Brian Sumrall, a veteran with Houston Fire Department and a senior captain for Batson Volunteer Fire Department, was killed Sunday night in a tragic accident near his home in Batson. He was 39.
An accident Sunday night near Batson in Hardin County claimed the life of 39-year-old Brian Sumrall, a veteran firefighter with Houston Fire Department's Station 44 and senior captain of Batson Volunteer Fire Department.
Sumrall, a resident of Batson, was traveling southbound on FM 770 about two miles from Batson on a Kubota tractor when he was hit from the rear by a Chevrolet pickup driven by Joe Patton, 35, of Hull. Sumrall was ejected from the tractor and died at the scene. Patton suffered minor injuries.
According to Chief Fred Yust with Batson Fire Department, Sumrall's last act was in service to his community. He was on his way to load hay into the vehicle of a cattle owner impacted by Hurricane Harvey flooding.
"Brian would have done anything for anybody. It didn't matter who it was," Yust said. "He would give you the shirt off his back. He was just that kind of guy."
Just two weeks ago during Harvey, Sumrall helped pull people from their flooded homes in the Batson area and assisted drivers who were cut off by water and stranded in Batson.
"Brian was an EMT, too. He and I rescued one woman who couldn't get out of her house. She had medical problems and Brian comforted her and kept taking her vitals until we could get her to a hospital," Yust said.
A cowboy, Sumrall also saddled up during the storm to rescue animals stranded by the rising floodwaters and then organized their food and veterinary care.
"We were still passing out hay and medicines he had helped collect. He was all about caring for the animals and taking care of everybody," Yust said.
Working with cows and horses was something he enjoyed doing just as much as firefighting, the chief said.
"He liked doing things the old-fashioned way when it came to being a cowboy. He was sentimental for the old way of life and wanted to keep the old stuff going with horses and cows," Yust said.
Following Sunday night's accident, Batson firefighters responded to the emergency call, arriving on the scene to find it was one of their own who had died. Yust said the department is taking the loss hard.
"He is going to be dearly missed by us all. It is rough. Fortunately Saratoga firefighters came over and assisted us afterward. We stayed there to the end but they handled everything for us," Yust said.
Afterward, the firefighters gathered at the fire station in Batson to share their grief.
"We talked and reminisced. We had about half of his Houston fire station come out to visit with us, his wife, Rana, and son, Gavin," Yust said. "Brian was an extraordinary firefighter and a good friend to us. He will be missed by many."
Houston Fire Department has not responded to requests for comments at this time. An update will be posted as warranted.