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Appalachian Power worker saves man from burning home

by on May 19, 2015
Appalachian Power Company line servicer Tommy Bryant rescued a man from the roof of his burning home, assisted the man’s elderly mother with her oxygen and then helped de-energize the service to the home.

(Story by Matthew Thompson)

WAYNE, W. Va. – A family in Wayne County has an Appalachian Power employee to thank after a man was rescued from a house fire May 14.

Tommy Bryant, a line servicer based in Huntington, used an Appalachian Power bucket truck to rescue Scott Dickerson from the roof of a burning home in Wayne.

View a video of the news story. (Please be patient — video is slow to load.)

Around 9 a.m. that morning, Bryant had just left a job and was headed to another when he noticed suspicious smoke coming from a nearby neighborhood.

“It seemed odd there was this type of smoke in the area of town where I was,” Bryant said. “I don’t know, but something told me to go look and see what was going on.”

Bryant followed the trail of smoke to a home on Keyser Street where Dickerson and his grandmother resided. While the grandmother had escaped the home, Dickerson had crawled out onto the roof to avoid the smoke and flames. The escape had left him stuck on the roof with no safe way to get down.

With police and fire departments still en route to the scene, Bryant jumped into action to rescue Dickerson. He parked his truck and maneuvered the bucket to the roof and safely brought the man down to the ground.

“All I wanted to do was what I needed to do so he wouldn’t get hurt,” Bryant said.

With Dickerson off the roof, Bryant ran around to the front of the home to check on the grandmother. The woman told Bryant she was on oxygen and that her tanks and machine were still inside the home. Bryant then braved the heavy smoke, crawled on his hands and knees and safely secured the oxygen tanks from the front of the house.

“I might have crawled 10 or 15 feet,” Bryant said. “It was too hot for me to go much further.”

Once Dickerson, his grandmother and the oxygen tanks were out of harm’s way, Bryant jumped back into his Appalachian role and de-energized service at the home.

Although the rescue happened in a matter of minutes, Bryant said the ordeal went by in slow motion.

“When you’re in the middle of it, it seems like its forever,” Bryant said. “But it all happened pretty quickly.”

Rick Wiseman, the Huntington district manager, said he was thankful that Bryant was nearby, willing to help and did so without anyone getting hurt.

“When I heard Tommy was involved, I was not surprised,” Wiseman said. “I’m very proud and so are all of his colleagues in the Huntington district.”

Bryant spent much of the afternoon in the media spotlight, providing interviews for local television stations. When he arrived home after work, Bryant said he spent a quiet evening with his wife, son and two grandchildren.

But Bryant did receive a little present from his wife for his courageous effort.

“She went out and got me a steak for dinner,” Bryant said.

Bryant has worked for Appalachian Power since 1996. He has been a line servicer for the past seven years. He previously served in the U.S Army and is a Desert Storm veteran. Bryant said a combination of his military service, Appalachian safety training and his upbringing gave him the confidence to jump into action.

Although many call him a hero, Bryant said he doesn’t consider himself one.

“The word hero is just not for me,” Bryant said. “The military, the police and the fire guys, they’re the heroes because they do it every day.”

From → News From AEP, Safety

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