DC's Busiest Engine: Who's behind the helm may surprise you!

A group of firefighter in D.C. answered almost 22,000 calls for help last year.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - It covers a big area in northeast DC, Engine 30 recently scored as one of the busiest engine companies across the country -- and who’s behind the helm might surprise you!

A loud call rang through the station. The firefighters ran. They jumped into the truck with sirens blaring. In the back seat, two firefighters are racing to put on their gear as they rush to a fire. They have to be able to do so in less than 90 seconds.  

To the left is a 24-year-old firefighter putting on his boots. To the right, a 26-year-old who’s about a year out of the academy. The engine operator is 21-years old. The paramedics are 21- and 22-years-old.

These are the first responders behind the nation’s second busiest engine according to the National Run Survey.

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Northeast DC’s Engine 30 ran nearly 7,700 calls last year -- 7,690 to be exact.

For the young crew, it’s a great opportunity.

“You get two years on the job and it’s like dog years at 30 so it feels like maybe five years on the job and just all the experience and as much as the calls as you run, you grow a little faster,” said Theodore Holliday.

Lt. Tim McGann is a second generation firefighter and one of the veterans leading the young firehouse.

“It kind of helps keep me young,” McGann laughed.

For the rookies, it’s not only a job … it’s personal!

“I actually walk down to work sometimes,” said Holliday, “living here, you see one side of it and then when you become one side of it, you see even more as well …  You can see how much the people need help, you know what I mean.”

Truck operator Erlesha Webster tells WUSA9, she also grew up in Ward 7. A few people even came to hug her once she got on the scene of a 911 call.

“It’s weird when you have to have those dire emergencies and run people you know and stuff like that. It kind of feel bad, but you gotta good feeling that you know you can help someone,” said Webster.

Engine 30 pretty much covers Ward 7. This includes the Deanwood and the Heights neighborhoods. There is a significant elderly population they help, but they also respond to a lot of drug overdoses and crimes.

The crew keeps a fun-loving spirit going in the firehouse in the midst of these calls. Holliday talked about how he hopes their work can make an impact both on the community and in saving lives.

In addition to Engine 30, Truck 17 ran 4,442 calls. Medic 30 ran 4,457 and Ambulance 30 had 5,259 responses. That’s a total of 21, 848 emergency runs for the Northeast firehouse an average of around 60 emergency calls-a-day.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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