HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Two High Point firefighters are quickly recovering after coming face-to-face with a fire that caused first and second-degree burns to several parts of their bodies.
“I definitely feel like it was one of those situations that was kind of a freak accident and kind of the wrong place at the wrong time,” Josh Bryant said.
Bryant has been a firefighter for the past ten years and has worked for the High Point department for six of them.
He said in his years on the job, he has never been in a situation that caused extensive burns to his body.
Last month, Bryant and several other crew members were working to clean out dust from a silo at the High Point Furniture Industries Warehouse.
“We were going to get all the sawdust to the bottom, and they were going to get it out with a skid steer…I wasn’t participating in any firefighter activity, so I didn’t have my mask on at the time,” Bryant said.
He said the friction from the dust with the heat caused an unexpected flash fire, catching Bryant and another crew member in the middle.
“Instantly I felt a lot of heat in my face…everything started burning, and it was just a little bit of a blast,” Bryant said.
Bryant said at that moment, he rolled away as fast as he could and crawled to the edge of the roof. He said that’s when other crew members saw the blast and called in a mayday.
Because of the flash fire, Byrant sustained burns to the right side of his face, ear and right hand.
“My family was definitely worried. I made sure to call my mom before we even left the scene. I let her know so she could at least hear from me that I was okay,” Bryant said.
Although Bryant still has some time to recover, he wants anyone who works around dust collectors to pay attention to the dangers and remain vigilant about how quickly a fire situation can occur.
“Moving forward, the most important thing is just to try to do everything I can as far as training, making myself better as a firefighter to try and keep anything like this from happening again. Of course, it’s a dangerous job. Sometimes things just happen that we have no control over,” Bryant said.
Bryant’s follow-up appointment is next week. Then he will know if he can go back to work or will be on modified duty.
The other crew member also sustained non-life-threatening injuries and has been released from the hospital.
“I like to use situations like this to help better me as a firefighter in my career and as a person, so I like to take every situation as a learning experience,” Bryant said.