The Antigua Volunteer Fire Department was inspiring to me, as they have an enormous amount of responsibility, with such little equipment and little or no pay. I spent a few days and nights with them, to document their work. During my time with them, I got to see a small glimpse of the area they operate in and the people who they serve. They are an extraordinary group of people, who have a tremendous sense of commitment to one another, their community, and to their duty.
My deepest thanks to Captain Edwin de Leon, and his brave firefighters for their hospitality.
1 - Communications equipment hung on the wall near the dispatch office, for the one fire engine of the Antigua Volunteer Department.
2 - Gear for the one fire engine crew of the Antigua Fire Department, staged on a wall outside of the Firefighters bunk room.
3 - Captain Edwin de Leon of the Antigua Volunteer Fire Department escorts a woman who is experiencing labor pains to the ambulance in one of Antigua’s many smaller sub-villages. Many of the residential area of Antigua are far off of the beaten path and can require retrieving patients from as far as two kilometers from where roads end.
4 - Paramedic Miguel Lopez, who is the alternate Captain of the Antigua Volunteer Fire Department, washes the one fire engine in the early morning between service calls. Though much of the equipment in their inventory is old is showing signs of severe wear, the firefighters take impeccable care of what little equipment they do have.
5 - A reflection revealing the Antigua Volunteer Fire Department’s ambulances. This 2002 Ford Econoline was donated to the Guatemalan Government from a fire department in the United States, and donated to them as a 50th anniversary present.
6 - Firefighter Bismarck Hernandez escorts a patient who fell, while working in a ceramics shop to the ambulance.
7 - Firefighter Jose Santos refills the water tanker from the one hydrant in all of Antigua, which is in the city center. Aside from being used to extinguish fires, the water truck also supplies smaller outlying villages with water from the city.
8 - Paramedic Osman Silva checks for responsiveness in a man who was shot in the back of the head on an emergency service call to a small village just outside of Antigua called Colonia El Manchen.
9 - Captain Edwin de Leon assesses a woman who was going into labor while taking her to the local hospital where she would later deliver her child.
10 - Captain Edwin de Leon with friends and members of the community at a barbecue to celebrate the town fair and to commemorate Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala.