Every once in a great while a feel-good story crosses my path and I absolutely fee like it needs to be shared. So much of the news we see and talk about every day is a buzz kill. But not this one. This one gives us an opportunity to revel in the fact that real heroes do exist in our world and no, they most certainly do not wear capes.
TheBlaze is reporting that an off-duty Florida firefighter was late picking up his son from his soccer practice over the weekend, however, if you talk to a 33-year-old Seminole County deputy, the guy was right on time to save his life. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said that Deputy Matthew Luxon suffered a medical emergency at 10:30 a.m. near Orange Boulevard and Wayside Drive, located in the city of Sanford, Florida, where he had crashed into a concrete pillar.
“The medical incident and the resultant crash may have been the beginning of Luxon’s problems, but they certainly weren’t the last. His patrol car caught fire and quickly became an inferno,” the report said. “Lt. Benjamin Wootson of the Orlando Fire Department happened to be in the neighborhood, rushing his son to soccer practice.”
The off-duty firefighter told the media, “We were running late getting to my son’s soccer practice. … Typically, we try to get there 30, 45 minutes early so they can do the warm-up. My son was dragging his feet, taking his time. As we were turning left onto Orange, I noticed a patrol car coming toward us.”
Wootson then said that he has a habit “of always looking in my mirrors.”
When he locked back through his rearview mirror, he witnessed Luxon’s patrol vehicle slam into the overpass support.
“I immediately pulled a U-turn at the next intersection and rushed back,” Wootson stated. “By the time i got on scene, there was a little bit of flames on the underneath of the vehicle, the engine compartment was already on fire.”
“As I was pulling him out there were probably two golf ball-size flames where his legs were,” the firefighter said during his conversation with WOFL-TV.
“Wootson managed to get the disoriented deputy out of his seatbelt and ultimately out of the blaze. No sooner had the firefighter disentangled Luxon from the wreck than the patrol vehicle burst into flames, along with the ammunition in the trunk,” TheBlaze said.
With bullets going off and the fire raging on, Wootson then used the deputy’s radio to call in an “officer down scenario.”
“While he tended to Luxon, Wootson’s neighbor arrived on the scene to tend to the firefighter’s son. Another onlooker moved the firefighter’s car to get clear of the heated display,” the report added.
Deputy Luxon was then transported to a local hospital where he had several successful surgeries and was stabilized. WFTV has revealed he is, as of this writing, still in the hospital.
Sheriff Dennis Lemma released a statement on Sunday saying, “Matt had successful surgeries into the late hours on Saturday but make no mistake; he has a long road to recovery ahead of him. The support of our Seminole County, and the greater Central Florida community, will help Matt pull through now and into the immediate future.”
One of the deputy’s co-workers has started up a fundraiser to help the injured deputy and his family, which has already pulled in more than $22,000.
Discussing the heroic actions taken by Wootson, Sheriff Lemma said, “I also spoke with Orlando Fire Department Lieutenant Benjamin Wootson, who heroically rescued Matt from his patrol unit moments after his crash and just before the unit caught fire. Lt. Wootson, who was off duty and also very kind when we spoke, simply reminded me that ‘this is what we do.'”
Lemma went on to add, “I thank God that he was there at that time, and I expressed my gratitude and shared commendation to OFD Chief Charlie Salazar as well.”
Wootson went on later to say that his happening to be late that day was a work of God’s providence.
“God put me in a place where [my son and I] were running late on purpose. I was in the right place at the right time to save an individual,” he said.
He then said, “If you’re ever in a circumstance and you see something, don’t just sit back and watch. Get out, do what’s right, make a change because those little things could be a long impact lasting, it could be generational changes.”
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