A member of the Tennessee Air National Guard carried a badly injured 57-year-old man out of a burning building in late January.
News outlet WVLT-TV reported that Michael Bean, who serves as staff sergeant with the Tennessee Air National Guard’s 134th Air Refueling Wing in Knoxville, Tenn., was at the right place at the right time to make a stunning rescue Jan. 20, 2017.
“I started my shift that evening as I normally do,” Bean said. “Around 8:30 p.m., we were advised by 911 that there was a fire at a residence with a disabled man inside. Fortunately, myself, Deputy Robert Hughes and Sgt. David Caldwell were close by to assist.”
“My first thought was, ‘I hope we can get to the home in time’ because house fires normally move rapidly. Upon arrival, we noticed a woman in the driveway who told us that the man was still inside,” he added.
Bean and Hughes attempted first to enter the house through the back door, but were quickly repelled by the amount of smoke billowing out of the building.
The pair made a second attempt at gaining entrance. This time the men wrapped their jackets around their faces and managed to navigate through the house.
“The heavy smoke made it very difficult to see what was in front of us,” Bean said. “There were small fires throughout the home, which smelled like burning chemicals.”
Bean and Hughes carried the badly injured man out of the house, at which point he was transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Months later, he still remains in care.
Bean has served as part of the Air National Guard since 2003 and also works as a patrol lieutenant at the Carter County Sheriff’s Office.
“The Air Guard has taught me to have a sense of service and commitment. I have been able to handle stressful responsibilities when faced with adversity,” Bean said. “Situational awareness and attention to detail have helped me in my civilian career.”
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