It’s a four-alarm honor fit for a little boy who saved himself and his family from a blazing inferno last year. Four-year-old Brendan Duncan Jr. of Fairhope is being recognized for his bravery by Firehouse Subs as part of its inaugural Hero Cup …
It’s a four-alarm honor fit for a little boy who saved himself and his family from a blazing inferno last year. Four-year-old Brendan Duncan Jr. of Fairhope is being recognized for his bravery by Firehouse Subs as part of its inaugural Hero Cup campaign. Child cups featuring his photo and story are now in use at all 120 franchised Firehouse locations, including those in Daphne and Foley.
Brendan had already been named the Fairhope Volunteer Fire Department’s first ever Hometown Hero for smelling smoke and climbing off the top bunk bed in the room he shared with his fraternal twin sister, Emily. Ignoring the flames that eventually engulfed their Grand Avenue home on March 26, 2006, he led her, his parents and three other sisters to safety.
“These heroic stories happen every day, but often go untold,” said Cecily Sorensen, Firehouse Subs director of corporate communications. “We celebrate the profession of firefighting.”
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company was founded by her brothers, Robin and Chris Sorensen, all part of a family with over 200 years of firefighting service. In addition to Brendan, the cup series honors firefighters in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and San Antonio, Texas.
“He’s really excited,” said Tammy Duncan, Brendan’s mother. “He’s only 4 so he doesn’t understand everything about it, but he knows he’s on a cup and why. He can tell you how he knew his actions were to get his sister up and come get us up.”
The giggling, blonde-haired boy was somewhat shy earlier this week, however, a few days before he was scheduled to meet the local media at Firehouse Subs in Daphne. Before posing for a picture outside the Leo Keller Fire Station on Ingleside Drive, he modestly said, “I pulled her (Emily) out of the fire, then woke up mommy and daddy.”
Brendan was only 3 at the time, and firefighters on the scene said the entire family would have perished if not for the boy’s quick thinking. Duncan said Brendan learned how to help others by watching reruns of “Cops” on television.
The family traveled to Jacksonville six months ago so Brendan could visit with the Firehouse Sub founders and have his photo taken. They learned a month ago he had been selected as one of the honorees.
The Duncans are now living on Gayfer Avenue Extension, but they haven’t fully recovered from the fire, in which they lost everything they owned, including two vehicles.
“We haven’t really picked up,” Duncan said. “It’s something you can’t go back with so fast. We’re renting again, but the house is a fire hazard. We’re going to have to find another home.”
After circuit breakers in the house began failing with regularity, an electrical inspector visited and discovered aluminum wiring throughout the structure. The family, which includes Chelsea, 11, Megan, 9, and Brittany, 8, must move by June 1.
“We need to get on our feet so we can have a safe home,” she said. Duncan and her husband, Britt, both work, but the vehicle they must share has bad tires and brakes. Tammy recently had surgery, and they have no health insurance so it has become yet another out-of-pocket expense they cannot afford.
Because they didn’t own their previous home, they carried no insurance to protect them against fire damage either. They had only one smoke detector, which failed to alert them when the fire began. They now have a detector in every room, and each of their children know how to escape in the event of another fire.
“When it rains, it pours,” said Sorensen. “They’ve had a string of bad luck.”
When Firehouse Subs began the Hero Cup campaign, it “tapped into our franchisees for nominations because they’re in the community,” she said. “One of our franchisees in the area heard of Brendan.”
Sorensen pointed out her brothers came up with the idea of honoring first responders and other heroes a little over a year ago. Since the initial batch of cups was released, the nomination process has expanded to include Firehouse customers and those who know someone who deserves to be honored. Nominations can be made online at www.firehousesubs.com.