Being a firefighter can be a dangerous and thankless job. But one recent moment in the line of duty reminded one captain what it’s all about—and a viral photo proves there’s more to the job than meets the eye.
Chris Blazek, a captain and 12-year veteran of the Chattanooga Fire Department, was in the shower June 2 when his engine got a call about an emergency situation on the highway.
There was an accident involving a pregnant mother and her young kids.
The fact that children were involved “adds a certain urgency to the call,” Blazek told Today, so they quickly jumped into action.
The firefighters arrived on the scene and heard cries from a mother and baby.
“The mother was hysterical because she was having abdominal and back pain,” Blazek wrote on Facebook. While the two older daughters were fine, the 4-month old baby girl was screaming.
Blazek took the baby out of her car seat to check for injuries—and immediately bonded with her.
“The second I got done looking her over, she laid her head on my shoulder and just fully embraced me,” he told Today.
He continued to care for the infant as the department handled the situation.
“Shortly after that I decided that my guys had the scene under control, so I decided to sit and take a break with my new friend,” Blazek wrote. “She immediately fell asleep in my arms.”
Taking care of the child came naturally to Blazek, who is the father of four young girls of his own. But still, there was something special and affirming about this moment:
“It’s moments like this, that I am reminded, this is why I do the job,” he wrote.
The department posted the photo on Facebook, where it went viral.
The photo has touched people’s hearts, and has now been shared over 6,000 times. Many people chimed in to praise Blazek.
“This is my big hearted son in law who is a dedicated firefighter and a compassionate human being,” Fran Gray commented.
“I have known Chris Blazek since high school, and this is not surprising to me at all,” Christi McNeece Burleigh wrote. “He is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet.”
The girl’s mother even reached out to thank him for his kindness.
“I really want to say thank you for being there for my three girls,” Whittley Hightower, the mother from the crash, wrote on Facebook. “It was such a scary moment for all of us. God bless you.”
“It was an honor and privilege,” Blazek responded. “Glad to know you and the girls are doing well.”
Blazek hopes that his viral moment shows people the often-unseen human side of the job.
“I think everybody thinks that firefighters just run into burning buildings, but there is so much more to the job,” he told Today.
“It was important just knowing that not only I was comforting the little one, but her mom knowing that she was in good hands.”