The legend reads: OCTOBER 10th
EXT. MANHATTAN BRIDGE - PREDAWN - 1969
Darkness. Headlights bounce off thick sheets of RAIN. 6,500
gallon Esso OIL TRUCK barrels over wet studded pavement,
heading towards Manhattan. It's going fast. Too fast.
Up ahead...at the BASE OF THE BRIDGE:
A large reflective sign - lit up by arc lights: MEN AT WORK.
There are TWO WORK CREWS, several hundred feet apart.
THE FIRST CREW is CON ED. A corrugated vacuum tube feeds
into an open MANHOLE. A WORKER drops into the hole.
THE SECOND CREW is CONSTRUCTION. They're at the apron of the
bridge securing lumber supports for the roadbed.
It's late and the men are tired. A mistake is made. A FORK
LIFT loaded with LUMBER fails to negotiate a turn...whacks
into an abutment... spilling its load onto the roadway.
Bad timing, because right now that Esso OIL TRUCK hits the
OFF RAMP. Not a lot of time for the driver to react to a
roadway spewed with lumber.
He does his best. Slams the brakes, spins the wheel, hits
the horn, but it doesn't matter: 18 wheels skid across the
blacktop - spitting thick smoke and burnt rubber, lifting off
the slick pavement...twisting...flipping...hemorrhaging oil
from its ruptured tanks...grinding its way towards...
MEN AT WORK. Seconds to react as an 80,000 pound juggernaut
of death plows through parked cars like paper...crushing the
Con Ed equipment...lurching to a halt on top of the MANHOLE.
EXT. FIRE STATION - 9TH BATTALION - CONTINUOUS
TWO FIRE TRUCKS (1000 Gallon Pumper and Mack Tiller Ladder)
pull into the street.
EXT. LADDER TRUCK JUMPER SEATS - MOVING - CONTINUOUS
SIRENS wail, cherry tops spin.
FRANK SULLIVAN, 40, is strapped into an open-air jumper seat.
A real life hard charger, Frank is the kind of iron's man
fire fighters want coming in after them, should they get
caught in harm's way. Kind-hearted and hard-fisted, he has
the grace and courage of a man living by his convictions.
Across from Frank sits GRAHAM GIBSON, 20. A good-looking
African-American, "Gib" is a Fire Fighter Fourth Grade, a
tank man... and one nervous probie.
Through a window into the CAB, we SEE LT. BUTCH FOSTER, 50,
on a walkie-talkie. A beefy old pro who's been through more
fires than he can remember.
A walkie-talkie sits in a cradle between Frank and Gibson.
...oil all over the street. Cracked
water and gas mains. Four companies
Butch's voice continues as Frank calmly absorbs the
information, while at the same time.
Oh, man. Hope it ain't like this in
The game, Graham. The Series?
Gibson taps his wristwatch.
Oh, yeah. Damn. My watch is busted.