SOUTH WHITEHALL, Pa. - When the call comes in volunteers with the Cetronia Fire Department are on their way faster than ever.
"Typically in a volunteer world you see responses in the neighborhood of six, seven, eight minutes. We are able to get those down to about a minute a minute and a half say Chief Jay Heicklen.
The shorter response times are made possible in part by the station's new live-in program.
That’s because at the station, there's a brand new dorm room that can accommodate 10 people, a renovated living quarters, and kitchen.
"We've already had some medical and fire calls because of our very quick response time we've been able to save a life for change someone's life in one way or another," said Tyler Heicklen.
Tyler Heicklen is one of four men who are living at the fire station at least four nights a week and two weekends a month.
In seven years he's climbed the ranks to Captain.
"Ever since I was very young I've been around the firehouse. I've always had a huge passion for it," said Tyler Heicklen. For him the fire service runs in the family, his father is the chief.
But of course that's not the case for all the live-ins.
"I was just driving by one day returning from work and I saw a sign that said challenge yourself, volunteers needed I felt like I needed a change of pace" said CJ Corner.
Corner is 18 years old. He's had to learn a lot in the last year.
Chief Jay Heicklen says the live-in program is proving to not only provide better service to the community but also teach valuable lessons to these young men.
"The development of those individuals not just as firefighters but as people as they grow up," said Chief Heicklen.
CJ and Tyler agree. They feel like are a part of something truly special. A special kind of family.
"You do something with them that other families don't do. Other families are going in the fires, going to medical calls, doing CPR on someone," said Tyler Heicklen.
It's a program this department hopes will grow, just like the young men who are giving back so much of their time and talent to the community.
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