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Flaming heat flares as the fire blows across the field destroying anything and everything in its path. Witnesses stand by, watching the firefighters hurry out of the engine. They drag out the hose, put out the fire, and look like heroes.
Stevie Fisher is strong mentally and physically, but emergency situations take a toll. Witnessing death, pain, and flames can be overwhelming with fear.
“Overcoming uncomfortable situations is how you grow. There are a lot of iffy situations I have been put through that I had to adapt to and overcome. I see people tell their deepest darkest secrets when they’re close to death,” Fisher said.
Fisher is a certified firefighter interning with Clinton-Warren County, he is working on his EMT certification at the Warren County Career Center.
Fisher struggles with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a disorder in which a person has difficulty experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. He doesn’t let that stop him from following his dreams as being a firefighter.
“There are things I have seen, done, and smelled that trigger PTSD for me. I don’t want to sound soft by saying that, but there are some times where it’s really bad,” Fisher said.
It’s not only Fisher who has to act calm in tough situations, it’s all firefighters. An unspoken rule of firefighting is not to show emotion. Firefighters expect each other to keep a smile on their face and keep calm while witnessing something traumatizing like death.
“Due to my job and my personality I almost constantly wear a fake smile. I get into a feeling that I always need to help everyone and that I’m not good enough to help some people,” Fisher said.
Firefighters have a nine percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer, along with a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the general population. While having cancer is a fear factor for Fisher, his fears are more family based.
“My greatest concern about being a firefighter is not coming home to my family or messing up and being the reason someone loses their life. Cancer scares me also, but it’s part of the job,” Fisher said.
Edwina, Fisher’s mom, has watched her son grow into a caring and strong person. Encouraging him through life as a firefighter and as a person, she’s been there for it all.
“He’s sweet but tough. He thinks of other people before himself. He is smart. He has common sense, and he can get himself out of a jam when needed. He’s just an all around terrific person,” Edwina said.
Fisher’s niece, Haylee Steele, has grown up watching his dedication and hard work, noting how he always puts people’s needs before his own.
“His personality while firefighting is strong, brave, and courageous. His personality outside of firefighting is no different. He always puts his best effort into everything he does,” Steele said.
Steele has been there through the thick and thin of Fisher’s progress of becoming a firefighter. Being able to witness his successes and him finding himself with his career makes her proud.
“Stevie becoming a firefighter has changed him for the better. He is living out his dream. I’ve seen an increase of happiness in him and I can tell that he has truly found his purpose in life,” Steele said.
Ashton Conte can always count on Fisher to have his back in and out of work, whether it’s for homework, or to save a life.
“He would give the shirt off his back to help anyone in need. He is kind hearted and always there for you if you need it,” Conte said.
Fisher dedicated his teen years to becoming a firefighter and earning his EMT certificate. Although he may have missed out on regular teen things like parties, hangouts, and other things, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“With me becoming a fireman at such a young age, I feel I had eliminated my childhood or teenage years because of the stuff I took on and decided to do, but it’s the best job in the world. I wouldn’t change anything,” Fisher said.
Fisher’s mom feels responsible for starting his passion in firefighting at a young age.
“I feel a little responsible for that because I made his room red walls, and he had the coolest firefighter room ever when he was like five,” Edwina said.
Helping people makes Fisher happy. He wants to put his passion for that towards saving lives and putting out fires.
“I always wanted to help people and I feel like no one hates the fire department. So I decided to dedicate myself to the fire service,” Fisher said.
Because he is young, impressing the community as a teen firefighter is important to Fisher.
“I have to do more to impress people and being a fireman as an 18 year old kid, you’re looked down on and treated as a kid until you can prove yourself. Luckily, for me, I joined and caught 5 working structure fires within a short period of time that showed I was capable of doing a lot,” Fisher said.
Fisher continues to increase his skills and techniques as time goes on. Waiting to be a certified EMT has taken hard work and dedication.
“It’s very surreal being a fireman at a young age. I feel like I have grown up and become a man faster than some I know. Now that I am one test away from being an EMT it’s even more intense,” Fisher said.