story & photo
by Maren Schober
As long as he can remember, Jason Powers, 26, of Gales Ferry yearned to be a firefighter. It was his dream. It was his passion. It still is. “ I had my first set of bunker gear, firefighting clothing, at four years old. I used to set up my bunker gear next to my bed when I was little,” Jason explains.
“I am a fourth generation firefighter. My father, George Powers, started in the fire service in the 70’s in Sterling. My grandfather, Ray Williams, and my great-grandfather, Louis Leo Tuck, plus my uncle, Jeff Jones, and uncle, Doug Williams, were all involved with the fire service. I remember many, many visits with my uncles at the their firehouse in Arizona as I was growing up. Dressed in my bunking gear, I would climb all over the fire truck, reaching up to push the air horn button and then sound the siren. I drove them crazy!”
“The first time my uncle took me along with him on a fire call, I think I was only six years old. I was visiting him at the firehouse. The alarm came in for a structure fire, and my uncle told me to hop on the engine. I was pretty much sold on firefighting after that.”
Jason was born in Mesa, Arizona and currently he is active duty Navy. “I am a volunteer fireman and I want to become a career firefighter upon completion of my Naval service in January of 2012.”
“I started EMS at Bangor Submarine Base in 2004 in Washington State and began working part time with Poulsbo Fire Department in 2005 in Poulsbo, Washington. When I moved to Connecticut in 2007 I started with Gales Ferry where I made Lieutenant in 2008.”
“On duty nights at the fire station, we are responsible for checking the rigs at the start of every duty night, cleaning the firehouse, and whatever training the shift officer has assigned.”
What was Jason’s most memorable recent fire?
“I worked a fire in Ledyard and the stairwell to the attic was so small you couldn’t turn around to come down so I had to go down the stairs backwards. While I was going down the stairs my air pack got caught on a clothesline the owner had strung up.”
“I am learning that no one is invincible and you never know what can happen, so never leave anyone on bad terms. Firefighting is not a job to us, it is our passion.
“We firefighters have a dry sense of humor. We are constantly joking with each other. I think that is the way we cope with some of the things we see as firefighters. Brotherhood comes along with the service. Our service is a very close knit community, and we take care of each other.”
Jason Powers is the recipient of many awards for his fire service. “I am proud to work with outstanding firefighters in New London County. They are an elite group of men and women.”