As firefighters Brian Barnette and Allen Foshie stood in front of a crowd during the start of Thursday night’s City Commission meeting, 3-year-old Christian Brady flashed a big smile and began clapping for the two firefighters credited with saving his life during a December fire that destroyed the boy’s home.
“They’re heroes,” he said after Barnette and Foshie were presented with “Life Saving Awards” from the commission.
For Terrance Brady, Christian’s father, seeing the firefighters who pulled his son out a burning building to safety get recognized by the city meant a lot.
“They saved our son and they save other people. They deserve more awards than just tonight,” he said.
Before presenting Barnette, a seven-year veteran of the Johnson City Fire Department, and Foshie, a 12-year veteran of the JCFD, with the awards, Mayor Jeff Banyas read a proclamation commending the heroic acts of both firefighters.
“(Barnette and Foshie) exemplified the courage and skill that we ask of our first responders in rescuing this child from his burning home and thereby saving his life,” Banyas said.
On Dec. 10, Foshie, Barnette and other JCFD firefighters responded to a fire at 2719 S. Roan St. about 1:30 a.m. and found about three quarters of a mobile home in flames.
The babysitter had already rescued three of Terrence Brady and Alicia Fleming’s children, but Christian was nowhere to be found.
That’s when both instinct and training kicked in for the firefighters as Foshie began fighting the flames and Barnette went looking for the young child.
Although they appreciated the awards presented Thursday night, both Barnette and Foshie said they were just doing their jobs — a job that any firefighter would have done.
“It feels good. It’s not often something like that happens, but then again, it’s just luck of the draw. We was the ones that was there, so it could’ve been somebody else very easily,” Foshie said.
“People work their whole career and don’t get to pull a person out alive. We were just lucky that were able to get down there in a safe, timely manner, and get him out,” he said.
Both firefighters have young children, so that night hit a little close to home, Barnette said.
“Both of us have small children, so when they said there was a child trapped, it kind of hits home. You think of your own child being trapped in a fire, and it just means a lot to go get somebody out alive,” he said.
The efforts of the firefighters turned a grim situation into one that interim fire chief Mark Scott could only refer to as “a miraculous rescue.”