Last Monday was a busy morning at Station 1 of the Marietta Fire Department.
There had already been a handful of calls to respond to since the shift started at 7 a.m. Plus, the department's fire and storm simulation trailer, which had been making the rounds at elementary schools to educate children on fire safety, was now in need of a good cleaning.
But for Marietta native Marc Warden, a 10-year veteran with the department, the hustle and bustle was a good thing.
Firefighter Marc Warden of the Marietta Fire Department, jokingly demonstrates using the station’s fire pole. Warden is a 10-year veteran firefighter and a member of the department’s dive team.
"The downtime is probably the most stressful part. It is too quiet. If you have 10 hours of no runs, you know you are going to get hammered during the night," he said.
Though Warden and his fellow firefighters work a full 24-hour shift before getting to take the next 48 hours off, there is surprisingly little downtime. Each of the three Marietta Fire Department stations average seven to 10 runs per shift, including both fire and squad runs, said Warden.
With his background in physical fitness, it is not surprising that Warden prefers an active pace.
Job: Firefighter for the City of Marietta, member of department's six-person dive team
Family: Wife, Katie; sons, Drew and Owen.
Education: Marietta High School, bachelor's degree in Exercise Physiology from Ohio University.
Hobbies: Playing with his sons, fishing, searching for arrowheads.
He studied exercise physiology at Ohio University and upon graduation, took his degree to Florida to work in the fitness business. But after four years there, Warden said he missed home. Soon after moving back to Marietta, a job opened up at the fire department, and Warden said he knew it would be a great fit.
With a decade of firefighting now under his belt, Warden is relatively unflappable, but the fires that have hit Front Street over the years stick in his memory.
The March 2010 fire that destroyed The Marietta Wine Cellars and Riverside Artists Gallery buildings was particularly bad, said Warden.
"It was pretty huge and not too long after arrived, there was a collapse," he recalled.
Friend and fellow firefighter Steve Hill joined the MFD at the same time. Warden's commitment to his job has always been a motivational factor for his peers, said Hill.
"His care for the community definitely shows. He cares a lot about this job and you can see that from his continuous training," he said.
As a paid firefighter, Warden's training is extensive.
Aside from attending the fire academy, Marietta firefighters are trained as hazmat technicians and advanced Emergency Medical Technicians. Warden is also one of six members on the department's dive team.
"I went to the fire academy with Steve Hill. He was a navy diver and was interested in getting a dive team together here. Since I grew up on the river, it felt pretty comfortable for me," said Warden.
"He was the first person I asked. He is the epitome of a team player," Hill said of his friend.
Because of the poor visibility, searching for things along the bottom of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers entails very little actual looking. But Warden has certainly felt some strange things, including bicycles, full grown trees and some of the infamous catfish that live in the river.
"You can't see them. But you can feel them. They are huge," said Warden.
Warden actual looks for the catfish holes while underwater in hopes that he can find them again while fishing, he said.
Warden said he enjoys fishing with his brother, but it is not his favorite hobby.
"No. one is playing with my boys," he said.
Warden's sons, 5-year-old Drew and 2-year-old Owen keep him busy with baseball, throwing rocks in the river and playing lots of tag, he said.
Warden's wife, Katie, is a police officer with the Marietta Police Department, and oldest son Drew flip-flops between wanting to be in law enforcement and wanting to be a fireman, joked Warden.
Though Warden enjoys all the various aspects of his job, it does not get any better than helping someone in trouble, he said.
"That's the best feeling-when a family is scared to death their love one is going to die and you help them," he said.