Bridgeville Events
Thursday, October 14th. 1999
Young firefighter has big plans

By Bill McCauley
On Wednesday, Nov. 15, the day hurricane Floyd hit, Chris Millman was helping Jason Fannin fill sand bags at the Greenwood Fire Hall. The sandbags were to come in useful, not to shore up levees as they do along the Mississippi River, but to create barriers at outside entrances to homes.
Millman and Fannin were just two of about 20 Greenwood firemen who bagged the pile of sand dumped in one of the bays at the firehouse by a Delaware Department of Transportation truck. One fireman held the tarp bag while one or two others shoveled. Millman and his friend Mike Walls joined them.
The bags were loaded in Fannin's distinctive blue pick-up truck — by the end of the day, that truck was a welcome sight throughout town — and Millman, Fannin and friend Mike Walls placed the sandbags at the front and rear entrances of houses. The truck's higher wheels and four-wheel-drive kept them from getting stuck.
Millman recalls a 5-foot water depth at one lot on North First Street. He got his pants completely soaked and repeatedly had to remove his water-filled boots to pour the water from them. Every time he got back on Fannin's pick-up truck he took them off and drained them.
The trio's adventures during the day included pushing a hearse out of the water on one of the streets. Also a woman wanted her car pushed up on the sidewalk so it wouldn't float away. Frequently the trio was in water knee-deep.
"The whole thing was wild," recalled Millman. "Weird to see the National Guard. They blocked off streets going into Greenwood. If you didn't live there, you couldn't get in. Greenwood was closed down. It was something everybody is going to remember for a long, long time."
Millman also remembered being chilled before the day was out. "There are basically two reasons for being there [at the flood or any other rescue]. One is to help people. The other is the adrenaline rush - it's always something different. People come together, especially in a fire company. It's no longer just me or you. It's us and we. Everyone was helping in one way or another."
Millman, the son of the well-known Greenwood firefighter Sammy Millman, came into the company about 2 years ago as a junior firefighter. In addition to his father, young Millman has a retired firefighter uncle from Salisbury who is now a life member.
Chris Millman recalls that as a boy, "whenever a call came in I would ride with Dad. I've enjoyed it a lot. I've seen things I didn't ever want to see, but I guess that comes with it." One of those things was the death of a child. Millman couldn't get it off his mind for several days.
He is now finishing high school through James Grove School at Owens Campus of the Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown. He and Chad will drive together beginning in October when both will resume their studies.
Millman left Woodbridge in the 11th grade to go to work for the Radio Station WGMD. One week he worked at the radio station approximately 80 hours, he recalled. Though he loved his work, the long hours took their toll with the result that he and the job parted. "I'd like to have a job as a disc jockey," he said.
His ambition with the Greenwood Fire Co. is to get his Commercial Drivers License so he can drive a fire truck. He has his favorite — Engine No. 2., a Pierce. Also, starting in October he plans to take the crew leader training in Dover for a weekend.
He has already been to Dover for two weekends of training in basic fire fighting and another two weekends of structural fire fighting training. He also received training in dealing with hazardous materials and in vehicle rescue.
Of his fire fighting training in Dover, he describes what is called "The Smokehouse." He relates that "it is pitch black inside, filled with smoke as much as any building could be. You crawl up the stairway, counting the number of steps so you can tell your teammate behind you. Go in with two others and you come out with them. You can't see your teammates. If you're behind one of them you hold on to his ankle. You only let go if he screams, ‘ventilation!' meaning to open windows to let smoke out. That's when you are really dependent on your self contained breathing apparatus."
Young Millman hunts deer with his dad. They have a favorite location near Bridgeville where on the land of an acquaintance they have a deer stand.
He reads a lot of books: Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, Stephen King are among writers he enjoys. "I have a bookcase filled with books. I like psychological horror books." He likes the movie Austin Powers. Also Robin Williams — "He's my hero," he said.
One of his ambitions is to go to England, and not just to see the country. He has a friend there whom he met while working one summer as a counselor at Camp Arrowhead along Indian River Bay. He admits he loved it there. "I didn't want to leave at the end of summer. I almost cried. It was a lot of fun. Even now every time I get a phone card, I call her in England."
It's evident that Chris Millman has a love for life and a zest for living. He sings wherever he goes — rather in the way a person would sing in the shower.
He credits his father for his interest in and love for firefighting. He credits his mother for his love of reading and books. Together, they created an exuberant and talented young man who is one of Greenwood's younger firefighters.