My name is Kyle McDermott. I have been a volunteer firefighter with the Twentynine Palms Fire Department since December of 2007. As a volunteer firefighter I have been assigned between four and ten 24-hour shifts per month, depending on the scheduling needs to keep apparatus available for emergency response at all times. During my time here, I have had the opportunity to respond to an array of emergency incidents within the community. I have also had the privilege of attending specialized state fire marshal training courses which allow me to build upon my skills to better serve the community I work in and prepare myself for a career firefighter position.
Currently, I travel 230 miles round trip to volunteer my spare time with the community. Though my travel time to and from Twentynine Palms can at times be strenuous, the satisfaction that I get from serving the Twentynine Palms community is well worth it. I take great pride in knowing that my role here is not only vital to the success of the department, but also to the health and well being of the community. Along with the gratification that comes from helping others, the department also offers the rare opportunity to work as one of two volunteer firefighters assigned to a career company officer on a frontline apparatus. This unique experience, in conjunction with the camaraderie and closeness of the department members, is what continues to support me in being a volunteer firefighter with Twentynine Palms.
While in my 22nd year of life I was the victim of a house fire. I awoke at 430 am to some sort of explosion in my garage, just below my bedroom. When everything was said and done, the only thing left were the clothes on my back. This was both a curse and a blessing. After escaping the smoke filled house, I was witness to a life changing experience. I watched as the first arriving units go to work laying line and making their initial attack on the fire ripping through my home. Heavy smoke and fire was pouring out the second story windows, the room I had been sleeping in just minutes before! With the arrival of secondary units these firefighters proceeded to aggressively attack the fire and achieved knockdown within minutes. I was in shock. I had never seen such a thing. I had never met any of these people before and they were risking their life for me. I was in awe. And so it was, on a cold, misty March morning with the heat of what my world was on my face I decided to become a Firefighter. I want to do for others what these people had done for me.
Source of photo and story: 29 Palms Fire Department webpage