1. #1
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    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!

    Default Another case of "doing the right thing"

    From www.syracuse.com

    Bus crash victims and hero soldier tell of rescue from fire, explosions
    Syracuse, NY -- William and Sandy Blair worried as they sat in row 8 of the Farr’s Coach Lines Ltd. tour bus on the side of the New York State Thruway early Friday in Junius Ponds.
    Driver Rene Bisson had pulled the eastbound tour bus to the side of the road to reset the electronics emission control. The bus was carrying 52 passengers from London, Ontario, on their way for a three-day weekend in New York City.

    The big-rig trucks barreling down the highway passed very close to the bus, and that concerned the couple, Sandy Blair said.

    “We were very scared that was something was going to happen to the bus,” said Sandy, 49, who works for London Life, the company that had arranged the tour for workers and their families.

    The couple’s daughter Michelle Blair, 27, a member of the security team at the Labatt’s Brewery in London, Ontario, was sleeping in row 7.

    At about 1:20 a.m., the bus pulled back onto the highway. It had just crossed the rough surface of the road’s shoulder when a Matrix Expedited Services truck carrying 14,000 pounds of ball bearing crashed into it.

    It woke Michelle, and her mom began telling her to get out of the bus.

    Michelle stood up. “I turned around and you could see the transport truck there on fire at the back of the bus.”
    In Upstate University Hospital this afternoon, Michelle and Sandy Blair, both banged up, sat in wheelchairs outside William Blair's room recounting their story of the accident.

    After the crash, the passengers around her froze in fear, Michelle said.

    “I yelled at the back of the bus for people to open their windows and dive out. People started diving out,” she said.

    Sandy began helping people in front of her get out of the bus.

    The aisle was blocked, so Michelle dove over the seats.

    William Blair, 52, lost the back half of one of his calves in the crash. With the muscle hanging, he crawled off the bus, his daughter said.

    At about the same time, Army Sgt. Jacob Perkins, 28, was driving his truck westbound. Perkins was stationed at Fort Drum in the First Squadron 89th Calvary Regiment and had served in Iraq. He was beginning a couple of weeks leave with a long drive to his home in Mountain Grove, Mo.

    “It was just a big fireball of a crash. There were two vehicles burning on the side of the road and people were outside, but there weren’t any first responders there,” he said.

    Perkins pulled his truck over.

    “All of a sudden this guy came running. He ran right onto the bus that was fully engulfed in flames,” Michelle said.

    Perkins said he didn’t hesitate. “They kept saying there were still people on the bus, so I didn’t really think about it. I ran in there.”

    He helped a couple of people off the bus. “I pushed back farther into the bus to start checking the seats to make sure there was nobody in there. It was on fire. It wasn’t burning me or nothing. There was fire and smoke. When it got overwhelming, I just got off the bus,” Perkins said.

    Fearing the bus would explode at any minute, Sandy and Michelle, both small women, began dragging William Blair back from the wreck.

    Now off the bus, Perkins helped the women.

    As part of her security job, Michelle Blair said, she has received emergency responder training, similar to the training given to volunteer fire departments.

    With her father bleeding profusely, Michelle looked around for something to use as a tourniquet. She told her mother to take off her bra, and wrap it around her father’s leg so he wouldn’t bleed to death.

    Then Michelle took off her t-shirt and wrapped it around his wound.

    Other people had called 911 in a panic asking for ambulances, but Michelle said she knew her father needed more advanced medical attention, and others would need it too.

    The 52 bus passengers and driver were spread out for a half-mile along the highway, she said.

    Using someone else’s cell phone, Michelle called 911 and started doing triage to determine who had serious injuries and who could wait.

    “I found three people that had life-threatening injuries. I made sure the paramedics knew that I had three life-threatening injuries, which meant I needed three helicopters for these people immediately or they were going to die,” she said.

    “I knew that one was my dad. If they didn’t get there, I was worried I was going to lose him,” Michelle said.

    She told a couple of people to use a shirt as a tourniquet on one victim, and to use socks as a tourniquet on another.

    “The bus kept exploding," Michelle said. "Tires kept exploding. Every time something blew up, everyone had to back off,”

    Ambulances arrived but they couldn’t get to the Blairs because of the flames. Finally, Michelle and the paramedics placed William on a backboard, then a stretcher, and rushed him to a waiting helicopter.

