published Saturday, April 21st, 2012

‘Pete’ recruits firefighting volunteers

Jake Shaffner helps Bobby "Pete" House try on firefighting gear at Dallas Bay Fire and Rescue Department. House's interest in firefighting led to Shaffner to becoming a volunteer firefighter.
Jake Shaffner helps Bobby "Pete" House try on firefighting gear at Dallas Bay Fire and Rescue Department. House's interest in firefighting led to Shaffner to becoming a volunteer firefighter.
Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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    Jake Shaffner jokes around with Bobby "Pete" House as he pulls a truck out for House to see at Dallas Bay Fire and Rescue Department. House's interest in firefighting led to Shaffner to becoming a volunteer firefighter.
    Photo by Angela Lewis.
    enlarge photo

Jake Shaffner’s road to firefighting began when he started tutoring a developmentally challenged man named Pete.

Bobby “Pete” House, who lives in the Orange Grove Center, professes to be a firefighter and has loved fire engines since he drove around a toy one at age 3. Since then, he’s been obsessed with massive trucks and the thought of fighting fires.

“Too big, too heavy,” House says as he recites how much water and diesel fuel individual firetrucks in the county and city hold.

Shaffner, who knew he wanted to be a medic when he was 13 years old, began working one-on-one with House in late 2010. That December he took him on a field trip to the Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department.

“They’ve took him in,” Shaffner said. “He’s been in multiple fire departments, but he’s never been welcomed like he was here. It made his life.”

He and House kept going back, and eventually the volunteers at Station 2 convinced Shaffner to join them.

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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