Some fathers and sons play catch together — this pair caught a call.
It happened on July 11.
Pasco County Fire Rescue Station 26, located at the front of the Meadow Pointe subdivision, responded to a structure fire in the Wesley Chapel area.
Tampa Fire Rescue Station 23, just across Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Hillsborough County, arrived to provide mutual aid.
Pasco firefighter Dalton Herrero, from Station 26, responded to what could be described as a straight-forward fire call.
But it also came with a surprise.
It turns out that longtime Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Daniel Herrero, who happens to be Dalton’s father, was among those dispatched to help out.
They fought the fire together, even working the same hose that doused the flames.
“We don’t call mutual aid very often, so it was a little luck of the draw,” said Dalton, who has been a firefighter for two years.
“Obviously, we’re not in the same department, but departments won’t do that: put family members — fathers and sons, brothers, even cousins — on the same battalion just in case, especially on a structure fire where something bad could happen.
“But, luckily, nothing did and it turned out to be a really awesome moment for both of us.”
Captain Herrero has been a firefighter for 38 years.
Even when his son became a firefighter, working with him was something that didn’t cross his mind because of the department policy. In fact, Daniel wasn’t sure Dalton would become a firefighter until after returning from college in Tallahassee.
“I never pushed him, but he did (become a firefighter) and I’ve always been there for him, so it’s such an honor,” Daniel said.
“He’s a good, smart kid, and I think he’ll do a good job with it, and if he puts his mind to it, he’ll be great.”
Dalton said he absolutely became a firefighter because of his father, and because of the traditional schedule — 24 hours on, 48 hours off — that firefighters work.
“I love that 24/48 schedule — now and growing up with my dad as a firefighter. Sure, he’d be gone a day, but then he was there most of the time because of the schedule and (we) got to spend a lot of time together.
“That was always great as a kid.”
And, it was great to work a fire together, too, he said.
“When we were both on the scene, and we finally realized we were both there, there was a lot of finger pointing and like, ‘Heyyyyyy,’” he said, with a laugh.
“And then it was pretty obvious they were setting it up to get us together on the line,” he said.
Daniel definitely saw it coming, too.
“With mutual aid, we usually just stand back and wait until (the other department) needs or requests help,” the elder Herrero said. “There were other guys there that had been there long enough, but then they said Dalton needed backup on the line, and I knew they meant me.
“I had been set up!”
Set up for a call that neither of the men, who live in Land O’ Lakes, will ever forget.
“Holding the hose and fighting the fire together,” Dalton said, “I’ll always cherish that awesome moment.”
“(It was) such a great moment,” Daniel agreed. “I couldn’t be more proud.”
Published July 27, 2022