Josué Contreras, a host at Trick Dog who ran into a burning building to save an old couple from a two-alarm fire on Jan. 13, has now decided to shift career paths. If he can meet all the requirements by June, he aims to join the city’s Firefighter Recruit Training Academy, which is the first step to joining the San Francisco Fire Department.
“It’s always been part of my dream,” said Contreras, who tried to be a firefighter in his early 20s but failed. Now 35, he’s working as a door host at Trick Dog, a popular cocktail bar on 20th Street.
The fire across the street from Contreras’ place of business reignited his dream. He wasn’t hesitant to step into the smoke and save the elderly residents from the fire. After that, he met a few firefighters and watched them extinguish the flames.
His heroic behavior was honored by the Fire Commission last week, where he received a certificate of appreciation and a medallion.
“They’re encouraging me, and they’re proud of me,” said Contreras, referring to the fire officials who want to offer him an opportunity to join the team. The recruitment will start in June. And, before that, he needs to complete the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) extensive course, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and then he can go to the Fire Academy.
His partner, Alexa Treviño, started fundraising a week ago, hoping to cover the cost of his education, eight weeks of public transit to Alameda for $600, and his portion of bills since he would need to let go of three days of work per week.
It’s not Contreras’ first time helping people in the neighborhood. He previously assisted in pushing a broken-down truck out of the intersection at 23rd and Mission streets on a rainy day, and made sure two customers in the bar did not choke while having seizures.
He will start his CPR class, a lifesaving technique that’s useful in many emergencies, on the coming Friday.
“It’s just that there is a lot of little random stuff,” said Contreras, feeling that he was somehow chosen for this. “I’ve always been lucky to be able to be there.”
If you want to support Contreras’s dream, the fundraising link is here.