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Coffee Gave Us The Runs - By Jeremy Williams

Coffee 2

Although our focus is on fire ground operations we will commonly share those odd ball learning moments we have encountered. During a shift we were called to an adult learning center for a possible haz-mat. Once on scene one of the school directors advised us they found something that might have a white powder or illegal drugs in it. They stated they had locked it in their desk until we arrived. Crews that were already on scene had begun to evacuate the building due to the dispatch information. Assigned to the Heavy Rescue we proceeded to the director’s office meters in hand, we were given the keys to the desk once at the office door. We then masked up and two of us entered the office to open the desk while two others stood by down the hall with a visual on us.

Holy S***!! Back out, what we saw made me pucker like I have never puckered before. As we backed out and heading to do a face to face with command, I was approached by my driver that had intel from outside on the item while we were interior in recon mode. I shrugged him off at first because I need to relay our recon information to command. My driver then proceeded to inform me that what we saw was coffee and that he gathered this information via one of the students. I laughed and said that’s not what I saw, that was not a coffee cup. As we gathered more information we searched the web at the same time and found out it was true, it was coffee.


What just made us buckle was a single use self-heating coffee cup. These are commonly found in areas of the United Kingdom, but are also found in some branches of the military. I have been in the military and was never exposed to these, but it seems they are now commonly distributed overseas. One of the students had recently returned from deployment and had a stash of these coffee units and since he was running late to school he grabbed one to save time. Once at school he put a paper towel in it to absorb the remaining coffee and put some tape on it to keep it all together before tossing it in the trash can. I have no clue why he used the tape, but he did and that is one thing that made our stomachs turn when we went eyes on.

I share this because it is a funny story now and we joke about how coffee gave us all the runs, in the sense that we ran out of there. It showed that good research and crowd questioning can provide quick answers. It also reassured that we must always remain on our toes as dispatch information and the caller’s information may be misleading. There are many things I would have done different if I could do this call over, but since I can’t the one thing I can do is share our experience on how coffee gave us the runs.

Here is a link to a similar product that we encountered. Click Here

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