Man spends part of birthday thanking officers who saved his life

KENT – It’s wasn’t the typical way to spend a birthday.

But for Kyle Wagner, the only thing he wanted to do on his 26th birthday was to go to the Kent Police Department and thank the officers who helped save his life two years ago.

“It’s been a long healing process and I am finally able to move around and I knew I wanted to be here and say thank you,” Wagner said.

On Dec. 25, 2015,  Wagner lost control of his car and struck a utility pole on Stow Street. Moments after the crash, his car burst into flames.

Wagner was able to get himself out of the car, but he too was engulfed in flames.

The officers, Matt Brooks and Matt Butcher, were able to extinguish the flames off the driver, and move him to safety. He was transported to the hospital.

“I was 98 percent sure I was going to die,” Wagner said. He said he had burns over 52 percent of his body. He spent 72 days in the hospital, and the past two years recovering. He is hoping to return to work soon.

“I just know that if those officers didn’t get there so quick, and didn’t risk their own lives for me, I would have died,” Wagner said. “I really wish I had something to give them.”

The officers said they are just glad that Wagner is OK.

“It’s good to see you up and moving, it truly is,” Butcher said.

The officers said they were just doing their jobs and don't feel they are heroes. Wagner disagrees.

“They didn’t have to do what they did, “ Wagner said. “They saved my life.”