CCCC graduate Tyler Kruger serves as fire department volunteer
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Hannah Hunsiner | The Sanford Herald. Tyler Kruger is in his first year and a half of being a volunteer ... (more)
By Noah Thomas, The Sanford Herald
SANFORD - One may travel around town and see license plates from all across the country, but Tyler Kruger, a volunteer at the Carolina Trace Fire Department, is as homegrown as they come.
A native of Sanford, Kruger graduated from Western Harnett High School in 2011 and graduated from Central Carolina Community College in 2014 with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice.
Since graduating, he has taken a full-time job in Siler City at an automotive company. It's at Carolina Trace, though, where he found his passion in the workplace.
Now with the department for about a year and a half, Kruger still represents a relatively new face in public service. Volunteering at night and on weekends, he said being able to volunteer helps him do something he loves.
"I love it, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world," he said. "The best thing about it is the interaction with the public and seeing the look on little kids' faces when we do things with them."
Despite being on the force for some time now, Kruger did not go out on his first call until nearly two months ago. It was a house fire in one of Carolina Trace's communities that allowed him to see his first action.
"When I arrived I had to do the overhaul part of it," he said of the fire that had consumed the home's living room. "Overhaul is when you go in and tear through the ceiling to make sure there are no hotspots left in the building."
He said he came into the field with no expectations of what he may have to do. After taking multiple introduction classes in order to get his foot in the door, he spends most of his time at the station training and helping keep the building in working order.
Parts of that training have helped him overcome what was perhaps the biggest obstacle standing in his way from the outset: a fear of heights.
One of the training exercises Kruger regularly works through involves climbing a tall ladder and locking himself onto it so as to not be thrown off when he uses a high-powered firehose.
"I have the biggest fear of heights, and so far I've been able to overcome all of them," he said, citing the ladder training as what has helped him the most.
Kruger and his girlfriend of four years, Kaitlynn, are expecting a son in early October, who they plan on naming Grayson Allen Kruger. A big fan of the Duke basketball, Kruger claims his son's name will have nothing to do with the similarly named guard who currently stars for the Blue Devils.
Kruger said he plans to continue serving as a volunteer until he can no longer is able. Kruger's love of firefighting started after a friend talked him into it, but it has now turned into a passion.
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