EFD’s probationary firefighters take on live fire training

Updated: Oct. 2, 2020 at 5:21 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Evansville Fire Department’s probationary firefighters went through their first live fire Friday.

“This is my dream job, and when I first set the goal to make this happen, I said I was going to do to make it happen,” Jesse Riddle, an EFD probationary firefighter said. “It wasn’t even a decision. It was just something I was going to do,”

For Jesse Riddle, that journey started right before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States.

“I had my lease lined up to where it was going to run out in the March or April time frame when the academy was supposed to start, but since it got delayed indefinitely I didn’t want to recommit to a lease up in Indy. But I didn’t know when I was going to move to Evansville. So, I paired down all my possessions to where it could fit into one carload and then couch surfed for about two or three months,” Riddle said.

Now, as this recruit class gears up for weeks of training, live fires are introduced, and instructors say they’ve had to get creative doing it.

“This is extremely hands on. You’ve got to when you’re learning how to deal with patients. You have to be able to get close to them and see what’s going on, and you can see that it’s kind of a crowded environment on a fire ground. So, I think a lot of the concern was that there’s only so much you can virtually teach. I can’t show someone a video and teach them how to put a fire out,” Daniel Brown, an EFD instructor said.

Riddle says the uncertainty doesn’t scare him, and if there’s one thing he looks forward to every day, it’s the process.

“Just getting to learn new stuff every day and feeling like I’m getting closer and closer to eventually hitting the streets and doing the job,” Riddle said.

Right now, that recruit class' graduation day is set for November 20.

They will be starting in station shortly thereafter.

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