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5 Fort Drum soldiers help at Arsenal Street crash Thursday night

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - “It was just instinct. All of us immediately got out of my car and went over,” said SPC William Berube.

Late Thursday night, a Dodge pickup truck driven by a 20-year-old male with two 18-year-old passengers was heading down Arsenal Street.

It collided with a Dodge Durango SUV with a 44-year-old driver and an 18-year-old passenger.

“It was a big explosion and then the next thing you know, the whole block, the lights went out,” said SPC Shane Cockerham.

The truck burst into flames.

But five Fort Drum soldiers saw the incident and rushed to the rescue.

“The car was still flipping and we were already almost there,” said SPC Jacob Jones.

Two soldiers ran into Applebee’s to get a fire extinguisher. One ran to his vehicle to get his trauma kit. The other two started getting the injured passengers out of the truck.

“The car was quickly becoming engulfed in flames. We crawled in the car to attempt to free the man. We tried to break the seat. We popped the airbags. We tried to kick the door open multiple times,” said SGT MJR Jake Smith.

One man was still trapped in the truck which was on fire. So Specialist Jacob Jones got to work using the fire extinguisher.

“He was under the vehicle. Literally under the vehicle trying to put this out. He risked his life to buy us time to try to get this individual out of the vehicle,” said Smith.

The soldiers were able to get the flames under control and remove and treat a driver and passenger as authorities arrived.

The driver of the truck was treated and released from Carthage Area Hospital. One passenger was treated and released from Samaritan. The other was taken to Syracuse.

With the Durango, the driver and passenger were both treated and released from Samaritan.

The soldiers say they’re grateful to have been able to help.

“That vehicle would’ve absolutely been engulfed in flames in seconds with all three individuals trapped inside. Without these fou,r I do feel all three of those individuals would’ve died,” said Smith.

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