BET’s First In: Firefighters in Compton


This second episode of Tyrese-produced “First In” on BET touches on a very sensitive subject that the first hinted at as well: the divorce rates of firefighters. Is it required for career success that one be a firefighter first, and a father second?

And in Compton, one of the most notorious cities in America, what is raising a family like? Imagine trying to balance the stresses (and joys of course) of firefighting but at the same time wondering if your family is safe at home.

Outside of my window in Sacramento, the last time I saw a firetruck at a structure fire was a couple weeks ago. In Compton, imagine the contrast of activity; 10,000 calls a year!

You can imagine the stresses a firefighter goes through, but what about at home? According to, the U.S ranks #1 for divorce rates per 1000 people:


We’ll just have to see through the show’s season how the firefighters fare being away from loved ones for days on end.

On this seemingly calm night in Compton, an illegal street race is about to take place. Battalion Chief Marcel Melanson surveys the area, and cops do their bust as the cars scatter like roaches when the lights are turned on.


The reason law enforcement and firefighters go after street racing is because it’s clearly dangerous for racers and bystanders alike. A pedestrian can get hit or a major traffic violation can take place.

Sure enough, the next call is to an auto accident near the street racing scene. A 7 months pregnant woman has been hit. She suffers abdominal pain and is rushed to the hospital, along with a second victim.

The Compton Fire Department has a program for aspiring firefighters called Explorers, where young kids can get off the street and into a fulfilling career as a firefighter. One of the students is Cody Hass. He does it all: he sweeps, mops, cleans the trucks, and keeps the place looking impeccable. Oh, and of course he gets to go on calls and observe the career that hopefully will one day be his.

It’s only minutes till another emergency though!

12:13 PM auto accident, person trapped under car

A traffic collision gone way wrong. The victim is trapped under a vehicle, and time is of the essence as crews are fighting tooth and nail to get him out.
Unfortunately, he died on the operating table.

My prayers are going out to the families of the Compton fire department, even as I type this. I know this has to be rough. Much respect to their excellent service that they are providing to Compton.

You can watch episode 2 in its entirety below:


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