DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – It’s been three decades of triumph and tragedy for Dayton’s longest-serving firefighter. Captain Larry Ables is celebrating 32 years with the city.
He said it his career at the Dayton Fire Department started when he was looking for a more stimulating career.
“Some people jump out of airplanes, some people climb mountains, we fight fires. It’s exciting,” Ables said.
Ables began his career at the department in 1986 as a civilian paramedic. Within a decade, he passed an extensive application and testing process to become a firefighter, then climbing the ranks to a captain position. He now acts as commander of the department’s Ladder 11.
“It’s one of the few places where you can go to work every day, not sit behind a desk, not sit in front of a machine and do the same thing over and over,” Ables said. “Every day is different. Every day presents new and unique challenges.”
Tragic fires stick out most in the captain’s mind. In 2003, shortly after he was promoted to lieutenant, the department dealt with a series of fatal house fires involving children.
“It was a very difficult time,” Ables said. “I’ve never forgotten.”
He added the job is more often rewarding because of the opportunities to save lives and property.
“Those are the good times when you’re actually able to get in and make a difference,” he said.
The high-pressure demands and reliance on teamwork forged meaningful relationships with coworkers.
“We treat each other like brothers and sisters. If you have brothers and sisters, you’ll understand what that means,” he laughed.
Ables plans to eventually retire with the Dayton Fire Department.