Student News for Horizon Honors Secondary School

The Horizon Sun

Student News for Horizon Honors Secondary School

The Horizon Sun

Student News for Horizon Honors Secondary School

The Horizon Sun

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Teen Firefighters Answer the Call

A group of boys volunteer at their local firehouse in Pampa, Texas.
The Smokehouse Creek Fire was alleviated with the help of some teenage boys.
ABC News
The Smokehouse Creek Fire was alleviated with the help of some teenage boys.

When the largest wildfire in the history of Texas made its way to the town of Pampa, a local group of teenage boys, whose ages range from 14 to 17, volunteered at their local fire department.

 

Nathan Slater, a fifteen-year-old boy, knew exactly where he needed to be. On Feb. 26, Slater told his mother Christie Slater that he needed to respond to a page from the Hoover Volunteer Department, where he had been training and volunteering for the last couple of months as a junior firefighter, according to ABC News. N. Slater said that he was both excited and nervous at the same time. When he arrived at the station, he realized that he was not the only volunteer. Throughout the week, nine other junior firefighters volunteered and were deployed with experienced adults fighting the wildfires around the town, which forced the evacuation of some homes. The teens were given various tasks by their supervisors from providing supplies to members of the team to hosing down fires and heated grass according to the Daily Mail.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire, centered in the northern Texas panhandle, burned more than a million acres of land in Texas and 25,000 acres in Oklahoma according to ABC News. Sadly, only fifteen percent of the wildfire is contained as of a week ago, according to CBS News. Gage Hardman, another fifteen-year-old volunteer, worked late into the early morning hours for three days in a row in order to help resist the fire. Moreover, he stated that he was afraid when he came into contact with the smoke and fire. He also felt an adrenaline rush as he assisted the team in putting out those flames. Kade Preston, a seventeen-year-old, said that the brigade’s superior officers helped ensure the safety of everyone as they performed their duties.

Preston added that they check on each other after their shifts, according to the Daily Mail. For Hardman, it helped alleviate some of his stress and it felt to him that he was not alone. For some of the junior firefighter parents, it has been both exciting and scary. C. Slater said that she was in tears when she dropped her son off at the fire department on Feb. 26 and when her son came back from his shift early in the morning on Feb. 27. Moreover, Heather Hardman, G. Hardman’s mother, said that she was very proud of her son’s courage. He stepped up when the community needed all of the assistance that they could get.

Many of the junior firefighters stated that they joined the effort because they were bored and wanted to stay out of trouble. After fighting the wildfires, many of them stated that they plan to contribute more to the fire department where they can and may possibly look into being a first responder as a career when they grow up. For now, as the wildfires continue to spread in more parts of Texas, the junior firefighters hope that their work, camaraderie, and spirit can inspire others to lend a hand during dark times.

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