'Pete' recruits firefighting volunteers

'Pete' recruits firefighting volunteers

April 21st, 2012 by Ansley Haman in News

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 /Times Free Press.

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.

Jake Shaffner jokes around with Bobby "Pete" House...

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

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.