The Strathmore's


Randy Howard2

Chapter 36

This is a work of fiction. The names are no way real or to be associated with anyone alive or dead.  This is copyrighted by the author and no one is to copy this without my written permission. 

I would like to thank my friend Bill H. for his editing of this chapter and his creative input also.

From Chapter 35 ...

"Well maybe tomorrow ..." and he is cut off by a loud explosion and the lights go out.

"What the fuck was that now?" David asks as he takes out his cell and calls the desk. He goes white with fear as he drops his cell shut. "The building is on fire," he says looking at the others.  Ryan and Damian come running out and asks what is going on.  "That explosion was on the tenth floor and has the entire floor engulfed in flames."

"David, how are we going to get out?" Jeremy asks. "We can't babe we're trapped until the fire department gets here," and he looks and sees smoke coming from the elevator and it fills the room quickly.

"Jeremy get the boys up to the roof," David says. "Take the emergency exit in the utility room."

"I will be up shortly babe now go before this place gets too filled with smoke," he shouts coughing from the smoke.

"David please come with us babe," Jeremy yells as the room fills with thick black smoke. "David where are you?" he screams as Ryan pulls him from the room.

"Dad come on he will come right behind us," he says looking back hoping and he can hear his dad coughing harder.  "Dad come on now," he yells and Damian goes running into the smoke to find him as another explosion rocks the building and parts of the ceiling fall.

"David Noooo," Jeremy screams out.


Chapter 36 ...

The smoke quickly fills the room as Jeremy and the boys make their way up to the roof.  Jeremy still is yelling for David and Damian, but he doesn't hear a sound.

"They're dead I know it," Jeremy cries to the boys and Ryan and Sean both hold him tight.

"He's not dead dad you'll see." Ryan says as he glances over at Sean.

The smoke is black and fills the air as the guys cling to the roof waiting to be rescued.  Another explosion rocks the building and they fall to the roof in fear. Shamus is at the door hoping to see David and Damian but he doesn't hold much hope for either.  The sounds of sirens below tell them that help has arrived.  Sean pulls out his cell phone and calls 911 to tell them that they are trapped up on the roof.

"Yes we are on the roof and my dad and another man are still inside the top floor apartment," he tells the dispatcher who relates it to the fire chief at the scene.

"Their ladders cannot reach that far up son," Ruth the dispatcher says. "They are going to explore another way to get you down," she tells him.

"Help me over here," Shamus yells out as he struggles to get David unto the roof.

"David," Jeremy yells and rushes over to assist Shamus with David and Damian.

News crew from KTVT CBS 11 news and KTXA TXA 21 news in Dallas-Fort Worth gather to broadcast the breaking news. J.D. Miles and Nerissa Knight are interviewing the people as they come out of the hotel.

"Are there any others trapped inside," Nerissa asks a maintenance worker.

"The owner David Strathmore and his family are still trapped on the top floor," he tells her. "The fire started just below them trapping them in their apartment."

"Chief what are your plans for rescuing those trapped on the top floor?" J. D/ asks.

"Well, we haven't anything that can reach that high and it's too high for them to safely jump into an air pillow," he tells him. "But we are exploring an air rescue," he adds.


"Dad come quick," Jacob yells out to Bret. "The Fairmont is on fire and dad and the others are trapped on the roof," he says to him as he comes running in.

"Oh my God no, not David and my boys," he says crying as he watches the shots from a helicopter hovering over head.

"Is that dad lying on the roof there?" Jacob asks looking at a body lying still on the roof.

"Oh please God don't let him die," Bret prays looking at what he knows is David.

Jeanne, Kyle and all the others come rushing into the room wanting to know what's happening and Jacob brings them up to date on what's going on downtown.

"Not David, please Lord let him be all right and the boys also," Jeanne prays. "We need to get down there now Kyle," she says as her tears start to fall.

"They aren't going to let us get anywhere near there," he tells her.

"I need to be there now," she yells and he goes to get the car. "Bret you're coming with us and you kids stay here," she tells them.

