Fire district wants to pay for your tuition - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fire district wants to pay for your tuition

Posted: Updated:

The staggering cost of college probably isn't a surprise to anyone. 
But what may be, is a program through one of the fire departments in our area that could completely eliminate your next bill. 
Few have what it takes to be a firefighter...But if you do...Benton county fire district #4 in west Richland wants to pay for your college .
Yes, you read that right. 
Lieutenant Aaron Meloy started out as a resident firefighter about 10 years ago. 
"When I was a resident, my biggest reward was a call a couple years back, where me and my officer at the time, we were able to pull a guy out of a burning building and he lived," Meloy said. 
Now, he's in charge of running the program. 
 Here's how it works: 
"They get housing, they live here at the station so they're provided a room, they get a reimbursement so they get a little bit of money on the side, as well as getting their full time tuition paid for. They also get the experience, so they're working full time as a firefighter with the other guys," Meloy said. 
In return, the district gets a full time firefighter for much less than it would normally cost. 
Tyler Carter joined the program about six months ago with plans to become an EMT. 
"As a resident, there's no discrimination on what calls you go on, you operate as a firefighter, as the same as everyone else here you go on the same calls together, we're a crew. We operate the same we work the same hours, we are a firefighter here," Carter said. 
Though he admits those hours mean it's not for everyone. 
" I would work on shift and then when the other guys got to go home, I would be at school or I would be in training here or I would be doing homework in my room, so really there's not a lot of days off between doing all that," Carter said. 
But if you decide you do want to continue being a firefighter after the program, Meloy says the training offers a major advantage where ever you end up.

Anyone interested can apply here