Fire Safety Camp Named After Fallen Texas Firefighter

Aug. 3, 2013
The Bryan Fire Department renamed the five-day fire safety camp after Lt. Eric Wallace, who was killed in a building fire earlier this year.

Aug. 02--Lt. Eric Wallace's three young boys have been fire-proofing their home, checking smoke detectors and planning fire drills.

"They came home and said, 'Mom, did you know smoke can burn your lungs, not just fire?'" their mother, Brandie Wallace, said.

The boys, ages 8 to 11, are among those attending the Lt. Eric Wallace Fire Gator Camp at the Children's Museum of the Brazos Valley this week and taking home fire safety tips.

Put on by the Bryan Fire Department since 2008, the five-day fire safety camp for children between 4 and 11 years old was renamed after the fallen Bryan firefighter who held "near and dear to his heart working with children and providing fire prevention education," Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor said.

Wallace, a 36-year-old father of five, died in February in the Knights of Columbus Hall fire, which also killed Lt. Greg Pickard and injured Mitch Moran and Ricky Mantey, both of whom returned to Bryan in May after spending months at the Blocker Burn Unit in Galveston.

The investigation of the fire is ongoing.

During the camp, firefighters volunteer their time to teach about 30 children each day about fire safety through demonstrations, songs, crafts and puppet shows. Weather permitting, the children will put out a small fire with the help of the firefighters Friday, said Amy Hall, director of education at the museum.

"Eric thoroughly loved working with the kids," Brandie Wallace said. "He thought everyone should be a fireman, and he loved to show [kids] how to be safe and go home and teach their parents how to be safe; so to have [the camp] named after him was an honor."

His passion for working with children went beyond fire safety camp. He also coached his kids' baseball, softball and football teams, learning sign language to communicate with a deaf player on one of the teams, his wife said.

Wallace's oldest son, who is turning 11 this month, hopes to follow in his dad's footsteps, something that brings his mother both pride and anxiety.

"I probably won't sleep any day he's on a shift," she said, "but it's the most honoring thing to see."

Copyright 2013 - The Eagle, Bryan, Texas

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