Friday, October 2, 2020

INFERNO! Pizza Shop fire threatens city block

FIRE! Here's a quick overview of a detailed scene that Tyler and I made a few years ago. Click on through to the post and I'll give you a suggestion for a fun way to... well, start a "fire"!
First of all -- let me say there are a HUGE number of pictures on this post, so get ready to do some serious scrolling-- make sure you go all the way to bottom!
Okay -- Here's a fun "game" that I used to play with my son, Tyler, when he was younger: I would start disasters. 

Yes, EXACTLY. The basic idea was that since I knew he was playing in the town almost every day, I would start moving pieces into motion with a disaster or emergency planned... and then every day I would advance things farther until he caught what was happening and started to respond with police or fire department or... whatever was needed.

If I wanted to start a fire, for instance, I would put a tuft of smoke (made of cotton balls) somewhere in a building. If there were people in the building, and Tyler didn't see the smoke after a day or two, I would make the "fire" bigger and move the people to run out of the building. Every day that he didn't see it, the bigger the fire got! 

I would do similar things for car crashes (maybe a loose tire) or if it was a plane crash, he'd just walk in one day and there would be a HUGE just-crashed plane with giant billows of cotton balls! 
I think it was fun for both of us. 
I think these pictures uploaded somewhat randomly, but here we are approaching the fire scene from the beach area and-- well, it looks like police are stopping traffic and a TV news crew is covering the fire.

Keep scrolling -- pictures of the BIG FIRE and all the rescues are near the bottom of this post.
Here's the TV news reporter interviewing someone about the fire. Note how the cameraman is plugged in to the TV truck's panel so the signal can be transmitted.

Oh-- I should mention that part of the reason I started doing this "surprise disaster" stuff with Tyler is that for many years I worked 2:30pm-11:30pm and during the school week I barely/rarely saw him...  

So this was a fun thing I could set up in the morning while he was at school, then he'd see it (or not!) and when I went back to his room the following morning I could either make the disaster bigger or change what was happening, depending on what he had done or not. Maybe I'd collapse a part of a building or create a HUGE traffic jam for him to untangle... things like that.

I'd like to think it was these kinds of things that helped keep us connected during a long week mostly apart. 
Ah, now we can see who the TV news reporter is talking to-- it's a worker from the Pizza Shop where the fire appears to have started.
From behind the TechMan's building we can see that the police van that is blocking the street is actually the "paddy wagon" used to take suspects to jail. You can see the camera's cable better here too.
Over the top of the "jail van" (as Tyler used to call it) you can see another police officer is turning around traffic on the street behind the TV station, even as traffic is backing up along the beachfront.
Well, hey-- another TV news crew picture!  
While we're here, I'll just tell you another way I used to keep Tyler entertained was to use the airplanes and boats. We set up a system where I had a LOT of stashed people/goodies elsewhere in the house and Tyler would load up an airplane or ship and set it in a particular place (I forget where?) and then while he was at school, I would empty the people/cargo and exchange them with other people and cargo and send them back to town. 

The people were sometimes just tourists or whatever, but other times they would be VIPs or the start of some "story" I wanted to play along with him. In those cases, they came with instructions that I would write out who they were and why they were in town. I would do the same thing with cargo, which could be special/new equipment or something and I'd explain why it was sent or where it was to be delivered.

Then the next morning, again while Tyler was at school, I could check in and see if people were in Taxis going places or if cargo was being trucked around town. 
Looks like the police have used a motorcycle and a patrol car to block this street. There's also emergency lighting set up to help firefighters see in the darkened building, since the electricity is turned off to the lights. 

Note the gantry over the road-- it carries cables back and forth from the TV station to the satellite dish mounted on the station's news truck garage.
A close up of traffic turning around. I want to draw your attention to the traffic cones. Those are NOT Lego pieces, but they fit on top of a stud PERFECTLY. We've always used them in town because their size and shape is great for minifigs, but they're actually from a Matchbox Polizei Porsche set I got from my Dad in about 1983 as a welcome give when we moved to Germany. You can see the set by clicking the link above -- but note that my cones don't have red tips... I still have the Porsche, of course!
Tyler made this light trailer at some point -- I'm not sure what inspired him. I think originally the lights were part of a "movie set" he'd made and then he adapted them to be emergency lights. Typically they are parked in the courtyard area of the police station when not in use.
Action shot of the fire helicopter coming to the scene--  I don't think helicopters with these kinds of nozzles exist in real life?  It's a cool idea though. 
This is the view through the TechMan's lobby in the building across the street. He's probably outside watching all the excitement. Fire Truck 1 is the command vehicle normally driven by the chief.
I have to be honest, I'm not entirely sure now who the guy with the badge is...  Our police chief has a white hat and white epaulets on his shoulders and the mayor doesn't have a badge...  so I have no idea who that guy with the beard is!
What I CAN tell you is that the silver helmeted fire fighters are commanders. There are three squads, if I recall correctly. Normal fire fighters wear black helmets. The three squad commanders wear silver helmets (and have slightly different uniforms). The fire chief has a white helmet. The different colored helmets and uniforms make it really easy on a chaotic scene to identify who the squad commanders are for each squad and to find the chief.
Action shots here as the fire chopper... uh... does whatever a fire chopper does. Again, I'm not aware of any "water gun" style helicopters anywhere in the world. Usually fire choppers drop from a bucket type apparatus. 


