Injured Bryan Firefighters Return Home

By: Clay Falls and Steve Fullhart Email
By: Clay Falls and Steve Fullhart Email
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*10 P.M. Update*

Two injured firefighters returning home to Bryan after more than three months of burn treatment in Galveston heard about the Houston tragedy during their trip home.

Firefighters Ricky Mantey and Mitch Moran were severely injured in the Knights of Columbus Hall fire in February where two fellow firefighters were killed.

They got a hero's welcome home as they were escorted back to the Fire Station Number One in Bryan Friday afternoon.

News 3 was there.

It was a very special day after weeks of healing and treatments for injuries that nearly cost these firefighters their lives.

It turned out to be a Friday not to be forgotten.

Salutes of support and even sounds of celebration filled the streets of Downtown Bryan as Bryan Firefighters Ricky Mantey and Mitch Moran received a hero's welcome after months of burn recovery treatment in Galveston.

There seemed to be hundreds of hugs and some tears too.

Cara West is Ricky Mantey's cousin but says he's more like an older brother.

"Happy, happy, and fun because we get to see him more often now," she said.

"I think it's wonderful this community all together has stepped up for Ricky and Mitch and for the Bryan Fire Department," said Franklin West, Ricky Mantey's Uncle.

Linda Perkins works with the Brazos County Precinct 4 Volunteer Fire Department and wanted to welcome the firefighters home.

"There's so much that these guys have been through and for them to smile and carry on and you know," said Perkins.

While it is a day to celebrate their safe return home there's a constant reminder of just how much was lost. A sign remembering Lieutenants Eric Wallace and Gregory Pickard clings to a wall outside Fire Station Number 1.

"On behalf of the Bryan Fire Department I just want to say thank you to everybody for all that you've done on behalf of the families," said Chief Randy McGregor of the Bryan Fire Department.

Kim Sutphen and staff at the Daniel Stark Law Firm put together a big banner as crowds spread a message these firemen will never forget.

"It's very exciting for the community. We're sad for the ones not coming home but we're grateful for the ones that are," said Sutphen.

Businesses and residents not only lined the streets but News 3 even saw people wave from inside stores and shops as they passed by.

*Previous Story*

A pair of Bryan firefighters injured in February's deadly fire have returned home after months of treatment.

Ricky Mantey, 30, and Mitch Moran, 21, spent the majority of the last three-and-a-half months receiving care at the Blocker Burn Unit in Galveston. Despite a few trips home since, they came home for good Friday.

Residents and workers in Bryan and College Station lined the streets as Fire Engine #5 -- the same engine that the two rode to the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bryan in February -- brought the men back to Bryan.

Mantey and Moran, along with Lt. Greg Pickard, were went into the hall to try and rescue Lt. Eric Wallace as he battled the fire. Wallace and Pickard died, and Mantey and Moran suffered serious injuries.

After riding through the city, Mantey and Moran were dropped off at Fire Station 1 in the Downtown Bryan area, where fellow firefighters and residents welcomed the men home.

The Bryan Fire Department posted this statement on their Facebook page: "We'll end our remarkable day by saying, we are so are so glad to have our brothers home! This community truly amazed them, they shed tears when they saw the support - thank you for that!"

More later today on News 3 and KBTX.com


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