Heroes: Parker drawn to firefighting at young age

Dylan Parker says his father inspired him to become a firefighter.

Dylan Parker says his father inspired him to become a firefighter.

“Dylan, get the cornstarch!” his father yelled as Dylan Parker ran back into the house he had left just minutes before, unexpectedly to the rest of his family, after waking up to a fire started by an alarm clock, consuming his bedroom wall.

“I still have no idea why or how I woke up,” he said, recalling waking up to find his wall on fire, minutes before the smoke alarm went off.

“Dad, there’s a fire in my room,” he huffed.

“I’ll deal with it later…” his father, a truck driver with a wild sleep schedule, mumbled before fully awakening from his dream state to take action.

The family evacuated the house.

“It wasn’t that exciting, actually, like it is in the movies,” Dylan recalled.

He was told to stay and wait outside, but his eleven-year-old mind told him it would be a good idea to go back into a burning house.

He searched in the kitchen for a moment, but the common household ingredient couldn’t be found.

No cornstarch? I guess this fire extinguisher will do.

He probably wouldn’t have found an extinguisher if it wasn’t for the fact that his dad, a fuel-truck driver, had just gotten a new one for his truck, and had left it in the house.

Six years later, senior Dylan Parker is still helping to extinguish flames, though it doesn’t do him much good searching for the corn starch when there’s a firetruck behind him.

He was introduced to the Tomball Fire Department while volunteering for ROTC in 2011 when the state was experiencing a drought, and Magnolia’s fields and forests were ablaze.

Dylan quickly realized the fulfillment he found in helping his community overcome a trying situation, and he wanted to become a part of the team that sacrificed their time and safety for others.

“He’s always just loved to help people, and I like to think I’ve helped him to be responsible and honest,” said Karen Austin, Dylan’s mother, “I think that he got a lot of those traits from his dad, also.”

Dylan was 12 years old when his father passed away.

It started on a bright summer’s day. Dylan woke up, ate breakfast, and watched cartoons like any other kid would do. He didn’t bother to wake up his dad when he failed to awake early that morning, his dad having recently injured his leg in an accident.

“I thought, ‘good, he’s getting some much-needed rest’,” he recalled.

But he kept checking on him, thinking his father was still sleeping. Dylan checked on his father again when he realized it was noon.

“Dad, wake up” he pleaded.

He was unresponsive. Dylan realized his eyes were not shut. They were wide open.

He didn’t know it at the time, but his father had entered a coma. Dylan called an ambulance.

He passed away Nov. 9th, 8:24 pm.

Dylan’s father inspired him to become a firefighter. He wanted to save lives.

“I never wanted to feel like that again,” he said, recalling the bitter feeling of helpless confusion that came over him that day.

In July, Dylan became a certified EMT, having been a junior firefighter for nearly two years.

And it was only a few weeks later after receiving certification that Dylan witnessed a dump truck flip onto its side on the freeway. He pulled over to help.

Is the driver conscious? Can he feel pain? Yes? Good. That means his spine is in tact.

He goes through the process he learned in training over and over in his mind, constantly telling himself, “I have to check for…”


Grabbing his hand and supporting his shoulder, Dylan pulled the driver, who came out of the accident uninjured, out of his truck.

He then blocked off the accident with orange cones that he has kept in his truck wherever he goes since receiving his certification, and called for backup.

Though he wasn’t on call that day, Dylan believes the incident shows that because of his training as an EMT he can be even more prepared for situations he finds himself in, whether he is on call or off-duty.

“The more training, the more prepared you are for anything,” he said.

Dylan has seen many things over the past two years as a junior firefighter; car wrecks, wildfires, burning buildings, and hysterical witnesses. That’s when his training kicks in, and his instincts take over.

“It’s second-nature,” he said, “You don’t have time to freeze and say ‘wow’.”

Dylan doesn’t consider himself as some fearless hero, though. He simply enjoys helping people, and it’s the reason he loves what he does.