ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Less than two weeks ago, Rochester firefighters were able to save a man’s home on Crossfield Road after an attic fire broke out around 10 p.m.
This was in great part thanks to some newly graduated crew members.
The Rochester Fire Department is crediting the homeowner with quick thinking and action, as well as having working smoke alarms. His only request that night on July 1 was to have his home saved.
“I smelled smoke. I felt the ceiling. The ceiling was hot. It seemed to be localized up above the stairs and I called the fire department,” the homeowner, who wished to not be named, said.
Onboard the two responding engines were firefighters Greg Ryan and Chris Shea. Both men had just graduated from the academy on June 29, just two days prior, making this their first professional call.
“It was my first night, we had dinner, we talked about some hypothetical or situational spots that we could be put in, and probably about two hours after that, a call came in for a working house fire,” Ryan said.
“As far as responding to the call, of course, you feel a little anxious on the way on the way there. But I know for me, once we got here it was time to go work and that kind of anxious feeling goes away and you know it’s time to do the job,” Shea said.
The connection between the two firefighters also goes beyond the classroom and any previous training. While the academy provides new recruits with academic and hands-on training, nothing can mimic a real-world situation when it’s go-time. Since Greg and Chris had been at different fire stations when the call came in, when they saw each other on scene that night, their connection and trust in each other helped bring an essence of confidence about the task at hand.
“It was absolutely great,” Ryan said. “My classmate Shea here, and [my] last name Ryan, we were right next to each other in the academy so we definitely built a bond going through that six months. So coming to our first fire and seeing each other and being able to know who we’re working with and I had confidence in him right away so I knew he was going to handle his side of business and I just had to do mine.”
Another connection for Ryan and Shea: the drive for these new professionals to take on the job stems from their families.
“My father is a City Firefighter and my grandfather before him so it was kind of always in my blood and once I got the call I knew this was something I wanted to do,” Ryan said.
“My father is a retired city firefighter, as well, so he’s been retired for about six years now but growing up with him kind of drove me to do this,” Shea added.
Lt. David Abdoch with the Rochester Fire Department also expressed pride for the newly hired firefighters.
“In the academy, we do a lot of classroom work as well as hands-on but even with the hands-on, it’s hard to duplicate that extra rush of that importance of ‘somebody can get hurt if we don’t do our job and if we don’t do our job correctly,” Lt. Abdoch.
The homeowner was being assisted by the Red Cross as the house needed repairs, but he will be able to move back in.
“I’m very pleased and I’m proud of them. I’m proud of them. They did a fine job,” the homeowner says.
The Rochester Fire Department is also reminding the public that if anyone is in need of a smoke alarm or CO detector, you can call your local fire station and someone will come to install that for free.