Fighting fires and forging friendships

Life as part of a local fire company


Mrs. Giancola

Senior Scott Cooper proudly wears the Perrysburg Fire Company t-shirt. He says he is thankful for the members of that organization for always having his back.

Scott Cooper, Guest Contributor

As the wind whipped, rain struck against the truck like bullets, lightning cracked across the sky and thunder sounded. I couldn’t even hear the sirens. I put on my soon-to-be soaked bunker pants with my yellow and black boots, slung my coat over my shoulders and zipped it shut. I put my helmet on and clipped it on with a loud snap. I pulled my gloves on with shaking hands. I put on my reflective velcro rip away vest from hell; I hated this thing but I had to have it on. The truck stopped and chief gave us the OK; we grinned at each other on an adrenaline high and headed out into the beast. I knew that even in the thick of trouble, everyone on that truck had my back and I had theirs, it is a brotherhood after all.

I joined the Perrysburg Volunteer Fire Company on June 11th, 2014. My Father had joined only a few months prior. I like to follow in his footsteps but also break the mold. He is aspiring to be a pumper operator and I also want to be a pumper operator, but I want to also be an interior firefighter as well as an EMT. After joining, the members of the fire company welcomed me in and took me under their wings. I have learned a lot from them, ranging from first aid to rolling fire hose. The part that inspired me after joining the fire company was that everyone is there for everyone else; selflessness is kind of the job description right next to rescuing itty bitty kittens out of trees.

After about a year in the company there was a severe storm and we were called out for hazard calls between trees on the power lines to flash flooding and evacuations. I was put on the truck and we were headed for two massive trees that had been uprooted in the 70 mph winds that were leaning over the roadway and on the powerlines. We had no sooner than closed down the section of the road that the live wires had snapped. The trees fell across the road, and live wires were on the ground. We had to move the truck farther away and place an emergency action request with the power company, who shut off all power in the immediate area so that we could clear the roadway. The trees were about 2 feet in diameter and were tough pine; we got out our chainsaws and they gave us their we-won’t-start-unless-you-work-for-it attitude by almost starting but dying instantly. It was annoying; we were soaking wet, cold, and this didn’t help.

Sometime later the saws growled to life as if awoken rudely, and we set to work. We ended up cutting for an hour and a half and moved them off to the sides so that we could open the road again. Once the road was open and the power company arrived, we were cleared to return to the fire hall, and we rejoiced. From the time that the tone went out to the time that we returned to the hall it was 8 hours; I didn’t get home until 2:30 am.

Throughout that call all of us kept our heads on a swivel and watched out for each other. When the lines snapped, if someone hadn’t shouted that the trees were going a specific way, we would have lost one of our brothers under that tree. But disaster was averted because we all were watching out for each other and were able to all go home in one piece. The people of the Perrysburg Fire Company have become my brothers and sisters who inspire me to do my best. I wouldn’t give that up for the world, because the fire company is my world.