Off-duty Kennedale Fire Chief assist in rescue in Alvarado

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Alvarado neighbors pull man from burning car
Quick action credited with saving life
By Paul Gnadt

Alvarado neighbors who reside along a dangerous curve on the 9000 block of heavily-traveled Farm to Market 917 are being called heroes for saving the life of a man involved in a fiery crash. {{more}}

Morgan Cockrell-Moore and her husband, John, next door neighbor Corey Davis and passerby Misti Davis (no relation) are being called Good Samaritans for pulling James Rhodes, 70, from his burning car about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Kennedale Fire Chief Mike


They were assisted by Kennedale Fire Chief Mike McMurray, who just happened to be driving to Burleson because an Academy store in Arlington didn’t have what he wanted.

Corey Davis was in the house when he heard the boom and heard his wife, Michelle, scream that a car was on fire, he said.

Davis and his son, Seth, a world record-setting power lifter who graduated in June from Alvarado High School, ran across the road to help.

?I was the first one there and tried to open the doors but they were locked and wouldn’t open,? Davis said. ?My neighbor, John, and I picked up rocks and broke out the passenger-side front and back door windows.?

They didn’t break out the driver’s side door window for fear of further injuring the driver, Davis said.

?We got the door open and saw there was only one person in there,? Davis said. ?He was slumped over. The car was engulfed in flames and when we got the windows open, John and I ate most of the smoke. I coughed all night.?

John Moore, who resides at 9000 FM 971, had just arrived home from work and was sitting in the living when he heard a big boom that shook the house, he said.

His wife, Morgan Cockrell-Moore, heard the boom too and knew immediately that a car had crashed.

?I looked outside with my phone in hand and instantly dialed 911 as I was telling John to get outside,? Cockrell-Moore said. ?The entire car was on fire except for the trunk.?

?My wife and I ran to the door and looked out and she saw that, once again, there was another accident,? Moore said. ?I ran across the road and saw the car on fire and started screaming, asking the others if there was anyone in the car and they said yes.?

The car was upright, Moore said. It had hit the tree with such force that it turned the car in two complete circles, he said.

?The car spun like a top,? Moore said. ?It did a 360 a couple of times.?

Compassion took over, Moore said.

?We were not going to let the man die, Moore said. ?The only occupant, the driver, was unconscious.

The only thing they could do was rip the car doors open and try to get him out, Moore said.

?When we saw the fire, instinct kicked in and we decided we had to save this man,? Moore said. ?I heard little popping sounds and thought the car was going to explode. We busted out the windows allowing the smoke to get out he could get air and ventilation so he wouldn’t suffocate. I actually was getting too much smoke inhalation, so I backed off while everybody else took over.?

Misti Davis was on her way home from the grocery store, heading west on FM 917, when she noticed people frantically moving near a burning vehicle.

?I stopped my car and saw they were working on the man so I started getting dirt to throw on the fire and got the gasoline away from the fire,” she said.

McMurry, driving his personal vehicle, had taken FM 917 because of construction on FM 1187, a more direct route between Arlington and Burleson, he said.

“I was attempting to break the windows with a wrench, but was very frustrated because it wouldn’t break,” McMurray said. “That’s when Corey grabbed a 25-pound rock and broke the window. He made the rescue possible.”

When they got him out, Cockrell-Moore, who is CPR certified, helped McMurray check the driver’s pulse and vital signs.

?He had contusions to his head but was responsive,? Cockrell-Moore said. ?The firefighter asked him to blink his eyes if he could hear him and the man did.?

Rhodes was transported by CareFlite air to a local hospital and is in serious condition with a broken hip, broken ankle and back fractures, according to media sources.

?This happens frequently,? Moore said. ?I call this ‘dead man’s curve.’ People don’t understand how sharp of a curve it is, are not paying attention, are going too fast and over-compensate. We need a guardrail here.?

In the 12 years the Moores have lived on the curve, they have seen five serious accidents a year that are reported to the police and dozens that are not reported, John Moore said.

?They just take off,? Cockrell-Moore said.

FM 917 is a state road and is under the control of the Texas Department of Transportation.

“I would love to have those people as my neighbors,” McMurray said. “What I did was what any trained firefighter would do. What those untrained neighbors did was heroic.”

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