Firefighting a tradition for Hamlins

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tamera Rembert/The Ironton Tribune

Gray clouds filled the sky and the smell of burning brush was in the air as Megan Hamlin rushed up the hill to fight her first fire.

“It was a lot harder than I thought,” Hamlin, 21, volunteer fire fighter at the Windsor Fire Department for the past year, said “It was on a hill and I was losing my footing because I was wearing sneakers. I had to go down because I inhaled too much smoke because the wind had shifted.”

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Megan Hamlin is part of a long-standing tradition of firefighters in the Hamlin family.

She was married into the family, but the desire to help the community runs just as deep as those born in.

“I can’t go into the fires yet,” she said. “But, even if it’s just directing the water flow or trucks in it’s just knowing the little bit I do helps in the long-run.”

During the day, Hamlin works at Sam’s Club.

Her husband Tyler, 26, a six-year firefighter who is currently at the Windsor department got her involved, she said.

Tyler Hamlin said he became a firefighter after Sept. 11 because he wanted to help his community more.

He said adrenaline rushes are another reason he was interested in joining a fire department and the first one came with his first fire.

“I had just been cleared to drive the rescue truck for Chesapeake,” he said. “It was just like the first time driving a car, and I just got the adrenaline rush going.”

He said is uncle Hoss was his inspiration.

“My uncle was a firefighter for years,” he said. “I saw the excitement he got from it.”

Tyler Hamlin said he is a diabetic and was worried it would affect his chances at becoming a firefighter.

“I talked to my doctor and he said, ‘As long as the department doesn’t have a problem with it, then I don’t,’” he said.

He has been fighting fires since as a pump operator.

Even at his fulltime job he is able to provide service to the community and deals with small flames, as he works at Burger King.

There is one big advantage to working side-by-side with his wife to fight fires, he said.

“I love it,” he said. “That way I can always keep an eye on her and she doesn’t have to worry about getting a phone call about me being hurt.”

Mike Meadows, 36, an entryman at the Fayette Township No. 1 Fire Department, who is an uncle through marriage said he enjoys working with family members, also, but he especially enjoys helping others.

Meadows is an Emergency Medical Technician basic for South Eastern Emergency Medical Services.

“I hate to see people hurt, but if they are in pain or sick I do my best to try to get them the help they need,” he said.

As far as firefighting, he said it’s another way for him to help people.

“You’re not paid for it, so you have to love the job, plus it’s a great adrenaline rush,” he said.

He said some days are harder than others.

“The worse one was three days ago,” he said. “It was a structure fire with entrapment. The victim was a wife to a firefighter from another station.”

He said he went into the first fire he ever fought with an approach that he still uses to this day.

“I went in as if anything could happen because anything could happen,” he said.

Joey Hamlin, 21, a firefighter for eight years and currently at the Fayette Township Fire Department, said he didn’t know what to expect when he first went out.

“We had a structure fire and I rolled the hose and helped clean up,” Joey Hamlin said. “I was pretty nervous.”

His favorite part of the job is making sure we save people’s properties and lives, Joey Hamlin said.

He works midnights at Sam’s Club and he said his job there is very different from fighting fires.

“With firefighting it’s exciting and you don’t

know what to expect because every call is different,” he said. “ Your regular job is just the same every day.”

He is the father of a two-month-old boy and he said the baby’s room is done in fire trucks.

His son will probably follow in his footsteps as he followed in his father’s, Joey Hamlin said.

“Pretty much everybody in my family has been a fire fighter at one time,” he said. “It’s kind of hereditary.”

Joey Hamlin said he has also become part of another family.

“At the fire department, we are all pretty close,” he said. “They talk about brotherhood, which a lot of people don’t understand, but we are really close.”

The tradition is one each member said they hope to continue for many generations to come.