Florence firefighter returns to work after explosion

FLORENCE TWP., N.J. - November 13, 2013

Back in May of 2012 he was critically injured while responding to a tractor-trailer fire on 295 in Mansfield.

An explosion occurred, blowing off a backdoor that hit Richardson in the head.

"When you consider what happened and the fact I can walk, I can move my hands, it's impressive," Richardson said.

It is impressive, especially for a guy who'd been given the last rites at the hospital.

But after a year and a half of intensive physical and cognitive therapy, he's back on the job, serving as the department mechanic, town fire marshal and responding to fire calls again

"He's knee deep in repairing the vehicles and some things with the building and he just brings a lot of fun and humor back to the station," Florence Fire Chief Keith Scully said.

Richardson says he still has trouble finding words sometimes, even though he knows what he wants to say and he now carries a gas warning meter with him at all times because after the accident he lost his sense of taste and smell. Still, he's thankful to be here.

"I definitely go to church every Sunday now. I don't miss church. I'm very thankful for everything and every day's a blessing," Richardson said.

Throughout his recovery, fellow firefighters supported Brian Richardson and his wife April by holding fundraisers and making meals. He says that made a big difference

"It's absolutely tremendous, it's uplifting, and it's very helpful in the healing process," Richardson said.

A process that continues now that Brian Richardson has been cleared for duty and is back at the job he loves.

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