On October 12, 2009, Dustin and I became “honorary firefighters.” We wore the gear, handled firehouse duties, and even engaged in a lively conversation at the dinner table. Who would have thought that asking for a simple picture would embark us on one of the most exciting days so far this semester.
As we roamed around Mantua searching for story ideas, we ran into firefighter Chris Smith, who was standing in front of engine house 44 on Haverford Ave, quietly enjoying his down time. After approaching him and asking his opinion on the tax cuts that the fire department will have to take with this new budget, he seemed kind of weary to speak on the subject. He left us for a short time to go find his captain, who came out and invited us in for some coffee.
Once inside, our adventure began. The captain informed us on who to speak to regarding our story idea, and instead of sending us on our way, he took us on a tour of their 100-year-old firehouse. Afterwards, he asked us to join them on their mission to empty water from the pumps in the surrounding hydrants. We knew we would capture some great pictures, so we accepted the offer. After the task was completed, they invited us back to the firehouse for pizza, which of course we accepted as well.
After arriving back at the firehouse, we tried on the actual gear that they use to fight fires, as you can see in our picture. Then, we joined the guys at the table, and indulged in some delicious Dominos pizza, as they filled us in on firehouse nicknames and memorable moments.
After spending about three hours total with the guys, the siren in the kitchen rang, signaling an emergency that they were needed for. As we said our goodbyes, they made us promise to come back, with the incentive of a ride on the fire truck if we do. We’re definitely going to take them up on their offer, and hope to get a great interview next time as well.
--Tiffany Jackson and Dustin Khebzou, Group 8, Mantua/Parkside