Sunday, December 9, 2018

Falling in Fallingbrook

by Fire Chief Scott Ritsorf of the Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, Fire Department, from the Deputy Donut Mysteries by Ginger Bolton

The 911 dispatcher told us that an elderly woman had fallen off her chair and had "knocked down some candles." They were also sending Emergency Medical Services.

Sirens blaring and strobes flashing, my crew and I jumped into our bright red trucks. I drove one, fast.

The house was small, one-story. No smoke or flames were visible, and I couldn't hear any smoke alarms. The front door was standing open, which is fine if you're waiting for an ambulance, but not a good idea when there's a fire.

A thirty-ish man was standing in the doorway. "Quick," he said. "My grandmother fell."

I asked, "Is there a fire?"

"No, but I don't think she can get up."

We followed him into a living room, tidy except for a knocked-over Christmas tree, a white-haired woman lying next to a kitchen chair that was also on its side, and three red fat pillar candles that must have tumbled away from the forth one, still on the mantel. All four candles were lit, their little electrical lights flickering like flames. I radioed that it was safe for the EMTs to enter and then asked the woman what had happened.

"I needed to reach the top of the tree and I didn't want to go all the way to the basement for a ladder, so I put one of my kitchen chairs on my armchair and climbed up onto the armchair, and then onto the kitchen chair, but it started tipping, so I grabbed the tree to catch my balance, and everything sort of toppled over." She waved at the EMTs running into the room. "Just help me sit up. I'm fine."

And, to everyone's amazement except hers, she was.

At this season of the year, we get calls for fires, but even more for falls. I know there's lots that you have do do to make certain that everything's ready, but please take time to do it all safely. Thank you, and happy holidays to everyone!





GIVEAWAY! In the comments below, tell us about any of your Christmas near-misses. A random draw will choose the winner of a copy of SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS.


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38 comments:

  1. Oh good grief, why would she have stacked chairs like that? I don't think I have had any Christmas near-misses, unless lumpy gravy counts!
    Thank you for giving away your book! I love the cover!
    debprice60@gmail.com

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  2. I've never had any thing too bad happen, other than the year the turkey would just not get done! Thanks for the chance! JL_Minter@hotmail.com

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  3. My only near miss, if it can be called that involved my cats. They decided to climb the tree. Good thing I was sitting there and was able tocatch the tree as it came down. We had to tie it up. debby236 at gmail dot com

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  4. It wasn't a near miss, it was a disaster. I got up one morning and the 2 cats had knocked the tree over. Ornaments everywhere as they were playing with them. Broken ornaments. What a mess. I think that was the last year we had a real tree. Thank you so much for this chance. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

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  5. My mom once tried to hang a wreath outside by herself. She fell and broke her leg.
    ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

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  6. The only near Christmas miss I can think of was the time I took a nasty tumble on Christmas Eve when I was the one responsible for making Christmas day dinner.

    I'm not the most agile person to say the least. On Christmas Eve I was trying to juggle too many things at once - trying to multi-multi task. Ended up with too many things in my hands, not being able to see what was in front of me and tripping. Worried more about the contents in my hands than my body, my hip too a nasty blow. Enough so that I really wondered if I had broke it. That evening getting around took me twice as long as possible hurting all the way, but I had too many things to do to give in to it.

    Hubby finally convinced me to say a prayer that all would work out, go to bed and get some rest. Well, there was certainly a guardian angel that got its wings that night because in the morning though sore I was moving around pretty well and able to do the tasks at hand. Christmas dinner was a hit and everyone got their bellies full. Just a little reminder that some times you have to step back and breathe. Prayer definitely helps. <3

    Thank you for the fabulous chance to win a copy of "SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS", a book I'd love the opportunity to read!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  7. We had a cat get into Santa's glass of milk. It was funny, but not to my then 3 year old niece. She was overly excited & tired & got very upset. She had trouble understanding that we would just pour Santa a new glass & everything would be ok.
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

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  8. Nothing serious, although the cake was a little dry and had to be combined with gelato which everyone loved. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. Cooking a feast on my own after a serious illness was taking a chance since it was tiring but I succeeded and will remember that year. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  10. One year my cat's tail caught fire as he waved it through the candle flame. Luckily I caught him quickly and got it put out before her even realized he was on fire but the smell was something awful. No more real candles at our house.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  11. I don’t think we’ve had any near-misses. Legallyblonde1971@yahoo.com

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  12. Thankfully no near misses, but I did spend part of one Christmas Eve in ER with pneumonia. Thanks for the opportunity.
    browninggloria(at)hotmail(dot) com

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  13. I would never put a chair on another chair to reach something. I am always afraid of falling.rainonlois@aol.com

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  14. Doing something like that is SO easy. You think you can pull it off and Whammo! There you are on the floor.

    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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  15. I have been lucky and not had any near misses. And I hope the streak continues!
    Thanks for the chance. Maceoindo(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  16. The first cat I had knocked over the Christmas tree when we weren't home. I told my husband that I wanted a cat and he surprised me with a kitten. I wasn't prepared for the cat to climb the tree. I've learned over the years and I've always had a cat or cats since.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. Our cat climbed the Christmas tree and it fell over! Donamaekutska7@gmail.com also I baked the paper wrapped insides in the turkey! Thank you for the chance.

