Greenville Fire-Rescue honored a local man whose quick actions prevented a fiery car crash from becoming a fatal incident earlier this month.
Fire Chief Eric Griffin presented Temonn Edwards with a certificate of recognition during a Monday ceremony at Fire Station 1.
Edwards used three fire extinguishers to put out a car engine fire that started when two vehicles crashed on Feb. 6 near the Shops at Hardee Village in the 4300 block of East 10th Street.
“There are people who help every day, but if he hadn’t done something, and the things that he did, he saved her life,” Griffin said.
When the two vehicles collided head on, a SUV landed on the other vehicle. Bystanders freed the driver and a baby from the pinned vehicle but a passenger remained trapped.
Edwards, his girlfriend and their 1-year-old son drove up to the scene just as the baby was being pulled out.
“Being a parent, I understand that baby had a parent and I wanted to help,” he said.
As he approached the vehicle he saw a small fire start under the car and realized a woman was still trapped inside. His first thought was to ask if anyone had a fire extinguisher in their vehicle. He then saw a nearby furniture store.
“I know that any establishment is going to have a fire extinguisher in case of anything going wrong, whether it’s a food store or furniture store,” he said.
“I ran inside a furniture store, darted through the store and pulled a fire extinguisher from the wall, ran back out to the fire, which had grown of course, and started spraying the fire extinguisher,” Edwards said.
No one in the store tried to stop him because he was shouting “accident, accident” the entire time.
The first fire extinguisher quickly ran out so he ran back inside for another and kept spraying the fire as others tried removing the SUV so they could reach the woman.
Edwards was on his third fire extinguisher when Greenville Fire-Rescue arrived.
The woman was eventually removed from the car and taken to Vidant Medical Center for treatment.
“What he did, it’s just unbelievable. To move that quick, to run into the store and get the fire extinguisher — his quick thinking and quick action is just incredible,” Griffin said.
While Edwards fought the fire, his girlfriend, Brenda Cannon, and their son, Grayson, watched from their car.
“I kept telling him to back up because I didn’t want the car to explode and for him to be right there,” Cannon said. “I mean, my first thought was, ‘We have a kid too.’”
She said she is proud of Edwards and wants Grayson to become the sort of man who runs to help.
Edwards said he always wanted to be a firefighter but didn’t think he had what it took to run towards danger.
“In that instance I wasn’t thinking about myself, I was thinking about other people, how many people were in harm’s way and how many people I could help get out of harm’s way,” he said.
Edwards said he encourages people to lend a hand whenever possible.
“We are all on this planet. We are all the same,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter what race, religion or color, we are people. Regardless of what happens, regardless of who’s where and who’s done what, people should just help people.”