Centerville firefighters credited for saving Flint Energies worker’s life

Telegraph correspondentOctober 3, 2012 

CENTERVILLE -- Four Centerville firefighters are receiving honors this month for their life-saving efforts.

Firefighters Chad Kahley, Stephan Hutchins, Raymond Evans and Capt. Dave Bostick are being honored by the city of Centerville and Flint Energies for their work to rescue and save the life of a Flint Energies lineman.

In the wake of evening thunderstorms on July 26, the Centerville Fire Department received an unusually heavy number of calls -- 12 in a two-hour span. Bostick, who was a sergeant at the time and shift supervisor, said firefighters were investigating a possible structure fire on Mason Drive when at 9:39 p.m. they received notice of the possible electrocution of a power line worker half a mile away on Bassett Street.

Flint Energies lineman Greg Hill was down.

Unconscious and not responsive, Hill was among Flint crews in Centerville restoring power to outage areas.

Bostick said Centerville’s Rescue 1 unit was immediately dispatched to Bassett Street with Engine 1 following.

According to the incident report, Kahley and Hutchins found Hill out of the cherry picker bucket and on the ground when they arrived minutes later. Bystanders told them Hill was not breathing and had no pulse.

After checking that power lines were not active, Hutchins, who has EMT certification, confirmed no pulse or breathing and began chest compressions. Kahley began ventilating Hill via a device.

Arriving just after in Engine 1, Bostick and Evans administered an automated external defibrillator. Shock was given, and Kahley and Hutchins resumed their efforts.

After 30 seconds, Hill began to gasp and have strong respiration efforts on his own. A pulse was located. EMS attendants arrived, and Hill was transported to Houston Medical Center with Hutchins.

At 10:02 p.m., less than half an hour after receiving the emergency call, Rescue 1 and Engine 1 were rolling away ready for new calls.

And Hill was alive and becoming well.

He returned to work at Flint just over a month later.

“To say the least, I’m grateful to them, and grateful for the training they’ve gotten and their ability to respond under pressure,” Hill said. “That and how fast they got there and got to work. I’m grateful to my work partner, Matthew Denton, who got me down and out of the bucket, too. I don’t remember a thing about it, though. Not a thing.”

Hill, of Warner Robins, met the firefighters consciously for the first time when they were honored Tuesday by Centerville City Council.

Hutchins said it’s what he’s paid to do.

“It’s like a muscle memory thing,” he said “The training we go through over and over kicks in. When you see an incident, you’re trained to size it up and respond as you’ve been trained. There’s not a lot of thinking about it as you go. We made sure the area was safe and went about our business with the appropriate protocols. Any firefighter in our situation would do the same.”

Centerville Fire Chief Jason Jones is obviously pleased with his men.

“Weather was severe, and calls were heavy that night,” he said. “They had already done more than on a typical day, responded not knowing exactly what to expect and came away with a positive result. A very positive result.

“The lineman is alive today because of actions my guys took, and I’m proud of them. It’s not often we get recognition, but we don’t do what we do for recognition. We’re here to save lives and protect property, and that’s what they did -- save a life.”

Flint Energies will recognize the firefighters Oct. 23 at its annual members meeting at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry.

“Greg’s returning to work with us is an answer to many prayers,” said Jimmy Autry, Flint Energies senior vice president. “Electrical contact accidents can have much worse outcomes. We’re blessed to live in a community with selfless workers who are always ready and able to save lives. We are so thankful for Greg’s Flint work partner Matt Denton and the professionals from the city of Centerville and the Houston Medical Center, who worked to save Greg’s life.”

Bostick said it’s still unknown exactly what caused Hill’s accident.

“They’ve not yet been able to explain or recreate how it happened,” he said. “Whatever happened, when we arrived, there was a person who didn’t have a heartbeat, and when they left, they had one. That’s a good day’s work.”

Bostick said Hill was treated for second- and third-degree burns at the Augusta burn center.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at

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