Salute Our Heroes: Volunteer serves nearly 40 years for Burlingame Fire

Credit: Heidi Strohm Koger
Credit: Heidi Strohm Koger(wibw)
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 8:56 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Carolyn Strohm dedicated decades to the City of Burlingame.

She says she stumbled on her career as a firefighter by accident.

“I was a girl scout leader, I had a girl scout troop and for both jobs, you need to have CPR first aid. After I quit driving I didn’t have a way to get my CPR and I had asked my fire chief if I could get CPR training through the fire department. He says, “Well you have to be in the fire department”.

“He was kidding, but I got on and here we are,” she said.

Every day for 33 years, she has gone to bed with her pager close, ready to respond to the next emergency, no matter how bad the situation.

“I’ve been involved in big fires, there was a big house fire that we worked on all night long. Then there was a business I think that potentially could have taken the whole block downtown.”

Strohm adapted to many changes throughout nearly 40 years of service.

“There’s always something new that comes along. That’s why we train all the time, new techniques and new equipment and stuff like that and as far as the trucks and stuff. Oh my, they have come a long long way in the 33 years.”

She’s also proud to watch her family follow in her footsteps.

“It’s pretty cool actually, my son and his two boys, and all three of them have been fire chiefs here,” she explained.

She says this job is unlike the rest of the jobs she has had.

“I really really enjoyed it, I’ve had other jobs that I never really enjoyed being a part of a job as I have this one.”

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