Some Kids Just Know

Some Kids Just Know

Paramedic Mike Porter and Public Information Officer Eric Hurst – Left 1992, Right 2016

I was a young child in elementary school when I first watched fire apparatus from the Castlewood Fire Department parade past my neighborhood in the summer of 1991.  I was particularly excited to see the giant paramedic rescue truck housed at the fire station closest to where I lived.  I was one of dozens of children who climbed into “Rescue 31” that day and met Paramedic Firefighter Michael Porter.  I wanted to be a firefighter more than anything but little did Mike and I know that today we would be working along side one another at South Metro Fire Rescue.

My Dad and I (left) at the King Soopers fire at Belleview and Yosemite in May of 2000.

My fire service career got an early start one November morning in 1995 when my father, a Disaster Team Volunteer with the American Red Cross, woke me up and allowed me to ride along with him to a 4 Alarm fire less than a mile from our home.  A commercial strip mall was ablaze with large flames and smoke filling the pre-dawn sky.  I didn’t know at the time but that building at the corner of Belleview Avenue and Yosemite Street was the scene of an arson fire 9 years earlier that claimed the life of Captain John Hager.  As the history books go it was also the site of Castlewood’s first ever recorded fire, a stubble field in 1951.

From that morning on I regularly responded to fires with my father, mostly in the south metro area but occasionally into Denver and the foothills for large wildfires like Buffalo Creek.  During that time I also became a volunteer disaster volunteer and at the age of 16 was given a Captain position with my own team of volunteers.

Castle Rock Explorers 1998

In 1997 at the age of 14 I was accepted as an Explorer with Castle Rock Fire Rescue and began my firefighter training.  At the time CRFD was operating 2 person engine companies which provided great opportunities to learn and truly be a working part of the crew.  When I turned 17 I joined the Franktown Fire Protection District as a Volunteer Firefighter and completed my Firefighter I academy just after I graduated from high school in 2003.  That summer I got my first job as a part-time dispatcher with Castle Pines Emergency Services.

At 19 years old I was eager to get a full-time position with any fire department willing to take me.  After testing with a large group of people I scored 2nd highest on my dispatcher tests and was accepted as a Communications Specialist with Littleton Fire Rescue.  While at LFR I became a Training Officer, built an Incident Dispatch Team and was voted Telecommunication of the Year by my peers in 2005.

Franktown Fire Academy 2003

Photography and Firefighting were both something I enjoyed but never thought about combining until I was first on scene of an apartment fire one morning.  I grabbed my camera and shot photos as Littleton and South Metro Firefighters battled the 3 Alarm fire.  After that incident LFR offered me a volunteer photographer position which I happily accepted.  I responded to all of the working incidents I could outside of working in dispatch and volunteering with Franktown.  Englewood and Sheridan Fire Department’s liked the idea so much that they also gave me volunteer photographer status.  In 2008 I collaborated with 3 other Colorado photographers and formed 5280Fire, a firefighting news and apparatus photo website.

Employee of the Year 2016

At the end of 2006 I was hired as a Dispatcher with South Metro Fire Rescue, a move I was excited about since it brought me back to my roots with the former Castlewood Fire Department.  I ascended through the ranks to Lead Dispatcher, Dispatch Supervisor and Operations Manager while training to be a PIO through on-call and intern work.  In 2017 after being voted employee of the year by my peers and receiving a Distinguished Service Award for my PIO work, I was appointed to the position full-time.

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