Friday, October 4, 2013
Engineer Brandon Bryant, 25, of Summerville has been a firefighter for seven years. One year with St. John’s Fire department on John’s Island, one year with Ladson and C & B and five with Summerville - in two parts.
He was fired from Summerville Fire Department after a year. Was he a bad firefighter? No, he simply couldn’t manage to get to work on time…ever.
Has he been late since?
“Nope! I have never been late since then, in fact I get here early — it was a real wake-up call for me,” says Bryant.
Good thing it was, because otherwise he would have failed to carry on the family tradition.
His great grandfather, grandfather, father and uncle all have been firefighters.
His great grandfather was with the Naval Shipyard. His grandfather has retired as chief of C & B. His dad is a Battalion Chief with Summerville Fire Department and his uncle is a captain with North Charleston Fire Department.
And Brandon is now on time for work.
He is, he says, the 24th member of his family to be a firefighter.
He works at Station 3 on Trolley Road and he drives a truck. If first on scene, he is in charge of pumping, which takes a sharp and quick brain able to do the mathematical calculation to determine hose diameter vs. friction vs. water pressure, etc. If not first on scene, he says he could be working a hydrant or on the RIT team (Rapid Intervention Team).
In addition to his basic firefighter training and all the in-house updates and refresher training, he is also certified as a Haz-Mat tech on the Special Ops team.
He says he has been lucky and has not experienced any really bad fires. His first structure fire, he says, was while he was working at C & B Fire Department.
“We were toned out and first on scene,” he recalls, “trying to extinguish the fire and seeing the family there in tears really brought home to the job and what we do.”
And then, last April, he and his best friend, Ryan Howlett, also a firefighter with SFD, came upon a car vs. tractor-trailer.
“We saw the smoke from the tractor-trailer’s brakes and saw it had hit the car and we stopped. I parked the car and called for emergency vehicles and Ryan got the woman in the [crushed] car out and I helped carry her off the highway.”
The woman’s car had caught fire, he said.
Bryant and Howlett were honored by SFD last May for their heroism.
When he is not getting to work on time, Bryant likes hanging out at home or with Howlett.
He loves auto racing, college football — a Clemson fan — kayaking, video games and go-carts.
“I tried fishing, but was not so good at it,” he laughs.
His dad used to race at Summerville Speedway. When he was a teen, he used to race go-carts. His had a souped-up motor and he loved racing it until his dad sold it.
He says he would like to at least make captain in the fire department. As far as his personal life, marriage and a family, “if it happens, it happens.”
I love my job…I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t love it.”