These are the stories of the brave firefighters and paramedics of the fire department in Compton, a city in the South Central Los Angeles area. They risk their lives daily to protect and serve the citizens of the city of Compton, and honor the oath to always be…
Episode 1: Straight Outta Compton
The first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this episode is the legendary hip hop album “Straight Outta Compton” by seminal rap group N.W.A.
In N.W.A.’s album art photo, the perspective says it all: you are on the concrete, looking up at six emotionless African-Americans who are looking down at you, and one of those six have a gun pointed right at you. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you were going to do with your life; this could be the last image you see before you die.
This one album crossed over to the affluent kids of suburbia, whose purchases were the major contributor to its double platinum sales status. It brought an up close and personal perspective to the scene of the crime, so to speak. Through the eyes of N.W.A, Compton was portrayed as if it were a lawless wasteland in distress with hillbilly police officers out for the Black man, and the prevailing sentiment of its citizens was constant fear. But just like every city, there’s the good and the bad. The good is portrayed in “First In” via the service the firefighters put in every minute of the day to keep Compton safe.
At 6:37 AM, the day starts for Battalion Chief Marcel Melanson as he gets dressed and ready to go to work. When on duty, firefighters stay at the fire station for days at a time, so as one can imagine it’s hard for these firefighters to say goodbye every week to their families. His wife laments that though it’s hard that he’s gone for long stretches, she knows he loves all of them.
The first incident is at 12:42 PM, as crews rush to a liquor store where there is a GSW- Gun Shot Wound.
Unfortunately, the young man who was shot doesn’t make it, and is pronounced dead at the scene. The victim’s girlfriend then shows up, only to have her worst fears confirmed. A nearby witness describes a separate incident only a few days prior, in which a 17 year old got shot six times in the head. In a three day period, nine more gang related, major acts of violence would occur. As always, the Compton firefighters who risk life and limb would be on the front line, first in.
The episode goes on to show you a man on PCP whose brother just committed suicide, and a small airplane that crashed into a house.
You can watch episode 1 in its entirety below:
As I’ve been saying before, I’m so glad Tyrese has arranged for this show to be possible. I feel it’s essential that the nation see what it’s really like in Compton, a city that is still struggling with gang warfare and extreme violence, so that we can fully appreciate what the firefighters and paramedics do everyday to keep Compton safe.