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Democratic National Convention: Matt Moseley Discusses 'Firefighters for Gore'Aired August 16, 2000 - 2:19 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Call them "everyday heroes": American men and women who risk their lives putting out fires and keeping the peace. Here in Los Angeles, Democrats plan to honor the nation's police officers and firefighters Thursday night. One of those is Atlanta firefighter Matt Moseley. Matt Moseley put his own life on the line during this daring 1999 rescue of a crane operator trapped during a massive fire.
Strapped to a cable suspended from a helicopter, Mark Moseley was able to pluck the man from the flames. The chopper then set down the two men down safely in a nearby cemetery. There may be a metaphor there somewhere.
Matt Moseley joins us here at Staples Center to talk about that.
The video -- it is about a year and a half ago now.
MATT MOSELEY, ATLANTA FIRE DEPARTMENT: That is correct. It was April 12 of last year.
WATERS: The video is startling. It's stunning. It's almost unbelievable. But take us through it one more time for those who may not have seen it except for now for the first time. What was going on with you while we were watching this?
MOSELEY: Well, the best way I can describe it is abject terror because you've never done that before. But in the line of work we're in, brother and sisters in the International Associations of Firefighters, you learn to fight that fear back, and control it, and you almost use it to keep an edge about you because the people that aren't scared are the one you have to afraid of.
WATERS: I am sorry, I have calling you Mark. It is Matt. It says right here Matt. I knew it was Matt. Sorry, Matt.
How did you get the assignment?
MOSELEY: Well, myself and another firefighter had put some harnesses on, and all the people that were on out truck were ready to go, but they saw that the two of us had harnesses, and they figured, well, there's no need in everybody getting in one. It just so happened I was standing right behind the captain, who was having a moment of his own, as you can imagine, trying to figure out how we are going to get this guy down.
When he spun around, he almost ran into me. He is a little shorter than me. He ran into my chest, and he said, well, you're going. I guess I happened to be standing there when he spun around.
WATERS: Did you ever think you would get a call like this? you train for this sort of thing?
MOSELEY: In Atlanta, no, we don't train for this sort of thing because it is -- we're an urban department, and we don't really have -- That was the first helicopter rescue in the history of the department. So we had never trained for that. We train for rope rescues, which are very similar, and you know rope rescue is pretty much rope rescue. You just kind of spice up the mix a bit with a helicopter.
WATERS: It got massive coverage in Atlanta on local television, then it seeped over into national coverage. Now, you're referred to as a hero in every other sentence. What is your reaction to that? I know you are going to be very modest. But...
MOSELEY: It's -- You know, any time you refer to a police officer or a firefighter or an EMS worker as a hero, it's not -- it's flattering, but we don't do the job to be called heroes. We really don't do the job for the money. We do the job because we buy back birthdays, we buy anniversaries, and we buy Christmas and Thanksgiving for people. We buy a prom for a child who gets in a car accident. We go and get them out of the vehicle. So that's really the reward we get out of it. The memories that we have.
WATERS: I think America needs heroes, and tomorrow night, you and others, and you're wearing a T-shirt that says "Firefighters for Gore," will be paid some sort of tribute here at the convention. How do we get "Firefighters for Gore"?
MOSELEY: Well, the International Association of Firefighters was the first union group to endorse Al Gore's presidency, and they did because he has a 100 percent voting record when it comes to issues that concern firefighters. For example, there is two in and two out legislation that he backed, which means that if there is two firefighters in a burning building, there has to be two outside in order to go in and rescue them if something happens.
Collective bargaining issues, which are going to be big issues in this election, as far as the firefighters are concerned, and Al Gore has backed that.
It really shows that he cares about public safety. Because we're out there protecting the public, and Al Gore is in Washington protecting us.
WATERS: Well, Matt, have a successful. I can speak for many Americans, whether or not you consider yourself a hero, it is comforting to know men and women like you are out there.
MOSELEY: Well, thanks a lot. I appreciate that. Thank you for your time.
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