"Dad I need to go too," Emelia says. "My boyfriend was staying with Uncle David."

"Your boyfriend?" Jeanne says in shock. "What was he doing here to start with?" she asks angrily.

"I'll explain later but I need to be there, please mom," she pleads.

"Fine, but I want to know what this is all about as soon as we get back home do you understand young lady?" she says sternly.

"Yes mom I promise."


"He needs some oxygen," Damian says, himself coughing badly.

"Are you all right son," Jeremy asks looking at the boy whose face is covered with soot.

"I'm fine just having a hard time breathing that's all."

"What could he have possibly wanted to do, going back into that room?" Jeremy asks.

"He thought he heard someone calling out for help and wanted to help them."

"Was there anyone around that you could see or hear Damian?"

"I didn't hear anything and the room was too dark with smoke to see," he tells him.

Just then a rescue worker lands on the roof and comes running over with a first aid bag.

"I'm Jed Barber from air rescue and we are trying to get you all off of here as soon as we can," he tells them. "Let me attend to him," he says putting an air mask on David.

After several minutes David starts to cough and he begins to regain consciousness.

"Lie still sir," Jed says holding David down. "You have taken in a considerable amount of smoke and need to breathe this oxygen," he tells him.

"Is everyone safe?" he asks pulling the mask away to ask about the others.

"We are all here and fine David," Jeremy says looking at him with tears in his eyes. "Just lie there and do what Jed says babe," he tells him giving him a kiss on the forehead.  "Damian here needs some oxygen also," he tells Jed who attaches a second line to the tank.

"Jed this is command one do you copy," comes a voice over Jed's radio.

"I copy over," he says into his radio.

"The wind is too strong for a safe rescue we are going to abort the rescue," they say.

"Ten four," he says.  "I guess it's up to the fire chief now," Jed says looking at Jeremy.


"Shit!  I was hoping we could have gotten them off by helicopter," the chief says to his second in command.

"Hey chief.  What about that crane on top of Fountain Place?" Marty says to him. "It just might reach over to the roof if we're lucky."

"Get me the construction crew chief for that crane," the chief says to Marty. "It just might work Marty," he says.

Twenty minutes later Bill Jenson comes up to the chief and introduces himself to him.

"How far a reach does that crane have?" the chief asks.  "Will it reach over to the roof of the Fairmont?"

"I believe so but I have never tried it before and that would be a horizontal reach," he tells him.

"We have to do something before that roof collapses."

"I'll get my crew right on it," he tells him. "Are you coming sir?" he asks.

"No I'm sending Marty here to take command from up there."


"My God Jeanne look at the smoke and flames," Bret says holding his hand to his mouth.  "Please let them be alright."

"I'm sure that the fire department is doing everything they can to get them off the roof," Kyle says.

"I got to let them know that I'm a doctor in case they need help with the injured," Darren says getting out of the car.

"Just be careful babe," Bret says to him.  "God let David and the others make it," he says out loud.

"You still hold a spot in your heart for David don't you Bret?" Jeanne asks her brother.

"I guess I never stopped loving that man," he tells her and he starts to cry.


"Jed we are going to use the crane on top of Fountain Place to get you guys off," the chief says over the radio.

"That's a ten four chief," Jed says looking over at the crane as it sits still against the sky.

"We are attaching a rescue basket to the crane and it can hold up to two persons at a time," the chief says. "I want the kids first to be sent over and then the adults."

"Ten four chief," Jed says.

"I'm feeling much better now," David says as he sits up.

"Well just stay put until I tell you to move," Jed says.

"Chief, how is the fire going, are you making any leeway at extinguishing it?" he asks.

"Right now we have a crew up there, but the flames are too hot for them to get onto the tenth floor.  We are pouring water via aerial and hope to get it under control enough to attempt a breach of the floor.  At the moment it looks as if the floor may collapse so I will be pulling my men back down," he tells Jed.  "We have flames now coming out of the floor just below you and that's what's worrying me at the moment," he says.

"Chief we have the crane ready to move," Marty says over the radio.

