On South Salina Street firefighters give us a glimpse into their job that doesn’t let up due to weekends. Captain Thomas Clarke, who has been with the department for 30 years, said their days usually consist of “checking vacant structures to make sure they’re secure, and ensuring that people and kids don’t go into them and start fires.”
Concerning the firehouse itself, Clarke explains that “it’s a house that needs to be maintained. Here we do everything ourselves, cleaning, mopping and maintenance.”
He walked us over to the trucks and went on to let us know that there are two companies that work out of House 8. “We work together but we have different jobs,” Clarke said.
Pointing to the back of one of the smaller trucks, Clark explained that they frequently tackle small kitchen fires and medical runs. “This truck goes out four to six times a day for things like diabetic related issues, difficulty breathing or heart attacks,” he said.
In the past they didn’t get dispatched for baby deliveries but recently it has been added to their list of duties. Today the station’s firefighters are certified and have OBG kits. “Certain things they didn’t dispatch us for,” says Clarke. “This house alone has delivered three babies.”
Mike Raymie, driver of Engine 8, has been with the department for six years. He said that in their downtime they usually tidy up the house or “exercise in the weight room. We also play basketball and racquetball.”
When illustrating some of the dangers of the job, Clarke said that the worst fires are “the ones where you get burned.” Even with the fire suit on he said that “there are limitations to everything.”
We definitely appreciate the risks that the men of Firehouse 8 assume daily and the dedication they have in assisting the residents of the South Side. In million dollar fire trucks they utilize their expertise to serve us 24 hours a day.