Flames burn through a house as firefighters attempt to extinguish a house fire in Valdosta, Ga., Dec. 28, 2012. U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Roderick Vega, 23d Wing deputy inspector general, assisted Lowndes County Fire Rescue extinguish the fire. (Courtesy photo)
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Roderick Vega, 23d Wing deputy inspector general, right, and Capt. Lloyd Green, Lowndes County Fire Rescue, use the deck gun to extinguish a fire in Valdosta, Ga., Dec. 28, 2012. Vega has been a firefighter in the Air Force for 21 years. (Courtesy Photo)
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Roderick Vega, 23d Wing deputy inspector general, changes out an air cylinder on a firefighter in Valdosta, Ga., Dec. 28, 2012. After the fire died down, Vega helped other firefighters by handing out water and changing air cylinders. (Courtesy Photo)
by Airman 1st Class Olivia Bumpers
23d Wing Public Affairs
2/6/2013 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- As Master Sgt. Roderick Vega, 23d Wing deputy inspector general, turned into his subdivision Dec. 28, 2012, he saw black smoke and bright orange flames engulf his neighbor's house. Without hesitation, he parked his car and his 21 years as an Air Force firefighter kicked in.
"Firefighting is what I know how to do, and it just happened that I was in the right place at the right time," said Vega.
This lucky coincidence allowed Vega to assist Lowndes County Fire Rescue in controlling the house fire. Richard Guyton, Lowndes County Fire Rescue fire chief, commended Vega for his actions.
"His assistance was invaluable," said Guyton. "He was a great help in extinguishing the fire as other fire trucks were en route.
"It's unusual to have someone help us control a fire, but we knew him from a previous Moody Air Force Base-Valdosta city partnership, and his offer to help was much appreciated," he added.
With an accommodating attitude and his firefighter background, Vega assisted in moving a charged three-foot hose lines and suggested using the deck gun on the fire truck to extinguish the fire.
Throughout his 21 years as a firefighter, he held various positions and devoted time to helping others. Although he has been the deputy inspector general for eight months and said he misses being a firefighter, he's glad he is still able to help people.
"I just lent a hand where I could," said Vega. "I didn't do it for the glory. I just wanted to help."
Once the fire was under control, he sought to help out fellow firefighters by handing out water and changing out air cylinders.
As a result, no one was injured in the fire, and Vega's quick response to the house fire showed how he applied instinct and firefighter training in a time of need.