PennDOT foreman Kyle Holman was honored by the Lake Harmony Fire Company for his lifesaving heroics at a single car crash on Interstate 80. See article below from the Times News.
BY CHRIS REBER [email protected]
As a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation foreman whose territory includes part of Interstate 80, Kyle Holman works side by side with first responders after a crash.
But during one recent incident, circumstances called for the Weatherly resident to become the rescuer himself.
On the morning of Dec. 28, Holman was one of the first people on the scene of a crash where a family’s vehicle overturned and caught fire. He and another man extinguished the fire and helped the family escape their damaged vehicle.
His lifesaving efforts earned the recognition of the Lake Harmony Volunteer Fire Co. and Kidder Township, which both recognized Holman with plaques Monday night.
“The call came in as a rollover with fire and entrapment. I’ve been doing this a lot of years and that catches your attention. But it was pretty nice to come around the corner, see the car there with no fire and all the people out,” said Ralph Lennon, chief of Lake Harmony Volunteer Fire Co.
Around 5:30 on the morning of the crash, Holman was driving a section of I-80 he has driven countless times for work, eastbound between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Blakeslee exits. Like many other sections of I-80, it’s been the scene of numerous crashes over the years.
As Holman drove near the Moseywood Road bridge, he saw a glowing light which he recognized as being out of place. He quickly realized it was a vehicle on its side, with flames coming from the engine compartment.
“When I came around the turn, there was the fire. It was engulfed in flames. The first thing I thought was to jump out and help,” he said.
Holman took a fire extinguisher he had inside the PennDOT truck and rushed to put out the blaze. An unidentified truck driver who also stopped to assist brought another. Their two extinguishers didn’t hold much, but they were enough to knock down the fire.
After the fire was out, they worked on reaching the passengers. One man had managed to get out.
Four other people, including a baby, were still trapped inside. Holman said he feared that the fire could restart before they could get out. He could hear the baby’s cries coming from inside the vehicle.
“If you come upon that, your adrenaline kicks in,” he said.
He and the truck driver determined the best route to the victims was through the windshield. They tried pulling at it, but Holman realized it would take the sledgehammer in his truck to gain access.
After breaking the window, Holman was able to help the rest of the family get out. Everyone was alert, but they were taken by ambulance for evaluation of possible injuries.
According to a state police crash report, the driver of the vehicle fell asleep before the crash. She was charged with reckless driving.
Following the rescue, Holman stayed on the scene and completed his normal duties with PennDOT. He assisted the tow truck driver as they righted the vehicle and put it on a truck. Then he made sure the roadway was safe to reopen, just as he has done for countless other crashes on the interstate.
Lennon said it was a great pleasure to honor Holman, because he and the fire company work together on so many crashes along I-80. On top of that, he said Holman is a throwback to the days when drivers would happily stop to assist someone who was having a problem with their vehicle.
“It’s gotten to a point now where you’re almost reluctant to stop and assist someone because you don’t know what you might be getting into. What Kyle did, I think, goes above and beyond,” Lennon said.