KENT, Ohio (WJW) – An off-duty Kent firefighter helped to save a woman’s life after her car became stranded on snow-covered train tracks.
Firefighter and paramedic Pat Paisley was in the right place at the right time on Jan. 17.
Paisley was driving home around 8:30 a.m., amid a snow storm, when he saw the car stuck in snow on a double railroad crossing on Summit Street near downtown Kent, with the driver still inside.
“There was so much snow on the tracks, she kind of just high-centered her car,” Paisley said.
Paisley said he called dispatch to alert oncoming trains to stop, but it was too late.
“As I was on the phone with them is when I heard the horn,” Paisley said.
With a train coming and just seconds to spare, Paisley ushered the driver, a 35-year-old Akron woman, out of the car and away from danger.
He said it was so snowy it appeared the driver did not realize she was stuck on the tracks.
“I let her know we’ve got to go, and she asked what was going to happen and I said her car was going to get hit,” Paisley said.
The train hit the car, causing extensive damage, but no one was injured.
“She may not have heard the train coming until possibly it was too late,” Kent Police Lt. Mike Lewis said. “So, we’re very fortunate Pat was there.”
While Paisley maintains his actions were, “nothing heroic,” Kent Fire Chief William Myers said the right person was there to take action to help the driver in need.
“Had he not been there, we don’t know what the results could have been. He made a difference. He made a big difference for her,” Myers said. “He saved her life. So, we’re very proud of Patrick.”
Lewis said the incident serves as a reminder to drivers to try to remain aware of their surroundings at all times, noting life and safety are more important than personal property, which can be replaced.