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Russellville Fire Department members get Lifesaver Award

Five firefighters with Russellville Fire Department were presented with a Lifesaver Award at the March 15 city council meeting.

This award was given for their quick thinking in a situation that took unconventional means to free two citizens.

“They represented us well, and they did exactly what they had to do,” said RFD Chief Joe Mansell.

The call came in Feb. 26 around 6 p.m. to assist Phil Campbell and Frog Pond volunteer fire departments with a multi-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 43 near College Road that required an extrication.

Upon arrival on the scene, RFD began working to extract a victim from the first vehicle, which was off in a ravine. This extrication took 20 minutes.

While working on the first vehicle, responders were informed there was a second vehicle that had gone off the other side of the road, down 30 feet in the ravine, before being stopped by a tree.

One first responder climbed in the vehicle to try to help the occupant, but it was difficult to extricate because of the damage to the car and the tree keeping the car from sliding further into the ravine.

At this time, Russellville firefighters put their brains and more than 90 years of combined experience together to think of a plan to execute the rescue quickly and safely.

The decision was made to call Spencer Hyde with M&N Towing to tow the vehicle from the ravine while the occupant and first responder were still inside.

With lots of care and patience, the vehicle was safely removed from the ravine before the work began to extricate the occupant, which took 45 minutes.

“We are very blessed to have one of the oldest group of guys, which comes in handy in times like this,” Mansell said. “They were able to come up with something unconventional and possibly saved lives in the process.”

For their efforts, the Lifesaver Award was presented to Hyde, as well as Russellville firefighters Capt. Aubry Harris, Capt. Randy Seal, Sgt. Andy Devaney, Lt. John James and Noah Daugherty.

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