GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Top Stories

July 13, 2013

Visiting teen fits right in with GFD

Visiting teen fits right in with GFD

A series of tones sounded at the Gloucester Central Fire Station around dinnertime Thursday, and two firefighters rushed out toward an ambulance to assist with a medical call.

Rushing down the stairs right behind them was a small figure clad in denim shorts, flip flops and an American flag T-shirt: Matthew Weinberg, age 13.

He wasn’t going to jump on board to go to the call; he’s too young, and not allowed for liability reasons. But normally, he’d be rushing to the front of the station where the garage doors were open, to shoot video of the departing vehicles.

This time, he simply watched closely as the vehicle pulled out with lights flashing and made its way to the call. Then he ran back inside the building and up to the hall where dinner was being served — his choice this evening, freshly grilled cheeseburgers and fresh corn on the cob — and rubbed elbows with Group 4, the crew on duty, laughing as they good-naturedly teased one another.

Weinberg, who has Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, doesn’t even live in Gloucester; he lives in Henderson, Nev. He has no family members who are firefighters. But he’s been getting to know the firefighters in the Gloucester department pretty well, not only in person for the last three weeks — he’s been visiting family nearby on Prospect Street — but via Facebook, too.

He greatly enjoys the firefighting culture, and the people who do this work.

“It’s not so much a hobby as a habit,” he said. He especially likes the Gloucester fire department because, unlike other departments where he’s spent time, including in a previous town in Kentucky, he noticed that dispatching takes place from within the fire station, not from a central location, and he’s intrigued by that. He has been spending quality time in the watch room, where dispatching takes place, and has learned how to sound tones and make announcements.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction