Firefighters were called to a structure fire on Main Street in Clay City early Sunday morning, August 29.
The historic structure, located on Main Street between the Clay City Times and the Red River Museum, was in recent years the home of a restaurant called The Corner Table.
Firefighters arrived from several surrounding communities, including Estill County. Shawn Riddell, Cody Beckler, and Adam Plowman were among those who responded to the fire, which was in the attic when they arrived.
“We were pulling ceiling, having trouble getting to it,” said Riddell.
They had taken a break and another crew went in for a while. Riddell said when they went back into the building, the ceiling collapsed on them. As Riddell and others from his department dug their way out, he heard someone screaming.
Riddell found another firefighter, pinned beneath some debris, only his arm and his foot visible. Riddell acted quickly and dragged the firefighter from the burning building.
The firefighter who was rescued is Captain Braxton Hunley from Menifee County. He was checked out by paramedics on the scene, but found to be okay. None of the other firefighters were injured.
Shawn Riddell said, “That’s what we train for.”
He began volunteering with the Estill County Fire Department in 2015 and was recently hired full-time.
“I love it, this is my dream job,” he said. “I love serving my community.”
Shawn’s father Tim Riddell has also been a firefighter for many years and works full time for Powell County EMS.
He says he’s very proud of his son’s quick action, although Shawn “acts like it’s no big deal.”
“Shawn risked burning up in order to pull the guy out of the rubble and then drug him to safety outside,” said Tim. “He saved the guy’s life. I’m so proud of him!”
The building in Clay City was pretty much destroyed, Shawn Riddell said.