CRAVEN COUNTY -

A volunteer firefighter who fell down three stories and broke his back during a training exercise came back from the hospital.

John Freddie Sadler Junior fell down almost 20-feet during a fire training exercise and broke his back in New Bern last week.

"I started off at the third story window, got to the second story window, and my hands just started to slip. I yelled out telling them, ‘I’m about to fall’,” Sadler Jr. said.

Sadler Jr. spent five days in the hospital. 

“They tried getting the ladder up to me and they tried grabbing me out of the second story window, but it was too late,” Sadler Jr. said.

Sadler Jr. comes from a family line of firefighters. He is the Assistant Fire Chief at the Reelsboro Volunteer Fire Department and volunteers at the New Bern Fire Department.

Sadler Jr. called this a freak accident that just comes with the job.

“I just slipped... trying to fly,” Sadler Jr. said laughing.

Doctors tell Sadler, he has to wear his back brace for 12-weeks. Then Sadler has to start physical therapy before he can even think about going to another fire. According to Sadler, doctors aren't even sure if he will be able to fight fire again.

Sadler Jr. was wearing an air-pack, when he fell down and landed on his back. Now, he has six screws and two rods in his lower back.

Sadler Jr. said he is thankful for all the support he has received from the community.

To help the Sadler family, a fund has been set up at State Employees' Federal Credit Union under, "John Freddie Sadler Junior".