For our last episode of the season, a story of courage; told from three different perspectives. 

We’ll first hear from Los Angeles County firefighter Derek Bart, who stepped into a StoryCorps MobileBooth in Santa Monica, CA, in early 2020. After serving 33 years in the fire department, he was considering retirement, and wanted to reflect on his career. He told his story to Facilitator Courtney Gilbert. 

Courtney & Derek at their StoryCorps interview in Santa Monica, CA. Photo by Ava Ahmadbeigi for StoryCorps.

One of the stories Derek shared took place one night in 1993, when he responded to a house fire in Santa Clarita, CA. During the blaze, he saved Myeshia Oates, who was just 8 years old at the time.

As the years passed, the memory of Myeshia never left him. And after a chance encounter with her in his local Walmart, Derek reunited with Myeshia for StoryCorps. They sat down together in 2021, almost 30 years after the fire.

Myeshia Oates and Derek Bart at their StoryCorps interview in Santa Clarita, CA on August 23, 2021.

Myeshia also sat down with her mother, Paula Smith Bull, to talk about how they were able to move forward from that night.

Myeshia Oates and Paula Smith Bull in 1988. Courtesy of Paula Smith Bull.
Top photo: Artwork by Lyne Lucien.

Released on January 25th, 2022.