On March 25, Fire Station 18 responded to a report of fire on a high rise building in the area of West Dallas and Montrose. Captain Brad Hawthorne and Engineer Operator Dwayne Wyble were instrumental in rescuing a construction worker trapped on the building's fifth floor balcony. Without the training and confidence of the crew of Fire Station 18, this rescue could not have been performed as proficiently as it was.
In an effort to show appreciation on behalf of the city, Houston Texans Cheerleaders and Texans Ambassador J.J. Moses brought lunch courtesy of the Houston Texans Grille to Fire Station 18 on Sunday. The guests surprised Hawthorne and Wyble with an invitation to be the Homefield Advantage Captains and lead the team out of the tunnel on Sept. 7 for the first game of the 2014 season.
In addition, fifty members of the Station will be the flag holders for the Liberty White Out First Responders game.
"We're so excited to be here at Station 18 to honor two individuals that really displayed what it's like to sacrifice your life to help someone else," Moses said. "We are so thankful. We just really wanted to honor them and let them know that we appreciate their efforts as well as all the other fire fighters that were there to rescue individuals from that burning fire a few months ago. "
As the trapped construction worker climbed onto the ladder with the Captain on that fateful day, Wyble quickly moved the ladder away from the building due to the extreme heat. Within seconds and while still moving the ladder away from the building, the roof and fifth floor had a catastrophic collapse sending burning debris onto the floor below.
The collapse nearly missed Hawthorne and the civilian, landing within a few feet of the rear of the ladder truck.
"When I watched it on video for the first time, I was amazed," Moses said. "I was amazed with the fact that within inches that construction worker could have lost his life. To see what Captain Hawthorne did as far as sacrificing and taking the right steps to save that individual, it just displayed what a hero is all about. "
Hawthorne credits much of the rescue mission's success to Wyble, and vice versa. Although neither of the firefighters would call themselves heroes, there's no question that the Texans and residents of Houston see them as such.
"You don't expect this, but it is a true honor," Hawthorne said of the Texans' surprise visit. "I don't know how to describe this but it's from the heart, thank you to the city of Houston and the Texans."