TAYLOR COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - Most of Campbellsville University's marching band would not see it. Thursday the unthinkable happened. After a fire-bucket truck had drenched the band, as part of the ice-water challenge to fight ALS, two firefighters were badly burned when the bucket got close enough to power lines to create an arc.
But when town and gown are this close – the faces so familiar – those who are hurt are like family.
“Once we heard, we were all heart-broken,” Chelse Edwards said Friday. "We were just hoping for the best.”
The Druthers restaurant where Edwards works sits directly across the back parking lot of Campbellsville's main fire station. To Druthers employees, Simon Alex Quinn, 22, isn't simply the polite young man whose love for firefighting began when his Explorer post visited during his freshman year in high school.
“We know his order, we know his name,” Edwards said. “So we know everything about Alex.”
So Druthers sent over burgers and fries Thursday night, gratis. Other friends would stop by the firehouse Friday morning.
Campbellsville firefighters have deferred to their Chief, Kyle Smith, when asked to give interviews. But off-camera, they say that support and prayers have come from all over the Commonwealth and the country.
“We've had counselors, we've had opportunities for students to talk,” Campbellsville University admissions director Dave Walters said Friday.
University of Louisville Hospital upgraded Quinn's condition to fair Friday. He was alert and talking. But Captain Tony Grider remains in critical condition; more than half of his body burned. Grider is a 16-year firefighter who's also a paramedic and a father of five.
“They want to express their concerns-through cards, and caps and blankets and T-shirts,” Walters said. “They plan to deliver them to the families of the gentlemen involved in this incident.”
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration and Louisville Gas & Electric are trying to determine whether the truck's bucket made direct contact—or simply was close enough to arc – in short, whether harm could have been avoided.
But students and citizens are focused on the hurt inflicted, making sure the victim's families know that they have prayer warriors behind them.