Kent Fire lieutenant honored for bravery


Bill Myers, a Kent Firefighter, poses in the Kent Fire Station Two on Rockwell St. in downtown Kent on Jan 13. Myers was awarded recently for his brave actions during a house fire on Nov. 10, whereMyers pulled an injured comrade from a burning basement. Photo by JACOB BYK .

Drew Parker

Kent Fire Chief Dave Manthey and Kent City Council recognized Fire Lt. Bill Myers last month for assisting fallen firefighter Bryan Pengal in a house fire at 128 South Lincoln Street Nov. 10.

Myers, then acting as captain, and Pengal were the first responders to the vacant university-owned house, which was slated to be razed for the esplanade extension.

Myers and Pengal entered the house with a hose line in an attempt to find the base of the fire.

Manthey said Pengal then fell head first for about 8 feet into the basement of the house through a hole in the floor. Myers noticed Pengal was disoriented and surrounded by burning debris.

Myers then called a “mayday” or “firefighter down” and jumped into the hole after an injured Pengal. Myers then helped Pengal to a stairwell where other firefighters helped him to safety.

Myers said he thinks the department prepares for dangerous situations effectively.

“We train for situations like this hoping that they never occur, but if they do occur, we are able to handle them swiftly with a positive outcome,” Myers said. “It was a learning experience for myself as well as the department that even if you’re going into a situation that seems routine, the unexpected can always pop up. We always have to be aware of our surroundings and never take any incident for granted.“

Myers said he was honored by the recognition but felt what he did was just part of his job.

“I saw it as just doing my job and what I was trained to do,” Myers said. “It was an honor to receive this, and I am humbled that I was considered for it.”

Manthey said it is important for the public to understand the everyday courage of firefighters.

“It took some real guts to jump into a hole to a fire-filled basement to help a fellow firefighter, but that’s what we do,” Manthey said. “We know the risks and our families know the risks more than anyone. It’s the kind of job where you walk in each morning not knowing if you’re going to come home.”

Drew Parker is an assigning editor for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact Drew Parker at [email protected].