Dave Rowell’s shirt says it all: “Euclid Fire: Nobody Fights Alone.” When I meet Rowell, a captain in the Euclid Fire Department, we pull beat-up chairs across from each other in the duty office of Station 1, a functional-looking brick building on a strip of East 222nd Street. Outside the office, the bay doors are open. A Dalmatian sits out front of the station, plopped adorably between two red garage doors. Look quickly, and you’d miss that it’s a statue. Out back, firefighters wipe down one of their fire engines, which gleams red and chrome in the morning sun. As Rowell and I talk, they whirl up the siren and flash the lights.
Some firefighters are all too happy to regale you with stories of their daring. Rowell is not one of those. He tends toward the reserved, valiant sort, the kind of guy who is almost allergic to talking about himself.