At any moment, the men and women of the Erie Fire Department can be called into action.
“It just becomes a brotherhood,” said Erie Fire Deputy Chief Jeff Carroll. “We work so closely together, and depend on each other, that really close bonds form.”
As I interviewed Deputy Chief Carroll, the alarm bell went off.
“There goes the alarm bell now,” said Carroll. “We have to go.”
I joined Mr. Carroll to check out the scene. We were called to the foot of East Avenue, on a report of someone falling through the ice. Fortunately, it proved to be false.
But when the call comes in, the firefighters at Erie Central Fire Station are ready.
“Very seldom can you say you’re excited to go into work,” said Erie Fire Lt. Darren Hart. “But I look forward to going into work.”
Lt. Hart and the firefighters at Erie Central Fire Station work 24 hour shifts, knowing at any moment they can be called to a fire scene.
“This is a suppression division of the Erie Fire department, where we consist of four platoons,” said Deputy Chief Carroll. “Each platoon consists of 32 men, the department chief and his chiefs aide, followed by five engine companies and a truck company.”
On the heals of a fatal house fire that claimed the life of a 4-year-old girl, 2014 is shaping to be a busy year for each station.
“In my 17 years, I don’t remember this kind of string of this many big fires,” said Lt. Hart. “It just seems like every couple of days, we’ve got a really big fire that we are working on, and with this weather, it’s been very stressful on our equipment.”