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Two Shelby County firefighters honored for helping teen impaled by spike during snowstorm

Lieutenant Adrian Flagg and firefighter/paramedic Quinton Johnson were joined by Chief Alvin D. Benson to receive the “Three Stars of Tennessee Award” in Nashville.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two Shelby County firefighters were honored in Nashville Thursday morning for their actions helping a teen who had been impaled by a hay spike on a tractor during the big snowstorm in the area in February 2021.

Lieutenant Adrian Flagg and firefighter/paramedic Quinton Johnson were joined by Shelby County Fire Department Fire Chief Alvin D. Benson to receive the “Three Stars of Tennessee Award” from the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security and Commissioner Jeff Long. The award was also presented by Tennessee Senator Becky Duncan Massey and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.

RELATED: Teenager miraculously survives after being impaled by metal spike in sledding accident

The Memphis Police Department said MPD Major TD Jackson was also honored "for his commitment and service to Safety and Security for the city of Memphis."

The Shelby County Fire Department said the following is the submission as told by Deputy Fire Chief Glen Kneeland regarding the February incident:

“On February 13th 2021 at approximately 1700 hours Shelby County Fire Department Engine 69 was dispatched to an address in North Shelby County for a 17 year old patient that had become impaled on a hay spike mounted on a tractor. This unbelievable injury occurred while the patient was sledding during a heavy snowstorm that produced 6-12" of snow in Shelby County. 

SCFD Engine 69 and Unit 69 responded to the scene and found that the patient had been impaled on a 46” long and approximately 2” round hay spike entering in his left lower chest and exiting out of his neck and shoulder area. The Ambulance and Engine crew rendered aid to include stabilization measures. During this time of treatment the crews also developed a plan to remove the spike from the tractor. The Lieutenant on Engine 69 (Lieutenant A. Flagg) had attempted to call for the Hospital Wing Helicopter for rapid transport, however the helicopter was on weather hold and unable to fly due to the snowstorm. 

The crew of Engine 69 had multiple ideas on how to remove the spike and had to change tactics of removal several times when initial efforts did not produce the needed results. Lieutenant Flagg requested Rescue 66 (SCFD SORT/Rescue Team), Battalion 22 (Battalion Chief) and 601 (EMS Lieutenant) to the scene in order to assist in this extrication. When additional resources arrived on scene, the ambulance crew had started I.V. lines and had treated the patient for shock. A rescue plan was initiated by using a K12 Rescue Saw and water to cool the metal spike that was being cut. 

Stabilization of the patient was handled by the Unit 69 paramedic crew and Engine 69 crew. The EMS Lieutenant then made contact with Medcom (Regional One Trauma Center) via radio and briefed the Trauma Center doctors about the patient’s condition, estimated length of extrication as well as the estimated transport time from the scene to the trauma center. 

Once the cut was complete on the hay spike, the patient was then moved to the ambulance -Unit 69 and the Paramedic from Engine 69 was requested to ride aboard to the hospital to help with patient care. The Paramedic on Unit 69 also needed help with holding stabilization of the patient’s spine and the Shelby County Sheriffs Rescue volunteered to ride in and hold his spine immobile thus letting the Paramedics render additional treatment. The Shelby County Sheriff Department officers on scene knowing how critical the patient was and how far the unit had to transport, used 2 squad cars to block traffic at all the intersections between the scene and the hospital. This expedited transport time to the Regional One Trauma Center located in Downtown Memphis. The patient arrived at the hospital and was taken to a trauma room, then rapidly was moved to surgery to remove the spike. 

All participants in the rescue efforts did an outstanding job and worked together to save this young man's life to include the Shelby County Fire Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, Emergency Services Division and Patrol Division. 

In a very bright footnote we wish to add that this young man recently graduated from high school and has made a full recovery”. 

Shelby County Fire Personnel on scene: 

Engine 69 

  • Lt. Adrian Flagg
  • Dr. Ernest Ty Larry

Rescue 66 

  • Lt. Nick Mansolino
  • Dr. Barry Daly
  • FF. Scott Coker

Battalion 22 

  • Battalion Chief Ron Royal

EMS Lieutenant

  • Chris Bauer

Unit 69 

  • FF/P. Quinton Johnson 
  • FF Jeremy Roberts 
Credit: Shelby County Fire Department
Shelby County Fire Department Fire Chief Alvin D. Benson was on hand to support both Lt. Adrian Flagg and FF/P Quinton Johnson for their incredible efforts as well as those of their colleagues during that critical life-saving response.
Credit: Shelby County Fire Department
Left to right: Tennessee Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long, SCFD FF/P Quinton Johnson, Tennessee Senator Becky Duncan Massey, Tennessee First Lady Maria Lee, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, and SCFD Lieutenant Adrian Flagg

A well deserved tip of our helmets to some of our colleagues. Bravo to those involved.

Posted by Shelby County Fire Department on Thursday, September 9, 2021