Photo Essay

Trainees to Heroes

Gear Up

It was a cold Saturday afternoon, mid thirties, and windy. After hours of in-class training, it was time for what has been talked about for hours. It would be awesome, it would be intense, and it would be talked about for weeks. It was time for the rookies, probies, and newbies to finally get a taste of.....Live Fire!!!!!

After the words, "Let's do this!" came out of the instructor's mouth, the soon to be firemen grabbed their gear and walked out. What a cool sight as they walked across the compound as a team and as comrades. As I looked around I could see pants being pulled up, suspenders snapping, jackets being thrown on, air tanks being strapped on, and masks tightened. Who was ready? They were. They were ready to finally see fire that was nicknamed "The Beast."

While surveying my surroundings I could see multiple stations being set up, but there was one that caught the eye of many, including myself. Everyone wanted a taste of the enclosed trailer. I made sure I got into the right location to get the best shots that I could. Trainers were ready and so were the probies. As the trailer was lit and temperatures reached over 800 degrees inside, they went in like it was the real thing. It seemed like there was no fear for any that went in to take on "The Beast". Group after group went in and upon return you could see the smiles on the faces as the masks came off. Finally the trainer, after being inside for multiple groups, came out to be sprayed off to get cooled down. I could hear him tell others, "No other place I would rather be. I love my job." As afternoon ended, you could tell the future heroes could not wait until the night session.

As nighttime fell, the anticipation I had for the night session was great! I have heard about this night for months, and was nervous about capturing the moment. It was cold and dark, which is not a good situation for photography, but I was ready to make every moment count and document our new heroes.

When the first flame ignited, I could not believe the intensity and warmth I felt from where I was standing. It lit up the sky like the sun setting in the evening. I got very excited! As the firemen made their way up to the flames, I began to wonder how close they were going to get. That question was answered as they crept closer and closer, arm and arm in perfect harmony. You could hear the leader of the group yelling for the next step to be taken closer to "The Beast." Each step closer you could see the stream of water getting wider and wider like a force field protecting them from the enemy. Finally, "The Beast" was tamed, and they were ready for the last station.

This was it, the finale, the end, what everyone had been waiting for all day. When the last station was lit, the fireball went up into the air 20 feet high! What an awesome site! First I watched "The Beast," and then looked at the heroes. Everyone was suited up and had everything strapped on tight. Not even "The Biggest Beast" of the night was going to slow these future firemen down! Team by team each conquered "The Beast" without flaw.

Now they are true firemen, future heroes to every little kid that they pass. As they left, you could hear them say, "Be safe my brothers."

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—The JPG team

5 responses

  • JPG

    JPG gave props (17 Mar 2013):

    Congrats on being The Story of the Week!

  • Shawn Pilkington

    Shawn Pilkington said (17 Mar 2013):

    Thank you very much JPG

  • Carol Arntsen Masiak

    Carol Arntsen Masiak gave props (18 Mar 2013):

    Congrats on story of the week - my vote!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (21 Mar 2013):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (21 Mar 2013):

    Congrats on making Story of the Week!

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