Officers receive commendations

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Everyday heroes Democrat Photo/Reed The Cassville City Council and Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr recognized officers Eric Terry and Scott Salkill with special certificates of commendation on Monday night. Pictured above, from left, are: Salkill, Terry and Kammerlohr.

Cassville Police officers Eric Terry and Scott Salkill received commendations from the Cassville City Council on Monday night.

Dana Kammerlohr, Cassville Police chief, introduced the officers, who helped save a local resident after they responded to the scene of a structure fire on Aug. 14.

"Upon arrival there was a single wide trailer fully engulfed," said Kammerlohr. "A person that was at the scene informed them that he didn't think anyone was in the trailer, but there was someone in the motor home sitting right by the trailer that was on fire."

The officers observed a man sitting in the driver's seat. They also saw an orange glow inside the motor home.

"Both officers told the man to get out," said Kammerlohr. "He still sat in the motor home. The officers then tried to open the driver's side door, but it was locked.

"The man appeared to be squirting himself with lighter fluid then turned the can toward the officers and squirted the fluid toward them. The windows were up and the fluid did not reach the officers."

Salkill moved to the passenger side of the motor home, which was unlocked. He reached inside and attempted to pull the man out. At the same time, Terry was using his flashlight to try to break the driver's side window.

"Officer Terry observed flames around officer Salkill's feet and the driver' seat," said Kammerlohr. "Officer Terry stated that he could smell a strong chemical smell, which later they discovered to be an open propane bottle.

"The motor home was filling with smoke, and at this time, officer Terry went around to the passenger side as the heat from the burning trailer was becoming too hot," added Kammerlohr.

Although Salkill was unable to pull the man from the seat due to the fire on the floor, he reached around the man and unlocked and opened the door. Terry moved to assist in pulling the man out of the seat, but could not get a grip on the man due to the flames. The man was also holding onto the steering wheel.

"Officer Salkill started pushing the man out the driver's door," said Kammerlohr. "At this time, officer Terry experienced difficulty breathing, and he grabbed officer Salkill who also was having difficulty breathing. Officer Terry had a hold of officer Salkill and pulled him with him as he exited the motor home."

After exiting the motor home, the officers were informed that the man had gone out the driver's side door. Both Terry and Salkill were transported to Mercy Hospital Cassville where they were treated for smoke and chemical inhalation.

"Both of these men told me that they were just doing their jobs," said Kammerlohr.

"Heroic actions are when ordinary people do extraordinary acts," said Kammerlohr. "Going into a burning vehicle without proper fire gear to help someone is an extraordinary act in heroic measures."

Mayor Bill Shiveley presented the men with a certificate of commendation from the City of Cassville.

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