York Township fire chief makes daring rescue

Christopher Dornblaser

The York Township fire chief made a daring rescue Monday morning, all of which was caught on video.

York Township Fire Department Chief Nate Tracey was responding to a crash that happened around 10:30 a.m. Monday in the 100 block of Indian Rock Dam Road when he jumped out of his vehicle and pulled the driver out as responders pulled up to the scene.

The rescue: Tracey said he was the first responder on the scene. The vehicle, a small gray sedan, had crashed into a pole, and the back of the car was on fire. Tracey said as he was pulling up to the scene he could see some bystanders about 100 feet from the vehicle and thought they might have pulled the driver from the car. When he did not see anyone lying on the grass nearby, he knew the driver was still in the vehicle.

“I pretty much realized, in a matter of seconds, if there was anybody involved in that crash, they were still in the car,” he said.

The video shows Tracey running out to the vehicle, jacket in hand, pulling the driver out, and dragging him to the other side of the road to safety.

While initially there were reports of entrapment, Tracey said the driver was not trapped.

“They weren’t trapped, I just basically leaned in and grabbed him and pulled him out," Tracey said.

Tracey, with 27 years of serving as a firefighter, 21 of which are with York Township, said he had never really experienced a save such as the one Monday morning.

Even though the video did not show the fire being put out, Tracey said the fire was doused about a minute after the video stopped.

"It was pretty much knocked down with what we had," he said.

York Township Fire Chief Nate Tracey rescued a man from his vehicle Monday morning.

The response: The response to the video has been overwhelming. As of 8 p.m. Monday, the video, which was posted on York Township Fire Department's Facebook page, had reached more than 284,000 views, with more than 2,000 likes and 3,000 shares, all in a matter of four hours.

While Tracey likes that the department is getting some exposure, he said what he did was simply part of his job.

"I just think, that's what we're here for," he said.

He noted the reaction as being overwhelming, as in the first few hours the video has gotten a lot of views.

"It kind of shows the power of social media," he said.

A vehicle crashed into a pole on the 100 block of Indiana Rock Dam Road at around 10:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 28, 2015.

Advice:  Tracey said the man was not conscious when he pulled him out and he was not seat-belted in.

“When you’re driving a vehicle, you should be wearing a seat belt,” he said.

Tracey said had the man been using his seat belt, things might have gone differently.

“If he would’ve been wearing a seat belt, he would’ve been conscious," he said, adding that if that had been the case, the man might have been able to get himself out of the vehicle.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at