Fighting fires, saving lives

Fighting fires, saving lives

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Lubbock Fire Rescue staffs 19 stations across town. They respond to a variety of emergency situations, ranging from fires to search and rescue. Any call-out could be a life-or-death situation. 

When a house explosion rocked a South Central Lubbock neighborhood in August, Charlie Turner and Lee Oles were the first to arrive on scene.

"They were burned bad enough they needed to be taken to the hospital as soon we possible," Oles said.

Painters were spraying the home when fumes ignited.

"Our first priority is always life safety, and so when we saw those two guys everything went to the back burner," Turner said.

The two workers suffered major burns. Turner said it is a call that still sticks out to him, but he did not let fear overtake him.

"We've all received pretty good training and when you're in that moment, it's just second nature," Turner said. 'You just do what you've been trained to do." 

At every station, they are dual-trained as both firefighters and EMT's. Stephen Marquez has been with station 17 for three years and said they are like family.

"There's days where we probably want to ring each other's necks and there's days where we get along well," Marquez said.

He said that bond is crucial, especially during times of crisis.

"My life is in their hands, and their life is in my hands," Marquez said. "He's got to trust me going into a building, he's got to trust me, knowing I know my training well to get him out if anything was to happen."

For Marquez, It was his calling. Growing up, his father was a firefighter and he could not imagine pursuing any other career.

"People ask, 'I can't do that, I couldn't do that'," Marquez said. "But there's some jobs I couldn't do either, but this is one of them, I really don't consider a job, It's a place that I come and I enjoy it so much."

He said the most rewarding aspect of the job is serving others.

"We like to make the community happy because when they're asleep at night or something happens at three in the morning, who are they going to call?" Marquez said. "911, usually, and they're most likely going to get the fire department."

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