When responding to emergency situations, first responders often depend on 911 dispatchers for details. But when multiple vehicle fires occurred Friday morning on Interstate 65, local firefighter Shawn Seymour was on scene before anyone else.
A resident of Sonora, Seymour was on his way to start his shift with the Elizabethtown Fire Department at around 7 a.m. when he noticed traffic began to slow down on I-65 northbound near Glendale. He soon spotted two cargo trucks on fire in the southbound lane.
Seymour said he initiated his emergency lights, stopped in the emergency lane and jumped over the median wall to assess the situation. After crossing the median, Seymour said he saw a truck driver in distress and rushed to rescue him. Seymour said he already was in his fire uniform at the time.
Although the man had managed to get out of the truck, Seymour said he was laying against the semi on the ground with his leg on fire. The front cab was engulfed in flames and the fire was beginning to move toward the trailer.
Seymour said he was able to roll the man over, stop the burning of his leg and drag him to the median. He said the man still was conscious when he arrived to rescue him.
“He looked at me and reached up and that’s when I grabbed his forearms and continued to drag him,” Seymour said.
After checking the man to determine the significance of his burns, Seymour radioed in for an emergency medical helicopter and additional tanker units for water supply. Traffic soon was shut down on I-65 southbound.
He was then given command to extinguish fires on the scene. Hardin County EMS soon arrived to treat the patient.
“It was instantaneous,” Seymour said of his response to the incident. “I knew what I had to do and acted out of training.”
EFD Battalion Chief Daniel Vertrees said personnel with EFD, the Glendale Fire Department and the Valley Creek Volunteer Fire Department responded.
Vertrees said it was fortunate Seymour happened to be on the interstate at the time.
“He was in the right place at the right time,” Vertrees said. “Just five minutes later and he would have completely missed it. It’s not something that happens very often, having somebody actually on-scene.”
Seymour said he was told the incident occurred as a result of a collision between the two trucks. The driver of the other truck reported no injuries, he said.
Seymour said he does not know the identity of the injured driver. According to the last update he was given, the man still was in the hospital and is in serious condition.
In addition to his service with the Elizabethtown Fire Department, Seymour also serves as assistant chief of the Glendale Fire Department and works as a Hardin County 911 dispatcher.
“If the guy lives, it will be because Shawn happened to be there and was able to get him away,” Vertrees said.