Matt Astfalk, 41, is a volunteer firefighter with Hecktown Fire Co. No. 1. He has been volunteering for three years.
Astfalk, a resident of Palmer Township, works for Ikea as a logistics manager in Elizabeth, NJ. He lived in Roselle, NJ, for 36 years.
Astfalk lives with his girlfriend of 15 years, Marisol, and has a son, Max.
What is it like being a firefighter?
“Furniture by day, fires at night… I’m busier. Life is busier. If it isn’t work, the pager goes off at home.”
What is your favorite thing about being a firefighter?
“It’s awesome to me. It’s fulfilling being able to serve the community. I always played sports growing up. So now, I’m part of a brotherhood -- part of another team.”
What made you decide to become a firefighter?
“I was talking to my neighbor and she was a firefighter… I was talking to [volunteers] at the gym. I said, 'You guys looking for help?' I came on down and here I am.”
What kind of training have you had?
“We have a [Rapid Intervention Team] class that’s coming up in June.”
How do your loved ones feel about you putting your life on the line?
“I’ve always rode motorcycles and done crazy sports things. They expect it of me… They were proud [when I joined]. They knew I always wanted to do it since I was kid.”
What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the department?
“I’d tell them to come on down. It’s serious and rewarding at the same time.”