Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Been a long time...been a very, very, very long time

So I've been gone for a bit. Causes = New girlfriend and lots of typing at the job, which dampens my enthusiasm for typing when I get home from work. It's kept me away from the scanner for long stretches as well.

But now, I've got the old Sportcat 180 at work (part of our "disaster preparedness"!!!!). Sitting on the 15th floor of a Wilshire Boulevard hi-rise gives the old Sportcat good range and it's always plugged in, so no worries on the tired battery front--at least until we have the "Big One" and the power gets knocked out and my scanner dies after three hours or so.

A couple of fairly recent Scannerland highlights:

--Jet Blue flight 292 was scanned live from work. Weirdly, though we're 15 stories up with a clear wraparound view of 3/4 of the L.A. skyline, including LAX, the Sportcat wouldn't pick up any LAX VHF air traffic.

So, I made do with LAFD Tac and OCD 9 freqs where the ops were ongoing. LAFD gave out some bad info to their units regarding ETA of the crippled jet's landing, but otherwise it was pretty easy to get a good picture of what was going down. The live helo shots from local TV were pretty damn impressive too. LAFD had some crazy unit assignments at LAX for that one. Saw E37 (Westwood), E112 (San Pedro) on the tarmac and a few other units playing way out of their local sandboxes.

--Sitting at dinner at a hotel on Wilshire Boulevard the other night smack in the middle of Beverly Hills. Saw BHFD Engine 1 and Truck 4 hauling ass making right turns (west) from Rodeo Dr. onto Wilshire. Followed shortly by LACoFD Engine and Squad 7 (usually added as Automatic Aid on BHFD structure fire responses). Since they had made it into the center of BH from their station on San Vicente Boulevard in West Hollywood, it meant that there was a working incident since BHFD hadn't yet canceled them.

A few minutes later saw LAFD E108 (Coldwater Canyon/Mulholland Drive; a bigtime LAFD "retirement house") making the right turn onto Wilshire from Rodeo as well. That's a good 10 minute Code 3 response for old E108 so now I KNEW BHFD had a good fire going, and I was stuck at dinner. BH gets less than 10 decent fires a year, and probably about 3 GOOD rippers annually, and I was missing the Big one. Good dinner though.

BHFD clearly did a crew recall for off-duty personnel, because their Ford utility pickup truck soon cruised by Code 3 with the extremely expensive and amazingly awesome new USAR Rig right behind them cruising down Wilshire, lights ablaze.

Anyway, got home a few minutes later and got out of the car to hear the buzzing sound of news choppers hovering somewhere not too far away. Made it to my apartment in time for the 11 p.m. local news: Indeed an old 3-story center-hall apartment building in the charming Beverly Hills Spanish-style lit up about a mile from my house down Olympic Boulevard at McCarthy Drive. TV footage showed the 3rd floor and attic fully involved venting through much of the roof on initial arrival. No injuries, though a few dogs and cats didn't make it out.

Most amazing fact: LAFD sent a Major Emergency response (16 companies!!!), which in itself is a big fire with good scanning, not to mention the mutual aid component etc. It's my equivalent of good scanner porn: Think porn with video instead of still pics.

There's always next time. I just hope next time isnt my 1930's style Spanish apartment building.

And, as I always say, I'll try to be a bit more consistent on here for my two or three readers.

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