Yesterday was the longest 24 hour shift I have ever worked. All of us at 14's had to sit and listen to this all unfold. Helpless to what was happening to our brothers. Sitting there listening to the radio hearing the cries for help and then hearing that two of our guys had fallen. At first I became numb at what was happening, then all I could hope for is that I would not have personally known the fire fighters who were killed. Then finding out that I knew both of them was something that I could have never prepared myself for. I fought back the tears as much as I could. I wanted to cry but for some reason I could not let myself do it in front of the men I work with on a daily basis. I had to be strong and try not to let the other guys see my pain. I knew Lt.Lerma had kids and all I could think about was why?..Why Blake? Anyone who knew Blake laughed, he always made me laugh. He was truly a great guy. Although I never personally ran around with these men. I worked with them on many different occasions. I made several fires with Lt. Lerma when he was on 16's pumper. These two men will be sorely missed by the men they worked with and those they have worked with. I just want to say lets not forget about the children that will be affected by this. My heart goes out to the guys at 39's and to the guys at 55's.

[This message has been edited by Curtis (edited March 09, 2000).]