When John B. Burns heard a loud crashing noise on the street outside his work in Lancaster, S.C., his Air Force training kicked in.
Burns, a master sergeant who retired out of Cannon Air Force Base, burst out the door and towards an overturned tanker spewing some of the 7,000 gallons of gasoline it had been hauling.
He was heading for the driver, who had a cut on his head and was having difficulty getting out of the truck.
The truck was leaking gas and still running. Burns said the driver’s boot was caught between the mangled driver-side door and the steering wheel.
“Another guy was helping me at that point and we cut his boot off,” the 47-year-old father of five said. “And just in time. As we got across the road, we heard the noise and felt the heat of the fire.”
Just as the two men, carrying the passed out driver, reached the other side of the street, the truck burst into flames.
“All I was thinking was ‘I’m glad we got that guy out in time,’” Burns said about the afternoon of Jan. 14.
Burns said he can’t take any credit for what he did.
“I am no hero. My military training is what really saved that guy’s life,” said Burns, whose mother-in-law, Gene Terry, lives in Clovis.
“I may have done a heroic deed,” Burns said, “but I did the same thing that I believe anyone else would have done to help another human being in this world. The only hero I want to be is to my kids.”