by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
8/4/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Maj.
Jim Cote was driving to his new job at Air Mobility Command
Headquarters, July 29, when he saw a man on fire on the side of the road
in Shiloh, Illinois.
According to St. Clair County authorities, the riding lawnmower operator
attempted to mow too close to a ditch. The mower overturned, trapping
the operator and dousing him with gasoline. Seconds later, the gasoline
"Just within a matter of seconds, he burst into flames," said Cote, an
Air Force aero-medical nurse. He said the man came running out of the
area engulfed in flames.
Cote was the first person on scene and as he instinctively rushed to aid
the seventy-four year old victim, he immediately applied his military
and medical training.
"I ran across the street ... to put the flames out with my uniform
shirt," Cote said. "Then others, including more Airmen, stopped to
help. It took about three ABU [Airmen Battle Uniform] tops before [the
flames were extinguished]."
All the while, Cote said the mower was still on fire only ten feet away. The victim was airlifted from the scene minutes later.
Shortly after, the local community learned that the elderly man did not survive.
Cote has been a nurse for more than seventeen years and says, from his
experiences, it helps to talk about these traumatic situations.
Cote concluded, "While I am still not sure how you train for this
situation, I think my years of Air Force training probably taught me to
just react, despite the danger, to do what [I] can to help someone in