Playing with fire

Junior develops firefighting skills, friendships through C9 course


Photo contributed

Junior Aiden Murray (center) poses in front of a Bargersville Fire Department truck with C9 peer Austin Ney (left) and fellow-Center Grove students junior Christian Durbin (right) and junior Colin Sissons (top).

Ramona Wright, Staff Writer

Junior Aiden Murray wasn’t planning on doing more than 100 sit-ups, let alone 400. He was doing his physical training test for the Central 9 Career Center (C9) firefighting course. As he passed a thousand, everyone in his squad – his teammates, his coaches, other firefighters  – were screaming and cheering him on, which motivated him to push to 1,500 sit-ups. He kept going until his instructor stepped in to stop him. Not only did Murray earn the sit-up record in the firehouse, but he also found motivation to continue the program. 

However, Murray didn’t always have his sights set on firefighting. He originally wanted to go into the military, but C9 did not offer programs for military prospects. 

“I’ve always been interested in the military, and firefighting was the closest thing,” Murray said. “It’s something I never thought I would get to experience. [There were] lots of unexpected things but it’s really fun.”

The firefighting program has allowed him to learn many new skills, like climbing ropes, fighting fires and administering medical care–all abilities he would not have learned in traditional school. On top of these skills, firefighting has given him the opportunity to conquer fears. 

‘’C9 gives me all types of tests that prepare me to be an actual firefighter and get the actual certification. If we pass the class we move on and go onto harder skills,” Murray said. “It tests your strengths. You sometimes are in closed spaces and it’s hard to breathe, which is scary. It really has taught me to keep going, even when you’re frozen.’’

What Murray values the most, though, are his teammates. In the program, the work is mainly teamwork-based, which allows strong connections to form. Without them, Murray feels like he wouldn’t be able to continue. 

“One of the things that keeps me going every day is having teammates. Without your teammates you can’t really be successful,’’ Murray said. “Everyone at the firehouse is like a family you experience lots of things with. You can really rely on them.” 

One such experience was when Murray’s squad was during “stress week,” which is what they considered to be the most physically-challenging activities they had to do. As they kept going through the challenges, they continued to motivate each other. But, one moment stood out. 

“After the first couple challenges, we had to walk up 110 staircases,” Murray said. “It was very hard, and no one was looking forward to it.”

However, Murray and his troops kept going through the difficulty. Then, suddenly, Murray and his friends heard his teammates singing the U.S. Marine Corps song at the front of the line. This ultimately lifted each other’s spirits and motivated them to keep going. 

Since I had a big interest in the U.S. Marine Corps, it really helped to motivate me personally,” Murray said. “It helped motivate all of us and we kept going and going. Everyone overall put a ton of effort that day. We ended up doing 110 flights of stairs. It was great.”

Murray plans to apply this learning experience at C9 to his future by joining the Bargersville Fire Department. 

“I have definitely gotten braver and stronger throughout my time at C9. It really betters me as a person,” Murray said. “All the action takes a certain type of person that you learn to be throughout the course.