June 29, 2021 by Cathy Stack
It was a typical Thursday night when the unthinkable occurred. Brandon was driving to his business when he witnessed the train collide with the truck. “There was an explosion right away, and the train was pushing the truck down the tracks. I got on the phone with 911,” Brandon recalled.
Brandon drove near the crash site to see if he could offer help.
“Get away from that train — don’t go near it,” warned the train conductor. It was a chaotic scene as people ran from the dangerous site, half-hidden behind flames and billowing smoke. Despite the danger, however, Brandon felt compelled to approach the crash site. As he came closer, he heard a cry for help. Then he saw a man trapped inside the burning vehicle stuck on the train tracks.
Suddenly, Brandon was on a rescue mission. Thoughts of his family flashed through his mind as he realized he was putting his life at risk.
“It was a conscious decision that I’m going in because he (the victim) needs help right now,” Brandon explained. “I ran up to the window and saw dripping hot flames all over the inside of the truck.”
Brandon saw the young truck driver trapped in his seatbelt and pinned down by the steering wheel as the fire closed in around him. With no time to waste, Brandon climbed partway into the wreckage and unbuckled the driver’s seatbelt. He helped the panicked young man break the steering wheel, freeing him.
“Hey, we gotta get outta here now,” Brandon instructed the driver. His sense of urgency snapped them both into action mode. Brandon pulled the young man out through a rear window seconds before flames engulfed the trapped vehicle.
“As we walked away, within seconds, the fire on the roof fell down inside, and the whole seat and cab went up in flames. A few minutes later, there were a couple big booms and explosives,” remembered Brandon.
Brandon stayed on the scene until emergency personnel arrived. Meanwhile, several other passersby stopped to assist the train conductor and other crew members.
Medics airlifted the young truck driver, 25-year-old Steve Jenson, to the hospital to be treated for his injuries. When he had a moment to reflect on the incident, Brandon became emotional from the impact of what had transpired — and all that he had risked. A sense of great relief washed over him that everything worked out in just the right time, almost as if through a miracle. Brandon feels blessed that he was at the right place at the right time.
“Being able to go home and put my arms around my kids — it hit me. You never know what’s going to happen in life, and this shows you should hug your family every chance you get.”
The young truck driver is recovering in the hospital and in good spirits. Brandon looks forward to getting to know the young man, as the two men are now bonded by the harrowing near-death experience.
And Brandon said the incident has shifted his own life perspective. He views the event as a wake-up call to how everything can change in a heartbeat. Brandon’s morning had not been going well, yet in an instant everything changed, and his petty problems no longer mattered. He said the experience made him more grateful for all that he has in life.
PassItOn and Foundation For A Better Life believe Brandon Bair is a true hero for his remarkable rescue. His action demonstrates the value of courage. When confronted by the choice to save a life or safely walk away, he responded with incredible strength and bravery. Despite the dangerous circumstances, Brandon was motivated by his heartfelt desire to help a fellow human being. Brandon believes that we can accomplish amazing, even miraculous things when we think of others and work together for a common good.
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