A Fiery Valentine's Day For Two Firefighters In Love

Feb 14, 2014
Originally published on February 14, 2014 10:00 am

New York City firefighters Sophy Medina and Thomas Olsen don't work together very often, but their first Valentine's Day as a couple was an exception. They worked the same fire that night — and then ended up at the same hospital with minor injuries.

"There really wasn't much romantic about the night it was," Tommy tells Sophy, now his fiancee, on a visit to StoryCorps. "I kept coming over. I sat in your bed and was talking to you."

"We were wearing big, stinky, heavy gear," Sophy recalls. "We're all, like, sweaty, and everyone smells like a foot. ... The only thing that was romantic was the idea that it was Valentine's Day, and that we still managed to spend it together somehow," Sophy says.

The couple are now parents of a baby boy, Luca, who was born in December. "I worry about you when you go to work," Sophy tells Tommy. "When I was pregnant I would think about it a lot, like if something happened to you."

"Yeah, just never know. Blindfold yourself and put yourself in an oven — that's pretty much it," Tommy says. "If you asked me when I first got on the job, 'Oh, you're gonna have kids and marry a firefighter?' I'd be like, 'Never.' But if [a fire] happened on our block, we could take it out."

"You're such a nerd," Sophy replies.

"We'd take it down. You could be my backup."

"I would," Sophy laughs.

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher with Emily Kwong.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Oh, is it ever Friday, and time for StoryCorps, the project that's preserving the stories of everyday people. We hear it each Friday. And today, on this Valentine's Day, we hear from Sophy Medina and her fiance, Tommy Olsen. Sophy and Tommy are both firefighters in New York City. They're stationed at different firehouses, don't work together very often, but at StoryCorps, they remembered one night when they did.

SOPHY MEDINA: Our first Valentine's Day, we got a call in for a big fire.

TOMMY OLSEN: It was a big fire, yeah.

MEDINA: Huge. You got something in your eye, a piece of glass in there.

OLSEN: I had a piece of glass in my eye, yeah.

MEDINA: And I twisted my back so we both ended up going to the hospital.

OLSEN: Then I kept coming over, I sat in your bed and was, like, talking to you.

MEDINA: We were wearing big, stinky, heavy gear.

OLSEN: So, after a fire, you're soaking wet.

MEDINA: It was so bad. We're all like, sweaty, and everyone smells like a foot.

OLSEN: There really wasn't much romantic about that night.

MEDINA: Yeah. The only thing that was romantic was the idea that it was Valentine's Day, and that we still managed to spend it together somehow.

OLSEN: Yeah.

MEDINA: I think it's cool being with another firefighter but when we see each other sometimes on a run, we can't kiss.

OLSEN: No, we don't kiss.

MEDINA: I don't think that'd be professional, yeah.

OLSEN: Yeah, unprofessional, yeah.

MEDINA: We have a handshake.

OLSEN: We have a handshake we made up, yeah, and the guys make fun of us. Like, what was that?

MEDINA: I worry about you when you go to work. When I was pregnant I would think about it a lot, like if something happened to you.

OLSEN: Yeah, just never know. Blindfold yourself and put yourself in an oven, that's pretty much it.

MEDINA: We also have emergency responses, building collapse, terrorist threats so, you know, I do know what it's like when you go to work and have a sleepless night, just like you know what it's like for me to go to work and have a sleepless night. Has being a parent changed the way you look at work?

OLSEN: I love going to work.

MEDINA: I know you do.

OLSEN: It's great, but, like, want to go home at the end of the day and see Luca. If you asked me when I first got on the job, oh, you're gonna have kids and marry a firefighter? I'd be like, never. But if something happened on our block, we could take it out.

MEDINA: What, like a fire?

OLSEN: A fire on the block.

MEDINA: You're such a nerd.

OLSEN: We'd take it down. You could be my backup.

MEDINA: I would.

(SOUNDBITE FROM SONG "BURNING LOVE")

ELVIS: (Singing) Lord a-mighty, feel my temperature rising.

INSKEEP: New York City firefighters Sophy Medina and Tommy Olsen at StoryCorps. Their interview will be archived along with thousands of others at the Library of Congress, and you can hear more from StoryCorps on the podcast at npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.