Kevin Cloxton said that he’s wanted to be a firefighter for as long as he can remember, so when he got the opportunity to work with Cranston’s Fire Department as part of his Eagle Scout project, he took it.
For his project, he built a training prop to be used by the Cranston firefighters to better prepare them for the job. The prop is a homemade roof, which Cloxton said looks like “half of a real roof,” that has a hole in the center of it.
Cloxton, a senior at Hendricken who attended Immaculate Conception for middle school, said that he knew that part of battling a fire in homes includes cutting a hole in the roof for ventilation during structure fires.
“I first reached out to Chief [William] McKenna to see if he needed anything and he helped me with that idea,” Cloxton said about beginning the project.
McKenna said that Cloxton ended up working directly with the training division, led by the now-retired Jim Beckman, to make the roof. Cloxton said that the fire fighters were especially helpful in explaining the specific measurements of the prop.
The roof prop was made out of regular wood and shingles in order to resemble a real roof of a home. The “whole process took a couple months,” Cloxton said of the planning part of it, and the building of the roof itself took about seven hours. This was with the help of 12 other Boy Scouts from his troop that helped him and the firefighters with it, he said.
He said that scouts has always been a part of his life and he was always involved on a weekly basis, from being a Cub Scout at six years old to joining the Boy Scouts in fifth grade. He said even after completing his Eagle Scout project he’ll remain as involved as he can be, going to weekly meetings, camping trips, and helping out the younger scouts.
The final product was a roof structure with a ventilation hole cut into it. For training purposes, Cloxton also made 15 inserts that could be taken in and out of the hole to be reused for multiple training sessions.
Chief McKenna said that right after the roof was finished it was used by the training academy at the Garden City fire station.
“I can’t really think in my tenure [of a kid doing something like this],” McKenna said. “It’s been very helpful to us.”
Cloxton said that the department invited him down recently and he got to see the newest class of probationary fire fighters use it in their training, something he took great pride in.
“The biggest thing I’ve taken out of this is leadership,” he said. “Being able to go out on your own with some guidance from adults but mostly it’s just kids leading kids. I’ve learned a lot of good leadership qualities and had some great mentors.”
He also said that doing this project with the Cranston Fire Department has only fueled his passion to become a firefighter even more.
“I spent a ton of time there, all the guys are great guys and they really care about what they do,” Cloxton said. “It really fired me up even more to want to do this.”