TRACY — Jeff Morey has served with the Tracy Fire Department for 32 years, but he’s not ready to slow down.
He is one of 26 members of Tracy’s fire team. His usual job on fire calls is to drive one of the tanker trucks, which has a capacity of 3,000 gallons.
He joined the fire department in 1990 when he was invited by the fire chief. He had thought about serving before being invited because of the opportunity to be a part of an important public service.
“We have a great group of volunteers,” Morey said. “I thought it was something I could do for the community. It always feels good to participate.”
Morey is a lifelong resident of Tracy. He operates a small engine business in addition to his fire service.
The department meets twice a month for meetings and drills. The number of calls varies and includes a mix of structural fires and accident rescues.
The lockers in the fire room are arranged according to seniority. Crew members are trained in a way that allows them to perform different tasks on calls depending on what is needed.
“We are trained to be versatile”, Morey said. Many times younger firefighters will do the fire attack. Those of us who are older are more likely to work in the background.”
He said he’s not sure how long he’ll continue to serve. He plans to continue for now because he still feels capable of meeting the physical demands of emergency calls.
“I told the guys if it looks like I’m slowing down, I want them to tell me.” Morey said. “So far that has not happened. I’ll probably figure it out myself before anyone else does.
The Tracy Firehouse is located on the edge of the downtown business district, near the center of town. Along with the garage, it has a meeting room and a club room.
The club room has a wealth of memorabilia going back many years. Firefighter dance posters date back to the 1930s.
The department has a service territory that extends north to Amiret and Milroy, east to the Walnut Grove area, south to Murray County, and west to Garvin.
Morey said he enjoyed going from being one of the youngest members of the crew to having one of the longest seniorities.
“Someone learns by gaining experience” he said. “If something needs to be done differently, people who have served for a long time will point it out. It involves a lot of details, from how to dress to how to change tanks.”
He said that one of the greatest rewards of the fire service is the team spirit that develops among all members of the crew.
“It’s like a family” Morey said. “It leads to a bond that is not replaceable. I can count on everyone in any situation. I always know they will give more than 100 percent.”