EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSNewly Sworn In Charleston Firefighters Survived Rigorous Training
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Taisha Walker
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Bethany Simmons
Reported: Oct. 3, 2013 12:24 PM EDT
Updated: Oct. 3, 2013 3:43 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Being a firefighter is no easy task. Firefighters put their lives on the line every day by running into burning buildings while wearing heavy gear and withstanding extreme temperatures.
Eyewitness News spent a day with the 11 men who trained with the Charleston Fire Department to see what it was like to have the shoe on the other foot.
Kristopher Dight, Mike Eiesenhauer, Zane Fitzwater, Jeremy Griest, Adam Giullod, Joe Huston, Derek Kagey, Donald Kunkle, Nathaniel Norris, Mike Pierce and Joel Sagasser spent 12 weeks at the Charleston Fire Department training academy, learning how to prepare for the worst. Their rigorous training taught them how to work with hazardous materials, extinguish fires, work in confined spaces and much more.
They worked to extricate people from vehicles by using air-pressured tools, such as the Jaws of Life, to cut and access the patients inside. The exercise took 30 minutes with instruction, but 10 minutes is ideal for a real-life situation, Capt. Darren Virag of the Charleston training division said.
Virag said it is a constant challenge to find trainees as devoted as this group of 11.
"When I came on the job back in 2000, it seems like there was 800 to 1,000 taking the test. Now when you give a test you maybe get 100, depending if they are applying for paramedics,“ Virag said.
Despite what some would call a shortage, the Charleston Fire Department, along with Mayor Danny Jones, is excited to add on a few good men.
Jones swore the men in Thursday morning at City Hall. Ten of the firefighters will be stationed in Charleston, while the remaining firefighter will work in Nitro.
“These guys will be close to me because we've been through a lot of training, a lot of sweat, a lot of hard work,” new firefighter Kristopher Dight said. “I'm glad to be a part of this group and with these guys."
As their family and friends looked on, the men received their badges from Deputy Chief of Operations Tim Roe. The group also celebrated over cake.
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