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3 Calif. firefighters honored for daring rescue of officer

The firefighters ran across the freeway, dodging traffic to reach the unconscious officer


By Jim Guy
The Fresno Bee

FRESNO, Calif. — Three Fresno firefighters were honored Tuesday morning for saving the life of a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer injured in a traffic collision in June.

Fire Capt. Reginald Zellous and specialists Randy E. Dennis and Darian T. Jackson were presented medals of bravery at a City Hall ceremony by the Fire Department, and also received commendations from the CHP for rescuing the unconscious officer trapped on a burning median on Highway 180.

The crash happened June 21 as CHP Officer Tanner Bean, 28, was rushing to a collision on eastbound 180 near Peach Avenue when he was hit by a pickup. The impact knocked the BMW motorcycle over the center divider.

Bean was struck in the head, knocked out and left lying near the median as a fire erupted. Zellous, Dennis and Jackson arrived in their truck as the fire was breaking out and Zellous and Dennis ran across the freeway, dodging speeding traffic to find that Bean was not breathing.

Meanwhile, Jackson maneuvered the truck to put out the grass fire as Dennis put a resuscitator on Bean to get oxygen into his airway. As Zellous and Dennis helped other rescue workers rush Bean to a hospital, the CHP officer began to breathe and regained consciousness.

Because of “their quick thinking, they saved the life of a fellow public safety officer,” said Deputy Fire Chief Richard Cabral.

Bean, who continues to recover, was at the event, where he met with the firefighters and expressed gratitude for their actions.

“I’m very proud and very thankful and glad that they were able to save my life that I could be here today,” Bean said later.

The three firefighters said they were grateful that they were able to help Bean.

“From the accident to the hospital and to see him every step of the way, and to see him here now, it was just absolutely amazing. I mean, I’m just so happy we were there,” Jackson said.

CHP Capt. Craig Kunzler awarded the three men the CHP award. He said he was “overwhelmed with pride,” to be a public safety officer when he heard of the actions of the three firefighters.

“It was clear their heroic actions saved the officer’s life.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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