January 3, 2005: Airmen Rescue Man From Burning Trailer

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

Two Air Force Flight Test Center Non-Commissioned Officers, Technical Sergeants Jerry Rocovits and James Voight, reacted to a fire at the Trailer Haven trailer park just outside Edwards AFB in the town of Rosamond. They broke into a burning mobile home and pulled its occupant to safety.

The Airmen had settled down from a long day of unpacking and work, respectively.  "That was my first night in the trailer," said Tech. Sgt. Jerry Rocovits, a 412th Flight Test Squadron Speckled Trout structural repair maintenance specialist. "I just moved from Hill Air Force Base, [Utah], and they delivered my household goods that morning."  Sergeant Rocovits said he woke up in the middle of the night and noticed an orange glow from outside.  ."At first I thought, 'What is that?'" he said.  About the same time, Tech. Sgt. James Voight, a 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon mechanic, said he was roused from his bed by the noise of the fire.  
They saw a disoriented neighbor frantically calling for help on his cell phone.  When asked where his roommate was, the owner gave them a quizzical look and did not respond.  Wasting no time, the Airmen began to search for the other occupant.  Beginning at the front of the burning trailer, they methodically worked to the master bedroom in the back. All the while, the fire was swallowing up the trailer.  They came to the master bedroom and found the other occupant standing in shock.  They began to clear out the remaining glass shards from a broken window. Instinctively, they placed their jackets over the opening, and, in one fluid motion, yanked the resident away from the fire.  After the rescue, the Airmen dashed back to the burning trailer to try and salvage some of the personal belongings  "After we got him to safety, we went back to pull his motorcycle away from the trailer and tried to save as much stuff as we could," Sergeant Voight said. "We didn't think until afterward that the trailer could have blown up."  "We're not heroes. This is just something we would expect from others," Sergeant Rocovits said  "You're trained to just react," Sergeant Voight said. "It was instinct."


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