Firefighters remember fallen teen killed in head-on collision

BROWNSVILLE, Ky. – Members of the Chalybeate Volunteer Fire Department as well as the Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department are grieving the loss of a fellow firefighter who was killed in a car crash over the weekend.

Robert Braeden Combs, 18, of Smiths Grove, was a volunteer firefighter for Chaybeate and Bear Creek in Edmonson County.

He was killed Sunday in a head-on collision.

Both departments lowered their flags to half-staff Monday in Combs’ honor.

The departments also had wreaths out front of the firehalls in his memory.

Combs died Sunday after Kentucky State Police said a car driven Paul Hensley, 72, collided head on with a vehicle driven by Combs on Reedyville Road in Butler County.

Hensley was airlifted to the University of Louisville hospital in serious condition.

Fire officials said Combs was full of life, a jokester and loved volunteering.

The Bear Creek Fire Chief said Combs’ funeral will be a fireman’s full honors ceremony, including multiple fire trucks and dozens of his fellow volunteers.

Chalybeate Fire Chief Daniel Johnson was too grief stricken to speak on camera but issued a written statement about the loss.

“Robert Braeden Combs joined Chalybeate Volunteer Fire Department in the spring of 2017 when he was just 15 years old.

“He stated as a junior firefighter and literally jumped in with both feet and full steam ahead. Braeden loved the department and loved being a firefighter.

“He was so eager to learn and help others. Like any teenager, there were lots of outside distractions, but the fire department was a constant in his life that kept him focused and aiming towards his goals.

“He used to tease me that one day he was going to take over and be the chief when I stepped down. Braeden turned 18 this year and had already achieved his 150-hour certification to become a certified firefighter.

 “Braeden had an infectious smile, he would literally give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it. He lived life to its fullest and was always fun to be around. He was dedicated and hard working.

“In the fire department, we have a family. We spend a lot of time together and get very close – Braeden was literally like a son to me, and this tragic event has truly affected this department and community. The world has lost a wonderful person that can never be replaced. There will always be a void here at Chalybeate Volunteer Fire Department, #624 will always be remembered,” Johnson said.