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service techs beware

Comments

  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,303
    Messed up. We are routinely letting ourselves into homes. All I need is some bird having a bad day looking to take out his issues on someone "breaking in".
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    jonny88
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,480
    In my career I have been beat up twice. The first one was a guy just released from the mental institution and was watching his sisters house while she was moving. I was there to shut off the gas and with my back to him he hit me with a pipe. Good for the old ten inch wrench which I used to ward him off until I could get outside and get the dispatch to call the police.

    The other time was a guy who was having marital problems. I was in the basement working on the boiler when he came in and flew down the steps and kicked me. He thought I was his wifes boyfriend. This happened in the days when I was young and liked nothing better than a good fight (certainly before my conversion to Christ) so I proceeded to hit him a couple of times before he backed off and saw the gas company logo on my shirt. He was super apologetic. However he later tried to sue the gas company.

    The last incident however was the scariest; it was at night and I had a service order to turn on a gas meter which had been shut off for non-payment. As I turned the corner into the back yard heading toward the back door this guy jumped out with a gun ( a 38 fully loaded) he proceeded to stick it in my face and mumble something bout him getting me before I got him. I dropped my tools and ran out of the alley way and found the first pay phone I could find (no cell phone in those days). The police came but he was gone. It turns out they found him the next day. He was fresh out of prison and I guess some of his old friend were looking for him as to some drug money he had of theirs.

    You just never know. By the way I have a thousand stories of what you run into working for a gas company in the inner city.
    kcopp4Johnpipe
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,838
    We'd love to hear them- maybe a good idea for a book.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    kcoppCanuckerlchmb
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 701
    Glad i wasn't the only one thinking that. I'd love to hear those stories
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,674
    In the early 80's, i just finished a service call in a high society neighborhood about 35 miles northwest of Chicago. I was driving down their 1/4 mile long, tree lined, winding driveway when I got to the bottom and found two cops pointing guns at me behind their open car doors. Apparently the homeowner forgot to turn off the silent alarm that was connected to the local police department. Somewhere in the basement it got triggered. Easily resolved but it was quite a surprise for a 21-22 year old kid.
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
    GW
  • Jack
    Jack Member Posts: 1,045
    The other side of having to be careful...when I was a second year apprentice I was sent out on a job alone. That never happened or wasn't supposed to, but the guys in the shop said I'd be able to handle this call. I was fleet of foot in those days and it was a good thing. She cornered me and I had to dodge and weave to get out of there. There are a lot of risks in the trades.
  • RJMCTAFO
    RJMCTAFO Member Posts: 113
    My scare spurred me to get a concealed carry permit. Was called out to a no heat in a mobile home. As I was working I heard the customer in the kitchen talking to someone. Being that it was 2 am I thought it was odd he had company. When I peeked into the kitchen I saw him having a conversation with himself in two entirely different voices while pulling out his own hair. Needless to say I finished the call quickly and got out of there. Spoke to a neighbor a few weeks later and found out the guy had multiple personalities and was also paranoid schizophrenic.
    On the way home I realized if it had gone bad it would have been 5 hours before someone realized I wasn't at work. I now call to check in after completing a call that late.
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,480
    Here is another one:

    This is not something that happened to me but one of my service techs. The techs name was Walter and he loved practical jokes. He did a lot of service in a complex that housed college students. In order to gain access to the apartments it was often necessary to pick up keys at the office. In doing so Walter was always pulling little pranks on the girls in the office, so I guess it was time for payback.

    On this particular day Walter picked up the key to a certain apartment with no heat. The furnaces were located in a closet just as you entered the apartment. So Walter proceeded to open the door (I wish you could have actually seen him tell this story as he could be very animated) anyway he gained access and proceeded to work on the furnace. Walter was on his knees halfway into the closet diligently working on the problem. As he told it “all of a sudden he had a funny feeling something was amiss in the apartment”. He was just not sure what it was but he felt a little uneasy, he knew however there was no one home so he proceeded on.

    Just then he felt like something was behind him, so he slowly turned but could not see anything as the closet door and apartment door were both open blocking any view of the rest of the apartment. He knew he had secured the outer door so no one could be in the apartment with him.

    So he proceeded on pulling the pilot to clean it and replace the thermocouple. Just then something touched his back and as he told it the hair on the back of his neck stood up and he froze. He meekly called out “is anyone there”, no answer; once again he called out no answer. Oh it might have been the door swung inward and hit my back; he thought. So he proceeded on with the repairs.

    Just then something touched his back and did not remove itself and sort of pushed him a little bit. He quickly turned around and immediately got a great big tongue licking his face. He almost passed out as a very large Cheetah was licking him and as he put it”tasting to see if he wanted to bite me and have me for lunch”. As it would be one of the girls who lived in the apartment this was her pet and as Walter tells it declawed but it still had BIG teeth.

