Sheriff rewards three for heroic effort

Published 5:12 pm Monday, July 27, 2015

Rescuers show ‘compassion’ comforting man trapped in flaming car

BEAUMONT — Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods honored two deputies and a Department of Public Safety corporal Monday afternoon for their bravery and compassion in a fiery emergency that claimed a man’s life last month.

Deputies Ryan Edgar and Chris Burleigh and DPS Corporal David Crawford each received a Heroic Effort Award for single-handedly combatting a dramatic car fire and aiding a trapped driver until firefighters arrived to cut the man out of the burning car.

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Rod Carroll, Jefferson County Correctional Facility assistant chief, said Edgar was the first to arrive at the scene after witnessing a collision on Highway 69 at Spurlock Road the night of June 29.

“The fire broke out before Deputy Edgar could even get his fire extinguisher out of the car — it went up that quick,” Carroll said Monday afternoon. “He was the first one to attack the fire, and as Deputy Burleigh and Trooper Crawford arrived they started attacking those flames as a team.

“They showed such compassion, getting additional responders in and reassuring the man that help would arrive — because they couldn’t get the occupant out of the car without the Jaws of Life.”

Woods said the man trapped inside the car, unfortunately, died later of his injuries — but that does not negate the bravery and kindness of his men or the state trooper.

“Their efforts to give that person time, give him hope and comfort him that help was coming — he would get out of that car — they showed great compassion,” Woods said. “They’re all very deserving of the recognition we give.”

A few deputies playfully shouted, “Speech!” at the three honorees Monday afternoon, but the men would not entertain being in the spotlight longer than necessary.

The deputies and corporal walked away from the Jefferson County Correctional Facility with a Heroic Effort Award certificate, a large pendant picturing the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office logo, and a ribbon to add to their uniforms.

“This is my ‘attaboy’ coin,” Burleigh said with a short laugh, showing off his pendant. “But this is all unnecessary. We just did our job that night. Any (law enforcement officer) would have done the same.”

Twitter: @crhenderson90