Paranormal experiences are reported by people from all age groups and all walks of life. There seems to be no limit to those who are susceptible to having such experiences, and this is far from a phenomenon touched on solely by people fumbling around in the dark looking for ghosts. There is a surprising number of such accounts by what many would consider to be wholly reliable witnesses, including policemen, and for the purposes of this article, firemen. These are the people that when duty calls go charging off to do battle with blazes and other disasters, and it seems that in some instances they come across something that their training and experience have not prepared them for. Indeed, many reports of the paranormal from firefighters are made by startled men at the scene of blazes who see or experience something they cannot explain, and some of these can be really pretty eerie.
One such fairly creepy account comes from a Reddit user “spookybosnian,” who says he was a New York firefighter at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and that he had been on the scene in the aftermath of the total devastation. He says that he was among some of the first-responders, and as he made his way through the nightmarish scene he claims he would experience a bizarre series of events that he cannot explain to this day. The witness says:
The day that the eyes of the world were looking at New York and 2 burning buildings. That day was a hectic one in all of the precincts. We got called in early and drove fast to the WTC. We pulled up and parked in front of the entrance. We got the hoses ready and rushed through the front entrance. We were clearing floor by floor. We were still close to the ground levels when I got separated from the rest of the unit. I was checking out offices when I saw some movement in the corner of my eyes. I snapped around and behind me stood a man, but the man’s skin was burned black. He had a fireman uniform on him and pearly blue eyes. I stood in shock and surprise and muttered: ‘’Si – Sir we need to get out.’’ He just stood there as I said that, he opened his mouth and said: “Your house is on fire, you should leave and save your wife and kids."
I was perplexed by this statement, just as I was about to approach him to usher him outside this horrible vision played in my head. My house was on fire, walls were melting down. I could see my wife on the second floor holding my infant son in her arms. They both got engulfed by flames. They were gone, in font of my eyes. I suddenly snapped out of this. I shook my head to check if I’m still here and saw that the man was gone. Without any thought I started running down the stairs, then to the front door. I never stopped running. I ran past my sergeant, I ran an entire block when the building collapsed. I didn’t even stop for that. I ran to my house. To my relief it was not on fire, I looked for my wife immediately. When I found them, I just embraced them and cried. I never told them about the vision, all I knew was that the man saved my life. I was the only survivor from my unit.
Reddit user “Yipot” also has a rather strange tale to tell, which also seems to suggest some sort of guardian spirit appearing in the face of danger to save him. He claims that at the time of his experience he had been a junior firefighter for only about 3 month when he got his first real call. Getting into the fire engine to go barreling out towards imminent danger he says that he was riding with the chaplain, another junior, and three interior firefighters who he did not recognize. He says he just figured he hadn’t met them yet because he was new there, thought nothing of it, and pulled down the extra seat. It was when they arrived at the blaze when things would take a turn into the realm of the bizarre. He says of his experience:
We arrived on scene, and the first thing I noticed after the fire, was the crowd, so me and the other junior provided crowd control while the engine showed up with exterior firefighters. I honestly don't remember much from this, the prior excitement had boiled into fear and anxiety. The three interior firefighters went in and, truth be told, the fire wasn't all that bad in hindsight, however I would see much worse fires. Anyway, I'm not sure how much time passed but before I knew it, the fire was still burning the house and two if the interior firefighters were back outside, as their air cylinder had run out.
Then I remembered the third guy, and I asked the other junior how long the guy sitting across from me on the truck had been at the station, as he seemed to have great composure and could maintain calm breathing in a fire. I had only seen him in turnout gear, so I didn't know his body type. The other junior looked at me and said, "we only had two interior firefighters on the call with us, and I told you on our way there that you didn't need to sit in the spare seat."
Confused, I approached the chaplain and asked him if we had three interiors on the truck with us, he said no. When the fire was put out, we went inside and did our thing, I found no trace of another firefighter. When we got back to the station, I asked the chief about the man, I gave a good description I think, and the chief gave a confused but interested stare. He brought me to the off duty room upstairs and showed me a picture on the wall and pointed to a firefighter in his turnout gear along with a much younger chief and asked me if that was the man I saw. It was and I told him this. He told me his name, and that he passed away from lung cancer in 2002. A lot of firefighters die this way sadly and I doubt he was the only one to die this way at our station. I believe he was watching over me on my first call, as I'm sure he did with the other junior.
