For the newest firefighters at the Redondo Beach Fire Department, working in the beach city is like a dream come true.
"Every day I come here, it feels like the right spot for me," said firefighter-paramedic Kenny Campos.
Campos, 24, of Torrance; firefighter Brian Regan, 35, originally of New York; and firefighter-paramedic Tyler Hoff, of Riverside, beat out nearly 1,000 other applicants for three openings after going through a grueling application and pre-hire process that included a written test, interviews, skills testing, background checks, polygraph tests, physicals, stress testing and more.
But now that the tests are over, they're no longer competing against each other for the jobs.
"The three of us are in it together," Hoff told Patch last week in an interview on their last day of training. "We're here to help each other succeed."
And after only two weeks with the department, already "it's like a second family," said Regan. "We're real excited to be here."
Hoff, a native of Riverside who just celebrated his 24th birthday, called the job the "best birthday present" he could have asked for.
"It's a dream job," he said. "It really is. … It's an absolute dream job."
It's a dream job he's wanted for nearly 10 years, he said. Since the age of about 14, he's been preparing for a life in the fire service.
Being a firefighter is "always changing. … It's organized chaos," Hoff said, noting at one point in the interview that one call could be for a leaky pipe and the next for a baby who's not breathing. He later added, "It's always a challenge, and it's always fulfilling at the end of the day."
Campos expressed a similar sentiment. "It's something different every day. …We're out working with our hands," he said.
Campos was introduced to the job through a local "Fire Explorers" program when he as 18 or 19, and he was "intrigued by what the fire service had to offer," he said.
Regan decided he wanted to be a firefighter about five years ago. "It's a big commitment," he said, one that's "physically and mentally challenging."
"Everyone's put their time in here," he said.
Though Hoff and Campos were hired as firefighter-paramedics and Regan was hired as a firefighter, all three have paramedic training.
The three, who are RBFD's first new hires in about four years, finished their training last week will be probationary hires for 12 months. They'll work the department's standard 56-hour workweek of two days on duty followed by four days off.