A Burning Passion


Junior Alex Riley grabs a firefighting axe off the truck.

Zach Alexander, Staff Writer

Whether it is cutting people out of cars, running into burning buildings or saving a dying patient, a firefighter works in many ways to better their community. By taking the firefighting courses offered at Central Nine Career Center, combined with experience from cadet work at the Bargersville Fire Department, Alex Riley ‘22 is preparing to undertake these responsibilities after high school.

“I’ve been a cadet at Bargersville since the beginning of August because my uncle, who is a firefighter at Indianapolis Fire Department, recommended I start there. Since Bargersville is smaller, I will learn more than if I were at a bigger department because we have much more time to actually be taught instead of our instructors having to go out on runs,” Riley said. 

Riley believes that his Cadet program gives him connections that both the high school and C9 cannot give him

“Through Cadets I have gotten to meet the Chief at White River, Bargersville, as well as Indianapolis Fire Department. Cadets have also allowed me to get my name known by several different local departments,” Riley said.

Going through a cadet class gives Riley a leg up in learning what he is going to use in his future as a firefighter. 

“At Cadets, we have already started learning about vehicle construction and how that ties into us being able to get a victim out of a crashed car. We have actually done training. However, at C9, we have only done training with ladders and a smoke-filled building,” Riley said.

While some training is about handling the crisis, some is more focused on learning how to manage the equipment required.

 “A day as a cadet firefighter is going to either house 201 or 202, depending on the training for that day. Then we have to learn where the tools get set on the truck so that they are perfect for the crew working that day,” Riley said. 

These trainings are what will prepare cadets for future work on a fire apparatus once they are hired at a station. Being a cadet also means that they must actually go out on a fire truck so they can see what occurs on a fire scene, or the scene of a car accident. 

“My first time at a live fire scene was pretty surreal,” Riley said. “I really did not do anything because it was still very early on in my career as a cadet. However just watching the engine and truck companies complete their assignments of either putting the fire out or pulling out a victim was what we had learned about for weeks, but seeing it in action was absolutely incredible.” 

Riley said seeing the career in action is why he wants to become a firefighter.

“I am working so hard to achieve my dream of working full time at a fire station because I have always felt a need to help people ever since I was little,” Riley said.