Chris Dugan never envisioned himself as a firefighter until he experienced a house fire.
It was Christmas Eve and Dugan’s wife was due to deliver their son. He was working at Reed & Hertig when he received an emergency phone call. “I thought, ‘Oh, we’re going to have a baby,’” he said. “No, ‘It’s your next door neighbor. You have smoke coming out all the ends of your house.’”
When Dugan got to the scene he was stunned.
“When you’re that age and you got a fire, you’re thinking, ‘How am I gonna pay for this?’” he said. “I mean, I lost everything. I got a family, two kids and one on the way, it’s Christmas and our house is on fire. What am I going to do?” He remembers watching the firefighters. Most of them were his age and he recognized them from different businesses around town, but did not associate them with the fire department. After the fire was out, he asked the chief who he had to pay.
“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t pay anybody. This is a volunteer fire department,’” he recalled.