Atlanta FF Struck by Tire Speaks

ATLANTA --

An Atlanta firefighter severely injured while on the job is talking about what happened for the first time. Willie Surry was struck by a tire while putting out a brush fire on I-285 near Langford Parkway in June.

"Being a firefighter has been my life for the last 30 years," said Surry.

Surry said he's proud he's spent his life saving lives and property. He never thought his path would change while on the job.

"To be honest with you, I thought I would have won the lottery before I would have got hit by a tire off a truck," said Surry.

But that's just what happened on June 12 while Surry was with Engine 31.

"We were in the process of extinguishing a grass fire. I don't remember anything past that. The next thing I remember is in a hospital somewhere," said Surry.

A lawsuit filed on Surry's behalf, says a wheel, which had already been repaired earlier in the day, flew off a tanker truck, striking Surry at around 55 mph.

"I was in excruciating pain," said Surry.

Surry suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung, a tear in the knee and several other injuries. He was in the hospital for a month and a half, and still needs three more surgeries.

"I've gone through a lot of therapy, done a lot of praying because I was pretty much a vegetable. I couldn't do anything at first," said Surry.

Surry started out in a wheelchair but then through therapy began to use a walker. Five months later, Surry walked with a cane.

"I thank God that I'll be able to see another birthday and just to be back to the point that I am after the accident," said Surry.

Surry said he hopes to someday be able to work on a fire truck again.

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