Fighting the flames

More than two dozen fire science students had their knowledge and skills tested under the heat of real fire. 

Cadets extinguished several fires, including a burning car and dumpster.

“Today we are doing process firefighting. … We have a flange in the middle that replicates something that can happen in a plant, and the skill replicates something that can happen in an accident on the highway,” Fire Science Program Director Michael Schmidt said. 

Students, the majority of whom are men, are tested under various situations. They have 18 tests in a year, but failing three will result in removal from the program. 

“The hardest part has honestly been the testing. It’s a lot of studying and hard work,” fire science major Abrianna Mauricio said. 

The fire science program started with three women. On testing day, Mauricio was one of two left. 

“It’s just me and one girl from high school. This is really fun; I enjoy it a lot honestly. I plan to apply with the CCFD and become a paramedic,” Mauricio said. 

The other female student, Adrianna Pinon, is a dual-credit student from Harold T. Branch High School.

“At first, I was going to go into law enforcement but there were too many people in there, so I joined the fire department. There are six other students in the program, but I’m the only girl. The hardest part has been the drills and running down stairs while carrying those hoses. They are heavy and get you tired quickly,” Pinon said. 

The program prepares students for real-life fire situations in a variety of settings. According to the city website, Corpus Christi Firefighters can expect to earn about $50,000 annually after graduation. 

“Our kids end up going to refineries and fire departments, rural and volunteer departments. We made sure they are trained properly and prepared to fight fires in any situation,” Schmidt said.

The Fire Science program will be hosting an open house on May 1. The open house will provide information for dual credit and college students who are interested in the program.  Refreshments, door prizes and information packets will be available.  

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