GREENVILLE (WSPA) – “There’s less fire now, it’s a safer city,” says Greenville Firefighter Lt. Paul Boggs.

This first responder – now in his 29th year with the city fire department – says that level of safety comes from factors including fire codes, sprinkler systems and smoke detectors.

But Boggs says there’s more. “The city (Greenville) provides the resources, the manpower, the training. That all adds up to a safer city.”

Boggs is currently with the Rescue 4 apparatus, but we caught up with him at Station 1 in Greenville on Verdae Boulevard. He was doing what all firefighters appear to do when they’re not on a call.

Training.

It’s changed dramatically since he joined the department in the 1980s. “When I first came on, fire department didn’t handle the rescues,” he tells us. “We were there, we assisted, but it was pretty much EMS’s responsibility. Now, the amount of training we put in, on HAZMAT rescues, of course firefighting, medical it’s unbelievable.”

The training goes beyond building and maintaining firefighting skills. It’s part of building a team. “We’re working 24 hours together in a fire house. This becomes our second family, OK? So as a family, our family forms a team,” according to Boggs.

“We made a commitment. We took an oath when we came here to serve the public of the City of Greenville, the people who are in it. That’s what we’re about.”

Boggs is 51 now. He doesn’t sound like he’s close to retirement, but he’s only a few years away from being fully eligible to call it a career.

That decision sounds like it won’t be coming for a while. “I love this job. I love the guys I serve with. I love the city I serve,” he says.

“As long as I continue to do that, and my health holds out my future’s here.”