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Local firehouse has one of the only Resident Firefighting Programs in the state
FAIRHAVEN- The Samoa Peninsula Fire District is the only agency in Humboldt County and one of few in the state with a Resident Firefighter Program. Resident firefighter Derek Satterlee said,
"The firehouse is our life. We do not go home each night to our family."
The program has been around for over a decade and allows both students and seasonal firefighters to kick start their career. Chief Dale Unea said, "It is a great way to have a volunteer base that you can count on and know that they are going to be there."
The program has requirements however, Unea said they all have to become EMT’s, go through the fire academy, and all have to take the local volunteer academy.
Chief Dale Unea said there is room for six firefighters in the house but it is a tough deal, trying to deal with house rules and responsibilities on top of being a student and a volunteer firefighter.
"I ask for a two year commitment and some have stayed even longer,” said Unea.
Nick Bollier has been a firefighter for seven years and in the program for three, and said it has allowed him to jump start his career,
"Getting a start in the fire service can be really hard I think because there can be a lot of competition. This place has really allowed me to get the experience I need to be successful," said Bollier.
They are able to run on calls and battle fire, which in the long run will give them the experience they need to move forward, but living in a firehouse can also be a challenge,
"We live in a public building, so anyone can walk in at any given time and expect a service from you," said Bollier.
Unea said the program is a win-win for both the community and the residents who live at the firehouse. Residents can serve the community in a faster response time, but also gain the hands-on experience they need to continue pursing their dream.