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Monday, June 13, 2016

Former Firefighter Jumps To Action To Stop Car Fire

FTM file. 
It was a normal morning on June 3 in the Churchill Market complex at 1401 N. Grand Avenue in Newport on the border of Fort Thomas, until it wasn't.

A call came into Campbell County dispatch at 7:02 a.m. after Fort Thomas resident, Patricia Lucas, got her morning coffee at Starbucks. She was driving her 2005 Hyundai Sante Fe through the parking lot of the complex when she heard a loud pop and then observed smoke coming from the engine.

She pulled her car over in front of Churchill Market and before she knew it, her car engine was in flames. The fire was so hot, the hood melted onto the engine.

That's when Kevin Sell, Campbell County resident and former Judge-Executive candidate sprang into action.

"It's not everyday you go in your regular Starbucks and ask for a fire extinguisher.  Being a retired firefighter, it wasn't a big deal, just an interesting start to the day," said Sell.

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Sell said he knocked down the fire and contained to engine compartment before police and fire arrived on the scene.

"The hood was too hot to open without gloves and I heard a sound come from the car, like a pop.  Then smoke and flames. I told her to call 911, pulled her keys and told her to stay back." he said. "Newport Fire and Police did a great job."

Lucas said she was running late and was in shock when Sell took control of the situation.

"He was just amazing, totally in control. He pulled me away from the car and made sure everyone was safe," she said. "He saved that car from completely exploding. I've never seen anyone act like that before. He was my guardian angel that day."

Lucas said that she had planned on driving that car until the wheels came off, putting over 100,000 miles on it since she had owned it. "As I watched them take an axe to the car, I knew that was God's way of telling me it was time for a new car. If that happens on the highway instead of in front of that Starbucks, maybe it turns out much worse."

The car was towed and was likely a total loss. The cause of the fire is still undetermined, according to police reports, but Lucas said that she thought it may have been a faulty fuel line.

"He didn't have to jump in and save me, but the fact that he didn't even think twice I think speaks volumes about his character," she said.

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Two days later, Lucas was back at Starbucks, getting her routine coffee before work, when she ran into Sell.

"I thanked him and hugged him. It obviously could have been a lot worse, but I'm just glad he was there the first time and that I could thank him a few days later."

1 comment:

  1. I've known Kevin for many years. He's a great guy!