|Bob Jones, Ed Johnson and John Detherage can be seen pulling the man
out of the burning car as people watched in the foreground. This
extraordinary picture was taken by Leslie Witten of Brownsboro, KY
|Right after we got the patient to the bank OCPD Officer Lane arrived. I conveyed to him that we
needed StatFlight. The patient had an obvious head injury and pupils were unresponsive but had
regular respirations and a fast heart rate. The Officer contacted dispatch with that information.
Shortly after that the first EMS and Paramedic units arrived on-scene. The 2 EMTs and myself
secured the patient on a backboard and moved him to a safer location on Brownsboro Alternate.
The scene was turned over to them.
South Oldham Fire Department arrived to extinguish the car and set up a landing zone for StatFlight
at the top of the hill at Apple Patch.
One patient was transported by air to University and one by ground to Baptist Northeast. Both were
released within 3 days.
Being a trained firefighter, it is expected of me to be able to perform these duties without question.
As I approached the burning vehicle and saw the bystander working around the car......I hesitated in
my mind for a split second....do I help him now or go put on my gear. I decided to get the gear and
use it. After all, all firefighters arriving on the scene would do so before even getting on the fire
engine. It is an OSHA rule and just plain smart.
That is why Bob Jones and Ed Johnson were the real heroes that night. They both put themselves in
great danger without the protection of firefighting gear or training. In addition Bob Jones performed
like a trained firefighter in both the ability he demonstrated and by correctly prioritizing the situation.
First he called 911, then got the conscious man out of harms way, then gained entry into the
vehicle, asked for a knife and used it to free the trapped man. Outstanding
It is my opinion that Ed Johnson and Bob Jones receive a commendation for bravery for
their actions taken on May 21, 2005, resulting in the saving of a mans life.
|The burned out car after it was pulled from the creek.
|May 21, 2005
The following is a report to Chief Richard Albers
On the evening of May 21, 2005, at about 22:30 hours while sitting in the living room watching
television, I (John L. Detherage) heard a crash. Looking out the front door I saw a car slowing down.
I thought in my mind that someone had hit a deer. I called 911and reported a crash at Apple Patch
Way and Hwy 329 and that I would investigate.
I drove my personal response vehicle down the driveway and turned right. As I passed the trees on
my neighbor's fence line I saw a vehicle upside down along the Hwy 329 Standing Stone Branch
Bridge, in the creek bed on fire. I pulled the truck up to the smaller bridge on Brownsboro Alternate
and activated my emergency red lights to mark the location for other responding emergency vehicles.
I approached the scene (apx 50 feet away) and saw a well dressed man helping an occupant out of
the blue Pontiac or Oldsmobile.
He said, "there's another person inside."
I looked inside and saw an unconscious man hanging upside down in the car with his seatbelt holding
him in. The fire was about 4 to 5 feet in diameter and about as high at that moment. The fire was
coming from the underside of the engine compartment.
At that point I started back to my vehicle to retrieve my protective gear and while doing so called 911
again to report an upside down car on fire in the creek with a man trapped inside. There was
confusion as to where the accident actually was. I told them to come to Brownsboro and they couldn't
miss it. By this time many people had stopped to watch.
While pulling on my boots and bunkers, I heard a window smash as the bystander inserted a large
rock against the drivers side window. I looked up to see the flames growing to about ten feet now.
The insides of the front tires now on fire. After donning gear and SCBA Firefighter Chris Lane from
my department approached my vehicle.
Chris asked, "is anyone still in the vehicle and do you have a fire extinguisher."
I replied, "yes, there is a guy trapped in there, and thanks for reminding me......I have two."
I gave Chris the small Auto extinguisher and I took the big 40 B, C and headed back to the car. As I
got close the bystander (Bob Jones) said he couldn't get the seat belt loose and asked me for a
knife. I then saw my neighbor (Ed Johnson) and yelled for him to give that guy a knife.
I began suppressing the fire from the front. Before then, visibility was great, the fire lit up the whole
scene. As soon as I started shooting the extinguisher, it all went pitch black. Ed gave the knife to Bob
Jones and Ed held the mans shoulders while Bob cut the belt away. The trapped man fell to the roof
of the vehicle just as my extinguisher ran out. The fire seemed done for about three seconds ....
Then it roared back even bigger.
I threw down the extinguisher and went to the side of the car as Ed and Bob grabbed the mans arms
by his shoulders and started to pull him out the window. At that point I grabbed his belt at the waist
and we three pulled him out into the running creek bed about 20 feet away. We repositioned to an
arm carry and went up the side of the rocky bank. Looking back and removing my SCBA mask and
tank.... The fire was now inside the passenger compartment. Seconds after that the whole car was
engulfed in flames. It was literally seconds after we got him out that the fire spread to the inside.
By now the flames were licking the wires high above the car and many people were concerned that
they may break.