Flooded in pizza

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 23, 2003

In the wee hours of June 14, a water main burst in the chapel room at the Vaughan Regional Medical Center. Fortunately, no one was praying at the time.

During the incident, firefighters were called in to cap a suspected gas leak. None was found. For the dedicated firefighters, though, the night had just begun.

For the next 3-6 hours, members of Selma Fire Department stations No. 4 and 5, along with Selma Fire Department ladder trucks 3 and 7, helped hospital and outside personnel mop, sweep and move thousands of gallons of water out of the hospital’s first floor.

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It wasn’t their job, but they did it anyway.

Sunday night they were rewarded for their dedication &045;&045; with pizza. That’s right: A trio of Vaughan employees visited the firefighters at the 1500 Broad St. fire station location, where the city’s firefighters had assembled for the night. In their arms they carried eight pizzas and soft drinks for the 15 or so firehouse personnel gathered around a long dining table adjacent to a row of single beds.

It was the least the hospital could do, said Barbara Dunn, Vaughan’s director of marketing and public relations.

“Because of their help, and the help of many staff and community volunteers, the hospital was able to resume normal operations less than eight hours later,” Dunn said. “Without the help of the fire department, the hospital damage would have been much worse.”

Capt. Doug Horton, with Selma Fire Department Engine No. 4, loved the pizza (“This is great, I’m starving,” he said), but shrugged off the accolades.

“We got there and saw the water and just wanted to help clean up,” Horton said. “Part of our duties is to help everyone in any way we can. The water was the emergency at the time.”

Station No. 3 firefighter/EMT Richard Tidwell echoed his co-worker’s sentiments.

“When we got there we were up to our ankles in water,” Tidwell recalled. “It was time to get to work. It was a lot better than a fire or a gas leak, though.”

And they got some pizza out of the deal, too.