If only he’d stuck to writing fiction.
In 2011, Lyin’ Brian Williams wrote a piece for which USA Weekend used this headline:
Williams looks back on being a volunteer fireman and the wildfire of good he hopes to set now
You may find that making a difference for others makes the biggest difference in you.
“On the day I became eligible, I signed up to be a volunteer firefighter in my hometown of Middletown, NJ. … My firehouse was a modest engine company — three engines, three garage doors and about 30 of the best men I’ve ever known. We fought all the usual fires that break out in the suburbs: brush fires, car fires, dumpsters, dryers, light fixtures — and worst of all, the occasional house, already in flames when we arrived. I remember one such house fire — the structure was fully involved with flames and smoke. I was wearing a breathing apparatus, conducting a search on my hands and knees, when I felt something warm, squishy and furry on the floor of a closet. I instinctively tucked it in my coat. When I got outside, I saw two small eyes staring up at me, and I returned the 3-week-old (and very scared) puppy to its grateful owners.”
According to Jordan Schachtel, a graduate of Monmouth County Fire Academy, there are more inconsistencies in Williams’s story than just how many puppies he allegedly rescued.
First and most compelling is that Williams’s own bio says, “While in high school, he was a volunteer firefighter for three years at the Middletown Township Fire Department.” According to Schachtel, volunteer fire departments do not let anyone go near a fire until they are at least eighteen years of age.
“A brush fire is one thing, but a house fire with flames and smoke blowing out of every window is an entirely different ballgame.”
Even if he’d ever been allowed inside a house on fire, his description of opening up his coat “violated basic protocol and common sense”, making it highly unlikely Williams was ever trained in search and rescue, much less allowed inside a burning house.
Also, Williams said he volunteered for an engine company. Searching for victims is the job of a truck or ladder company, not an engine company, though Schachtel admits that in a small fire department, such duties may not be so sharply defined.
Maybe what really happened is that Teen Brian was put on some safe duty, like keeping gawkers behind the line, and he saw a fire fighter save a dog and then fantasized about how it was he who had crawled into the hot smoke and had the grateful (and no doubt attractive) dog owner gush her thanks all over him.