"Then precede Marty and may God be with you," he says to him. 

The crane comes to life and slowly moves out and over towards the roof of the Fairmont. Slowly it goes as it maneuvers its way towards the roof.

"I want you all to come over here with me," Jed says directing the men to a point away from the crane.

Slowly it comes closer as the guys watch their hope approach.  The basket is now directly over the roof and it begins to lower down to the roof. It gets almost to the roof and the crane begins to shake and then crashes down onto the roof.

"Fuck!  We lost it," Marty yells out over the radio to the chief. "But we have a bridge over to the roof chief so what is your call?" he asks.

"Is it a safe bridge over Marty?"

"I can go over myself and try it out chief," he tells him.

"Make sure you have a life line attached Marty," he shouts into the radio.

"Ten four chief," he radios back.  "Fasten me to that beam," he tells his man as he climbs up onto the steel frame of the crane.  `Fuck! Why wasn't I a doctor or something?' he says to himself.

Slowly he inches his way across the bridge towards the roof of the burning hotel.  The wind is fierce as he gets out over the space between the buildings.

"Jed I'm coming over to you," he says into his radio.

"I can see you Marty just be careful," Jed says over the radio looking at him coming across.

He finally reaches the roof and Jed helps him down and takes him into his arms and hugs him tight.

"God man you are going to be the death of me," he says.

"Don't think you can get rid of me that easily babe," Marty says giving his man a kiss.  "Now let's get these guys over to the other side," he says.

"Ok you four first," Jed says pointing to Ryan, Sean, Damian and Shamus. "Then you two," he says to David and Jeremy.

They fasten the lifeline and rope to Ryan and Sean and have them start to cross over.

"Just look straight ahead at the men on the other side and don't look down."

They climb up onto the crane with the help of Jed and Marty and start their trek across. Inch by inch they slowly crawl towards the other side.


 From where they are standing Bret and the others can see what is happening on a TV screen in a store front window.

"Oh my God that's Ryan and Sean," Bret yells as he watches them crawl across the crane.  Half way across the wind gust picks up and they flatten themselves to the crane. The crowd cries out as they watch the drama unfold on TV.

`My boys,' Jeanne says to herself as Kyle holds her close and she shakes with fear.  `Please God let them make it across,' she prays.

As the wind dies down they continue their trek and finally reach the other side as the firemen pull them down to safety.  They unfasten the ties and send it back across with a rope that was attached to the boys.  Marty pulls the ties across and then fastens them to Shamus and Damian. They start their trek across and Shamus stops half way as he looks down and fear overtakes him.

"Shamus just look straight ahead," Damian says to him as he comes up to him.

"I can't Damian, I'm going to fall," he cries out holding on for dear life.

"You won't fall bud I'm here and I will help you get across," he says to the frightened boy. "Now just put one hand in front of the other and move."

Inch by inch they slowly make their way across with Damian coaching him.

"Mom that's Damian," Emelia shouts pointing to the boy in the back.

"Who is that with him?" Jeanne asks.

"I don't know probably one of the boys; friends," Emelia says.

"What is your boyfriend doing at David's?" Kyle asks.

"She is going to explain when this is over Kyle," Jeanne tells him.

The boys finally reach the other side and the men help them down to the roof.

"Thanks Damian for helping me," Shamus says hugging him tight.

"No problem Shamus," he says as they are rushed away to safety.

Bret and the others quickly rush over to the building that the boys are in and tell the police officer that the boys are their sons.

"Ryan, Sean," Bret yells out and he rushes over to them. "Are you alright," he asks hugging and kissing them.

"Yeah we're fine dad just a little shook up that's all," Ryan says.

"Is David hurt badly?" he asks as the tears come to his eyes again.

"Just some smoke inhalation but he is fine dad?" Sean says.

"Damian," shouts Emelia as she runs to her boyfriend and gives him a hug and kiss. "I thought I lost you for a while babe," she says.

"He's a real hero," Shamus says looking at the two lovers. "He not only helped me across but he saved David from the smoke and fire in the apartment by going after him."

