Re: Missing co-worker
Just saw that the local paper up there alluded to the possibility of Roy taking his own life. Since I know what happened I can tell you that the paper has posted the truth.
I called a friend of mine and he told me about Roy being missing. He also said that law enforcement ( and those of us who know what he did- and what type of person he is) presumed he was dead. This theory was due to the purchases Roy made at Home Depot and the party supply store.
Like I said in a previous post: I worked with Roy a few times. When I finally got back to work he was going to be my captain again.
Roy was an odd duck. He did not fit the stereotype of a firefighter. He was quiet and unassuming. He did stuff that left you scratching your head in confusion and sometimes amazement. I saw him on a fire, more than once, with is helmet on backward. He did not do this on purpose he just put it on wrong and was oblivious. It protected him just as well but it was...funny. He could have cared less. I heard that when he was a new captain he would not sleep on duty because he was afraid his crew would not wake up to the tones. When I got to him I could not wake him unless I shook him hard. Then I had to watch out that he did not swing at me.
As a rookie I initialed a structure fire with Roy. As Roy and I made entry the fire was like a wall in front of us. We hit the fire with water and advanced the hoseline. As we got about three or four feet inside the fire came roaring back at us. I hit it and tried to advance but it kept coming back at us. We both knew something was up as fire only acted like this in the presence of accelerants. As I kept hitting the fire Roy was pulling hose. At one point the fire backed off and I could hear roof tiles falling onto the ceiling above us. The roof was near collapse. I
turned to tell Roy about the tiles and he was gone...
Crap. I had no choice but to stay in and find him. Luckily the second engine came on scene and pulled a hoseline around the back of the house. We were able to attack the fire from two sides and finally knocked it down. A relief crew came in behind me and I told them that Roy was missing. The captain chuckled and said he was outside and fine. Roy had gone to search the house without telling me. Big no-no but that was Roy. He had done it before to other firefighters. I knew he did it on occasion but I did not expect it would happen to me on such fire as that one. Turned out the house was a cook house for amphetamines.
Roy was one of the smartest people I have ever met. He knew a ton of stuff and would rattle off facts about anything. Not just well known stuff but esoteric facts about explosives, haz-mat, medical, etc...He would also say stuff that made you think he was kind of off kilter.
I know that we are asked to listen to people we know, people who may be under stress, and listen to "tips" that a suicidal person may put in his/her statements. Roy did stuff like that all the time. He never alluded to suicide but comments he sometimes made were weird. He did this for years so we just wrote it off as Roy being Roy. I think we all knew he was capable of such an act but I think none of us felt he would do it.
Many guys did not like working for him. I did. He was easy to talk to and he, like I, had a great interest in arcane trivia. He taught me a lot about being a medic and being strong on-scene. I knew that if he did not know an answer he would find it and give it to me. He only had three more years to retirement.
Anyway....thanks again for your kind words. If you pray please pray for his family.