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The Last Men Out
  Excerpt from "The Last Men Out"

Small pockets of fire tease the engine company men who spray the ceilings and walls trying to shake down the flames. Terry hears an engine guy ask Louis to hug the wall so they can bend the stiff hose around the corner.

Suddenly, Terry hears a snap, like a wooden plank being split with an ax, then a much louder cracking noise that makes him shudder. He dives to the ground as the roof and walls crumble around him. Firemen cry out and Maydays go out over the radio. But nobody can hear the calls. They're all buried.

Terry's first thought is to get air. As he hears the men around him burrowing to the surface, he claws his way toward the sunlight. He feels cold snow on his glove as he heaves his body up out of the rubble.

Most of the firemen around Terry have also been lucky. But when Terry starts to wade through the debris, a piece of shiny black rubber catches his eye. Two boots sticking out of the rubble. He gets on the radio.

"Rescue Chauffeur to Battalion. Mayday. We have a man trapped about ten feet from the rear door."

Excerpted from The Last Men Out: Life on the Edge at Rescue 2 Firehouse by Tom Downey. Copyright © 2004. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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