On April 5, the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District promoted firefighter Matthew Davis to engineer. Davis has been "acting engineer" for the last 8 years.
The Davis family was among the original settlers of Fort Myers that came to the Southwest Florida area for logging.
"I grew up in the San Carlos and Saddlewood areas," Davis said. "I always liked being around animals and thought for awhile about being a veterinarian. But I had lots of friends and family members that were firemen and realized that being a firefighter would be a very fulfilling job. I was probably 12 years old at the time."
New M/PIFCD?engineer Matthew Davis.
Davis was working for Walmart when he began exploring the possibilities of becoming a fireman.
"There are two local programs," Davis said, "one in Fort Myers where you're required to go during the day for three months to complete the course. The other is a six-month course that includes evenings and Saturdays. It takes six months to complete the second course but as a married man with two children I needed to earn an income."
The wait for fire school was several months and the long wait allowed Davis to finish EMT school. He completed fire school in 2005 and applied for a job on Pine Island. He was hired in 2006.
"The job of engineer has a number of additional responsibilities," Fire Chief Ben Mickuleit said. "The first part of the job as engineer is to get the firefighters where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible - engineers must know the streets in the fire district. Engineers are also responsible for their vehicles. They make sure the vehicle is clean and runs efficiently and that there's enough gas and all systems are working. In all other respects, fire engineers are firefighters and must be able to perform every firefighter duty."
Today Davis is 36 years old and married with two children, Rylee (10) and Jackson (5).
"I'm very excited about this new opportunity," Davis said. "I've made the effort to educate myself and have my associates degree because I believe education is key. I'm also very proud to be a part of this team at Pine Island."