Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 18, 2013

'Cream of the crop'

Natalie Fultz

THOMASVILLE — Even though he spends most of his days confined to Thomas County Prison, Josh Anderson’s future has no restraints. He is learning skills that will enable him to have a future much brighter than his past.

Anderson and seven other inmates are certified firefighters who respond to structure fires in Thomas County.

“It’s a very beneficial program for someone in my position,” said Anderson, who eyes a career in firefighting after he completes his sentence. “I’ve been doing it for six years. It’s about teaching the new guys now.”

The first inmate fire team was established in Georgia in 1963. Robert Geer, Thomas County Prison warden, and Chris Jones, Thomas County fire chief, decided to start one here eight years ago.

Sunset Fire Station 1 at the prison is the largest manned station in the county. It saves county taxpayers $480,000 per year.

Georgia has 18 fire station facilities in state prisons, but there are only four county camps.

See Saturday's edition for more details.