"Thank you Damian," Bret says hugging the boy and giving him a kiss on the cheek. 

"I just did what anyone else would have done," he says. "It was nothing special really."

"Ladies and gentlemen we have here some of the survivors from the roof of the Fairmont Hotel," J.D. Miles says as he comes over to the group. "Will you tell our viewers what you felt while trapped on the roof?" he says holding a microphone to Damian.

"Nothing really, we knew that the fire department would be able to rescue us."

"He was the real hero, he alone saved David Strathmore from his burning apartment and then helped me get across the crane to this side," Shamus says as he gets a look from Damian.

"Is that right son, you rescued Mr. Strathmore from his burning apartment?" J.D. asks.

"I just did what was needed at the time and went after him. It was no big deal really."

"No big deal, you just rescued one of Dallas' most influential and wealthiest citizens that's all," JD says. "So what's your name son?" he asks.

"Damian Fitzgerald sir," he says.

"Are you from here in Dallas Damian?"

"No sir, I'm from Virginia," he tells him.

"You aren't Robert Fitzgerald's son are you?" he asks still holding the microphone to him.

"Yes sir. Why does that matter?" he asks.

"Viewers he is not only a hero but the son of Secretary of Transportation Robert Fitzgerald," he tells his viewers. "Your father will be very proud of you," he tells him.

"We need to take him and check him out," Darren says, whisking Damian and the others away.

"Thanks man, he was starting to get to me with all this hero shit," he says.

"I could see that son, so let's get you checked out and get you out of here," Darren says.


Marty and Jed pulled the rope back over to them with the life lines attached.

"Marty take Mr. Strathmore across with you and I will come across with Mr. Bryant," Jed says tying the line to David.

"I want you to listen to Marty and do what he says," Jed tells David.

"Give me one moment please with Jer," David asks.

"Just be quick the fire is getting closer," he tells him.

"Jer I want you to know that I love you and have always loved you," he says looking into his lover's eyes. "If we don't make it through this, I also want you to know that you have made me the happiest man since I have known you."

"We are going to make it babe," Jeremy says holding him tight. "You aren't getting rid of me this easy," and he kisses him passionately on the lips.

"We gotta go Mr. Strathmore," Marty yells out.

"Be careful my love," Jed says to Marty as he too gives his lover a kiss.  "I love you and will see you later," he says as he climbs up behind David.

Slowly they make their way across as the other two watch them crawl. Another explosion rocks the building as flames now come out of the stairwell they used to come up to the roof.  The two men cling flat to the crane as it rocks to the shaking of the explosion.

"Oh God let them make it," Jeremy says and Jed puts his arms around him.

"They are going to make it Jeremy," he says looking past him at the flames that are spreading across the roof. "Marty untie the rope from the lifelines," Jed yells out to Marty.

Marty stops crawling across and unties the rope from the lifelines and Jed pulls the rope back across.

"Jeremy you have got to trust me here," he says looking at the flames. "We haven't got time to wait for them to get across and send the lines back to us. I'm going to tie this end to your waist and the other end to me. Then we are going to crawl across now because those flames are about to overtake us," he says as they climb up onto the crane.

They slowly inch their way out onto the crane and are directly over the alley between the two buildings as the roof collapses sending a shuddering through the crane.  Jeremy shakes as the crane vibrates badly, and he loses his grip.  He falls off the crane and plummets towards the ground.

"Oh my God someone has fallen," J. D. says as the camera turns upward to catch the drama unfolding before them.

"Dad nooooo," shouts Ryan as he watches the TV screen and sees his dad plummet towards the ground.

"Don't look son," Kyle says sheltering his face from the screen.  Ryan breaks down in tears as Sean and the others come over to see what is going on.

"Dad just fell to his death," Ryan says in tears as he takes Sean in his arm.

"Was it David or Jeremy?" Bret asks in shock from the news.

"Jeremy," is all that Kyle says.

"Oh my God nooooo Jer," David yells out and he collapses onto the roof from seeing his lover fall.

To be continued ...

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