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German firefighters get training tips from Chicago Fire Dept.

German firefighters get training tips from Chicago Fire Dept.
German firefighters get training tips from Chicago Fire Dept. 02:19

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Some of the firefighters responding to calls on Chicago's South Side are a long way away from home.

In fact, they traveled thousands of miles just to be here.

CBS 2's Noel Brennan introduces us to the German firefighters who've joined the Chicago Fire Department for a couple of weeks.

In Chicago, a firehouse and good food go hand in hand.

"Every day, eating here is basically like eating at a restaurant, so it's always pretty good," said Philip Gramberg.

The young firefighter loaded his plate full of sausage and sautéed green peppers inside a CFD fire station in Englewood.

"I think we should send our chefs over here," Gramberg joked. "Get some training in."

Gramberg was taking notes for his home department. 

"I'm from Germany, so I work in Bremen. Normally, I'm a firefighter there. It's in the north of Germany about one and a half hours from Hamburg."

For the past two weeks, Gramberg and three other firefighters from Germany, have been training with and learning from Chicago firefighters.

They're wrapping up their tour at Engine 116 Squad 5 in Englewood.  

"We took them through a course to teach them how to maneuver in tight spaces at a fire," said Lieutenant Kenneth Cardenas of the Chicago Fire Department.

Cardenas said CFD put the German firefighters through a couple of different courses at the department's fire academy on multiple calls, including active fires. 

"There's no better training than seeing live action," Cardenas said. 

"You can learn a lot of stuff," Gramberg said. "I mean, the guys at the squad, they're doing rope rescue. They're diving. They're fighting fires."

The neon green, German helmets might look a little different, but the job is the same.

"There's no better training than seeing live action."

 "After midnight, so it was fire. Working fire."

"You see the heavy smoke and the smoke was in the whole building," Frank Gramberg said, showing off his cell phone video from a house fire Thursday night.

Frank Gramberg is a fire captain in Bremen, Germany. He's traveled to Chicago three times since 2004 to train with local firefighters. He's found there's no border to brotherhood.

"I think that's firefighting," Frank Gramberg said. "It's the same as it is in Germany or here. So that makes a difference."

And for the Grambergs, firefighting is all about family. Frank and Phillip are father and son. 

"I grew up at a fire station, so that's what I wanted to do my whole life," Phillip Gramberg said. 

"For me, as a dad, it's cool, yeah, it's very cool," Frank Gramberg said. "It's a good experience."

"I think there's better than sharing something like this with your dad that you have a big passion about," Phillip Gramberg said.

Father and son are learning from each other, and their brothers.

"It's a big family," Cardenas said. "Big family."

The Bremen firefighters head back home on Friday. The partnership between Bremen and Chicago dates back to 2004.

Chicago Fire has also hosted firefighters from countries like Ukraine, Canada, Guatemala, and Switzerland.

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