| Nickie smiled at the off duty officer and said, "John you can come in on your day off and work with me anytime." He laughed and said, "No thank you Nickie. I know you can do this job without me. But I just started asking him questions without even thinking. Sorry." "Oh don't be sorry, John," Nickie said, " a good partner is always a big help. You should know that" They both laughed and went back to the cookies and now cold coffee.
By five o'clock it was quiet in the office. John had drank his cold coffee and left for home. Nickie had filed all the department paperwork. The phone did not ring and the radio was quiet. No one seemed to be out on the streets. Nickie sat sipping a cup of coffee and reading a book. All her police officers were out to lunch at a nearby restaurant. The ambulance crew had retired to their quarters to get some sleep. They all knew the usual ambulance calls from lonely people would start in a few hours. Nickie looked up at the clock. It was five twenty. She went back to reading her book. For some reason she just could not stay with the story she was reading. She looked at the clock again. It was five thirty. Nickie put the book down. The knot was back in her stomach again. Nickie didn't like it when she had a knot in her stomach. It was usually there for a reason. Just like it had been when the bad accident had happened earlier. Nickie sipped her coffee and waited. She did not have to wait long.
The phone rang and Nickie heard a small voice saying, "Santa has been here, and Mama was right."" Hello, my name is Nickie, and what is your name?" Nickie ask the small voice. "Billy", he said. "What was Mama right about Billy?" Nickie asked. "She said if the tree lights are left on all night the tree will catch fire", he said. "Is your tree on fire?" Nickie ask. "No not ours, but Jimmy's tree across the street is on fire. I can see it through the window", he said. "What is your address Billy?" Nickie asked. "I don't know", Billy said. "Billy I want you to put Mama on the phone now please", Nickie said. "I can't wake her up until it is daylight or she will be mad", Billy said. "Tell her it is my fault, Billy. I will take the blame not you. Now set the phone down but do not hang it up. Just set it down and go get your Mama right away. It is important Billy", Nickie said to Billy.
Nickie heard the phone clunk down on the table. Then she heard a sleepy woman say hello. Nickie told her who she was and that she needed the address right away if the house across the street was on fire. The woman seemed to wake up in a hurry and gave the address. Then she said she was in her bedroom and would go to the other phone where she could see out the front window.
Nickie set off the fire alarm and started getting the fire department going and also advised the officers. The woman came back on the line and was almost hysterical. The house across the street was on fire. She calmed the woman, got the units on their way, and also woke up the ambulance crew. This done, she want back to the lady on the phone to get some further information from her. She also wanted to tell her what a good job her son had done in calling about the fire.
It was going to be a long morning. The knot was still in her stomach, but she was so busy she did not have time to think about it. She knew the houses in that area were large and old. A fire in one would burn fast. Nickie called in a second ambulance crew from their homes. Every one was busy. All the police officers had gone to the fire location as soon as Nickie gave them the address. They were also informed how many people were in the house.
By the time the fire department arrived, the police officers already had two people out of the building. The firemen soon had two more out of the burning house. But there were still people inside. Nickie knew from the radio transmissions that the father was badly burned, but still had to be restrained from going back into the house. Three children were out of the house, two of them had burns. Mother and the twins, two month old girls, were still inside. The firemen searched every room. They found mother holding the twins in the pantry. They were not burned, but were not breathing either. Smoke was so thick she had become lost and taken a wrong turn. All efforts to revive them were unsuccessful.
Nickie called the chief's house. When he answered the phone, she quickly advised him what was going on. He just said, "Thanks Nickie, I am on my way", and hung up the phone. When the ambulance crews were done at the hospital, they returned to the fire location. They would stand by there to help keep spectators and press people from being in the way of the firemen. They were also nearby incase any firemen were in need of them.