Three generations of firefighters giving back to the Hazard community

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 7:01 PM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - For three generations, the Smith family has served the people of Hazard and Perry County fighting fires, saving people through the flood and beyond.

The Hazard Fire Department has had at least one Smith working at the station since 1968, and one of the grandsons Joshua said it is an honor for their family to be serving the community for such a long period of time.

When you add the volunteer department time with the career paid. When we all retire and all is said in done this lineage, the Smith family will have given right at 200 years of service to the City of Hazard and the fire service,” said Joshua Smith, Firefighter and middle grandson.

In 1968, Earl Smith began his career at the Hazard Fire Department.

“Earning a living and making it,” Earl Smith said.

He worked at the department for nearly 30 years. He said it was a part of his family’s life and one say his son said he wanted to follow in his footsteps.

“He said well I believe I want to be a fireman. I said Well you need to think about that but if you do, we will help you down the road,” he said.

In 1991, Brad stepped into his fathers shoes and served the Hazard community. Being a dad of four sons Brad said he never dreamed they might all follow his footsteps.

“I mean I thought I knew that the oldest one would come into it because when I was getting ready to start to retire, he was getting into the volunteer world,” Brad added.

Sure enough, in 2018 his oldest son Brandon began working at the fire department. In 2021, his twins Jarred and Jacob joined the crew and in 2022, Brad’s middle son Joshua moved back to the area and joined his brothers at the department.

“A few years ago, I don’t think he would’ve ever thought it would have got to this point,” The oldest grandson Brandon said.

They said they each wanted to one day be the superhero and they always saw in their dad and papaw.

“I thought dad was a superhero from my earliest memory. I mean like Jacob said we always would go out on calls and stuff with him, and just seeing him work and be a leader in this department,” said Jarred and Jacob Smith, Twins/Grandsons.

They said they were influenced to follow the family legacy and they made a promise to the people of Hazard and Perry County.

“At any time the Hazard Fire Department’s ready and we will come out and we will respond to help in any way possible. But there is a good chance that there is going to a Smith in that truck when we get there,” said Joshua Smith, Middle Son/Grandson.

A fire started that Earl Smith never dreamed was possible.

If you combine all six Smith’s volunteer and career time when all four of the grandsons retire the Smith family will have served the Hazard community right at 200 years.