My dad is a member of the North Patchogue Fire Department, and I asked him about his job.
I asked him if the fire hydrant at a fire has ever stopped working. He explained that, luckily, they have always worked when needed during a fire, but when they test hydrants they have occasionally not worked. My dad also told me that being a part of the firehouse has made him more outgoing and he enjoys being a part of the firehouse family.
The biggest and scariest fire for my dad was on Aug. 4, 2008. He said a large warehouse caught fire and as firefighters rushed in to put out the fire, many of them became trapped and the radios blared with calls of “Mayday,” which means help. My dad was one of the men trapped that day; thankfully he was able to get out.
I asked him if they have ever arrived at a fire and just let it burn. He explained that sometimes, yes, they do because the fire is too intense and it is not safe for the firefighters to enter. I asked if there were any other fires as bad as the one in 2008, and he told me that any fire is a terrible fire.
I like to go down and visit him at the fire department and help clean the trucks and also meet the other firefighters. I respect and look up to my dad as a fireman — he is my hero.
Jennifer Hempfling’s fifth-grade class, Canaan Elementary School, Patchogue