Arlington Firefighter Putting Out Flames Near Gaza War Zone

Billy Hirth has spent last week in Israel, near the Gaza border

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Billy Hirth, an 18-year veteran of the Arlington Fire Department, has spent the last week fighting fires in Israel, near the war zone in Gaza. (Published Monday, Jul 21, 2014)

    No one would dare accuse a firefighter of having an easy job.

    But Billy Hirth, 52, an 18-year veteran of the Arlington Fire Department, is taking his dedication to public safety to another level.

    Hirth has spent the last week fighting fires in Israel, near the war zone in Gaza.

    "He has called several times, and I can hear rockets and the Iron Dome going off in the background because they're right at the Gaza border," said Lea Ann Hirth, Billy's wife, at the couple's Pantego home. "When they arrive in Israel, they are assigned a helmet and a flak jacket."

    The Hirths are involved with the Emergency Volunteers Project, an organization that trains people from around the world to help Israel and its people during times of emergency.

    The fires Hirth and other American firefighters are putting out aren't typically run-of-the-mill.

    "These are, unfortunately, fires that have been caused by some of the rocket blasts that have been coming across the border into Israel," Hirth told NBC DFW.

    This trip to Israel is Hirth's fifth in the last three years, and he plans to return in August to help with the training of Israeli firefighters.

    "It's a brotherhood thing to them. And those are his friends. And he wants to be there to serve and support his friends," Hirth said.