WNCN's Sanchez tries out as a firefighter - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

WNCN's Sanchez tries out as a firefighter

Posted: Updated:
DURHAM, N.C. -

WNCN anchor Phil Sanchez reports on what it's like to try out to be a firefighter.

Good news for fans of NBC's "Chicago Fire" – the show is coming back for another season.

On the heels of that news, I went to the Durham Fire Academy to see what it takes to be a firefighter.

I've covered dozens of fires over the years, I've watched firefighters go inside burning homes and buildings. I've reported from the scenes of massive fires where victims were saved and some were not. 

As one firefighter once told me, "You call what we do heroic - we call it work."

My day began with a tour of the obstacle course that I was about to go through.

"A lot of classes have gone through here," said assistant chief Jeffrey Bunnell, who is in charge of fire recruits in Durham.

He gave me a tour of the burnt structure and showed me the tubes, crawl spaces and stairs that I would have to overcome before making it to the 200-pound dummy I would then have to drag back through the obstacles and bring outside.

"Some of the obstacles that you're going to go through today come from real life scenarios where firefighters have died in the line of duty," Bunnell said.

Of course, I had to do it all with 70 pounds of equipment and gear on.

Once I suit up, it's go time.

I made it through the first obstacle, a makeshift window I had to crawl through.

From there, it was 20-foot long tube and ramp, then down the stairs and another crawl space riddled with wires that I had to use clippers to cut.

Then finally the dummy.

I grabbed him and brought him back through the wires and that's it _ I was done.

"You did real good in there - real good," Bunnell said.

On a scale from one to 10, I ask him, what score would I get?

"I'm going give you an eight," he said.

For example, he said I had "no problem" negotiating the obstacles.

I'll take it.

But the real job is dangerous work. In the United States last year, 83 firefighters died in the line of duty. Nine of those came in North Carolina.

  • Fugitive sex offender captured in Roanoke

    Fugitive sex offender captured in Roanoke

    Fugitive sex offender captured in Roanoke

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:41 AM EDT2014-07-30 04:41:44 GMT
    ROANOKE (WSLS) - A man wanted for sex crimes against a minor was captured in Roanoke during a traffic stop.
    ROANOKE (WSLS) - A man wanted for sex crimes against a minor was captured in Roanoke during a traffic stop.
  • Roanoke Police investigate shots fired incident

    Roanoke Police investigate shots fired incident

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:37:03 GMT
    On July 29, 2014 at 6:08 p.m. Roanoke Police were dispatched to the 1200 block of Orange Avenue NE to investigate a shots fired call. Immediately upon arrival officers detained several subjects believed to have been involved in the incident. The preliminary investigation suggests the individuals involved were traveling in two different vehicles on Hollins Road when at least one of the occupants in one of the vehicles starting shooting at the other vehicle. The vehicles separated briefly and t...
    On July 29, 2014 at 6:08 p.m. Roanoke Police were dispatched to the 1200 block of Orange Avenue NE to investigate a shots fired call. Immediately upon arrival officers detained several subjects believed to have been involved in the incident. The preliminary investigation suggests the individuals involved were traveling in two different vehicles on Hollins Road when at least one of the occupants in one of the vehicles starting shooting at the other vehicle. The vehicles separated briefly and t...
  • Former Va. governor's corruption trial begins

    Former Va. governor's corruption trial begins

    Jury selection is on the agenda for opening day in the corruption trial of a former Virginia governor and his wife in Richmond.
    Jury selection is on the agenda for opening day in the corruption trial of a former Virginia governor and his wife in Richmond.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.