When you marry into the Fire Family you are never thinking that you will be the one to experience the reality of the job. Unfortunately, this past month I got a taste of what that reality could be. On September 3rd a typical Saturday, I received a call that shook me to my core. Being the football fan I was, I had jumped at the chance to tag along with my friend to the USC football game for the day while my firefighter worked an overtime shift. About 10 minutes after arriving in Los Angeles (roughly a hour from home without any traffic) I saw an unfamiliar number calling me. I hesitated for a moment and thought about not answering...Who would be calling me from a 559 area code?! I answered and on the other line I heard...
"Jessica? This is Dustin Griffin... I work with your husband!" At this moment I thought... I wonder why he is calling me? He proceeded to tell me that they had an accident during a training and they were transporting my husband to the local emergency room. They said they had a wall collapse and and that they wanted me to stay calm and not drive fast... My brain began to race. I don't have a car of my own.. I am over an hour away from him, what was I going to do? My first instinct was to call my little sister. She was probably shocked to hear the calmness in my voice ( I have never been known as a clam individual) as I began to give her the details of the accident. Not knowing much myself... I knew he had a broken finger and a possible back injury. What did this mean for him? Only being 28 and so early into his career a back injury could be career ending and possibly life changing. All I knew is I needed to get to him as fast as I could. They had put him on speaker phone and he just kept saying "DRIVE SAFE." I knew he wasn't remembering it was a Saturday and that I was in LA for the football game. My little sister without hesitation offered to drive out to pick me up... She hoped into her car and drove right over to our life-long friends house (The Hartman's). They were in route to pick me up. This meant it would be over 2 hours before I was to my husband. My head was spinning... How could I get to him faster? If I could only fly... As I made call after call my good friend began to see the fear in my eyes and offered to drive my right to the hospital.
The whole ride home I just kept replaying the call in my head. Where were they training? What kind of wall collapsed on him? At a moment like this it is almost like the world stands still. I was lucky enough to know my husband was conscious and was able to communicate with me. This gave me a sense of ease while I was trying to get to him. God truly gave me strength to stay calm in a time that I didn't know what to do. It is amazing the strength and protection he can give us in a time like this. As I began to speak to more and more people I became aware that my husband wasn't the only injury. Captain Griffin was injured as well. He had been airlifted to Loma Linda University. I was hearing he possibly had 2 broken legs. Being relatively new to the department, I am not too familiar with all of the wives. As we drove I began to get text message after text message. It was fellow firefighter wives checking up on me to see how we were doing. I was overcome with feelings of support. We haven't been in the department long and they were all lending out their love and support. I was beginning to see exactly what they meant by a "Fire Family." I was so eager to get to my husband's side. To find out what really happened?
I entered the hospital to find my sister and good friend waiting in the emergency waiting room. It was so nice to have familiar faces there for us. I quickly ran back into the room. There he was. My everything laying in the emergency room hospital bed. As soon as I arrived the doctor came into the room with was probably the best news. There were no broken bones in his back and the only injury he really saw was the broken finger and what he was saying was a bruised back. This was amazing news. My firefighter would still be able to live out his dream of working as a firefighter. Our concerns then began to focus on Captain Griffin. Being close to retirement and having bi-lateral fractures of both legs meant a very long road to recovery. Our thoughts and prayers immediately went out to his family. What a close call our fire department had during such a routine training. It was something that none of planned on happening. It was a close call and we are all so thankful that the injuries weren't worse.
It has now been a few weeks since the accident has passed. My firefighter is still on light duty and counting down the days until he can go back to work on the engine. He misses his crew and his normal duties. He was blessed to be able to get this time to heal, but will be happy to be back to work. We are so thankful for everyone that was so supportive during the days after the accident. We truly love our fire family and would not change anything for the world.