Military News

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Mobility Airmen provide care to stranger during fire emergency

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 ignited.

"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 need."

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