“Life Between Calls” by Haley Williams

When you cannot see your local firefighters, they are typically behind the walls of their respective station. Life at Station One in Richland County is not much different from any other fire station, although they have their unique ways of living and interacting that you could only discover there, by joining into the family environment they’ve created.

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There are three distinct crews that alternate working 24-hour work days. During those days, firemen such as Ryan Sondervant and Bobby Phillips often work on equipment and vehicles in the bay.

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Throughout the day, it is typical for those who have been part of the force for longer to instruct the other men on how to tend to equipment, properly train, and be prepared at any moment for a call. Here, Bobby Phillips teaches Ryan Sondervant how to inspect the innerworkings of the fire truck for it’s daily inspection.

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Many of the duties include tasks similar to chores. The crew has to tend to the firehouse as if it is their second home. Oftentimes they are found doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, or tidying offices. Here, Leroy Todd, Kenny Warr, and Nicholas McDowell spend the morning bringing the trucks out of the bay and washing each one thoroughly.

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The crew cooks all of their food at the station, taking turns putting together meals for everyone, from big breakfasts of eggs and bacon to pasta dinners and breadsticks. Josh “Moose” Moskaitis prepares spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner right before he has to abandon his duties and leave for a call.

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If possible, the crew loves to spend meal times eating together, especially breakfast as they can catch up and relax before offically starting their day. Thomas Ray, Bryan Spitzer, and Chris Byrd sit around the community eating table and eat bacon and pancakes together.

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Just as the crews are like family, so are the firefighters towards their superiors. Captains and head fire chiefs spend regular time in the bay and common areas, chatting with the crew, giving instruction, and truly getting to know each person there. Here, Ryan Sondervant and Bobby Phillips shake hands with Captain Chad Harmon as he makes his rounds in the bay.

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Tending to equipment to make sure it is in top working order is extremely important each day. Ryan Sondervant and Bobby Phillips are seen here checking underneath the main fire truck and working on technical repairs and tuneups.

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Equipment is always changing, and here, Thomas Kunak shows Bobby Phillips, Ryan Sondervant, Casey Manfredi, and Rob Hughes the new setup for the emergency bag carried with the crew to emergency calls.

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Firefighters truly live their lives together. Everyone has duties, spends time both relaxing and tending to the living space, and looks out for each other. The only difference is that at any point, everyone may have to drop whatever they are doing at once, and tend to those of Columbia in an emergency. Each crew works 24 hour shifts at a time before transferring duty to the next crew. Between shifts, friends among different crews are often found lounging in break rooms or offices together. Brothers Caleb and Campbell Jacobs relax in the captain’s office before suiting up for a day of work.

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