Budding firefighter put to early test

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

By Theresa Katalinas

LOGAN TWP. -- Michael Jacovelli Jr. said he'd rather douse flames than file faxes any day.

At 14, Jacovelli got his first taste of firefighting Saturday when he alerted his second-generation, longtime firefighter father Michael to smoke and fire in a neighbor's yard.

Acting quickly, the father and son duo went to Dennis Dudek's home to help squelch the blaze until fire crews arrived.

Pat Spring, Logan Township fire chief, said Michael Jr. will be recognized for his efforts at an upcoming Bridgeport Fire Co. meeting.

"We try to instill volunteerism at a young age," Spring said of the boy's involvement in the Junior Firefighters program, which is typically designated for 16- to 18-year-olds. "We have some real good kids."

A Bridgeport Fire Co. lieutenant, Mr. Jacovelli said he's proud of his "young gentleman" son who took the initiative to save a neighbor's home.

"He's got a good attitude," Michael Jacovelli Sr. said. "All he talks about is wanting to be a New York City fireman and that was before 9-11."

In fact, Michael Jr. said he has wanted to be a firefighter since he was in kindergarten.

"Before, I used to sit in the car and just watch," Michael Jacovelli Jr. said of his tag-along trips with his father. "It looks like fun."

He said the danger of firefighting is worth the gamble and something he rarely thinks about.

"I just want to know what I'm doing in my future so I have good experience," Michael Jacovelli Jr. said. "It's an easy job. It's better than working in an office."

Dudek, who was at his daughter's swim meet when a fiery trash can set his garage ablaze, said he is thankful that the Jacovellis' involvement limited the damage and added that he's proud of Michael Jr.'s efforts.

"He jumped right into action," Dudek said of the aspiring firefighter. "He was responsible enough to know what to do. Because of all the quick action ... the fire never came into the living part."