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Horry County Fire Rescue interns say summer program 'sparked' their interest

Horry County Fire Rescue interns say summer program 'sparked' their interest (WPDE)

Horry County Fire Rescue is hoping college kids will start some good gossip about them.

Officials say they're hoping they'll spread the word about their internship program when they go back to school.

ABC 15 caught up with one of those interns at the scene of Thursday's American Legion Post 40 fire.

Anyone passing by would think Patrick Morris is another Horry County Fire investigator, but right now he's actually a student at Eastern Kentucky University.

"Monday through Friday, I'm working with them in the office learning how to write reports and investigate different fires, and then nights and on the weekends I live at Fire Station 43 in Conway," said Morris.

Morris is one of two interns this summer. Horry County Fire Rescue has been giving these students the opportunity to see if a career in firefighting is really what they want.

"They live here with us, they stay with us, they get integrated into this organization as if they were members here," said Mark Nugent, the Horry County Fire Rescue spokesperson.

The interns have one more week before they head back to school.

Morris says he's earned some valuable knowledge and wouldn't mind coming back to the area to work, which is good news for a department always looking for more firefighters.

"We've hired folks back that have gone through that process and then come back to us to compete for firefighter positions, and that's the wish here. We'd love to get them back here. We want them to go back to school and tell their friends about Horry Fire Rescue and want them to come back and work for us," said Nugent.

Morris says he's planning to do that.

"It's been awesome. I mean, learning in class and the real world experience is completely different. I've learned so much and the two investigators have taught me so much and showed me so many things. I've gone to 30 fires since I've been here."

It's a win-win in more ways than one.

"A great set of knowledge from two young men that are really dedicated to what they want to do and move forward," said Nugent.

The plan is to also spark interest in high school students with a cadet program, and a citizens fire academy is in the works.

Horry County Fire Rescue has almost 300 applicants right now, the plan is to choose 30 by mid-September to start recruit training.

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