When Matt Dorminy’s shift is up at the fire station, there’s still work to be done.
He trades the DeKalb County Fire and Rescue Department firetruck for a white truck that reads “Firehouse Junk Removal” that boasts being “owned and operated by firefighters.”
Instead of rushing into flames, he’s heading into basements filled to the brim with old electronics, unwanted furniture and anything else left to gather dust.
Dorminy, of Flowery Branch, has run the junk removal company for almost three years.
“It was kind of a dream of mine to own my own company as well as to be able to afford a little bit more than what I was getting out of the fire department,” Dorminy said.
The company serves Hall, Gwinnett, Jackson, Barrow, Forsyth, Fulton and DeKalb counties. Pricing is based on the size of the load being hauled away.
Dorminy said the side company will take on roughly a dozen jobs in an average week, with weekends often heavily booked.
When he’s not hauling junk or fighting fires, he’s doing CrossFit.
“Ultimately, the most important thing to me is my crew, so I try to stay in the best shape possible,” Dorminy said.
Master firefighter Tony Pardinas, who has worked with Dorminy since the company’s inception, said staying in shape makes the job easier.
On a recent job in Suwanee, the two lifted chairs over the heads, moving cumbersome wooden furniture through a backyard up to their truck.
“Some days it’s way worse than a fire job, especially the houses on Lake Lanier that have hills that go all the way down,” Dorminy said.
Of the calls they have worked, Pardinas said it can range from needing a TV removed to cleaning out an entire room.
“We’ve had jobs that are — people said they haven’t been in a certain room since Christmas of 1980, so we go in there and clean it out,” Pardinas said.
In terms of providing for his family, Dorminy said it has given them “stuff that four years ago I could never dream of.”
“It has given us more freedom, more time at home. It has financially helped us get things that otherwise a fireman and a teacher can never do,” he said.
To Pardinas, it means not having to pinch pennies.
“If it was just me living off the fire department, I’d be able to pay the basic stuff and that would be it. Working with Dorminy doing the junk removal, it definitely makes life easier (and) comfortable,” he said.
The average firefighter may start out with salary around $39,000, though they at work more hours per year than someone with a desk job.
“A 30-year employee at an 8-5 job is equivalent to like a firefighter that does 22 years, but we still have to do 30 years to get our pension or our retirement,” Dorminy said.
Dorminy said his goal would be to spend the next two decades with DeKalb County, retire and then turn the company over to his kids.
“I want to make sure that my kids have something, because I don’t want them to ever grow up like I did. I want them to have a good life and not have to worry and go through the struggles I did,” he said.