Saturday was the day that Randy Hill went to the market to get produce. He liked the market and knew a lot of the stall owners by name. If he wasn’t on duty, he could be found as early as 8 o clock wandering through the stalls of the market before the crowd came. He approached the stall where Charlie and his father were standing he said “Hello Charlie” and shook his hand. His father walked over and shook Randy’s hand too and they talked about the fish business and Charlie began his description of the different kinds of fish and where they were caught. Randy and Charlie talked a lot to each other. Charlie often said to his father “I want to be a deputy when I get older”. His father knew of course that the boy would want to do a lot of things when he got older. They joked about the wonderful smell of the fried food from the next stall. A Greek American family had set up propane tanks and a kitchen of sorts and the smells of baklava and suvlaki filled the air. As they spoke though, Randy picked up another scent. He looked over at the stall to see that no one was attending it and figured they had gone to the rest room or to get some supplies out of the car. This was a common practice in the market as everyone sort of watched everyone else’s stalls. Still, that strange odor he was picking up bothered him. What was that he thought? As his mind registered the scent he recognized that it was the propane leaking and worse than that he saw the open flame of the stove, instantly he grabbed the boy and picked him up. “Hey” Charlie yelled! Randy yelled too “Everyone, get out of here”! Charlie’s father dove out the back of the stall and landed behind a car. Randy turned and started to run with his back to the stall and Charlie tucked up under his arms and stomach. The ignition was like a bomb going off and picked Randy and Charlie up and threw them 15 feet forward.
Randy landed in a tuck and roll position covering his little friend like a ball. Charlie slowly stood up and ran to his father. He was ok but his protector wasn’t. Randy wasn’t moving. His entire back had been severely burned and most of his clothing on his back was gone. The entire corner of the building was gone now. Randy rolled over on his wounds, he could see the blue sky. Pieces of the building and its roof were hanging in shreds burning from the only parts left of the building, it’s frame. Small bonfires were burning in several spots around him but one by one they would go out. Help began to show up and ambulances were called.
Boris and his new partner, a young redhead named Amy something had just started there shift at 7 and were checking inventory at the station. Units 516, 512, 519, explosion and fire, Croton St. Market. Handle code 3. They were out of the station in seconds. Amy grabbed the mic and said 16 is 51. In less than 2 minutes 516 was going 10-97 and Amy was out of the unit at Randy’s side. Boris triaged the scene and advised that Randy was the only casualty. “Dispatch 516 has 1 casualty at this location, cancel additional units” came from Boris on his hand held radio. Dispatch responded with 512, 519 cancel your call at Market. The units acknowledged the call and headed back to there areas. Randy’s vitals were bad; he was in deep shock and a lot of pain. Amy was applying soaked sterile saline burn sheets to the areas but there were too many. Boris was on the biocom requesting MS for pain. Dr. McDermott was on the radio and gave pain med order. Brad McDermott dialed another phone extension to alert the burn unit to be standing by. They had dual IV’s running but the bleeding was extensive from a dozen small holes up and down his back.