Four Lubbock Firefighters received the ultimate recognition on Monday, January 17th, for risking their lives. Three men received medals of valor for their response during a construction accident, another for his actions in a separate, yet similar incident. The last time the fire department gave out the award was about two years ago, they only give it out when firefighters put their lives in grave danger for someone else.
The incident from March 30th is obviously a perfect example. A pipe crane fell over and became trapped in a trench. The crane operator was hopelessly stuck inside. Firefighters Chris Addington, Brent Smith and James Mills were awarded the coveted medal of valor for attempting to rescue the man. The rescue was not successful.
Crane Accident Kills Construction Worker
A construction worker is dead after the crane he was operating toppled over and crushed him Tuesday afternoon near Brownfield Highway and 18th Street.
"I hate to be recognized for an attempted save and not a successful rescue, but the crew I've got, it's a great bunch of guys and it's truly awesome to be recognized by them and such a fine department," said Addington.
"I'd do it again in a heartbeat. It's what the citizens of Lubbock pay me for and I'm proud to do it," said Mills, who now has two medals of valor.
The firefighters used a ladder to reach the victim trapped in the trench. This put their lives in danger, as the crane could've fallen on them at any moment. Such actions like make District Chief Chris Angerer proud to present the award. "It just makes me proud to work with people like this and makes me proud to know citizens are being served by people like this," said Angerer.
Lubbock resident Anastacia Caballero has a very personal reason to praise firefighters. Her house caught fire early Monday, January 17th. Her disabled daughter was trapped in the bathroom until firefighters got her out. Without them, she wonders what might have happened.
"Oh my gosh, we don't want to think like that, but we were so happy seeing they were trying to break the door down," said neighbor Maria Solis.
The firefighters know risking their lives comes with the uniform and the title, but they say couldn't do it alone. "I work with the greatest group of guys in the world, they're very professional and the citizens of Lubbock should be proud of them," said Mills.
Lieutenant Chris Hixson is the fourth firefighter to receive the award for his involvement in an accident similar to the one in March. A department spokesman says this is one of the best ways firefighters can be recognized by their peers.