    In all, 30 people were injured in the crash, two critically. The truck driver, Timothy Hume, 59, of Dryden, Mich., was pronounced dead at the scene. Read more about the crash.

    The Blairs had been told that William was going to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

    Michelle approached three state troopers on the side of the road. “My dad’s gone. We don’t know if he’s going to live. We need to get to where he’s going. How can we get there,” she asked.

    The troopers said they didn’t know.

    “Jacob (Perkins) was standing about 10 feet away. He said ‘I’ll take you anywhere you want to go. Get in my truck’.”

    Perkins drove the Blairs to the hospital in Rochester. He gave them his cell phone to call family in Canada.

    “I went into the hospital covered in blood, one sock, limping and a sports bra. They had no idea what was going on,” Michelle said.

    The Blairs told the hospital what had happened, and said they were looking for William. The hospital told them he wasn’t there. He’d been re-routed to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse.

    “We were in tears. We didn’t know what to do,” Michelle said.

    Perkins told them “Get in my truck. We’re going to the other hospital. I’ll get you there.”

    The sergeant drove 90 minutes back to Syracuse.

    “Jacob stayed with us. He refused to leave until we had family here,” Michelle said.

    Perkins stayed with the women until Sandy and William’s son arrived from Canada. Then he left.

    The Blairs offered him cash in thanks. Perkins refused. Gas money? Nope. Cup of coffee. No thanks.

    "He wanted nothing. He said, 'That's what people do for other people'," Michelle said.

    “I love him,” Sandy said. “I gave him a big hug before he went on his way to see his daughter. I will always remember what he did for our family.”

    The Blairs are also thankful to the Central New York Chapter of the American Red Cross, which provided clothes and a hotel room. They plan to make a donation in Perkins’ honor to the Red Cross.

    Perkins, reached by cell phone at 10 this morning, was on the side of the road in Ohio where he had stopped to eat. He was still 8 hours from his Missouri home and 5-year-old daughter.

    Sounding exhausted, he spoke humbly about his role in Friday’s crash.

    “I just think it’s what anybody would have done in that situation. I just happened to be there.”
    Imagine that....
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  2. #2
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    Good job by all that helped. Kudo's to Perkins, for helping the family members. Very well done.

    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  3. #3
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    The Blairs offered him cash in thanks. Perkins refused. Gas money? Nope. Cup of coffee. No thanks.

    "He wanted nothing. He said, 'That's what people do for other people'," Michelle said.

    “I just think it’s what anybody would have done in that situation. I just happened to be there.”
    The world would be a much better place if this was the prevailing sentiment towards choosing to help others...

    And well done, Sgt. Perkins.

  4. #4
    Back In Black
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    The Nice Part of New Jersey


    Well Done!
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  5. #5
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    Dec 2010
    Down South


    What an awesome job! Love reading stories like this when a civilian that has no fire training stopped to help. With no regard to their own life safety. This story could have a different heading if it wasn't for the Sargent and Michelle. Its crazy to think some people WITH fire training wouldnt even think to stop and help because of "not being on ....ahhh never mind.

    I do believe the Sargent would make a good firefighter.....

    "When it got overwhelming, I just got off the bus,” Perkins said.
    Fire scenes: A well organized cluster F......
    These are my veiws and opinions.....Im just saying

  6. #6
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    Feb 2011
    Richmond, Kentucky


    Another case of ordinary people put in Extraordinary situations. Doing something is always better than standing by and doing nothing
    Way to go Sergeant and way to go Michelle
    Do not let the ghosts of our fallen brothers gaze upon you and ask " What have you done to my profession?" FTB DTRT EGH

  7. #7
    SPFDRum's Avatar
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    Mar 1999
    St Paul, MN


    Amazing how ordinary, good people always rise to do great things. The best part of it, they are just that, ordinary. Great job.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
    George Mason
    Co-author of the Second Amendment
    during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
    Elevator Rescue Information

  8. #8
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    BULL321's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Western, NC


    Great job Sgt. way to go!
    Stay Safe

    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
    - Capt. Marc Cox CFD

    Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2011


    Great job by all the bystanders willing to step in, and props to the crews that responded, a large scale incident can be overwhelming.

  10. #10
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    Jun 2006


    Great Job Sgt.

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