Loyalist College student fighting fires on his free time

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Andrew Hole, 20, is a welding and fabrication technician student at Loyalist College. But in his free time he goes home to volunteer as a firefighter. Photo by Buckley Smith

BELLEVILLE – For the average college student, the weekend means free time to spend with your friends and possibly a couple alcoholic beverages. For Andrew Hole, 20, it means heading home to Parham to fight fires.

And he has been fighting fires since he was 16, when he began as a junior firefighter with the Central Frontenac Fire And Emergency Services.

Andrew Hole, 20, has been a volunteer firefighter since he was 16 years old. Photo by Buckley Smith

Hole, a second-year welding and fabrication student at Loyalist College, says that is has never been an issue for him to give up his free time.

"That's the way a lot of people who look at it like that. Like I know a few firefighters that say I'm not working on Saturday nights. If everyone had that same attitude we would be screwed." said Hole. "It doesn't really bother me that way. It's better to save somebody's life or a house then sit around with your buddies."

Hole grew up in a family with many firefighters, including one of his uncles who has been serving for 35 years and counting, which was a huge influence on him to do the same.

"A couple of my other uncles were on the same fire service, and lots of other people I knew had done it," said Hole. "So I had seen it and I was around it, so I thought I would give it a shot."

On top of the many family members who had been part of the fire service, Hole says his mother has been an active volunteer for as long as he can remember, citing her involvement in a recreational committee.

"I don't know the exact numbers, but I believe they (the recreational committee) raised $30,000 to put up a new playground at the ballpark."

And while his parents were very active in volunteer work, it was never something he felt pushed into, though he still wanted to be a part of it.

After helping out in his hometown, Hole says he was given a different point of view on the community and the people that make it work.

"It's nice to be able to help out people. You just see the community from a different point of view. You see who does what and when and how. It's like you have the birds eye view of things going on. You get to see all the stuff that happens behind the scenes to make the community work."

Fighting fires is definitely helping out your community, but Hole says when you are in the middle of a fire call you don't notice if the owner is someone you know, you just do what you were trained to.

"When you’re on a call the fire fighter in you turns on and the training you have makes you just blank that out and do your job. You don’t know them in that moment."

And after doing this for four years now, he says he could see himself doing this for as long as he can.

"I don’t see myself going anywhere else. I could see myself doing it for the rest of my life until I’m unable."

 

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