Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
A Roswell firefighter who rushed to the aid of two men trapped in a burning truck this summer while off duty was given one of the highest awards of the Roswell Fire Department at Thursday night’s City Council meeting.
Fire Chief Devin Graham said the Lifesaving Medal, bestowed to firefighter Carlos Garcia, is awarded when a firefighter is principally involved in saving the life of another person and whose personal actions were directly responsible for the lifesaving act.
On June 30, at about 5:20 p.m., Garcia was off duty and at his family’s business near the intersection of South Main Street and the Roswell Relief Route when police said an intoxicated man’s pickup traveling southbound on Main Street at about 92 mph rear-ended a box truck at the intersection.
The box truck, which had been stopped at a stoplight, flipped over onto its passenger side and erupted into flames, trapping two occupants, who were employees of Aaron’s. The driver of the pickup that rear-ended the box truck died at the scene. Both vehicles sustained massive damages.
Graham said Garcia, 25, a Roswell High School graduate and Roswell firefighter for a year and a half, rushed to the scene.
“Garcia heard the loud noise of the crash, went outside, and ran to the burning cargo vehicle, which was a furniture delivery truck for a local business,” Graham told Mayor Dennis Kintigh and the City Council.
Graham said the 32-year-old box truck driver and the 26-year-old passenger were in a perilous situation as the box truck burned. Graham said only one of the two occupants of the box truck was conscious when Garcia arrived, and the conscious man was pinned underneath the unconscious man.
“Without the proper tools or protective equipment, firefighter Garcia kicked and pulled on the truck’s windshield until he was able to get it loose and create enough space to pull out the unconscious man,” Graham said. “He did this with the help of another man who had been passing by. By the time they pulled the injured man to safety, the other man from inside the truck had exited from the vehicle.”
Graham said Garcia rendered what medical attention he could while awaiting the arrival of other emergency personnel.
“Shortly after the unconscious man was pulled from the truck, he regained consciousness,” Graham said. “Both men were transported to a local hospital and, to the best of our knowledge, both men have made positive progress during their recovery.”
Graham said he was informed of Garcia’s heroic actions immediately following the crash.
“Firefighter Garcia has exemplified what it means to be a lifesaving hero with a true servant’s heart, whether on duty or off,” Graham said. “It is now our distinct honor to present the city of Roswell Fire Department’s Lifesaving Medal to firefighter Carlos Garcia.”
Garcia received a standing ovation from the City Council and audience, which included numerous Roswell firefighters. Kintigh and each member of the City Council shook Garcia’s hand.
Graham said the fire service, as a whole, has done a poor job of recognizing its members that selflessly serve their communities.
“One of the reasons for this is that, by and far, most firefighters feel that when they perform a heroic measure, it’s merely just executing their daily duties,” Graham said. “Most firefighters subscribe to the philosophy that was so eloquently articulated by Edward Crocker, FDNY Chief of Department in 1908. Chief Crocker stated, ‘When a man becomes a fireman, his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work.'”
Editor Jeff Tucker can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 303, or at email@example.com.