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Crockett County Sergeant Saves 80 Year Old Man From Fire

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

CROCKETT COUNTY, Tenn.- For hours, fire departments in Crockett County battled a 600 acre fire that almost took the life of 80-year-old, Thomas Archer.

"[Archer] was setting the fire as he was driving along, and his truck hit a ravine and got stuck. He received injuries and was trapped for some time," Alamo Fire Chief Timmy Williams said.

The wreck not only trapped Archer inside his vehicle but broke his leg. Sergeant Robert Howell of the Crockett County Sheriff's Department was nearby the field and said he saw the truck stop moving and the flames get bigger.

"I did make a choice to go in range of the fire where the truck was fully engulfed to protect him and see if I could get him away from the fire. Knowing the whole time that the truck could explode and it would've probably hurt or killed both he and I," Howell said.

However when Howell saw the flames he said he was not thinking about his safety. His only concern was saving Archer. Howell said pulling Archer from the flames does not make him a hero. He said any of his fellow deputies would have done the exact same thing.

"At one point, I was putting the fire out with a fire extinguisher trying to keep the fire off the ambulance guys as they were trying to get him in the ambulance," Howell said.

Archer's family said they are praying for a speedy recovery for their grandfather and are thankful for the heroic efforts of Sergeant Howell.

"I believe all of us, when we put on the uniform, we choose to take an oath to protect others. That sometimes means we have to put ourselves in harms way," Howell said.

Archer's family said he is being treated for a broken leg and minor burns but is expected to make a full recovery.
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