Don Oliver was just 2 years old when he had his first encounter with firefighters, but it was a pairing that lasted a lifetime.
It all started when Oliver’s mother had the toddler stand near the Christmas tree for a New Year’s Eve photograph in his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. Oliver said he decided to imitate his dad by flicking one of the bulbs on the tree while his mother changed the film.
“Mom heard the pop and turned around to see the curtains and all the cotton batting under the tree was on fire,” Oliver recalled. “She grabbed the curtains from around me and put them in the toilet to extinguish them. She had scars on her hand until the day she died from that.”