State presents local volunteer firefighter with lifesaving award

The Mississippi Firefighter Association recognized a local firefighter for his heroism in December 2018.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 10:35 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2019 9:17 AM

LEE COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) - The Mississippi Firefighter Association recently presented a local volunteer firefighter with the lifesaving award after he rescued an infant following a house fire in December.

On Dec. 27, the assistant chief of the Palmetto Old Union Fire Department, Wink Briley, and his wife, who is also a volunteer firefighter, were the first ones on the scene of a house fire off County Road 267.

There, they found a woman and her children, but the youngest was unresponsive. 

"Just seeing a child that's not breathing...it's really hard," Briley said. 

According to Briley, the blaze was caused by a heater that caught a live Christmas tree on fire. The home was deemed a total loss. 

Immediately, Briley's wife handed the 7-month-old boy to him, and that is when his life-saving training kicked in. Briley was able to have the infant breathing on his own as he was transported to a medic who took him to a hospital. 

"You're trying your best to do CPR to get the baby alive," Briley said. "You're not really thinking about nothing else but saving that child and I think that is what we did." 

Earlier this month, the Mississippi Firefighter Association recognized Briley's heroism and presented him with the lifesaving award. 

"I said, 'Wow. This is really awarding.' I wasn't expecting anything, because I mean that is our job of saving people," Briley said. 

According to Briley, a language barrier made it difficult to keep in contact with the displaced family. 

No repairs have been done to the home, and to this day, the home remains vacant. 

The Palmetto Old Union Fire Department asks anyone who knows the family to tell them to reach out them, the South Lee Fire Department or the Shannon Fire Department.

The volunteer firefighters have raised money for them because they understand they lost everything that Christmas season. 

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