Thursday, April 11, 2013

Back in the News: Firefighter Hostages & Emerson's Vertical Burn

I've previously blogged about firefighters and gun-toting nuts, but I did not expect to encounter a news story that incorporated them both. But today a crazy, heavily-armed Georgian took five firefighters hostage. Here's the latest from the New York Times:
A heavily armed man is dead after the police stormed his suburban Atlanta home to rescue four firefighters taken hostage when they responded to a 911 call for medical attention to the house on Wednesday, officials said at the scene in Suwanee, GA.
A police spokesman said that a SWAT team used explosives to enter the home and take the gunman by surprise after negotiators believed that the lives of the firefighters were in “imminent danger.” The authorities said there was an exchange of gunfire.
Five firefighters were initially held hostage. One was released shortly after he was taken captive to move the firetruck, leaving four in the house when the police entered it with grenades. The authorities said one police officer was wounded in the exchange of gunfire.
For a novel about arson and firefighters, try Vertical Burn by Earl Emerson:
Six months after firefighter John Finney fought his way out of a burning Seattle warehouse to get help, no one remembers him giving the directions that pinpointed his partner’s position inside. No one can remember anything about Finney except that he left his friend to die.
But Finney doesn’t believe the fire was an accident. And he doesn’t believe the campaign against him is one either. Trying to reconstruct the events from that tragic day, Finney uncovers suspicious actions by men at the scene.
With only one person on his side—a female firefighter who is herself an outcast in the department—Finney begins to piece together an astounding conspiracy that will turn friends into suspects and every man inside the department into a potentially deadly enemy. And the most horrific fire is yet to burn.

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