BREMERTON – Three county residents will receive Citizen Lifesaving Awards next week after rescuing a man trapped in a car fire near Silverdale, Central Kitsap fire chief John Oliver announced Wednesday.
Spencer Uber, Terrance Billy and Spc. Jordan Murray will receive plaques at a Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue board meeting on Monday in recognition of their life-saving efforts.
Chief Oliver said the three men were instrumental in saving the life of 70-year-old Jerry David Lewis, of Kingston, after his Chevrolet Camaro caught fire on Route 303 in Silverdale on Jan. 10. Uber and Billy helped pull Lewis from the burning vehicle while Murray helped put out flames on his coat, and directed traffic away from the burning car.
“If just a little more time had passed, [Lewis] probably would have really gotten compromised – his airway and stuff,” Oliver said. “They saved his life.”
Uber, a cook and graduate of Bremerton High School, and Billy, a retiree originally from New Orleans, shared their accounts of the harrowing incident with the Kitsap News Group on January 11.
Murray, 26, an Army food safety specialist at Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor, related his experience during an interview Wednesday.
Murray was the third to arrive on scene partly because he was driving on the opposite side of the road.
Wearing his “dress blues” for an Army training event later that day, he pulled over when he saw the conflagration, and crossed the highway – jumping a median – to get to the vehicle and lend assistance.
The victim was still on fire when Murray got there.
“His jacket was in flames, his hair,” Murray said. “He was in shock.”
Murray helped pat down Lewis. Once he was moved to safety, Murray directed traffic away from the vehicle, which was engulfed in flames.
“The fire kept going. We were directing traffic to go toward the left side,” he said.
Oliver was the first official to arrive on scene, followed by CKFR crews who put out the fire. Lewis was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with burns, and was listed in satisfactory condition later that day.
Murray said when he finally arrived at the monthly training event he was due at, he was late.
His first sergeant needed a good explanation, in writing.
“She asked for accountability, because we were in training,” Murray said.
Murray asked the Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue department for written confirmation of the events of the day. CKFR sent a note to the three-year soldier’s superiors.
Murray said when his commander and first sergeant received the letter from CKFR, they said they’d like to attend the award ceremony themselves.
“My commander said I was the epitome of a soldier,” Murray said. “To hear it from somebody so high up – it hit me hard.”
The CKFR board meeting begins at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, February 11, at 5300 NW Newberry Hill Road in Silverdale. It is open to the public.
Gabe Stutman is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. Follow him on Twitter @kitsapgabe.