These high school seniors raced away from graduation to fight a fire

ByTommie C. Curtis

Jul 8, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It was mere minutes immediately after Andrew Patterson’s high faculty graduation ceremony experienced concluded. But rather than posing for pictures in his cap and gown, Patterson, 18, and five of his classmates suddenly found themselves sprinting to the regional fireplace station.

As active volunteer members of the Port Jefferson Fireplace Division — which serves the tiny town of Port Jefferson on the North Shore of New York’s Lengthy Island — the six pupils acquired an urgent notification about a hearth close by. They had been dressed in graduation clothing, ready to celebrate the milestone with family and mates. Alternatively, they raced to the connect with.

“I unzipped my gown as I was running,” recalled Patterson, who held his diploma in a single hand and his cap in the other as he bolted to the hearth station a several blocks away on June 24, just right after 7:30 p.m.

His Port Jefferson Higher College classmate and fellow firefighter Kasumi Layne-Stasik was working, way too — clutching a congratulatory bouquet of blue bouquets. She eliminated her earrings and necklace whilst she ran.

“I did not feel 2 times about it,” explained Layne-Stasik, 18.

After they bought to the firehouse, the students swiftly set on their protecting gear, and in a matter of minutes they have been on a firetruck, headed to a home about a 50 percent-mile away the place a fireplace experienced erupted in the garage.

“It was rather remarkable situations,” mentioned Patterson, outlining that the proximity of the graduation ceremony at the high university to the hearth station and, similarly, the fireplace station’s nearness to the blaze designed it a seamless work. “Speed is incredibly essential. We like to get there rapid.”

“It’s a bustle, but items get carried out, and it’s a actually awesome working experience,” Layne-Stasik claimed, echoing Patterson.

Within an hour, the flames have been extinguished, and no a single was wounded. The lead to of the fireplace is beneath investigation by the village fireplace marshal, the Port Jefferson Hearth Division reported.

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Patterson has been a volunteer with the hearth department considering the fact that he was 14. He participated in a junior training program, and in February 2021 he officially turned a firefighter. He has responded to a number of fires and other crisis predicaments considering that.

“When you believe of firefighters, you really don’t normally consider of 17- or 18-12 months-olds,” claimed Patterson, incorporating that he and other trainees went via demanding coaching — which includes lectures and hands-on routines — ahead of formally turning out to be associates of the department. “I certainly like the element of encouraging people. It’s good to truly make a optimistic effect.”

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Like Patterson, Layne-Stasik signed up for the department’s junior plan — for which she is now an adviser — at age 14. She was the only woman of the 8 college students in her grade to be part of.

“I never ever feel singled out or everything like that,” she mentioned. “I just enjoy currently being component of it.”

Christian Neubert, the Port Jefferson assistant fireplace main, was on obligation on graduation working day. Had the pupils not acted as rapidly as they did, he claimed, the consequence of the hearth could possibly not have been as favorable.

“The concept is that fire will double in sizing every single 30 seconds,” explained Neubert, who is also a center college teacher and taught 5 of the six seniors when they have been more youthful. “Seeing them occur up through the complete fireplace provider has been actually satisfying.”

The Port Jefferson Hearth Section has about 60 active associates and is a volunteer-only business.

“Nobody will get paid, and of these young children, numerous of them have positions,” Neubert claimed. They ended up also total-time learners. “They’re seriously focused. They reply to everything that they can.”

Active customers of the fire section get typical alarms on their telephones and pagers, and once a qualified crew comes at the fireplace station, the response energy starts.

“It’s virtually like a initial-appear, 1st-serve,” Neubert stated. “If they did not respond simply because they were at graduation, everybody would have recognized.”

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Even nevertheless it was a momentous working day for the six pupils, “they are very determined,” Neubert said, adding that he was not surprised that they all quickly sprang to action. “In our current working day and age, there is a perception that little ones aren’t like they utilized to be with acquiring drive and inspiration. This goes against that.”

“We’re chatting about the nicest youngsters that you can potentially ask for,” Neubert continued. “I couldn’t say more than enough about them. They’ve introduced so a lot lifestyle to the firehouse.”

College directors shared the sentiment.

“This is a milestone function in their lives, and even that did not prevent them from serving their local community, as they’ve done countless instances through their life,” explained Robert Neidig, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Port Jefferson Faculty District. “We could not be prouder.”

The pupils are all heading to school shortly, and a handful of are staying nearby. Continue to, they say they will all continue to be active associates of the hearth section, and any time they arrive residence to Port Jefferson for breaks, they plan to keep on responding to fire calls and other emergency conditions.

Although their graduation festivities had been slash shorter, the students claimed they would not have had it any other way. For Layne-Stasik, reporting for obligation mid-celebration to help her community manufactured graduating even more gratifying.

“The transition from us throwing all our caps up and then straight away managing to enable, that was the most unforgettable moment for me,” Layne-Stasik stated.

“It was a really superior working day,” he reported.

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