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  18. We were driving through Grants Pass on the way to Eugene so we could be with our grandparents for Christmas. But. They'd had a bad snow storm. Ice under the snow. So the pass was closed shortly before we got to the area. The folks had checked the weather reports, learned the storm was coming. We'd left early in hopes of making it before the storm. But the storm moved faster as well. We were told it could be 2 or 3 days before we could use the pass. So Dad back tracked a couple of miles and took an alternate route. deepotter(at)peoplepc(dot)com

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  19. Thankfully, no near misses.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

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  20. Taylor R. WilliamsDecember 9, 2018 at 8:25 PM

    My near miss happened when I was little - coming home Christmas eve and had to go down icy steps - my dad thought I might fall so carried me, be he slipped and fell and sprained his ankle - so I missed falling - trwilliams 69 at msn dot com

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  21. Oh my...too many.! But the real issue is how any of us survive! I’ve had cats tip trees, dogs pee on it, ne that we virtually ties to a plant hook in the living room because it couldn’t seem to stop listing to one side....a daughters. Tree get knocked over twice in the same evening....the first Christmas after youngest child was killed by drunk drivers fifteen years ok...this daughter and son loved one another...one was the first and the other the last of 6... and still some sling rivalry...after the second time, the oldest clenched her teeth and said “ darn it! Russell yo stop knocking over my tree...or I will find you and settle this”. Whether or not it was rational or it just got put back into the stand correctly...we’ll never know..lol...but it stayed up after that. It’s been 15 years...and we have such lovely memories!

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  22. Oh my!! How scary. I haven't had many near-misses, just real hurts. I've broken the same wrist 3 or 4 times by falling or tripping. Thanks for the chance. ematov (at) comcast (dot) net

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  23. Don't think I've had any other than forgetting to cook something I was planning on. I've also forgotten to put the cranberry sauce out.

    marthalawson8 at gmail dot com

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  24. We once had to pull over for the night while driving in the snow. It took us a while to get out of the hotel parking lot the next morning. We almost thought we would have to wait until someone came and plowed. mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  25. I am very lucky! Nothing really bad has ever happened to me during the holidays! lindaherold999(at)gmail.com

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  26. No near misses I'm glad to say.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  27. My near miss was Thanksgiving, not Christmas. Two days before Thanksgiving, my oven blew out as I was making Chex Mix...and I was hosting Thanksgiving. I called around to every repair place in a 50 mile radius but no one had the part I needed. We had to move Thanksgiving to my mom's house on short notice. She was NOT happy, but it all worked out. kkcochran (at) Hotmail (dot) com

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  28. My only near miss would have to be the Christmas my daughter was due to be born. Her due date was 12/5 but by Christmas week she still hadn't arrived so the doctor said no traveling more than 15 minutes from the hospital. My husband and I figured it would just be us on Christmas and needless to say I wasn't in any shape or mood to cook for Christmas. Lo and behold we got a knock on our apartment door and in came my parents and mother-in-law with Christmas dinner for all of us. It was the most special Christmas I've ever had. Our daughter was born three days later, the 28th.

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  29. Oops I forgot my e-mail - robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  30. No near misses, thank goodness. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  31. Luckily, we haven't had any either!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  32. our near miss was a cat who was curious about the Hanukkah candles. She learned about fire quickly. cheers (at) MarjimManor (dot) com

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  33. A few years back my husband left a huge inflatable Santa that was in our front yard up on Christmas eve. He forgot to turn it off. About 4am we woke to loud banging on the front door and the doorbell ringing . We ran up to the front door and the neighbor lady was screaming Fire! Fire!. The motor on the inflatable was burning and had set the front of the roof on fire. We were able to get it out with the hose and a fire extingusher . Just some black on the front porch and and the very front of the roof, but it was a close call. Needless to say we never left them on again when we went to bed.

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  34. No safety near-misses, but sure have had a lot of issues due to weather! anajs95 at gmail dot com

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  35. I really haven't had any near misses on holiday's. I used to be a paramedic and responded to everyone elses' bad or near misses accidents.

    kaye.killgore(@)comcast(.)net

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  36. I don't think I've ever had a near miss at Christmastime. Lucky I guess. Thanks for a chance to win
    babemomara@att.net

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  37. This is going to sound like a Lucille Ball episode but... I was working in Georgia away from home for several years and renting an old high ceiling Apt. My Landlady was in her 80's. I had put up my Christmas Tree I remember... Apparently, she came in around five with a key to check the pilot light on the gas heater. I walked in the door as she crouched over it and her Aquanet, bouffant-hairdo lit from the match... not the gas heater. I ran in the kitchen and got a glass of water and threw it on her hair. She said "what was that for?" Her hair was so stiff she didn't realize she was on fire...
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  38. Thank you for all your comments and stories. The holiday season can be . . . interesting.

    The random number generator chose Petite to win a copy of SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS. I'll be in touch by e-mail.

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