(Palm Bay)–An off-duty Palm Bay firefighter is being credited with saving a neighbor’s home from destruction following a fire. Brian Gent didn’t hesitate to respond when he received a knock on his door Monday evening.
A neighbor alerted him to a possible fire two-houses down the street. Gent grabbed an axe from his garage and a fire extinguisher from his boat and immediately responded. While running down the street to the house, Gent was on his cell phone with emergency dispatchers relaying information about the situation. When Gent arrived at the home located at 2555 Summerwind Court in West Melbourne, he saw smoke and flames inside the front room of the house.
He checked to see if anyone was inside and immediately did what was necessary to gain entry and stop the fire. Gent used the axe to break the front window and began to put the fire out. At the time, the fire had consumed a significant portion of the front room. Gent used two fire extinguishers and a neighbor’s garden hose to stop the fire from spreading. No one was home at the time and there were no injuries.
“The room was extremely hot, and the blinds were starting to melt,” said Gent as he described his initial entry into the home. “I’m just glad I was home and would hope someone would do the same for me.”
The fire was caused by an unattended candle left burning. The damage was estimated at approximately $3,000.
“If he hadn’t done what he did there would have been significantly more damage to the home,” said Palm Bay Fire-Rescue Captain Roger Davis. “Not everyone would have taken the risks he took and that says an awful lot about him as a person and as a professional firefighter.”
Gent is 41-years-old and has been with Palm Bay Fire- Rescue for 10 years. He is currently assigned to Station 1 as Driver-Engineer.