(DOUG JESSOPJESSOPS JOURNAL) In this episode of Jessop’s Journal we feature powerful, positive, and inspirational folks including an interview with a woman that introduces us to her friend Marty, and he’s not from Back to the Future …well okay, Marty is the name of her guitar. Not only do we chat, but she is also our musical guest.

Most people run away from danger. There is a certain group of people that run towards danger to help others. Fire Battalion Chief Jeffrey Thomas shares his story and give us advice.

While we are on the subject of safety, I got to suit up and get some advice on how everyone can be a hero.

But first, Sydnie Keddington…


I met Sydnie while we were both judges at various pitch event, including one at Silicon Slopes. Sydnie works for a venture capital firm, but I also found out that she is a very talented musician.

It’s safe to say that Sydnie walks with a song in her step. Come to find out she comes from a musical family. Her mother as well as her mother’s parents were all seriously into playing classical violin.  In addition to playing violin, Sydnie also plays a different string instrument that she affectionately calls “Marty.” Come to find out that Marty was “born” about 30 minutes from where Sydnie grew up. You’ll need to watch the story to meet Marty.

There was one song that Sydnie wrote both the music and lyrics. Yes – there is a performance of that song is this episode of Jessop’s Journal. 

The song is about two people who loved each other enough to walk away and the love doesn’t go away, and the memories don’t go away. Things just look a little different.

I asked her what it was called, and she told me it didn’t have a title yet.  I’m honored that she let me name the song.  It’s now officially called “Six Years.”  By the way, I’m now her agent…I have it on video!


 Imagine not having your sense of sight. Now take away your sense of smell. Let’s take away your sense of taste. Have you got that in your mind? Now let’s top it off by putting you in a situation surrounded by the roaring flames of fire. That’s what firefighters deal with on a regular basis.

It takes a special person to go towards danger. I’m glad that there are men and women that are willing to put their lives at risk to save other people.

In this episode of Jessop’s Journal I had the pleasure to visit Fire Battalion Chief Jeffrey James Thomas.

He told me the story of his first active fire. I won’t give away all the details (hint, hint…you need to watch the video) but let’s just say it got a bit intense.

When I was a kid, wanting to be a firefighter was up there with wanting to be an astronaut.  Jeff’s eyes lit up as we described seeing kids in awe. Jeff is especially proud to be an example for kids of color.

Jeff and I met at the NAACP Martin Luther King awards luncheon earlier this year. Come to find out that Jeff is the only black battalion chief in the state of Utah. He is heavily involved in community outreach and encourages more women and people of color to become firefighters.

Jeff also is an actor. His first gig was being involved in a shoe line from Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone.  Jeff has also been in a variety of projects seen on Lifetime, Touched by an Angel, etc. I asked him if he had ever been cast as a firefighter. I was surprised to hear that he had been cast as a police officer, but never a firefighter. OKAY CASTING PEOPLE OUT THERE…if you need a firefighter, I know a guy I can get you in touch with!


Jets are flying overhead. Life Flight is landing. Fire truck sirens fill the air.

Layton and North Davis County is full of heroes.

Jason Cook, Battalion Chief at the Layton Fire Department wants to remind people that when it comes to fire safety you can be a hero, by having an escape plan and preventative measures. How? Chief Cooks says, “Smoke detectors throughout, because notification and getting people out of the home is always going to be our number one priority.”

Do you know how most home fires start? According to Cook, “The number one cause of fires in houses involve cooking fires.”

What should you do in that case? Cook continued; “Everybody’s inclination is to put water on a fire. When in fact the very best thing, especially in that circumstance that we can do is to smother the fire. A simple little thing like taking a pot cover and covering the fire safely sliding it across over whatever may be burning will quickly extinguish the fire in a matter of seconds.”

I asked the Battalion Chief to put me to work. He didn’t disappoint me and said, “I think we should suit you up and have you go fight some fire with us.”

The Layton Fire Department took good care of me and helped me get all the protective gear on. I was amazed to learn that they get suited up in 45 seconds or less and get their breathing apparatus on and operating is another 45 seconds or less.

Firefighter Shiloh Cramer gave me extra time. The outfit is pretty heavy, especially when you add the lifesaving air tank. I felt like I was wearing a whole bunch of sweat suits. Let’s just say that I’m glad that it was a relatively cool day.

Cramer gave me detailed instructions as a shipping container with a sprinkler system on one side and no protection on the other side. He told me; “This is showing the difference between fire suppression and not. Once they light it that shows the purpose and functionality of a suppression system. This one on the right is going to burn 4 to 6 minutes. The national average response time.”

They lit up the side without sprinklers. The heat was pretty intense. Cramer remarked that it was only about 1000 degrees. He said when they are surrounded by flames the temperature is closer to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.

About 4 minutes had passed and it was time to do to work. We checked each other’s equipment, made eye contact, and gave each other the thumbs up. The fire had gone from a couch and was moving wildly up the walls. The water was directed side to side and got most of the room. We then moved closer to extinguish the embers. The smoke was thick, and I was very thankful for both the suit and the breathing gear.

It was then time to light up the side with the fire sprinkler system. It was amazing to see what a difference fire sprinkler system can make. When the smoke cleared, I was surprised to see how little damage there was.

My message for everyone is that not all heroes wear capes. Make sure you have smoke detectors. Have an escape plan and practice it with your family.


Consider this your personal invitation to watch this entire episode of Jessop’s Journal and share it with someone that enjoys powerful, positive and inspirational story. Jessop’s Journal airs Sunday mornings at 10 on ABC4 TV and you can watch on-demand at JessopsJournal.com.

Everyone has a story. I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”

You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.

Please consider following me at www.DougJessop.com, LinkedIn, YouTube and at “@dougjessopnews” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life. A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories.

Everyone has a Story. Stories have Power. They help us Understand each other. With another entry into Jessop’s Journal I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.

Jessop’s Journal is a collection of Powerful, Positive and Inspirational Stories made possible by the generous support of Tatt2Away, XLEAR, Millcreek Gardens and LIFE Never Boring.

Doug Jessop
For Doug Jessop, it all started with a cassette recorder he got for Christmas when he was 12 years old growing up in Southern California. Doug interviewed relatives, friends and anyone else that might have a good story. You can follow Doug at www.DougJessop.com, on YouTube.com/DougJessop, and @DougJessopNews on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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