Into the fire, up in the flames


Photo by Kelley Ryan

Montana Hill is a junior here at Wayne State. She is a volunteer on the Wayne Fire Department.

Brianna Parsons, Staff Writer

Flames burned, smoke filled the air of the rooms, fear wondered around the victims.

WSC junior Montana Hill was ready to take it all on and forge into the burning building as volunteer firefighter for the Wayne Fire Department. Ever since she was young, her parents were on the firefighter crew and they were both EMT’s. As she says, she has firefighting in her veins.

“I am a third-generation firefighter,” Hill said. “My parents were on the fire department back home and my grandpa was too. So I took some classes and I went in and filled out an application, [to become a volunteer firefighter].”

Hill was always interested in the firefighter life.

“[Since I am] a third-generation firefighter, I would see my parents leave for fire calls and sometimes they would bring me with them,” Hill said. “They did training across the street and I was watching from my front yard at the age of 10. As soon as I was old enough, I went for it.”

Hill continuously learns lessons as a volunteer firefighter.

“I learned how to fight fires but the most important lesson I’ve learned were from my brothers and sisters on the department,” Hill said. “[They were] about trust and faith and I have never put more trust and faith into people than I go into a burning building with. I’ve learned how to be on a team like none other, how to lean on people, how to support others and I’ve learned what it was like to be in a brotherhood because I have never been in an organization that felt like family to me.”

Her life plans are planned out with the firefighting service even after her other goals would be accomplished.

“I will be going to medical school, after I become an M.D., I am definitely going to go back to the fire service,” Hill said. “It was something that was in my blood, I have been in it for a year now, it means the absolute world to me and it was a huge defining part of who I am.”

Training hands-on was scary for her, but her brothers got her through it.

“When I was in my first fire, the training was with a trailer and one of the guys could tell I was scared because going into a fire for the first time is scary,” Hill said. “At the end, he held out his hand [to mine] and walked with me through the last room, it touched me.”

Volunteering as a firefighter, Hill knew that it would change her well-being.

“It has made me a better person,” Hill said. “It has made me who I am. I thought it has made me a lot less selfish. I am willing to lay down my life to save any of my brothers and sisters.”

“We were at a fire call in the middle of the night, someone’s house burned down, and I was on interior [duty] and one of the guys whose house it was just pulled me in and he just hugged me and said ‘thank you’ and I said you are welcome.”

Being a part of the firefighter family has always made Hill feel very honored.

“My favorite part is just being a part of the Wayne fire family; we work well together on scene and we just bond and help each other,” Hill said. “You always have someone to lean on, I have been in burning buildings with them and have seen things with them, I can’t not love them like family.”

Balancing the college life and firefighter life is a challenge for Hill.

“It is crazy [balancing both worlds] because you do not plan fire calls,” Hill said. “I do worry if I have a lot of events in one day. If the fire call goes off because I am an RA, president of Active Minds, have to make time for fire meetings, drills, training and classes I have to take to make sure I do things safely.”

Firefighting will always be a part of Hill for the rest of her life.

“I still want to be a firefighter EMT medical director for a volunteer rescue squad as well,” Hill said.

Hill was not expecting much, but she received much more than she ever imagined going into the Wayne Volunteer Firefighting Department.

“I walked into it, not expecting much of it, just something I did but it has really changed my life for the better,” Hill said. “I am a better person and now I am really not afraid of anything ever. I have made a lot of great connections and I know it is something that is always going to be a part of me and I am never going to leave it behind.”

Whether it is hanging out in the fire station or out on duty, Hill said she loves being a volunteer firefighter and she could not be more honored to be one.