Tag Archive | fire

Retrospect ~

Sometimes I still catch myself thinking about it, unexpectedly.  Unwarranted and unwanted.  But there it is, so I indulge in the thoughts of that murder that happened so long ago, and the events that I and my family were inadvertently, subsequently dragged into as a result.  It seems so long ago, 1991 when Sabina was murdered, and our involvement brought to the surface in October 2005 ~ 8 years ago now.  And I still find myself dwelling on the known facts versus my unreliable memory of the events of that night in 1991 when it all exploded into our lives.

Certain things I can remember vividly and am sure of, but many of the things that “count” are just foggy still.  I try to focus on that night in 1991, playing it over and over in my mind the way I remember it.  Then I try to tack in the things that the sheriff’s department said happened, or the way they “think” things happened.  So much does not make sense, and I wonder if it ever will.  The only person who can confirm or deny the events that I remember is dead.  When I was questioned for hours by the Cayuga County sheriff’s department in 2005, I could not tell them any more then than I can remember now.  They actually tried to “console” me into “confessing” that I knew and perhaps was a part of the murder of Sabina Kulakowski.  They said they knew that Barry had been abusive, and that perhaps he was threatening me to keep quiet or he would hurt me or the children.  They said they understood if I had been “quiet” because he was blackmailing me.  But now he was dead, having taken his own life… so now it was okay for me to “come clean”, that he could never hurt me or the kids again.  During the questioning, it took awhile for it to sink it.  They thought I was withholding evidence of the crime.  Their at first gentle questioning turned into badgering after several hours.  And I began to understand how innocent people simply confess to crimes they did not commit.  But I was not about to “confess” to knowing anything more than I knew… which was little.

The man who was wrongly convicted of Sabina’s murder has finally been set free in 2005, thanks in part to my and my daughter, Katie’s, involvement and DNA testing etc.  The circumstantial evidence points to the man that I had been living with for 13 years, and had two children with, as the murderer.  He has allegedly committed this horrific murder during the time we were living together as a family.  I was supposedly the first person to see him and be with him just minutes after this awful crime had been committed.  Yet I remember nothing out of the ordinary about that time spent together before we went to bed for the night.  I think THAT’S the piece that bothers me the most.  Wouldn’t I have seen SOMETHING?  Shouldn’t he have been covered in blood and/or been stressed or nervous and anxious about the things he had just allegedly done?  (I didn’t find out until 2005 the specifics of the crimes committed with regard to Sabina, who had been my “sister-in-law” for a decade +)  I saw no signs of anything amiss, except an eagerness to put the fight we’d had earlier in the evening behind us, and get to bed and get to sleep.  It was obvious he had been drinking, which was also not unusual.

When I later learned about the details of how she had died, it made me cry.  She had been subjected to horrific  violence before the farm was set ablaze and she was carried out of the house and dumped across the street in a wooded area.  One of the tell-tale signs for me that it could’ve been Barry that had committed the crime, was the fact that Sabina had been bitten multiple times.  He was known for using this tactic to subdue women ~ at least one woman that I knew of.  And he was the only one who had ever used such a violent and painful method.  To me, this was significant.  Also to the sheriffs when I brought the coincidence to light.  For someone to have committed these crimes, it seems they would have been openly, noticeably sociopathic.   Granted, Barry had his “issues”, but I could not wrap my brain around him committing ruthless murder.  Not to mention that we continued to co-habit for six years after this crime was committed.

The fact that he committed suicide right before he was about to be accused/disclosed by the “wrongly-accused” inmate is way more than just a coincidence in my book.  But again, also circumstantial.  I guess there are way more many questions yet to be answered and will remain unanswered for this case to ever be truly “Closed”.  And yet I can never forget that part of my questionable life.  I can only be thankful that we got through it in one piece, more of less, and out the other side much for the better.

There has been a lot of publicity about this case, especially in 2005 when we were brought into it.  There has been a movie made, locally, and clips on some national shows.  If you want to know more about this part of my life, click on this link, or Google “Roy Brown” or “Barry Bench”.  I still find it fascinating myself!

Thanks for stopping in and checking out my Random Thoughts tonight.  Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

How about a nice picture for fall before I go?  Enjoy!

Church steeple, Long Lake, NY

Church steeple, Long Lake, NY


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire ~

Cee’s continuing Fun Foto Challenge utilizing the Chinese 5 Elements incorporates fire this week… the fourth element of the five.

I have a several photos that I actually posted to another post just this morning that are all about fire.  Here are a couple…

Fully engulfed.

Fully engulfed.

This is from a barn burn down from a local fire department.

You can see the ceiling fully engulfed inside.

You can see the ceiling fully engulfed inside.

To see the entire story behind these and more photos, go to https://tamaraeckstadt.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/firestarter/   Thanks, Cee!  Awesome challenge again this week!

