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Firefighter Follows in Father's Footsteps

Sickles grad Kyle Greene works at Tampa's Station 22 on Cross Creek Boulevard.

Firefighter and paramedic Kyle Greene has been at Station 22 on Cross Creek Boulevard since it opened in April.

Greene spent most of his 7-year career at Station 5 near Robels Park, not including his rookie year at Station 7 near the Amtrak station. Greene also worked as a mechanic, as a technician in the ER with a private ambulance service. He grew up in Tampa and graduated from Sickles High School.

Patch: What made you want to become a firefighter?

Greene: My father, Frederick, was a city firefighter. He had a 28-year career and retired as Personnel Chief. I went to college to study nursing but plans fell through, so I fell back on firefighting. Plus firefighting is a good blend of what I wanted to do. It's physical work but mentally challenging.

Patch: Describe one of your most harrowing experiences on the job.

Greene: This was when I was at Station 5 in the summer of '09. We were dispatched to a structure fire in Station 12's territory. We were the second engine on the scene. It was a residence and it was about 50 percent on fire. There was fire shooting out of the back and smoke pouring out the front door of this one-story, block house. As we got to the front to deploy the second attack line, the guys from Engine 12 came running out. The captain and I took the second line in and the smoke was already banked to the floor. It was incredibly hot. As soon as we were inside, we had to crawl from all the heat and pressure. We weren't 15 feet into the house when the room started to flash over. That's what happens when the temperature reaches between 1,000 and 1,200 degrees and everything combusts. We tried to cap it by spraying the ceiling but decided to retreat and attack it from the outside. When we got out we were both pretty crispy. We both had second-degree burns on our foreheads. Captain Skinner had third-degree burns to his ears. I had second-degree burns to my nose and face.

Patch: What was one of your most rewarding experiences on the job?

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Greene: This was while I was at Station 5 jerrying to Station 11. It was about 3 in the morning in the spring of 2010. We had been running a lot of calls that day -- this was the 17th. We went to this guy's house who was in his early 50s. He was having his first heart attack. He didn't have any idea in the moment but we realized he was having a major heart attack. We took his EKG and saw that there was major damage happening. We started right in administering oxygen, aspririn, nitroglycerin, then morphine. We medicated him en route to the hospital and very quickly saw an improvement in his EKG. When we got him to the hospital they rushed him right to the catheter lab. We actually had to convince the doctors that he'd had a big heart attack because he stablized so well as we arrived. The guy made a complete recovery and it turns out he's an artist. He commissioned a painting of what he remembers happening that morning and presented it to us during an awards banquet. It's now in the Tampa firefighter museum. For months he would just come by the station just to talk.

Patch: What do you do to decompress after a long shift?

Greene: I enjoy a good workout, I do cross-fit. It's a real de-stresser. I spend time with my family; I have a 1-year-old. Sometimes just hanging out with each other after a shift, drinking beers and telling stories.

Patch: If you weren't working as a firefighter, what do you think you would be doing?

Greene: I probably would have joined the military. My entire family is U.S. Marine Corps.

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