Four honored for efforts

March 29th, 2007    Author: Rodney Beckwith    Filed Under: News

Miami Township honored four men last week after their quick thinking saved a woman from burning alive in a wrecked car.

Sarah Cubbage was pulled from the wreckage of her vehicle only seconds before the entire car was engulfed in flames, but said she didn’t remember anything because she was unconscious the entire time.

“This is the greatest blessing, to be able to meet them,” said Cubbage. “I didn’t even know that they knew who these people were. As far as I was concerned, I thought it was an angel God sent. But, they were real people, and it’s so good to meet them. I’m glad they were rewarded, because they deserve every bit of it. I’m standing here because of what they did. We aren’t guaranteed time, I could have died that day. I’m so thankful that God’s in my life and I want people to know what that’s done for me. I could have died, but if I did, I knew where I was going. It’s scary sometimes to not know how much time we have, but I know that if I were to die, where I would go. That’s such an assurance.”

At the March 20 township meeting, the trustees awarded Cubbage’s rescuers with Lifesaving Awards for their efforts. Honored were Miami Township Police Officer Brian Mehne, Shaun Fausz of Ft. Thomas and Eric and Ryan Hamil of Miami Township.

Sarah Cubbage, center, is pictured with her rescuers, from left, Eric Hamil, Ryan Hamil, Cubbage, Officer Brian Mehne and Shaun Fausz.
"On January 26, 2007, Sarah was driving her brother Andrew to work along Loveland-Miamiville Road," said Miami Township Police Chief Steve Bailey. "Shaun Fausz was also driving to work, and Eric and Ryan Hamil were just waking up. Miami Township police officer Brian Mehne was just driving somewhere to assist someone locked out of their vehicle. All of these people came together that morning in an almost tragic circumstance."

It is believed that ice caused the accident, which sent Cubbage's vehicle airborne for an estimated 30 feet before it struck a tree in the Hamil's front yard, where it burst into flames.

"Her car crashed in front of the Hamil house," said Chief Bailey. "Officer Mehne was driving by just after the accident, and immediately rushed to help. Fausz was driving two cars behind Sarah and witnessed the accident. Shaun told us 'I saw the car hit the tree, and I saw the flames. I pulled over, went out, and saw two people in the car and the driver appeared to be unconscious.' Sarah was unconscious and pinned in the car, which was in flames. Officer Mehne retrieved the fire extinguisher from his car and began hosing the flames. He was joined by Eric and Ryan Hamil who used their own fire extinguishers to help combat the flames. As these three men fought the flames, Shaun Fausz and Andrew Cubbage both worked on freeing Sarah from the vehicle."

According to the men involved, the vehicle remained in flames throughout the attempt to free Cubbage, only becoming completely engulfed when she was removed. In all, three of the men spent a portion of that time spraying the fire with fire extinguishers to control the blaze. Officer Mehne said that car fires are rare, and that officers get little in the way of training on how to deal with them.

"It's just whatever you can do when you get there," said Officer Mehne. "When I got there the engine compartment and the whole front of the car was engulfed in flames. I just kept the flames off."

Eric and Ryan Hamil were just waking when the accident took place.

"I was woken up by my little brother," said Ryan Hamil. "He said there was a car on fire in our driveway. I got up, looked out the window and threw on some shoes. I grabbed the first fire extinguisher I could find and took off running."

"I didn't think, I just reacted the way you would when you see a fire," added Eric Hamil. "I just grabbed a fire extinguisher."

The award ceremony was the first chance that Cubbage had to meet her rescuers, whom she spoke with afterwards.

"I am so glad that I can meet you," said Cubbage. "I know I don't remember anything. I know it wasn't by chance or by accident, God had a reason for this and for all four of you to be there. I want to thank you so much."

Trustee Ken Tracy congratulated the men involved for their efforts in the accident.

"Officer Mehne and these three fine young men, what they did is an example of what we need in our society today, leadership, bravery and courage," said Tracy. "We are blessed to have men and women who protect our township."xxx
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