Fighting the blaze: A look from inside a building fire

DEER PARK, Texas (KTRK) -- At the Deer Park Fire Field, new cadets are kick-starting an exciting chapter in their lives. For Priscilla Pena, firefighting is in her bloodline.

"All my family are firefighters. It just took me a long time to get here," Pena said.

Here in Deer Park, most of the members are volunteers.

"Our fireside is predominantly volunteer. We all have our own day jobs and we come here and volunteer throughout the day. We work different shifts," Assistant Chief Phillip Arroyo said.

With over 70 volunteers, it's all about balance.

"I do have a wife and a set of twins that are 19 months old. So you have to balance your personal life, your fire department life, and your career," Arroyo said.

Consistent training and practice are paramount, because every call could be a life or death situation.

"The biggest thing is you have to remain calm. If you're not focused on the task at hand, it presents a lot of problems for yourself," Capt. Nathan Simecek said. "Primary search is to look for any kind of victims that may be inside the residence, pets even. We're looking for anything that we may be able to get in and rescue and pull out, before we actually advance the scene to the fire and start extinguishing it."

That primary check is vital. If they enter first with hoses spraying, it could create a scorching steam that could burn anyone inside hiding from the fire. For Pena, she's looking forward to completing the two-month long training session.

"Once I signed up online, it was a done deal. So I just hope I make it through it. (They) say it's pretty hard," Pena said.
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