Sunday, July 27, 2014
Engineer Rodney Bazzle, 40, of Summerville, started out his fire career as a volunteer.
“I just needed something to do that kept my mind occupied,” he said.
Bazzle is a Summerville native and Summerville High School alumnus. A self-proclaimed “late bloomer,” Bazzle started volunteering at Lowcountry fire departments in 2005. It was the famous “Charleston 9” fire that inspired him to make working in fire a full-time career.
“I was still volunteering then, when we lost nine in Charleston, and that’s when I started putting in to be full-time.”
He began working with Summerville Fire Department professionally in 2008.
Bazzle said both his best and worst memories of working with the department involve children.
His worst experience with SFD took place two-and-a-half years ago, he said.
“It was a possible infant drowing, a 17-month-old, that got into an overflow pond in a neighborhood. I still don’t know the outcome, but we had to administer CPR. It was scary.”
But the children are also his favorite part about driving the truck.
“The thing that gets me is when the kids on the street see you driving along in the big red fire truck and all they want you to do is honk the horn.”
He said those moments remind him of why being a firefighter is important.
“It’s giving them something to look up to, giving them a nice role model to follow.”
Bazzle said he hopes his SFD career has helped him serve as a role model for his own children: Haven, a senior at Summerville High School, Blaine, a freshman at Summerville High School, and Kaitlin, 11.
As the kids get older they are harder to keep together, he said, but when the whole family is around they spend time at home dining on a big meal.
“I like to cook, and Blaine helps.”
At home Bazzle also likes to fish, hunt deer and work out. He said he’s a big movie buff and enjoys watching action and drama flicks.
The TV is also often tuned into NFL games. In college sports, Bazzle roots for the USC Gamecocks.
He hopes to retire and one day have some grandkids, but until then Bazzle said he will continue to be a workaholic.
In addition to working the long hours required of a fire engineer, Bazzle recently joined the team of five SFD firefighters competing in the upcoming Firefighter Combat Challenge, and hopes to help the team win some medals.
On the side he is also a student, enrolled with the University of Phoenix in a two-year program for business administration.
“I’d like to become an assistant chief one day. That’s why I’m going to school, to get into management.”