Firestarter ~


Back in the early ’90’s I was a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician with the local village fire department out in Cayuga County.  The training, though rigorous and ongoing, was an adrenalin rush ~ not quite the rush as a real call, though.  I took all the appropriate courses required to drive either the ambulance, rescue or the tanker/pumper firetrucks, as well as become a basic EMT.  For those three years I was “on call” 24/7 as a volunteer, working a “regular job” during the day and responding to calls as needed anytime between 5:00 pm and 8:00 am.  It’s a tough job, and it’s not for everyone.

My sig other at the time was also a firefighter.  And later on, he continued as a firefighter when I left the service.  The following photos were taken at a “scheduled burn down” by Aurelius Fire Department somewhere around 1991-1992.  I took them as a spectator with a Kodak 110 film camera.  It just goes to show the “progress” of an actual fire.  Take a look and I’ll comment some more on the other side.

This is how it starts.

This is how it starts. An Aurelius firefighters steps out of harms way after setting the initial fire.

The fire "catches" inside the barn.

The fire “catches” inside the barn.

The fire quickly spreads to the ceiling.

The fire quickly spreads to the ceiling.


You can see the ceiling fully engulfed inside.

You can see the ceiling fully engulfed inside.

Soon is breaks out of the walls and spreads.  I had to move across the street to avoid the intense heat.

Soon it breaks out of the walls and spreads. I had to move across the street to avoid the intense heat.

Fully engulfed.

Fully engulfed.

Firefighters practice with live hose.

Firefighters practice with live hose.



The building collapses.

The building collapses. Who’s cleaning up and rolling all that hose???

Aurelius firefighter, Barry Bench, observes the leftover devastation.

Aurelius firefighter, Barry Bench, observes the leftover devastation.

From the moment the fire was started in the first photo until is was fully engulfed was about 2-3 minutes.  Seriously.  I always thought that, should a fire start in my own home, I would have plenty of time to get a few necessities out before the fire claimed my belongings.  Not true!  In all liklihood, you would die from smoke inhalation before the flames ever got to you… if you were lucky enough, that is!  The same goes for trying to put the fire out yourself.  A small, “containable” fire can grow to life threatening in mere seconds.  Not every fire responds to water, indeed, some fires are made worse by spraying or pouring water on them!   *steps down off soap box*

Not everyone gets to see the true progression of a building fire, so I just thought I’d share what I have.  Hope you enjoyed!

Till next I blog… TTFN!

~ Tamara Eckstadt


Vital Signs 2012 ~

**Disclaimer ~ the post that follows is my own personal point of view and opinion, and not credited or approved by my employer in any way**

 I like my job, I really do.  I work for a non-profit Emergency Medical Services agency that services Emergency Medical Technicians & Paramedics, as well as all respective EMS and Fire agencies in a five-county area in Central New York.  That’s around 2500 EMTs, and 160 agencies ~ give or take a few.  I like the office in which I work, though I wish I had the luxury of having a window.  And I like and respect my supervisor, who works very hard for our colleagues, and barely has a home life.

EMS ~ it’s more than just a ride to the hospital!

 I don’t get to see too many of the people I work with/for very often, but I talk to them and email them frequently.  I’m very proud to be involved in EMS, as I think it’s a calling rather than a job (for most).  I used to be an EMT and a firefighter many years ago in rural Cayuga County.  I was a volunteer.  That means I didn’t get paid to jump and run at all hours of the night to hope into an ambulance or drive a fire truck to the scene of an accident or to someone’s home who needed medical attention or their home was ablaze.  Okay, yes, it’s an adrenalin rush for sure to hear the siren go off and then all the flashing lights etc., but in today’s EMS, it’s not that simple.  There’s continuing education, countless hours of training ~ both in and out of the classroom ~ and that’s in addition to their full time, paying job, family responsibilities and the life they don’t have that the rest of us take for granted.

 I think that’s why it kinda burns me when our EMT’s (who often double as firefighters) whether they be paid or volunteer, get so little credit in our region.  Specifically, did anyone even know Vital Signs 2012 was in the OnCenter this past weekend?  Vital Signs is the New York State EMS Conference.  This is a HUGE thing for the state, and includes state recognition for achievements in EMS.  I am very proud to say that FOUR award winners came from OUR REGION this year!  That’s four out of ten awards given out went to OUR PEOPLE!  That’s statewide!  That’s pretty darn good!  But, ya know, I didn’t see Vital Signs covered by any local publication or t.v. station at all.  Did I miss something?  Did they cover it and I just didn’t see it?  Someone point this out to me, because I Googled it and came up with n-o-t-h-i-n-g.  Yet, let the Fireman’s convention come to town and the media is all over it (no disrespect intended). 

 Okay, so I guess you could say I’m “passionate” about EMS.  Why shouldn’t I be?  These hands-on people save lives.  I’m proud to work with every one of them.

**This post was created on my lunch hour!**

*steps down off soap box*