Fire fighters’ actions saved drivers’ lives

February 16, 2012  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.


The pictures on the front page of our edition last week were shocking evidence of the destruction a head-on collision of two speeding cars leaves behind.

The photos were graphic, with caved in roofs and so much damage to the front ends of the vehicles it was nearly impossible to tell the actual makes and models. That members of the Van Buren Fire Department, with aid from Canton and Ypsilanti townships, managed to get the two drivers out of that devastation is deserving of high praise.

The Van Buren department arrived on the scene first and it took them only 28 minutes to pry the injured driver from that crushed vehicle and send him by ambulance for treatment of his critical injuries. The woman in the other vehicle required even more extensive work to rescue but it took the expertise and equipment from three departments only 42 minutes to remove her from the remains of the car and load her into a medical rescue helicopter.

Looking at the photos of the vehicles, it is difficult to believe that both drivers did not lose their lives at the scene. The efforts of the fire department personnel in extricating these injured deserves high praise indeed. They arrived with- in minutes of the report a little after 4 in the morning and immediately began extrication efforts while at the same time calling for more personnel and equipment from the other departments and sending for the medical helicopter to ensure the fastest transport to the University of Michigan Trauma Center possible.

These young people, one 24 and one only 25 years of age, owe a great debt to these firefighters who took such decisive and effective action at the scene. Had they had to wait longer or if they were unable to respond, both these young lives would have been lost.

Public safety is almost always the highest cost of any community budget. It takes a lot of tax revenue to fund keeping police officers and firefighters on hand 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Paying these men to be there when their expertise and courage is needed isn’t a small expense, by any means. Because of the cost, this is the department that is most usually looked at for cuts in spending when tax revenues diminish and the economy falters.

It is when incidents like this, or the three recent house fires in Canton Township, or the myriad of other calls that flood the public safety dispatch phones take place that the reality of these services surfaces.

We’ve said it before. Public safety is one of the most basic services that any municipality provides to the residents. It is an expensive service and an easy target for criticism when economic times get tough.

But when these rescue, fire and police services are needed by the public, and they are needed every hour of every single day by someone, there is no price too high to pay to save a life, save a home or protect the public.

This rescue effort in Van Buren is proof, once again, of the value and necessity of public safety departments in every community. These men did a tremendous job under some pretty daunting conditions and managed to save two lives.

There can’t be a price too high for that kind of expertise, courage and dedication.

Canton Township
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