Franklin High School senior Brandon Blythe serves as volunteer firefighter

Published 10:24 am Friday, September 30, 2016

Franklin High School senior Brandon Blythe, 17, has been a volunteer for the Hunterdale Volunteer Fire Department, Station Five, for almost 13 months. In that time, he has seen numerous house fires and motor vehicle accidents first-hand.

Brandon Blythe

Brandon Blythe

“There have been times when we’ll pull up on scene and the whole house is up in flames,” Blythe said. “By us doing our duties and working as a team, we still go in there to make sure that everybody has gotten out of the building safely. When pulling up to car accidents, we’re expecting the worst and that’s not always the case, but we have had to cut people out of their cars in the past and rush them off to the hospital either in an ambulance or by Nightingale, only to make sure that they get back to their families safely.”

He is also very much aware of the risks involved in being a first responder.

“Once while working at a car accident on N. College Dr., a fellow firefighter and I were on traffic control while the others worked on the scene, there was this one car traveling at a pretty fast pace and the man driving was on his phone,” Blythe said. “Even though we told him to slow down his vehicle multiple times, we failed to see the vehicle’s speed begin to decrease. If I hadn’t been paying attention and jumped back, he probably would’ve come very close to hitting me. [A police] officer then jumped into his patrol car and proceeded to chase after the man. I found out later on that day that the man got a pretty hefty ticket. This just goes to show how dangerous it is for first responders, and yet we still continue working for the public.”

In addition to accidents and problems that members of the community bring to the attention of the station, Blythe participates in fundraisers for the station and other causes. His most recent efforts included selling sausages to raise funds for Jeff Holt, the brother of Station One Fire Chief Vince Holt. So far, the station has sold over 2,000 pounds of sausage.

Blythe intends to continue volunteering with the Hunterdale Fire Department well into adulthood.