OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — Authorities say an apartment fire that broke out at Keystone Apartments on Burlew Boulevard, would have turned deadly if it wasn’t for the swift actions of a few Owensboro firefighters.
Authorities say it only took five minutes for a kitchen fire to endanger a man’s life on January 18th, 2019.
“He was actually trapped because the fire had engulfed the front of his apartment when it spread from the other one,” said Fire Chief Steven Mitchell.
Now, four firefighters are being honored for their actions, which authorities say led to saving a life that day. Firefighters Lt. Brian Rowan and Ted Johnson used a ladder to reach a man trapped on the second floor of an apartment complex when his only other exit was engulfed in flames.
“When we got him halfway down the ladder, I was starting to lose it I really was. I thought man, we’re both going to go. That’s when Ted spoke up and said, “Roll him to your right” and we got him. I didn’t realize I was close enough to the ground to do that,” said Rowan.
Rowan said Firefighters Jake Aull and Josh Sexton then stepped in and began performing life saving procedures on the victim.
“There’s four of us up here, but there was a team that was surrounding us by the time all this went down. So it may be these four up front, but everyone went back to the situation and we knew we had a problem we had to adapt and overcome,” said Aull.
The firefighters say the unit’s extensive training is to thank for their actions in the heat of the moment.
“When we get punched out to a fire, that fire’s already got a head start on us so you’re already behind the time. So to be able to pull somebody and to save them, it’s very rare actually,” said Rowan.
The four men now have a special pin to wear on their uniforms and the memories of a day they saved a life.
(This story was originally published on July 29, 2019)