WOODRUFF, SC (WSPA) – Matthew Tinsley is 20 years old and that might sound young to be a firefighter, but he has loads of experience.

Tinsley knew at a young age that he wanted to be a firefighter. He got an early jump on being able to attend the Spartanburg County Emergency Services Academy.

However, Tinsley lived in Joanna, so he was looking for a place closer to the academy to live during the eight weeks of training.

That’s where the Trinity Fire Department stepped in by offering Tinsley a place to live, Monday through Friday, in Woodruff.

Matthew Tinsley’s uniform

“Lot of people don’t experience living in a firehouse,” Tinsley said. “A lot of nights waking up at 3 in the morning to go on a call and having to hurry back, get dressed and shower and head straight to the academy.”

It was an ideal arrangement for the Trinity Fire Department.

“He was in the market looking for a job at that time so that just gave him the know of our fire department and it was somewhat of an interview in itself,” according to TFD Chief Cody McCarley. “That we got to know Matthew Tinsley at night, and he was training during the day.”

Tinsley knew the benefits. “It was challenging, but I was getting experience no one else in that class was doing,” he tells 7NEWS.

Matthew Tinsley (Left) and Vance Mahaffey (Right)

Tinsley’s father served in the U.S. Army. His brother is a police officer, and his sister is a nurse. He comes from a family of service, and he still retains that work ethic at the fire station.

“I made sure to always be the guy who’s working. If somebody was doing something, that means I had to be doing something.

“And if nobody is doing anything, that’s my place to wash the dishes, take out the trash. I made sure every night when it was time to do house chores, I made sure I was doing it,” Tinsley said.

“While everyone else was taking a break, I made sure I got it all done, paying my dues.”