In the worst situations, when others are running away, they are the ones bravely running toward it.
With their iconic helmets, protective gear, and axes, for these men and women its about saving lives, while putting their own on the line.
“Our every day is everyone else’s worst day of their life. When we go out on a call it’s a fire, or someone having a heart attack, or a car wreck. That’s an every day aspect of being a fireman,” said Cpt. Dave Harmon of the Wheeling Fire Department.
Even though they face dangerous conditions almost daily, firefighters across the Ohio Valley often find themselves dealing with far more than what they trained for.
Often times it’s the mental side of the job that can take the biggest toll.
“I don’t really talk, but I talk to a few people about some of the tough calls that I’ve had. Other than that I kind of only talk to my captain, maybe my duty chief,” said fireman Frank Zambito.
Volunteer firefights have it no different, expect for the lack of pay.
The training and extra time just learning just to operate the firetruck can be exhausting and time consuming.
Brian Spencer, a volunteer fireman at Clearview Volunteer Fire Department said, “its tough because we only get so much money to help, but yet what are we supposed to do. You can only do what you have for resources.”
Through the smoke and flames, the sirens and the tears, there’s one common theme for firefighters that none welcome the title every one of them have already earned, being called a hero.
“We’re just every day people doing a job. We enjoy helping people. We definitely don’t do it for the money. We just enjoy helping people and we have a great group of guys here and we all work together as a team,” said Harmon.
“I don’t look at myself as hero, I never have and I never will. That’s not what we’re in here for. We’re in here to do what we need to do because we love to do it,” added Spencer.
“Not at all! I just don’t consider myself one. No real answer. I do this because I want to help people. Heroes, I don’t think want to be heroes,” said Zambito.