CHARLEROI, Pa. (KDKA) — After nearly three months of healing, a local firefighter is back on the job.
Charleroi Fire Captain Matt Prentice, 30, was injured in July after responding to a call in nearby Monessen. Prentice has the address of the home on Parkway Avenue etched in his memory.READ MORE: Fall Foliage Report: Cooler Temperatures Bring In The Best Colors
While he was searching the home, he fell through the second floor and was flown to UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh.
“The moment I could join, I couldn’t wait,” Prentice said.
Prentice used to spend his days as a kid at the Charleroi Fire Department with his dad, who’s still the assistant fire chief. Prentice knew being a firefighter was his calling in life.
“Not too many people can say they like going to work, but I love coming here,” Prentice said.
After 19 years of serving his community, he still loves it and couldn’t wait to come back, even after the recent accident at the Monessen home.
“We went to a fire. We were told there were kids trapped in there. So we were doing a search on the second floor and just as I turned, I remember the floor just giving out and that’s all I can remember,” Prentice said.
Prentice woke up on the first floor after going in and out of consciousness. He was then flown to the hospital.READ MORE: Lane Restriction On Northbound I-279 Lanes After Reported Vehicle Fire, Multi-Vehicle Crash
“I shattered my humerus on the left side and I had some burns to my back and bumps and bruises,” Prentice said. “I got a plate and think 19 screws are in there.”
That meant sitting out the job he loves for nearly three months, visiting the doctor to get X-rays and physical therapy, which he’s still going through now.
However, the part he enjoyed most was spending time with his son, which made the accident even scarier for Fire Chief Robert Whiten Jr.
“Knowing Matt just had a little boy a year and a half old, I just thought of his family is going to have to suffer a little bit. You never want to see that,” Whiten said. “I don’t want to see any injuries.”
Despite the risks of the job, Prentice said he’d do it all again.
“It’s what we are here for, to save lives,” said Prentice.
For the love of the job.
“I would’ve been back the day after if I could’ve,” he said.
Another Charleroi firefighter was sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion and was released that same day.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Mayoral Candidates Ed Gainey, Tony Moreno Take Debate Stage On KDKA
As for the fire, the state police fire marshal ruled it arson. He said the fire was set in a second-story bedroom. The home was vacant when the fire happened, and utilities weren’t hooked up. As far as who is responsible, that’s still unclear.