By Emily West
When 19-year-old David Monicle was doing his nightly ritual of ensuring the doors and windows were locked on a typical December night, a glimpse of an orange glow caught his attention. Quickly stepping outside, he saw flames across the street at his neighbor's home on Wind Cave Court off of Valley Trails Drive.
Quickly waking up his parents and telling them to call 911, Monicle ran out to wake the neighbors. The house where the fire originated was a family with two small boys under four years old and their mom was pregnant with twins.
Monicle said the fire was burning outside, between the two homes and was reaching about 4 to 5 feet above the fence. Within about two minutes, Monicle, his dad and his neighbors were able to put the fire out before it spread and caused too much damage.
For Monicle, grabbing a garden hose and putting out the fire was a matter of following his instincts. The innate spurring to action, however, may be from his experiences in the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department's explorer program.
"I would have done the same thing if I wasn't in the program," he said.
A part of the program since he was 15, it meets twice a month to help young people with the dream of being a firefighter undergo training and other drills needed for the job.
Monicle graduated from Amador Valley High School in 2008 and plans to attain his fire science degree at Las Positas College in Livermore, which he is on track to complete this spring. He's certified as an EMT, but sees it as just another step to his dream job of being a firefighter. He's been applying for the past year. Once accepted, he said the road ahead includes a tough, year-long process before donning the official firefighting gear.
"I'm very thankful to have noticed the fire and that there wasn't too much damage," he said. "It could have been much worse."