GALVESTON, Texas — Two Bryan firefighters are on their way home after months of treatment for the severe injuries they sustained battling a blaze in downtown Bryan last February.
Rickey Mantey and Mitch Moran are still scared and bandaged as they said their goodbyes Friday morning at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. The two were severely burned during a building fire at the Knights of Columbus in Bryan.
“I’m really excited to go home...definitely time...Ha, ha,” Moran said.
Two Bryan firefighters were killed battling the blaze at the KC Hall. Lt. Eric Wallace died at the scene of the fire, while Lt. Gregory Pickard died later while being treated at UTMB for his injuries sustained during the fire.
“I’m always thinking of the two we lost that night. I’m always praying for them, every day I pray for them.” Mantey said.
In an emotional goodbye, the men hugged members of the Galveston Fire Department, who have been helping take care of them and their families during this difficult time.
“I want to especially thank Galveston Fire Department, because they have been here since day one, and they will continue to be here and I will always keep them in my prayers,” Mantey said.
Moran echoed Mantey’s sentiments as he described Galveston as a home away from home.
“This is going to be like a home away from home for me, especially with the guys here taking care of me...I’ll definitely be back,” he said.
The men climbed aboard a Bryan fire engine for the trip home — it’s the very same truck they took to the fire back in February.
“Engine 5 is the truck that I drove the night of the fire and coming back to pick me home, it’s a true blessing, true blessing can’t ask for anything else,” Mantey said.
“We went to the fire in this engine, me and Ricky and Lt. Pickard, God rest his sole, and it’s time to go home in it.” Moran added.