And here we can imagine all the things that could go wrong if a fire chopper shooting high-pressure water/foam were a real thing. They could blow firefighters right off a rooftop or a ladder, they could knock down weakened wall/roof structures onto rescuers below or they could just plain MISS and really surprise someone walking down the street two blocks away!
The original nozzles on this set were larger, but also stuck out farther into the fire fighter's space. There were also no real discernable controls, so Tyler modified this to be more compact and to have pressure gauges and controls. I think I may eventually modify this truck further to include hoses and a pressure tank on the middle of the trailer, stowed under the arm.
Tyler also added some blue emergency lights to the sides-- I think I'll add some high-power white flood lights underneath the yellow basket at some point.  I might also make the basket itself a little more robust. In the original set, the firefighter had a seat, but standing up is more realistic.
The ladder truck here is the smaller of the two main ladder trucks. It is slightly shorter and has no pumper controls. In retrospect, it's a little strange that the driver turned so sharply to block the road, though it does give the truck more stability. This ladder truck has two sections of ladder on it.
Now in the middle intersection of the fire scene, we can see police officers have blocked this street with a motorbike and cones. One of the mechanics has already escaped out of the ground floor shop an is being taken care of.
The red motorcycle is actually a fast-response fire department unit as well. It can get to car accidents and things like that really quickly. 

Police motorcycles were originally grey (from Lego sets) but we changed them all to white to better match the rest of the department's vehicles. The grey motorcycles are still in town, of course, but they're used by civilians.
From this angle you can see another mechanic has escaped the fire through the front door and is running to safety.
Truck 6 is the main pumper/ladder truck for the department. You can see the control panel on the side is opened up. The medical car on the left brings doctors right to a scene.
A firefighter is at the top of Truck 6 helping down some mechanics who were trapped on the upper floors of the building and had to escape to the roof. Note that Truck 6 has three sections of ladder, giving it the most "reach" of any truck in the department.

Another firefighter can be seen with oxygen tanks on as he tries to clear and check the building from the ground up.
There are three mechanics on the top of the building and the last one is REALLY close to the flames.  
This firefighter is trying to help make a path across the roof for the mechanics to get to the other ladder to be rescued, but the smoke is very thick.
They seem very happy to be rescued!
Burning debris from the roof has fallen into the street in front of the buildings, including some glass. This is why firefighters wear helmets!
You could say the last guy is a "panicked mechanic" as he's barely ahead of the fire!
It's hard to get the camera down to minifig-level, but I have to saw the pictures always look so much better the closer you can get to what a minifig might see.
Doctor is making sure this mechanic is okay... but not entirely sure what he's checking here! Can minifigs blush??
Looking from the far side of the scene you can see the fire has stretched all the way across the top floor and is starting to smoke out that side too.
As I recently discussed on our YouTube channel, Lego very cleverly designed their classic 4-wide vehicles around two differently-sized tires. Smaller tires, like on the ambulance, give the vehicles more of a van-like appearance and scale. Larger tires, like on Truck 6, give the vehicles a beefier stance and higher ride height to project a sense of mass and bulk. If you look closely, that's really the only major difference (plus the black grill) between the front of these two vehicles, but it's the fire truck that LOOKS so much bigger and impressive... even though the ambulance is longer!
Of course, Lego not being reality, sometimes when you set up a HUGE DRAMATIC DISASTER there are details that get missed. If you look in the foreground here, for example, you see a gentlemen just casually getting money out of the ATM machine as mechanics run from their lives off the burning inferno behind him. He was probably there before this started, though I suppose in some larger cities this might actually happen with a REAL inferno too.
From the far side of Legotown you can see the smoke rising and get a look into how the fire spread. Turns out it wasn't from the pizza oven-- but started somewhere in the attic apartment of the Pizza Shop building, or possibly in the chimney/roof of the Pizza Shop (from the oven?). 
Maybe the chimney was blocked?
You made it! This is last picture and it is looking around the final corner to the last police barricade. There's another TV news crew here, with the car parked by the police station entrance and the cameraperson looks like they're talking to a police officer. You can also see the flatbed tow truck is still in the garage of the repair shop.

Thanks for visiting us here at www.bricksburgh.com and check out the videos on our YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/MSIMMONS.

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