A must read: Baptism by Fire, A New York Firefighter Confronts His First Test

Previous coverage of this fire

Drop what you’re doing and take a few moments to read this. You won’t regret it. It’s an article featured in the Sunday New York Times. It’s the story of a fire we told you about when it occurred in the early morning hours of March 16. That’s when FDNY probie Jordan Sullivan of Ladder 105 caught his first fire and at the same time saved a young life. Veteran Firefighter Bryan Kelly grabbed a second child from the burning apartment.

Reporter N. R. Kleinfeld does what journalism, when done right, can do best. Kleinfeld takes you inside the Brooklyn firehouse where Sullivan is assigned, helps you understand the life of an FDNY probie and shows just what the firefighters faced that morning.

When this incident occurred, it was hard not to notice how poised Jordan Sullivan was in front of the TV cameras. I’ve seen plenty of chiefs who have a tough time with that part of the job. I’m glad we get the chance to learn more about Sullivan, this fire and those at Ladder 105 who are guiding this young firefighter.

Here’s how it starts. Make sure you read it all and watch the videos with the article:

In the hushed darkness of a chilly night, a fire truck carrying six men rolled toward its Brooklyn firehouse. They had just finished up at a women’s shelter, where steam wisping from an iron had set off an alarm. Not much to it. There had been a few other runs for Ladder Company 105 — a gas leak, a stuck elevator — but for Jordan Sullivan, another 15-hour shift was unspooling without what he so eagerly awaited.

NY FDNY Brooklyn Jordan Sullivan 1

A fire.

In his 96 days in the field as a firefighter, a probie out of the Fire Academy — the Rock, as it’s familiarly known — it had not happened. Around the firehouse, the veterans continually swapped fire stories. That was how they both taught and regaled one another, and the stories were good ones. He could not contribute. He hadn’t had a fire.

Sometimes a probie goes on the maiden run of his career and, bam, a fire. Usually, in New York, it happens during the first few tours. Maybe it takes a week or even a month. But 96 days — nearly triple digits! That was ridiculous.

Read entire New York Times article by N. R. Kleinfeld

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