of hero as the men who had come before him.He and Adam were sent inside the south wing of the building to check for several missing warehouse employees.As they entered the structure, they were immediately blinded by thick black smoke.Colton had taken the lead, but he could barely see a foot in front of him.The smoke was so hot he expected it to combust at any moment.He could feel the edges of his mask melting against his face.But he pushed on, Adam right behind him.They were halfway down the hall when they heard a man's muffled cry.Colton tried the door but it was locked.He backed up and kicked it in.He could see flames coming from a collapsed ceiling.It looked like the office furniture from the floor above had come crashing down.A man was on the ground, a huge desk crushing his abdomen, a deep gash on his forehead.Colton ran to him, dropping down to his knees beside the victim."Help me," the man gasped.He was in his early sixties, Colton thought.There was a pool of blood under his head with more blood dripping down his face, and he was having trouble breathing from the weight on his chest."I'm going to get you out of here," Colton said."Don’t leave me.""I'm not going anywhere without you." He stood up, grabbing the edge of the desk while Adam went to the other side.They lifted it off of the man and were about one second from setting it safely down when an explosion rocked the building.Colton felt like a rag doll as he was launched into the air and thrown across the room.Stunned, it took him a second to regroup.He looked through the smoky room to see Adam struggling to his feet in the hallway.Then he looked back toward the man they'd been trying to help and saw he'd been buried by falling debris.He jumped up and ran across the room.His headset crackled with the voice of Captain Warren: "Abandon the building."He heard the order but he couldn't follow it—not yet.He turned his head to Adam."Get out of here.""We go together," Adam said tersely."And we're taking him with us."As usual, he and Adam were on the same page.They raced back to the victim, digging feverishly through the rubble.Finally, Colton got his hands under the man's shoulders and pulled him free.The man was no longer conscious, and there was a new stream of blood from another large gash on his head.Colton pulled off his glove to check for a pulse.There wasn't one.He started to give CPR but the man wasn't responding."Callaway, stop," Adam said."We've got to get him out of here."Adam pulled the man into a sitting position and then Colton lifted him up and over his shoulder [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]