Inside the life of a deaf firefighter

Special Reports

Fighting a fire is not just dangerous. It’s loud, chaotic and scary. But imagine if you experienced all of it in silence. At the Elsmere Fire Department, that’s how one of their heroes faces the world every day.

Meet Eric Nusbaum.

“He was born hearing, and then he got really sick and then became deaf.”

Growing up, Eric couldn’t hear, but he could certainly see his future: firefighter.

“When he was really young he wanted to be one. He said, ‘I can do anything.’ Nothing can stop him from doing anything.”

So when he grew up, he suited up.

“He’s quite a guy.”

That’s the reaction when people meet Eric. And as for being deaf—

“We try not to treat anybody differently. We try to have everybody find their place in the department.”

Turns out, Eric’s place is anywhere he wants to go except inside burning buildings. Not being able to hear a distress call is the concern. But when it comes to doing the job, his game is tighter than the hose.

Or as his chief puts it—

“He knows how to get the job done.”

He’s also a handsome devil, so it’s no surprise he and another firefighter created sparks of a different sort.

“He’s very good and helps people if they need help.”

Jessica met Eric on the job and soon there were wedding bells.

He also loves inspiring children who may have different abilities like him.

“If you wanna be a firefighter, then go along with it. Don’t give up.”

Wife, new baby, a rock star at work. There’s really only one question left: “Are you gonna be chief some day?”

“I wish.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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