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From the Ground Up

From the Ground Up describes the journey of James Ghi fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter. As a premature infant James was not expected to survive. As a child he was underweight, was bullied in school, survived the wrath of an abusive father and stepfather but managed to meet the rigors required to become a firefighter. At each stage of his life he had to adjust to many circumstances, building himself from the ground up.

In June 2007 the Charleston Fire Department (South Carolina) suffered the largest loss of life since the events on 9/11 when nine firefighters perished battling a fire at the Sofa Super Store. James had read the various reports written after the fire, recognizing the need for better training in Charleston. His successful career with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue gave him the necessary skills; education and confidence to apply for and accept the position of Chief of Training for the City of Charleston Fire Department. Little did he know his efforts to bring the Charleston Fire Department to nationally recognized training standards would be resisted at all levels and never imagined the efforts Charleston personnel would take to discredit him. Even with the resistance, James was able to bring the Charleston Fire Department training to nationally recognized standards and meet many of the mandates in the various reports, building it From the Ground Up.

--James Ghi



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