Hartford Courant: Firefighting’s A Family Tradition

By | June 11, 2014

Hartford Courant

By Sylvia Cancela | June 11, 2014 0 Comment
Hartford Courant

May 29, 2014|By JESSICA MOORE, jesmoore@courant.com, The Hartford Courant

CANTON — For the Goeben family, firefighting is a way of life. Scott Goeben, 53, and his sons Stephen, 22, and Zach, 19, are volunteer firefighters for the Town of Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department. The tradition is deeply rooted in the family.


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“The legacy for me started a long time ago — my uncle was a firefighter in Branford, then my older brother joined the Simsbury Fire Department,” said Goeben, whose wife, Colleen, was also a volunteer firefighter when they first met. When a fire broke out across from his house in Simsbury, Goeben said he saw firefighters helping people, which inspired him to join the Simsbury Fire Department in 1978.

Now as a fire captain in town and a fire inspector at Yale University, Goeben said being part of a family of firefighters is challenging and rewarding.

“I’ve always expected more from [my sons] than anyone else, so there’s a certain amount of friction that comes from that,” he said. “Seeing them going out on calls and seeing them succeed and excel at any task they’re given is rewarding.”

Goeben’s oldest son, Stephen, is a fire science student at Capital Community College. “Growing up in a firehouse, I was always coming down and hearing stories from the older guys,” Stephen Goeben said. “I decided I wanted to do what dad’s doing. I grew up around it, so it’s just natural to want to go help.” Stephen Goeben became a fire cadet at age 14, and was fighting fires in his late teens. He described the first time he responded to a fire with his father. “He was running the truck and I ended up going inside the house. [My dad] was a little on edge because he’s never really seen me go into a burning building.”

As the pump operator, Scott Goeben said he was able to see the bigger picture. “You can watch the conditions change,” he said, “but you trust the training and you trust the crew.” “We’re well trained so you don’t have to think [when you’re on a fire call]. It’s muscle memory,” Zach Goeben said.

In addition to being a volunteer firefighter, Goeben’s youngest son, Zach, is a licensed EMT and paramedicine student at Southern Maine Community College. Scott was with his son two years ago when he treated a man in cardiac arrest. “He was the only EMT, which made him the boss,” Scott Goeben said. “I was proud of my son, who at 17 was able to take care of his fellow man. To me that speaks volumes.”

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