Excerpts from the Herald-news.com:

A gas explosion the evening of Oct. 11 in Romeoville forced an evacuation of 24 residential units and injured two utility workers, one of whom could have died.

On Dec. 13, Liberty Mutual Insurance will present Lockport Township FPD Lt. Phil Hutto with a heroism award for his life-saving actions the night of Oct. 11.

Nicor Gas crews had been on the scene throughout the afternoon and evening in response to damage to a 2-inch gas line. Firefighters were standing by from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The explosion, however, occurred about 7 p.m. One resident was home at the time but escaped uninjured.

According to a description provided to Liberty Mutual by Lockport Township Fire Protection District, upon arrival, Hutto was performing a 360-degree assessment of the structure fire when he noticed two Nicor workers attempting to rescue a trapped co-worker under a section of a collapsed roof. Hutto dropped his air pack and entered the collapsed area to assist Nicor employees with the victim.

The victim was blue and gasping for air as the fire got closer. The three men were able to remove the victim from underneath the collapsed section of the roof and get him to the awaiting ambulance for patient care. He survived.

“It’s a pretty challenging situation to go in and do what Phil [Hutto] did,” Lockport Township Fire Protection District Chief David Skoryi said. “At the same time, the fire was rolling toward him quickly.”

Hutto said his father was a firefighter so he grew up around the profession. “I love coming to work,” said Hutto, who spends his off days with family, working as part-owner of a fire extinguisher company and teaching part-time at the Romeoville Fire Academy.

thanks Dan

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