I am totally the William Baldwin in ‘Backdraft’ of the Chesterfield County Fire Department

You want to know what the flat-out awesomest movie ever made is?  Backdraft, of course.  Growing up in Midlothian, the film made me want to be a firefighter.  And while it takes place in Chicago, if there was ever a Backdraft sequel set in Chesterfield County, I’d totally be the William Baldwin character.

You know the guy.  A young, daring fireman, lives life on the edge – but most of all, a ladykiller.

I won’t lie: Putting out fires is a tough gig.  We go 24/7 around the county, and night shifts are long.  But when the call comes in for a three-alarm blaze in northwestern Midlo, we’re there within minutes.  Also, I’ve had sex on top of the hook-and-ladder, just as William Baldwin did with the Jennifer Jason Leigh character in the greatest Ron Howard film ever made.

Plus, you should see my cheekbones.  They’re just like the finely-sculpted ones you’ll see on Brian McCaffrey, the name of William Baldwin’s heroic, if not incredibly handsome, character.

One time, Engine 54 was called to a huge warehouse fire in Bon Air.  We suspected arson from the start.  So we’re chopping through walls with our pick-heads, I turn back and see the 2nd Captain out my mask, then before I know it, the windows blow in from every direction and a huge ball of fire engulfs the room.  Luckily, just like that part in Backdraft, we all jumped behind this one desk for protection.  It was like one of the many perfectly-done slow-mo scenes from the movie, and of course, I would have definitely been the William Baldwin character in that heat of that moment, pardon the pun.

If only we had the award-winning original score by Hans Zimmer playing overhead at the time.  The whole ordeal would have been so much more dramatic.

Also, you should see me when I hold a pick-axe.  Kind of off to the side near my belt, like the total tough guy William Baldwin played.  When I marched into the front of that burning Target store a few months back, I probably looked just like the silhouette of him on the poster for Backdraft.  I’m sure that’s what the folks inside the building were thinking as they lay waiting for me to save them.  Gives me chills just thinking about it.

Man, Backdraft is so freaking awesome.

Oh, and I forgot to mention.  Here at the firehouse, we got nicknames just like they did in the movie.  We got a really crazy guy named Bull, like that of Kurt Russell’s character, and a really brave deputy chief who we call Axe.  It just makes this whole department even more like the 1991 motion picture, the cinematography of which, done by Danish-born Mikael Salomon, is second-to-none.  According to IMDB.com, his work has also included Band of Brothers, which is also rad and reminds me of my own bro, who was a Merchant Marine.

And have I ever mentioned I jumped over an elevator shaft during a chemical plant fire off the Jeff Davis Highway?   William Baldwin did that once too, you know, in the film’s climactic scene. 

Look, this ain’t Chicago.  I realize that.  We’re on the South Side.  But realize Chicago has a South Side too, and it’s visited numerous times in Backdraft in scenes with William Baldwin, whose long, slicked-back hair is just like mine could be, if I grew it out that way.  Baldwin is an imposing hero, and a good-looking one at that. 

Because when you get down to it, isn’t looking good while being a hero really what being a hero is all about?


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