Washington farm boy turns firefighter

3-29-13.Juergens.1WebSHERIDAN — Sheridan Fire-Rescue firefighter and EMT Paul Juergens is a Washington native who first came to Sheridan in 1989 to attend Sheridan College. He earned two associate degrees, in animal science and ag technology, before returning to Washington for five years. However, he worked a summer job for the Sheridan County Fire Department in 1995, which was his first exposure to firefighting.

“I knew a guy who was employed there,” he said. “It was a temporary position at that time and I was breaking horses and pretty much starving to death, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. It kind of lit the fire in a way.”

Juergens later applied to get on with several fire departments in the region and was hired on with Sheridan Fire-Rescue in January 2002.

I knew I wanted to be a firefighter when…I worked at Sheridan County Fire Department in the summer of ’95. I enjoyed the work and the opportunity to help others when they were in need.

I moved on to work in Washington, where I volunteered at the local fire department for two years. Along those lines, I decided this is what I wanted to do. I quit my job so I could attend a fire academy to gain experience and attend some great training, and have never regretted it.

One misconception people have about firefighters is…that we only respond and train for fire.

Many of the situations we train and prepare for, hazmat (hazardous materials), emergency medical services, rescues, car seat inspections, etc., have nothing to do with anything burning.

If I weren’t a firefighter, I would want to be…involved in agriculture. I grew up on a dairy where we milked 400 cows three times a day.

You can take the boy away from the farm, but you can’t take the farm away from the boy.

The biggest fire I have been on was…the Little Goose fire (wildland fire). The largest structure fire was the Victorian house on the corner of Jefferson and Loucks.

In my opinion, the best show/movie about firefighter is…(none!)
I don’t have a favorite show/movie about firefighting. Many of them show a lot of drama, and I don’t care to watch movies where firefighters die.

Working in the fire department has taught me…a lot about teamwork, working and getting along with other people.

We get to know each other well due to the hours we spend together.

My favorite place to relax around Sheridan is…the Bighorn Mountains.

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