2 NC teenagers rescue 2 classmates from burning vehicle

Two recent Garner High School graduates who were part of their school's Public Safety Academy sprang into action when they witnessed a vehicle crash into a fellow classmate's car and catch fire


T. Keung Hui
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

GARNER, N.C. — Two recent Garner High School graduates are being credited with potentially saving the lives of two classmates by rescuing them from a burning car last week and treating their injuries before first responders arrived.

Grady Dawson and Dylan Ferrell were driving home from graduation practice last Tuesday afternoon when another car with two fellow Garner High seniors in it was hit by a vehicle at the intersection of Timber Drive and Aversboro Road.

"It happened really fast," Dawson said in an interview Monday. "We knew it was bad. I can still hear the sound of them hitting the car."

Dawson and Ferrell, both members of the high school's Public Safety Academy, sprang into action using the firefighting and emergency medical training they had learned in the program.

Lessons from Public Safety Academy

The 18-year-olds both pulled fire extinguishers from their respective vehicles to try to put out the fire coming from under the engine bay of the car driven by their friend, George Ellis. They were able to get most of the fire under control.

With the help of other bystanders, they cut Ellis and his passenger, Jack Montgomery, out of their seat belts and air bags to get them out.

Ellis had two compound fractures in his leg, bleeding and an exposed bone sticking out that the pair treated. They also kept Ellis immobilized to avoid causing any further damage that could lead to paralysis.

"Getting someone's blood on your hands, knowing someone's life is in your hands, it's just real," Ferrell said in an interview Monday. "The training definitely prepared me for this. I wouldn't have known what to do if I hadn't been in the Garner Public Safety Academy."

Dawson also said that the training kicked in as they tried to help their friends.

Ellis and Montgomery are still both hospitalized. A moment of silence was held for them at Thursday's graduation ceremony.

'Couldn't be more proud of them'

Dawson and Ferrell are being praised for their actions.

"I couldn't be more proud of them," Kim Miller, the program's EMT teacher, said in an interview Monday. "They've done everything we taught them to do over the past four years."

All the emergency responders said Dawson and Ferrell did everything they knew how to do to prevent the injuries from being worse, according to Austin Barbour, coordinator of the Public Safety Academy.

Lee Montgomery, Jack's uncle, posted an online update for his nephew, who had surgeries on his back and on a shoulder.

"I want to give a special thanks to Dylan Ferrell and Grady Dawson for helping save me from the wreck," Montgomery wrote.

The Public Safety Academy also singled out the two new graduates online for their "heroic" and "life-saving actions."

"As a family member of one of those boys, I can't say thank you enough!" Suzy Montgomery said in reply to the academy's tweet.

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(c)2021 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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