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Book shows view through the eyes of a firefighter

November 03, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Veteran firefighter Justin Mayhue wants people to have a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes of the fire and rescue service in Washington County.

Mayhue has written a 120-page book, "Through the Eyes of Fire," which chronicles his life as a firefighter, dispatcher and emergency medical technician.

It provides some history of Washington County fire and ambulance companies and real-life anecdotes about calls the Longmeadow Volunteer Fire Department volunteer has answered.

"I wanted to preserve the history of what we've done in the late 20th century and give first-hand experiences," said Mayhue, 38, of Hagerstown.

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He said his book will be of interest to anyone who has listened to a scanner or was intrigued by a fire truck or ambulance headed to a call.

A paid firefighter for the City of Hagerstown's First Hose Company, he has 22 years of experience in the field. Mayhue is also employed as a dispatcher with Washington County Emergency Services.

He first became interested in firefighting after it was suggested to him by his high school bus driver.

"It's been a challenge for me to help people when they are at their greatest time of need, whether it be a fire or medical emergency," Mayhue said.

Last year he published "Valor: The Story of PFC Clyde Jacob Smith," a portrait of his uncle who was killed in the Korean War. About 60 copies of the novel were published for family and friends, he said.

Mayhue said he is hoping his latest tome will have a wider appeal and may have up to 700 volumes printed by Phoenix Color in Hagerstown.

The book will be available for purchase for $11.95 in the next few weeks by contacting Mayhue at his home at 301-791-2449. He said he also will pursue having it placed in local bookstores.

"It's designed not just for firefighters but also the average citizen. Anybody should be able to pick it up and get an understanding of what we do," he said.

Mayhue came up with the idea for the book in 1985, but it was only recently that he felt he had compiled enough information to write it, he said.

"I feel very good about it. It's really come together. I'm interested in the public's reaction," he said.

The book's introduction was written by former Hagerstown Fire Chief John Hall.

"I'm looking forward to reading it," said Longmeadow Fire Chief Richard Roche.

"It's good for the fire service because it helps bring what we do to light," Roche said.

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