    He went to the apartment phone and called the office and the girls in the office cracked up. It was by the way a very friendly Cheetah as it proceeded to engage Walter in playing with one of its stuffed animals. This time the joke was on Walter.
    kcoppGreenGene4Johnpipe
  • MarkShean
    MarkShean Member Posts: 2
    edited May 2016
    null
    RJMCT,

    Thats MAD EERIE, ,,, makes me wanna keep 1 in the chamber too, i had some crazy lady corner me in a dark basement then call me gay because her oil tank was leaking, reminded me of that movie CARRIE when pigs blood landed on the girl
  • GreenGene
    GreenGene Member Posts: 290
    Oh man have I got stories, from the guy that came out of a closet with an AK, the people who had piranhas, the couple that committed suicide after I left and the paper listed it as CO poisoning............let's just say this industry is never boring.
  • gennady
    gennady Member Posts: 830
    edited June 2016
    I remember working in the building in Harlem in 1992 IIRC. Could not find super, so I proceed directly to boiler room and started working on the boiler. Heard the noise around the boiler, looked out and saw 38 right in my forehead. I asked fellow holding the gun if he was the super. The guy said no and asked me who am I. It was police raid after drug dealers. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I was lucky.
    GreenGene
  • GreenGene
    GreenGene Member Posts: 290
    I used to experience the opposite, started out in New Haven, we were told when going into buildings especially apartment bldgs to make lots of noise before entering and bang on the door and shine the flashlight down and call out because the junkies that hung out in those places might mistake your company uniform as police and kill you.

    What a wonderful world, could not wait to get an HVAC position out in the country.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    hmm..yup all these stories...why exactly do we do this job?
    GreenGene
  • 4Johnpipe
    4Johnpipe Member Posts: 479
    I had a similar situation like Tim told. I was working in a new home we had just plumbed and the new owners had moved in and wanted a garbage disposal (don't care for these contraptions). I was instructed to let myself in as per the new homeowner through my then boss. Well after 2 trips one with tools and a work tarp and second with the new disposer and some pipe and fittings. I got to work as we had a busy day and was whistling some song...leaning in and under the cabinet walked to the electric panel after about an hour I'm under the cabinet reaching out for a wrench or something and my hand gets dripped on...no sound just wet.

    Next thing I know this enormous head is under the cabinet with me licking (tasting) all over my arms and face...

    It was a bull mastiff just like the on from the movie Turner and Hooch...took a second or two off my life that day...

    Love dogs just not surprise dogs...

    LANGAN'S PLUMBING & HEATING LLC
    Considerate People, Considerate Service, Consider It Done!
    732-751-1560
    email: [email protected]
    www.langansplumbing.com
    jonny88GreenGene
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,029
    4Johnpipe said:

    I had a similar situation like Tim told. I was working in a new home we had just plumbed and the new owners had moved in and wanted a garbage disposal (don't care for these contraptions). I was instructed to let myself in as per the new homeowner through my then boss. Well after 2 trips one with tools and a work tarp and second with the new disposer and some pipe and fittings. I got to work as we had a busy day and was whistling some song...leaning in and under the cabinet walked to the electric panel after about an hour I'm under the cabinet reaching out for a wrench or something and my hand gets dripped on...no sound just wet.

    Next thing I know this enormous head is under the cabinet with me licking (tasting) all over my arms and face...

    It was a bull mastiff just like the on from the movie Turner and Hooch...took a second or two off my life that day...

    Love dogs just not surprise dogs...

    Jack and Jill were two great danes that a customer of mine owned. I met them the same way, they had been hauling my tools and parts outside as my back was to them.

    I had a parachute bag full of duct screws that came back empty, I wonder how many lawnmower tires found those screws.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    4Johnpipe
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,397
    I have a funny one and a sad one.
    funny 1st, We are regularly told to go into house and service their boiler or furnace with no one home. So this job was just couple blocks from my office. We sent our tech over their and he let himself in and completed servicing the equipment and left. The next day I think the client called us and asked that it seemed we had not been by. After some checking with our tech, he accidentally went to the neighbors house and back door was open , no one home and so serviced furnace. Long story short, I got ph # for neighbor and 1st apologized and 2nd told him he is the lucky recipient of a free service on his equipment. He laughed and was very totally happy. Oh well :)
    2nd, Sad one. We were called in to service 30 unit apt bldg. for really good long term client (somewhat of a friend after all these years), we were to check all radiators and controls in each unit. Mgr went with us as this is a pet friendly apt bldg. to help make sure all went well. We got through several units then got to one unit, mgr barely opened the door and before anyone could react this little dog bolted out into hallway, back door happened to be propped open and the dog went running down the side streets of popular community. Service techs and mgr ran trying to get the dog to stop, he ended up running across one or our more busy arterials and was hit and killed. Come to find out the tenant had just got the dog from a shelter a couple weeks prior and the dog was very nervous and scared. This was a real tough one, my customer (friend ) is a big supporter of the SPCA and was just torn, he donated $ 1000.00 to local shelter in tenants name and was just as understanding as you would ever want. Still strikes me to this day of when I had to make the call to him about what happened and how the tenant and both my techs felt. You try and be careful in all you do in this business but accidents still do happen. I'm just thankful that the many good things way outweigh the bad. Peace all
  • GreenGene
    GreenGene Member Posts: 290
    Went to a house once and a parrot, full size was perched on a post in the kitchen, as I passed I said "cool parrot" and went towards the kitchen and the lady screamed " don't go near him, he'll RIP YOUR FACE OFF"

    thanks for telling me before

    Then there's the crawlspace, and I mean army crawl, I get my coveralls on and crawl in, as I get to the furnace my forearms are wet, hmm, I don't smell anything, rainwater?, then I hear a flush sound and as I shine my light around on the other side the sewer pipe is broken off and here comes a flush. yeeeAAAAAAAAAAA, I crawled out of there so fast.

    I knock on the door, excuse me did you know that your sewer pipe is broken off?

    "yes"

    "see ya"