Putting out the fire and saving a life

By Ellen Cooke

We’d all like to think that in an emergency, we’d jump in to help any way we can. In reality, few of us will have the occasion to show our inner hero. Recently, Patrick Adams, an Analyst with National Grid’s Technical Services team in Liverpool, New York, had such an occasion … when he sprang into action to help a driver pinned in his vehicle. This is Patrick’s story, in his own words, along with his important safety message to all of us …

“When driving to Notre Dame in Indiana, I witnessed a tractor-trailer go off the highway and crash head-on into a pole. I immediately pulled over and ran toward the truck. I noticed gasoline spraying from the fuel tanks. I pulled on the door until it opened, and climbed over the engine to get inside. The operator’s right leg was pinned between the dashboard and his seat. The floor was ripped open in the cab and the gasoline was spraying underneath us on the engine.

“While I was working to free the operator’s leg and body from behind the steering wheel, the gasoline caught fire underneath us. I yelled to bystanders for a fire extinguisher which, shortly after, was handed to me. After putting the fire out, I could see the gentlemen’s pant leg had caught fire. With the fire extinguished, I continued working to free him. Once I pulled the majority of the man out of the truck, others assisted in lowering him to the ground and carrying him away from the truck.

“I tell this story not for praise but to deliver this important message – people need to carry fire extinguishers in their vehicles. That day a man was saved because one individual had a fire extinguisher which prevented the entire vehicle from being consumed by fire. The minute or so I gained from putting the fire out changed the outcome of this story and, most likely, both our lives.”

Because of quick thinking, heroism and the availability of a fire extinguisher, a tragedy was averted. Thank you, Patrick, for doing the right thing and for sharing this story so we can all learn from it. 


Ed Brodsky

Patrick – thank you for your heroism ! You showed great bravery in addressing this situation. And your message of being prepared by carry fire extinguishers is clearly backed up by this example.

James Novak

Knowing Pat personally, I know he did not want to publicize his action as he was not looking for accolades. However, all of my personal vehicles now have fire extinguishers in them! As a company that promotes safety and wellbeing as much as we do, hearing this kind of information resonates with our safety culture. To me there is another very significant point in this message, “bystanders”. This is an excellent message to all of us to make sure we are not just one of those bystanders, but someone who will make a difference. “Imperfect care rendered, is better than no care at all”. And in this case, I think Pat nailed it! Well done Pat.

Michael Addiego

Pat, thank you for the action you took and also for reminding us all to have a fire extinguisher in the car. I never thought of it before but without one this fellow as well as you might have been killed or seriously injured. Thanks again. Well done!

Peter Hoffman

Nice work Pat! Being prepared and taking action is the way to avert disaster. You are an inspiration to everyone, please keep up the good work in reminding everyone to keep extinguishers, window-breakers, flares, and seat-belt cutters in easily accessible places in their vehicles at all times.

Cleon Christie

Great job Patrick your quick thinking and bravery saved a life and in doing so that gentleman and his entire family is celebrating together this wonderful season because you acted. a job well done.

Bob Allgor

Pat, great efforts on your part and a great example of having safety equipment nearby. Thank you for sharing this story.

Bill Brosnan

Thanks Patrick for your bravery. Your message is timely with me. I observed a minor tractor trailer and car collision this morning on the way to the office. I’ll be sure to add a fire extinguisher to the safety equipment in my car.


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