The Fire Asylum Documentary

The Fire Asylum is like no other training resource in the world. Aptly named, the Asylum has become an idea, a philosophy, and a place where fire fighters from all walks of life find refuge, comfort, and personal growth that drives their careers forward. It may seem counter-intuitive at first glance, as the training is grueling and relentless: one phase of the day is labeled, literally, "The Grinder." But to the men and women who dare go behind the walls and endure the training, it becomes a hallowed ground. It is a place where everything can seem "crazy" and out of focus. But despite the harsh setting, indeed sometimes because of it, The Fire Asylum soon becomes the very place to find themselves, the nature of their calling, and their purpose in life.

This may seem melodramatic, but it is not. The fire service is grappling with the premature end of strong careers by suicide, job-related diseases, and seemingly avoidable accidents -- in other words, poorly managed stress that is inherent to the work itself. These concerns are difficult to address in a culture that takes pride in toughness and strength. But in one-on-one training with escalating intensity, the crucial issues leap to the surface. When they do, the result is life-changing.

After seeing the benefits of this training first hand, we know the message needs a voice. The documentary we wish to make focuses on the Fall class, Sept 6, 2017. It is the fire fighters' stories told through their voices, their pain, and their triumph. Their stories are gripping: consider the young lieutenant trying to cope with one of his crew committing suicide within arm's reach, and the middle-aged chief struggling to make good decisions a decade after a single fire claimed the lives of nine crew members. Exploring these stories and others, and watching them come to resolution, will tap into our common humanity.

The setting is in West Virginia at a former maximum security prison built over 100 years ago. Yes, it is a dramatic and unforgiving environment for training fire fighters. This makes it especially valuable because we work in harsh and unforgiving places as a matter of routine. The prison provides a unique, isolating experience for everyone who attends, the instructor corps included. This isolation creates a narrowed perspective, which fosters concentrated focus on the individual as well as the class as a whole. It is enough like real life to bring important issues to light, but different enough to make this a safer place to explore them.

The facility does have modern purpose-built areas designed for training first responders. Combined with the intimidating atmosphere, this makes the prison the perfect setting for this particular class. There is no other training facility like it in the world! Each participant must ask "Do I dare enter The Fire Asylum?"

Do you have what it takes to be a "fly on the wall" of some of the toughest training the fire service has to offer? If yes is your answer, please support this project and the men and women who serve you every day. We have a simple creed here at The Fire Asylum: "Build a better person and you build a better fire fighter."

Whether it is $25 or $10,000, we thank you for your support! Every dollar goes to production cost and support of the class itself on Septmeber 5th and 6th.


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  • Christine Sarracino 
    • $500 
    • 42 mos
  • Francie Stull 
    • $100 
    • 42 mos
  • Tori Halfon 
    • $25 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • Dillon Stevens  
    • $25 
    • 43 mos
See all


Marty Mayes 
Dallas, TX
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