Nine individuals who risked their own lives in a rescue effort after a tanker truck carrying fuel overturned in the Sloans Valley area will be going to Frankfort to receive the Kentucky State Police’s “Citation for Meritorious Achievement.”
Doug Baker, chief of the Somerset-Pulaski County Special Response Team and captain of the Somerset-Pulaski County Rescue Squad, praised the actions of his colleagues during the January 30 early morning incident.
“(Pulaski County Public Safety Director Tiger Robinson) and the guys went under that truck, lying in gasoline, in 4 degree weather, being sprayed with water and foam, and stayed under there for about 45 minutes cutting the guy out,” said Baker. “In my whole career, I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Those being honored include Robinson, Asst. Chief Daniel Karriker, Capt. Steve M. Woods, Capt. Ryan H. Hughes and Lt. Gary W. Murch of the Rescue Squad and the Pulaski County Special Response Team; Assistant Chief Keith G. Price of the Pulaski County Rescue Squad and the Parkers Mill Fire Department; firefighter Bryan J. West of the Somerset Fire Department; and firefighters Frank F. Jones and David A. Coffey of the Tateville Fire Department.
“It’s a distinct honor for all of them to get this,” said Baker. “As far as I know, this award has never been given out to any emergency service in Pulaski County.”
Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement officer Duffy Sutton submitted the names of the men to Kentucky State Police (KSP), going all the way up the chain to the KSP commissioner. They were then chosen to received the award, which goes to civilians or public service personnel who go over and above the call of duty to save a life.
It’s left to men like Baker and Sutton to push for recognition for the others’ actions, because they won’t do so themselves, said Baker.
“Every one of these guys, when we started trying to get them a little notoriety and pat on the back, every one says, ‘Leave me out of it.’ To the person, they say, ‘We just did what we had to do,’” said Baker. “They don’t consider themselves heroes.”
The nine men were honored in February by the Pulaski County Fiscal Court for their actions with a Medal of Valor and the Lifesaving Medal.
Baker noted that the KSP award is the highest the organization gives out except to their own members.
He added that though the nine men in question were the ones under the drugs, there were “lots more guys” that should commended for their actions during the incident in January, from various fire departments and responding agencies.
“Every one of those guys, had something gone wrong, they probably wouldn’t have survived it,” said Baker. “All the agencies that were there were heroes.”
The KSP award will be given at noon on Wednesday, May 14 in Frankfort, Ky., at the Frankfort Convention Center.