MUSCATINE, Iowa–Since childhood, Mike Collins knew he wanted to work as a firefighter. “It’s family tradition,” he shared. “I’m a third generation firefighter–I’ve grown up with it and it’s all I’ve known.
In 2001, the Bettendorf High School graduate first took a job with the Muscatine Fire Department. Though Collins spent some time working elsewhere, he returned to the Muscatine Fire Department in 2018 and has a combined nine years of service with them. An experienced firefighter and critical care paramedic, Collins likes the variety of work he sees. “I think what I enjoy most is the small department feel,” he shared. “We get to put our hands into a little bit of everything in fire, and EMS, and hazardous material–we do it all, and I enjoy that.”
Aug. 11, Collins put his varied skill to use when his crew responded to an early morning fire at 620 Sycamore Street, Muscatine. When the firefighters entered the building, they heard someone call for help from one of the upper floors. Quickly following the sound and using a thermal imaging camera to assist him in the smoke filled house, Collins found a trapped resident and, with the help of other firefighters, brought her outside to safety.
Collins credits good timing with allowing him to find the woman and guide her to safety “I just happened to be part of the first crew through the door,” he said. “I heard the voice and just went towards the sound,” he added, noting that he had full confidence that any other firefighter would have done the same thing he did.
For his efforts, Muscatine Fire Chief Jerry Evers awarded him with a lifesaving award. Collins felt both surprised and humbled by the recognition. “It’s amazing–I would never have thought or expected to be recognized with this award,” he said. Collins has also valued all the positive messages he has gotten from the community since receiving the award.
Moving forward, Collins looks forward to continuing to serve the community by helping people when they need it most. As he put it, he most values, “just being able to help people and being there in some of their worst times.”