JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A young firefighter in our area died suddenly this week after going on a weather-related call. His department is struggling to come to grips with his death.
Brenden Pierce was a helper at heart.
"He really loved helping people. In fact, he made it his goal in his career. He wanted to be able to help people and save lives as possible,” said Palmerdale Fire District Chief Jason Howell.
Being a firefighter was in Brenden's blood. He followed in his dad's footsteps by becoming a firefighter at the Palmerdale Fire District. His dad was chief there for a while.
At only 21, Brenden had been on the job three years and was working to get his paramedic license when the unthinkable happened earlier this week, Chief Jason Howell says Brenden just got back from responding on a weather-related call Tuesday when he started feeling ill. Howell says Brenden ended up having a stroke. He passed away Wednesday at Grandview Medical.
"He was living his dream doing what he wanted to do at the place he wanted to do it and everything was going good for him and just out of nowhere,” Howell said.
A red and black bow now hangs in Brenden’s memory at Fire Station 1. Chief Howell says his department is struggling to deal with the loss but one thing that provides them a little comfort is that Brenden’s organs will be donated.
"Even though he’s not going to be here, different organs of his will live on in other people who didn’t have a chance otherwise. So he’ll be continuing to save lives even though he’s not physically present with us anymore. And that’s a perfect fitting end for how he was. It matches him perfectly,” Howell said.
Chief Howell says Brenden will be laid to rest with full firefighter honors. Howell is asking for prayers for the family and his department. Funeral arrangements haven’t been announced yet.