Florida Firefighter Saves Trapped Man from Fire

Updated: 04-30-2007 10:40:06 AM

Story by wftv.com


An Orange County man is alive because, when deputies and neighbors couldn't get him out of his burning home, a firefighter did. The firefighter climbed through the window of the burning home and rescued the man, who was trapped by debris.

"It was very hard to see. Black heavy smoke just billowing out. Once I made my way in, you can't even see your hands in front of your face," said firefighter and paramedic John Parkhurst.

After three years on the job, Parkhurst finally faced the moment any rescuer knows will come. Outside, neighbors and deputies tried to pull an elderly man from a burning home.

"Conditions of the structure were definitely unstable. I knew something had to get done. So I went ahead and got in full gear and made my way into the window, freed the debris and helped lift the patient out," Parkhurst explained.

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Neighbors, who were unable to pull the victim out, watched the heroics unfold.

"Once the fire department got here, the firefighter just jumped in like superman and pulled him out and took him away," said neighbor Verlie Watts.

Parkhurst doesn't consider himself superman. He's proud, but mostly of his training.

"Unfortunately, had something not been done, dire consequences would have occurred," Parkhurst said.

The victim, while alive, was apparently in pretty bad shape. The paramedics say the last they saw him, he was on advanced life-support.

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