Early in the morning on March 25, 2016, off-duty Streamwood Firefighter and Paramedic, Chris Tierney, was headed across Elgin on the Jane Addams Tollway during rush hour when he saw that a limousine was suddenly airborne in front of him. It then crashed in the middle of a median in a construction zone.
Without hesitation Chris pulled over, knowing his emergency skills were needed.
“I heard screaming inside the limo from the trapped passengers,” he said. “The car was on fire at that point, and the driver had managed to get out.” Chris yelled to a nearby construction worker to get a fire extinguisher while he ran to his truck for a hammer to break the windows open in hopes of reaching the six passengers trapped inside.
Once Chris successfully broke the limousine windows, he was able to assess the passengers’ injuries. “The first thing I thought was just to get these people out as fast as I could,” he said. Oil and gas quickly accumulated around the scene, surrounding everyone inside.
The passengers were severely injured and at least one woman was unconscious. Disregarding his own safety, Chris pulled the first passenger out of the fiery vehicle and helped the other passengers escape. Running back and forth between the limousine and injured passengers, he tended to an unconscious woman who was hardly breathing, regularly checking for a pulse, and began administering CPR.
Within minutes, ambulances and fire engines arrived on scene. Chris worked alongside Elgin paramedics, grabbing the necessary equipment from the back of ambulances and helping to perform emergency aid on the accident victims.
A member of the firefighter training committee and firefighter of 13 years, Chris noted, “This is what we train for all the time. I don’t know that I was feeling at all – it was just automatic,” he said. “We train for the one percent. I know this was the one percent.”
The Firefighter Award is presented to a professional, volunteer firefighter(s), or medical personnel related to dispatch operations at a fire department who acted above and beyond the call of duty, exhibiting heroism either in response to an emergency situation or through an ongoing commitment to the community.
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