The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Firefighting dangerous work

By Steve Knight/editor-in-chief

Most firefighters believe firefighting is the greatest profession in the world.

It can also be one of the most dangerous.

During the recent wildfires in southern California, two Los Angeles County firefighters, Capt. Tedmund Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo Quinones, were killed Aug. 30 when the truck they were driving slid 800 feet off a road into a deep canyon.

They were attempting to light backfires to allow for an escape route for their men at Camp 16 — one of 10 locations around rural Los Angeles County where firefighters who specialize in brush fire suppression maintain bases — where towering flames were about to overrun the camp.

The men, escaping through a lull in the flames, radioed to find out Hall and Quinones’ location.

“Supe 16?”

“Supe 16?”

The radio would remain silent.

Fire officials determined that arson caused the fire, the largest in Los Angeles County history, triggering a murder investigation by the sheriff’s office.

Quinones, 34, joined the department in 1998 and Hall, 47, had been with the department for 28 years.

Whenever hearing news about firefighters dying in the line of duty, especially a fire ruled as arson, I get a sick feeling in my stomach.

We all remember that feeling on Sept. 11, 2001, when 344 New York firefighters were killed at Ground Zero, the largest loss in a single incident in history.

I’m showing my age here, but as a kid watching the television show Emergency!, a 1970s program about the Los Angeles County Fire Department and its then-fledgling paramedic program, I learned to admire these guys.

The NBC show portrayed heroic firefighters and paramedics with typical, everyday problems.

In 2007, 118 firefighters, including three females and 68 volunteers, died while on duty, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

In my opinion, whoever answers the bell is a hero.

Some of those future heroes are TCC students, attending the fire training program on NW Campus.

Those students would probably tell you that firefighting is the world’s greatest profession.

And nothing makes me feel safer. Thank you for your service to our communities.

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