GA firefighters mourn lost AZ comrades - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GA firefighters mourn lost AZ comrades

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AFD Chief James Carswell said all firefighting is much the same.... AFD Chief James Carswell said all firefighting is much the same....
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

South Georgia firefighters say they're mourning the death of those 19 Arizona firefighters as brothers, and they understand their loss because they know the job they were doing when they were killed.

The 19 firefighter deaths was the topic of conversation this morning at the Albany Fire Department.  They say all firefighters know the dangers inherent of their job, but few quit because of it.  New recruits training today said the 19 deaths will make them study more seriously.

The new recruit class of the Albany Fire Department learns to roll hoses as their training gets underway.  27 year old Raymond Whyte said the Arizona firefighter deaths had an effect on him.

"It makes me train a little bit harder. Just pay attention to the instructions I'm being given." Whyte said

25 year old Antoine Hunt says he knew firefighting has its risks when he signed up.

"You always have to think about the danger, because the possibility that anything can happen," Hunt said.

AFD Chief James Carswell said all firefighting is much the same....and experienced firefighters understand the tragedy that killed the 19 firefighters in Arizona.

"Sometimes a fire can become so large you cannot control it.  In this case they couldn't get away from it.  They couldn't make an escape."

Firefighters train to work together as a team, and Chief Carswell said that is why firefighter deaths often occur in large numbers.  They train and practice constantly, but firefighters say the unexpected is always what they have to prepare for. These recruits all said the same reason they want to be firefighters.

"I want to be a firefighter simply because I enjoy helping people," Whyte said.

"It takes a special person to want to be a firefighter.  The ones who are good at it understand the dangers and we try to manage that the best we can. But it's a very dangerous job," Carswell said.

But they say it's the training that helps them overcome that fear and be ready to stand up to help.  And why any firefighter death is special to them.

"It brings us into a close knit group or society amongst ourselves.  Basically we feel their pain," Carswell said.

New recruits say they understand these deaths, and are still ready to answer the call.

Chief Carswell and the recruits say the dangers are always in the back of your mind, never really knowing what they face when the fire truck stops at the fire. Ready to risk their lives to protect others.

Despite those fire dangers, the stress of the job may be even worse.  Heart attacks are still the number one killer of firefighters on duty.

 

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