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Humble High-Wire Rescue: Bryce Carden

Spend more than a few minutes talking to Louisville Metro Firefighter Bryce Carden and you’ll understand why you would gladly welcome his arrival if you find yourself in need of technical rescue. He is full of life, full of gratitude and chocked full of humility. But if you call him a hero, he’ll just shrug and say “I wouldn’t wanna do anything else”.

Since his death-defying rescue of a truck driver trapped in her semi-truck dangling 115ft above the Ohio River, his life has been a whirlwind of interviews and appearances. But you’d never know it. “Yeah it’s been pretty crazy,” Bryce said with a smile. “But you know, I was just doing my job. Like all the guys on the top side and all the dive team guys down below, we are all just first responders and our job is to serve the people. That’s why we train so much, that’s why we are willing to be away from our families. We want to take care of people.”

Recently, Bryce took the time to stop by our showroom in Lexington, KY, dressed casually and showing off his beautiful baby girl to anyone that walked by. Just as casually, he spoke about all the interviews, and an upcoming appearance on a popular national talk show. When I asked him why he was chosen to repel down and rescue the driver, he shrugged and said through a grin, “I was the guy in the back of the truck.”

A 6-year veteran of the Louisville Metro Fire Department, Bryce has gotten much of the attention since the incident, but he quickly heaped praise on the guys in his department. “Everybody did their jobs that day. I’m still a new guy in the department. You’ve got guys that have been doing this stuff for fifteen, twenty years. I’m just getting started.”

In this case, “just getting started” means hundreds of training runs with technical rescue ropes and additional training in Swiftwater rescue, since, as Bryce puts it, “...we’ve got the Ohio right in our backyard.” But when the rubber met the road, all that time spent training kicked in. “Yeah I mean, my heart was racing at first, but once you get that harness on, you know your guys got your back, you just breathe deep and trust that training. When we got going, I was really calm.” Bryce also trusts a higher power. “When I got to her, she was praying. So I talked her through some stuff—what I was going to do—because I needed her help too. And then I said ‘you wanna pray together?’ and that’s what we did man. The whole way up. You get a lot of peace from that, you know. God was with us that day. I know he was.”

We won’t argue that point. After analysts surveyed the scene, it was discovered that only about 9 inches of the semi-trailer was the difference between this daring rescue and a tragedy. “It was just amazing, really, when you realize how close that was to being really bad” Bryce says. “But as incredible as that was, there was still other incidents on the scene. Other cars involved. Our guys did a great job getting all that sorted and caring for the other people involved. Honestly, I was only a small piece of a bigger puzzle.”

At HAIX® we regularly interact with technical rescue teams and see imagery of the gear and those heroes in action. Admittedly, it’s easy to become a little jaded to it. “We make these boots by hand. I have sold these boots for years” says Josef Teibl, HAIX® North America Director of Sales. “But it’s moments like this that we are reminded WHY we meticulously design and engineer our footwear. It’s not as much about the boots as the men and women IN the boots that keeps us going.”

Bryce, who’s grandmother is German, seemed to really connect with the fact that we are a German company. German roots, Kentucky branches. Hey, that sounds a lot like us. With all the accolades, appearances and articles, Bryce Carden knows that every day he wakes up is a day he will get to help someone, and maybe on one of the worst days of their life.

And he’s ready. Not all heroes wear capes, but now, at least one more hero wears HAIX®.

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