WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - The school bus crash on Mount Wesley Road in Washington County Thursday afternoon affected a lot of folks in a lot different ways.
But the odds of one young man's story taking place are astronomical.
It was a normal Thursday afternoon as Brandon Fender left school and drove toward his home.
Brandon is a volunteer firefighter. As he drove, his emergency radio sounded an alert. "I was following one of my buddies home and the call came in," he said Friday. "I heard it on my radio. I got to the fire department as fast as I could and went from there."
He joined other volunteers heading to wreck scene. "I hopped in the truck and we were over there. I didn't realize it was a school bus wreck until I got to the fire department," he said. "They just said it was a 1046, which is an accident with injuries."
Brandon tells us when got to the scene, what he saw as he exited the fire truck was shocking and personal. "I found a bunch of my friends standing there crying. A bunch of them just standing there cut up, being loaded in ambulances, helicopters," he said.
He did his job and helped extract and care for all that he could. It wasn't until later he was able to let himself deal with the reality of
it all. "It didn't hit me then. It was mainly like an accident with injuries for me. But then the aftermath set in after I got home last night and I really started thinking about it, watching the news."
In true fashion of a David Crockett High School Pioneer, Brandon sees a higher purpose in it all rather than a reason to linger on the
negative. "It makes me feel great that I was able to help them," he said. "I was just doing what I felt needs to be done. I feel like God called me to be a volunteer firefighter for a reason and I feel like this was part of the reason."
We found out Brandon's been a volunteer firefighter for less a year, but he says he plans to volunteer for years to come.