It’s been a long road to recovery for four LaGrange firefighters.
Six men were injured in the line of duty on Labor Day.
“It was a pretty standard looking fire. Something that we have been to many times. We could see flames and smoke on the backside of the house,” says injured firefighter Jon Williamson.
Williamson recalls the fire being almost out when the blaze flashed. In moments, their lives were on the line.
“The room flashed and knocked us down to our feet- I mean to our hands.”
Friday, the men shared their recovery progress. Their arms were wrapped in bandages or showed signs of scarring. Collectively, they’ve underwent several surgeries to heal 2nd and 3rd degree burns.
The four men are counting down the days to when they can serve their community again.
“I’m getting better every day,” says Joshua Williams. Williams was released from the hospital only days before the interview.
Williams and Williamson, along with Pete Trujillo and Jordan Avera say if they had to go in the home again, they would. They entered the home to save two adults and four children.
“Of course we know firefighting is dangerous, but you don’t think about it really, you just do what you got to do. You don’t think it’s going to happen to you, you know it can happen, and just go with it, but I absolutely would not change a thing,” says Trujillo.
The event has shaken the community, but nationwide, support has been pouring in.
Letters from University of Georgia’s head coach Kirby Smart and Auburn University’s head coach Gus Malzahn were sitting at the front of the LaGrange Fire Department.
Still in the throws of recovery, the men are easing back into the job with physical therapy.
“I’ve never had a second thought about it.. I love all these guys I work with.. I can’t wait to get back on the engine with them,” says Avera.
“To be hurt or wounded is part of our job, and we are getting better every day, and we are excited to get back. I know am,” says Williamson.
Throughout the process, they’ve never lost faith in each other.
“I was sure that we would have this day that we could sit back and talk about it… I know all of these guys and I know they are tough,” says Williams.
The two other firefighters, Jim Ormsby and Sean Guerrero, were treated for smoke inhalation and released the same day.
The firefighters say they are humbled by the nationwide support.