SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFSM) — Three local firefighters have been awarded the Medal of Valor after pulling a fellow firefighter out of a burning warehouse in Springdale.
The huge warehouse fire broke out in Springdale on December 27, 2019.
“It was...it was an experience I’ll never forget,” said Noah Carter, driver, operator and paramedic for the Springdale Fire Department.
For hours the fire looked like it was contained, but as the sun went down, the flames went up, causing the interior of the building to collapse.
“I had that feeling of this might be it, this might be the way we’re gonna go,” Carter said.
A crew of four were inside the warehouse when something collapsed and knocked them to the ground.
“I heard a crash and one of the guys had ran into me and I looked down and was like 'what are you doing' and he said he was pinned,” said Springdale Firefighter Vincent Humphrey.
“I realized something bad had happened and got back up, kinda got my bearings and then I started screaming that we gotta find Kehrli,” Carter said.
Captain James Kehrli had been buried by debris and because of the near-impossible visibility, they almost couldn’t find him.
“He reached out and grabbed my boot and went down and found a gloved hand and we were able to get him out of there,” Humphrey said.
The firefighters say once they located Captain Kerhli, muscle memory kicked in.
“We train all the time on carrying, moving, dragging down firefighter or just victims period so all that kicked in and it just like another training,” said Springdale Firefighter and EMT Trevor Hutchens.
Vincent Humphry, Noah Carter and Trevor Hutchens were all honored with a Medal of Valor for rescuing Captain James Kehrli.
They say they are honored but also know Captain Kerhli would do it for them.
“They become our second family, so I mean when it all went down we got awards and he got the worse end of the deal but he would have done the same for us or anyone else. We weren’t leaving without him,” Hutchens said.
Captain Kehrli was rushed to the hospital due to his injuries and he's still recovering today. He says he's ready to get back to work.