Fire Recruiting

A few days back, while covering the dog being rescued from the cliff at Red Rock Park, one of the fire department officials talked briefly to myself and our police reporter about the staffing problems they are experiencing. He suggested that we come over to do a story inviting people to apply for the positions that are open. I was given an open assignment of illustrating the story.
My first thought was to simply show some file photos of the department battling a fire - the glory things. That was too easy though, so I stopped in at the FD headquarters to see what else was going on. That is when I was introduced to fire fighter Fitzgerald Nez.

Gallup fire fighters Wes Bowers, left to right, Ralph Martinez and in his second day on the job Fitzgerald Nez watch as fire fighter Ricardo Sanchez, on ladder, shows them how to operate the nozzle assembly at the end of the telescoping ladder Tuesday afternoon at Fire Station No. 1 in Gallup. Of six applicants that began the process to become fire fighters, only Nez completed the program successfully.
Nez is the rookie and was working only his second day on the job. Aside from shoveling some snow, breaking up some ice and reviewing city street maps, Nez was kept busy by the other fire fighters who said the "word of the day" was GO. When somebody said it, he and the other psuedo-rookie had to drop everyhting and run to their turn-out gear, dressing as fast as possible.

Gallup fire fighter Fitzgerald Nez, right, on his second day on the job, double checks co-worker Wes Bowers' protective gear Tuesday morning as they practice getting into their bunker gear as quickly as possible.

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