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Tennessee Air National Guard Airman saves man from burning home

Published: Mar. 6, 2017 at 10:46 PM EST
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An Airman with the Tennessee Air National Guard's 134th Air Refueling Wing in Knoxville rescued a 57-year-old man from a burning Carter County home on Jan. 20.

"I started my shift that evening as I normally do," said Michael Bean of the Carter County Sheriff's Office in Elizabethton, Tenn. Bean also serves as staff sergeant with the 134th ARW. "Around 8:30 p.m., we were advised by 911 that there was a fire at a residence with a disabled man inside. Fortunately, myself, Deputy Robert Hughes and Sgt. David Caldwell were close by to assist.

"My first thought was, 'I hope we can get to the home in time' because house fires normally move rapidly. Upon arrival, we noticed a woman in the driveway who told us that the man was still inside."

Of the group, Hughes and Bean attempted to enter the home through the backdoor, but were blocked by heavy smoke.

"On our way out, we noticed several oxygen tanks inside the doorway and began throwing them outside," Bean said. "Then we wrapped our jackets around our faces and made a second attempt. The heavy smoke made it very difficult to see what was in front of us. There were small fires throughout the home, which smelled like burning chemicals."

Upon their second attempt at finding the victim, they encountered the man lying on the floor. The group picked the man up and carried him outside. After the first department and rescue squad arrived at the scene, the victim was eventually transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he is still recovering.