Another report along these lines comes from the site Firehouse, from a witness who says he has had two experiences with some force beyond our understanding, that seemed to be looking out for him and his crew, and he says that he thinks it is perhaps because one of the fire engines is haunted. He says of this:
Our firehouse isn’t haunted, at least not on a regular basis, but one of our engines is. Two examples I have personally seen and experienced are; first, we were responding to a call in a dark, secluded, industrial area one night when the engine suddenly sputtered, stalled, and coasted to a stop right in front of a railroad crossing with no gates. Just as we stopped, a freight train came through. The engine started right up and ran fine after the train passed. The second example happened one blazing hot summer afternoon when we were called to a highway construction site for a burning shanty. We pulled up and began advancing the handline when it suddenly seemed like the hose became tangled up in the hosebed. We went back to the engine to check, and just then the shanty blew up into thousands of tiny pieces. There were NO tangles in the hose, and it wasn’t caught or hung up anywhere.
Moving on we have a report from the site Quora, from volunteer firefighter Ken Beyer. He claims that he had been called out to a rural home surrounded by forest, and that when they arrived the blaze had consumed the structure, spewing out black smoke everywhere that could be seen hanging over the vicinity before they had even gotten there. It looked like it was going to be a harrowing call, and through it all they would see something they are not sure how to explain. The witness explains:
As we approached and before we could even see the structure we could see billows of black smoke coming up above the trees. Black smoke is an indication that something artificial is burning . In other words, not just wood. Well, sure enough, there was a single story home and it was ripping pretty good. Flames coming out most of the windows and out of the gable ends of the attic. The sheet metal roof was still intact.
During size up we learned from an elderly man that his wife had gone back into the house to find their little dog. She had not been seen since then. The man was holding the dog. It was impossible to make entry. The fire just too far advanced. We established a defensive strategy. Protecting exposures and punching as much water into the building as we could, as quickly as we could. With the onboard water from the engine and tanker we were out of water in about 7 minutes. That's about 3000 gallons. We then had to wait for the tanker to return from a distant hydrant and also wait for other tankers which had been dispatched from even more distant fire halls.
But we did manage to knock the fire down considerably with our initial attack. . Looking through the doors and windows, through the smoke and steam, we were unable to see anyone. As often happens the chimney was still standing but the mortar around the bricks looked pretty sketchy so we kept a safe distance from it. At one point we heard the little dog start barking and almost immediately we saw and heard a blast of white smoke hurtling up from the chimney. The chimney blew apart at the top and a kind of mushroom cloud of smoke formed about 40 or 50 feet up. The little dog was going nuts but the old boy hung on to it. As the smoke cloud dissipated the dog began to calm down. When there is a fatality at a fire the RCMP (police) become involved. They consider it as a potential crime scene. So it was their investigator that found the woman the following day. She was found in the living room. In front of the fireplace.
A very weird account from a forum on the site Firehouse comes from a witness who says that at the time he had arrived at the scene of a heavy fire on the first floor of a townhouse. They were able to batter the fire into submission, and the strangeness would begin as they were going through the residence taking out windows to ventilate the area. As they did this he claims they made a rather anomalous discovery in the living room of the home, of which he says:
After the smoke had risen, we noticed that the living area to the rear of the kitchen (which was on the right hand side as we entered) had taken significant smoke and heat damage. On the wall was a picture of Jesus Christ, and it was the only object in the room that appeared untouched. Even the wall BEHIND the picture was smoke-stained and blistered. There was evidence of two streams of water that had trickled from the lower corners of the picture to a point in the middle of the wall where they met and continued down to the floor. The odd thing was that the line had been pulled through this room and was flowing into the kitchen to push the fire out the front, through a large vented window. No water had been flowing in the room, and the steam produced had been pushed out the window. Even the FM was amazed, and we haven’t seen anything like it since. It kinda makes one wonder.
From the same forum is another, very sinister account, which is a bit hard to classify, and involves Satan worshippers and what appears to be possible demonic activity. The witness describes the surreal events thusly:
There was a fire about 6-7yrs ago. The call was weird from the start, the 1st due engine didn’t want to start (it was out on a run bout 20mins before) they get there, the house was fully involved. When they got there, the fire was burning in strange ways… at one point flames were shooting out a window, and taking a ninety degree turn upward. The investigator pictures show the face of the devil in the smoke and flames. I know it sounds BS, but I have seen a few of these pics, and have talked with some of the investigators. They were saying that the basement was rocking, when they went back the next day it looked as though nothing burned downstairs. The weirdest part of the fire was the 911 call. The dispatcher said the callers wife was in the back ground screaming, “you f**ked him off now, look he’s gone and burned the place down”. These people were said to have been Satan worshipers, everyone in the Dept. is afraid to even go on that road for calls. Incidentally the name of the road is “Angel Hill” hmmm, pretty weird.
Pretty weird, indeed, and all of these cases are. The interesting thing about such accounts is that if they are real, then they can be considered as being from fairly reputable witnesses, as these are professional firemen not out looking for the paranormal, but rather just sort of stumbling across t while engaged with putting their lives on the line to help others. There doesn't seems to be much reason why they should want to make such tales up, so is there anything to any of this? It is hard to say, and these end up just adding to the massive files of strange accounts with brushes with forces from beyond what we know.